Issuu on Google+

PM to launch industry strategy. Page 3

new chair for dairy awards 25th anniversary planning underway Page 18

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Waikato joins scheme Page 19

july 9, 2013 Issue 294 // www.dairynews.co.nz

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news  // 3

Raw milk sales growth prompts safety code SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

A CODE of practice for farmgate sale of raw Weeping wall brings joy. PG.28-29

Production tracker to follow the curve. PG.30

Dispensing made easy. PG.44

News������������������������������������������������������ 3-21 Opinion���������������������������������������������22-23 Agribusiness���������������������������� 24-25 Management������������������������������ 28-32 Animal Health�������������������������� 34-37 calving��������������������������������������������38-43 Machinery & Products������������������������������������� 44-50

drinking milk is on the cards as sales soar nationwide. Farmers, consumer groups and MPI officials will meet next week in Wellington at the first annual meeting of the Raw Milk Producers Association of New Zealand. Spokesman Ray Ridings says a code of practice for members will be a priority, and the group will provide a collective voice and support network for raw milk producers. MPI allows producers to sell up to 5L of raw milk daily from the farm gate. Meanwhile MPI is doing scientific and policy work with a view to increasing the quantities consumers may be sold. They are also looking at off-farm raw milk sales in which a balance is struck between public health risks and consumer choice. Ridings says there is fast-growing interest in the availability of raw milk. “Milk is a food and just like all other foods it needs to be produced and handled with care to ensure safety,” he told Dairy News. In 2011, an MPI discussion document attracted 1685 submissions, 1561 supporting sales of raw milk at the farmgate. Ridings says MPI and the industry were blown away by the consumer interest in raw milk. “It

proved greater than most thought and since then demand has continued to increase to a level where we now have raw milk dispensers being imported into New Zealand.” Dispensers are operating in the South Island and Ridings says there are plans to introduce them in the North Island.  Ridings says food safety remains the main priority of farmers and a code of practice is essential. He’s confident the industry can deliver safe and quality product to consumers. “With the advent of stainless steel, refrigeration, better detergents and good testing methods, combined with sound farming methods, it is possible to manage any risks.” The association will work with MPI and consumer groups in the coming months. “Most producers accept there needs to some form of guidelines or code of practice, and most consumers expect their food to be produced to at least a basic level,” says Ridings. “All farmers and consumers must

understand milk produced for further processing is different from milk produced for direct consumption. “The trick will be to find a cost effective balance for big and small producers along with the consumers.” Ridings doesn’t believe raw milk sales are a threat to milk processors like Fonterra and other independent processors. He says most of New Zealand’s milk is exported and food safety is paramount. “This is another reason for raw milk producers to pull together and draw up some guidelines or code of practice to manage risk in a controlled fashion rather than ad hoc. “A health scare from any milk product in a country like New Zealand could affect exports. It is important for all food producers these days to show how they manage their processes.”

RAW MILK

@dairy_news 

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PM to launch national dairying strategy DAIRYNZ WILL today (July 9) release its first new strategy for four years. Prime Minister John Key and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy will attend the Wellington event. Headed ‘Making dairy farming work for everyone’, the document has been a year in the making, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle told Dairy News. Farmer, industry, government and other stake-

holders have contributed and it has been fine-tuned following feedback from presentations at various forums over recent months. The strategy contains a new sustainable dairying; water accord as “the first cab off the rank towards achieving the [industry’s] objectives,” Mackle told the Federated Farmers Dairy conference in Ashburton last week. But he urged delegates to “make sure we don’t over-

play it. It’s not going to fix everything. It’s to get us all to a good base level of tidy farms… recognising in some places we will need to go a little further.” Feds Dairy chairman Willy Leferink welcomed the strategy. “We can tell the rest of New Zealand this is what we’ve done to get where we want to go. To be able to say that is very powerful.” @dairy_news 

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

4 //  news

Global dairy prices tipped to stay high GLOBAL DAIRY prices will remain elevated, but keep drifting down slowly from April highs, say two major bank economists. World prices posted a small rise in last Tuesday’s GlobalDairyTrade, consolidating the 1.1% rise in the previous auction, says Westpac economist Nathan Penny. “On a trade-weighted basis, dairy prices rose 0.7%. Prices rose in five out of seven of the main products, although the benchmark WMP series was effectively flat (up 0.1%). Prices are now 13% below the record level reached in April,” he says. But overall prices 69% are higher than the same time last year, he says.

prices and wider “Over 2013, as New Zeadairy market trends. land production recovRabobank’s ers from drought we Australian-based expect world dairy prices senior dairy anato descend further from lyst Michael Harvey, their April record peak, but who has been tourto remain at elevated levels ing the North Island, by historical standards. Nathan Penny says milk production Overall world dairy supply remains relatively tight. Coupled will return to growth in key export with strong Asian demand, par- regions in late 2013, as farmers in ticularly from China, these fac- the Southern Hemisphere get tors should see dairy prices higher a crack at farm gate milk prices on average over 2013 compared to 20-33% higher than 12 months prior. 2012.” “Prices are likely to drift down, However Penny says the bank’s forecast of $6.50/kgMS is under as some demand is ‘choked off’ in review because of the downward emerging markets and buyers at movement of the US exchange least see a new season commencrate and this effect on world dairy ing in the Southern Hemisphere,

Farmer to face court over farm condition

but the shift will be limited.” Harvey says weather conditions have improved markedly through March and April with virtually all key dairying regions in New Zealand experiencing good rainfall and mild temperatures. “Production will edge marginally above prior year levels as the season builds, with the benefits of a slightly larger herd and the ability to buy feed offsetting mixed cow conditions and low feed reserves,” he says. “Looking at the global situation, from early 2014 we should see a stronger supply response from most major dairy exporters, and this will create bounce in export product availability.”

A MARLBOROUGH dairy farmer is facing an Environment Court hearing over the state of his farm. Marlborough District Council (MDC) has lodged a series of enforcement orders relating to a farm owned by Philip Woolley and his company Awarua Farms. The enforcement orders require him to make changes to his dairy shed, tanker turnaround, sump, storage pond, travelling irrigator, raceways, offal pit and stock road crossings. The enforcement orders are a formal request by the council for the farmer to correct the problems; they are not a prosecution. Woolley has objected to the council enforcement orders, requiring an Environment Court judge to decide whether or not he must comply. Marlborough District Council annually inspects the region’s dairy farm and it’s understood the problems that resulted in the enforcement orders were noted during an inspection. Council chief executive Andrew Besley said the situation is serious and that dairying would need to stop at Awarua Farm unless Woolley met the standards of the RMA. This is not the first time Woolley’s farm has been scrutinised by the council. The Environment Court hearing will take place late July.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

federated farmers annual conference  // 5

Fonterra plays down claims TAF tempts share redemption IF FONTERRA isn’t concerned

about the amount of milk it’s losing in Canterbury, it should be, dairy delegates at last week’s Federated Farmers annual conference heard. Feds Dairy South Canterbury chairman Ryan O’Sullivan warned that the temptation TAF creates in farmers to redeem shares could “in the extreme” see Fonterra with “empty milk plants” in five years. He was echoed by newly elected Otago dairy chairman Stephen Crawford. “Is the supplier redemption risk we have now greater than the capital redemption risk TAF was put in place to fix?” he asked, adding that his comment was “just a thought.” O’Sullivan and Crawford’s comments came either side of presentations on TAF by Fonterra director David McLeod and TAF general manager Aaron Jenkins. McLeod was elected late 2011 “in the middle of the TAF debate,” a debate which was “well worthwhile,” he said. “I think we cemented in our constitution some sensible protections to ensure that the cooperative retains 100% controlled by supplying shareholders.” McLeod added that since its launch TAF has operated “as we expected.” Jenkins endorsed that, showing how the valuation the stock market-

REPORTS FROM Feds’ dairy chairmen from around the regions were “taken as read” at the national conference but most said a few words. Tight feed supplies were highlighted by some, notably those in the south, while in the north comments about the kind autumn helping drought recovery were more common. Updates on regional environmental regulations were front of mind for others, as was Trading Among Farmers.

traded units put on the company are monitored, and have, to date, kept in line with various market benchmarks. The volume of the shareholders fund is also approaching its target range of 7-12% of shares on issue, at 6.5% as of early last week: “7% being big enough to provide liquidity… 12% being, we don’t want it to be any bigger than it needs to be.” Of that 6.5%, 87% of the units are held in New Zealand or Australia, 6% in the UK, and 7% elsewhere. “Fonterra farmers own 4% themselves.” During June, Fonterra units were the fourth highest-traded stock on the NZX, behind Telecom, Fletcher Building and SkyTV, he noted. “That gives us confidence liquidity is present.” The current price, at $7.30, is also in line with what independent analysts such as Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, predict. “Their target price range for Fonterra in 12 months is $6.75-$8.50.” Co-ops in other countries are looking at TAF as a possible template for adapting their own capital structures,

said Jenkins, and TAF is “a wonderful artefact of the innovation of both Fonterra and New Zealand agriculture.” When O’Sullivan raised the spectre of surplus stainless in Fonterra as a result of TAF, Jenkins acknowledged the risk, but pointed out as soon as farmers started redeeming shares in June, the price fell 20-30c. He also flagged the contract options offered to allow new suppliers up to seven years to buy shares to encourage “milk retention”. McLeod added a strong milk price “would go a long way to ensuring retention” and that TAF hasn’t even had a year’s cycle yet so there’s “still a fair bit of education to occur” on how it works, among farmers and investors. “They’ve got to understand that we, as a company, are not going to have a volatile yield on the share, as such.” He also said media pick up on those leaving, but not that TAF is helping first farm buyers because farm sellers are retaining shares and the new farmers have time to buy into Fonterra.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

6 //  federated Farmers annual conference

‘Get policies right’ ANDREW SWALLOW andrews@ruralnews.co.nz

THE GOVERNMENT’S goal of

doubling primary exports by 2025 is “our economic shot at the moon,” says Federated Farmers Dairy president, Willy Leferink. Speaking to the section annual meeting, held in Ashburton last week, Leferink compared the $64bn target to US president John Kennedy’s 1960s man-on-the-moon target. “Can we do it?” Leferink asked delegates. “Yes we can. Can we do it on current policy sideshows and in the current policy turmoil? No we cannot.” Food is the new gold, but like a goldrush, the gold must be dug before the wealth is created. The fundamental question governments must ask is whether we have the policy settings to achieve the export goal. “My message to politicians who believe the world’s gaze is on our every move is that it isn’t,” Leferink said, alluding to calls by some to include biological farm emissions in the ETS. “Slapping our biological emis-

sions into the ETS is like putting ice water onto the economy. It won’t do a jot to save the planet but it will cause carbon-leakage to less efficient systems somewhere else in the world, who will be all too pleased to pick up the slack.” Leferink lauded New Zealand’s agricultural greenhouse gas research as world leading “because it is about finding solutions and not problems.” However, competition for funding from the likes of the Auckland rail loop threatened such research, just as it threatens rural infrastructure such as water storage and rural communications, essential for primary generating exports. “I can’t see [many exports] going by the Auckland inner rail loop.” If Government can find billions for that, “then surely a few hundred million more to align the rural and urban broadband initiatives is in order,” he added. Media came under fire for latching onto any pollution incident to do with dairy while urban incidents pass with barely a whisper. “When it isn’t cows, sheep, goats or farm animals, but a council, who is

held accountable? “How can councils daily breach their resource consent conditions and get away with it, if justice is meant to be even handed? Farmers cannot use ‘systems failure’ as a get-out-of-jail card but councils do, with almost no critical comment from the media or high profile academics.” He called on reporters to “lift their game”, asking where, what, why, when and how questions not just of farming, but all those who throw the stones too. “The public deserve facts, not spin.” Councils are “rushing to control” dairying in response to the national policy statement on freshwater management, but have “somehow missed” the doubling export goal. “Doubling our exports would give these roosters heaps of money to work on decent outcomes for freshwater management.” He called on delegates to get dairy’s “great story… out there and say it loud and proud” and, in concluding, “to get involved in our industry as a leader.” “When a vacuum is created by lack of leadership it will be filled by bureaucrats and government officials who will tell you how to farm.”

Co-ops could be more aligned – Quin IF YOU’RE not committed to a cooperative culture, don’t look to join Westland, chief executive Rod Quin told Feds Dairy annual conference. The Hokitika based cooperative is “effectively full with all the milk we want” unless it builds new processing capacity, either at Hokitika or at Rolleston where it has consents for a new plant. With 24 farms supplying 137m L of milk from Canterbury last season, intake grew 10% despite drought affecting most of the 394 West Coast suppliers. He pointed out the cooperative has a five year capital retention option, so it could be some time before suppliers could get their money out if they leave, and increasing that to a 10-year retention option is part of a shareholder review of share structure, he added. Intake for the coming season is expected up 16%, despite cutting its DIRA intake to 36m L. Westland’s move to take DIRA milk for the first time in 2011/12

was a deliberate ploy to persuade Government the act needed reforming. “It was Westland that said ‘end this thing in three years’.” Quin called for more collaboration within the New Zealand dairy industry, and a greater role for DCANZ. “I’d like think the cooperatives could get more aligned.” Fonterra director David Mcleod, who’d spoken earlier in the day, said Quin had “hit the nail on the head” with that suggestion. “The competition is global… we need to work as New Zealand Inc to compete on the global stage.” Westland’s strategy is to gradually move from commodity to value add products, as demonstrated by its recent move into infant formulas. While much has been and is being made of that market, Quin highlighted what he believes is another massive opportunity for New Zealand dairy: the aging population in Asia. “Nobody owns this space at the moment,” he says.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

federated farmers annual conference  // 7

Feds compiling immigration pack for each job category. your needs.” Having gone to the trouble of Unless the job category is seeing through a visa application, on Immigration New Zealand’s which typically takes 25 working days immediate shortage list, the position must be listed with Work and Income to process, Lok warned employers of migrants to be mindful of the typical New Zealand, with evidence it was mood cycle of the new employee, adequately advertised locally on from excited and enthusiastic on websites and/or newspapers. arrival, to “fright” a month However, assistant or two into the job, which herd manager, herd “The dairy if not managed correctly manager and farm industry can lead to “flight” after manager are on the desperately six to eighteen months. immediate shortage Beyond that, hopefully, list, so at present farm needs migrants start to “fit”. assistant positions are migrants.” Once they reach that the only ones stage, most will want requiring such to go for permanent residency, but evidence. farm assistants are not eligible, only Lok warned not to Feds’ Farm Employee Remuneration assistant herd managers or above, “inflate” job titles to Report 2013 shows 40% of dairy farmer pointed out Lok. get into those listed respondents said they’d experienced One of the conference delegates categories. “[Immigration recruitment difficulties, with problems commented it’s at that residency New Zealand] will turn more widespread in higher category application stage that “a lot of issues” down the visa.” roles. arise as staff on work visas turn out Salaries must be Only 33% reported problems finding not to be eligible for residency. market rate, as per Feds’ farm assistants but 49% reported dif“You need to be aware of that and remuneration survey, and ficulties recruiting farm managers, 50% take steps [to ensure eligibility] right visa applicants must meet seeking herd managers, 54% wanting from the beginning,” he suggested. qualification/experience assistant herd managers, and 61% looking for operations managers. Another delegate said paying requirements set by Immigration New Zealand an agent or consultant to handle

