Page 1

Fonterra’s new UHT plant long overdue. Page 5

down to the last drop Drought hits yield Page 3

Big red still delivers Honda’s TRX500 Page 33

april 30, 2013 Issue 289 //

“If each farm had had the ability to apply only 40mm irrigation January to March, then they would have kept pasture alive.” – Stuart Reid PAGE 7




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Dairy News april 30, 2013

news  // 3

No milk left to sell PAM TIPA

A2 infant formula off to China. PG.09

More milk at lower cost to environment. PG.22

Bringing cow condition back to normal. PG.27

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FONTERRA IS running out of milk to supply global customers following the drought. And Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says this is “not the best situation”, “Yes the drought is affecting us,” Spierings told Dairy News. “Volumes are coming off very fast so there is simply no milk available to sell at the moment; it’s limited. “A lot of people are on allocation in the world, so it’s affecting us. If the milk doesn’t come sufficiently then our plants are under-utilised and our customers are being allocated. Not the best situation to be in to be honest.” A drop in milk supply from key exporting countries New Zealand and Australia has spiked global dairy prices. But Spierings points out New Zealand needs to produce milk to benefit from the high prices. “Of course prices are high but if there’s hardly any milk available then you don’t benefit from high prices.” Spierings says the answer is rain and “we brought some more cash to farmers to prepare for next season. This season is over.” He was speaking following a blessing ceremony for the UHT plant building site at Waitoa. Westpac economist Nathan Penny said at a ‘Farming and the Future’ event in Morrinsville that a media report had quoted Westpac as saying there would be no economic effect from the drought. He said this was wrong – this drought had been “massive”. Agricultural production and the downstream processing will be “hit hard,” says Penny. Total costs

Need more milk: Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings (left) and director policy and advocacy Sarah Paterson at Waitoa last week.

from lost production are estimated at $2 billion. “There is some help on the way, that has come in the form of prices. Milk powder prices have risen 66% in the last five Global Dairy Trade auctions.” Converting those milk powder prices into the farmgate price Westpac sees a ‘6’ in front of the milk price for this season and next season. “Costs from lost production will be about $2billion; if we can get $6 for the milk price, this will add back in $1 billion. Fonterra has upped its payout already; we see another increase in the payout in the not-too-distant future.” Looking beyond the drought into the future, New Zealand is in a good position. Chinese consumption of milk powder has risen 10% every year for the last five years and “the’ve got it from us”. “The challenge is to build ongoing relations to cement our place in the Chinese marketplace as the

leader in dairy. And then we can fend off competitive response that will come.” Until 2020 China will account for a third of world growth, but there will be competition from places like Brazil, Penny says. Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, speaking at the ‘Farming for the Future’ event organised by Westpac, says it was good to see the grass growing again in Waikato. It had looked like the whole region had been sprayed with Roundup during the drought. Westpac head of agribusiness David Jones says the bank will be organising more such events around the country to support farmers in heavily drought-hit areas, with speakers tailored to those areas. @dairy_news

Drought ‘helped repair rural/urban divide’ THE DROUGHT has helped repair the urban/

rural divide, says Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy. It has shown to city people how much rural communities matter to the economy, he said at the ‘Farming for the Future’ event in Morrinsville. The media did a good job in portraying the difficult times rural communities were going through. “In last few years there’s been a bit of a discon-

nect… over the last few months we had a reality check for urban New Zealand to realise that the powerhouse of this economy is based on primary industries.” A big sector of that is pastoral farmers and they are having a tough time. But he warns that pressure for environmental improvements doesn’t just come from the urban sector anymore but overseas customers. “The market has moved,” he says.

Previously, overseas market visitors would want to see our processing plants and we have the best food safety system in the world. But now they want to know what’s happening behind the farm gate. Nathan Guy

Dairy News April 30, 2013

4 //  news

Co-op’s organic move sends ‘wrong signals’ FONTERRA IS being

asked to explain its ‘onagain, off-again’ treatment of its organic milk suppliers. The Organic Dairy and Pastoral Group, which includes most of the organic dairy and pastoral farmers, says longterm secure contracts are essential to grow the sector. Chairman Glenn Mead says while its pleasing Fonterra has turned its organic business around and extended many contracts, it is disappointed for those farmers who have missed out. Farmers currently supplying organic milk in Manawatu, Taranaki and Wairarapa, who have con-

tial supplitracts expiring ers must see next year, are secure conoffered a twotracts for year extension. organic milk Organic farmers in place with in Waikato and companies Bay of Plenty such as Fonare offered Sarah Kennedy terra to make a three-year the organic renewal. Northconversion process worthland organic suppliers won’t have their contracts while. This will be part of on-going discussions renewed. between the ODPG and Mead is concerned at the signals Fonterra’s pre- Fonterra.” The managing director of vious treatment of its Fonterra Nutrition, Sarah organic suppliers have Kennedy, says Northland sent to overseas marsuppliers were told of the kets, and to other farmers decision 18 months ago. thinking of going organic. “This is not about one “Converting a farm to the region… but the whole required certified organic co-op… making the organsystem and standards ics business smarter,” she takes a minimum of three told Dairy News. years,” he says. “Poten-

Fonterra collects 78 million litres of organic milk every year. The coop’s organic farmers are paid a premium of $1.05/ kgMS over the conventional milk payout. The co-op processes organic milk at Hautapu and Waitoa plants. Kennedy says the co-op reduced transport costs by concentrating organic milk supply in the central and lower North Island. Revamping the organics business is intended to

make it sustainable. It has returned to profit after the global financial crisis hit sales in its key markets in US and Europe. Now the co-op is targeting China and Asia where organic ingredients attract higher premiums. Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) chairman Brendan Hoare says there is strong demand for organic dairy products, especially in Asia and other emerging economies.

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“Any hypothetical drop in European demand can easily be made up – or exceeded – there,” he says. “The organic sector as a whole is worried that Fonterra is in danger of losing a golden opportunity to be the number one milk company in the world, and the

decision to extend contracts to organic dairy farmers outside Waikato and Bay of Plenty has drawn a mixed reception from at least one farming leader. Gray Beagley, Federated Farmers Dairy president in Tararua, and an organic dairy farmer, says he has mixed views on the decisions. Farmers whose contracts were expiring would be over the moon at two more years contract now being offered. “So they’ve got a lifeline. For people like myself who have two years to run nothing has changed since that announcement. We feel like we are hanging on again, with no long term certainty which makes it hard to plan. Two years is not a long time to plan if you want to a

run a sustainable business inter- 30% higher, and the volume is 28% generationally. It’s very hard to higher. “Lots of positive signs in the make business decisions on a two marketplace, but I am year contract.” scared it’s being driven Beagley says he thinks through a boom-bust Fonterra’s decisions to cycle based on food extend contracts are safety and food integbased on the fact they rity scares. Last time are now making a profit. we were booming as Fonterra wouldn’t say organic farmers was what the profit was, he when melamine came says. They would only Gray Beagley to pass. We are boomshow a series of bar graphs showing that over the last ing again after a DCD scare.” Beagley says while the two year four or five years they had not made contracts will help existing organic a profit but were now. “They are processing 83% of our dairy farmers, they will do nothing milk into organic products versus to encourage others to enter the 45% two years ago, so that’s a huge industry. He points out that it takes three years to convert to organics, utilisation increase. “They have been able to demand yet the contracts are only for two a higher price in the marketplace… years. – Peter Burke

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Dairy News april 30, 2013

news  // 5

New UHT output will be drop in China’s ocean pam tipa

CHINESE GROWTH and consumer demand is changing so fast that arguably Fonterra’s new $126m UHT milk processing plant at Waitoa should have started 18 months ago, says Fonterra chairman John Wilson. The shift in consumer taste in China is happening so fast that your business plan can become obsolete in 90 days, Wilson told Dairy News at the formal opening of the site last Tuesday attended by Prime Minister John Key. Foundations are being laid for the plant to be started by April 2014; it will boost Fonterra’s UHT production by 100%. Wilson led the business delegation on the trade mission to China with the Prime Minister. He says talking to consumer-involved Chinese on the coast and in big cities, he noted that demand is evolving so rapidly that “if

they have a business plan for a product for 90 days, they had better be thinking about what the next 90 days looks like because it is just evolving so rapidly. You’ve got to be very fast”. “With UHT, if you go back two or three years it wasn’t economic to shift UHT into that Chinese market at the sort of scale we need in Fonterra,” he says. “And today – here it is – and we would probably argue that the UHT plant is 18 months too late. We are completely constrained for UHT processing in New Zealand at the moment and this will be five, six lines and 200-300 million litres at full noise. It will drive not only the UHT drinking market; a significant part is for our food service business and our cream market. So that market is changing dramatically. “With the move from historically an emerging economy to a developed country, consumer demand goes from standard whole milk powder to advanced nutritional powders and

into UHT and ultimately there will be a fresh milk offering. This is why we have our farms in China producing 150 million litres, on the way to a billion litres.” Asked if he foresaw Fonterra ever exporting fresh milk from New Zealand to China, Wilson says on the trip he met a woman exporting fresh milk out of New Zealand into the Chinese market. His understanding was she sold it at about $20 a litre because of the cost of getting it there. “There is a limited market today, but if you look in the future, that why the billion litres in China will give Fonterra those options.” The Waitoa UHT plant will be supplied by farmers north of Taupo. Fonterra already has enough winter milk in the greater region to supply stage one of the plant because so many farmers north of Taupo milk some cows through the winter, Wilson says. In the future there will be milk contracts in these regions.

Demand outstripping supply CHINA IS now much more aware of

its limitations in producing its own food so demand for our products is still going strong, says Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings. “The Chinese government is much more aware of the limitations of China…. Land and environment are two key angles for China to look at,” he said following the trip with the Prime Minister’s delegation. “The New Zealand export game we are playing will continue and the Chinese government understands that as well because demand is growing much

faster than supply. So developing a Chinese milk pool, yes, but can it be fully self-sufficient? I don’t think so. That’s for growth reasons, land reasons and environment reasons. “But on the other hand we can’t commit only to exports, we also need to commit to investments onshore in China. That is why we are building the Chinese milk pool: we protect New Zealand milk to China – it has to be both, a win-win. We can’t just export commodities to China, we have to provide value on the ground in China.”

Meanwhile Fonterra board chairman John Wilson says Chinese government ministers “at the highest level” are aware of Fonterra’s contribution to development of animal husbandry and quality milk in their country. They have “a very high understanding” of what Fonterra is doing in producing milk locally on its own farm and also working with its farmer suppliers to gain knowledge and confidence. The trip to China with the Prime Minister’s trade mission was very successful, says Wilson.

Prime Minister John Key (right), Fonterra chairman John Wilson and chief executive Theo Spierings attend the site blessing ceremony last week.

