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TAF (trading among farmers) concerns linger among Fonterra shareholders Pages 3-4

september 13, 2011 Issue 254

role of co-ops

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A different business

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time to tear up outdated rules? “The regulations supposed to foster competition are now having the opposite effect.” – Fonterra director John Monaghan PAGES 7 & 8

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011



TAF views mixed andrew swallow

Time to accept NAIT – Feds.

Page 19

ATV safety inspectors visiting farms.

Page 29

Helping farmers improve environment welfare.

Page 55

News........................................................... 3-23 Opinion.....................................................24-26 Agribusiness............................................28-31 Management...........................................33-38 Animal Health......................................... 39-45 Effluent & Water Management.......... 46-56 Machinery & Products...........................57-62

COLD CALLS by Dairy News to Fonterra shareholders around the country found mixed views on TAF and its handling by the Shareholders Council and board. Some said they hadn’t given the matter much thought. Others refused to discuss their views. But among those who were prepared to go on the record, opinions ranged from support for the scheme and its handling to growing concern about the proposal. In Taranaki, Caroline Gilbert says her main issue is the 15-month silence by the Shareholders Council on the subject. “First they say there’s nothing to be alarmed about, then that there might have been some minor evolutionary changes such as a fund to hold the [title to] shares. Is that minor? “Is the Shareholders Council so busy looking at the trees it can’t see the wood? Do we really need TAF now?” Gilbert says she voted for TAF. She did so because she trusted the board and Shareholders Council to deliver on the promise of 100% ownership and control, and that if it [TAF] didn’t need to happen, it wouldn’t. She scorns suggestions that people raising concerns about TAF are electioneering ahead of the Shareholders Council and board elections. “That’s a really ignorant position to take.” She reports a growing feeling of unease among shareholders she’s spoken to, saying those prepared to speak out publicly, as she has, are doing so only because they’ve not been satisfied with the response through recognised channels within the cooperative. But former Sharemilker of the Year Ben Allomes, Woodville, believes the unease is voiced by a vocal minority, while the silent majority – among which he stood until Dairy News contacted him – is confident the board and Shareholders Council are working out what’s best. However, if there are changes to what was voted on, it is timely that there’s “some serious discussion on it.”

“I come from a time when we were just caretakers of our cooperative. Too many these days want their cake and want to eat it too.... The industry has to be protected from these guys and I think [TAF] is the best way to do it.”

“Nothing has been decided on. It’s still in the consultation and design phase. I’m just looking forward to the meetings at the end of September to find out more about it.” Not spending too much time thrashing out the detail of TAF until the deLloyd Downing layed legislative change can be achieved is good leadership, he suggests. “It’s best more time is spent on this later when we can actually do things.... I’m not saying [those raising concerns] are wrong, but I’m not saying they’re right either. It is not yet decided how TAF will proceed so they can’t be right or wrong. The good thing is it’s getting farmers thinking about it but it’s a shame it has to be so public.” In Waikato, Lloyd Downing wholeheartedly supports the TAF proposal and chairman Henry van der Heyden’s handling of it. He says the focus has to remain on dealing with the “wider issue” of share redemption. With a $4.50 share and an $8/kgMS payout it’s not likely to be a problem, but if the Government and/or world markets force the milk price down, the dividend return and

consequently the share price are likely to rise, increasing the redemption temptation. TAF would mean shares could be cashed in, without losing voting rights. He’s confident a watertight model preventing outside control can be constructed. “As long as the supplier’s got the votes, he’s got control.” He’s critical of some investor types involved in the industry these days who are looking for relatively short-term capital gains. “I come from a time when we were just caretakers of our cooperative. Too many these days want their cake and want to eat it too.... The industry has to be protected from these guys and I think [TAF] is the best way to do it.”

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


No changes to TAF proposal – Fonterra ANDREW SWALLOW

FONTERRA STILL does not accept there has been a change to the TAF proposal on which shareholders voted, despite the co-op being made aware of a discrepancy between the pre-vote booklet and post-vote presentations. Requests for a second shareholder vote as a consequence have again been ruled out. Page eight of the proposal booklet states “You would retain the voting rights and still be the legal owner of the shares.” Yet a slide from a shareholder meeting presentation in February states the “farmer places legal share title with a custodian.” Similarly a slide presented to the

Fonterra networkers conference in May shows farmers transferring title to the shares to a custodian in return for vouchers. A spokesman for Fonterra, when asked if the board now accepts there has been a change to the proposal on which farmers voted, told Dairy News, “No”. “The commitment around TAF is that we will still preserve 100% farmer control and ownership. That hasn’t changed. “This [legal title transfer] was presented at farmer meetings in February and the feedback from those meetings showed no concerns with this. “Certainly, it is more detailed about the custodian but it makes it clear that the custodian has no rights. Farmers retain their voting rights and

it is still consistent with 100% control and ownership. “We have another round of meetings in a couple of weeks and we will be discussing this face-to-face with shareholders then.” Fonterra’s continued denial that there has been a change in what was voted on is frustrating South Canterbury farmer Leonie Guiney, one of the first to flag the change publically. “How can they say there is no change when the new proposal shifts legal title off the farmer?” Guiney, among others, is concerned that change creates a chink in the cooperative’s armour against nonfarmer control and, as such, should have been highlighted to shareholders. She’s particularly disappointed and concerned her direct enquiries to

Leonie Guiney

the Shareholders Council have failed to yield an adequate explanation as to why the title needs to transfer to a custodian. “I’m not happy the Shareholders Council is not performing its role on this. I wonder whether they realise they have the right to be part of the process?” Guiney stresses she and others raising concerns about the change to the TAF proposal are “huge supporters of Fonterra” and dismisses suggestions they are playing politics

or electioneering. None of them are standing for election, as far as she’s aware. “The reason we’re so concerned is because Fonterra is so important to us.” Shareholders Council chairman Simon Couper last week reiterated assurances 100% farmer control is not negotiable. While they wait for the board to release the final details the Shareholders Council has a comprehensive review process in place to evaluate TAF, he says.

‘Share trading plan still needed’ SUGGESTIONS TAF (trading among farmers) is no longer needed are understandable given the better financial state of the cooperative and farm finances, says Fonterra chief financial officer Jonathan Mason. However, while the redemption risk may not be great now, it could be again in the future which is why pushing ahead to get a mechanism in place to guard against that makes

sense, he reasons. “It’s best to do this when you don’t need to do it. Trying to force it through Government in 90 days doesn’t work.” Redemption due to fluctuation in supply is only part of the problem, and alone would be manageable, he says. “The second issue is that as the share price increases, we have farmers leave the cooperative, not

because they don’t believe in the cooperative, but because they need that money to do something else: buy the adjacent farm for example.” TAF’s three-year in, three-year out terms, and the fund, help build flexibility into share requirements and mitigate that risk. Mason concedes it’s not perfect, but within the constraints it’s the best compromise, he believes.

Two years ago, when TAF was first discussed, many shareholders saw it as a “safety valve” which would allow them to raise capital with their shares without having to leave the cooperative, he notes. “Now there’s less stress on the farm balance sheet but we can’t just turn something like TAF on and off.” Mason stresses the overall objective is to strengthen the cooperative,

and if TAF looks like it could weaken it in any way, it won’t happen. Legal advice is being taken from many sources. The combination of drought and redemptions for other reasons saw $6-700 m, or 7% of the equity, leave the cooperative in July 2008. Five weeks later US Bank Lehman Brothers collapsed and the ensuing global financial crisis caused a credit shut-down.

Dairy News // september 13, 2011


comment / news

Will we end up like the Goff opposes phone booth? co-op listing CONOR ENGLISH

A WHILE ago in an Air New Zealand

Koru Club lounge I was so intrigued by something I saw that I whipped out my smartphone, took a photo and emailed it to myself. What did I see? A phone booth. The lounge had three elegant booths, with world beating phones. No doubt after years of improvement they were world beating products. But I realised looking around the lounge that these phones were missing the mark: they could not text, take photos, receive emails, keep a calendar or play games.  People thinking differently had overtaken the phone in its booth. New Zealand – especially its farmers and Federated Farmers itself – must beware of becoming like the phone booth: best in the world as we see it, but unaware there is change aplenty and that others are working hard to surpass us. We’re now enjoying an agricultural commodity boom driven in part by demand-and-supply fundamentals, but also by US monetary and fiscal policies. These have devalued the US dollar by about 50% against an ounce of gold, i.e. the US$ gold price has doubled. Trillion is an emerging word. That’s about the number of snowflakes that fell across New Zealand last week, and the number of dollars that may be printed in the US in the next while. And I cannot understand that if too much debt – like too much snow – is a problem, how can more

of it be the solution. Is the US at risk of becoming like the phone booth?     So what about agriculture? Have we got a phone booth mentality? With increasing numbers of affluent buyers and not much to sell, there are some serious opportunities out there. But are we

thinking differently and optimising the opportunity? Maybe. Our meat industry has made some great strides, wool is a mixed bag and dairy has simply ridden the commodity wave. But I am not sure this is enough. Recent speculation about the owner-

ship of Fonterra perhaps misses the point. The real question is what is Fonterra’s strategy to capture the maximum benefit for New Zealand. There is probably mutual agreement Fonterra has generally executed its existing strategy pretty well. However, after the introduction of the GlobalDairyTrade online auction system, it is not clear what their next big move will be to ensure Fonterra doesn’t become like the phone booth. There are many possibilities. Fonterra could go into infant nutrition and become the Coca-Cola of infant formula. It could broaden its milk supply base and further dominate commodity milk products through either merging with farmer co-ops in other countries or by becoming a global dairy farmer and leverage New Zealand genetics, safe food and quality systems.  It could broaden its current global dairy ingredients business into other food ingredients, offering a one-stop shop to key customers, leveraging expertise in global logistics.  Perhaps it could deepen its consumer brands business or look to acquire other dairy supply chain assets in targeted markets. Or it could keep on doing what it does right now, but work at getting better at it.  Perhaps just like the phone booth maker? The cost of the missed opportunities will eventually catch up with us as a nation. I am sure Fonterra, and many others in the export sector, are working on it. It is easier said than done, but we all need to roll up our sleeves and think like smartphone makers, not phone booth makers. As Yogi Berra said, “the future ain’t what it used to be.” • Conor English is the chief executive of Federated Farmers


WHILE PRIME Minister John Key favours Fonterra becoming a publicly listed company, Opposition leader Phil Goff has concerns. “I’m not opposed to the muchtalked-about trading among farmers (TAF) but I’m concerned [at the idea of] Fonterra simply being listed on the stock exchange. “We would look sympathetically at TAF. It’s a way of acquiring more capital, but I have a concern about listing and I question why National has avoided the issue and are deferring it until after the election.” Many prominent figures besides the Prime Minister have spoken of the company needing to raise more capital to be a global player of importance and size. This in itself has prompted Labour to say listing Fonterra will lead to farmers losing control of their co-op. “There are reasons to Phil Goff be concerned: Fonterra is cooperatively owned, but if it was listed on the stock exchange we would see big changes especially if it were sold into foreign hands,” says Goff. “It’s a free-for-all on our farmland at present and no exaggeration to say our country areas are valuable and desirable. In the last year a lot of land has been sold to buyers from Germany and there is a lot of interest from China. “However you sugar the pill, there is already too much foreign interest and we could ultimately lose control of the whole supply chain. I would be against publicly listing the company just to see it later owned overseas.”

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011



Fonterra seeks fair raw milk deal FONTERRA SAYS changes it is proposing to the raw milk regulations will benefit New Zealanders. It proposes processors supplying the local market with dairy products get their fair share of regulated milk. Fonterra, in its submission to MAF’s raw milk regulations review, is pushing for changes to preserve domestic competition. It also wants the removal of “outdated rules” being “gamed” to the advantage of some processors exporting products and profits offshore. Fonterra director and external relations committee chairman John Monaghan says when the regulations were developed in 2001, support for competition in domestic dairy markets was considered vital. The regulations were designed so that food and beverage producers who did not have their own farmer-suppliers were able to buy raw milk at a regulated price. “In 2001, protecting an entrance pathway for independent processors into the raw milk market was considered to be valid.  But times have changed and the regulations no longer work that way,” he says. There are now six large commodity dairy exporters in New Zealand – Tatua, Westland, Open Country, Synlait, Miraka, and New Zealand Dairies – who have their own milk supply and compete with Fonterra in export markets.  These exporters now collect about 2 bn L/year from their own supplier, says Monaghan. “Yet they are still allowed to take the majority of regulated raw milk for use in commodity export products.  That’s putting pressure on the volumes left for processors who supply the domestic market, and risks crowding them out because they don’t have their own raw milk supply.  The regulations supposed to foster competition are now having the opposite effect.” In addition, Monaghan says there is evidence some of the large commodity exporters are gaming the regulations to get around the current cap on volumes of regulated raw milk available to each independent processor.  By contracting ‘virtual’ processors, they buy extra volumes of regulated milk above their entitlement and have it made into export products. “It’s anti-competitive and Fonterra is challenging the practice through the courts.  “In the meantime, we are saying MAF should address the gaming issue now as part of its review rather than wait for a court judgement.”

Addressing eligibility and ‘gaming of the system’ will address 90% of the current problems with the raw milk regulations, says Monaghan. It will restore their original intent: fostering competition in the domestic market.

Fonterra says independent processors are taking advantage of raw milk regulations.

“One shot of Excede LA and they’re back milking. It saves me time and a few grey hairs.”

What Fonterra is seeking • Eligibility criteria that would see large commodity processors with their own established milk supply excluded from regulated milk. • A ‘no gaming’ principle to prevent large commodity processors from accessing regulated milk.

in brief THE GOVERNMENT wants to promote fair and efficient dairy markets in New Zealand, says Agriculture Minister David Carter. After 10 years, it’s timely to revisit the raw milk regulations, he says. The review of the raw milk rules covers such issues as how much regulated milk independent processors should have access to, and for how long; and the total volume of regulated milk that should be made available each year. It does not cover the farm gate milk price, or the design of a regulatory regime around Fonterra’s (TAF) trading among farmers proposal, pieces of work which are being progressed separately.

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


Farmers flood MAF with submissions MAF HAS received at least 1000 submissions to its review of the dairy industry’s raw milk regulations. Submissions closed September 2 and a summary analysis will be completed by the end of this month. Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Simon Couper says many Fonterra farmers have made submissions on the changes required to make the raw milk regulations work as legislation intended. Couper says it is an unprecedented response by Fonterra farmers particularly during their busiest time of the year with calving and atrocious weather taking its toll. The response shows how much this means to them, he says. “This issue is critical to farmers. Their frustration at the rules is that they are not working as intended and are not helping to drive competition at the farm gate. “Fonterra farmers are proud New

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Zealanders and are committed to providing milk to the domestic market but most of this milk is being taken by foreign owned, established processors with their own milk supply and then exported. These processors don’t need Fonterra farmers’ milk to survive. “The right to retain economic ownership and control of the product they produce is as important to Fonterra farmers as it would be to any business,” says Couper. Farmers have told Couper of meetings where all agreed the core components of the raw milk regulations needed to change to ensure the sustainability of the New Zealand dairy industry. Fonterra Farmers also agree guaranteed supply for the domestic milk market is essential. Ensuring farmgate competition and stopping processors with their own supply taking milk off Fonterra farm-

ers, and money out of the New Zealand economy, are equally important, he says. “Competition is in the best interests of farmers as it helps to ensure we receive the best price for our product at the farm gate and in turn guarantees the need for our cooperative to evolve in order to maintain its edge. “It is clear New Zealand dairy farmers are the best in the world and New Zealand needs the money they bring in from overseas; this is to the benefit of all New Zealanders. “Farmers have done their bit and given their views. They have done this at an incredibly difficult time and should be proud of the efforts they have made.” The Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) raw milk regulations have pro-competition provisions including competition for farmers’ milk, and independent processors obtaining raw milk. The DIRA, through the raw milk




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Simon Couper

regulations, also compels Fonterra to make available up to 5% of the raw milk it collects from farmers to independent processors at either an agreed price, or regulated price. These provisions provide an entrance pathway into the farm gate milk market; and support downstream competition in domestic consumer product markets. MAF says its review will consider the regulations against these objectives to ensure they remain fit for purpose and are designed so as to achieve government’s objectives in the dairy sector.