THE LACK of local labour in dairying and the complexity of visa systems have prompted Federated Farmers to compile an immigration package for members. Already 20% of the 26,000 workers on dairy farms nationwide are migrants and with dire shortages of suitable staff in some areas, that seems certain to grow. “The dairy industry desperately needs migrants,” policy Advisor Kara Lok noted in her outline of the package. Obviously there isn’t enough skilled local labour to meet

recruitment woes

the hassle of visa applications is money well spent and can expedite the process, the caveat being that the consultant is one with a good reputation and record in the field. “As an employer I reckon it’s easier to just suck it up and pay the $1000.” But Lok countered: “the hope is this pack will save you having to go to a consultant.” Feds Dairy executive member Andrew Hoggard suggested Feds should perhaps consider going a step further, handling applications for members employing migrants, given the trust concerns with some immigration consultants. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

news  // 9

Chinese farm owners reject Maori bid peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

AN ATTEMPT by a central North Island Maori trust to buy two dairy farms owned by the Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin has been rejected, despite the Chinese company having asked the trust to put in a bid. The chairman of the Te Hape B Trust, Hardie Pene, told Dairy News the response from the Chinese is “a kick in the guts” for his people. Te Hape B Trust, located near Bennydale, King Country, has made several bids to buy the farms, originally owned by Allan Crafar. The trust was in a Sir Michael Fayled consortium which previously sought to buy the farms. Pene says although the farms have been in private ownership for many years

they have been sought by his people because their ancestor Rereahu had a pa site there. He says the lands were originally owned by his people but lost during the 1800s through land acquisition. Pene says on the basis of what’s happened he concludes Shanghai Pengxin “did not act in good faith”. “They invited us to put in an offer. They emailed us saying there had to be one offer, and one offer only, and it was not open to negotiation. So we then undertook valuations they and Landcorp were well aware of. We also went onto the farms to do due diligence in January and February and we incurred quite a lot of expense which they were well aware of.” Pene says he now thinks it was an academic exercise by Shanghai Pengxin to say they had

in briefs

invited Te Hape to make a bid. He says this is not a good look. “To me when you look back at Sir Henry van der Hayden’s comments ‘don’t trust them’ (the Chinese), he hit the

nail on the head,” he says. Pene says their offer for the two farms was based on an independent valuation and they did not undercut this in any way in their bid. He says all

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he’s had from Shanghai Pengxin is an email saying basically “no deal”. Attempts last week to get a comment from Shanghai Pengxin proved unsuccessful.

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NAIT meetings IN RESPONSE to many inquiries, Dairy Women’s Network will hold meetings this month on the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme. “A number of changes to the NAIT process came into effect at the end of 2012. The DWN has received an overwhelming number of enquiries for a workshop that explains the changes for dairy farmers in a lot more detail,” says the network’s executive chairwoman Michelle Wilson. Managing calving is an exceptionally busy time, she reflects. “Alongside birthing and caring for animals, it also requires new stock to be tagged, birth details entered into herd management software and often involves selling stock to other parties.” Farmers who don’t comply with NAIT regulations risk being penalised with infringement fees. NAIT representatives and network partners, CRV Ambreed and Tru-Test will host the half-day workshop along with representatives from LIC’s Minda programme. The day will cover the NAIT process from start to finish. All dairy farmers can attend the meetings to be held in five regions from today (July 8) in Northland and finishing on July 30 in Southland. Visit www.dwn.co.nz or telephone 0800 396 748.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

10 //  news

Increased options with mixed pasture MORE DIVERSITY of pasture species diversity could give dairy farmers more options for managing environmental impacts and improving pasture resilience during drought, says Dr Sharon Woodward, DairyNZ senior scientist. Woodward presented the results of a

tures were sown with perennial ryegrass and white clover. The mixed pastures were also sown with lucerne, chicory, plantain and prairie grass although the prairie grass was quickly ruled out as it didn’t perform. The cows on the mixed pasture ate less than those on the standard pasture.

“Although the cow on the mixed pasture ate less they were more efficient as they produced at least as much milk and sometimes more milk.” – Sharon Woodward, DairyNZ three year mixed pasture trial at an open day at DairyNZ’s Lye Farm. The trial was done at DairyNZ’s Scott Research Farm in Waikato to determine whether mixed pasture could increase milk solids production and improve nitrogen efficiency. “Cows fed on mixed pasture excreted half the amount of nitrogen (N) in their urine compared to cows on standard pasture”, says Woodward. “Reducing N losses has implications for greenhouse gas emissions and nitrate leaching.” In the trial, standard and mixed pas-

“Although the cows on the mixed pasture ate less they were more efficient as they produced at least as much milk and sometimes more milk.  This of course means more milk solids, not only because of the increase in volume but because we sometimes got an increase in milk protein concentration as well,” says Woodward.. Total cumulative dry matter yields were similar for both pasture types although the pattern of growth was different. There were advantages in feed availability in summer and autumn from

Cows fed on mixed pasture excreted half the amount of N in their urine compared to cows on standard pasture, according to a DairyNZ trial.

the mixed pastures however this yield advantage did not persist in winter, says Sharon.  Pasture performance has been interesting especially during the drought. “At the height of the drought the lucerne with its deep root system had no problem surviving the dry and acted as a shade, protecting the ryegrass. Ryegrass in the mixed pasture remained at a reasonable length and was a lush green whereas in the standard pasture the ryegrass was stunted and brown”, says Woodward.

“We were achieving significant differences in dry matter production with the mixed pastures and still achieving pasture covers close to 2000 kg DM/ha.” Although species like lucerne, chicory and plantain in the mixed pasture do not grow as well during the winter, they have bounced back by summer during the first three years of the trial. Hopefully measurements will continue for another couple of years, so we can see if this high level of species diversity in the mixed pasture is maintained, says Woodward.

The performance of the mixed pasture during the drought highlights the potential of increased pasture diversity providing other options for farmers in meeting the challenges of adverse climatic conditions, she says. The biggest finding from the study was that feeding mixed pastures had a major impact on reducing urinary N losses and this was achieved with no loss in milk production. The study was funded by DairyNZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

news  // 11

Maori milk processor eyes value chain gains peter burke peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

A LARGE Maori dairy farming enterprise in the central North Island has become the first Maori organisation to sign a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) deal with the government. The PGP is worth $3.5 million of which $1.75 million will come from the government. Whai Hua partnership, undertaking the project, includes the Maori dairy company Miraka and Wairarapa Moana Incorporation which farms 10,000 cows in the central North Island and is also a partner in Miraka. Also involved is AgResearch which will do the scientific work. Whai Hua chairman, Kingi Smiler told Dairy News the PGP venture is part of a long-term

Miraka and a large Maori farming entity is looking at producing high-value dairy products for exports.

strategy by Wairarapa Moana and Miraka to move their products higher up the value chain and so increase the return to shareholders. He says the PGP involves extracting high value proteins from milk which can be used as ingredients in health products. Smiler says Wairarapa Moana have been working on this idea since 2006 but

the PGP will now see the idea through to market. “What’s unusual about this PGP is that it will take just three years to get it to commercialisation. Normally PGPs take about seven years from startup to market. We are expecting to develop and take these products to market within three years and they will be produced at the Miraka plant near

Dairy pasture renewal stats INAUGURAL NATIONAL statistics on pasture renewal sug-

Taupo, as a powder and used as an ingredient in other people’s products for nutritional and health.” The Whai Hua programme expects to contribute $8.6 million a year to the New Zealand economy by 2021. Smiler says the venture will also enhance the experience and skill base of Maori agribusiness making higher valued foods and differentiated products for Asian markets. Miraka will operate with ‘in market’ partners to ensure a strong consumer connection. Miraka is already doing this with a joint venture partner, the giant Vietnamese dairy company Vinamilk that buys large quantities of its milk powder. Recently Miraka signed a deal with the Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin to produce UHT milk to sell as a branded product in China.

gest 8% of dairy pasture is revamped annually. Statistics NZ’s agricultural census for the 2011/12 production year found dairy farmers renewed 175,700ha out of 370,000ha done that year. Based on 8 m ha of pasture nationally, that’s an overall renewal rate of 4.7%. Rate of renewal on sheep and beef farms was 2.3% on average. The reseed questions were in the five-yearly census for the first time, initiated by the Pasture Renewal Charitable Trust (PRCT) with support from the Ministry of Primary Industries. Trust chairman Murray Willocks says having the census as a tool to determine investment in New Zealand’s most valuable crop “is a real boost and provides the big picture of pasture renewal activity nationally.” Renewal rates were highest in Canterbury, Otago and Southland, and Manawatu/Wanganui, Hawke’s Bay and Waikato. Questions on method of pasture renewal found 54% by area was cultivated, 46% direct drilled. The trust advocates annual renewal of 10% to build pasture production, liveweight gains, milk production, and stocking rates. “There is a real opportunity for farmers to increase their profits by boosting annual pasture renewal rates,” says Willocks. “The return on investment from pasture renewal is sound if establishment is done well followed by careful pasture management.” The full national agricultural census is done every five years and the trust is looking forward to an increased rate of pasture renewal from the 2016-17 census. Data from that census will be available in mid-2018.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

12 //  news

Careers advisers still biased against farming

Northland farmer and LIC director Murray Jagger (right) addresses the SMASH conference while farmer Bruce Cutforth looks on.

GARETH GILLATT

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nology-based industry and we are not getting more of that calibre of people from school leavers. There are still good numbers of vets but we need science minded individuals in other areas as well. Farming is not at the forefront of career choices. Jagger says. It should have the same exposure as medicine, law, accountancy and opthalmology. Jagger is one of a group addressing this issue in Northland, working with the Whangarei A&P society to get a teaching farm, and with Northland College to set up an agricultural college hub in Kaikohe. “It’s no good farmers sitting back talking about not capturing the bright kids.” Jagger applauds moves by the NZQA to implement farming national standards, and he acknowledges there are farming courses in some schools, but these are not widespread. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

View environmental rules as an opportunity, not burden GARETH GILLATT

FARMERS SHOULD

look on environmental regulations as an opportunity rather than a burden, two prominent Northland farmers told the Northland Smaller Milk and Supply Herds conference last month. Farmer and LIC director Murray Jagger, and Okura Jersey Stud coowner Lyna Beehre, both of Whangarei, play down the chore aspect of environmental tasks.

Beehre says farmers are under more pressure from the likes of regional councils, Fonterra and pressure groups such as RSPCA. “When we started farming 12 years ago it was a nice to know how much nitrogen was being used on the farm; now it’s a need to know and be responsible for.” Jagger says farmers need to embrace the opportunities regulations provide. “We’ve got to stop treating this as compliance. Sustainability is about the succession of the industry

Lyna Beehre

and the right to farm. We need to take sustainability and capture value from it.” Jagger said it was a case of moving forward.”You can’t make decisions by the seat of your pants any more, you need a lot more

details to make decision. “My generation’s decision making process is different from the way my father’s generation made decisions and the next generation will be different again.”

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SCHOOL CAREERS advisors’ bias against farming, and high-schoolers’ ignorance of farming career opportunities, are barriers to the youngest and brightest thinking about working in the industry, says Northland farmer and LIC director Murray Jagger. He shared his concerns about the shortage of talent from schools when he spoke at the Northland SMASH conference, Whangarei, in June. In 2011 only 68 agricultural science and 90 farm and agribusiness undergraduate degrees were awarded – 0.68% of the 22,820 undergraduate degrees awarded that year. But performing arts and philosophy gained 650 and 424 graduates respectively. Youngsters’ ignorance of opportunities in the primary sector is a big problem; even bigger is school career advisors’ misconceptions

about farming, Jagger says. “It’s a major stumbling block, when kids are thinking about which career pathway to take and what subjects they will need to take for that pathway. I’m not sure the primary sector is being laid on the table as something to strive towards.” Northland farmer and Okura Jersey stud co-owner Lyna Beehre says she was actively discouraged at high school from pursuing a career in farming. “When I was a sixteen year old struggling with School Cert, I approached the careers advisor about the possibility of going farming. She said there was no way a girl of my calibre should go dairy farming. If that perception hasn’t changed it needs to.” Jagger says this is a real problem when the industry needs the best and brightest to continually grow – not just those with no other options. “Agriculture is a science- and tech-


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Dairy News july 9, 2013

14 //  news - side

Director pitches for co-op andrew swallow andrews@ruralnews.co.nz

THE GROWING com-

John Monaghan address SIDE delegates.

petition for milk supply must be hitting home within Fonterra, if director John Monaghan’s presentation to the South Island Dairy Event is anything to go by.

DAIRY

In the closing keynote address of the three day event, the Wairarapa farmer gave a blatant promo for the nationwide co-op. “You need to know we’re good to grow, and you’re good to grow with us, because we’re the best home for your milk,” Monaghan told the 580-

strong sellout crowd, which certainly included Synlait, Westland, and former New Zealand Dairies suppliers, and probably an Open Country supplier or two as well. He went on to plug Fonterra’s international market penetration, and that as a Fonterra shareholder, it does “all start”

S R E D N I L Y C R

E T A HOT W

at the farm gate, as the cooperative’s supply signs say, whereas for the nonFonterra supplier, “that’s where the buck stops.” “If you’ve got one of these [signs] at your farm gate you can expect to see value returns increase as we grow. That’s the advantage of being a Fonterra shareholder.” Last year’s reform of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act so competitors must take peak milk from Fonterra if they also want shoulder season supply, was welcomed. With that taking effect this season “we’ll see if the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence or just Astroturf,” he said. Supplying DIRA milk to competitors during the autumn drought, while having to shut its own plants early, cost Fonterra $23m or nearly 3c/kgMS off payout, he added. The significance of suppliers moving to competitors was played down, as was a high share price being a barrier to joining Fonterra. Fonterra shares are the most flexible of the critical investments needed in dairying: land, plant, herd and shares, he maintained. “Every year we gain and lose shareholders and this year is no exception but what really matters is total milk volume because this is where our world class game comes from.” A high share price

should be viewed as “the positive barometer that it is,” he added. Monaghan said Fonterra is confident of demand and pricing for the coming season, and equally confident in its ability to generate “both volume and value.” “We want you to share in that confidence, grow milk supply, and back us as a winner,” he concluded. Having stressed the positives, Monaghan was questioned from the floor on the risks farmers should be looking out for and protecting themselves from. Top of Fonterra’s agenda is sustainability, but with milk growth, which is in line with Government and opposition party policy, he answered. “My own farm is in the Horizons area and if some of those [One Plan] rules were applied as they sit today we’d see a 10-30% drop in milk production in that area.” The same rules applied in Waikato would see a 27% drop in production and plant closures, he added. “We also need to focus on social well-being and economic growth.” Keeping the governance pipeline primed with high calibre farmer directors is another challenge. “If we don’t get that right suddenly you won’t get the right level of chief executive as we grow our strategy.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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IN THE opening keynote of the SIDE conference, Rick Pridmore, DairyNZ, warned the industry could “rot from the bottom” as environmental policies hit home. “Most places I go to I see farmers doing a good job and we’ve still got a problem…. It’s called bad planning. You [current dairy farmers] are having to wear the [environmental] cost of every new conversion.” In many areas of New Zealand the number of dairy farms exceeds what is environmentally sustainable under historic practice. Now the brakes are going on, but too hard or inappropriately in some cases. “We’re over-correcting for something that should have been stopped.” Pridmore urged farmers to get involved “boots and all” and warned good practice alone will not fix water quality issues. “What we have to do is control the conversion of low-loss land [eg forest] to high-loss land. If we don’t do that our industry will rot from the bottom.” He also warned against investing in costly mitigation measures until regional or catchment policies are fixed. “All you will end up doing is adding a lot of cost to your business and you don’t fix anything.”