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Dairy News April 30, 2013

6 //  news

Co-op issues heads up on monitoring water intakes GARETH GILLATT

ALL FONTERRA suppliers must

be monitoring water intakes by 2020 regardless of their location, a Fonterra sustainability advisor told a DairyNZ effluent system field day last week. Kim Windlebourne addressed farmers on a property near Whangarei as part of a DairyNZ farm tour looking at the handling and disposal of effluent. He advised farmers that by 2020 they would need to record all water used on their property regardless of where they were or whether they drew water from a stream, bore or urban supply. The Fonterra programme is aligned to the dairy industry’s Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord objectives which aim to improve the quality and quantity of the country’s fresh water resources. The cooperative is consid-

ering steps to put suppliers at the front of the queue for any benefits monitoring offers, says Windlebourne. “It’s not about charging farmers, it’s all about finding excessive use on relevant farms.” He says the need for water monitoring has been especially apparent during the drought this year. “You go onto one guy’s farm and the only water he’s got is an alkathene pipe running into a creek. Then you go upstream a bit and his neighbor has heaps of water. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out what happened. “It’s not about stopping accessing water, it’s about making sure everyone has access to it, and finding ways to put more dollars into farmers’ pockets. How can you maintain that production and increase profits by altering your inputs.” While most farmers are unlikely to be monitoring water use, those in

Waikato and Canterbury are monitoring water levels. Windlebourne says these farmers are now able to use this information to prevent water loss before it becomes a big problem. “This will be a useful weapon in the farmer’s pocket. If there’s a water leak half the size of a nail you’re loosing half a million litres of water a month – 14,000 litres of water a day, that’s enough for 140 cows a day.” Windlebourne says those losses become even more significant on smaller operations where the smallest input cost change or production change can have big impacts. “On smaller 140 cow dairy farms the smallest efficiency can have a big impact on the bottom line so I think water meters will have a huge impact for them.” Windlebourne says he experienced this first hand in Ngatea when working as a contract milker on a farm using a town water supply.

Kim Windlebourne, Fonterra sustainability advisor.

“They didn’t worry about how much water we were using; what they were concerned with was leaks. When you

checked the readings in the morning and you saw the water use readings way up you knew what had happened.”

Dairy News april 30, 2013

news  // 7

Time to consider water storage DAIRY FARMERS in drought-prone areas are being urged by a water and effluent engineer to start thinking about water storage. Stuart Reid, Revolution Technologies, says water storage during the drought would have allowed farmers to irrigate and keep pastures alive. “If each farm had had the ability to only apply 40mm irrigation (say, in

two 20mm events) January to March, they would have kept pasture alive even though not productive,” he told Dairy News. “If grass dies, there is the cost of resowing it and a production loss caused by the fact that the grass does not deliver full production for perhaps two more seasons. “Furthermore, those two subsequent seasons could be dry as well. But

pasture kept alive each season can usually be brought back to life quite quickly by the first decent autumn rain. It does not entail resowing costs and losses while the farmer waits for new grass to get up to speed.” But building dams requires regional council consent, and appraisal of farm topography and costs. DairyNZ says it has

emerging green from dry DAIRY FARMERS with water storage facilities have come out greener this drought, says Stuart Reid. One of his clients in Te Kuiti built a big effluent pond – 14 000m3 for 550 cows. He collected water from tracks, yards, silage and stand-off pads. The outcome this year was graphic. Neighbouring farm pad-

docks were brown, but his irrigated paddocks stood out as green from other pasture. “They didn’t produce much because rainfall was still in short supply, but his pasture is away again now after even light rainfall this month. He has avoided resowing costs and two years to get back to full production.”

not been approached by farmers on the potential of water storage schemes and referred enquiries to Irrigation New Zealand, whose chief executive, Andrew Curtis, says there is a lot of interest from the North Island, especially after the drought. He says his organisation is providing information to farmers and referring them to consultants where necessary. Finance is an issue and farmers are urged to look at “a community approach”. Water allocation issues are also critical. Reid agrees it’s the industry’s duty to prepare the way for “this topical theme”. Construction of ponds will have environmental and ecological effects so the industry should be asking councils and communities to get busy on these policies. “As the momentum for ponds builds, there are

standards and guidelines in place that deal with this specific issue and their catchments,” he says. “The process farmers must go through to obtain a consent must be clear and as cheap as possible. The actual construction costs and justification for irrigation will be an economic decision.” Reid says it’s also important to consider the economics of dead pasture which occurs in one year, and then further dry weather in subsequent years which knocks out pasture sown in the previous year. The effect on farm income could become exponential, he points out. “Hence risk management and prudence suggest this whole matter must be considered more carefully than previously. One day some guy will build a pond that his neighbours think

If North Island farms had the ability to irrigate some paddocks during the drought, pasture would have been kept alive, says Stuart Reid.

is far too large, but I’ll bet that in the end he will be the last person to regret it, and the neighbours will be

so much wiser after that first dry season.” @dairy_news

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Dairy News april 30, 2013

news  // 9

A2 infant formula sales in China tipped to hit $60m PAM TIPA


made from A2 milk should be on Chinese shelves by September in the start of what A2 Corporation believes will be, conservatively, a $60 million business by 2016. New Milk, Auckland, began the first packaging run of Platinum infant formula on Saturday April 20 in a ceremony attended by National Party president Peter Goodfellow and representatives of A2’s Chinese distributor, Chinese State Farms. They included Chairman Xu Jun and senior executives of CSF. Meanwhile A2 Corporation will be looking for more A2 farmers in Canterbury to supply the processors, Synlait Milk Ltd. A2 managing director Geoffrey Babidge told Dairy News they are looking for about 20 suppliers – currently they have three or four. A2 pays a premium

averaging 10% on the standard milk price, another company representative said. About 30% of New Zealand cows produce the A2 form of the beta-casein protein and some A2 farmers milk both A1 and A2, but they are milked separately.

The company has three major strategies: continuing to build the business in Australia and New Zealand in fresh milk; developing its UK joint venture business – the product was launched in October last year in UK; and advancing the China

or problems with products sourced or identified in China; that further underlies the opportunity not just for A2 but for all infant formula sourced from this part of the world.” A2 announced in October last year the appoint-

“We are branding it as A2 Platinum which is part of positioning the product as a premium product from New Zealand.” – Geoffrey Babidge The first shipments of A2 infant formula leave for China next month, but as a new product it must go into quarantine. The planned roll-out in China will start in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Chongqing, then progress to other big cities plus Hong Kong and Macau. The A2 formula will also be marketed in New Zealand and Australia in the second half of this calendar year, Babidge says.

infant formula initiative, Babidge says. The latest announcement is the culmination of 18 months work. The first A2 formula is being marketed in China for obvious reasons: strong demand and growth in China, and the high regard in which New Zealand-sourced infant formula is held. During the two years spent developing the A2 infant formula strategies “there have been a number of health issues…

ment of the China State Farm Group, a stateowned enterprise in Shanghai, to organise a distribution network for A2 formula in China. “We’ve been doing further work with State Farm in developing the strategy, completed the work on packaging and branding and have been working with our key manufacturer here in New Zealand, Synlait. That culminated in the first canning of A2 formula – the first A2 infant formula

A2 managing director Geoffrey Babidge (left) and China State Farm Holdings chairman Xu Jun at the prouct launch in Auckland.

produced in the world. “We had in Auckland our China representatives of State Farm, including the chairman, to attend the ceremony at the canning facility near Auckland Airport. The first batch of product will be sold to China State Farm in May. “Between now, the first shipment going on the water, and release, China State Farm will continue to develop the network of distributors that will distribute in China. Initially we will be looking to access the baby and maternity store network as a first market entry and China State Farm will follow a wider distribution from there. “We are branding it as A2 Platinum which is part of positioning the product as a premium product from New Zealand.” On the need for more

suppliers he says: “There’s sufficient for the infant formula that we’ve needed at the moment but we are going to ramp it up pretty quickly.” Babidge says a2 brand products are based on intellectual property the company holds, in a world interested in digestive health, allergies and intolerances. “Infants in Australasia and China will be the first to enjoy a2 Platinum infant formula which contains only the A2 form of the beta-casein protein,

which is more comparable to the protein mothers naturally produce than to other beta-casein types linked to a range of potentially adverse health conditions.. @dairy_news

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Dairy News April 30, 2013

10 //  news

Elite breeders celebrate success

Gain in rain but pain still plain RECENT RAINFALL has been welcomed by



dairy cow and bull breeders gathered recently at LIC to celebrate 2012’s successes. This select band use science, breeding nous, experience and luck to produce some of the best pasture-based dairy progeny in the world. The progeny go on to produce bulls that are ‘cherry picked’ by LIC. Breeders’ Day, hosted last week at the co-op’s Newstead headquarters in Hamilton, attracted about 100 elite breeders scattered between Hikurangi, Far North, and Invercargill. All have contributed dairy bull calves to LIC, selected by the cooperative based on the animal’s ancestry records or their DNA profiles. Intergenerational progress (genetic gain) is the point. Independent research (Bill Montgomerie, New Zealand Animal Evaluation) shows genetic

gain in the national dairy herd, over a 10-year period, is responsible for about 60% of the production gains made on New Zealand dairy farms. Estimates put the economic contribution of LIC’s bulls to the dairy industry at $16 billion over the past 46 years, says Mike Wilson, LIC Premier Sires product manager. “That’s why top breeders of dairy bull calves are so important to LIC, and that’s why we acknowledge the work they do and celebrate the animals they’re producing for the industry.” Semen from Premier Sires bulls is used to AI at least 3.5 million dairy cows each year. About 75% of cows milked are sired by an LIC bull. Says Wilson, “To get a bull in a Premier Sires team is often the pinnacle of these people’s careers. So Breeders’ Day is about the achievements of each team and the individ-

Breeders gather for the LIC bull parade.

ual bulls in those teams, as well as the people behind them.” Breeding an elite bull was a long process, a process that only happened with the help and support of the invited breeders, not to mention LIC’s sire selection and farm teams, Wilson says. “Nearly all farmers are constantly trying to improve the quality of their animals through better breeding, and LIC has literally millions of bull calves to choose from

each year for eventual inclusion in one of its Premier Sires teams. Only about 120 bulls will make it each year.” On Breeders’ Day the farmers were lunched and watched a parade of bulls at the Newstead Bull Farm. Breeders also received a certificate and framed photograph of their bull, and were briefed about some of the latest developments in the artificial breeding industry. @dairy_news

farmers but the problems of the dry summer will persist, says Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy. The dry conditions may have ended in many parts of the country but there are still major challenges ahead. It will take time to build up enough grass cover to provide feed for winter, he says.   “There’s no doubt the rain over the last week has been a real boost, especially for those in areas that have missed out before like the central North Island.  “However it’s important that farmers plan ahead for how they will manage their feed supply through the rest of the year. A large amount of supplementary feed has already been used over summer and will be in short supply later this year.  “The impact of the drought makes the work of Rural Support Trusts important in providing support and advice.  “For these reasons, it is unlikely I will be formally lifting the official drought status before it expires at the end of September. The rain may be falling but the effects on rural communities will be felt for some time,” says Guy.