Feds welcome energy plan FEDERATED FARMERS

is endorsing the New Zealand energy strategy released recently by the Government. “There’s a refreshing realism because the New Zealand economy, as with the global economy, will depend on fossil fuels in the near term,” says Federated Farmers energy spokesperson Anders Crofoot. Farming is energy reliant, he says. Depending on the farm type, farmers will annually consume $18,000-$60,000 of fuel and electricity. “Our economy hinges on energy, whether used in a woolshed at shearing or in a locomotive hauling milk powder to a port. “Crude oil has been New Zealand’s fourthlargest merchandise export with $2 billion exported in the year to June. The door is now open for our country to become a net exporter of petroleum and that would be great for the balance of trade.” He points to coal-tofertiliser proposals, such as SolidEnergy is working on with Ravensdown, demonstrating how we can responsibly harness our mineral resources. “The strategy also signals that biomass could become a renewable driver. This high-

lights how environmental impacts need to be taken in the round. If farms get close to energy self-sufficiency, then biological emissions will be recycled as energy, just as dairy farmers currently recycle their dairy washdown as liquid fertiliser. “It’s a future farmers are seeing at the processor level. Silver Fern Farms Balclutha plant generates 8.5MW from process waste sludge via a bio-fuel boiler. Fonterra has reduced its annual electricity usage equivalent to about 100,000 households. “If anything, it may be a case of ‘back to the future’. Before mechanisation, about 10% of any farm was used to grow feed for working animals.” Acting Minister of Energy and Resources, Hekia Parata, says the strategy shows an energy future in which “New Zealand is blessed with an abundance of energy resources.” “Our Government’s goal is to make the most of all the assets we have: hydro, wind, geothermal, oil, gas and minerals. We want to use those resources responsibly to secure our energy future and lift our standard of living.”


Dairy News // september 13, 2011


Crack a smile - the payout’s holding FONTERRA’S DECISION to hold its 2011-12

forecast payout is a relief for farmers, says Federated Farmers dairy vice chairman Robin Barkla. Shareholders and suppliers watch globalDairyTrade (GDT) closely, he says. GDT prices have

been falling for two months. Average prices dropped 1.5% this month. “After a hard winter and towards the end of calving, dairy farmers can now sit down and crack a smile. This will give farmers and their families a boost as the

new season’s production starts to ramp up. It also continues a run of good numbers the cooperative has delivered. “GDT is a factor in the forecast but it’s far from being the only factor. There’s a lot of value add built into the milk

we produce.” The co-op is sticking with a forecast payout of $7.15-$7.25/kgMS before retentions. This includes a forecast milk price of $6.75/kgMS and forecast distributable profit range of 40 – 50c/ share.

Barkla says this means farmers can keep their budgets on track. He still advises a degree of conservatism. “The world economy remains sticky and potential in-season volatility of $2 kg/MS is a factor. Our overall advice is to run conserva-


Henry van der Heyden

of the season we see no reason to alter the forecast. We will continue to monitor possible slowing global economic growth that might translate into weaker dairy demand.”

New budget


FONTERRA HAS finalised its budget for 2012 and outgoing chief executive Andrew Ferrier says the forecast distributable profit range remains at $570-$720 million, equating to 40-50 cents per share, as forecast. Dividend payments are expected to be made in accordance with the Fonterra dividend policy to pay out 65-75% of underlying profit, adjusted for one-off items and other factors. The co-op will announce its final milk price and distributable profit later this month when it publishes its annual financial results. The current 2010-11 payout forecast is $8.00$8.10/kgMS before retentions which includes a milk price of $7.50/kgMS and a distributable profit range of 50-60c/share.

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tive budgets in order to bank the gains later.” Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden says the board reconfirmed the forecast against a background of volatility in global markets and foreign exchange rates. The recent fall in food commodity prices was largely anticipated when Fonterra announced its opening forecast for 2011-12. “In volatile economic and market conditions, we could face a range of factors that may affect the season’s milk price. But at this early stage

FONTERRA SHAREHOLDERS Council chairman Simon Couper says there will be no compromise when it comes to 100% ownership and control of the co-op. He notes extensive media comment that TAF (trading among farmers) poses a threat to farmer ownership and control. “Farmer ownership and control of our co-operative is essential to our core beliefs. When the Shareholders Council is reviewing the structure and implications of TAF, retaining 100% ownership and control is nonnegotiable,” says Couper. “If there is any risk of 100% ownership and control not being retained by our co-op, the council will not vote to support moving to TAF.” Couper also referred to the matter of the role of the custodian, the subject of much discussion. “While some of the detail about TAF may have evolved with respect to the role of the custodian, the intent of retaining 100% farmer ownership and control has not.” The shareholders’ fund, of a size as yet unconfirmed, was also part of the structure voted on yet has caused conjecture, he says. “Ultimately the Fonterra board has the obligation and responsibility to prove to the council and shareholders that the controls and protections for 100% farmer ownership and control will be embedded in the proposed structure; this includes the role of the custodian and the fund.” Couper says while it waits for the board to release the final details, the council is comprehensively reviewing TAF. “We have retained a lawyer with extensive senior corporate law and government advisory experience, who is constantly reviewing and questioning the provisions contained in the structure.”

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


Oz dairy leader rolls up sleeves in national role NEW AUSTRALIAN Dairy Farmers president Chris Griffin hasn’t spent much time on his family’s Gippsland farm over the past six months. Mostly he has been fulfilling his duties as United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president and, with joint ADF vice-president Adrian Drury, standing in for former ADF president Wes Judd, who took a leave

Chris Griffin

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to deal with the destruction of his farm by the Queensland floods. Now, Griffin has quit his State role and is prepared for a busy 12 months of representing the national dairy industry. “There are many challenges we need to tackle to ensure the dairy industry’s viability, as well as that of the ADF,” Griffin says. “With important issues to address such as water, a carbon tax and retail milk price, ADF remains 100% committed to staying the course on these and other vital issues.”

Griffin will be supported in his role by newly elected vice-presidents Noel Campbell, a dairy farmer from Warragul, Victoria, and Peter Evans, a dairy farmer from Busselton, WA. The new leadership team, and the ADF Board, acknowledged the contribution Wes and his family have made to the Australian dairy industry over many years and in many roles. Judd took six months’ leave from the role to help on his devastated family farm. At the end of that time, he realised his services were still needed full-time at home. “I was approached to put my hand up and after soul searching and discussion with industry colleagues, I decided to do it,” Griffin said. “I felt I had something to offer. “You need to have strong advocacy in this industry. You need to put your point across in a strong and effective way to make sure we’re heard.” Griffin says the role usually takes three days each week, in Melbourne or Canberra, and his mobile phone is always on. He is also chairman of the Australian Dairy Industry Council – which represents the manufacturing side as well as farmers – so his role includes regular industry meetings in Melbourne, including current discussions on the dairy service levy poll. The ADF has been in regular contact of late with the Murray Darling Basin Authority, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet’s office and other politicians and opposition regarding the current Senate inquiry into supermarket milk pricing. “We are in constant contact with Ministers, advisors and industry

representatives to ensure they understand our position on these issues.” Griffin says he will follow Judd’s approach of working behind the scenes in an amiable fashion. “You’re not able to bash heads all the time, at some point we may need to do that and there’s a place for that, but I’ll handled discussions in an amiable way. “At the recent Bega/Coles announcement, Senator Ludwig was there and said we need to meet and have a chat. We need to build good relationships to be effective.” The ADF has forwarded multiple submissions into the current senate inquiry in supermarket milk pricing and will continue to put pressure on the Government once the Senate Economics Committee releases its report, due September 30. They have also told Greg Combet’s office that the carbon tax will cost farmers between $A5000 and $A7000 a year and Griffin said they received a reasonable hearing. “It needs to be recognised that farmers need assistance. There are packages for industry and we need to see what’s available to us as farmers. It’s still not clear what’s available at this point.” Leaders who spend so much time away from home and their business need strong support and to this end Griffin says his wife, Jan, has been invaluable. They have built up their Moe farm from 80 cows in 1980 and are now seasonally milking 340 on their 112ha home block. They lease an additional 70ha to run young stock and cut silage. Despite the workload ahead of him, Griffin only has to look at his diary to be reminded of his roots. “I’m rostered onto milk every third weekend,” he said.

Funding boost for rural health THE GOVERNMENT is teaming up with two universities to train health students for rural areas. The partnership with Universities of Auckland and Otago is part of a new $4.5 million programme that will see students return to work in rural communities. The Government admits many New Zealand rural communities and hospitals have struggled to attract and retain health professionals. “This scheme will open up new career opportunities for students from rural areas, as well as en-

couraging students to work in rural areas once qualified,” says Health Minister Tony Ryall. “Experience overseas suggests that health students who train in rural areas are more likely to return to work in rural areas.” Ryall says that for the first time, the University of Otago and the University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences are collaborating to provide the multidisciplinary training programmes based in Gisborne and Whakatane. The University of Auckland programme will be based in Whaka-

tane and will provide training for about 144 medicine, nursing, pharmacy and physiotherapy students over three years. The University of Otago programme will be based in Gisborne and will provide training provision for around 168 medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy and dentistry students. The Government is providing $4.5 million over three years from 2012 to develop and deliver the programme. Both universities will also contribute financially, working in partnership with Health Workforce New Zealand.

Dairy News // september 13, 2011




Fonterra freight hub saves fuel, energy FONTERRA’S FREIGHT hub in Hamilton is reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the region, a new study says. Waikato Regional Council and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) funded a study of Fonterra’s Crawford Street hub. It compared the freight and logistics arrangements in place prior to the development of the site at Te Rapa and data provided by Fonterra for 2010. The study’s author, Murray King, told the WRC transport committee the changes reduced fuel usage by 499,000 L a year in Waikato. And fuel savings at Northland and Bay of Plenty dairy plants as a result of Crawford Street further reduced fuel savings by 751,000 L per year. The savings cut 1988.5 tonnes from carbon dioxide emissions, says King. Fonterra has since 2005 centralised storage and packing for its Waikato plants, reducing truck movements and increasing rail use to 75% of its transport. WRC transport committee chairman Norm Barker says the study findings support regional land transport strategy, promoting more energy efficient transport systems in Waikato. “This distribution centre has shifted Fonterra’s freight movements from road to rail, resulting in sustainability benefits through substantial fuel and emissions savings. Even more savings are likely as the new

locomotives being built overseas come on line. “This project has also demonstrated the energy efficiency and cost-saving benefits that can be achieved for a business too.” The study also found that with the move to rail, truck kilometres from Waikato had fallen by 53% since 2005, giving safety, pollution, congestion, road maintenance and amenity benefits to residents and other road users. EECA transport partnerships manager Elizabeth Yeaman says having a fundamental look at how companies transport their products can pay off in fuel savings. Fonterra trade and operations managing director Gary Romano welcomed the report and agreed with its conclusions. “This is consistent with our own internal estimates of reduction in truck movements following the establishment of Crawford St,” says Romano. “In addition, there are additional savings generated by consolidating multiple stores with older, less efficient refrigeration equipment into a single, new facility at Te Rapa.” Romano says the strategy of moving more of Fonterra’s product by rail is more sustainable economically for the company and farmer shareholders and for the environment.


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Fonterra products ready for exports at its Crawford St hub (above). Rail trucks are used to move products to ports (right).

Planting trees to stop erosion SEVEN YEARS on from the devastating floods of 2004 things are looking brighter for the hill country in the Manawatu-Wanganui Region. Hill country farmers have planted four million trees and built 230km of fences to protect erosion-prone land. They were helped by Horizons Regional Council and MAF. Driving the project is Horizons’ sustainable land use initiative (SLUI), set up after the February 2004 storm which led to the loss of 200 million tonnes of silt from the hills. SLUI set out to reduce hill country erosion and reduce flood risk to plains.

Horizons chairman, Bruce Gordon says the scheme takes a holistic look at land management on farm. “It offers farmers solutions to reduce erosion through tree planting, land retirement and pest control. In doing so they protect their land, help improve water quality and reduce the flood risk to those who live downstream by reducing the amount of sediment in the streams and rivers.” About 60%, or 1.6 m ha, of the Manawatu-Wanganui region is hill county and the council estimates 200,000 ha of this is prone to moderate-to-severe erosion.  There are now 355 farms in the scheme.



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Typical family farm to showcase profitability A NEW focus farm has been chosen to show the profitability gains possible on a typical Hauraki Plains dairy farm. The 116ha (effective) farm near Waitakaruru is one of three owned by Angus and Karen MacInnes. Their son Mathew was recently appointed contract milker on the property, originally owned by Karen’s family before being bought by them in 1989. They had previously sharemilked on the property from 1982-1986. Angus volunteered to be involved in the focus farm project because of the information anticipated from a range of experts. “When I heard about the focus farm, I thought it would be a good opportunity to be exposed to new ideas and experiences. We’re your typical

farming family, which will make it easier for others to relate to.” The focus farm is part of a wider project which aims to increase the profitability of the region’s farms by 10% per annum over the next three years. The project governance committee, in conjunction with the DairyNZ North Waikato regional team, wanted a focus farmer with an open mind and a willingness to adopt well-reasoned management practices. The project will be officially launched towards the end of the year; until then a baseline is being established and opportunities for improvements identified. This process has included pasture condition scoring, an assessment of the effluent system and DairyBase analyses. DairyNZ consulting

Event details What: Hauraki Focus Farm Project launch. To increase farm profitability and sustainability across the Hauraki Plains for the benefit of the community. Who: Guest speakers Michael Murphy and Jim van der Poel. When: Wednesday September 14 7.30pm. Where: Ngatea Rugby Club.

Angus and Karen MacInnes with son Mathew and worker Andrew Howells.

officer Murray Perks, one of the management consultancy team, says one of the farm’s purposes is to increase the profitability of the region’s farms through demonstration. “We want to show what farms on the Plains are capable of in profitability and productivity, while making sustainability a priority.” The MacInnes’ farm, where 310 Friesians are milked, was selected because it was a good representation of other farms in the area which

face similar challenges. “Dry summers are a particular problem in the area because of the difficult soil types, which include heavy marine clay or peat, which do not fare well,” says Perks. “Sustainability issues such as stand-off pads and effluent compliance are also hot topics for field days.” Information from the focus farm will be available to farmers via regular email updates, field days and through


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SCIENTISTS AND postgraduate students are recommending ways to return earthquake-ravaged farmland in Christchurch to production. Teams from Lincoln and Canterbury universities have studied the effects of last September’s 7.1 earthquake on the rural environment. Lincoln University senior lecturer in the faculty of agriculture and life sciences Dr Peter Almond says as a result of their study, some cost effective methods to return the damaged areas to production have been identified. “It is important to note here that the remedial treatments needed

Soil Matters Peter Burton

to be tailored to the nature of the damage. It was not a one size fits all situation.” In the research area, around Tai Tapu and Greenpark, the team found that liquefaction damage varied according to distance from the Halswell River, the nature of the land use, ground cover and the strength of the topsoil.  Some turf grass swards ‘blistered’ from sand being injected along the boundary between the topsoil and the subsoil producing circular and elongated mounds up to 40 cm high, which caused  problems for the operation of harvesting machinery.

For this blistered topography, the team discovered that it could be successfully remediated by two passes of a rotary hoe followed by two passes with power harrows. The resulting cultivated ground then required reseeding. He says the results of the research will contribute to the rehabilitation of liquefaction-affected rural land in New Zealand. Almond was joined by Tom Wilson, Canterbury University and students Fiona Shanhun, Zach Whitman and Andre Eger.  The study was funded by the universities, MAF and the Natural Hazards Research Platform.


Repairing ravaged farms in the quake zone



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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


‘Register under ETS before deadline’

Key deadlines

Rural landowners need to make a call on ETS.

THE TIME has come for rural landowners to make a call whether or not they fall within the emissions trading scheme (ETS).

The first deadline for the ETS is September 30. The head of the BDO New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme Group,

Charles Rau, says a key concern is some rural landowners may still not be aware that areas of non-native trees on their land which grow to 5 m or more, such as willow and poplar, qualify as pre-1990 forest and thus may fall compulsorily within the ETS. “Unless they have registered for an exemption from the ETS before the coming September 30 deadline, they may be liable to pay the Government for carbon emitted when any deforestation occurs,” he says. Alternatively, rural landowners who qualify can choose compensation by one-off allocation of pre-1990 credits, applied for by November 30. Landowners must under-

• September 30 2011 - Less than 50ha exemption from deforestation liability • November 30 2011 - Free allocation of carbon credits species on December 31, 2007. Likewise, forest land is that which has trees on it that are capable of crown cover of at least 30%. The area of forest must be at least 1 ha, with an average width exceeding 30 m. Land temporarily not stocked, for example after harvesting and before replanting, is still forest land. Rau says there is a similar risk with post1989 forest where landowners believe December 31, 2012 is the last date

“If they miss out, they could find themselves in the pre-1990 scheme without any credits but with a liability if de-forestation occurs. This could affect the value of their land because there is no other land use unless a deforestation liability is paid.”