Dairy News july 9, 2013

side - news  // 15 David Chapman at SIDE last month.

System change can meet enviro goals BE CONFIDENT: freshwater nutrient

limits can be met without crippling farm profitability, a SIDE paper presented by DairyNZ’s David Chapman concludes. The paper relays the high stocking-rate equivalent (HSE) and low stocking-rate equivalent (LSE) systems trial underway on the Lincoln University Dairy Research Farm. While actual nutrient losses for the Pastoral 21-funded work are yet to be released, Overseer modelling of the systems predicts 35kgN/ha lost under the 5-cow/ha HSE system, and 19kgN/ha under the 3.5-cow/ ha LSE approach. Averaged over the trial’s two seasons completed to date, operating profit of

the LSE was $201/ha behind the HSE, a 4% reduction from $5061/ha to $4860/ ha from production of 2290kgMS/ha and 1789kgMS/ha respectively. Chapman suggests the low nutrient loss per hectare may allow extra hectares to be farmed, so regionally or nationally production needn’t necessarily fall. Equally, in some catchments, HSE may still be the way forward. “The HSE is a classic way of driving production and this is what we’ve done for the last eight to ten years,” Chapman told delegates. “It may be in some situations this will still be viable if the catchment can absorb more nitrogen and society says we can still do that.”

Soil science explained, myths busted SOME FREQUENTLY heard but fun-

damentally flawed marketing mantras on soil fertility were shot down by Ravensdown’s Ants Roberts at SIDE. Having run through the basics of soil science, his “Don’t treat your soils like dirt” workshop moved on to some of the myths circulating. “There’s a lot of misdirection out there,” he warned. For example, those who compare potash fertiliser to the chlorine used to clean swimming pools and keep drinking water clean “don’t understand the chemistry,” he said. “Potash, potassium chloride, is not the same as the chlorine in our water, or the swimming pool. That’s hypochlorite and that’s what kills the algae and microorganisms.” Potassium chloride in soil behaves similarly to common salt, sodium chloride, as found in seawater at about a 6% concentration, the ions disassociating in soil to become plant available, he explained.

As for spreading or spraying on humate, yes, humate is beneficial, but to suggest applications of 30kg/ha could make a difference when even low organic matter brown-grey soils such as those in central Otago have 30-60t/ha of humateladen organic matter already is misleading. “For the most part, at the rates they recommend, it’s going to do no good at all,” said Roberts. Fine particle fertiliser proponents also came under fire, as Roberts said the only fully replicated research done with fine particle DAP or brews such as urea and lime, had found no difference in response to conventional prills or granules. Another marketing trick deployed to convince farmers their soils are in poor health is to dig some up and bemoan the lack of earthworms, he noted. “In places like the Central Plateau they’ll say ‘see, no earthworms,’ and tell you they’ve been killed by super or urea, but the reality is they were probably never there in the first place.”


Dairy News july 9, 2013

16 //  news

Cows prefer sand, shun waterbeds andrew swallow

WHEN COWS hit the sack in a free-

stall barn, they’d rather be on sand than a waterbed, a team of researchers at Massey University has found. “In fact, they were happy to use any type of bed with the exception of the dual chamber waterbeds,” corresponding author for the Pastoral 21-funded research programme, Jean Margerison, told Dairy News. Margerison presented a short paper at last week’s New Zealand Society of Animal Production conference in Hamilton detailing the behaviour of three mobs of cows in the project: one at pasture 24/7, and two grazed for four hours/ day, then housed in free-stall barns with access to either sand or waterbeds. The pasture mob and the sand mob spent just over 11 hours/day lying down, but the waterbed mob reclined for just 9.6 hours/day. What’s more, that 9.6

hours/day included 1.7 hours of the 4 hours/day grazing period. Cows in the sand mob spent less time, 1.2 hours of the four hours/day, at pasture lying down while the 24/7 pasture mob spent just 45 minutes lying down in the same period. “Cows at pasture need to graze for longer than cows offered silage in a shed and so the housed cows can spend more time lying at pasture,” says Margerison She says a different result might be seen if cows were fed less than the 10kgDM/cow as silage offered in the shed in the trial. All the cows were given a three day acclimatisation period to their bedding, before a three day monitoring period. Heeding the waterbed manufacturer’s advice that animals may take a fortnight to acclimatise to the product, some cows were kept on the beds for an extra 14 days but lie time declined even further.

“The problem with more standing and less lying down is, as other researchers have shown, reduced productivity and more animal health issues, most notably lameness.” Margerison notes several overseas studies have found cows to be uncomfortable on waterbeds. Some of findings point to the temperature of the bed being a problem, but the Massey work was done mid summer so beds were unlikely to be too cold, or too hot, she says. The behavioural differences observed in the Massey work couldn’t be assessed with respect to animal productivity as the cows in the trial were dry at the time. In the trial, all mobs were stood on concrete for two hours/twice a day to simulate milking during the research. Margerison notes that of all the beddings used the cows kept cleanest on sand. @dairy_news 

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

news  // 17

One Plan changes ‘step in the right direction’ peter burke peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

HORIZONS REGIONAL Council’s

plan for implementing its controversial One Plan is a “step in the right direction’, says a Federated Farmers leader. Andrew Hoggard, a Horizons regional dairy farmer and Feds Dairy national vice-president, says the council’s changes to the plan make it “livable with”. But he’d prefer the plan was changed to something more acceptable to dairy farmers. The present plan was imposed on the council by the Environment Court after a series of appeals. Dairy farmers and commercial growers are unhappy with this. Appeals by Federated Farmers and Horticulture New Zealand against points of law in the One Plan are due to be heard soon in the High Court. The council’s proposal allows a controlled activity consent to farm for up to 25 years for farmers who meet required N leaching targets for their farms. Farmers with a plan to reduce their N leaching will get a 20-year restricted discretionary consent. But those who refuse to reduce their N

leaching will get only a 5-year restricted discretionary consent and will be referred to ‘industry’ to get help. A big change in the process is that the council will develop ‘memoranda of understanding’ on N leaching mitigation strategies, rather than imposing them on farmers. They seem to be aiming to work with all stakeholders. But though the dairy industry has been involved in these new protocols, Horticulture New Zealand, a major stakeholder, has not yet been approached about them. Hoggard, still studying details of the Horizons proposal, says he sees need for change. The council’s implementation proposal is an interim solution pending its application for a plan change. “I’ve heard different stories about this. Some say we will have to wait two years before anything can happen; other people say it can be done straight away. I’m not a legal expert and can’t say when it might happen, except that it must happen, because the plan effectively recognises that the leaching tables we’ve been given are unachievable. It seems a bit silly to leave in rules unachievable by

Fish and Game not happy FISH AND Game is unhappy with the council’s implementation programme, saying there is “no justification for such a flimsy approach”. It doesn’t support granting short term consents to farmers doing nothing to mitigate nitrogen leaching, saying such a move could result in further decline of water quality in some of the region’s rivers. Fish and Game says the One Plan as approved by the court clearly expects applicants for restricted discretionary consents to commit to practical improvement of farm management and to reducing nutrient leaching. Horizon is proposing is a consent category not consistent with the court ruling, Fish and Game says.

the vast majority of farmers. Common sense would suggest you have rules most people can achieve

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

18 //  news

Awards leaders planning special events for 2014 THE DAIRY industry

awards organisers intend holding special events next year to mark the 25th anniversary of the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year contest. The committee met recently in

Gavin Roden

Manawatu to begin planning. New to the chair of the NZ Dairy Industry Awards is South Auckland sharemilker Gavin Roden. He joined the committee in 2011, after learning of the

benefits from participating. “I became keen on the awards when I witnessed the impact they had on those successful. They got a good name and a good reputation, and were able

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Irrigation kickstart eyes $4b export increase POTENTIAL EXISTS for 420,000ha more irrigated

land, resulting in $4 billion more exports by 2026. So says MPI minister Nathan Guy of the Crown Irrigation Investments company launched last Tuesday to manage the Crown’s investments in irrigation schemes. The SOE will work with backers of new regional irrigation schemes, says chairwoman Alison Paterson. It will support well-designed projects on the Government’s behalf, particularly with community engagement and planning for good environmental outcomes. Guy says the company will act as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure projects, to help kick-start projects otherwise unlikely to go ahead. The Government has budgeted $80 million for this.  Other directors of the company are Don Huse (deputy chair), Debbie Birch, Lindsay Crossen, Chris Kelly, Graeme Sutton and Michael Webb. All were establishment board members.  “Crown Irrigation will invest where it is considered necessary to get a project underway. It will be a minority and targeted investor,” says Guy.  “This is another important step towards unlocking the massive opportunities water storage and irrigation can create for New Zealand.”  There is potential for another 420,000ha of irrigated land. Research by NZIER suggests exports could be boosted by $4 billion a year by 2026. More consistent river flows in summer will benefit the environment, improving habitats for fish and birdlife.


Dairy News july 9, 2013

news  // 19

Mooloo country gets school milk PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

FONTERRA’S RECOGNITION

that Milk for Schools should be offered to all schools rather than just those in lower socio-economic areas was a good move, says principal of Leamington School in Cambridge, Mike Malcolm. “Everyone needs milk,” Malcolm told Dairy News. “Even though we are a high-decile school, the kids win… if the kids win, we all win.” Fonterra launched its Milk for Schools North Island regional (excluding the earlier pilot scheme in Northland) at the school in the heart of dairy country in late June, the first of 130 Waikato schools to sign up. The South Island is now fully on board. Malcolm says within two days of it starting at his school it was operating “like a well-oiled machine” because the teachers were on board. And the children had more energy and focus. Earlier Malcolm said told several hundred at the official opening that Fonterra is the biggest contributor to our economy. “However there is also no doubt that some time in the future our biggest export item will be the brain power of our people,” he said. As educators they would do any-

Milk for Schools launches in the heart of dairy country with a parade through Cambridge. Below: Waipa Mayor Alan Livingstone salutes the Waikato launch with a pupil from Goodwood School.

thing to enhance the education experience of their children and raise achievement. “Why are schools so eager to be involved in the Milk for Schools programme? It is simple, healthy food equals healthy kids. Healthy kids equal better outcomes. Better learning outcomes mean a brighter educational future for our children which leads to a brighter future for our country. “The Milk for Schools programme is an investment into our children and into the future of country that every New Zealand should feel extremely proud of. This initiative will be the envy of countries around the world and held up as an

Leamington School pupils give Milk for Schools the thumbs up.

example of a company which genuinely believes in social and environmental responsibility.” Waipa district mayor Alan Livingston said Fonterra was contributing to the health of the children. “It is not just providing milk and leaving it up to the schools to work out how to deliver it and other logistical aspects. Refrigeration, recycling… makes it an efficient programme.” Fonterra general manager cooperative social responsibility Carly Robinson says it takes a big team to make something like Milk for Schools to happen. “We have partnered with some great organizations” including Fisher and Paykel, Tetra Pak, Mainfreight and Ebbett Holden.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

20 //  news/opinion

Lifting the rate of genetic gain PETER GATLEY

A RECENT article in

Dairy News (June 25) posed the question, “can we breed better cows?” This is a reasonable question on an important topic, but the article contained errors. It said we are breeding genetics in Waikato

for Waikato conditions when many progeny end up in different conditions down south. This is incorrect. The location of bulls is irrelevant because the 200 Sire Proving Scheme herds contracted to LIC are spread nationwide. Bulls are ranked on the performance of their daughters in herds representative of the national

herd (44,000 South Island cows are included in this year’s SPS quota, comprising 42% of the total). It must be noted also, that many of the bulls themselves are bred in South Island herds by top performing South Island cows. At least 4 million cows nationwide are scrutinised to identify 4000 for

Peter Gatley

contract mating. Many more bull calves are considered for purchase ‘off shed records’ (these calves resulted from matings organised by the farmer without any prior contract). After detailed pedigree examinations, DNA parentage testing, genotyping and physical inspection of both dam and calf, 200 bulls will

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enter the SPS. As yearlings, each bull will sire 70-80 daughters spread over 50+ herds to ensure that management effects are stripped out to expose genetic merit. Recording accuracy is ensured because SPS daughters are all parentage-verified via DNA testing at LIC’s expense as part of the package. Three years after the elite yearling bulls supply their SPS inseminations their daughters enter milking herds and are tested in purely commercial farming environments representative of the full range of farm systems from 1 to 5 (exclusively pasture-based to high input). On graduation, only about 20 bulls will be widely used as progeny tested sires. Selection intensity is enormous. Of at least 2 million bull calves born from recorded cows, just 20 make the grade. That is 1 in 100,000. The national breeding objective is Breeding Worth (BW) which is constructed by NZ Animal Evaluation Ltd, a pan-industry group independent of any breeding company. The BW currently includes seven traits for good reason. They are the traits with the greatest impact on farm profit. Having said that, any breeding company knows that without good udders, capacity and temperament, you will not sell much semen. The Dairy News article interviewee referred to dominance by Holstein Friesian genetics in New Zealand. It is correct that more of our genes have been contributed by the black & whites than by Jersey, but our farmers have long since shown a preference for the best of both worlds with some hybrid vigour for good measure. Two thirds of the nation’s calves last year were crossbred, and in the South Island 73%. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, hence the growth in demand for KiwiCross bulls, already twice the size of the Jersey category and still growing. The Dairy News correspondent wonders if our industry would be better to look to other breeds. The Guernsey is

mentioned, along with its yellow milkfat. If this is ever sought after by our dairy companies, LIC will happily oblige by breeding for that trait. If anything, there seems to be a preference for whiter milk. At this stage, despite a long established joint venture with Fonterra looking for unique, high value milk components to exploit via breeding, the goal remains high quality commodity milk, efficiently and sustainably produced. Genetic gain is widely recognised as the greatest contributor to farm productivity improvement. Independent scientist Dr Peter Amer did the calculation for NZAEL and valued this at $300m annually, and it is cumulative ($600m in the following year, $900m the year after, etc). We must bear in mind that driving genetic gain is like steering an oil tanker. Today’s decisions impact directly, many, many years into the future. For example, this year’s contract matings will put bull calves on the ground in 2014. They’ll be progeny tested in 2015 but not graduate the Sire Proving Scheme and achieve widespread use until 2019. Their daughters will hit the ground in big numbers in 2020 but not be milked until 2022. They’ll last on average for five lactations, taking us to 2026, but many will milk beyond 2030. Here we can clearly see the potential benefit of genomics. Rather than wait until 2019 to get new bulls onto the market, we can screen thousands of calves born this year, and supply the market in 2014. The importance of genetic gain was recently recognised by the directors in approving the expansion of the Sire Proving Scheme from 160 bulls to 200 annually, while continuing to fully support the ongoing development of genomics, the only technology with so much to offer genetic improvement. Can we breed better cows? The answer is yes, and we do, every year. The better question is, just how far can we lift the rate of genetic gain? • Peter Gatley is general manager genetics at LIC.