Dairy News april 30, 2013

news  // 11

Processors laud Japan’s TPP entry DAVID McDONALD


companies are welcoming Japan as a new participant in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The Government has confirmed New Zealand has completed its bilateral consultations with Japan. Dairy Companies of New Zealand chairman Malcolm Bailey says Japan is an important market for New Zealand dairy exports. In 2012 Japan was New Zealand’s fourth largest dairy export market, with trade valued at US$536 million. “This significant level of trade has been achieved despite the high barriers imposed by Japan on dairy exports,” Bailey says. “The TPP negotiations are an

opportunity to deal with these obstacles to trade. “TPP has high standards for its negotiations. In particular, the TPP leaders in Honolulu in 2011 agreed to the comprehensive elimination of trade barriers including tariffs and quotas. We expect Japan to meet these commitments.” Japan joins Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam as a member of the TPP. Trade Minister Tim Groser, who met his Japanese counterpart Akira Amari recently, says New Zealand welcomes Japan’s interest in joining TPP negotiations. “As one of the region’s largest economic players and one of New Zealand’s most sig-

nificant trading partners, Japan’s participation in TPP would add substantial economic weight to the group. “More significantly, it would reinforce the strategic vision we have for TPP, including the agreement’s potential to serve as a platform for wider trade and economic integration

wishes to improve Japaacross the Asia-Pacific.” nese agriculture because Federated Farmers the country President Bruce is the world’s Wills praised largest net the Japanese importer. In Government Japan and at for showing the WTO we “showing genudid our best to ine courage and assure Japanese vision”. faming leaders “We know Malcolm Bailey that free trade its government

will be beneficial to them. Clearly, the next few years will be critical to ensure the reality of the TPP lives up to its promise.” Wills says Federated Farmers is committed to doing its best to see trade barriers fall. “New Zealand needs to win the hearts and minds of farmers and farmer

bodies, some of whom possess stupendous financial resources. That is why we believe the engagement of our farming bodies with those of the TPP nations, like Japan, will benefit all concerned.  As the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement shows, the benefits of free trade flow in both directions.”


in brief Indonesian farmers visit A GROUP of Indonesian farmers has completed a 10-week training course in New Zealand as part of a Fonterra scholarship programme. The training course, run in conjunction with Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, has seen the farmers study animal handling, milking and nutrition during their time here, spending nine weeks in Masterton and one week at Massey University. Fonterra Vice President of International Farming Ventures Peter Moore says the initiative was designed to educate the farmers so that they can improve farming practices at home and to allow Fonterra to build greater relationships across Indonesia. “Our brands have been in Indonesia for over 30 years and it is an important export market for Fonterra,” he says.



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Dairy News April 30, 2013

12 //  news

Saved by irrigation the farms were managed,” he says. They priced their margins on feed all the way, and were fortunate that at Rerewhakaaitu they have supONE OF the country’s large scale port and run-off blocks from which dairy farmers says his operation has to take silage. He says one of his farms at survived the drought because about half his farms are Canterbury irri- Rerewhakaaitu is about to dry off but notes that the other two farms gated farms. Trevor Hamilton owns or has are only marginally below budget. interests in four dairy farms in Revenue-wise the drought won’t affect HamilCanterbury and ton’s operation another four much, but he says around Lake “The philosophy has been to they will take a Rerewhakaaitu near Rotorua. calculate what the hit of $300,000$400,000 in He says despite cows are eating additional feed the drought, his costs for the overall opera- per day, what it’s North Island. tion will be up costing to feed Hamilton is on budget and them and work out sticking to his will produce 2.3 a margin.” strategy of milkmillion kgMS ing on. “The phifor the season. But he admits it’s been a challenge losophy has been to calculate what the cows are eating per day, what with the North Island farms. “Instead of an average rainfall of it’s costing to feed them and work 287mm from January 1 to the end of out a margin. So we are calculating March we only had 63 so the con- that at the middle of March they trast has been quite major in how were earning $7.20 a day when

Trevor Hamilton

the milk price was $5.50. At Rerewhakaaitu it was costing us about $3 a day to feed them but if we priced our home grown silage in it was probably about $3.80. So we were looking at margin between $7.20 and $3.80 and on that basis we’ll milk on. We are one of the few sheds in our area that are still milking on and we will do so until the end of May.” Normally Hamilton runs on system one or two, but this year it’ll be more like a system three or four operation. He says the big advan-

tage for his company is that 60% of the farms are on irrigated land in Canterbury. And some of the land at Rerewhakaaitu is very good and this helps production. “What Canterbury irrigated gives you is absolute protection of the revenue line. In the situation we’ve had – a one in seventy-year drought – it builds protection into the business. We are running ahead of budget as a group in all aspects of our operation but if we were totally exposed to the North Island as a group we would have taken a hit.”

DRIVERS ON the West Coast road out of Darfield, earlier this month, might have wondered why two Tranz Scenic carriages were sandwiched in the middle of a massive train of 40-foot Maersk containers. The occasion was the official opening of the rail link into Fonterra’s newest factory, a couple of kilometres west of the town. “It’s the shortest rail journey I’ve ever taken, but it’s certainly a very auspicious one,” Environment Minister Amy Adams (pictured above with Fonterra director John Monaghan and other guests) told guests after disembarking from one of the carriages onto the 22,000 sq m concrete apron adjoining the 620m long sidings at the factory. Adams applauded Fonterra’s commitment to rail which, when the second dryer on the site comes on stream. It will save 16,000 road truck movements a year, with: “real bottom-line impacts for Fonterra shareholders and the environment”. Fonterra general manager logistics network development and design Andy Sanderson said the opening was “a fantastic milestone for the Darfield site” which this year would produce 85,000t of milk powder. When the second dryer is completed later this year, production will rise to 200,000t.

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Dairy News April 30, 2013

14 //  news

Dairy awards drive progress THE 34 FINALISTS in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are now known. Three of the 11 finalists in the 2013 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition are past entrants and regional winners in the New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year contest. Awards national convenor Chris Keeping says it is succeeding in its goal of recognising excellence among farmers as they progress in the dairy industry. “We always envisaged the awards would be used as a mechanism for people to advance their dairy farming career by participating in each stage of the awards programme – from trainee to farm manager and then sharemilker/ equity farmer,” Keeping says. “We thought entering the awards would help them gain in recognition and reputation to take the next step in their dairying career and make them sought after by employers and business partners.” West Coast/Top of the South finalists Peter and Helen McLaren won the region’s farm manager title in 2008. In 2010 Bay of Plenty finalists Russell and Nadine Meade won the region’s farm manager title and competed against

Southland’s Don Moore for national honours. “While none of them were successful at the national level, the experience will be valuable as they prepare for this year’s finals,” says Keeping. The 11 finalists in the sharemilker/ equity farmer contest also include eight couples, two brothers farming in partnership and two men. It is the second time four of the finalists have competed in the awards, the third time for two finalists and it is the seventh time entering for one. Four finalists are first time entrants.   Keeping says they’re also a young group; just one finalist is over 40 and six are 30 or less. Five are traditional 50% sharemilkers, three hold lower order sharemilking positions, and three are equity managers or equity partners. The herd sizes range from 220 to 1350 cows. “Add to the mix a range of tertiary and trade qualifications and industry experience, and it’s going to be an interesting challenge for the judges to pick the winner,” she says. Keeping says other traits noted among finalists are greater emphasis on managing people within their business – the human resource aspect of farming – and having good communication

Southland Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year Don and Jess Moore. Don won the Farm Manager of the Year title in 2010.

between all stakeholders. “Having a sustainable farm and farming environmentally friendly has become the new norm among the finalists, just like having sound financial per-

In contention for top honours New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer

of the Year: Northland – Ian & Tim Douglas (brothers); Auckland/Hauraki – James Courtman; Waikato – Andrew & Michelle McPherson; Bay of Plenty – Russell & Nadine Meade; Central Plateau – Garth & Nicola Thomson; Taranaki – Kenneth & Rachel Short; Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa –Shaun & Kate Mitchell; Manawatu/Rangitikei/ Horowhenua – Richard McIntyre; West Coast/ Top of the South – Peter & Helen McLaren; Canterbury/North Otago – Morgan & Hayley Easton; Southland – Don & Jess Moore. New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year: Northland – Niall & Delwyn McKenzie; Auckland/Hauraki – Michael & Kylie Cox; Waikato – Gary McFarlane; Bay of Plenty – Chris Mexted; Central Plateau –Blair & Andrea Muggeridge;

Taranaki – Michael Kavanagh & Rowena Duncum; Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa – Bart & Tineke Gysbertsen; Manawatu/Rangitikei/Horowhenua – Michael & Raewyn Hills; West Coast/Top of the South – Blue Benseman; Canterbury/North Otago – Richard Pearse; Southland – Daniel & Emma Todd. New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year: Northland – Jake Thomson; Auckland/Hauraki – Mathew Whittaker; Waikato – Thomas Herbert; Bay of Plenty – Thomas Chatfield; Central Plateau – Todd Adamson; Taranaki – Daniel Regtien; Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa – Ken Aradsen; Manawatu/Rangitikei/Horowhenua – Nicholas Verhoek; West Coast/Top of the South – Sam Riley; Canterbury/North Otago – Adam Caldwell; Otago – Ben Sanders; Southland – James Warren.

formance systems in place.” The finals will be in Wellington on May 24. National judging starts in two weeks. The New Zealand Dairy Indus-

try Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, RD1 and AgITO.

in brief Countdown to contest THE GRAND FINAL of the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest is just around the corner: May 16-18 at Kumeu Showgrounds and SkyCity. Something entertaining for all ages and interests. The formal opening, in Aotea Square on May 16 at 4pm, will present the first headto-head challenge and an introduction to the seven grand finalists: Ian Douglas, Northern; Tim Van de Molen, Waikato/Bay of Plenty; Cam Brown, Taranaki/Manawatu; Aaron Passey, East Coast; Reuben Carter,Tasman; Matthew Bell, Aorangi; and Dean Rabbidge, Otago/Southland. The gates open 7am at Kumeu Show-

grounds for the practical day on May 17. Entry is by gold coin donation. Here it’s all things agricultural – hands on tests, theory and commercial elements of farming in which the finalists must prove their business and management acumen in a human resource challenge and panel interview. The agri-sport challenge, beginning at 2.30pm, is the feature event of the day. Contestants will compete side-by-side in farming challenges to test speed, skill and stamina. They will race each other and the clock, but most points will be allocated for quality of workmanship; first to finish does not assure victory.