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stand the different rules for forests planted before 1990 and those planted after 1989, says Rau. “The risk is that landowners may miss out on applying for the exemption or free credits thinking their forest is not pre1990, when in fact it is due to having natives like kanuka and manuka on it in 1989 prior to planting non-native species. “If they miss out, they could find themselves in the pre-1990 scheme without any credits but with a liability if deforestation occurs. This could affect the value of their land because there is no other land use unless a deforestation liability is paid.” The definition of pre-1990 forest land is that covered by forest species (exotic or indigenous, including manuka and kanuka) on December 13, 1989, and having remained in forest species and being predominantly non-native

to register post-1989 forest and receive credits accumulated since April 1, 2008. “The catch is people are finding that areas they planted in exotics after 1989 cannot be registered under the post1989 ETS as the land is in fact pre-1990 forest due to having indigenous trees such as kanuka and manuka on December 31, 1989.” Rau sees potential for substantial return through the ETS and carbon market for foresters and other landowners with plantings of non-timber varieties of tree such as willows, poplars, oaks and ornamental trees. “For instance, there is an opportunity to combine livestock farming with carbon farming to add to the bottom line. Many farmers have plantings of willow and poplar for erosion control which may qualify for carbon credit – but few have registered.”


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The Mermaid Dance Band: From left: Tammy D’Ath, Joe Cotton and Pauline Berry.

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her talents with a bovine audience. In her role as an artificial breeding technician for LIC, D’Ath has been asked to work on dairy farms in the Ashburton area over the coming spring mating season. The 25-year-old Ruakaka, Northland, farm worker hit the headlines in July 2010 when she won the talent quest with the Billie Holiday/ Arthur Herzog Jr song ‘God Bless The Child’. She says she has milked cows almost as long as she has been singing. “I love cows and love music and both make me happy.” D’Ath has done most of her AB work in Northland, but has also worked in Waikato and in 2009 travelled to the South Island during the mating season. She is now going into her eighth season as an LIC AB technician. She is ranked among the top 10% in New Zealand. She looks forward to another season in the South Island. “The herds are bigger in the South Island compared to Northland, so for me working on the farms on my AB run in the South Island was a really cool experience. In comparison I normally inseminate about 3000 cows in Northland, and did about 7000 in the South Island. Tammy D’Ath on farm at Ruakaka .

“In Northland when you arrive on a farm to do AI you can expect to find about 15 cows in the shed waiting for you, and that is a big day. But as some of the herds I can expect to work with in the South Island are 1200-1500 cows, it is possible I will find 60 cows waiting for me some mornings.” She hopes to get some South Island ‘gigs’ during October-December. In 2009 she performed in Christchurch. In March she joined the Mermaid Dance Band – Joe Cotton (from the band ‘True Bliss’) and Pauline Berry – and she performs solo. She is working on her first album, due for release early 2012. “I’m recording vocals in Auckland once a week. The rest of the time I milk cows in Northland. I’m trying to get as much done on the album as possible before I head south, so hopefully it will be finished and available early next year.” For the coming mating season D’Ath has time off from the band to do her dairy farm work. “If I can continue with the AB work, it will allow me to save some money during that three months, to concentrate on my music and enjoy the experience, without having to worry too much about finances.”

Dairy News // september 13, 2011



Time to accept NAIT - Leferink ANDREW SWALLOW

THE NATIONAL Animal Identification and Tracing scheme’s enactment is now inevitable and Federated Farmers is better off in the camp, negotiating at the table, than protesting from outside, says dairy section chairman Willy Leferink. “We’re not totally happy with all the requirements but it’s a no-win situation for us,” he told Dairy News, following NAIT’s announcement last week that all cattle moved off a farm from July 1 next year will require compliant electronic tags. “Our biggest problem is the industry organisations DairyNZ and Beef and Lamb have supported it so now we’d better make sure we get the best we can out of it for our members. It’s better we’re in the camp and at the table.” A point Feds will be negotiating to change is the 20km radius for runoff blocks to be considered part of any home property, hence avoiding tag requirements for animals moved between two holdings. While 20km may be enough for many North Is-

land run-offs, in the South Island dairy farms frequently have grazing for drystock further afield. “20km is nothing in Ashburton District. We’d like to see it extended to at least 50km.” Another aspect Leferink is concerned about is the online registration requirement. “We have to comply with the online requirement next year but Government isn’t going to provide proper internet to rural areas until 2017 so how do you farm in the back country and comply with these rules?” Greater flexibility is needed in the scheme to allow for the introduction of new technology, he adds. Leferink says Biosecurity and Agriculture Minister David Carter has made it clear to him NAIT will be implemented because National has Labour’s backing to get the necessary legislation passed in Parliament. Hence the Federation’s reluctant acceptance that implementation is inev-

All cattle moved off a farm from July 1 next year will require compliant electronic tags.

itable, though Leferink says he fails to see how it enhances biosecurity. “What we’ve got is a pretty good system as it is. The only thing would be if they brought pigs and little animals in.” The timing of last week’s announcement – towards the end of calving when many of this year’s arrivals will already be tagged, or at

least have had tags bought for them – would have been much better made earlier, or not until later and with a later mandatory implementation date. Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills points out February’s roll-out of online registration gives farmers only four months to get cattle likely to move off-farm into NAIT. “We need the assurance NAIT

won’t fall over due to the weight of enrolments.” Within three years of becoming mandatory some 9.8 million cattle will have to be electronically tagged and registered online, he estimates. “Federated Farmers has worked hard to ensure what will become law is practical and effective, will have the least impact on the bottom line and won’t become a technological orphan. “Other concerns we’ve expressed, sometimes strongly, revolve around ownership and control of the immense intellectual property NAIT will accumulate. Finally, farmers want to know the data they provide won’t be used for other purposes.” NAIT has taken many of these concerns on-board but penalty provisions in NAIT remain substantial and all farmers now need to know what NAIT is and what needs to be done to comply by July, he adds. “This will demand a massive farmer-education campaign by NAIT. They simply cannot rely on a website, letters, a few adverts and a call centre, given the experience of recent high profile rural campaigns.”


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Bega Cheese needs more milk for Coles deal AUSTRALIAN DAIRY

processor Bega Cheese will sell 19,000 tonnes extra cheese to Coles under a new agreement to supply the supermarket with all its Coles branded cheese. This will increase Bega’s milk demand by 70 million litres, sourced from existing and new suppliers in New South Wales and Victoria. Bega Cheese chief executive Aidan Coleman says the contract will inject an extra $A30 million directly into the Australian dairy industry. Bega will make and package natural and processed cheddar and mozzarella cheese for Coles under a five-year contract. The cheese previously came from New Zealand. Bega already packs

about 14,000 tonnes of Coles’ retail cheese products for a third party but the new deal will require the processor to find 7000 tonnes extra to fill the order. Coleman says Bega has been advertising for extra supply throughout the three Victoria dairy regions. Milk quality will be a factor in picking up new suppliers. With the more favorable seasonal conditions in Victoria the company was hoping for a total milk increase of 3-4% this season from existing suppliers. This Coles deal will represent about 10% of the Bega Cheese business and Bega plans to upgrade its Coburg plant, bought in 2008, to cope. This could result in 30 new jobs.

Milk price war hits payout QUEENSLAND DAIRY farmers are bracing for heavy losses as a result of the supermarket milk price war. The Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) says one group of 185 dairy farmers in Queensland, which supply Parmalat, collectively lost about $A768,000 to the end of July, directly due to the discount milk war. This could grow to $A1.5 million over 12 months if discounting continues, it warns. QDO president Brian Tessmann says a second group of farmers suppling processor Lion National Foods had a slight increase in farm gate price in their new contracts. But the small increase of 1-2% is below inflation and input cost rises, and follows a big farm gate price cut last year of 15-20%. The QDO has made another submission to the Senate economics references committee, ahead of the inquiry’s reporting deadline at the end of September. Tessmann says the new submission details “the catastrophic impact of the milk war, blow by blow”, since it was started by retailer Coles. “The result has been an immediate hit to farmers and processors, and the cost is many millions of dollars nationally. Long term, it will have a strangling effect on our domestic fresh milk industry.” He says the submission shows processors and branded milk sales have already been heavily hit by the unsustainable discounting of supermarket branded milk. At the farm gate, in the long term, the result is expected to decrease prices 4-20%, the impact worst for farmers supplying fresh drinking milk, as in Queensland where farmers don’t have other outlets. “That impact is already flowing back to farmers. Our submission shows farmers are being hit and this damage is occurring because retailers are using discount fresh milk as an advertising agent and marketing tool. “QDO’s submission puts the impacts in black and white for the senators, the government, and the major grocery retailers.”

Coles and Bega Cheese must now make a long-term agreement. Subject to this being signed, it is anticipated Bega Cheese will begin

supply to Coles next year. Coleman says a formal contract should be finalised within two months.

Say cheese... Bega Cheese has secured a deal to supply retailer Coles.


Dairy News // september 13, 2011


‘Carbon tax threatens payout’ THE VICTORIA Government claims the Australian Federal Government’s carbon tax will cut annual milk cheques by $A5687 from July 1. The cost was part of a Department of Primary Industries analysis of the carbon tax’s impact released last month by Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh. He says the mod-

elling shows some dairy farms would lose 25% of their profit under the tax. “The stark reality is food producers and processors such as milk companies and abattoirs will wear the cost impacts of rising electricity bills under Labor’s carbon tax. “It is estimated dairy processors’ costs will increase by at

least 0.5 cent/L under the carbon tax. “With 6 bn L of milk in Victoria, 0.5 cent represents a $A30 million tax on the industry or an average tax of $A5687 on each Victoria dairy farm.” Walsh says processors would have no choice but to pass the higher costs back to farmers, given they could not pass the cost on to export markets.

“Food producers will also be hit with indirect energy costs from on-farm inputs such as the production of fertiliser, farm chemicals and transport. Irrigated dairy farmers will also have to contend with the impact of rising electricity costs in pumping irrigation water.” The DPI modelled five dairy farm scenarios.

Plague mice face scrutiny A NATIONAL group has been set up to combat mice plagues in Australia, likely in late spring and summer, say recent reports from state government authorities. The national mouse management working group (NMMWG) will coordinate any required counter-attack and organise bait supplies. NMMWG chair Simon Humphrys says the group meets regularly to prepare for a plague, especially by keeping grain growers informed. Plagues of mice have affected crop plantings, forcing some farmers to replant entire paddocks. They caused havoc earlier this year in the dairy industry, eating on-farm grain supplies, chewing wiring and nesting in calving sheds. “About three million hectares in the southern Australian cropping region was affected in autumn, costing growers $A200 million in losses,” Humphrys says. “Mouse numbers have fallen in recent months but in parts of Australia high densities have persisted despite baiting. Though not causing damage yet, the carryover populations have the potential to [destroy] crops as they mature.” The NMMWG says watching for mouse damage over the next month will be critical. Baiting is advised as soon as crop damage to crops is noticed, to reduce the risk of losses, particularly in areas with high mouse numbers in autumn “Even if local baiting is effective, mice can range over larger areas than previously thought so monitoring after baiting is critical to prevent damage by re-invading mice. Monitoring should occur 7-14 days after baiting.” Baiting at a rate of 1kg/ha is effective, experts say. The effectiveness of baiting in maturing crops may be improved if bait is spread at dusk or night.

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EU prices steady ANDREW SWALLOW

DAIRY PRICES in Europe, as in the rest of the world, appear to have stablilised. UK industry body Dairy Co reports EU wholesale markets levelling off towards the end of August following a fall from “exceptionally high values” in June. “Butter prices are now down by €150250/t from June but they stabilised mid month with fewer discounted parcels around,” it said in a recent report. “Prices are back to April levels, still around 80% above the intervention price and €300400/t above prices of a year ago.” Skim milk powder (SMP) values in the EU have been falling since February, losing €600700/t for food grade and €700-800/t for bulk feed grade, making for an “exceptionally large” gap between the two commodities. “Prices are close to levels of a year ago, but food grade SMP is still 30% above the intervention price.” Release of 94,000t of SMP from intervention [ie Government] stocks has hit the feed-grade SMP market and remaining intervention stocks “should prevent the market from overheating again,” says DairyCo. SMP exports from the EU have been exceptionally high and influential in EU pricing, hence prices have fallen in line with the world market, it notes. But by the end of August markets were more balanced with renewed demand for protein and some small increases in whey powder prices. “Whey powder prices have come down by €300/t since February but they are still above prices of a year ago.” Whole milk powder is also down some €600700/t since February. Commodity Gouda prices peaked April-May and have since eased €200-300/t to prices close to those of a year ago. EU milk supply was 2-3% ahead of 2010 in the first quarter of 2011 but fell in the second

quarter due to drought. DairyCo says preliminary reports suggest supply picked up again in July and is “probably still

around 2% up on 2010. “Milk supplies are now falling seasonally towards the November trough.”


Dairy News // september 13, 2011

opinion Ruminating


Time for a level playing field

milking it... ‘Be very afraid… not’

A ‘COW whisperer’, helicopters and infrared cameras: no effort is being spared to find Austrian runaway cow Yvonne, who escaped slaughter in May and sought refuge in a Bavarian forest. The cow has become a media star in Germany and Austria after evading capture for almost three months. German newspaper Bild put up a €10,000 reward for her capture. But an Austrian animal sanctuary, offering to buy Yvonne to spare her another traumatic trip to the slaughterhouse, is resorting to more unusual means to find her. A ‘cow whisperer’ has spoken daily to Yvonne by telepathy, says Britta Freitag from the Aiderbichl sanctuary near Salzburg. The cow is said to understand she will not be harmed but is afraid to show herself following the distressing trip from Austrian to Bavaria.

Bosses keep heads down over TAF

THE FONTERRA ‘daily media summary’ to farmers on September 5 had no stories on trading among farmers (TAF), a burning issue among shareholders. Whoever sent out the media summary thought it wise to exclude stories calling for greater transparency and consultation on TAF, and concerns about erosion of total control and ownership by farmers. Maybe, they don’t want shareholders to read that stuff. A naive move, we say. And more reason for Fonterra shareholders to read Dairy News and sister paper Rural News for the real issues making news.

Woodn’t you think there’d be an inquiry

TIMBER EXPORTS are down with international prices subdued. The Timber Industry Federation says its members are finding tough going. But timber prices locally remain high despite softening of world markets. Doesn’t that mean there should be an inquiry into why local timber prices remain high? After all, every man and his dog has called for an inquiry into high milk prices in New Zealand. Why should it be any different for the timber industry? Why should we pay more for timber produced here when others around the world are paying less for it? Over to the Green Party and Consumer New Zealand.

Richie McCow’s picks

RUGBY FEVER has now reached cow paddocks. Inspired by England’s now-deceased octopus Paul (fabled match picker during the soccer World Cup) New Zealand has its own ‘Richie McCow’. Northland calf owner Kyle Underwood had hoped Richie would follow in Paul’s tentacle steps by picking the winners of each game. But he failed his first test, picking the All Blacks to beat Australia in the recent Tri-Nations decider. (At least he was patriotic, his owner says.) But Underwood retains faith in the young bull, insisting he would rather Richie was loyal than right. “Imagine a black-and-white cow not going for the All Blacks and choosing Australia. That would not have gone down well,” Underwood told the New Zealand Herald. Despite his wrong prediction, supporters have rallied to the ‘Support Richie McCow’ Facebook page, now showing at least 750 ‘likes’. Richie will predict World Cup outcomes for the New Zealand Herald.