Dairy News july 9, 2013

world  // 21

Oz visa changes irk farmers RICK BAYNE

TOUGHER LAWS

restricting the use of skilled migrant workers on Australian dairy farms may leave many farmers unable to fill vacancies. The new rules are forcing more regulations, paperwork and costs on farmers, prompting fears they will abandon the scheme as being too hard. The National Farmers Federation and Australian Dairy Farmers have slammed the changes, saying they will make it harder for farmers to find properly skilled people. The industry groups say an already arduous task has been made more of a burden for an industry struggling to find suitable staff in the local market. Concerns centre on the increased onus on employers to prove they can’t find Australian staff, including new advertising and market testing requirements before sponsoring an overseas worker on a 457 visa, and more stringent training guidelines. Farmers and industry leaders say the use of skilled migrants is a vital part of the dairy industry and needs to be protected, not hindered. The new laws are intended to crackdown on rorting, protect Australian jobs and ensure overseas workers are not exploited. But dairy leaders say the skilled migrants are not being used as a cheap option and are only employed when needed. Dairy farmers wanting to nominate a foreign worker under the 457 visa will now have to pay A$330, up from A$85. Candidates for 457 and permanent resident visas are also facing huge fee increases. Those aged 18-30 on 417 working holiday visas can work for up to six months each with two different employers and can extend their stay for a further 12 months if working in a regional area. Farmers and foreign workers who want to extend their arrangements to a 457 work visa already face an arduous process and expect it to be worse

FLICK SWITCH TO TAKE OUT MID TO LATE SEASON MASTITIS. Irish nationals Gerard Conway and Siobhan Clavin work on a dairy farm in western Victoria.

after the passing of the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill through Parliament in late June. ADF president Noel Campbell says the amendment would disadvantage farmers who have a genuine need to seek overseas workers due to the lack of available local labour. “At a time when there is a critical shortage of skilled dairy workers, the dairy industry relies on skilled migration to bolster its workforce and help our farmers fill labour shortages,” Campbell says.

He says while the percentage of dairy farms using staff on 457 visas was relatively low, more were turning to the overseas market for help. “We’re hearing from more farmers all the time that they need to go down this route, especially those on bigger and more remote properties.” Campbell described the current application process as complex and laborious which prolonged the length of on-farm vacancies. “Instead of addressing farmers’ concerns

and streamlining the application process, the Government’s changes will make an already challenging situation even more complex, placing an even greater workload on farmers and affecting health and wellbeing. It’s becoming too hard. Already some farmers have to use a third party at a substantial cost to do the forms.” Campbell says under the new legislation Australian farmers need to advertise positions and go through a formal market testing process.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

22 //  OPINION Ruminating

EDITORIAL

Common sense prevails

milking it... Hands off councils ENVIRONMENT MINISTER Amy Adams wants to clarify the respective roles of the EPA and local government and says councils should not “set up their own independent states where they write their own rules and ignore the national framework”. A key culprit is a Northland inter-council working party recommending ‘local regulation’ to restrict genetically modified organisms, based largely on ‘evidence’ from anti-GMO propagandists. The efforts of this Northland group seem to be driven largely by known anti-GMO activist Linda Grammer. The Feds have rightly said GMO regulation requires scientific rigour and should sit with the EPA, not councils.

Sustainability no laughing matter

IS DAIRYNZ’S strategy and investment leader for sustainability, Rick Pridmore, moonlighting as a comedian? TV3 Seven Days host Jeremy Corbett bears an uncanny likeness to DairyNZ’s man who gave the opening keynote address at the recent South Island Dairy Event. Only difference is, what Pridmore’s talking about is no laughing matter.

Elephant in the room ‘MILKING IT’ was left wondering which country it had woken up in last week when a media release about elephants and alligators landed in the inbox. The source? None other than Waikato Regional Council. It claims circus elephants are believed indirectly responsible for a large outbreak of the notorious pest plant alligator weed near Hamilton recently. Alligator weed started sprouting after a load of elephant dung was bought as a fertiliser from a circus visiting Hamilton in 2007.

Step in the right direction? THE TAIWAN Council of Agriculture’s (COA) Livestock Research Institute has developed an estrus cycle detection system to ascertain when dairy cows are most receptive to mating, allowing farmers to improve breeding management on their farms. The institute says dairy farmers must often deal with the problem of cows’ estrus periods becoming shorter or more unpredictable due to the hot weather in summer. The system works primarily by picking up the frequency of the bovines’ steps, which usually increase during their estrus period. The system allows dairy farmers to receive information about their cattle’ s estrus status while away from their farms and also helps them better understand the estrus periods of their herds through the collated data.

HORIZONS REGIONAL Council deserves credit for its attempt to minimise the fallout on dairy farmers caused by the worrisome One Plan. A cynic would say that with local government elections looming the council had to try to clean up the mess caused by the plan – the work of councillors and others. Otherwise the political fallout could have been interesting, to say the least. The council’s temporary solution will allow all dairy farmers the right to farm for varying lengths of time depending on their proposals for mitigating nitrogen leaching on their farms. Here lies a problem: some of the N leaching targets set out in the Environment Court-approved plan are basically unachievable by some farmers. As Andrew Hoggard, of Federated Farmers, rightly asks, “why have rules if people can’t meet them – it’s plain silly”. Unless the objective is to put them out of business. The council seems to be implementing its One Plan in a way that will give them time – who knows when – to go for a ‘plan change’. Essentially this means re-litigating some controversial aspects of the plan to try to get it right. For a few weeks the council had it right – then Fish and Game, DOC and the council itself attacked, or failed to support, the decisions made by the council’s own commissioners and the result is a plan from hell. One Plan is a lawyers’ gravy train. Cost estimates vary, but by the time this is settled in, say, five years, it will have cost ratepayers and interested parties about $20 million. Then the implementation costs hit the council and farmers. The council keeps insisting it is blameless for the mess-up. That notion is delusional. While bureaucrats and councillors bungle their way through, ratepayer farmers are being stung twice and the economy of the region placed in jeopardy. To be fair, the council after hefty persuasion by DairyNZ, has come up with a temporary sort-of livable implementation programme. It’s the least the council could have done given the angst it has caused to farmers and the rural community. A rumour surfaced that One Plan was to be entered in some award contest – presumably for the cock-up of the decade.

Got something on your mind? GOT SOMETHING on your mind about the latest issues affecting our dairy industry? Put your pen to paper or your fingers to your keyboard, and let our readers know what you think. Contact us by either post or email. Don’t forget to put your name and address. Note: Letters may be edited. post to: Letter to the Editor PO Box 3855, Auckland 1140. or Email: dairynews@ruralnews.co.nz

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

opinion  // 23

China: getting down to business at the highest level PRIMARY INDUSTRIES Minister Nathan Guy last week made his first visit to China since he took the portfolio. His comments below were addressed to an animal husbandry seminar he attended with agribusiness leaders.

THIS IS my first visit to China as

Minister for Primary Industries, and my second visit as a minister. I visited here in April 2012 as the Minister of Immigration and Associate Minister for Primary Industries. New Zealand and China signed a free trade agreement in 2008. When this agreement was signed, both nations hoped it would bring increased trade. We have surpassed the expectations of even the most positive analysts. Not only have we increased two way trade, China is now New Zealand’s largest trading partner, even surpassing Australia. And the relationship between the two countries has grown stronger. The Prime Minister’s trade delegation in April showed that at the highest level New Zealand is committed to furthering our relationship. China has shown itself to be a land of opportunity in terms of agricultural production. The statistics are amazing, and almost speak for themselves. With one fifth of the world’s population, China has become a dairy consuming country. Ten years ago the Chinese population consumed an average 8kg of dairy product per person per year. Today the figure is closer to 30kg. I understand that by 2020, 60 billion litres of milk will be needed to meet local demand. The market potential is astonishing, and New Zealand wants to be involved. It is in both of our interests if we work together to help China meet this goal. There is no way New Zealand can supply 60 billion litres alone. For context, Fonterra, New Zea-

land’s largest dairy company, aims to increase production on its farms in China to 1 billion litres by 2020 – only 2% of what is required to feed the Chinese domestic population. New Zealand (4.5 million pop.) feeds 40 million and exports to 200 countries. For 100 years we have made our way in the world by selling what the rest of the world wants and needs – high Nathan Guy quality primary produce. Our reputation is as a trusted trading partner with integrity. We are proud of our reputation, and committed to upholding it. This is why we have developed world leading food safety, biosecurity, and animal welfare systems. We are always working to improve the productivity of our pastoral land, but we acknowledge we do not have an endless supply of land to continue growing our food production base. So we are looking to international partners to work with, and have a genuine interest in working with China to develop your agricultural industry, and the systems such as food safety that support these industries. Working together we can have a win-win situation, good for New Zealand and good for China. In April this year Minister Han and I signed the ‘Strategic Plan on Promoting Agricultural Cooperation’ that underpins our working relationship; that’s why I am here now with

this delegation. We want to build on this solid foundation of cooperation between our two countries.  I have brought with me to China a high quality delegation representing agricultural businesses and research institutes. The expertise and experience of the people with me today is amazing. I encourage you all to engage as much as possible here today. People-topeople relationships are at the heart of any partnership, and something New Zealand and China need to continually work at. Again I acknowledge the importance to New Zealand of the relationship with China. While this relationship has grown strongly especially during the last few years, it is important to note that China has a strong place in New Zealand’s history. From mining for gold nearly 150 years ago to working in market gardens in my home town today, China has always had a strong place and a strong reputation in New Zealand’s primary industries. This is acknowledged in my hometown of Levin, where in the main street there is a bronze statue of a market gardener holding a hoe. China is firmly a part of my local community and New Zealand as a whole. Let’s get down to business.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

24 //  agribusiness

Dairy co-ops first choice of farmers – USDA ramsey margolis

IN HER report for the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business and Cooperative Service, ‘Dairy Cooperatives in the 21st Century – The First Decade’, Carolyn B Liebrand examines cooperatives in the US dairy industry. What her research reveals will be no surprise to New Zealander dairy farmers who clearly understand the cooperative business model. As the volatility of milk prices experienced in the 1990s increased in the first decade of the 21st century, “the first decade of the 21st century was tumultuous for both the dairy industry and the United States economy generally,” Liebrand reports. Average monthly milk price peaked in November 2007 at arecord $21.90 per hundredweight (cwt) and then fell to less than $11.50 per cwt in June and July 2009. Month to month fluctuations in average milk

prices were more than $2 per cwt eight times during the decade, badly affecting many dairy farmers. In the regulatory arena, the milk price support programme was changed to support dairy product prices rather than milk prices. While the support purchase price for nonfat dry milk was lowered, the purchase price for butter support was raised. An income support program was instituted so that under certain conditions the US Government made monthly payments directly to qualifying dairy producers. In the first decade of the 21st century, the number of US dairy cooperatives dropped from 211 to 151, with 23 new ones being formed and 83 ceasing to exist. Comparing 2000 to 2010, of those no longer trading 49 had been sold or gone out of business, while 30 had merged with another cooperative, and four no longer handled memberproducer milk. So while some co-ops altered the

0%

way they operate to meet changes in the marketplace and some went out of business, a major share of US milk production was going through farmer-owned dairy cooperatives in 2010. While three out of four of those operating in 2010 had been in operation prior to 1992 and fewer than one in seven had been formed since 2000, at least a dozen had been in business for more than 75 years. So while almost two out of every five dairy co-ops that existed in 2000 had gone out of business by 2010, averaging 7.5 cooperative exits a year, on average two new dairy co-ops had been formed each year. Although the economic environment is common to all dairy co-ops, the performance of each co-op has been impacted differently. During the global financial crisis, some cooperatives made additional payments to their members to help them through the difficulties of record low milk payment prices and the record high cost of

inputs. This type of assistance will have boosted the bottom lines of members’ dairy farm businesses, but reduced the cooperatives’ own net income before tax. “While the dairy cooperative sector is buffeted by the same economic storms as the broader economy and impacted by changes in milk production, the financial performance data suggests that dairy cooperatives on average are able to use member capital effectively,” Liebrand writes. Her conclusion is clear: “The fact that dairy cooperatives have been able to thrive using a variety of operating modes and under a broad range of economic conditions indicates that dairy

Ramsey Margolis

cooperatives are likely to continue as the marketing organisations of choice for many dairy farmers in the years to come.” • Ramsey Margolis is executive director of Cooperative Business New Zealand.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

agribusiness  // 25

Fonterra maintenance fitter Greg Benfell carries out maintenance on Drier 1’s atomiser at the Te Rapa site.

Winter spruceup in full swing FONTERRA HAS 900 factory staff working on New Zealand’s biggest annual winter maintenance project. Many of Fonterra’s 27 sites are being ‘scrubbed up’ over 10 weeks, as milk flows have dropped off, allowing maintenance. Brent Taylor, director of New Zealand operations, says the co-op each year sees to its sites being “match-fit to process at least 17 billion litres of milk.” “Typically we produce about 2.4 million metric tonnes of product a season, running our driers at times at full capacity…. We have to maintain our equipment to the highest standards. “Winter maintenance gets us off to a good start for the next season… to meet the demand from customers and deliver our products on time.”

Trevor Bell, maintenance coordinator at Te Rapa, says this work sets the tone for the following season, “setting up the plant for the season ahead so it can run at maximum efficiency without unforeseen downtime which can cost us in lost production.  [And it] allows us to extend the life of our equipment.” The work is costing $70 million, mostly at the high capacity sites Whareroa (Taranaki), Edendale (Southland), Clandeboye (Southland) and Te Rapa (Waikato). About 170 companies, big and small, will work together, employing 620 contract staff. The work will range from major capital works to minor valve and floor repairs. All staff or contractors get safety training, Fonterra says.

Bank names regional heads RABOBANK HAS announced two senior appointments to regional positions. Bruce Weir is now regional manager northern North Island, succeeding Paul Rogers. And David Clarke is now regional manager northern South Island, succeeding Don Kennedy. Both men are proven leaders and high performers, says chief executive New Zealand Ben Russell. “They will… play an important role in supporting clients and developing the business in [their] areas.” Weir, branch manager at Rotorua since he joined Rabobank in October 2010, has overseen this becoming a leading branch. He has been in agri-banking for at least 12 years. “Raised on a dry stock farm in northern Hawkes Bay, Bruce has an agricultural background and understands the industry and the needs of farmers,” Russell says. The northern North Island region includes Whangarei, Pukekohe, Thames, Te Puke, Whakatane and Rotorua. Clarke joined Rabobank in March 2009 as branch manager, Invercargill. The branch has grown and the bank

has expanded its business in the local farming area. Before then he worked 15 years in banking. Now he will work in Rabobank’s Christchurch branch, the region covering Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru. Clarke is passionate about agricultural banking and expects “to support clients to continue to be successful and grow in their market. We have an experienced and stable team across the northern South Island and I am looking forward to learning about the region, with the support of a high calibre team.” Raised in northern Southland on a family sheep and cropping farm, Clarke has a strong affinity with agriculture and the people in the industry. “I still have an interest in some dairy farms – my wife and I are shareholders in three dairy farms in Southland. “Because of my background and farming partnerships today, I know and understand what clients are going through, and I have also developed a good understanding of what kind of ownerships structures and options are available too.” 3599 Metabolizer halfpg vert.ind1 1

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

28 //  management

Weeping wall effective, light TONY HOPKINSON

GOOD FARMERS and custodians of their land Craig and Kathy Harris recently built a ‘weeping wall’ system to process dairy shed and feed pad effluent. “We had experience of them in our farming operations in the South Island and they worked well so to keep up with regulations we installed one at our home farm and with our contour I knew it would be ideal for us,” said Craig. La Vista Farms Ltd is at Otamarakau 27km south of Te Puke on Highway 2 and is 1km from the Pacific Ocean. The farm is 177eff/ha, and 625 Friesian and Friesian crossbred cows are contract milked by daughter and son-inlaw Renee and Richard Boyden.