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Dairy News april 30, 2013

news  // 15 Consultant Stefan Bryant says farmers need help to deal with new environmental standards set by reginal councils.

WE’VE MADE THE Farmers seek help CHOICE EASY to deal with new FOR regulations YOU! PETER BURKE

A WAIRARAPA agribusiness con-

sulting company, Baker and Associates, is setting up a special unit to meet growing demand from farmers for help in dealing with new environmental regulations. The unit’s head, Stefan Bryant, says the move is partly, but not exclusively, in response to Horizons Regional Council’s One Plan which sets new, high targets for nitrogen leaching into soils. This and other plans affect dairy farmers more than sheep and beef farmers. Bryant says they model what a farm is doing now, then put that into the Overseer programme and from there work out what the N leaching status of the farm is. “If there are any issues we can suggest mitigation strategies we think are the most appropriate, and put that information back through Overseer so we can test the model. We also use Farmax to look at the effect on profit of those mitiga-

tion strategies. Later we put the stock data through Overseer and get a clear picture of the nutrient losses.” Bryant says the latest version of Overseer takes more account of different soil types and the drainage issues with those soil types. On some farms it will be farmers who have dropped their leaching rate, while on others it will have increased. He notes that with Overseer 6 the combination of freer draining soils and high rainfall can introduce more risk than under the earlier version of Overseer. Bryant says they and other consultants are setting out to provide advice and tools for farmers having to meet new environmental standards set by regional councils nationwide. Part of the challenge is that each regional council has its own interpretation of the RMA and the new water regulations. An issue facing dairy farmers in the Horizons region is meeting their N targets. It’s been suggested that in the Tararua area, up to 90% of dairy farmers will require a discretionary resource consent to continue farm-

ing if the One Plan is not changed. Says Bryant, “If farmers get down to their imposed limits this could mean a significant reduction in stocking rates because that is one of the main drivers of the nitrate leaching. Our tool will be able to show the implications of that reduction in stocking rate. It could potentially show that it’s not possible to run the farm as an effective business and prove to the council that the N levels are too restrictive.” While the new rules are providing a new business opportunity for consultants, Bryant says his goal is to make New Zealand agriculture more sustainable. “Twenty years ago we were just starting to talk about effluent and discharges into waterways. Now the focus has shifted and people are a bit more understanding of the science. There’s a lot more public awareness of it too. I would hate to see farmers go out of business and I hope people like myself can give them sound advice on environmental sustainability and help them to remain profitable.” @dairy_news 

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Fonterra appoints new director FONTERRA HAS

appointed Simon Israel a director, from May 1, replacing Ralph Waters, who has retired. Israel, a Singaporean living there, has governance, consumer and wider Asian business experience. Fonterra chairman John Wilson says Israel has significant business credentials in Asia and in consumer and investment businesses. “He will bring

core markets to the board in Singapore invaluable and China. He knowledge and was an execuinsights as Fontive director at terra pursues its Temasek Holdbusiness stratings for six egy, particularly years, and from with its empha2010-2011 was sis on emerging Simon Israel executive direcmarkets.” tor and presiIsrael is dent. chairman of Singapore He also served as head Telecommunications and of French dairy company a director of Capitaland, Danone’s Asian business. one of Asia’s largest real Wilson also praised estate companies with

Waters, who served on Fonterra board for over six years. “Ralph had agreed to remain on the Fonterra board through the implementation of TAF to ensure stability, despite his other significant commitments, and we owe him a debt of gratitude for that. His vast experience as a chief executive and director meant he brought valuable experience and knowledge to our board.”

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Dairy News April 30, 2013

16 //  news

‘Take our milk – but at the right price’ SUDESH KISSUN


milk to Fonterra are reaffirming their commitment to the co-op – provided the price remains right. Competition for farmgate milk is heating up in Australia as the country’s biggest processor Murray Goulburn this month announced a 10-year direct supply deal with

supermarket chain Coles. Bonlac Supply Company, whose 1200 farmers supply Fonterra factories in Victoria and Tasmania, is confident suppliers would not switch to Murray Goulburn. BSC‘s deal with Fonterra has a clause stipulating the co-op must pay its suppliers “equal to or greater than” the largest Australian dairy company. BSC chairman Tony Marwood told Dairy News the Coles deal has caused

a rebirth of MG. The co-op will aggressively call for new suppliers. Marwood says it’s widely accepted that MG is the milk price setter in Australia. “So, our agreement with Fonterra is itself protection of the milk supply base. As long as we get equal or greater than Murray Goulburn, the supply base is intact.” But he admits competition for Australian milk at the farmgate will get tougher. “The milk supply

base is not growing. Everybody wants more milk and it will be increasing your supply at the expense of the processors.” Marwood says every year BCS “lose and gain some suppliers”. But he’s confident there won’t be a drop in milk supply to Fonterra. Marwood says it’s too early to know if MG’s deal with Coles will translate into a big lift in milk payout. Australian farmers are

enduring a tough season. The average milk price is A$4.90/kgMS. Cost of production ranges from A$5.10 to $5.30/kgMS. Marwood says most farmers are struggling to break even. Under MG’s 10-year deal with Coles, it will process and supply the retailer’s house-branded milk from July 1, next year. As part of the deal MG will spend A$120 million on two factories in Melbourne and Sydney to

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supply the supermarket giant’s stores. MG has already notified its 2480 farmer suppliershareholders that the Coles contract locks in a premium that will deliver additional profits from July 2014. United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president Kerry Callow says it’s heartening to Tony Marwood see that Coles had listened to the UDV and Aus- what Coles is paying – true transparency.” tralian dairy farmers, who Marwood says the have campaigned for two deal augurs well for the years to try to get farmers industry. “It has been a better deal in the fresh very difficult for any milk market. commodity to have a good “We’ve heard lots of relationship with the arguments from processupermarkets. The deal sors and Coles claiming develops a relationship they’re not paying farmers any less. Dealing direct between Coles and the means our nation’s largest dairy industry.” dairy farmer cooperative @dairy_news finally gets a clear view of

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in brief Farmers link up with retailers THE MURRAY Goulburn-Coles deal includes the NSW-based cooperative Norco. Under a five-year deal Norco’s 161 suppliers will supply milk from northern NSW and southern Queensland. The two cooperatives replace current housebrand suppliers Parmalat and Lion in these states. Norco chief executive Brett Kelly says the contract not only benefits its dairy farmers but also means consumers can now have greater confidence that there is a direct link from the farm to the supermarket shelf. Coles merchandise director John Durkan says the supermarket had been talking with MG and Norco for up to 18 months. He says the deal offers sustainability and security for dairy farmers.

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Dairy News April 30, 2013

18 //  opinion OPINION Ruminating


Good old days in Oz over

milking it... Mis-use of power

IS THE Labour/Greens proposal to renationalise the power supply just cynical politics or are they really dim enough to believe New Zealand was better off under the oppression of Muldoonism? Take Telecom, for example. How much competition, innovation and price discounting would mobile customers be enjoying if Telecom was still the sole, state-controlled provider? And how much investment in the power grid will we see if power prices are forced down by government? Milking It suggests the proposal is for political gain, a ploy designed to torpedo the asset sell-off and grab power at the next election, regardless of how much private and public wealth they destroy.

Unfortunate wording

THE ENGLISH language has many foibles, some best avoided, for example, ‘lead’. The first definition in the Oxford Dictionary is “heavy easily fusible soft malleable base metal of dull pale bluish-grey colour…” Needless to say, it also mentions poisoning. Then there’s the second definition: “cause to go with one… conduct, guide, especially by going in front…”. No doubt Synlait intends the latter meaning in its new milk accreditation scheme Lead With Pride, but given China’s recent history with contaminated milk, and the risk of mistranslation, the choice of word is unfortunate to say the least.

Take a chill pill, bro

THE MAN who found a pill in his bottle of milk has admitted it was a tablet he had been taking which he didn’t recognise because it had swollen to four times its size. Greg Mitchell, of Whitianga, complained to Fonterra recently after finding a tablet in his 2L bottle of light blue milk. “They sent me an email saying, ‘Has anyone been taking pills? And I thought, ‘s***, I was’. I had one pill left and I stuck it in some milk and, hello, that’s what it turned out to be. It had swollen up to four times its size and had changed colour,” Mitchell told the NZ Herald. “I’ve called them up and apologised and have thrown myself on my own stupidity.”

Sidelined in the boom

GOT MILK? Too much, say French dairy farmers caught in a pricing squabble with supermarkets while missing out on the Chinese thirst for imported powdered milk. France is famous worldwide for its cheeses, but many dairy farmers complain they are getting squeezed and are threatening to hang up their wellies in a sector already expected to shed 1000 jobs in the coming months. For weeks French dairy farmers have been locked in negotiations with the country’s supermarkets over getting a hike of up to 4c per litre. But a lack of facilities has left them on the sidelines of a boom in the price of powdered milk.

FONTERRA IS facing a new reality in Australia. The co-op describes Australia as a ‘home market’ but major Australian supermarkets view Fonterra as foreign-owned. Fonterra’s profits don’t end up with Australian farmers, they trickle back over the ditch to 10,500 New Zealand farmers. Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have consumers on side by selling fresh milk at $1/L. To appease farmers. crying foul over dipping farmgate prices. the supermarkets are looking at direct deals with processors. But they are picking Australian-owned co-ops. Murray Goulburn recently signed a 10-year fresh milk supply deal with Coles, replacing Japanese-owned Lion as the supplier. Woolworths is trialling a scheme of direct price negotiations with a group of farmers in the Manning Valley, on the New South Wales midnorth coast, who will sell milk directly to the supermarket giant under the ‘Farmers’ Own’ label. Where does this leave Fonterra? While the co-op is not a fresh milk trader in Australia, it rules the consumer dairy brands markets. But it’s facing intense competition here. The supermarkets are pushing their private labels, putting a squeeze on Fonterra’s brands. Fonterra is facing a double whammy: competition at the farmgate for milk with Australian co-ops, and taking on the supermarkets in the retail sector. It’s clear that international might hasn’t helped Fonterra and Kirin take on Australia’s supermarkets. It’s time for a change in strategy. Last week Fonterra announced a new managing director for Australia - Judith Swales. Credited with leading successful turnarounds and generating extremely strong business results, Swales will be asked to further her impressive track record in retail, sales, marketing and manufacturing by turning Fonterra around. She has a tough task. Lifting returns and reducing brands – and possibly shutting down factories – are on the agenda. She accepts the Australian food manufacturing sector is facing some tough challenges. And it’s also time for Fonterra to make tough decisions. The co-op has 14% of its total group assets in Australia, and its cheeses, butter and dairy desserts may be favoured by consumers, but being a foreign-owned dairy processor in Australia is working against it. And the bad news is the competition is likely to get even stronger as the supermarkets tighten their stranglehold on the food sector.