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THE PRICE of milk is a vexing question for everyone, from Fonterra farmers supplying milk to independent processors to householders buying milk at the supermarket: most seem to complain milk is priced incorrectly. Retail prices are dictated by world markets. But the burning question is what dictates the raw milk price Fonterra charges independent processors? MAF is reviewing the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) raw milk regulations. Submissions closed last week and 1000 submissions were received. The sheer number of respondents says it all: DIRA raw milk regulations need an overhaul. The DIRA original goal was to promote competition, forcing a fair market. When adequate competition was present, the act would be repealed by sunset clauses. Though Fonterra at first picked up 97% of the milk, it was thought enough competition would exist in a season when Fonterra collected 87.5% of milk in the North Island and independent processors collected at least 65 million kgMS in the South Island, and at least 25 million kgMS collected outside the boundaries of the Westland Regional Council. This pro-competition policy worked. More processors have entered the dairy industry since 2001 when there were only three major players: Fonterra, Westland and Tatua. The number of independent processors is growing. Synlait, New Zealand Dairies and Miraka have joined in. They all pick raw milk from Fonterra. Though Fonterra has no problem supplying raw milk to competitors, price is an issue. The price is regulated and is set at Fonterra’s farm-gate price plus 10c/kgMS to reflect seasonality. Farmers complain it’s too cheap and are concerned pro-competition regulations will fragment the industry, much like the meat industry. Independent processors complain that having to wait until the end of the season to find the actual price makes it difficult to make business decisions and adds risk. The co-op says subsidised milk is turned into export products which compete directly with its products overseas. The time has come for a level playing field in the dairy industry. Fonterra must accept supplying raw milk to competitors but the price must be right. It must reflect the realities on the ground. The ball is in the Government’s court.

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011



Accepting responsibility FONTERRA DIRECTORS were searching for excuses to devalue the share price. This proposed plan forces existing shareholders to subsidise new supply. The subsidies are more than substantial. It’s our money the directors are using. The restricted valuation has taken away our best tool to value our cooperative: the share price. The restricted share value approach cannot be accepted because all previous valuations were done within a protected market, by highly reputable international firms, twice a year. The board cannot dispute those valuations as they signed them off themselves for five years. The share value committee has most likely suppressed your equity by $5/share. For example, the 2006-07 payout was $6.56/kgMS and the share price $4.46. This makes the

share price $2.10 above the payout at that time. If we apply those parameters to our payout now, $7.50 + $2.10 = $9.60, this gives us a $5.08 difference above our current share price of $4.52. The retentions don’t appear on the current share valuation, so add another 33 cents for what they are retaining onto our $5.08, and that would total $5.41 per share. So on an average of 100,000kgMS at $5.41 per share, this would equal $541,000. These losses should have been widely exposed by the Shareholders Council prior to the (TAF) trading among farmers vote. The powerhouse of Fonterra is the shareholders, not the board. We need to ask ourselves the question, who owns Fonterra? If the shareholders own it, then we are entitled to an accurate share value

in brief FAR levy vote THE FOUNDATION for Arable Research (FAR) has received farmer backing to spend levy funds on research and extension work. FAR is applying to the Agriculture Minister for these levy orders to be enacted. A referendum over the past month gave growers a say on whether or not FAR should continue to spend levy payers’ funds. FAR chief executive Nick Pyke says the result reflects the hard work and commitment of growers, FAR staff and industry colleagues. “We are strong advocates of investing in research of particular importance to growers. “It is important to FAR that levy payers and subscribers are kept informed on how levy money is spent,” Pyke says.


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and an accurate redemption right. If the valuation during the first five years was wrong, then why did the board sign it off as being correct? Their integrity is at stake here. If the restricted valuation is correct, monies falsely charged out for shares should be returned to shareholders, plus

interest, at Fonterra’s performance rate (for example 8%). Responsibility for management like this puts the board at risk. I believe the best way to correct these issues is to ask the board to stand down and I personally make that request now. Bruce Rowe Te Awamutu

Is Fonterra’s share valuation fair?


Dairy News // september 13, 2011


Co-ops: a different business RAMSEY MARGOLIS

OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD, there’s a world

of difference between a cooperative, which is a member-owned business, and the standard investorowned firm.

In his book Reinventing Cooperation, Edgar Parnell defines a cooperative as: “An enterprise, freely established, that is owned and controlled by a group of legal persons for the purpose of equitably providing themselves

with mutual benefits arising from the activities of the enterprise and not primarily from investment in it.” As a member-owned business, a cooperative functions to serve its members, requiring those who wish to buy from

or sell to the co-op to purchase shares to do so. These shares are akin to a membership fee, and member shares are refunded once the member stops transacting with the cooperative. Cooperative and mutual enterprise is suc-

cessful the world over, and not just in dairy. The ICA’s Global 300 list of the world’s top co-ops and mutuals shows they generate combined revenue close to the GDP of Canada, the world’s tenth largest economy. Among the Global 300 are six

Ramsey Margolis

“Co-ops are not profit maximising but profit conscious businesses.” New Zealand businesses, with 39 dairy co-ops worldwide represented. Co-ops are not profit maximising but profit conscious businesses. It makes no sense to make as much money as possible from transacting with members – only to give it all back to them at the end of the year as rebates, payouts, etc. A co-op’s board and management know they need to make a profit though, otherwise the members will be covering the losses. Another way of looking at this is to understand that cooperatives are in business to maximise the profit of their members’ primary businesses. Your farm is an investor-owned business, of course: you have invested your time, energy and money into making it work for you and your family. All good. But just as your farm is your primary business, your co-op is your other business, and co-op members need to look after their co-op just as you look after your farm. Cooperatives are possibly the only business model with a set of principles, which were put together by the International Cooperative Alliance:

• Voluntary and open membership • Democratic member control • Member economic participation • Autonomy and independence • Education, training and information • Cooperation among cooperatives • Concern for community After his 2008 New Zealand visit as a Nuffield scholar, Irish dairy farmer Jason Rankin wrote: “One of the major items on my agenda was to find out ways of releasing the value of the wealth in my own cooperative, which is barely expressed in the nominal shares.... Fonterra is a culmination of decades of hard work by generations of New Zealand dairy farmers. Perhaps we should think as they did and treat our cooperatives not as something we inherit from our fathers, but rather borrow from our children.” The cooperative business model is here to stay, but your co-ops will work for you only if you as members want them to stay and put effort into looking after them. • Ramsey Margolis is executive director of New Zealand Cooperatives Association

The cooperative model.

you build them

you control them

you benefit from them

you own them


Dairy News // september 13, 2011


No plans to change Oz co-op’s structure NORCO IS one of two dairy processing cooperatives remaining in Australia and its chairman, Greg McNamara, says the business structure will not change anytime soon. McNamara is unfazed that after a spate of multinational investments in the Australian dairy sector, Norco, set up in

1910, and Murray Goulburn, remain the only businesses where farmer shareholders control their destiny. During dark days in the late 1990s this northern NSW cooperative looked vulnerable, but McNamara now looks confidently ahead. “The cooperative is commercially focused

and planning five-ten years ahead to drive our business.” After 15 years on the board and 12 as chairman, he is confident that succession planning will result in a smooth transition of leadership. “We have invested in training and education for our directors and the next generation of talented

young farmers who will be potential directors.” McNamara says supplier loyalty shows the co-operative has its business model right. “We haven’t had anyone leave for a couple of years and there are farmers wanting to join Norco. We’ve taken on four or five new suppliers this year.” The cooperative is

Norco chairman Greg McNamara.

looking for commitment from newcomers who meet selection criteria, It offers three-year supply contracts. Norco draws its milk supply, which jumped to 143 million litres last year, from 165 farms spread from Kilcoy in Queensland to Dungog, north of Newcastle. The cooperative last year


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turned a profit of $A4.1 million. About $A3.5 million of this was reinvested, the balance returning shareholders a 5.6% dividend. It owns 24 rural stores and a wholesale merchandising arm, all now comprising one third of the business. Another division makes stockfeed and petfood. The core dairy business processes milk at Raleigh, near Coffs Harbour, and at Labrador on the Gold Coast. It makes ice cream at Lismore. After many years as a joint venture, most recently with Parmalat, in 2007 the Queensland processing plant returned to full Norco control. McNamara says the ice cream business acts as a buffer to soak up surplus milk. Most milk volume for ice cream comes during peak supply months JulyFebruary. Norco will this year make about 42m L of ice cream for sale in Australia. About 15% is exported to Japan, Taiwan and the US. McNamara says ice cream sales have good growth potential. The cooperative last year paid suppliers an average of 53c/L for milk. A similar or slightly better result is expected this year. “I’d like to see closer to 55 or 56 cents, but the benefit this year has been lower farm costs with the good season we are enjoying. If farmers have to start irrigating and

buying in feed, you can easily add 5 to 7 cents per litre to production costs.” Norco enjoys great brand loyalty and is relatively unscathed by the supermarket discount price wars. No more than 2% of sales have been affected in markets from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney. Given the cooperative’s close business relationship with Coles, McNamara is circumspect in his comments on milk price discounting. “The thing I find disappointing with milk being treated as a cut price commodity is the lack of awareness that we are supplying a world class product. This is not reflected back in farmer returns.” He says Norco does business with all the supermarket chains, including newcomers such as Aldi, to ensure a wide customer base. The cooperative has Fonterra handling all fresh milk distribution and marketing. Sales through Fonterra, which won the Coles supply contract in Queensland, last year grew 5.3%. McNamara sees no threats to the Norco cooperative model. The number of young farmers coming into dairying in the region – including his two sons – is encouraging. “Young producers have a vested interest in maintaining a strong co-operative as the foundation to build their own dairy enterprises.”

Business focus applies to farm GREG MCNAMARA applies the same commercial focus to his family business at Goolmangar, north of Lismore, NSW, as he does at the helm of Norco. Cost efficient dairying under a pasture-based system is the aim, rather than going all out for production. The family is seeking opportunities to grow the business with Greg and his wife Sue joined by their sons Todd and Andrew. The milking herd has increased to 350 cows on a property which has grown to 320ha from the original bush block settled by family ancestors in the 1890s. They have added an income stream breeding 250 cows to Wagyu bulls which are raised for an average 12 weeks before being consigned for backgrounding and feedlot finishing for the premium Japanese market.

Dairy News // september 13, 2011



ATV safety checks loom

NZFSU loss

HEALTH AND safety inspectors

are about to resume checking farm use of ATVs. About 400 farms will be visited. The Department of Labour says this follows a first round of visits in April to mid-June, when 376 farms were visited. Of those, 117 got written warnings or improvement notices requiring them to improve the way machines were being used. “From September to November we’ll be back out talking to farmers in a bid to reduce the number of serious ATV accidents,” says DoL deputy chief executive, labour group, Lesley Haines. “The statistics say it all: on average 850 people are injured each year while riding ATVs on farms and five die. We must bring this toll down. “We’re challenging unsafe behavior… that means regularly getting out and ensuring farmers are taking the right safety steps.” The DoL launched its ATV safety campaign last year, with four key safety steps:

in brief NEW ZEALAND Farming Systems Uruguay’s reported an audited loss of $US8.7 million for year ending June 2011. Last year it reported a loss of $US8m. The operator of dairy farms in Uruguay says revenue increased by 91% from $US22.5m in 2010 to $US43m. This was mainly due to milk production jumping from 68m L to 105M L in 2011. Average milk price rose from US28.3c L to US38.1c L. Farm operating expenses increased from $US21m in 2010 to $US47 in 2011. The largest contributor to this was a rise in concentrate feed costs and the decision to increase concentrate feeding rates to the milking cows.

Prize for rural telco ATV inspectors will be heading to farms this spring.

• Ensure riders are trained and experienced. • Always wear a helmet. • Never let kids ride adult machines. • Choose the right vehicle for the job. “Farms are workplaces and

farmers must remember they have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their staff,” Haines says. “Where we find people working with ATVs in a dangerous way we will take action. This can range from warnings or penal-

ties, to stopping machines being used until safety issues have been rectified. “The department will consider prosecution where a worker has been seriously injured or killed at work because key safety steps have not been taken.”

RURAL TELCO Farmside has won the telecomms and internet services section of the 2011 CRM Contact Centre Awards. The awards, which recognise excellence in the standards of service delivered by New Zealand call centres, were announced recently in Auckland. Farmside sales and support manager Grant Husband says his team are delighted  with their win, a reflection of Farmside’s “real person” service. The awards were introduced to New Zealand in 1997. 

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


Looking after soils, animals pays off A WHOLE-FAMILY approach to entering the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards has rewarded Manawatu dairy farmers James and Debbie Stewart. Their farming operation, Stewart Dairylands, farms 500ha of flat-to-rolling land on the outskirts of Palmerston North. The Stewarts ran sheep and beef until 1993 then began a gradual conversion to dairying. About 650 cows are now milked on half the property, the remainder is used for drystock and dairy support. Stewart says his family has always been conscientious about the environment. They have extensively planted native trees for 20 years. “We aren’t doing anything radical, but we look after the soils, the water and the animals as best we can.” The family was asked three years ago to enter the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards and eventually decided to give it a go. “It was a little daunting because we’d never done anything like that before. But once we’d made our minds up, we were determined to give it our best shot.” The Stewarts put together a presentation they felt gave an accurate portrayal of the farm and their phi-

losophies. “It was a good exercise. The whole family got involved and it made us take a long, hard look at our business and the way we do things.” Stewart found the outside perspective offered by the expert judges extremely valuable. “We got a lot out of the judging process and the judges challenged us to think about some issues we’d never considered before.” As a result of this, the Stewarts have ‘tweaked’ certain areas of their farming systems. “It’s made us take a more structured approach to our business. It’s also made us look even more closely at environmental issues, such as power and water use.” The Stewarts were awarded the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award in their first time in the competition. “The judges’ comments were encouraging and reinforced that we were heading in the right direction. It was satisfying to be able to show other people what we were doing and to get that positive feedback.” The farm runs a tourist lodge that hosts many overseas visitors. The family does its best to ensure guests go home with a good impression of New Zealand farming.

LIC technician bags herd tester award SOUTHLAND HERD test field technician Vikki Mason has been named the LIC ‘Posca’ Herd Tester of the Year. The award, characterised by the name of the pen (Posca) used to write cow numbers on the side of the flasks containing the milk samples, was developed to encourage and recognise a standard of excellence on farm in a task many farmers believe to be instrumental to production and profit. LIC general manager operations and customer service Andrew Fear says the awards, Vikki Mason now in their fourth year, celebrate the ‘crème de la crème’ of herd testing teams. “Herd test field technicians, assists, sample transport drivers and client trainers are the face of LIC’s herd testing service. “They’re out there all-year round, in all weathers, maintaining the highest levels of customer service, professionalism and team work. They’re often invis-

ible (coming and leaving before the day begins or ends in the farm dairy) so this award brings them into the limelight.” Mason is known for having a “smile for all” as she goes about her day, says South Island herd test regional manager Laurel Devlin. “Vikki deserves the national title, because she gives 110% effort in the job. Our farmers tell us she is efficient, pleasant, competent, helpful and friendly. They describe her as a wonderful tech. She is the ‘pride of the south’ and we are all proud of her.” The national prize was hotly contested and involved a search of eight LIC herd test depots and 300 herd testing field staff. Fear says the competition revealed “a select group of outstanding herd testing field staff who demonstrated the quality and passion present in the whole herd testing team.”

Dairy News // september 13, 2011



Fonterra links with UK co-op FONTERRA IS teaming up with the UK’s largest co-op to produce whey proteins. The joint venture with First Milk will provide whey proteins for Fonterra’s food ingredients business in Europe. The two co-ops will combine intellectual property and industry expertise to add value to the dairy protein streams at First Milk’s Lake District creamery in Cumbria, England. Fonterra says it is the first step in realising its goal of local European sourcing. For First Milk the deal adds value to the whey side stream of the cheese making process, which will enhance the returns it can pass back

to farmers. Fonterra Europe managing director Koert Liekelema says First Milk shares a cooperative heritage and spirit with Fonterra. “And we look forward to using our combined consumer insights and innovative mind-sets…. This deal underpins Fonterra’s strategic focus on premium dairy ingredients. And we are pleased to be working with First Milk, enabling Fonterra to offer customised, premium whey protein ingredients.” First Milk chief executive Kate Allum says the joint venture is its first step into added value whey markets. It

builds on work First Milk has done recently with a range of partners across the supply chain. “Obviously the UK market remains the bedrock of our business. However, it is also important we explore opportunities, such as this one with Fonterra, with

the potential to deliver enhanced returns for our dairy farmers. “With its leadership in dairy innovation and technical expertise Fonterra is a great partner for First Milk and we look forward to working with them on this joint venture.”

The premium whey proteins from First Milk Lake District creamery will be applied in Fonterra’s functional and cultured nutrition ingredients such as PowerProtein and ElevateProtein, based on Whey Protein 80% ingredients (WPC80).

Kate Allum

Passion to grow FIRST MILK is a farmer-owned food business supplying and marketing 15% of the milk produced in the UK. It is a major supplier of liquid milk, dairy ingredients and cheese.   The co-op says a passion for innovation and sustainability means it is constantly seeking fresh ways of working with partners across the supply chain. This has been supported by rapid progress recently on launching new products, and securing new customers in UK and international markets.