It is 66% river flats which are wet in the winter but hang on well into the summer, and the balance is easy rolling to steep. Rainfall is 1100mm with the area being prone to summer dries and they have free draining pumice soils. They have owned it for 28 years. They have feed pads that will hold 300 head and are used for on/off grazing to protect pasture in bad weather. The farm is centrally raced to 97 paddocks and they use 12hr grazing running two herds. They have a 40-aside herring bone dairy shed with a Westfalia milking plant and they are Fonterra suppliers. Young stock are grazed off from May to May. They irrigate 37ha, drawing water from a local stream through a Vanden Bussche irrigator.

Craig Harris says the ‘weeping wall’ is ideal for his farm.

Best production from the farm was in the 20112012 season and was 223000kgMS. “We were

heading for another record in the 2012-2013 season but because of the drought we had to bring all our

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involved with various farming operations in Southland but have recently downsized and

now are only involved in a partnership with Chris and Gail McKenzie with two farms in Southland


Dairy News july 9, 2013

management  // 29

on energy switch that pumps the arate liquid from solids one of 330ha milking1200 liquid to a 4500m3 lined cows and the second 188ha with the advantages of holding pond from where fewer blockages in irrimilking 600 cows. The it is pumped to the irrigagators and full use of the partnership also has a tor. This liquid is spread remaining solids. 540ha run off. twice a week and “We decided “Because the system continuously when to consolidate to combined with the home farm and works so well with irrigation water. another 177ha at Gorlow labour input, full The bunkers/ donton with equity partners our daughter utilisation of the liquid sludge beds are and the solids being 50m from the Emma and her husdairy shed and are band Finlay Maclen- such a great fertiliser odourless nan milking 600 we can’t get enough of almost in operation. At cows. the stuff,” the inlet there is With a weepa simple two way ing wall Craig says gate to direct effluent to All material from the the process solves all the the left or right bunker. shed and pads flow into problems by containThere is also a large diamone of the twin bunkers ing all effluent from the which are 40 x 8 x 2m deep eter pipe to bring effluent dairy shed and the feed direct from the feed pads. with no fall. Two metres pad and he has control of The pads are used to from the outlet end is the disposal of liquid and feed about 700kg/cow solids and is not subject to the weeping wall consistof PKE and maize silage weather. The spreading of ing of 50mm plastic slats during the season and with 6mm gaps which the liquid is done through there is calving pad 30 x hold back the solids but the Vanden Bussche irrilet the liquid through. The 30m adjacent. gator. The left hand bunker Weeping walls are a low liquid falls to a sump with a pump operated on a float has taken all the mateenergy system which sep-

Craig Harris says he has control of the disposal of both liquids and solids with the weeping wall.

rial for five months with no labour input before the gate was changed to fill the second bunker. The first bunker will not be emptied until bunker two is almost full in another 5-6 months.

“This allows as much liquid as possible to pass through the wall and further consolidate the material.” All rainwater from the dairy shed can be diverted between milkings and a

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contractor will empty the bunker and spread the material. The installation was designed by Agfirst Engineering, Te Puke and built by Archway Construction Ltd, another local firm.

“Because the system works so well with low labour input, full utilisation of the liquid and the solids being such a great fertiliser we can’t get enough of the stuff,” concluded Craig.

Calves reared on the Queen of Calves Nutrition Programme grow significantly faster and produce significantly more milk.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

30 //  management

Online production tracker lets you follow the curve gareth gillatt

DAIRY farmers looking to maximise production and minimise feed costs may now do this with a production tracking tool launched at National Fieldays by feed specialist SealesWinslow. Technical manager James Hague says it will enable farmers to project a production ‘curve’ then check their farm’s adherence to it as the season progresses. When signing on, farmers work with SealesWinslow staff to enter basic information about the farm or do it themselves online. Essential parameters are a target production for the season, average milk fat and milk protein percentages and the number of predicted weekly calvings of cows and heifers. Others may be included. Actual milk data is provided directly from Fencepost or the other milk buyers. Using these predictions SealesWin-

“Deviations from the prediction can indicate a large amount about the nutrition of the herd, so that decisions can be made about changes to the diet.” slow staff can design a feed budget to allow farmers to meet their production goals while maintaining a healthy, profitable operation, Hague says. Feeds may include SealesWinslow products, grass silage or maize silage. Hague says the system isn’t intended as ‘set-and-forget’. If SealesWinslow nutritionists spot a deviation from predicted curves they will look into it to see what needs changing. “Deviations from the prediction can indicate a large amount about the nutrition of the herd, so that decisions can be made about changes to the diet.” Being part of the Ballance AgriNutrients group means that SealesWinslow are looking at a total solution including maximising the production

off the farm before purchased feeds are used. The company seeks to offer farmers a comprehensive tool rather than just trying to sell them feed. “We’ll look at complementing the diet with a range of our feeds to make the whole diet work.” Big-picture considerations include impact on pastures when feed is put into the system. Bringing feed onto the farm has the effect of lowering the effective stocking rate, so some changes in grassland are needed. Hague says options include making more silage, planting crops or putting extra grazing pressure on pastures through break fencing to bring pasture covers down to desired residual levels. Hague says the profitability of the

James Hague, Seales Winslow, says it offers farmers a comprehensive tool rather than just sell them feed.

system is an essential consideration for nutritionists. “What we’ve got to be very conscious of is whether the farmer is making the margin. So if a farmer spends X dollars on feed, how much is he or she getting out? Some farms in the past have put a dollar in, but have struggled to get a dollar back out.”

A module on the tracker called ‘dairy costings’ tracks the amount of feed used on the farm and its cost, and calculates the feed conversion efficiency and margin over feed and forage costs. Tel. SI: 0800 007 766, NI: 0800 287 325 www.sealeswinslow.co.nz

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

32 //  management

Mitigate stress levels of stock in transit PETER BURKE Special attention needs to be paid to cows being transported from farm to farm.

HIGH STRESS levels affect cows being trucked from farm to farm, a senior MPI vet is warning.

Richard Wild last week presented a paper to the New Zealand Veterinary Association on this subject. He told Dairy News that farmers need to be aware of this stress and

take steps to mitigate it. The paper, co-authored by Wayne Ricketts, also from NZVA, appears as many dairy cows prepare to come back to their home farms after autumn

and winter grazing. Wild urges farmers to read the transport code on animal welfare. For those not inclined to read such documents, a ‘farmer friendly’ version is on the DairyNZ website and the full document is on the MPI site. “Farmers need to be thinking about where animals are going, the distance travelled, how to best select animals fit to take the intended journey and get to the other end of the journey in the same state in which they left the farm. That’s about preparing them – making sure they are adequately rested fed and all those sort of things.” Transporting dairy cows is a bit more complicated than other categories of livestock and special attention needs to be paid to their needs. “The difference between transporting a robust beef steer and transporting an older dairy cow is quite different. Dairy cows are more vulnerable particularly if they are pregnant; guidance and rules cover transporting late-pregnant animals. Stress can bring on early calving, and calving on a truck is not a good look. Farmers need to be thinking about the stage of pregnancy those animals are in, and the journey, and whether or not it’s going to create a wel-

fare issue.” A tough question when transporting stock is ‘who is responsible for the animals and when?’ The Animal Welfare Act talks about the ‘person in charge’ (PIC) of animals – variously the person grazing the animals, the transport operator and the stock owner. Also, are stock in ‘decrepit’ condition, meaning diseased or injured? These cannot be transported without a veterinary certificate. Wild says MPI and the NZVA now have an agreement on what this standard is – a positive outcome. Irrespective of what the law says, Wild says farmers need to be aware of what the general public’s perception is on animal welfare because the public here and overseas is more interested in animal welfare issues. “It’s important that the rural community is aware of what issues drive people living in central Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch in relation to animal welfare matters. They are essentially consumers of these animal products and don’t understand farming systems. They have their own perspectives on what good welfare looks like; urban people drive the animals welfare standards and we’ve got to bear that in mind,” he says.

in brief OSPRI launched A NEW organisation formed by the merger of the Animal Health Board and NAIT started work last week. OSPRI, the national animal identification and tracing scheme, brings together existing expertise, “developing creative operational solutions for the sector,” says chief executive William McCook.  “We will continue the NAIT and TBfree New Zealand programmes for farmers, but our broader mandate presents opportunities to add value for primary industries.”  OSPRI’s work includes biosecurity and pest management strategies, use of data and further development of government/industry collaboration, McCook says.  “Both organisations have a proven track record… and there are likely to be opportunities to enhance the sector in areas such as risk management and information technology systems.”  The TBfree New Zealand and NAIT customer call centre facilities have been merged.


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Dairy News july 9, 2013

34 //  animal health

Lame cows not blasted the windows and the owner put in rubber matting at the entrance and exits,” Louw told the SIDE audience. DON’T ACCEPT a high level of But while the infrastructure lameness, even if a farm has a history changes help, big improveof the problem, delegates ments from better staff training at the South Island Dairy “It got incredibly bad: at one and stockmanship alone can be Event heard last month. point during calving we had made, he stresses. “I grew up on Southland sharea farm and you tend to assume milker Kevin Louw more cows in the lame mob people know what to do, but relayed how, with the than we had in the colostrum they don’t and you’re not there help of DairyNZ’s mob.” all the time so you’ve really got Healthy Hoof proto have buy-in by your staff so gramme and some they think the same way as you.” investment from his farm’s owner, he and follow and it started to work.” Louw says they now have a “no That was at the start of the 2011-12 and his staff have slashed foot problems from 5-10 new cases/day, to one season, his first on the 440-cow farm heads-up” rule when moving stock, near Edendale. After an assessment as a head up indicates a cow being or two a week. What’s more, those cases are visit (see sidebar) Louw’s Healthy pushed too hard. Paddock gates are opened 20 minnow caught early and cows generally Hoof provider Kristen Willis, of VetCo, highlighted a shortage of utes earlier to allow cows to make recover in a few days, whereas yard space, misuse of their own way to the shed and the previously it was weeks, or the backing gate, a backing gate’s been slowed down in the worst cases, not track bottleneck at and is only used to take up space, not at all. the shed, and dis- push cows. “It got incredThey don’t worry about cramrupted cow flow ibly bad: at one due to using a ming every last cow onto the yard point during chain behind at the start of milking anymore, and calving we had the cow in the all lame cases are recorded in detail: more cows type, date, treatment, hoof affected, end bail. in the lame Poor vis- recovery, etc. mob than A wall chart plotting the reducibility into we had the shed for tion in lame cow cases proved a great cows coming motivator for the team, showing in during day- their efforts yielding results. When light hours fur- there was a slight increase, a meetther hampered ing revealed some old habits coming Southland sharemilker cow flow, as did back in and a training refresher soon Kevin Louw. slippery concrete at got things back on track. As a sharemilker, implementthe entrance and exits. “It was dark in our ing management changes makes it shed so we easier when sitting down with the farm owner to discuss infrastructure waterimprovements, he points out. “Immediately it’s not a them-and-us situation: we’re in this together.” While there will be other management factors involved, he believes Healthy Hoof played a key role in lifting production from 168,000kgMS in 2011/12, to 186,000kgMS last year. Empties were also down from 9% to 7%. andrew swallow

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

animal health  // 35

inevitable

Shortage of yard space at the milking shed contributes to lameness.

Move early to help recovery DAIRY NZ Healthy Hoof pro-

gramme manager Anna Irwin, who presented the lameness workshop at SIDE, stressed the importance of early identification and intervention with lame cows. “Early detection is crucial to a fast recovery.” Since the programme’s launch five years ago 80 vets, technicians, consultants and extension staff have trained as healthy hoof providers and at least 400 farms have registered. Registering means a provider will be allocated to your farm to identify and suggest solutions to factors likely to be causing lameness. While the Dairy NZ tools to tackle the problem are free, the provider’s fees are paid by the farm. The provider works out an action plan with the farmer, helps develop staff skills relating to lameness, and assists the farmer in monitoring results and reaching goals set in the action plan. The action plan is revised at least annually to refresh knowledge and

introduce new staff to it. “While all farmers gain some insight into lameness on their farm, it is the farmers that have integrated the entire programme into their farming business that have seen the most improvement,” says Irwin. Besides reduced lameness, improvements in milking efficiency, staff morale and job satisfaction are also seen. Production, reproduction and other Anna Irwin animal health benefits also accrue, though quantifying them is tricky. During the SIDE workshop Irwin was asked whether nutrition is a factor. She pointed to a previous SIDE paper, presented by Lincoln University nutritionist Jim Gibbs, that shows acidosis and associated laminitis is not a problem in New Zealand’s pasture-based systems.

“We’re pretty confident that unless you’re feeding over 6kgDM/day of a high starch feed such as grain we don’t have sub clinical acidosis.” Another question was on large herds. “If cows are walking over 1.5km/day you can expect it to have an impact on lameness, but it’s not the walking that’s the problem: it’s the wear on the soles of the hoof so they become susceptible to bruising,” she explained. “There’s only 3mm of sole there, which is why I don’t like angle-grinders being used [for hoof trimming],” she added. Some large herds also have inadequate infrastructure, typically because it was built for a smaller operation and the herd’s expanded, and more farm staff, not all of whom may be trained in limiting lameness, can add to problems.

NZVA’s new president THE NEW Zealand Veterinary

practice accreditation for veteriAssociation (NZVA) has a new pres- nary practices. He says the importance of the ident. Dr Steve Merchant, a founding veterinary profession in supporting export primary director of the Pet industries, particDoctors Group, ularly in animal has been a comwelfare, biosecupanion animal and rity, antibiotic and mixed practice vet other residues, and in Auckland and increasingly in Bay of Plenty since agribusiness needs graduating from to be promoted Massey University to ”city dwellers”, in 1982.  and by implicaHe has chaired tion many decision the NZVA’s Commakers. panion Animal Steve Merchant “There is a huge Society and the challenge to ensure veterinary business group. He joined the NZVA board in we further cement the position of 2005, working on developing best veterinary practice as an exciting

career option for school leavers and undergraduates. There is a lot of work to be done to continue to attract and retain young people in rural practice, even given the great results arising from the rural veterinary bonding scheme.” The benefits to farmers of “animal wellness” also needs for emphasis, Merchant says. This involves more consultancy and advice based on wider agribusiness expertise than has been expected from the veterinary profession. “And, veterinarians are partnering with industry stakeholders in the development of the dairy and red meat strategies resulting from the government’s support via primary growth partnerships in the last two years.”

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

36 //  animal health/feed

Getting the most from supplements THE DAIRYNZ Economic Farm Survey shows that in the 2011-12 season ‘feed’ including; stock grazing, regrassing, weed and pest, run-off lease, feed inventory adjustment and owned run-off adjustment accounted for 29.5% of total operating expenses for an average owner-operator farm1.