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Dairy News april 30, 2013

opinion  // 19


Opposition parties are proposing a new agency to act as a single buyer of wholesale electricity.

Power grab to drive up debt servicing costs mark warminger

THE LABOUR Party and the Green

Party recently announced plans to establish a new agency, New Zealand Power, to act as a single buyer of wholesale electricity. The plan according to Labour and Green Party analysis would cut the nation’s power bills by up to $700 million a year, lowering household power bills by up to $330 a year, and giving the economy a $450 million annual boost. This analysis is naïve and does not take into account the full direct and indirect costs. New Zealand currently has $253bn of external debt and each 0.01% movement in the cost of debt adds $25m in interest payments. The uncertainty caused by the Labour/Greens ‘nationalisation by stealth’ policy is likely to add up to 1% to the cost of debt to New Zealand, due to lenders requiring an increased return for lending to a nation with political and economic instability. The cost of capital for all New Zealand companies will rise due to the same factors. A 1% increase in debt servicing costs for New Zealand’s overseas borrowing would in time add up to NZ $2.5bn a year. In addition to higher financing costs for the economy as a whole, the Government would take about $450m a year less in dividends from the state owned power companies. These would need to write down asset bases by about 30% on an asset base of $15bn. This equates to $4.5bn of capital destroyed. The flow-on effects to New Zealand’s listed power companies is just

as detrimental. Analysis suggests costs, $450m reduction in dividends, share prices for Contact Energy, $4.5bn asset write-downs by state TrustPower and Infratil could on owned enterprises, $1bn of capital average fall by 20%. This is about $1bn destruction among the listed power loss of wealth for New Zealanders companies and a reduction of $100m of dividends per annum to when adjusted for overNew Zealand shareholdseas ownership of these ers. companies. In addition, there On top of this there will be highly skilled jobs will be a cut in dividends lost as power companies payable by listed comreduce capital expenditure panies of, say, 20%, furand development. In the ther reducing returns to short term this would not New Zealand shareholdbe an issue while demand ers. This will adversely Mark Warminger catches up with supply, but affect many KiwiSaver schemes that have direct exposure to by the time supply and demand are in these companies. It seems inevitable, balance it will be too late to add addishould the Labour/Greens proposal tional capacity in a timely manner. Rolling blackouts anyone? be enacted, that the listed power companies would take legal action, based • Mark Warminger is portfolio manon property rights. This is likely to be ager at Milford Asset Management Ltd, lengthy and costly, the Government a company managing $1.6bn on behalf of individuals, families and institutions. footing much of the bill. In conclusion, to save $700m per The views expressed are not necessarily annum on our total electricity bill those of Milford Asset Management Ltd. the direct and indirect costs of such Milford Funds Ltd on behalf of clients a scheme would be about as follows: owns shares in Contact Energy, Trust$2.5bn in additional debt servicing Power and Infratil.

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in brief Politics behind power ploy FEDERATED FARMERS is concerned politics may be behind the Labour/Green policy on electricity and that its implications have not been fully considered. “Whatever the motivation, there is suspicion this policy may be a tactical response to the Government’s asset sales programme,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Energy spokesperson.   “Cynics may say that at the last election it was milk but at the next it will be the power bill.” He says Federated Farmers feels uneasy about this because electricity is a major farm expense. MPI estimates the annual cost of electricity to each arable and dairy farmer is about $25,000.

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Dairy News April 30, 2013

20 //  agribusiness

Synlait launches ISO 65 milk supply standards ANDREW SWALLOW

SUPPLIERS TO Synlait Milk can earn 6c/kgMS more for their milk next season, and possibly 12c/ kgMS after that, if they achieve new, internationally accredited assurance standards. The Dunsandel, Canterbury, processor launched its Lead With Pride dairy farm assurance system to its 150 suppliers

April 18. “We are working with some of New Zealand’s best dairy farmers and we believe their desire for excellence should be rewarded,” says Synlait Milk chief executive John Penno. “Lead With Pride gives them that opportunity.” Oxford dairy farmers Lance and Wendy Main are the first to be accredited with the ISO 65 standard. “I believe it will help

us maintain our standards and I think some extra profit should come out of it too because it will help us lift our standards,” Main told Dairy News. “We should have less waste water, electricity, fertiliser and the likes.” The Mains are coming to the end of their third season as owner-operators milking and wintering 500 cows, and rearing young stock, on 255ha, having worked their way up through sharemilking

Synlait Milk’s first ISO 65 certified supplier Lance Main (left) and chief executive John Penno.

in Southland and Canterbury. As one of two guinea pig farms for the scheme he and, in particular Wendy, have done a lot of work with Synlait over the past year developing the programme to be farmer friendly. Lance says they found they were doing most of what was required for accreditation already but there were a few gaps and tweaks needed in their “standard operating pro-

cedure” documentation of farm tasks. “And there was a little capital expenditure needed: things we haven’t been able to do yet because of our position [as relatively new owners].” For example, Aquaf-

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SYNLAIT MILK says Lead With Pride is the only system of its kind in Australasia and recognises and financially rewards certified milk suppliers for achieving dairy farming excellence. “It is about demonstrating industry leadership in food safety and sustainability, and guarantees the integrity, safety and quality of pure natural milk produced on certified dairy farms,” says chief executive John Penno.

Lincoln University’s agribusiness and economics research unit modelled the financial impact of Lead With Pride for farmers. “The analysis has shown that certification is likely to lead to significant improvements in farm profitability for the majority of suppliers,” says vicechancellor Andy West. “We expect these farms will also be able to attract the best young farming talent.”

Lead With Pride certified suppliers will be independently audited by AsureQuality. Suppliers must meet, and in some cases exceed, industry best practice in four vital aspects of dairy farming: environment, milk quality, social responsibility and animal health and welfare. The aims are improving nutrient management through efficient water and fertiliser usage, improving

biodiversity, increasing milk quality standards, improving employment practices for dairy farm workers and demonstrating New Zealand’s animal health and welfare standards are being exceeded. For Synlait’s customers, it will provide a tool to differentiate products, says Penno. Synlait expects 30 of its 150 suppliers to achieve accreditations within a year.

lex moisture meters were installed so irrigator use could be justified and finetuned, and an effluent irrigator fitted with a safety system so it shuts-off in case of breakdowns or over-runs. “They should probably be mandatory anyway,” notes Main. The final step was an independent audit by AsureQuality. “Two AsureQuality people went throught the whole process from top to bottom. It took them six hours. They split us up and each of us went through different parts of the process. Essentially they were checking we are doing what we say we are doing.” Initial accreditation is for Synlait’s Gold Plus standard, earning a 6c/kgMS premium. After a year of maintaining those standards sup-

pliers may apply for Gold Elite accreditation which earns a 12c/kgMS premium but demands even higher standards in environment, milk quality, social responsibility and, animal health and welfare. The other farm to pilot Lead With Pride was one of Synlait Farms’ 13 milking platforms. Synlait Farms chief executive, Juliet Maclean, says she “very much welcomes” the initiative. “I’d like to think that over the next three years we’ll achieve Gold Elite status on all our farms. There’s quite a lot of work involved and it will require some capital expenditure in some cases... but most of our systems and processes with livestock and people are right up there and in line with the requirements now.”

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Dairy News april 30, 2013

management  // 21

Preparing new staff FARMERS ALWAYS

have opportunity to do better at staff management, says DairyNZ. Reminding farmers to prepare for new employees for the new season, DairyNZ people team leader Jane Muir notes that people management practices have improved greatly on-farm in recent years. But there are always opportunities to do things better, she adds. “The recent Feder-

ated Farmers/Rabobank farm employee remuneration survey showed 91% of dairy farmers provided permanent employees with written contracts – a sharp increase on previous years,” says Muir. “This is great news because one area where big wins can be achieved is in staff recruitment and orientation; the contract is just one part of that. “Developing a detailed job description, discussing and matching employer

in brief Community collaboration DAIRYNZ SAYS community consultation by Environment Canterbury on the proposed Hurunui and Wairau River Regional Plan has led to better understanding of the complexity of water quality issues in the catchment. Community representatives in a ‘zone committee’ of farmers, iwi and other stakeholders spent many months developing a plan. Decisions on the recently released regional plan require all farmers to sign up to a collective audited self-management scheme, and prepare a farm environment plan from 2017, which also aligns with the committee’s recommendations for best practice farming. “This was the first regional water plan to be developed alongside a new kind of community process,” says DairyNZ’s regional policy manager, James Ryan. “It was a way of running RMA decision making alongside local committees set up to focus on finding consensus within communities.

and employee expectations and the creation of a thorough orientation plan are other critical aspects of this process. Doing them right will make life easier for everyone in the long run.” A good orientation plan means taking the time to properly introduce new employees to the business and will ensure they become a productive part of the team, sooner rather than later. In the first three months it’s a good idea to meet with the new employee monthly to set training requirements,

review and give formal feedback on progress. This will help identify training needs and ensure the new person has the opportunity to learn new skills they might need. Canterbury farmer Shirlene Cochrane says by focussing on their people, they have increased their productivity by about 25%. “Happy staff provide many rewards. It’s achieved efficiency, effectiveness, peace of mind, a happy lifestyle and the best return we feel we can get with the resources we have available,” says

Cochrane. DairyNZ recently released the Quickstart recruitment kit which provides step-bystep processes for the first 90 days of the employment period, to ensure expectations are clear and the employment relationship gets off to its best possible start. DairyNZ has released the Quickstart recruitment kit as a guide for farmers.