JV swallows pill maker FONTERRA’S PHARMACEUTICAL lactose 50/50 joint venture with Dutch dairy company Royal FrieslandCampina is “further cementing its place as the world’s leading supplier of lactose excipients,” the co-op says. It has signed an agreement to buy an Indian pharmaceutical company. DMV-Fonterra Excipients (DFE) will buy ingredient maker Brahmar Cellulose Private Ltd (BCPL), which makes ingredients used by the pharmaceutical industry to make tablets and pills. DFE is said to be the world’s number one supplier of lactose excipients, used in tablets, capsules and powders for medical inhalers. DFE accounts for about half the global sales of lactose excipients and 5-10% of oral tablet excipients. This transaction brings together two companies that develop, produce and market excipients to the pharmaceutical industry and will help reduce supply chain and formulation costs. DFE chief executive Jan Jongsma says the acquisition will create a unique market position for DFE as a manufacturer and supplier of all ingredients that are most commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry. “Long-term synergies will be achieved by combining DFE’s current global market position and sales network with Brahmar Cellulose extensive product knowledge and market position in India. “The acquisition of Brahmar Cellulose is a further step in achieving our ambition to become a leading supplier in pharmaceutical excipients and will give a stronger base for future developments in this area.” The acquisition, subject to conditions including the obtaining of various regulatory consents, is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011



Boost returns on pasture silage KEVIN MACDONALD

PASTURE SILAGE is a major source of supplementary feed on New Zealand dairy farms. Its importance is twofold; it facilitates the removal of pasture surplus to the herd’s immediate needs, enabling the provision of higher quality pasture in late spring/ early summer; secondly, it provides a good quality feed supplement for summer/ autumn milk production and autumn body condition score (BCS) gain. Making high quality pasture silage should not be difficult, but it must be viewed as an investment in supplementary feed rather than a “necessary evil” to manage pasture. The objective in making silage is to preserve as many of the original nutrients as possible. In practice, however, the silage is often not made at the optimal time. This reduces the pasture quality advantage and the value of the silage as a supplementary feed.

Poor attention is often paid to the silage making process. This increases fermentation losses and reduces the value of the silage as a supplementary feed. What is silage? When grass is cut and left in a heap, it rots. Silage making is the process of “pickling” pasture to reduce the pH (acidity) to a level that stops microbial activity (stops the feed “rotting”). This is achieved through compacting the pasture and covering with plastic to exclude air, while microorganisms “burn” the sugars in the grass to produce lactic and acetic acid. When enough of these acids are produced, no further breakdown of the pasture occurs. The micro-organisms can be either naturally present in the grass or added in the form of inoculants. A high pH in silage indicates inefficient fermentation, possibly resulting from low pasture sugar content, high pasture N content and excessive soil contamination. It can also result from not compacting the stack

sufficiently, not covering the stack quickly and thoroughly, not using sufficient tyres to hold down the plastic, not checking for damage to the plastic regularly and not controlling vermin, cats, birds that damage the plastic covering. If the silage is exposed to air (e.g. torn plastic), a chain reaction occurs that reduces silage quality. Yeasts that cannot grow without air become active once more and break down the acids in the silage (“heating”). This causes the pH to rise, allowing the bacteria that were suppressed at low pH to grow once more. These bacteria use the energy and protein in the pasture, causing massive spoilage. These silages can also have a high concentration of butyric acid, which reduces palatability and dry matter intake and, if fed in early lactation, increases the risk of ketosis. Most silage analyses provide you with indicators of how well the pasture was fermented. Key things to take note

Planning for surplus FAILING TO plan is planning to fail.

Although pasture silage is the conservation of “surplus pasture” during peak pasture growth, maximising yield of high quality pasture silage requires that this surplus is expected and its removal planned months in advance. This is particularly important when pit or stack silage is being made. If pasture silage is only planned when pre-grazing mass exceeds the desired

amount for the milking herd and then closed for a period to maximise yield before harvesting, the silage is often made 50-60 days after balance date; quality of the material being ensiled in such situations is generally poor (ME<10.5 MJ/kg DM and crude protein <15%). Alternatively, if harvested immediately on recognising the surplus, yield/ha is low and the cost of the silage may be expensive.

of include: • Dry matter (DM%): pasture that has a DM% below 25% is more difficult to ensile well and will lose nutrients through effluent loss. Pasture with a DM% above 35% is more difficult to compact (especially if not precision chopped) and generally

takes longer for the pH to drop. • pH: this is an indicator of how well the fermentation process has gone. A high pH (>4.5) generally indicates that air was not excluded properly. • Ammonia-N (NH3N): this is an indicator of how much protein has

been broken down by bacteria. In well preserved silage, NH3-N should be less than 10%. • Lactic acid (% DM or % total acid): is an indicator of how successful the fermentation was, how successful your choice of inoculant was, and how palatable the silage will be.

• Butyric acid (% DM or % total acid): this is an indicator of secondary fermentation and soil contamination. Air has either not been excluded from the stack or the plastic has become ripped. • Kevin Macdonald, DairyNZ Senior Scientist Farm Systems

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011



Quality silage will give cows energy SILAGE IS used to feed both lactating and dry cows during times of pasture deficit or to increase BCS gain while building pasture cover in the autumn. Therefore, it must be of the highest possible quality. DairyNZ data suggest that increasing silage quality by 2.3 MJ ME/kg DM increases milksolids production by 13, 17 and 41% in spring, summer and autumn, respectively. As is recommended for all feeds, the value of silage as a supplement must be based on its quality (i.e. its ME energy content). Quality is all

is often lighter, silage quality can be greater and regrowth recovery is generally faster. If the baled pasture is not chopped further, utilisation of the silage can be greater when fed in the paddock. A disadvantage is the cost and need to dispose of large quantities of plastic wrap. Stack/pit silage can also be fed in multiple locations on the farm, and is cheaper than baled silage provided the yield of pasture ensiled is greater than 30 t DM/ha or the silage is added to an existing pit. Pit/bunker silage does not offer flexibil-

at 25-35% DM). It is particularly useful when the pasture is greater than 30% DM. There is significant evidence DM intake of precision

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ity in storage, but, when properly used, reduces wastage relative to stack silage. Pit silage is easier to compact and, therefore, expel air. The disadvantage, however, is the need for greater capital investment. The stack/pit must be filled, compacted and covered quickly to exclude air and allow the ‘pickling’ process to start. Any delay in this process will compromise the quality of the silage. If making silage is going to take more than one day, do not leave a stack or pit uncovered at night. A plastic cover should be pulled over the stack/pit each night and weighed down on the edges with tyres. This will reduce respiration losses and prevent spoilage. Are there advantages to precision chopping? Modern mowers, balers and forage harvesters facilitate chopping pasture to 3-5 cm (i.e. precision chopped). Precision chopping pasture for silage provides an advantage in stack compaction and, therefore, silage quality, provided other factors important in silage making are followed (e.g. high quality, clean pasture

Baled silage allows flexibility, says DairyNZ.

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If making silage is going to take more than one day, do not leave a stack or pit uncovered at night. A plastic cover should be pulled over the stack/pit each night and weighed down on the edges with tyres. about energy, the wrong acids reduce palatability. Should I be making my silage in bales or in a stack/pit? Pasture silage can be made either in a field stack, a pit/concrete bunker (on top of the ground) or as bales. Provided the quality of the material going into the silage is the same and proper attention is paid to covering the pasture and ensuring no air enters the stack after covering, pasture silage quality should be the same from either stack/pit or baled silage. The decision to make bales or stack/pit silage is generally dependent on the farm system, the method of feeding silage and the infrastructure available for silage storage. Baled silage allows flexibility - the ability to remove small crops of pasture when desired and the ability to store and feed it in multiple locations. This method generally suits situations when there is only small surplus and to reduce the risk of creating a deficit the paddocks are only shut for up to a week longer than the grazing rotation. As the pasture crop

chopped silage is greater than “flail chopped” silage. Source - DairyNZ Technical Series September 2011

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


Let’s get our STUART REID


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WHEN I was told that the news (about proper standards and equipment for liquid manure spreading) would travel rapidly between farmers by word of mouth, I never knew

Ariane Bailey: Assistant Product Manager, Alpha Nominated

that they talked so slowly. Now, nine years after becoming deeply involved in the process, I see we are at the brink of success. Here’s an outline of what should happen over the next year or so, and an additional opinion or two. We have our feet on the throat of this issue, so let’s crush the breath out of it. Partnerships: You, your regional councils, DairyNZ, NIWA, agricultural scientists, dairy companies and the liquid manure industry should commit to an informal partnership to reach the best practice goals. Some of this is in progress now. The Massey Pond Calculator commissioned by Horizons Regional Council, and Overseer, will become the most important tools in this manure business. When the pond calculator has been properly knocked into shape, it will reliably inform you of how big the storage pond has to be and how best to irrigate given your soil types and soil moisture levels. The impetus toward success: All the organisations mentioned above can do more to ensure that you succeed, rather than stand back and wait for you to fail. It is possible if they all choose to co-operate more closely. Consider this. Compliance figures that are published at present are almost fraudulent. They reveal the level of compliance only on the day that you were visited. If the officer’s visit was on a summer’s day, you’d be okay for that day. But you’d also know darned well, that if the visit was in late August after three wet days, and the pond or sump was overflowing and you were irrigating, then you’d probably have been pinged. It is only the sheer difficulty of the policing task that has saved you. So you should really have had a compliant system at the time of the visit. By this I mean that your complete system (pond, pumps, irrigation means, management plan) must have sufficient storage to ensure that you only irrigated at appropriate times and in appropriate amounts, at all times (30 year cyclones excepted). Being compliant on just the “visit” day is not

enough. So your system design consultant must ensure that his design meets the requirements of each clause set out in the Code of Practice. Attitudes: There are still some attitude problems we have to be aware of and guard against. Some months ago I spoke with a farmer who, when told he needed a 5000

Stuart Reid

m3 pond said, “Bugger that, I want some money for myself. I’m going to make one just half of the required size”. You would hope that Fonterra’s “once a year, every year” visit would detect this sort of thing, but I’ll bet it doesn’t. Its examination can only work when those checking also ask to see what pond size the calculator suggested and then check that cow numbers haven’t changed, that the data entered wasn’t fraudulent, that the pond is actually as big as it should have been and that the liquid management (and solids application too, if any is necessary) is all carried out according to plan. If Fonterra’s check-ups just become rubber stamps for poor installations, then it will come back to bite the industry in a big way. We must all function with integrity on this issue to avoid nasty consequences. Equipment: We should also be checking the performance of equipment claims. DairyNZ would do you all a service by commissioning a Consumer-type test. Irrigation equipment, mixers, pumps, separators, stone traps, hydrants would be evaluated for performance and compared to the manufacturers’ claims. I always look cynically at the claims. “This irrigator has six speeds!” Maybe so, but what are they? How much does it deliver at each hydrant when there’s a differing pressure and flow rate? What happens

Dairy News // september 13, 2011



act together process. A few of us feel that DairyNZ is beginning to avoid or even discount the tremendous input to the project from outsiders who have much to give. Unlined ponds: You may be tempted to line your pond with clay. I would advise against it. Most pond levels will rise and fall a number of times during a season. The clay will dry and crack. Even if the crack only goes part way, this effectively reduces the clay’s thickness and when the pond level rises, liquid will leach through the cracks. If you agitate the pond, the clay liner will erode near the mixer. Tractor mixers will carve great pockets in the pond and the end result is a useless liner. The Voluntary Compliance versus Regulation argument: This should now be history. Why? Your industry has just produced its own standards and codes for compliance. You can hardly argue against them, they are based on inherent good sense. Regional Councils can now tell you that they will assess your consent against your own industry standards. Fear of failure: Some years ago, when I was starting to ride motorbikes, my dad advised me that if was coming adrift on a corner, then I should not look at the power pole ahead of me. He said that if I did, I would hit the pole. “Look at where you want to go, and there is a much better chance you’ll make it”. For too long, dairy farmers have been keeping their eye on the RMA power pole and hitting it. Dad would have told them to look beyond the hazard, and today this is possible. I am confident that if you embrace the new Standard, and the Code of Practice for applying animal manures, then noone will be able to accuse you of unsound practices. You will enjoy the operation of systems that will keep you so far ahead of resource management obligations that there shouldn’t be any environmental consequences for you and only improved production. You will be in the wonderfully successful position of being able to point to the towns

and cities and say, “Look what we’ve done, now it’s your turn. Get on with it.” • Stuart Reid is a mechanical engineer and managing director of Spitfire Irrigators. Lining a pond with clay is not advisable.

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when it has to pull more heavy hose? Micro-managed and macro-managed systems: There is a trap in choosing to install a “micro-managed system” which is a possible choice in the “pond calculator” - it assumes a minimum size of pond and requires that irrigation must take place even though the soil moisture deficit is small. It will place a higher level of stress and anxiety on staff, it will deliver liquid on to the pasture when the grass doesn’t really want it. It is more a disposal tool when I would recommend you use your system as a production tool. Water effect: So far, our focus on cost/benefit with liquid animal manure has been on the retention of the nutrient value of the manure only. But don’t overlook the water benefit. It has not been analysed properly. Let’s face it, perhaps more than half of the rainfall that arrives on your farm turns up when the pasture is already wet and cold, and it just runs off to watercourses. Therefore your entire farm income is due to the other fraction of the rainfall which arrives when it can be used. A big manure pond to store rainwater from all yards and roofs, if it could be distributed over the whole farm, might only add about 4 mm of water during the useful period, but if your annual rain is 1000 mm and the useful rain is only 400 mm then even an additional 4 mm is a possible 1% increase in grass. Continued consultation: DairyNZ has done a good job in picking up on our efforts of some years ago to get this “standards” business all started. The first meeting between Environment Waikato’s Gabriele Kauffler and the effluent suppliers group progressed rapidly to the point where DairyNZ and Fonterra decided to join the course of action. We are grateful that they recognised the efforts we had initiated and funded the professional writing of the documents. Now the process has been extended into a code for pond design. But there is still a lot of assistance that we can bring to this

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


Get more cows in calf

Using heat detection aids in dairy herds can take the guess work out.


THE WINNER of the Rugby World Cup on October 23 will be the team that creates a plan, implements that plan successfully and reviews every game. Graham Henry

drives this process for the All Blacks. The same can be applied to dairy farming. Who drives the process on your farm? In September, the DairyNZ Northland extension team in partnership with host farmers,

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local vets and LIC have been running events designed to help farmers come up with their own winning game plan. One of the host farmers Craig Pullar reduced empty rate from 20 to 6% over three years (same mating length of 14 weeks). To win the challenge to get more cows in calf early, we encourage dairy farmers to invest 30 minutes to review and plan their herd mating practices, as these can sometimes slip out of the routine unnoticed. It is important to share the plan with the whole team. The meeting should start with highlighting why this is important. This will simplify heat detection and get more cows in calf. Your review should involve a close look at how daily activities are run on the farm, not just how the job is done but also how the tasks fit into the daily routine. Heat detection and artificial breeding (AB) is a lot of work, so it will make a big difference if you consider the logistics involved. This will enable your business to have the right people doing the right jobs at the right time, and in the right manner. Careful planning will mean more chance of success. DairyNZ’s InCalf program has resources to help farmers achieve the target of 90% of the herd getting submitted for mating in the first three weeks. The InCalf program has several resources available to dairy farmers including trained advisors and the InCalf book which can be ordered by calling 0800 4 DairyNZ (3247969). There are a number of areas to look at when

reviewing heat detection: What heat detection aids will be used? Have they been ordered? When will they be applied and touched up. What is the system for identifying cows on heat? Where and how are records going to be collected? Who is responsible for heat detection; and does their roster and work load give them enough time to enable them to do it properly? Give a quick refresher on the signs of heat in the paddock for anyone involved in heat detection. Using heat detection aids in dairy herds can take the guess work out of identifying which cows are ready for AB. The key to getting more AB calves is to stay focused on heat detection for at least two cycles and this can be a bit of a challenge at an already busy time of the year. The best results are achieved by using heat detection aids, combined with paddock checks. Some cows only come on heat for a few hours, which makes heat detection difficult if you are relying just on what you see in the paddock. Conversely, some cows may not be mounted often, even though a paddock check may confirm that they are bulling. Tail paint is economical, but needs to be reapplied at least weekly while heat mount detectors give better results with inexperienced staff or when farmers are handling large numbers of cows. Implementing these strategies for your herd will ensure you win the race to get more cows in calf early. The benefits are more profit and less stress. • Tafadzwa Manjala is DairyNZ’s regional leader for Northland

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


animal health BCS improves fertility COWS IN ideal body condition at calving have better fertility than cows in lower body condition, according to Dairy Australia’s InCalf project leader Barry Zimmermann. Maintaining body condition through calving can be managed through nutrition, he says. “Cows in ideal body condition

at calving are more likely to be cycling, submitted for insemination and conceive at the next mating. “Ideal body condition at calving is BCS 4.5 to 5.5. The body condition of Australian dairy cows is scored on a 1-8 system, as outlined in the ‘Condition Magician’ booklet, available on the web.