The big ticket items were supplementary feed made, purchased or cropped ($0.80/kgMS) and stock grazing ($0.38/kgMS). Are New Zealand farmers spending too much on supplementary feed? In my opinion the answer varies from farm to farm. I have met some farmers who

could get more milk, and a greater return from their supplementary feed investment. I also have the privilege of regularly visiting some of the country’s most profitable farmers who are producing impressive returns through the strategic use of maize silage and grain. There are

some key management principles that set these

operators ahead of their peers. These farmers: 1. Maximise pasture harvested. Pasture is the lowest cost feed for most New Zealand farmers. Most of the costs associated with growing pasture are fixed. This means it costs you about the same amount for kgDM wasted as it does for every kgDM

harvested. It will never be economic to feed supplements to waste pasture. 2. Feed the most costeffective supplements. The majority of New Zealand dairy cows are lacking one thing – energy. While fancy supplements and complex rations may produce more milk, there is a high chance they will not generate as much profit as you would get by feeding the cheapest form of energy. The relative economics of supplements change between seasons. For example; increasing global demand for PKE and a falling exchange rate means in most regions contract grown maize silage is currently more competitive than PKE on a c/MJME basis.

stock are well fed and achieve growth targets but it can be very costly if your heifers fail to, or are late getting in calf because they do not meet liveweight targets. 6. Grow their own feed. There are many benefits from growing high yielding crops such as maize silage on the home farm or run-off. Generally the cost per kgDM is lower; cropping enhances the pasture renewal process and gives more control over crop harvest time. To learn more about how some leading farmers in your area are feeding maize silage visit www. pioneer.co.nz and click on ‘videos’.

Table 1: Cost of bought in maize silage2

Bought in maize silage (c/kgDM in 31.0 32.0 33.0 34.0 35.0 the stack) Cost per kgDM fed 36.3 37.4 38.6 39.8 40.0 Cost per MJME fed 3.36 3.47 3.57 3.68 3.79 Table 2: Cost of palm kernel extract3

Price per tonne 290 300 310 ($) Cost per kgDM fed 39.8 41.2 42.5 Cost per MJME fed 3.62 3.74 3.87

320 330 43.9 45.3 3.99 4.12

Note: Many NZ farmers are growing maize on their effluent paddocks for 11.6 – 15.5c/kgDM4.

Choose supplements which give them farm systems benefits. These farmers integrate the costeffective supplement they choose into their farm systems. They strategically use maize silage to increase cow condition, get more days in milk, renew pastures, reduce nitrogen leaching, etc. Minimise storage and feed-out losses. If you buy a supplement for 30.0c/kgDM and waste 10%, the cost is now 33.3c/ kgDM eaten; if you waste 30% it rises to 42.9c/ kgDM. Often infrastructure such as a feed pad can pay for itself in the medium term by reducing feedout losses and minimising pugging. 5. Invest wisely in grazing-off. This can be ‘cheap’ feed if your live-

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Lost time at calving is lost time in milking. Endometritis affects the fertility of your cows – and can cost a herd of 250 around $11,000 per season. Identifying at-risk cows and treating them with Metricure is a proven way to increase both reproductive and economic performance on your farm. So don’t cut corners after calving.

Assumes an average storage loss of 10% and a 5% loss for feeding out in bins under very good management (DairyNZ feed information poster). Average maize silage energy content is assumed to be 10.8 MJME/kgDM. 2

Assumes an average storage loss of 10% and a 10% loss for feeding out in bins under very good management (DairyNZ feed information poster). Average PKE energy content is assumed to be 11.0 MJME/ kgDM. 3

See Pioneer brand Maize for Silage 2013-14 catalogue, page 38 for a list of assumptions. 4

• Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact him at iwilliams@genetic. co.nz

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DairyNZ Economic Survey 2011-12. 1


Dairy News july 9, 2013

animal health  // 37 Research shows feeding strategies can assist in reducing N output.

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MUCH HAS been made in the

media of the costs associated with implementing the new environmental laws and, whilst there are advice sheets online regarding the planning and permit processes, little or nothing has been discussed about the role of nutrition in controlling nitrogen pollution from the dairy industry. However, there is research to show that feeding strategies and rumen stabilising supplements can assist in reducing nitrogen output and also improve productivity of the herd. As in all livestock farming, correct nutrition is essential for the animal to grow, reproduce and maintain health. Protein is a nitrogen-based nutrient required by animals for building muscle, organs, hooves, hair and connective tissue, immune function and milk protein from lactating females. However, up to 60% of consumed protein in cows can be lost in urine due to unbalanced feeding and poor rumen efficiency. To nutritionists, protein is an expensive commodity, whether it is bought in as a feedstuff or from pasture, which has fertiliser and labour costs associated with good production. In New Zealand, cows are mainly fed rye-clover pastures, which are high in sugar and protein and poor in fibre, relative to other grassland species. This can adversely affect the function of the rumen and protein availability. Rumen micro-organisms are primarily present to convert the fibrous materials into energy-rich volatile fatty acids (VFAs), which provide some 70% of the cow’s energy. They need a stable, near neutral pH to do

this efficiently. Rumen microbial activity allows the cow to live on fibrerich feedstuffs, as the host animal lacks the enzymes needed to do this. Sugars from lush, low fibre pasture are rapidly broken down in the rumen and can result in low pH conditions from the acids produced by the active bacteria. Such rumen conditions are manifested as acidosis and diarrhoea as Lucy Waldron well as the inhibition of the fibre-loving fermentation micro-organisms, which limits VFA production. This situation has an impact on the digestion of protein, as these unsuitable conditions result in ammonia production from protein material, which is then taken up into the blood and excreted, meaning that useful nitrogenous compounds are not available for the animal to use. This can impact milk nitrogen levels as well as reducing basic components needed to sustain the cow’s body and for reproduction. Research has shown that levels of excreted nitrogen, especially from urine, can be predicted from protein intake. As protein intake increases, so does urinary nitrogen output, especially once the intake level exceeds 400g of nitrogen/cow/day, or 15% protein in the feed. As many New Zealand pastures can reach 26% protein (depending on the season and weather), this is the basis of many of the problems of nitrogen pollution from cow urine. Taking the example of a rye-clover based dairy system, a 450kg cow with

11 kg dry matter intake will consume 458g of protein per day from pasture. This gives a predicted 173g of nitrogen being excreted in urine every day. However, if the same cow is supplemented with 1.6kg/ day of lower-protein palm kernel meal or maize silage, the dilution of the total protein intake and increase in fibre reduces the urine nitrogen to 143g (17% less). If 3.2kg of palm kernel meal or maize silage is fed, this drops further to 118g nitrogen – a saving of 32% in excretion. Multiply these numbers by your herd size, and the environmental savings soon stack up. Although these are simple examples, and do not offer fully balanced diets, the point is that nitrogen output can be reduced, and the increase in fibre in the rumen will help make more nitrogenous compounds available to the cow, rather than being lost immediately as urine. In addition, such changes can stabilise rumen function by the introduction of fibre, and hence improve energy production. Essentially, optimising feeding of dairy cows can not only limit nitrogen pollution, but can also increase the cow’s productivity. • Dr Lucy Waldron runs independent nutrition consultancy and research business, LWT Animal Nutrition, Feilding, which caters for all species domestically and internationally. Prior to 2005 she worked for various specialist feed companies worldwide

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

38 //  calving

Too costly to get wrong CALF REARING CONCEPTS

CALVING IS one of busiest times of the year on farm, and one of the most crucial to get right as it sets the scene for the following season and any replacements kept have a huge impact on productivity and profitability. A successful calving is tight, with the majority of the herd calved within four weeks, but that brings a challenge each morning to match calves born

overnight to their correct mother – who may or may not be with their calf. It can be a costly mistake if done wrong, says Geoff Corbett, LIC’s diagnostics manager. Corbett manages the dairy farmer cooperative’s GeneMark division, which provides farmers with the most accurate way of confirming and recording an animal’s ancestry through DNA analysis.

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In New Zealand, the rate of mis-mothering calves is around 25-30%, and often more, a large cost to the farmer over time, Geoff says. “GeneMark reduces the hassle and stress during calving, saving the farmer time and money, and allowing them to focus on all the other jobs that need doing at this busy time. With DNA parentage, it’s as simple as taking a

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small tissue sample (with a sample-punch provided) from an ear of each calf, and GeneMark will do the rest. “With this sample we can accurately identify the calf’s dam and sire, and the farmer can have confidence in that result for their records and ensuring they only keep the highest BW animals,” Corbett says. The DNA samples are

collected at the end of calving, which some farmers choose to do while the calves are anaesthetised for de-horning. During his time at GeneMark, Corbett has seen results from farmers who

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Waikato sharemilker, Gordon Thomson, takes DNA samples from his calves while they are anaesthetised.

had originally thought their parent matching systems worked well, but were proved wrong by the DNA analysis. “If more farmers knew the figures on mis-mothering calves in New Zealand they’d realise they can’t afford to be making this mistake. It is the basic of farming. But as farms

thing so much easier.” DNA parentage verification of calves was launched by LIC in 2003, and moved to new G3 technology in 2009. G3 uses much more advanced technology and provides more precise results. “G3 only has about a 1:330,000 chance of pro-

“GeneMark makes it much easier, allowing the farmer to reduce reliance on extra labour.” and herds grow so do costs and the need to ensure maximum profit from every cow and every hectare. “GeneMark makes it much easier, allowing the farmer to reduce reliance on extra labour and providing accurate herd records to enable the right decisions every time to maximise their herd’s future genetic gain and profitability. “It ensures farmers get their payback from the money they have spent on AB, and they consistently tell us how much they love it because it makes every-

viding an incorrect dam or sire match purely by chance and this allows us to provide exceptional matching power in some of the largest NZ dairy herds,” Corbett says. “I would welcome any farmer keen to learn more about the science to tour the GeneMark laboratory in Hamilton.” Find out more about GeneMark and DNA parentage verification, and hear from other farmers who use this service. www.lic.co.nz.

• This article first appeared in Getting the Basics Right 2011 issue.


Dairy News july 9, 2013

calving  // 39

Careful rearing should attract buyers next year NEWBORN CALVES

are vulnerable. Giving them a good start ensures they quickly grow strong and are robust, wherever they end up, says DairyNZ. Good care of replacement heifer calves is a good investment: ensuring the strength of the calves you sell to rearers should bring them back as buyers next year. Bobby calves for veal require equal care; although their lives are brief, unless they are well cared for they will not withstand the stress of transport to the processing plant. Calf pick-up practices Good husbandry starts the moment the calf is picked up from the paddock. Observe carefully that you have the right cow and calf; as many as 15% of cows and calves get mixed up. Older cows steal calves from heifers, so you may think she has had twins while in fact the newlycalved cow is missed, and you don’t know until you find a group of empty dry cows still in the paddock at the end of calving. Spray the calf’s navel at pick-up and again when you weigh it at the calf shed. This is especially important when calving conditions are muddy, or contaminated with dung, such as when calving on stand-off or housing facilities. The navel is the remnant of the large blood vessels that connected calf and cow, and it can take several days for it to seal fully. Spraying the navel provides a barrier to bacteria that could get in and cause navel ill (hard swollen navel, abscess formation and fever with loss of appetite) or joint ill (blood-borne bacteria invade the joints causing crippling arthritis). A general purpose iodine spray such as teat spray is fine; keep a handpump spray bottle in the tool-box of the quad during calving as well as at the calf shed.

Colostrum Colostrum protects calves against common diseases early in life until their own immune system starts to operate effectively. Calves that do not get enough colostrum are ill-thrifty and do not grow well. While some eventually catch up, any early disease is a serious knockback to development. Ideally calves must receive fresh colostrum within the first six hours of life to be sure of protection. They should also be fed colostrum for at least the first four days because it has higher energy content and is more digestible. For most calves this means 1.5-2L twice daily for up to four days. Even though you might think calves left with their dams would get enough colostrum, in one New Zealand study where calves were left on cows for 24 hours, about a third did not get enough colostrum. The best insurance against poor colostrum absorption is to pick up calves twice a day and, if they do not look well-fed or if conditions are cold and wet (hypothermic), give them 1.5-2L of warm colostrum, by stomach tube if necessary. Weather protection and housing Calves not with their dams must be given shelter to stay warm and dry. In dry conditions Jersey calves can maintain body heat at temperatures around 10°C while Holstein-Friesian calves can tolerate temperatures down to 5°C; but if it is windy or raining then wind chill will lead to hypothermia even at warmer temperatures. For most of New Zealand during spring, this means providing housing for calves for at least the first 2-4 weeks of life after which they can be kept in sheltered paddocks, but might still be susceptible to hypothermia during storms.

Housing areas need to be well maintained with no leaks in the roof and

no cold draughts. Calves should have to page 41

Good husbandry starts the moment the calf is picked up from the paddock.


Dairy News july 9, 2013

40 //  calving duty of care MEETING THE needs of bobby calves is underpinned by an Animal Welfare Act 1999 ‘duty of care’ on persons managing livestock – farmers, truckers and processors. At least, calves need a warm, sheltered environment and regular feeding to meet their

welfare needs while in your care. Once they leave the farm, though every effort will be made to transport and process them quickly, bobby calves may sometimes be on the truck for 12 hours or more. Or the nearest processing plant may be full and

animals diverted to other sites, further increasing the time spent in transit. Although many processing plants give priority to ‘at risk’ stock, such as those transported long distances, there are times where calves are held overnight.