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Dairy News April 30, 2013

22 //  management

‘High yield should not burden environment’ gareth gillatt

HIGH FARM production

and heavy stocking rates need not burden the environment, say brother and sister Shayne and Charmaine O’Shea, this year’s supreme winners of the Ballance Northland Farm Environmental Awards. O’Sheas farm a total of 233ha, milking 380 cows at Kokopu, 18km south west of Whangarei. These produce an average of 1565kgMS/ha/year. The farm produced a recordbreaking 1698kgMS/ha in

the 2011-12 season. The property is broken into a 93ha owned dairy platform with 44ha owned runoff area, and the balance of 96ha is leased. No supplements are made on the dairy platform; all supplements come from the runoffs and leased land. The decision to have a smaller dairy platform with extensive support areas stems from the logistics of location and contour of the runoff area and lease blocks. The farm is essentially L-shaped with the dairy platform and milking shed at one

end of the property and the remainder stretching along and across a busy road. The 93ha dairy platform requires cows to walk only 1.5km to the shed at most. The dairy platform supports 4.1 cows/ha, which Charmaine says wouldn’t be possible without the extensive support blocks. A total of 308 tonnes of maize and 210 tonnes of grass silage was imported from the support blocks; palm kernel was also fed during the 2011-12 season Supplement made up

36% of the herd’s diet last season; pasture made up 12.6 tons/ha DM eaten of a total of 19.6 tonnes DM/ ha eaten. The result is the herd was able to produce a total of 410kgMS/cow last season, a production in excess of their own liveweight. In fact, the O’Sheas’ farm is still one of the few spring calvers in Northland that are yet to dry off. The farm is likely to finish 9% from where it was last year, Shayne says. “The feed is there so it’s worthwhile milking. Currently they’re getting 12kgDM/

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Sibling power: Brother and sister Shayne and Charmaine O’Shea won the Ballance Northland Farm Environmental Awards.

cow a day in supplement because there’s bugger all in the paddock.” The contest judges made special mention of the farm’s efficient effluent system. The property uses a three-pond system that services the feed pad and the cowshed. Effluent from the shed is washed into a 1673m3 pond which pushes cleaner water into a second 1653m3 pond. This is pumped into a flood wash tank used to clean excess effluent off the feed pad. Water used to clean the feedpad gets flushed through a third pond which captures the sediment and allows material with a higher volume of water to be washed back into the first pond. Liquid from the first

pond is spread over 24% of the property through hydrants and Hi-tech sprinkler pods with the sediment trap being emptied out twice a year and spread over another 2% of the property with a muck spreader. Shayne says while it means less water is used, filters are necessary on the pond end of the irrigation system. “It’s a simple system but it works. It won’t take long to pay for itself because it is building up organic matter on a part of the farm with lower fertility.” Besides this the farm is fertilised three times during the year: spring, summer and early autumn. On the dairy area in the 2011-12 season the O’Sheas applied 37kg/

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ha phosphorous, 46kg/ha potassium, 23kg/ha sulphur, 18kg/ha magnesium and 97kg/ha calcium. They also applied 183kg/ha nitrogen in the 2011-12 season, Shayne saying nitrogen gets put on as either Sustain, Rapid S, or Phased N depending on the time of year to prevent volatilisation (evaporation). “It allows us to apply it in all conditions.” The farm employs two full time staff and a relief milker, allowing workers time off when they need it, says Shayne. “All staff are encouraged and supported to complete Ag ITO training courses.” Shayne handles staff management and day to day running, Charmaine focuses on financial planning and management.


Dairy News april 30, 2013

management  // 23

Winners overcome adversity PETER BURKE

A LARGE crowd turned out this month to a field day to see how a young couple won the Manawatu/Horowhenua/ Rangitikei Farm Manager of the Year Award. Michael (28) and Raewyn (26) Hills manage a 300ha (250ha effective) property owned by Michael’s father, uncle Peter and Brian Hills and their wives at Colyton near Feilding. The couple are in their fifth season on this farm, have been married

for four years and have two young children. The dairy farm operates on system four, with 690 cows milked at two separate sheds – a 20-aside and a 36-aside. Several other properties are associated with ‘Burnside’ farms but these are not the responsibility of Peter and Raewyn, whose focus is solely on the dairy operation. Winning the regional final has been a challenge. In 2003 Michael was in a serious car crash, spending 78 days in hospital and two years rehabilitating.

It also left him paralysed on his whole left side. This year, just days before the judges arrived at their farm, the couple had their second child, but as judge Gray Beagley commented, they were well organised and showed great maturity and knowledge. Hills have a clear vision and goals. They aim to build a viable operation to allow a good lifestyle and provide for retirement.

This requires improving land utilisation, improving the herd base, maximising the existing infrastructure and being environmentally sound, Raewyn says. “One of our aims is to feed the cows better through better pasture management and supplement use to put on cow condition and therefore improve the in calf rate On that one we’ve made gains every year we’ve

been here. The more cows you get in calf, the better the options on which cows we keep and which cows we cull.” The Hills’ teamwork impressed the judges. Michael does most tractor and pasture work, Raewyn takes care of the numbers side of the business. “A focus for us has been improving environmentally for compliance and good practice,” says

Raewyn. “Every year we tick something off. We also brought technology to the farm in the form of an automatic drafter, in shed teat spraying and larger water troughs. We are a generation of big spenders.” The farm is long and narrow, some rolling country with its own challenges. So far 9km of waterways have been fenced and by this time next year this will be up to 14km. Trees are preventing erosion and there is ongoing re-grassing. Average

farm leaching losses are 18kgN/ha/yr. Their effluent ponds allow two months storage. This year the drought affected production, down from 245,000kgMS to 225,000kgMS. But the Hills have decided clearly to protect next season. They dried off their first cows in February and have tried to keep costs down. Being on system four they import about 28% of the feed consumed. Also impressing the judges was Hills’ consideration for other people.

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a great team FARM ADVISOR and local vet Lindsay Rowe says a key element in the success of Michael and Raewyn Hills is how open they are to talk about issues and to get help where needed to explore different opportunities to do things. They work well as a couple and as a team and have a good relationship with their staff and owners, Rowe says. “It requires an excellent team effort because it is quite a complex operation. It’s a big farm, the milking platform is difficult with the valleys and steep sides, but on top of that they’ve got the added complexity of the business structure.” He notes that in the last few weeks pastures on the farm have bounced back from about 1600. Rowe says this is because Michael and Raewyn have not grazed the pastures hard and have allowed the grass to recover properly.

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Michael and Raewyn Hills address participants at the field day.


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Dairy News April 30, 2013

24 //  management

Chicory works well if you read it right – scientist pam tipa

DAIRY FARM use of chicory is increasing considerably because the plant’s tap root makes it particularly suitable for dry conditions. But using the ryegrass standard formula for plate meter readings will not give an accurate estimate of chicory mass, the recent DairyNZ Farmers Forum heard. DairyNZ has been working on getting a more accurate measurement for chicory, collecting data over two summers. It reported some early recommendations and findings to the forum. During the drought some of the only green paddocks on farms were chicory, DairyNZ scientist Jamie Haultain said.

This is because ryegrass struggles in these conditions with it shallow root system whereas chicory’s tap root can access soil moisture at a deep level more consistently during dry periods. Chicory, with its tap root, is able to produce high yields in summer, he said. From October to May you can generally expect about 8-13t of dry matter (DM) per hectare and if the crop goes through to the following May, an 18-month period, you can expect 18-22t of DM per hectare. “It is a strong feed source for many farmers now but, as there’s no real way for farmers to measure this, DairyNZ has tried to find a way for farmers to walk around their paddocks and estimate it,” he said. Data has been collected on the project over two summers,

with the last summer’s results yet to be fully analysed. Using the rising plate meter, the standard formula for estimating rye grass is 140 times the clicks plus 500. So 20 clicks is 2300kg of DM from ryegrass, Haultain said. But their studies showed with chicory 20 clicks on the plate meter represented only about 1700kg of DM. So if you use the standard equation for chicory you are grossly overestimating what is in the paddock for cows. So for chicory, farms could use an interim equation of 90 times clicks plus 80, but further analysis was underway. Meanwhile a simpler method is to halve what your standard rising plate meter equation for ryegrass is telling you, Haultain said. Haultain outlined some of the vari-

Jamie Haultain says a simple method to measure chicory mass is to use the standard rising plate meter equation and halve it.

ables which necessitated further analysis. Chicory plant density was one. In December, with the young plants, there were about 200 plants/m2 , and by early February it was down to 100 plants/m2. It probably averages out at about 150 plants/m2, he said. Plant shape can also cause measurement problems: some grow upright and others flat. Mature crops have stems which can grow very high and they are eaten so they are a feed source. Avoiding measuring them will cause underestimation, however including them could cause a gross overestimation of what is in the paddock.

Haultain said the take home messages were that demand for estimating chicory yield is increasing but the standard rising plate meter equation overestimates chicory. “However you can use your standard plate meter formula and halve it. That will give you a ball park mark,” he said. “DairyNZ is developing a new chicory equation however it is only suitable for young crops. “Look out for the DairyNZ management practice guide for chicory which is coming out later this year. “It will include a rising plate meter equation.”

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Dairy News april 30, 2013

animal health / nutrition  // 25

Feeding high maize silage rates THE DROUGHT has caused on-going pasture deficits on many farms, and in the past few weeks many farmers have asked me how much maize silage they can feed. This article provides some general guidelines based on typical autumnwinter pasture protein

and mineral levels. Contact your local veterinarian or animal nutritionist for farm-specific results. How much maize silage can you feed? Maize silage is the ideal feed buffer because it can be fed in large amounts during extreme feed deficits. It is a high quality,

Stage Lactation

Early lactation (450kg cow, 2kgMS/day)**

Cow crude protein requirement


In a crisis situation, it may be viable to accept a lower dietary protein level for a short time. palatable forage which provides excellent levels of carbohydrate (as maize grain starch) as well as digestible fibre (from the green portion of the

Maximum percentage maize silage in the diet*

Mineral Requirements (per cow per day)


60-100g limeflour 30-50g dicalcium phosphate 40g magnesium oxide 20-30g salt

Late lactation (450kg cow, 1.2kgMS/day)



40-60g limeflour 0-20g dicalcium phosphate 40g magnesium oxide 10-20g salt

Dry period – more than two months pre-calving



40g magnesium oxide

Dry period – less than two months pre-calving



40g magnesium oxide

* Assumes cows are fed autumn pasture (20% crude protein) and maize silage only. ** Higher producing herds may require up to 18% crude protein in early lactation.


“stone bruises are the primary cause of lameness in my herd”

plant). Cows will readily eat high amounts of maize silage, and the fibre makes it safer to feed when compared with concentrates such as grain or molasses which contain high carbohydrate but low fibre levels. The low crude protein content of maize silage (about 8%) places a ceiling limit on the amount that can be fed before cows become protein deficient. Maize silage is also low in some macro minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium, sodium and phosphorus). The stage of lactation, the amount of maize silage fed and the amount and type of other feeds in the diet will determine whether mineral supplementation is required.