“We all know cows lose some body condition in early lactation but those that lose more than one body condition score between mating and calving have reduced fertility. “Most herds have some cows that are too thin at calving and To page 42

Dr Barry Zimmermann

Bjorn Oback

Stem cell work pays dividends AGRESEARCH HAS produced the first virus-free pluripotent stem cell-like cells in cattle, a species for which similar attempts have failed for decades. The research discovery has been published in the international science publication PloS ONE, the world’s largest scientific journal. The science team at Ruakura was led by Dr Bjorn Oback. Oback predicts this discovery and the convergence of reproductive and stem cell technology will unlock a new realm of practical possibilities for agriculture. “This breakthrough shows that by firmly focussing on farm animals, with cattle as a model system, we can leverage New Zealand’s distinct strengths and make important scientific contributions to this field of research,” says Oback. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are capable of turning into any cell type in the body, an ability referred to as ‘pluripotency’. Unlike embryonic stem cells, which are also pluripotent, iPSCs do not require destruction of an early embryo but can be derived from almost any cell in the body. AgResearch scientist and lead author of the study Ben Huang attributes the success to a novel culture medium. “This medium promotes pluripotency by inhibiting different cell-signalling pathways. Using signal inhibition we induced stem cell markers in bovine skin cells. We then coaxed them into forming mature tissues after transplantation into mice. “Importantly, the culture conditions were completely chemically defined and free of potentially pathogenic components, such as feeder cells or serum.” Unlike iPSCs in other species, the bovine cells did not require viruses to carry pluripotency-inducing genes into cells. For their virus-free approach, AgResearch scientists simply incubated skin cells in plasmid DNA encoding the pluripotency factors and watched the cells reprogramme back into an embryonic stem cell-like state. This delivery route is safer than viruses, which can trigger the immune system and cause tumours. Plasmids are also easy-to-use and cheap, eliminating the need for specialised biohazard containment facilities. New Zealand will ultimately benefit from this advance in stem cell technologies, says AgResearch. Applications include the ability to generate animals whose sperm are made from iPSCs. In such animals this could be used to capture and multiply elite genetics, taking genomic selection from the whole animal to the cellular level, accelerating breeding and genetic gain. The research was funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and AgResearch.

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011

animal health

Quality pasture will produce top silage Pasture cut for silage must be of high quality.

THE PASTURE you put into a stack cannot improve in quality. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the

pasture to be ensiled is as high quality as possible. The drive for higher silage yields/ha to reduce the cost/t DM of making pit or stack silage has often been used as an excuse for ensiling “overgrown” pasture (i.e. pasture that has been growing for too long since its last grazing). New Zealand data indicate that pasture quality does not decline between 10 to 40 days after grazing in early spring. The data from both Waikato and Taranaki indicate that silage can be made six to seven weeks after closing without major loss in quality when the final grazing was in the two weeks before balance date. When the silage area was closed two to four weeks after balance date, there was a significant drop in pasture quality within three weeks of closing because of seed head emergence. Field losses can be minimised by ensuring the paddocks chosen for silage are the largest paddocks, to minimise machinery turning, rectangular shaped, to avoid more corner losses than necessary, and that water troughs and other obstacles (e.g. electricity pylons) can be easily avoided. Cows and older heifer can be used to graze the headland areas to minimise field losses, but do not allow these in long enough to start grazing the regrowth.

Even in the best conditions these losses will be 5-10% of the pasture available. Losses in the stack can be minimised by reducing the length of time that the cut material is exposed to air, ensuring the stack is well packed (tractor tyre grip marks) and covered with plastic promptly and ensuring that the entire stack is covered in tyres (tyre to tyre touching) to hold the cover in place. Even with perfect diligence, 5-10% of DM will be lost during ensiling. If not careful, losses can be greater than 25%. Feeding out losses can be controlled by allowing the silage sufficient time to ferment and by ensuring the correct shape of stack/pit for herd size. Depending on the inoculants used, the stack should not be opened for three to four weeks after closing. When open, the face should be cleaned daily to ensure the material at the front is not exposed to air for longer than 24 hours and movement of the silage within the stack should be minimised (preferably through use of a block cutter/shear grab). Wastage at feeding out can be reduced by ensuring that cows have good access to the feed but that they cannot trample it into the ground. Thus it is best to feed it in troughs or on a feed pad. – DairyNZ

Quality is key PASTURE CUT for silage must be of high quality. It doesn’t improve in quality after it has been turned into silage. To achieve high quality silage areas identified for silage must be closed early and grazing residuals should be 1,500 kg DM or less in these paddocks. Heavily pugged paddocks should be rolled to avoid soil contamination of the silage Harvesting, compacting and covering of the stack must be done quickly to reduce spoilage. Inoculants may improve the fermentation process, but will not turn poor quality grass into good silage. All inoculants do not work the same. Ask to see the research results that show the inoculants improve silage quality and/or animal production. Attention to detail is required when feeding out to minimise losses both at the stack and in the paddock/ feed pad. – DairyNZ

Dairy News // september 13, 2011


animal health

Northern Victorian farmer Ashley Galt has modified his family’s farm to prevent another outbreak of lameness.

Preventing lameness a cheaper option THE EXPENSE of modifying their farm to prevent lameness in their herd will prove cheaper than lost production from lame cows, says Australian farmer Ashley Galt. Galt runs Galt Bros dairy with his brother, Darren, their father, Dennis, and their respective families. The operation milks 400 Holstein cows for an average of 7500 L/year on their 150 ha Shepparton property in northern Victoria. The Galts made major changes to their farm after their herd suffered substantial lameness caused by the wet summer. “Following the wet summer our cows’ hooves were soft and moist plus they had long toenails making them walk back on their heels,” Galt said. “We had a lot of lame cows and some were so badly affected we had to dry them off. We lost production but luckily we haven’t lost a cow yet through lameness. “We trimmed the cows’ hooves and put rubber matting everywhere in the dairy so the cows weren’t walking on the abrasive concrete. We also re-gravelled and re-graded the laneways, which was a big investment but worth it. “We’ll do anything possible to prevent lameness now that we’ve experienced it. This year it got away from us and we were treating a lot of lame cows with antibiotics before we realised what a big problem it was. We notice lame cows much more quickly now.” The average cost of lameness, including treating the animal, loss of milk production, reduced fertility and weight loss, works out to $A556 in a 450-cow herd, according to Innovative Farm Imports owner Peter Best. “In my experience 25-30% of cows go lame throughout the year and this reduces milk production by about 18% per year, so it’s a serious problem. “You need to identify lameness early. Don’t wait until it’s severe because the impact on fertility and production increases as the lameness progresses. Catch it early and the cost of treatment is minimal, too.” Best said the causes of lameness are varied. The greatest risk to cows comes when they are moving. “Poorly maintained laneways, too

much time spent on concrete and impatience when moving the herd can all increase the chance of lameness. The risk is much higher again if the cows’ hooves are not well maintained or if they are very soft.” While it is difficult to eliminate the risk of lameness altogether, it is possible to reduce it substantially by reducing the amount of stress on the cows’ hooves and by ensuring the cows are fed a nutritionally appropriate diet that helps to strengthen their hooves. Animal nutrition expert Tony Edwards of ACE Consulting says laminitis is the main type of lameness associated with nutrition. “The theory is that a drop in ruminal pH levels causes a die-off of microbes resulting in the production of histamines and endotoxins that interfere with blood flow in the hoof with associated inflammation, swelling, haemorrhages and necrosis,” Edwards says. “This makes for painful hooves restricting the movement of the cows and compromising performance.” The Galt family uses Rivalea Optimilk pellets to ensure their herd gets the best nutrition all year round. Rivalea territory manager Lyndal Hackett, based in Shepparton, says the Australian pasture-based dairy system pre-disposes cattle to a reduction in ruminal pH (acidosis). “Rations higher in starches and sugars tend to be lower in neutral detergent fibre (NDF). Generally, this is the ideal diet when you’re aiming for higher production levels,” Hackett says. “Rations lower in chemical and physically effective NDF reduce chew time and rumination, leading to a reduction in the amount of saliva produced by the animal. Saliva is rich in sodium, potassium, bicarbonates and phosphates and helps to buffer ruminal pH. “Nutritionally, the best way to prevent laminitis is to feed a balanced ration. This begins during transition period from calving to lactation. The management of these cows is critical to the adaption of the rumen microflora to a higher NFC (non-fibre carbohydrates) and lower NDF ration, thus reducing the incidence of acidosis after calving and consuming the milking ration.”


Dairy News // september 13, 2011

animal health

Calf rearing guide available online DAIRY FARMERS can go online to see a new calf rearing guide developed by Dairy Australia and Australian Dairy Farmers. Rearing Healthy Calves – how to raise calves that thrive, covers all aspects of caring for calves from pre-

calving right through to weaning. It is available at Dairy Australia’s Healthy Calves programme leader, veterinarian Jamie McNeil, says the guide will help farmers keep abreast of industry best practices and recent changes in livestock standards. “The guide is the result of many hours hard work and contribution from leading dairy farmers, animal scientists and vets,” McNeil says. “It includes clear and concise explanations, together with practical examples to help farmers see the concepts in action.” McNeil says dairy farmers have asked for a practical guide on all aspects of calf management in order to keep up with new research and regulatory changes. “Producing healthy calves is not simply a matter of following a single recipe for success, and this guide outlines a range of approaches,” he says. “This guide provides ideas on how dairy farmers can enhance the way they manage calves on farm. Good calf rearing techniques are the key to a profitable herd and help protect the dairy industry’s access to world markets.” Calf rearing comprises nine essential operations which the manual covers in detail. These are: • Pre-calving care: heifer target weights, preparing calving environment. • Clean and comfortable environment: ventilation, drainage, bedding. • Identification and traceability: identifying treated and sale calves, NLIS tags. • Colostrum management: absorption and immunity, assessing quality, timing, quantity. • Good nutrition: role of fibre, milk replacers, grain/ concentrates. • Residue risk management: residue testing, contamination scenarios. • Health management: prevention, managing sick calves, vaccination, scours. • Weaning management: nutrition, managing disease, weaning age. • Care before transport and sale: new national standards, and care prior to pick up.


Restricted Veterinary Medicine - only available under veterinary authorisation

From page 39

others that lose too much body condition in early lactation, usually after being too fat at calving.” Zimmermann says excessive losses are common when cows calve in body condition score above 5.5 and extended lactation cows are especially prone to be over-conditioned if not managed well. “Managing body condition is all about managing your herd’s nutrition. “Improving nutrition from late lactation to early calving pays off in the coming season through improved fertility and milk production.” Some options for improving body condition include: • Improving nutrition for the whole herd during late lactation. • Early drying off for cows below condition score 4.5 at late lactation. • Preferentially feeding cows below condition score 4.5. • Lead feeding in the last few weeks of the dry period. • To minimise body condition loss in early lactation, consider: • Feeding the highest possible quality pasture to cows in early lactation. • Feeding supplements to balance nutrient intake. • Preferentially feeding cows in early lactation if the option is available with your bail feeding system.

Dairy News // september 13, 2011


animal health

Vaccine withdrawal should not detract from BVD focus ANDREW SWALLOW

VETS SAY don’t let the PregSure vaccine withdrawal distract attention from tackling BVD. Pfizer’s withdrawal last month of one of the two BVD vaccines available followed five confirmed and two suspected cases of bovine neonatal pancytopenia (BNP), or bleeding calf syndrome. Pfizer last week told Dairy News 18 cases from 11 farms have now been confirmed. Vets say the numbers probably under-report the incidence as BNP is generally fatal and some affected calves will have gone in the offal pit without veterinary involvement. “We’re not getting calls from vets saying we’re swamped with these things but there will be some degree of under-reporting for sure,”

New Zealand Veterinary Association resource manager Wayne Ricketts told Dairy News. Even some cases where calves were euthanased by vets may have gone unreported prior to the association with use of PregSure vaccine being publicised here, he adds. “The numbers really are anecdotal to some degree.” While all calf losses are regrettable, the problem needs to be kept in context, he stresses. “The absolute focus has to remain on BVD. It’s estimated to cost $120m, or $80,000 per herd in lost production, reproduction and other disease issues... and there are new figures coming out which suggest the cost might be quite a bit higher than that.” Alternative BVD vaccine Bovilis is still available and there have been no problems associated with

that. Even with PregSure, the causal link with BNP hasn’t been proven. As for suggestions PregSure sales should have been suspended here in June 2010 when the product was withdrawn in Europe, that would have left New Zealand short on vaccine, Ricketts notes. “There wasn’t much Bovilis vaccine available in New Zealand last year because it was all taken up in Europe because of the PregSure withdrawal there.” Pfizer says PregSure is no longer on sale anywhere else in the world. BVD steering committee chairman Roger Ellison stresses vaccination is “just part of the process” of tackling BVD, which was recently formalised for vets in a four step management toolkit rolled out at workshops across the country. “On some farms it might not be necessary at all.”

Contracts honoured

FONTERRA SAYS it will be honouring its colostrum contracts from producers who used PregSure and collections weren’t disrupted, despite Green MP Sue Kedgely’s questions about PregSure causing similar reactions in humans. However, none of this season’s colostrum will be released until scientific investigations with regard to food safety are complete, a spokesman told Dairy News. Advice is being sought from Pfizer, MAF and independent scientific advisors. Asked about the

potential for colostrum from PregSure-treated cows to affect humans, Pfizer told Dairy News it is “not aware of any evidence of BNP

impacting humans. We are also not aware of any evidence of risk to human health from the consumption of milk, colostrum or

What is BNP? PFIZER SAYS bovine neonatal pancytopenia is a relatively rare immune mediated disease seen in calves up to four weeks of age. Characteristic clinical signs include internal and external bleeding, bleeding membranes such as the gums, or bleeding from wounds such as ear-tagging or injection sites, or bleeding from orifices such as the nose or anus.

meat products from cows vaccinated with Pregsure BVD, or from the consumption of meat from calves that have recovered from BNP.”

Mortality rate is 90-100%. Of the 18 cases confirmed in New Zealand, 17 were fatal. Pfizer says understanding this complex disease is a priority for the firm and it is doing in-house and collaborative research with independent scientists and academic veterinary institutions. Other independent research, without Pfizer involvement, is also underway.

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011

animal health / nutrition

Pasture cover rises BARBARA GILLHAM

THOUGH MANY dairy farmers in Waikato and Bay of Plenty face a difficult spring due to low pasture covers, conditions are improving says DairyNZ farm system specialist Phillipa Hedley. Hedley suggests in a recent DairyNZ report that farmers act address the issue, so getting cows

into calf quickly is not be affected by a lack of feed. “Generally conditions are improving and although some other areas such as the lower North Island are a bit below target they are not too bad. “We had a dry, cold August but we have had a little rain and growth rates have now picked up. Farmers short of feed need to make the most of the growth and

Pasture cover is slowly improving around the country, says DairyNZ.

monitor their farms to confirm the size of any deficit so they can develop a plan on how to fill that deficit.” Hedley says the aim of management now is to maximise pasture growth rates so there is adequate pasture on hand by the start of mating. “Using supplements now can be profitable. If milking cows are grazing to lower than 1500 kg DM/ha, common supplements (PKE, grass and maize silage) will be profitable to feed. If the milking cows are grazing to 1200 kg DM/ha nearly all supplement will be profitable to feed. “The key to getting supplementing right is monitoring and at this time of year pasture growth can increase quickly. “Farmers should be monitoring their grazing residuals with a plate meter several times each week, and average pasture covers weekly, looking for opportunities to take some supplement away from the herd and offering increased areas of pasture. Grazing residuals of 1300 kg DM/ha currently could quickly become 1500 during a single week. “If this happens supplementary feeding becomes less profitable and if continued at high levels becomes an expensive way of generating surplus grass.”