Caring about bobby calves IT IS important all calves

are treated well, not just the calves you are planning to keep as replacements, says DairyNZ. Bobby calves need equal care even though their lives are short and their value often small. It is important all animals are well cared for so our industry maintains its reputation for working at the highest standards of animal husbandry and welfare. Selecting bobby calves for transport

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

calving  // 41

Careful rearing should attract buyers next year from page 39

comfortable bedding that is clean and dry. Ventilation is important because as urine and dung accumulate, ammonia is released. This causes coughing and runny noses and eyes. Fortunately people and calves are similarly sensitive to the effects of ammonia. If you can smell it and find it burning your nose or eyes, you can be sure the calves are also having problems. There is one small trick – ammonia is heavier than air so it accumulates close to the ground. Get down on your hands and knees at calf level to do the ‘sniff test’. Provide clean drinking water at all times Many people think calves get enough water from milk; not so. Water is especially important when rearing systems use concentrated milk; but all calves fed meal and straw need water over and above the liquid they get from milk. Growth rates will be higher when good water is available. Health care Young calves are affected by various diseases; most common are navel-ill and scours. Use an identification system such as a colourcoded neck band to identify any calf you suspect may be getting sick. Even if you don’t immediately treat the calf, it will be easier to find your potential problem at your next inspection. Use a notebook to record all treatments. Calves are affected rapidly by sickness so check them twice daily for signs of ill-health. This is easiest done at feeding time because appetite loss is an early sign that a calf is becoming sick. If you only feed once a day you will need to spend time observing what is going on in the calf pens. A healthy calf has: ■■ Good appetite; ■■ Normal posture and behaviour: look

for calves that are depressed or lethargic, with less movement ■■ A moist cool nose without discharge ■■ Alert and responsive ears – watch for droopy ears ■■ Shiny supple coat ■■ Steady respiration rate: about 50 breaths/min in the first 2 weeks, reducing to about 40 breaths/ min by 5 weeks old ■■ Normal temperature: about 38°C; above 39.5°C is likely to be a fever and indicates infection ■■ A small dry navel: be suspicious of any calf with a navel thicker than your finger, or if it reacts when you feel the area because it is painful. Use your eyes, ears and nose to look for scours. Watch calves from behind as they feed – often while they are drinking, they ‘let go’. Tails should be dry and swinging from side to side as they drink and the backs of their hocks should be clean. Identify any calf you are suspicious of, and check it again at your next visit. Scours may be a sign of digestive upset from over-feeding or poor quality milk replacer. If a large number of calves are affected suddenly, then the problem is most likely related to feeding. Infectious causes of scours usually build up more gradually over several days. Scouring calves should be put into quarantine to reduce the likelihood of disease spreading to other calves. But remember you can carry the infection on your hands, boots and overalls. So in a disease outbreak you need good biosecurity measures: change clothes, wash hands and disinfect or change your boots as you move between different groups. If scouring becomes severe, calves will dehydrate rapidly. To assess

hydration, pinch up the skin on the neck, and if it is slow to return to position the calf is likely to be dehydrated. Any scouring calf, especially if dehydrated, needs frequent feeding with an

Calves must be fed well.

electrolyte solution. Dehydration in itself is debilitating and can lead to bacteria leaking through the gut wall and into the bloodstream resulting in blood poisoning and severe disease.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

42 //  calving

Are your heifers on target? Lesley Irvine

HEIFERS THAT reach target weight by calving will produce more milk, are more likely to getin-calf, and so are more likely to have a longer, more productive life in the milking herd. At a cost of A$1300$1500 (excluding labour) to rear a heifer to pointof-calving, a ‘typical’ loss

of 30% of heifers from the herd before their second lactation is very expensive to a business. To assist farmers in assessing their heifer management program, Dairy Australia has developed the Heifers on Target campaign. Benefits of achieving target weights: ■■ Improved heifer fertility – the InCalf project determined the

■■

percentage of heifers calving in the first six weeks with a precalving liveweight of less than 400 kg was 79% compared to those heifers which calved at over 440kg in which about 90% calved in the first six weeks. First calver fertility – heifer pre-calving liveweight also has a flow-on effect to the next calving. A third

■■

of heifers with a precalving liveweight of less than 400kg were late calvers at their second calving. Production – an extra 1.6 kg/MS is produced for each extra kg of liveweight achieved by the first calving (this is over the first three lactations). While this may not appear to be a lot, if you rear 100 heifers each year

■■ Longevity – the heifers are weighed, their and they average 30kg growth can be monitored below target weight, percentage of second against targets as they this is 4800kg milk calvers to first calvers grow. solids. should be greater than ■■ Longevity – heifers that What if heifers are not 85% and the percentage of the herd that is in the reach target liveweights weighed? Monitoring heifer age range of 4-8 years are more likely to get weights on a regular old should be greater back in-calf earlier in basis is the ‘gold than 50%. the mating period and Where to start will have higher Most farmers milk production There isn’t only a are aware of the making them financial benefit to your benefits, and less likely to be business in achieving recognise the culled. importance, of What is the target heifer target liveweights, there is also a really big achieving target weight? liveweights with The target is ‘feel-good’ factor when heifers but there for heifers to be at you see a well-grown are still many 85% of the mature that don’t assess cow liveweight by group of heifers. how well they point-of-calving. standard’ within a heifer are doing in this area. For example, at the TIA program as it allows Dairy Australia have Dairy Research Facility you to be proactive with put together a number of the majority of the young management – if they are calculators, in addition stock are Friesian Jerseyunder target at weighing, to the one previously cross with a mature cow mentioned, to help you liveweight target of 500kg. the feed program can be adjusted to increase assess and manage your This means that by heifers. point-of-calving, the cross- growth rates. However, there These are all bred heifers should weigh available on the Dairy 425kg. There are still some are a number of other benchmarks that can be Australia website (www. straight Friesians within used to assess a heifer dairyaustralia.com.au). the herd and these have rearing This next season, make a mature cow liveweight system: heifers a priority in your target of 600kg which ■■ Age at first calving – business, and start now means that Friesian by benchmarking your heifers will have a target of target 24 months, if it heifers’ performance 510kg by point-of calving. takes longer than 27 using one or more of the Dairy Australia has months to get a heifer measures listed above. produced a number of to target weight it is an There isn’t only a calculators as part of the additional cost to the See your local rural retailer financial benefit to your Heifers on Target program business and indicates business in achieving and one of these will that there is room for today or view at heifer target liveweights, produce a monthly target improvement. www.skellerup.co.nz ■■ Heifer fertility – 70% there is also a really big liveweight graph so, if ‘feel-good’ factor when of heifers should be you see a well-grown calved within three group of heifers join the weeks of the planned milking herd, produce well start of calving and 95% New Zealand and get back in-calf. should be calved within Manufacturers & Visit http://www. six weeks. suppliers of: ■■ First lactation heifer dairyaustralia.com.au/ • Unmetered drench systems heifersontarget to book fertility – target is a your place in a free two6-week in-calf rate of • Metered drench systems hour interactive session, 60% and a 21-week not • Teat spray systems or to access the Heifers on in-calf rate of 6%. ■■ Production – first Target calculators. • Lesley Irvine is a dairy lactation heifers’ production should be at advisor at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture least 85% of that of the Dairy Centre. mature cows.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

calving  // 43

New gadget links Peach Teats to feeders FARMERS WHO want

to use Peach Teats in an existing pull-through calf feeder are getting good news from Skellerup. They now come with the usual features and advantages and no compromise on cleaning or need to cut the teats off for replacement. This is because of the teats’ EasyFit adaptors, launched this month by Skellerup. These allow Peach Teats to be fitted to all feeders with 20 mm holes. Made of tough nylon

for durability, the adaptors have a self-locking nut which secures to the inside of the feeder automatically, and they can be easily fitted. That means rearers can now screw Peach Teats onto their existing feeders, remove them for cleaning and make them last longer. Skellerup national manager Perry Davis says it was a case of listening to what farmers wanted and coming up with a solution. “Over the years we have had a lot of enqui-

ries from people who want to fit Peach Teats to calf feeders with holes, but no threads. “Peach Teats can be pulled through these holes, but once in place they have to be cut off like

the original teats to be replaced, and they are difficult to clean thoroughly while still fitted to the feeder. “Our challenge was to find a simple, practical cost-effective solution to

this problem, and we think farmers will be happy with the outcome.” Peach Teat EasyFit adaptors are available in boxes of 50 (teats are sold separately).

Stage One

Stage Two

Get calves off to a good start TO SET a dairy cow up for a long, productive life you must give her the best possible start, says DairyNZ. Extra effort now will pay dividends throughout her milking life. Well grown heifers make more successful milking cows, and growing them well starts from the day they are born. Checking the cow rumen function is essential. Make sure calves are digesting solid feed before removing liquid feed from their diet. Calves also need to be weaned onto pasture. Wean calves at target weight ■■ Achieving a measured target weight is more effective than using age or guesswork. ■■ Weaning weight will depend on the rearing system used. Friesian calves reared on restricted milk and ad lib meal system can be weaned at a minimum of 63kg. Calves reared on a high milk system can be weaned at a minimum of 75-80kg. Keep feeding meal ■■ Once on pasture, provide them with up to 2kg/head of meal daily. Reduce this over the next few months. ■■ Check weights after a few weeks ■■ Occasionally weaners will not thrive on the new feeding regime and will need continued access to meal. Weaned calf feeding ■■ Need 15-16% crude protein (CP); ideally 20% CP. ■■ Most if not all commercial supplements should supply 18-20% CP. ■■ Alternative mixes (plus fresh pasture and minerals and vitamins (bovatec).  Soya is the best source of protein, due to the amino acid profile. Other protein resources can be used: ■■ 80% kibbled maize; 20% soybean ■■ 60% barley or maize; 30% PKE; 10% soybean.

Fiber Fresh feeds are about practicality and the simple premise that you cannot prepare a calf for grass, which after all is fibre, by feeding a non-fibre product. Scientific research and the culmination of years of trials have shown HNF Fiber® is essential to allow a calf to go from milk reliance to thriving and growing on pasture.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

44 //  machinery & products

Dispenser expert offers lightning turnaround tony hopkinson

SINGH’S ENGINEERING Services, manufacturers of the Se-Tech line of inline dispensers, had two new products on display at the National Fieldays. These were the transport case and a manifold/sub-frame assembly, simplifying installation of the dispenser. Se-Tech inline dispensers are used to dose water soluble chemicals, minerals and nutrients into water lines, reducing or eliminating the requirement to drench whilst ensuring stock health is maintained. The dispensers use no electricity and are powered by water flow at pressures of between 10 and 210psi. They can be mounted wherever convenient, generally on the walls of farm dairies or pump sheds, where chemicals are readily to hand for the dispenser. Annual servicing is recommended to

maintain accuracy. “We service dispensers from all over New Zealand and offer a sameday and even while-you-wait turnaround (if booked ahead). Our focus is on maximising availability of the unit to the farmer,” says general manager of Singh’s Engineering Services, Hurb Singh. Farmers have traditionally used a variety of materials to pack and send the dispensers to the Hamilton factory for servicing. To simplify shipping, Singh’s Engineering have released a lightweight, rigid, reusable transport case, which accommodates all sizes of Se-Tech dispensers. Units are pinned into it and lock firmly into place. “The cases save a lot of transit damage, time wasting and due to their light weight and rigidity, are cheaper to ship than most other packaging options.”

Singh’s Engineering Service salesman Richard Suhr with the transport base (above) at the National Fieldays. The new manifold (left) for mounting dispensers.

Singh’s Engineering Services offer a 20% discount on the cases when ordered with a service. Meanwhile, available for the first time at the National Fieldays, was Singh’s latest development for mounting and alignment of the dispenser and manifold assembly. The manifold with integral align-

ment bracket simplifies installation as it allows the dispenser and manifold to be initially hung from a single pivot. This ensures levelling, mounting and then connection of the installation to the water supply is achieved quickly and efficiently. As the manifold is a structural member of the sub-frame, rigid joints to existing pipework can be made without concern for movement or flexing. “Removal of the dispenser for servicing is simplified – just undo the

mounting screws and manifold clamps to remove the dispenser. When replacing, reverse this procedure and the subframe locates the dispenser and the manifold even before bolting into place. Everything maintains alignment, ensuring sealing and maximum dispenser life” says Hurb. The pictured model is for the 50mm (2” B.S.P.) dispenser and manifold: a 32mm version is under development at present. Tel. 07 849 3108 www.setech.co.nz

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

machinery & products  // 45

Swivel option adds flexibility to loader bucket gareth gillatt

WANTING TO avoid driving on hillsides while clearing surface drains, Kaiawa dairy farmer Paul Toft hit on an idea for an attachment to swivel his front loader bucket 23.5 degrees to left or right in the vertical plane. The Swivel Tach, as called in its commercial guise, was launched by Fieldmaster at National Fieldays. Two hydraulic rams driven by an extra hydraulic system enable the movement while keeping the bucket steady under pressure. Toft says he was doing the job with a shovel and wondered if there was a way to do it with the loader. “Initially I just welded a couple of attachments to the side of the bucket but then I wanted to do the other side so it went from there.” Once he had the concept worked out in his head he advanced by trial and error to put together something

that worked. An offer of $4000 worth of steel for $200 made the project possible. “I’d have never made it if it wasn’t for that.” At first he had no plans to commercialise the product – it was just a useful attachment for on-farm use. Then Fieldmaster spoke to him about commercialising it. Fieldmaster marketing manager Rachel Stock says the company’s chief engineer, Rudolf Vorschezang, told them about the loader. “We are always open to looking at new innovations.” The Swivel Tach is a face plate which mounts between the loader and the attachment and Toft says it works with all his existing implements. He has since found a wide range of uses for a tilting front-end loader bucket, including picking up hay bales on an incline and pouring precise amounts of meal and feed into bins and feed trailers. With a load capacity of 1 ton the

unit is incredibly sturdy, he says. And he and Fieldmaster engineers have tested it extensively. “I’ve had it on my tractor constantly for several years and I have done almost everything with it. “I can put a ton weight on and twist it easily, so if I’m driving along and I come to a slope I can just twist it to keep the load level.” Though sturdy the mount doesn’t add a lot of weight to the loader. “Four men can lift it easily. We had to carry it into the innovation tent [at Fieldays] because they couldn’t let machinery in there.” Because of the huge variety of front end loader widths and attachment mounts the Swivel Tach is built to customer’s order. “There are different loader widths so when dealers take an order they will take details and we will engineer the product to that.”

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Step-by-step automation gareth gillatt

DAIRY FARMERS

looking to future-proof their milking systems will be able to do it in instalments using new products from GEA Farm Technologies, says area sales manager Mike Prendergast. The global dairy specialist at National Fieldays launched its new Milfos iCORE automatic cup remover, which complements its iCR automated cup remover system. The new system is said to be as affordable and easy to install and use as the iCR cup removal system, and it offers upgrades to grow a milking system as required, says Prendergast. “Basically it is the first step toward having a fully automated milking point management system. It’s the first building block in a modular system that you can add any number of tools to.” Added functions include integrated onplatform teat spray

control, optional flow controlled variable pulsation with stimulation and a new ‘heads down’ display upgrade for the company’s iPUD, a multifunction device positioned between the cows legs which acts

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as a leg separator, cluster alignment tool and a post milking teat spraying device. Prendergast says the recently added HDD has integrated spotlights which make it easy for operators to check teat condition or identify abnormalities in the milk. The HDD also displays alerts to the operator depending on the status of the milking point. Alerts are given for kick offs and

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

46 //  machinery & products

Productive season for baler/wrapper THE HEENAN family in

Mossburn, Southland have several dairy farms that total 1600ha and support 1800 cows. Denis Heenan does the baling for the operation. The farms use a lot of pit silage but also need 7000 bales each season. That’s where the McHale Fusion II baler/wrapper comes in. “It’s a good, reliable bit of gear. My wife calls it ‘the mistress’ as I’m

Mike (left) and Denis Heenan like everything about their Fusion II baler, from its stability on slopes to its drop floor and slick netwrap system.

always with it and never home on a sunny day.” Baleage gives the family the flexibility to ensile the grass or crop when it’s at the highest quality. They also grow specialised crops such as lucerne, a red clover mix and whole crop barley, which all go through the McHale. Barley straw is also baled later in the season. The baler comes out of the shed in mid-October

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for the dairy platform. Last season it didn’t go back in again until mid-May. “We wouldn’t normally do that but we had to last year as feed was short. It was wet stuff and the baler did well to bale it.” Heenan says the Fusion II is easy to operate. “It’s set up pretty simple and it’s a job I enjoy doing. I would definitely get another McHale.” Heenan pulls the McHale with a 165hp or 185hp tractor. “It’s a lot of weight and you need that power, especially on the hills. The low centre of gravity keeps it stable and it follows the contours well.” The baler has its own console in the cab, and Heenan has set up cameras so he can see what’s happening with the wrapper. The Fusion II has a 2.0m pick-up and the driver can choose whether or not to engage the knives. Heenan only uses knives for bales for the dairy platform. If anything clogs there is a drop floor, operated from the cab. “I always get a few blockages but it is an operator problem, not the machine. The problem is usually the guy on the V-rake, creating lumps and throwing one row into another. The odd rock has got into the baler. It has a slip clutch so if you hit a rock, it starts slipping and you stop it and drop the floor.”