The following recommendations are meant as a guideline only. Farmers facing severe pasture shortages can further increase the amount of maize silage in the diet by feeding an alternative high protein supplement, e.g. soybean with 50% crude protein or canola meal with 37% crude protein. In a crisis situation, it may be viable to accept a lower dietary protein level for a short time. Feeding too little protein may limit milk production or the rate of condition score gain. However, as long as energy intake meets target levels, cows should hold weight. Diets can be adjusted once pasture cover levels have increased to more normal levels. Feeding management Whether you are feeding moderate or high rates of maize silage, always

follow the best practice guidelines for feeding management: ■■ Where possible introduce maize silage slowly, starting at 1 2kgDM per cow and increasing 1 - 2kg DM every two to three days. ■■ Make sure all animals have access to feed at the same time to reduce the risk of individual animals eating large amounts. ■■ Discard mouldy or decomposed material from any feed. In summary, maize silage is an excellent choice for feeding when pasture supply is short. High feeding rates are possible but watch crude protein and mineral levels, and ensure best-practice feeding guidelines are followed. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. iwilliams@


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Dairy News April 30, 2013

26 //  animal health

in brief Animal welfare concerns VETS ARE concerned about animal welfare issues on farms struggling to meet winter feed requirements. NZVA’s veterinary resources manager, Wayne Ricketts, says some farmers will not have coped as well as others for various reasons, and are not seeking the help they need to mitigate their situation. “There is a range of rural support networks, including Federated Farmers, industry groups such as DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, and

the rural support trusts. “Everyone wants to help and it is finding ways to ensure farmers know about these groups and how to contact them. Provided they know about the farmers in need, they can (and want to) play a role in helping them. “Local veterinarians and other rural workers need to keep an eye out for all farmers, and particularly those who may be struggling because of the drought. Their health and the health of their animals are important.”

Better cow fertility means more money FARMERS ARE invited to learn how they could make more money from every cow in their herd at events from this week in Southland, Otago, Canterbury and the West Coast. LIC is visiting eight towns with Cognosco, the research group from Anexa Animal Health, to present key findings of a national herd fertility study (funded by DairyNZ) and talk with farmers about the opportunity which exists for many from improved reproductive performance.

Greg McNeil, LIC’s reproduction solutions manager, says the research suggests that by focusing on eight simple steps farmers could achieve more profit. “This is an open invitation to… join the discussion, learn what drives successful reproduction and what to do to improve a herd’s performance and overall profitability.” Tom Brownlie, Cognosco scientist, says they will show farmers, vets and consultants the latest research into the reproductive performance

Invitation to join discussion Treating late autumn/early winter is the best time to ensure young stock are well covered during their development and the fertility of cows is not compromised in the coming breeding season.

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Dairy News april 30, 2013

animal health  // 27 Vet Lindsay Rowe says cow condition has been lost over the last six weeks.


Work needed to bring cow condition back to normal

A FARM consultant in Manawatu/ Rangitikei questions a belief that because pasture has ‘gone green’, farmers are out of trouble. This is not so, says Lindsay Rowe, who is a vet. Four-six weeks are needed to build pasture cover, assuming good growth conditions continue, he says. “Just because it’s gone green doesn’t mean we’ve got enough food in the bunkers. A lot of maize silage and grass silage has been eaten throughout the autumn period. I think it’s going to be very much an individual farm thing. Farms that have planned and prepared well and who’ve made good decisions early on – they will be fine. But farms that have done it on a wing and a prayer… have not carefully planned, could have some surprises yet.”

struggling and wanting every dollar out of this year are going to penalise next year’s production and good animal health.” Rowe’s key message to farmers is focus on measuring and planning and making sure cows are in adequate body “Just because it’s gone green condition doesn’t mean we’ve got enough score for food in the bunkers.” calving time. This may involve drying more feed and time to get them back off cows early to reach the BCS targets. “If you’re not measuring and to normal before calving.” From what Rowe has seen, not all looking and getting independent farmers are protecting next season’s assessment you might not know what production: it is mixed. “Those plan- place you are at. That would be a key ning well and looking at next year and strategy.” Rowe says farmers need to prothe potential for a good payout are aware that if you don’t set up really duce good feed budgets and make accurately, you lose a whole lot more sure they have adequate pasture than you’ll ever gain in another few covers and supplements to feed their weeks of milking now. However those cows right through winter. Rowe says cow condition has been lost over the last six weeks and most are not in as good a place as farmers would like them to be at this time of the year. “So we have a lot of ground to make up and that’s going to require

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Dairy News April 30, 2013

28 //  animal health/feed

Mixed-pasture trials show promise

DairyNZ senior scientist Sharon Woodward says urine N loss was halved with mixed pasture versus standard pasture.



experiment with mixed pastures could have big implications for future management of

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environmental impacts. Results showed cows in the trials fed on mixed pasture excrete half the amount of nitrogen (N) in their urine compared to cows on standard pasture, the recent DairyNZ Farmers Forum in Whangarei

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heard from senior scientist Sharon Woodward. Milksolids production was also boosted 15-20% in late summer and autumn when cows grazed mixed pastures. “The big thing for the future is that feeding mixed pastures has had a major impact on reducing urinary N losses from the cows,” Woodward said. “This has implications for greenhouse gas emissions and nitrate leaching.” In the experiment both the standard and mixed pastures were sown with perennial ryegrass and white clover. The mixed pastures were also sown with prairie grass, lucerne, chicory and plantain. All pastures were set up three years ago on the Scott Research Farm in Hamilton and all received the same treatment for maintenance fertiliser, urea application, grazing and cutting for silage. Woodward says over the three years the total cumulative dry matter yields were the same for both pasture types. In the summer/autumn there were advantages in feed availability from the mixed pastures, but these were lost in winter. Indoor and outdoor trials were used to assess milk production and nitrogen partitioning. “When you feed cows indoors in metabolism stalls you can measure the intake of each cow and also collect all the urine and faeces,” Woodward says. “The cows were fed either mixed or standard pasture. The cows on the mixed pasture ate less but they did produce more milk, and of course that meant more milk solids, not only because of the increase in volume but because we didn’t get a change in the milk fat concentration, but we got an increase in the milk protein concentration. “But the key reason for using the metabolism stalls was to look at nitrogen partitioning within the cow. This was important from an environmental perspective because we get a feeling of what’s happening in terms of greenhouse gas – that’s your nitrous oxide and ammo-

nia emissions and what’s going to happen in terms of nitrate leaching.” Cows on the mixed pasture partitioned about 23% of their daily nitrogen intake into the milk, about 39% went into the faeces and 29% went into the urine. Cows on standard diets put a lot less nitrogen (15%) into the milk and much more (43%) into their urine. “And it’s that urine that’s a big problem from an environmental perspective. “The key point here was the cows fed the mixed diet were excreting only half the amount of nitrogen in the urine than the cows on the standard diet.” In her summing up Woodward said the biggest finding of the study was that feeding mixed pastures had a major impact on reducing urinary N losses. This was achieved with no loss of milk production and a 15-20% boost in late summer/ autumn. She asked farmers to consider what putting a portion of their farm into mixed pasture might mean for their profitability and their ability to reduce nitrogen losses on-farm. The work was funded by DairyNZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Woodward later told Dairy News an application had been made for funding for a much bigger programme of work over the next six years investigating use of various forage species to reduce nitrate leaching. If successful, one aspect will be more indoor work controlling the composition of mixed diet to try to pinpoint which species might have the major effects on production and reducing N loss. They would also look at the on-farm situation – in the trials so far cows were fed a 100% mixed diet but it was unlikely on-farm that all paddocks would be sown in mixed pasture, which also takes a few years to get established. So mixed pastures were not the “silver bullet” to reduce nitrogen leaching, but increasing pasture species diversity could certainly provide part of the solution, she believes.

Dairy News april 30, 2013

machinery & products  // 29

Larger silage wagon launched tony hopkinson

EXTRA LARGE: key words for Rob-

ertson Manufacturing Ltd’s latest Mega Comby silage wagon XL (extra large). It was launched at the South Island Field Days. Said company principal Don Robertson, “This machine will feed out everything normally fed by larger farmers to stock in feed lots and in paddocks.” It holds 24m3 – 12 large square bales and up to 12t of grass or maize silage. “Our new feed pad dispensing elevator is our biggest and best design change we have made,” Robertson says. Previously when dispensing to feed lot bins two delivery conveyors were used with the cross conveyor loading on to the elevator taking feed to the bins. Feed was lost when the cross floor conveyor slats lodged material under the wagon as it returned, dropping it on the ground. In the paddock this was still eaten by the stock but in a feed lot it was wasted. “We are talking perfection here as the amount dropped in the feed pads was miniscule,” Robertson says. With the new feed pad kit (see diagram) the elevator to the bins extends well under the cross floor conveyor so collects all the material lodged in the

Don Robertson. Inset: New feed pad kit.

not operate until the elevator is in the working position. Says Robertson, “I believe this is a major advance for our machines and reduces wastNew Feed Pad Kit displayed in yellow. age to almost nothing.” The company prides itself on the body strength of their slats as the conveyor rotates. The elevator can be raised hydraulically from machines. Those with weigh cells have horizontal to vertical for travelling and always been of double chassis design; anywhere in between to deliver to bins. now all models are of a mono structure A safety feature is that the machine will design where chassis and body are all

one, giving a truss like structure. “The one piece structure is a lot stronger from draw bar to axle giving extra strength as opposed to our previous two piece system.” There are now four weigh cell pods off the axle and the machine has a two cell drawbar system which can weigh the load when it is attached to the tractor or standing on a jack. The weigh cells are optional. The Mega Comby XL has a fully

tracked double floor triplex chain with increased power from the drive box and tub sides to ensure total emptying of material. The rear door has an auto release in case the floor is accidently reversed. It has a swivel towing eye and 120hp plus is recommended. It comes standard on tyres 405R 22.5; or flotation 550/45 22.5 are an option. Other extras are weigh cells and wireless connection to the tractor cab. Tel. 03 303 7228






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Dairy News April 30, 2013

30 //  machinery & products

Scours vaccine at lower cost A NEW rotavirus scours vaccine

costing much less than usual will allow greater numbers of animals to be protected, says the supplier, Phoenix Pharm. The company’s veterinarian Bob Sadler says vaccination of pregnant cows and heifers to stimulate rotavirus antibody production in the colostrum has become a common way to help protect calves from rotavirus scours. Two vaccine options have been available in recent years, but this

year a third option is on sale: Rotagal is a vaccine containing the G6 strain of rotavirus antigen (the strain causing most rotavirus outbreaks in New Zealand), plus corona virus and E coli K99 antigens. Sadler says one of the constraints on farmers has been the cost on vaccinating. “A lot like to use vaccines to prevent scours outbreaks but there’s been a considerable cost attached to vaccinating the cost. “The main point of difference

with Rotagal is it is significantly cheaper. Some farmers have not been vaccinating because of the cost and some, for instance, only do half the herd to avoid costs. The cost has been up to $5 per cow and that can be quite a lot out of the animal health budget.” Rotagal, a registered veterinary medicine, comes from Europe, from a small, very focused vaccine manufacturer, says Sadler. 09 476 7391

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Rotagal is made by a small, focused European vaccine manufacturer.

A good start...