Tackling low grass cover • Hold a 30 day rotation for as long as possible. • Get sufficient supplement on hand to fill the feed deficit for at least the next 10 days. • Graze no lower than 1400 kg DM/ ha minimum; this may mean standing milkers off if you

don’t have the supplement. It is better to do this now for 10-20 days than have cows underfed at mating. • Feed supplement to get grazing residuals to 1400 kg DM/ha minimum; aim for 1500 kg DM/ha. • Apply nitrogen now so when conditions

are favourable for growth N won’t be limiting. Have 50 kg N/ha on all paddocks grazed by the cows since calving. • Consider using giberrellic acid, following the application recommendations, on covers greater than 1200 kg DM/ha,

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applying within five days of grazing. • Feeding dry cows up to 80% of diet in supplement and grazing one paddock to 1000 kg DM/ha will have little impact on total farm growth. • Do not graze dry cows behind milkers. • Back fence; every day of growth counts.

Pasture Plus helps farmers maximise production.

Learning never stops FOR HAWKE’S Bay farm manager Josh Dondertman the learning never stops, and for that he has been rewarded. The Massey University graduate was recently appointed farm manager of a 600ha farm west of Waipukurau. He leads 10 fulltime staff, plus casuals, milking 2300 cows. Prior to his current role, Dondertman was managing seven staff on a grassonly system in Feilding, making his pasture management skills a priority to hone. To access other farmers’ knowledge, Dondertman attended a DairyNZ Pasture Plus group which he credits with helping him become more forwardthinking. “Talking about pasture management with other farmers has taught me to no longer budget for tomorrow, but to budget for weeks and months ahead. It’s not about making a decision from what you can see that day, it’s about planning ahead,” he says. “You can benchmark yourself against older, more experienced farmers and set goals. You go thinking ‘he did that, so I can do that on my farm’.”

Named the 2009 Dairy Industry Awards’ Farm Manager of the Year for Manawatu/Rangitikei/Horowhenua, Dondertman wants his staff to progress in the industry, just as he has. “It’s rewarding watching your staff’s pasture management skills grow. In my past role I could send the younger staff on a farm walk and have every confidence the feed calculations they gave me afterwards were correct. When I first arrived on the farm in Feilding they couldn’t do that. Pasture Plus certainly helped.” Dondertman is big on monitoring and has made that a priority in his new role. “I do a fortnightly pasture walk which decisions are then based on. For example, if pre-grazing levels are too low, supplements are added, or if there is too much grass we can drop paddocks out for silage. At the moment it is all about the spring rotation planner.” He plans to rejoin Pasture Plus groups in his area and perhaps encourage a few staff to join him. “The events provide timely discussion and act as a good reminder on what to start planning for.”

Focus groups meetings PASTURE PLUS allows dairy farmers to share ideas and skills to better utilise pasture and maximise production. The DairyNZ discussion group focuses on the key principles of pasture management, growing and harvesting more pasture, increasing pasture quality and optimising the use of

supplements. By studying the feed systems of different farms in their area, farmers have the opportunity to benchmark their performance against others. During the season, Pasture Plus groups will use tools such as feed budgets, rising plate meters, spring rotation planners and feed wedges.

THE METRICURE MAINTENANCE PLAN: For top performance A VISUAL CHECK: For leaks and wear Look for all cows likely to be At Risk of endometritis who will have had: • Assisted calvings • Induced calvings • Dead calves/stillbirths • Twins • Retained foetal membranes.

Dairy News // september 13, 2011


animal health

No guesswork when dealing with sick cows A RECENT two-day conference in Australia reminded me of the importance of emerging and exotic diseases. We discussed diseases like Hendra virus and the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and how to prepare for such events. The key message was how to identify the ‘zebra’ in the herd of horses, i.e. how to recognise something we may never have seen before? Or how do I know what is an important deviation from what I have previously experienced or successfully managed. Dairy farmers, in my experience, are pretty good at identifying diseases they have seen before. While most dairy farmers I know secretly think they are really vets who never had the opportunity to attend vet school, there is a danger in assuming you can always fit every set of symptoms to a disease that you already know and understand. Let’s break down the word ‘assume’. It makes an ASS out of U and ME – true when you think about what can happen when we work with only half the information required to make a correct diagnosis. The area that I most commonly see this

animal health rob bonanno mistake made is in the diagnosis and treatment of calf scours. Over my career, I have seen the emergence of diseases like Cryptosporidium

rhoea, and has previously had a diagnosis of Salmonella, so he or she ASSUMES that it is the same problem again. If he or she doesn’t want to pay for a visit “just to check calves”, which is reasonably common, I will often ask a few questions, take them at their word and dispense an antibiotic treatment with the advice that if it is not improved within 72 hours, or the problem gets worse, to

“When the call is finally made several days to weeks – and a few dead calves – later, it becomes obvious that assuming we knew what was going on has really made an Ass out of both You and Me.” and BVD causing extensive calf losses. We add this to the well established culprits like rotavirus, coronavirus, E.coli, coccidia and salmonella, and it becomes a messy tangle of bugs and drugs used to treat them on many dairy farms. At this time of year, I often get dairy producers on the phone saying to me: “I’ve got Salmonella again. Can I get some antibiotics from you?” The farmer recognises the symptoms of diar-

ring and I will visit. Everyone is happy then, right? When the call is finally made several days to weeks – and a few dead calves – later, it becomes obvious that assuming we knew what was going on has really made an Ass out of both You and Me. Calf scours and illness is a complex and often intertwined series of events. It can involve issues relating to management of prepartum cows, the calving process, the immune status of the

Don’t fit every set of symptoms to a disease.

herd, contamination of the calving area or milk fed to the calves. It also involves issues such as colostrum management, calf housing and nutrition, management and treatment of sick or debilitated calves, and even farm structural issues such as what assets you have at your disposal for the process of rearing calves. At this busy time of year, it is easy to assume the pattern we recognise from previous experiences is the answer to our problem. But it is critical, if we are to be successful in the challenge of rearing good calves or treating calves for illness, for farmers to see there is great value in getting the vet to check affected calves, maybe do a few post mortems or take some lab samples for diagnostic specimens. The vet can also look at ways to improve the calf protocols to maximise the timely intake of an adequate volume of quality colostrum and address issues relating

to the underlying causes of the immune suppression that has led to the disease outbreak. There are various subsidies and incentives to assist in investigations of serious disease outbreaks. Recognising when something doesn’t quite fit with your previous experiences, or realising when you are trying a little too hard to fit the symptoms with a disease you already know about, is a message that it is time to call in your local dairy vet to help. • Rob Bonnano is president of the Australian Cattle Veterinarians Association and a director of the Shepparton Veterinary Clinic.

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011

effluent & water management

Do homework before buying FDE system A DECISION to install a new farm dairy effluent system demands a number of considerations, says DairyNZ. These include finding the right person for the job, requirements before the system is designed, assessing the system specification report and reviewing the quote. Getting the right person for the job is critical to getting the right system. Designing and installing farm dairy effluent systems is a technical job requiring specialist knowledge. When looking at whose advice and service to use, the first thing to look for is an accredited farm dairy effluent (FDE) company or certified designer. Accredited

FDE companies and certified designers are trained specialists. They understand and follow the FDE Code of Practice and Design Standards when designing and installing systems. Using an accredited company or certified designer will provide assurance the investment in effluent infrastructure will be specific and relevant to you, your farming environment and your farm. It will also ensure the effluent system is capable of complying with regional council requirements when managed correctly. The system is designed with an understanding of the current research and best

technology options available at the time Before the system is designed, ensure your selected designer /supplier has the right information to design the most appropriate system. This is a critical stage, says DairyNZ. “Poor information now will compromise the whole project and your system may never meet your needs.” Assessing the system specification report is also important. A design report and plan summarising the final system specifications must be provided by the designer / installer. “This should tell you the standards and specifications and what the system will be capable

Ensure your farm complies with regional council requirements when it comes to effluent management.

of achieving. You should also be able to get a quotation for the design and installation from this information or get it reviewed by another

designer if desired.” A quotation based on the system specification must be provided to you to ensure all parties are clear about what is going

to eventuate. Information that must be provided and agreed to before work starts includes a written 12 month warranty specifying how

the warranty is going to be serviced. It will also state the period of cover and who is responsible and what they are responsible for.

Use accredited designers

WHEN CONTRACTING the services of an effluent system engineer, designer or installer, or when buying effluent equipment, make sure you ask for advice and design recommendations based on the FDE code and standards,

and ask if they are an accredited FDE designer. Ask for a certificate of work stating they have followed the code and standards. You do not have to use the code and standards as they have no le-

gal status, however it is strongly advised the code and standards are implemented when designing and constructing effluent systems to ensure all aspects of the system have been appropriately considered.

Dairy News // september 13, 2011


Effluent & water management

Ideas flow at water use event FARMERS COULD be heard saying “that’s a good idea, I should do that” during a recent Smart Water Use event on the Hauraki Plains. Attracting 60 Hauraki Plains-Thames Valley dairy farmers, the ideas exchange was a brainstorm to discuss practical ways to use water more efficiently and reduce

As an industry-wide issue, DairyNZ has picked up Smart Water Use and since rolled it out nationwide. The Thames Coromandel District Council and Hauraki District Council require greater water conservation as they work on new solutions to meet the additional water demand.

leaks across a region, and a lot of wasted water. “On a whole network, it’s a big issue.” Berry says having a farm map is crucial

for a water system: it details the entire system, enabling staff and contractors to find water lines, along with anyone else who might run the

farm in the absence of an owner or manager. “Knowing where the water is coming from, where it’s going, how many inlets there are

[is crucial]. With more inlets you get more leaks, so there’s greater risk of wasted water,” says Berry. “But the biggest risk is not having water at

all, if your own source is stretched or if you are on council supply and they have to restrict it because streams are running low. – DairyNZ

Gord Stewart

water loss on farms. The area’s two district councils provide water through rural supply schemes drawing from local rivers and streams, however an ageing 1930s network, increased regulations and greater demand for water by farms and summer holidaymakers is placing increasing pressure on water supplies. Smart Water Use programme manager Gord Stewart says water demand is a big issue nationwide, with the challenges differing from one region to another. The Smart Water Use on Dairy Farms scheme got its start in 2006 in the Hauraki Plains and Thames Valley, to help conserve farm water use.

“A particular challenge in Hauraki Coromandel is the influx of summer holidaymakers. This puts pressure on the water services,” says Stewart. “At the same time, farmers are working through the hot summer, when cows are requiring more drinking water,” says Stewart. Between both councils, 340 dairy farms are supplied water; the average dairy farm uses 220 L/ha/day and much more than this at the peak of summer. So what can be done? DairyNZ consulting officer Wayne Berry says regardless of where you farm in New Zealand, a couple of leaks might seem minimal, but it adds up to thousands of water

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011

effluent & water management

Top effluent managers strike gold status TONY HOPKINSON

WHEN YOU have achieved the status of a ‘gold’ supplier of Fonterra it means your farm has supplied grade free milk for a minimum of four years, placing it in the top 0.5% of the 11500 herds in New Zealand. Only 57 suppliers had this status in the 2010-2011 season. Stephen Frost and his partner Michelle Lawn trading as Frosty Lawn Trust are among those suppliers. They share milk 220 cows on a 74 ha farm at Ohangai 10 km east of Hawera. This is their sixth season on the property. The area is prone to summer dries with their best production 91000 kgMS with the

aim of reaching 100000 kgMS. “When we are leading in one part of our farming operation we also try to be proactive in other areas,” says Frost. At the start of this season they have made a major change to their effluent disposal method. They have upgraded to the latest Fertigator from Nevada. “We formerly had an old traditional ‘pot’ system that placed severe restrictions on our disposal.” They had received an abatement notice from the regional council as spreading was over only 6ha and was in danger of overloading the soil; K levels were very high. Utilising as much as

they could from the old system they are now spreading over 2 ha and the regional council is “very happy.” The Fertigator is a rotating effluent gun with a 14mm nozzle that does not block says Frost. It spreads over 30 m to 40 m between shifts. They still have the same pump – a 10hp Yardmaster pump delivering 1200m from the shed through a 50mm delivery line. It has a float switch “We would be a little better off if we had a larger delivery line but we wanted to use as much of the old set-up as we could.” The delivery line is in 50 and 100m lengths with 14 Camlock couplings

for ease of shifting. There are no hydrants – although they would be good – and the nozzle is shifted after every milking. “It’s so easy we do not consider it a chore.” The Fertigator is mounted on a 700 mm diameter base made of a heavy rotationally moulded plastic which will not tip over when towed by an ATV. The base does not collect any material so there is no emptying when it is to be shifted. Each 2ha paddock takes about 20 shifts to be totally covered; each shift overlaps half the previous sprayed area. “Overlapping but not over the limit.” Frost is pleased that where he had a screen at the sump entrance this

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Stephen Frost with the fertigator.

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Good for everyone COMPLIANCE IS not the ‘main thing’ about effluent systems says Waikato effluent system installer Effluent and Irrigation. A well engineered system saves farmers time, provides a better return on investment and protects the environment. Some effluent systems require very low labour input, so farmers will save in manpower, says the company. “The time allocated to operating an old-type system can then be dedicated to other key business activity especially during busy times such as calving. You will get a better return on

investment from your effluent system. “A farm will see a substantial decrease in fertiliser input on its effluent block. Due to the increase of grass growth and the quantity and quality of feed available to a herd, the farmer will see an increase in milk production. More milk means more money.” The company says everyone needs to protect New Zealand’s clean green image. “Our product sells overseas on the back of New Zealand’s environmentally friendly image. We don’t want to risk losing that edge.”


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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


effluent & water management

Turning waste into dollars A NEW GPS system launched by TracMap will help lift DM production says its national sales manager Lance Nuttall. The TM465 is unique, he says. In addition to providing guidance and proof of placement, farmers now have a system

plan, task management and break-fence locations and hazards. “When it comes to irrigation by predetermining the most effective locations of sprinklers (long-lateral or K-Line) a farmer can achieve dramatic improvements

K-Line or travelling irrigator screen shot.

Long-lateral placements screen shot.

which allows them to display information critical to their operations, such as a GPS map of their farm, a detailed irrigation & effluent spreading

in dry matter (DM) production, with some farmers achieving 2 tonne additional DM per season,” he says. “Irrigator locations are

firstly laid over the GPS farm map on a PC, we ensure maximum coverage taking into account such things as hazards & no go areas, hydrant locations, length of and number of pods (K-Line) etc. This is then simply downloaded to the TracMap Head Unit (see screen shots) via USB.” Nuttall says the new system allows any number of people on the farm to shift irrigation patterns, minimising mistakes. Farmers who are currently using the system cite this as a major benefit. This same principle can be applied to predetermining the location of travelling irrigators used to spread effluent. TracMap has also


Farmers can view the area travelled by the irrigator.

carried out significant development with its range of traveling irrigator monitors which provide dairy farmers with reliable ‘peace of mind’ effluent monitoring. Designed to reduce the risk of effluent or water being over applied to one area as a result of

irrigator malfunction, the system works by continually checking the speed the irrigator is moving. If it moves too slowly or stops altogether, the pump is shut down, and the operator alerted by way of text message to up to three mobile phones. With both cellular and radio options

available, even the most demanding of areas are able to benefit from the system. These can also be teamed up with the “Your Maps @ TracMap” reporting system, says Nutall. “This stores and displays the application and job history in the

form of aerial overlays or PDF reports, which are available via the internet through a secure log on. This will enable farmers, farm managers and absentee owners to view the location and area traveled by the irrigator.

0800 TracMap (0800 872 262)

New! ADR 500 Effluent Screening Plant

Pluck’s can adapt our ADR 500 and twin pond effluent system to work with your current effluent set ups, keeping your upgrade costs down.

 All plant and pumps very low kW  Self cleaning screen  Self cleaning ponds  Effluent is clean enough to be pumped into a pivot system if required  Screens out everything bigger than 1 mm

At last: A Traveling Effluent Irrigator… Check out Delivery Times


 Meets even the toughest New Zealand Effluent Enviro Standards  Has the Most Even Rain Cover over wetted width in New Zealand by far  Has a Rain Rate of 5mm or less across total wetted width, not just the centre area. (please see in the independently proved graph)

Applied Depth – Depth 54 0 –5 32 No 1 Overlap mm 0


just 5 mm applied depth!