The Fusion II has a fixed chamber that produces bales 1.25m2. The pressure is variable but Heenan always uses high pressure to produce dense bales. “We try to make them as heavy as we can. They’re at least 250kg of dry matter.” Heenan also likes the Fusion II’s netwrap system. “They’ve put a lot of thought into it and it’s very simple to use and to change rolls. There’s a self-greasing cartridge that takes care of most maintenance and the rest is easy to get at.” He can’t see any disadvantage in a combined baler/wrapper. “We consistently do 50 bales an hour. Some peoples say that’s the downfall of a combi wrapper but to do more than 50, you’d have to be flat out and what’s the life of the machine if you do that? Our priority is the quality of the grass and we don’t see the speed of wrapping as an issue. “A distinct advantage is having one less labour unit and one less tractor on the job. In addition, once you’ve finished the paddock you don’t have to go back.” The McHale Fusion II arrived last season from Power Farming Southland, who service the machine when needed – that’s not often. “We’ve only seen them for the winter service. Nothing’s gone wrong and we haven’t needed a call-out.”

Canterbury A&P Show entries TRADE EXHIBITION space for the 2013 Can-

terbury A&P Show is now open and bookings are mounting from returning 2012 exhibitors, the organisers say. Income from trade exhibition space is ahead of target for 2013, the confirmed exhibitors already up 6% on last year based on end-June numbers. “This is an outstanding result considering the bumper year we had in 2012 with the 150th anniversary celebrations,” says Canterbury A&P Show event director Geoff Bone. “Canterbury A&P Show attracts about 100,000 visitors each year… a fantastic opportunity for businesses to promote their brand, generate sales and connect with consumers.” The event will run November 13-15 at Canterbury Agricultural Park in Christchurch.


Dairy News july 9, 2013

machinery & products  // 47

In-shed system lifts yield GARETH GILLATT

AN in-shed feed system is said to have boosted production by 35,000kgMS on Trevor Pilton’s Wharepuhunga, King Country, farm. Trevor and his wife Kristine began feeding meal on their 110ha, 340 cow dairy farm in 2011 because they decided the cows were not performing to their full genetic capa-

bilities. “We were spending enough on AB and stuff like that. I knew the production [potential] was there, and we needed to get a meal feeder in to unlock it.” The effects were instant, he says. Production rose from 97,000kgMS in the 2010-2011 season to 133,000kgMS in 20112012. And production rose further this season when Pilton introduced BLM’s Sustain mix to milkers.

In January the farm’s production was 12% ahead of the previous season in January and the herd had produced 121,000kgMS on April 11, 1% more than in the previous season. Pilton puts this gain down to the blend of ingredients in the Sustain mix which includes wheat, oats, pea pollard, DDGS, PKE, calcium and magnesium. He says this combination of ingredients and adjustments through the

season meant cows were getting exactly what they needed when they needed it. “The benefits were production, closer calving dates, lots of things.” All his herd had almost finished calving, seven weeks after they started without the use of CIDRs or inductions. “Basically there were 10 cows left to calve after seven weeks. I have noticed that meal brought everything closer together.

That’s the name of the game isn’t it, to get everything over and done with.” Preferential delivery times were adhered to. “Being a BLM Gold Club Member I received preferential delivery. BLM was always able to deliver my custom blend quickly even when some of the ingredients were in short supply.” Before Pilton installed

the in-shed system cows had access to an in-shed molasses lick balls and maize fed in a paddock. The system cost of $52,000 is said to have been well covered by almost 40,000kgMS higher production in the first year and 20,000kgMS on top of that this year. Tel. 0800 300 313 www.blmfeeds.co.nz

Trevor Pilton

Postdriver with many uses GARETH GILLATT

REVOLUTION POSTDRIVERS’ new Swinga, though designed

for landscaping and vineyard work, is a durable machine with many more applications, says Tom Dingle, foreman of T. G. White Fencing. The company released the Swinga at National Fieldays, promising flexibility and movement greater even than achievable with the Telescopic 180 post driver launched in 2003. Operators can swing the mast in a 220 degree arc and extend the base at least 500mm with 600mm sideshift. What’s more, Dingle says, this can be done while the operator is still on the tractor – great for safety when working along the sides of hills. The Revolution team had plenty of opportunity to test it out in the field in their fencing business, says Dingle. Revolution owners Tony and Debbie White have operated T. G.

White Fencing for 25 years. Tony designed the Telescopic 180 and new Swinga while out on the fence line. Field testing was rigorous, the Swinga being hammered almost every day for four years before manufacturing began. It had at least 5000 hours use. “It’s always on the back of the tractor and either Tony or I are using it,” Dingle says. “It’s done a fair bit of hard work; we’ve given it a bit of abuse and it stood the pressure well.” The Fieldays site showed the prototype Swinga, suitably sandblasted, painted and greased for the occasion. “It doesn’t normally need to be regreased, and the plastic doesn’t need to replaced or reshimmed; it’s low maintenance.” First designed for landscaping and vineyard work, in tight spaces, the Swinga worked out more versatile than first thought, Dingle says. “It’s done a lot of banging strainers through metal pads… in cattleyards, on retaining walls,

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everything.” On fencelines along hills they use the driver for extra balancing weight and set it down in a stable position before getting off the tractor to drive the post. The machine ‘packs’ down to 3.5m high from a full working height of 4.5m – “quite small and able to sit behind the rear wheels.” It comes standard with a contractor post cap, post and strainer puller and the option of adding an auger kit. Power requirement is 70hp. Tel. 09 292 8063 www.revolutionpostdrivers.co.nz

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

48 //  machinery & products

New products offer easily absorbed minerals GARETH GILLATT

FARMERS looking for an easily absorbable source of nitrogen and magnesium that can help reduce leaching problems have two new liquid options, says Nitrosol marketing manager Aidan Lett. The company released two new liquid fertiliser products at National Fieldays: a nitrogen product called Nitrogen Extra and a magnesium fertiliser called Magsulphate Extra. Formulated from a range of natural and synthetic products, Aidan Lett the nitrogen supplement has an with a balanced fertiliser programme, advantage over solid urea-based products in that part of it is taken up the farmer will be able to reduce useage quickly by the foliage of the grass. “With incrementally over time.” Lett says the product aids growth of solid-based products they sit on the ground for a while, are slow to be taken mineral rich pasture which can result in healthier stock. up and can leach into the ground. This is especially so when used with “With the liquid there’s a great uptake into the foliage and a pretty good uptake the company’s new Magsulphate extra as part of a balanced Nitrosol fertiliser into the soil as well.” While Nitrogen Extra worked out programme. It is designed to increase the more expensive than traditional urea presence of dietary cation anion differin the short term, Lett says farmers ence in the soil, and can help to reduce would be able to apply it at lower rates the risk of conditions such as facial and get the same effect and potentially eczema, Lett says. even reduce the amount of fertiliser they Tel. 0800 80 30 60 use over a long period. “When it is used www.nitrosol.co.nz

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Dual and triple auger feed wagons GARETH GILLATT

GILTRAP announced the New

Zealand launch of two mixer wagons at National Fieldays. The firm released the NDE 2556, 2656, & 2806 dual vertical mixer wagons, as well as the triple auger 3806 to meet the larger requirements of farmers and cope with changing supplements. With a capacity of 20.16m3 for the 2556 model, 24.49m3 for the 2656, 27.75m3 for the 2806, & 42.11m3 for the 3806 the new NDE models offer much greater capacity

than the company’s single auger models. This capacity can be boosted with a 0.3m3 extension which lifts the units capacity by around 4m3. However, the large capacity doesn’t mean that users will need to wait long before feeds are mixed, says NDE factory representative Ron Weiss. “If you’re mixing hay or silage then its mixed within a few seconds of being put in the machine, if you’re using baleage or uncut hay then it will take longer.” Weiss says the combination of good design in the tub including auger

and clever use of 24 inch carbide knives makes cutting/mixing an easy process. Engineers have removed as many corners as possible from the sides of the feeder to help improve the flow of the feed with an innovative step floor increasing the efficiency of the mixing process. The step floor allows augers to work in conjunction with each other to transfer material front to back as well as top to bottom. This has proven so effective that the designers have increased the distance between the floors in the dual auger models allowing for a bit

more capacity. Because of the large door, full feeders can be unloaded in two minutes or less, says Weiss. The larger capacity mixers only require 130 – 200 hp tractors to mix, tow and distribute feed. “That will do the job for just about any type of mixing. These are not power hungry machines; they cut like a saw unlike flails which pound material.” With heights of 3m Weiss says most farmers shouldn’t have too many difficulties getting mixer wagons into Herd Homes or feed barns but may need to make some alterations to their loading areas to get ingredients into mixer. Tel. 0800 804 458 www.giltrapeng.co.nz

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

machinery & products  // 49

Drought triggers closer look at silage feeding DROUGHT HAS prompted many more farmers to look hard at how they handle and feed silage, says equipment supplier Webbline. Sales manager Glen Malcolm says good numbers of dairy farmers and sharemilkers looked at BvL mixer wagons and silage block cutters on the company’s National Fieldays site. “The result of the drought and the New Zealand-wide feed shortage has made farmers take a good look at how they handle their silage, both at the stack face and how its fed out,” says Malcolm. Many farmers looked at the BvL Topstar silage block cutter, said to have sold well in months. Branxholme dairy farmer Nelson Pyper is one such buyer. He is reported as saying that, whereas a traditional silage cutter grabs, digs in and drags feed away from the stack, the BvL Topstar makes a clean downward slice from the top of the stack, preventing air from getting into the remaining silage. “With this type of action there is no levering action on the loader, resulting in almost zero wastage on the stack face. Plus it’s a lot easier on the loader.” Central Southland dairy farmer Maurice Dodd agrees, Webbline says. “The BvL Topstar is a lot easier on the tractor and loader. It causes none of the wear and tear common with the [old] silage grab. “We used to have to ‘tease’ the silage out of the stack with the loader, moving the loader back and forth to get a decent grab full. Also, now we are getting no re-heating issues at the stack face, which is greatly reducing any losses.” Malcolm says the BvL brand’s rep-

utation is rising in New Zealand. “BvL was one of the first companies in the mixer market in the 1970s and is now a leading German brand. “The build quality is exceptional, and more importantly the mixing time is greatly reduced when compared to many other machines. This is due to BvL’s auger design which tends to force a portion of the mix to the bottom of the mixer, resulting in less spillage over the top and a fast consistent mix.” Southland dairy grazier, Greg Drummond says his BvL V-Mix is “much faster mixing than other mixers I have used. Also I am mixing a high straw ratio and it does this quickly without throwing the straw out of the top of the machine.” Dipton dairy farmer Louis English

Nelson Pypers perfect bunker, thanks to his BvL Topstar.

took delivery of a new BvL V-Mix 20 at the start of winter. “Compared to our old method of layering the silage and straw in the feedout wagon, the BvL has improved our operation no-end.” Malcolm says BvL’s flexible approach allows it to “tailor a mixer to suit any particular farms requirements. “And BvL now has a new feed management software package that sends live updates back to a computer on what has been fed into the mixer. This is especially important for farmers who have several properties and/ or staff, providing them real-time data on what and how much the cows are getting to eat.” Tel. 0800 932 254 www.webbline.co.nz

Five Rivers farmer Greg Drummond checking progress on his V-Mix 20.

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Dairy News july 9, 2013

50 //  machinery & products

Tractor powerful, not too technical AUCKLAND

Luke Hughes with his Kubota M135GX.

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FARM manager Luke Hughes didn’t know much about Kubota tractors when the farm bought its first one, a M125X, several years ago but now he is sold on the brand and recently helped buy a new M135GX, reports the New Zealand distributor. Hughes milks 330 cows on 175ha at Drury. “We trialed quite a few tractors originally. We were after something with a lot of power but not too technical with things that could go wrong.” “There was so much difference in the power we got out of the M125X, compared to our previous tractor. It has so much more torque and grunt. We were really happy with it and we wanted to step up to the new M135GX.” Hughes compared the Kubota M125X with another tractor pulling his chicken manure spreader.

He says the Kubota’s power was far superior. “After running the M125X I was keen to get another Kubota. We went to the Kubota Roadshow at Norwood Farm Machinery Centre in Pukekohe late last year. We saw the M135GX tractor that we ended up buying. It wasn’t in the field and I couldn’t test it so they flew me to Palmerston North the week after to drive it.” Hughes likes the front suspension because “it’s smooth in the paddock. It gives you a 360° view from the inside of the cabin without the side pillars on the doors, and the lighting is much better,” he says. “It also has a smoother engine with more torque; it’s like a completely different tractor from the M125X. Kubota has stepped it up and upgraded everything. All the dials on

the dash are user friendly and there’s so much more head room and foot room. “The power is awesome. It doesn’t struggle with the manure spreader we have on the back. It does everything we want it to do. The Work Cruise button gives it an extra power boost.” Hughes’ M135GX is used for general farm work, feeding out, maize and manure spreading. “It has the extra hydraulic bank on it, and the hydraulics are superior to other tractors. It’s a nice upgrade going from the M125X to the M135GX,” he says. “But you don’t notice the difference between them until you step in and out of them on a regular basis.” Kubota tractors are imported to New Zealand by C B Norwood Distributors Ltd.

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Kia’s ranking rises KIA MOTORS is now ranked

in the world’s top ten automotive brands for quality, the company says. A JD Power and Associates’ 2013 initial quality study (IQS) shows Kia’s quality gains outpaced the industry average, giving the brand its best-ever score, ahead of some European and Japanese brands. The IQS is in its 27th year. Every year international auto analyst surveys new car buyers on any issues

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in the first 90 days of ownership, then ranks the brands and models on problems per 100 vehicles. The 2013 report analysed 83,442 respondents on 230 vehicle models and attributes in eight categories including driving experience, engine and transmission and problem symptoms.  Kia had its Soul model ranked first in class for the second consecutive year and the Sportage tied for highest ranking in its class.

“Achieving a top-ten placing against 32 other brands is a reflection of the impressive advances made by Kia Motors in recent years, both as a brand and with individual models,” says Todd McDonald, general manager of Kia Motors New Zealand. “Kia Motors has an ongoing target of improving the ownership experience and vehicle quality for customers. Each new model arrives and lifts the bar even higher.”

LATEST STORIES EVERY DAY Get upto date news at www.ruralnews.co.nz


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At PGG Wrightson, we’ll help you with the right range of products, competitive prices and expert advice. Talk to the team at PGG Wrightson about your calf rearing requirements today.

NZAgbiz SupaCalf™ Calf Milk Replacer 20 kg Premium curding Calf Milk Replacer with essential vitamins and minerals. Contains Actigen® for gut health and Deccox™ to help prevent Coccidiosis.

NZAgbiz ancalf™ Calf Milk Replacer with Deccox 20 kg Premium curding Calf Milk Replacer with extra calcium for bone development, Actigen® for gut health and Deccox™ to help prevent Coccidiosis. Also available without Deccox.

SealesWinslow Calf Pro1® 20% Pellets 25 kg High energy, 20% crude protein diet for young calves. High performance formulation for rapid rumen development.

NRM Moozlee® Calf Feed

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NZAgbiz Brown Bag CMR™ Calf Milk Replacer 20 kg Made with quality nutritional milk powders and contains Actigen® to combat Salmonella and E Coli.

NRM Grow Up® 20% Pellets 25 kg Premium 20% protein balanced supplementary feed to meet the calf’s rapid growth needs from four days old. Contains Bovatec®.

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Dairy News 9 July 2013