More hands make work lighter AFTER SHIFTING a lot of round bales with his

front loader, Paul Anderson decided there had to be a quicker way. The result was Two Hands, a double bale grab that can pick up one or two round bales with the front loader, and up to four round bales with the rear linkage. “They can also carry square bales on their side,” said Anderson. He and his wife Michelle farm at Wyndham, Southland and after shifting a lot of round bales for themselves and neighbours came up with the idea of Two Hands.

“With a double clamp on the front and a double on the back I can shift up to 160 bales an hour.” It is attached to the loader with a Euro hitch and the Two Hands has a centre partition with an independently operated clamping arm on either side. Each arm clamps each bale to the centre partition independently for carrying and stacking. To operate It needs a third and fourth service. The arms open 1.56m and the overall width is 2.41m. The model on the rear linkage works the same way and with a backstop fitted can carry four bales stacked two high in the paddock. “With a double clamp on the front and a double on the back I can shift up to 160 bales an hour.” Tel. 03 246 9556

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Dairy News april 30, 2013

machinery & products  // 31

Irrigate effluent further at lower cost WHEN IRRIGATING

effluent, consistent pressure and volume over greater distances are crucial – a case for progressing cavity (PC) pumps, says noted pump maker NOV Mono. PC pumps allow farm-

Progressing cavity pumps from NOV Mono allow effluent to be spread further.

ers to spread effluent further without the nuisance of costly upgrades to power supply, says Shazad Ibnul, general manager of Mono Pumps New Zealand. Nov Mono, a prominent global manufacturer

of PC pumps, has supplied water and effluent pumps to New Zealand farmers for almost 40 years. Its current range of PC effluent pumps has been on the local market for five years. Ibnul says Mono is the only PC pump manufacturer directly serving New Zealand farmers. It has a network of dealers providing service and support nationwide. Mono’s dairy effluent pumps offer substantial cost savings, the company says. With a 13L/s Costly upgrades to power supply are not needed for NOV Mono pumps. capacity and dis-

charge pressure up to 120m from their standard range, Mono eliminates the need for a series of pumps when irrigating paddocks further away from the pond. “With Mono, farmers can get the effluent spread further and at a consistent rate, so there’s generally no need to spend on upgrading the power supply,” Ibnul told Dairy News. “So, based

on comparisons with centrifugal effluent pumps that deliver a similar performance, a Mono PC option will cost less to operate.” Priced from $11,000, Mono PC pumps come with cast iron body, hard chrome-plated rotor and nitrile rubber stator. Ibnul says no one in New Zealand has more experience in PC pump technology than Mono.

“This is what Mono is known for. We’re one of the first PC pump manufacturers in the world.” He says the Mono brand is synonymous in New Zealand with water pumps powered by diesel, electricity and solar. “New Zealand has trusted Mono to pump, screen and grind its wastewater for nearly 40 years.” Ibnul says Mono dairy effluent pumps use up to

75% less power than a centrifugal pump. With low running speeds, there is reduced wear and therefore longer pump life. The pumps are surface mounted, easier to clean and less hazardous to maintain. They may be dismantled on site, so there’s need to send them away for repair, saving farm downtime. 0800659012

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Dairy News April 30, 2013

32 //  machinery & products / farm bikes & atv’s

Speed rakes need low power ON DISPLAY at the recent South Island Field Days was the latest Kuhn SR310 and SR312 rakes out of the company’s North American stable. Both are from the Speed Rake 300 series of high capacity

carted wheel units. The SR310 has five wheels aside and can cover 5.3-6.3m; the SR312 with six wheels can cover 6.37.4m. Both models can be closed hydraulically to transport at 2.7m and the

wheel lift is also hydraulically operated. Both machines need two double acting hydraulic outlets. Tractor power needed is as low as 20hp with each floating rake wheel being spring suspended on

Sarah Govier promotes Kuhn rakes at the South Island Field Days.

curved rake-wheel arms, to follow the ground con-

tour with less ground pressure, disturbing less soil and producing cleaner hay. The windrow width can be altered from 0.914m to 1.83m. The rake is easily converted from a base ten

raking wheel model to 12 raking wheels to suit customer needs. The product was supported on site by Kuhn’s area sales manager Sarah Govier. She is from Eng-

land and has been with the company 11 years mostly at company headquarters in France and the last 18 months in Melbourne. Tel. 0800 585 007

Rats driven from shed New! ADR 500 Effluent Screening Plant


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ANOTHER DAIRY farm troubled by rats has installed Pest Free electromagnetic expellers to drive the critters out. When rats were detected near the farm’s large rotary milking platform the manager decided to expel them to avoid chewing damage to wiring. (Rats must chew to limit the growth of their teeth.) The farm chose Pest Free Pro models, the medium-size unit in the Australian manufacturer’s range. It is effective in buildings up to 400m2. The farm also bought Pest Free domestic units (effective to 200m2) for its houses. Farm and rural uses of these devices now also include piggeries and livestock feed mills, tractor sheds, and seed and grain piles. Where electrical cabling is sparse in outbuildings, some farmers run an extension cord criss-cross over machines and grain piles, then plug the Pest Free into the end of the cord. About 7000 expellers now operate in New Zealand – domestic, Pro and commercial models. The commercial

model services buildings to 1000m2. The Pest Free plugs into a 230V power point and runs 24/7, overlaying a 50Hz pulse onto the electromagnetic field that occurs naturally around live electrical wiring. It switches on/off every three minutes, so rodents do not develop immunity. The pulsing stresses rodents, causing them to lose body moisture, drink more and eat less, so upsetting their nutrition and reproductive patterns. They ‘learn’ that they must exit the building or dangerously dehydrate. The Pest Free technology was proven during 2-year trials (1996-97) at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW. Australian Federal Government funding helped to research, develop and export the products. They are sold in many countries. The Pro costs $399, the domestic $160, the commercial $1800. A 60-day moneyback guarantee and a two-year warranty apply to all. Tel. 09 833 1931 or 021 230 1863


The new irrigator is still backed up by our very tough and well proven drive system, no blockage mast, booms and nozzles.

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NEW FENCE MATE Ph/Fax 0508 805 801 Also available at CRT & Farmlands

Dairy News april 30, 2013

farm bikes & atv’s  // 33

Big red still delivers ADAM FRICKER


had dropped off our radar recently, with a wave of large capacity imports taking more of the quad limelight. Blue Wing Honda loaned us a TRX500FPA so we could get reacquainted with the ‘big red’. It remains a great ride and all you need in a large quad for the farm. The TRX500FPA has a 499cc OHV liquid-cooled single with 92 x 75mm bore and stroke – a strong engine which coped well lugging through slow, tight forest sections of the track we tested it on, and it was equally happy being opened up for a blast home along Muriwai Beach at 60km/h. You can still order the

500 with a manual gearbox, but we’d opt for the automatic fitted to our test bike, which has a manual mode available should the rider want to hold a gear for steep conditions or while towing. The manual selection is quick and helped with some steep descents, although even left in automatic, the engine breaking on its own would have stopped the big Honda running away on us. Low ratio was only needed once on a very steep section. The other feature on the FPA model is power steering – an option on the lesser variants of the 500 and one we do not hesitate to recommend. The price difference is about $850 and we’d spend it. It takes the shock out of the handlebars over rough

ground and makes it safer and easier to manoeuvre regardless of the conditions as the bars won’t wrench in your hands like unassisted steering can. Weighing 294kg the TRX500 is not a fatty, but is still a big unit and the power steering certainly makes it more nimble. Time didn’t allow for a tow test, but we know from previous tests that the TRX500 is fit for the task, especially with the rigid rear axle that maintains ground clearance regardless of load. Bikes with independent rear suspension generally soak up the bumps better than the solid axle with dual-dampener swing arm on the Honda, but it is still a comfortable ride and

farmers will want to consider the towing and maintenance advantages of the simpler set up. Overall comfort and usability on the 500 is excellent. The 861mm seat height will accommodate most riders well. The independent double wishbone front end is compliant, and the single-gate gear selector is, like most of the major controls, intuitive to use. The TRX500FPA costs

The Honda TRX500 remains a great ride.

$15,845+GST; the cheaper manual version, without power steer, costs $13,905. You can buy cheaper

quads, but even at that money, it remains a convincing package.









*Offer ends 31st July 2013 or while stocks last. Offer only at participating dealers.

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Dairy News April 30, 2013

34 //  farm bikes & ATV’s Specialising in Spreaders Walco Have the Spreader to suit YOUR Needs From the 70 litre causmag spreader to the TT2600 two tonne trailed spreader Walco have your every need covered Purchase a Walco spreader & You will have PEACE of MIND with: 1, Best value for YOUR Money 2, Reliability & Durability 3, Excellent Service 4, 2 year Warranty - We’ll look after You.

Rangitikei farmer says “these machines are easy to use & don’t give any trouble”

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Helping Farmers Boost Production


Proven gear for quads, utilities IT STARTED in a garage in Ashburton some 30 years ago. Smith Attachments began making carriers, handlebar protectors and towbars for Honda 125cc motorcycles. Then came trailers for towing by motorcycle – still popular. Ian Smith’s company kept growing, with side carts, towbars, carriers, then ATV bullbars. In 1980 Ray McCormick joined Smith, combining production development expertise with business acumen. In the same year the workshop trebled in size and they bought their first tubebender, improving speed and quality of production. Ray and Pam McCormick bought Smith’s share of the company after he retired in 1999. Today, says Smith Attachments, the company has a major share of the New Zealand and Australian ATV bullbar and mudflap market. By the late 1980s, quads made their entrance into New Zealand, demand grew for the company’s galvanised bullbars. These remain a part of the product range. Smith Attachments says its superior designs and workmanship can now be seen in new products such as farm utility bullbars and mudflap kits. “The aim of the company is presentation; durability and long lasting products credibly priced.” The company says it’s excited about the new UTV/ MUV releases which complement its already large range of existing bullbars and mud flap kits. They are available in Honda, Polaris and Yamaha models. A bullbar and mud flap kit for the Can Am Commander will be available in the near future. Dealers nationwide sell the products.

Fence mate SMITH ATTACHMENTS will next month launch its Fence Mate fence reel carrier, selling through CRT Farmlands and motorcycle dealers. Features include: carries one or two fence reels; extra carrying capacity; hot dip galvanised; easy to use.

The new “Fence Mate’ also fits most of the quad bikes as pictured below.

Tel. 0508 805 801 The bull bars and mudflap kits fit Honda, Polaris and Yamaha machines (above and left).

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LAMBING & CALVING We have a range of bike carriers ideal for the lambing and calving season. The 4WC and 2WC have the added advantage of a place for your dog to ride on and also tie downs to attach bungy cords to hold objects too big for the box. They all have rubber rope tensioners that close the lid and will not fly open, plus come with adjustable cable ties for fitting to the bike.



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Dairy News 30 April 2013  

Dairy News 30 April 2013

Dairy News 30 April 2013  

Dairy News 30 April 2013