Covered by:

PATENT No. 578084 Test 1

Test 2

Test 3

      •••••   •  •  •    ••  •• •  • • •  •   • •   • •  ••  •   • •   • •  • 







Distance (m)







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

• • • • • • • • • • •

Our reputation is built on quality of construction and componentry Low power requirements Unique one position control of filling pump site levels and shut off Fill from front or rear Automatic shut off of pressure/vacuum safety valves Visible sight glasses 11 metre suction hose Internal baffles Corrosion protection paint on inside Inspection/cleaning manhole Hydraulically operated opening valve

Dealers throughout New Zealand

For more information Phone 07 533 1259 or 07 533 1417 Fax 07 533 1560 RD9 Te Puke or see your dealer

Take your Effluent Pond from crusty to aerobic from this …

Your pond will stay clean, crust free, sludge free and look outstanding for good!

to this …

using one of these:

This pond took only eight weeks to go from crusty and stagnant to aerobic and biologically active. All the bearings are above the water line and are fitted with auto greasers that grease for 12 months unattended. Call us now to find a distributor and installer in your area Main South Road, Rakaia 7710 0 8 0 0 7 5 8 2 5 7 Mid Canterbury

The EPS Stirrers come in a number of different Hp sizes and all of them are very low kW/Hr, starting at .75kW.





Dairy News // september 13, 2011

effluent & water management


It Just Works Better!

Construction: The strength and durability of glass reinforced nylon Captive Blue Nut permanently held onto fitting - can’t be lost Blue Nut internal taper winds up over the pipe or hose for an extremely secure fit Very easy to use, hand tighten Blue Nut or tighten beyond hand tight

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Water quality vital PROTECTING WATER quality in the Waikato River and other waterways from the effects of sediment, agricultural nutrients and bacteria is a significant issue in the Waikato region. The Waikato Regional Council says it is working closely with farmers, industry, iwi and others on this. Sustaining land and water resources across the Waikato is one of the council’s three flagship goals. For example, the council has been reiterating the critical importance of dairy farmers having adequate effluent storage following preliminary results from the first of seven council helicopter monitoring flights scheduled for 201112. This season’s first flight – around rural areas close to Hamilton in August – indicated one in ten farms (10%) was significantly noncompliant with council permitted activity rules. Generally speaking, significant non-compliance is where effluent has entered waterways or is at high risk of doing so. That 10% score was better than the 20% significant non-compliance recorded for a flight near Hamilton around the same time last year. Both flights occurred during wet winter weather. The council’s compliance and education manager Rob Dragten says it is encouraging to see a lower percentage of significant non-compliance from the Hamilton flight this year. “However, the most serious cases of significant non-compliance appear worse than last year which is of concern to us.” Dragten says another concerning observation during last month’s flight was that some farmers clearly had inadequate effluent storage to cope with winter milking. Milking in winter poses particular challenges for good effluent management as storage pond levels are increased by rainfall, evaporation of fluid is less and there are fewer days when effluent can be safely spread to paddocks. “We found a number of farmers

Eye in the sky: Waikato Regional Council staff survey dairy farms.

“Our advice is that farmers do not use races for feed pads because they are inevitably in breach of the rules, and because of the risk to the environment.” who had very full ponds and one pond was actively overflowing,” says Dragten. “If farmers are winter milking their infrastructure or effluent management practices need to be at a higher level to cope. Our advice is that farmers get good, professional advice about the right amount of storage to cope with conditions on their individual farms, storage that is appropriate for all seasons in which their farms are operating.” Another issue apparent during the August monitoring flight was an increased use of farm races as feed pads. “Feed pads and stand-off pads must be properly sealed, and have effluent collection systems. Races

don’t meet this standard, so using them as feed pads means that nutrients are likely to leach into groundwater. Also, effluent can flow off the race and contaminate waterways or create nitrogen hotspots in paddocks,” he says. “Our advice is that farmers do not use races for feed pads because they are inevitably in breach of the rules, and because of the risk to the environment. Only properly designed and built stand-off pads and feed pads that are correctly sealed and that have good effluent collection systems will comply.” • For more information on effluent management rules contact the council on 0800 800 401 or visit

Dairy News // september 13, 2011


effluent & water management

K-Line Effluent TM

For efficient effluent disposal

Super tank aids storage components are used no matter what size the tank is. The tanks meet environmental and council requirements for storing dairy effluent as outlined in the DairyNZ Design Code of Practice. They are proving popular for dairy farmers, the company says. Depending on size the tanks

can be assembled in two-five days. Tanks can also be carried into sites not accessible to vehicles. Under development is a methane gas recovery system from Kliptank for energy to power buildings and machinery.

Tel. 0800 255 222


CLIP-TOGETHER EFFLUENT containment tanks new from Kliptank Ltd, Tauranga, enable on-farm storage of volumes 34,000 to 3 million L. The tanks also suit water, molasses, grain, etc. Using modular design and construction, the maker can produce tanks for specific needs. The same

K-Line™ Std Naan 5022

K-Line™ Mid Senninger 5023

K-Line™ Max70 Senninger 7025

Nevada Fertigator CONTROLLED APPLICATION SPREADING Need to spread your dairy effluent over a large area with a controlled application rate? Straight from your pond or sump, nevada Fertigators get all the nutrients onto your grass. Simple, low cost and easy to move irrigators, which can be used in conjunction with traveller irrigator systems. Use one or several on flat land or steeper areas. Risk of run off and ponding is minimised.

STANDARD FEATuRES • Low application rate • 10-14mm nozzle minimises blockages • 50m of draghose between sprinklers • Up to 1800m2 coverage

Call us today and discover how Nevada can give you greener pasture, grow your productivity and provide you with greater profits.

Phone 0800 278 6006 FoR YoUR neAReST DISTRIBUToR

• Common camlock fittings • Can be used with small or large pumps

K-Line™ Max80 Senninger 8025


Dairy News // september 13, 2011

effluent & water management

Compliance up DAIRY FARMERS in the Wellington region are being praised for lifting effluent management compliance. Federated Farmers Wairarapa dairy chairperson Graeme Stuart says farmers have gone from 53% to 92% full compliance with resource consent conditions. “[And] where the rubber truly hits the road – significant non-compliance – we’ve seen that fall to 1.6%. This is a result of farmers listening and acting on sound advice.” Fonterra visited Stuart’s farm recently under its ‘every farm, every year’ inspection scheme. “This was for Fonterra to verify the steps I’m taking to ensure my farm is compliant with resource con-

sent conditions,” he says. “So we’ve not only had the council checking on our practices but Fonterra too.” Greater Wellington Regional Council has also been praised for seeing farmers as part of a solution instead of a problem. This is why compliance is up, he says. “We’ve got a good story to tell because we’re starting to get on top of point source pollution. Effluent field days run by DairyNZ have been well attended because there’s a hunger to learn more about what we can do. “There’s a sound economic reason to look at effluent. DairyNZ estimates recycling dairy effluent as fertiliser can save the average farm $10,000-$20,000 each year.

BioRemedies LTD

BioRemedies Limited Dairy Effluent Treatment

Pond lining firm moves to Southland POND LINING specialist Craig McMillan has moved his business Aspect Environmental Lining from Waikato to Winton, Southland. He has been 30 years in the business, and has worked increasingly in Southland during the past 12 months. Since installing his first liner in 1981 McMillan has worked in Craig McMillan has relocated to Winton, Southland. Australasia and the Pacific Islands. His company offers a complete lining of this material are:100% testing, supply and installation service guaranteeing water tightness. for effluent ponds, chiefly using Durable with excellent UV liners made from high density resistance. polyethylene (HDPE). Advantages Detailed quality assurance

documents specific to each project. Comprehensive installation and material guarantees.

Tel. 0800 464 235

• Increase pasture growth • Increase animal health • Better milk solid returns means more for the farmer • Consider your dairy effluent as a resource and not a waste

Contact Blair 027 468 2552 or Rob 021 959 980 Check out the BioRemedies web page

BioRemedies Limited has a product to help you enhance your effluent to help you gain the maximum benefit

SUPA Built rugged to last for many years

The average dairy farmer takes about 30 minutes to hose the yard after milking and uses between 10,000 and 20,000 litres of water. Water conservation and reducing effluent waste are major environmental issues impacting on all farming operations. It pays to look at options to keep these to a minimum.

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


effluent & water management

Innovation a winner

There is 200mm of growth over 20 days after being sprayed with treated effluent. Marker indicator is set at 100mm spacings.

‘Look outside the square on effluent’

at. This in turn means even lower application depths are achieved. All the Evenspread travelling irrigators are manufactured with one long boom and one short boom. This is a simple method of ensuring a uniform spread pattern. The Numedic boom and cam improvements now enable dairy farmers to better utilise the nutrients in effluent and improve farm productivity.

Even spread, even more production! UNIQUE SHORT AND



Patented Technology for better effluent utilisation.


• Innovative boom design for a more even, controlled spread. • Less runoff and ponding risk with application depths down to 6mm. • Patented cam with 7 speeds enabling easy speed selection. • Tough galvanised and stainless steel construction with a 1 year guarantee.

Choice of irrigator for Ag AgRe AgResearch’s Rese Re sear se arch ar ch’’s’s ch

Tokonui Research Farm

Ask your dealer for a Numedic EVENSPREAD. Visit or call 0800 686 334 for more info NUM 5597 Irrigator Ad F9 V4.indd 1

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superior dairy technology


DAIRY FARMERS under fire over their effluent management may get some relief from biological product maker BioRemedies, a company ‘looking outside the square’. BioRemedies markets a 100% natural product which, mixed with effluent before irrigation, helps effluent ponds do their work and keeps odours down. The product also helps increase the nutrient value of the effluent. The company says its products are used extensively in the North American dairy industry. Says a spokesman, “When BioRemedies is introduced to dairy effluent it enhances the effluent” and raises pasture productivity. A recent Australian soil biology study has emphasised that farmers need to consider ways to improve soil health. BioRemedies’ product has been used on the West Coast with remarkable results, the company says. One client is said to have achieved a 4% increase in milk solids from spraying 20% of the farm with treated effluent. The company says its testing found the treated pasture was higher in sugar content than the untreated. Comparisons were also made with a urea-treated paddock and the BioRemedies treated paddocks are said to have come out on top in the results.

INNOVATION HAS again proven a winner with the Numedic range of Evenspread Travelling Irrigators. A new adjustable cam can be fitted to the 755 and 765 models. It allows even more precise speed control, and application depths of dairy effluent or water. The new cam gives 12 different speed selection settings, which has doubled the speed that the earlier models operated

2/3/10 3:41:24 PM

Up to 50% more efficient then centrifugal pumps— ”save on power costs!” Typically these pumps are dry mounted—”no more dangerous pontoons”


Dairy News // september 13, 2011

effluent & water management

Permathene Liners

Installing New Zealand Wide

Supply and Installation of liners for effluent ponds, horticultural canals, lagoons, tanks, recreational lakes • • • •

We offer Permaliner Flexible Polypropylene, HDPE and LLDPE Material and Installation Warranty Permaliner meets AS/NZS 4020:2005 for use in contact with drinking water We are IAGI Certified (International Association of Geomembrane Installers)

Under construction: • HDPE aerobic (uncovered) • HDPE anaerobic (covered)


Permathene Civil & Environmental 404 Rosebank Road, Avondale, Auckland Tel (09) 968 8888, Fax (09) 968 8890

Use water smartly Do not let extreme weather or any restrictions risk adequate water supply for your cows. The following will help water use on your farm: Mapping the farm water system This means all farm staff are familiar with the workings of the system and can help fix leaks when they do occur. The map should be posted in a convenient spot for everyone to see (e.g. in the dairy shed, over a work bench, etc.). Multiple inlets from the mains There is a risk of blocked lines, lower pressure and undetected leaks with these, because there are too many to manage. Solution: cut down on the

Firestone EPDM Geomembrane sustainable, future proof and environmentally friendly storage solutions. • Widths available from 3m up to 15m, therefore fewer joins.

• Design assistance and volume calculations available. • Material warranty from global company – Firestone Building Products.

• Nationwide Firestone trained installation contractors. • Future proof – dependable performance, 50 year life expectancy even when exposed, 20 year Firestone material warranty. • Over 120 million square meters installed worldwide. • 30 years in the NZ lining business. For your nearest installation contractor call

0800 109 093 or 021 280 7266 Email: Authorised importer and distributor of Firestone Building Supplies

number of inlets, ideally going to one line in. Storage If you don’t have onfarm storage now, install it to reduce risk of low pressure or interrupted supply. When you do, make sure the total storage available is adequate to meet summer demand. Rainwater Water off the dairy shed roof is ‘free’ and keeps it out of the effluent. Keeping rainwater in a second storage tank means it’s available for yard wash down and emergency needs. Rainwater cannot be used in the plant or dairy shed. Cow calming This can reduce the amount of effluent in the shed. Avoid excessive or unusual noise (keep the dogs away), no electric fence on the backing gate and aim for good cow flow around the shed.

Pre washdown Use a hand scraper or a chain (inside an old washdown hose) on the backing gate to break up dung before hosing. This will reduce the time spent washing down and the amount of water used. Water flow for washdown Choosing a hose size and nozzle type that allows high volume flow under low pressure is important for efficient water use. Washdown technique Train staff to wash down properly. Run a timer during washdown (set at the time known to do an adequate/efficient job). If washdown time exceeds this, the technique needs to be assessed. Yard use Check space used and shut off part of the yard if it’s not needed. – DairyNZ

Dairy News // september 13, 2011


effluent & water management

Helping farmers improve environment welfare A COMPANY helping farmers to improve productivity and environmental performance has raised capital to market its farm data system. Regen Ltd manages Re:Gen, which collects data on rainfall, soil moisture, soil temperature and effluent pond levels and transmits this to a centralised database. Here the information is analysed and, based on knowledge of site-specific soil characteristics (and using its proprietary algorithms), recommendations for daily action are made, for farmers to access via mobile devices or computers. Re:Gen was developed by Harmonic, of Wellington, and launched in March 2010. Regen Ltd chief executive Bridgit Hawkins says Re:Gen helps dairy farmers improve farm productivity and environmental performance. “It is a smart decision-

support tool to help... in irrigation and effluent management. With increasing market interest, the recent investment will help Regen achieve growth potential in New Zealand and plan for opportunities offshore.” Hawkins says trials of the system on eight farms in New Zealand have shown it reduces artificial fertiliser costs and prevents ponds from overflowing. “We believe Re:Gen is the most advanced effluent monitoring solution on the rural market.  Having more information helps you to manage farms more efficiently.” Pacific Channel, a business focused on startup and early-stage life science and clean-tech innovation, together with AngelHQ, an investment club, led the investment in Regen Ltd. Brent Ogilvie, of Pacific Channel, says

Re:Gen makes recommendations to farmers on how to manage dairy effluent to comply with environmental standards, and to increase farm

productivity. Development help also came from Massey University, Gen-i, DairyNZ and the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Bridgit Hawkins

‘Farmers lift their game’ FARMERS ARE lifting their game on the environment, says Regen Ltd’s Bridgit Hawkins. “Farmers are accepting effluent systems have to meet different standards now, and this is likely to evolve further.”   DairyNZ’s recently launched Dairy Effluent Design Standards and Code of Practice specifies, as a key component, the integrated management of effluent systems. Re:Gen makes this happen, Hawkins says.   Re:Gen helps dairy farmers improve their practice and manage their farms more efficiently, she says. “Knowing which days are suitable for effluent irrigation and how much to apply is a key tool to manage effluent storage.”

Effluent dispersal A complete effluent system with reliability, safety and simplicity in mind

AGONS FEEDOUT W QUICKFEED RS RRY TANKE & IDEAL SLU • Innovative slurry management • Many models and sizes available

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Dairy News // september 13, 2011

effluent & water management

Big, efficient and cheaper Cleaning yards after milking can be time consuming and costly. But not with the jumbo Supascraper, says designer John Murphy. Fed up with the time taken to hose down the shed after milking and associated costs, Murphy

The Supascraper in action.

designed the Supascraper on his farm 16 years ago. Constructed from tough galvanised steel, the Supascraper’s rubber blade removes effluent from even the smallest corner of any yard. The angled rubber blade ensures effluent

can be easily scraped into a disposal system as recommended in Fonterra’s market focused programme, an environmental quality system to assist farmers in meeting its environmental obligations, says Murphy. International stan-


Need an effluent system that can separate and pump the heaviest loads?

Houle do all the dirty work.

dards show each cow produces 22 litres of effluent per day. On average 3.6 litres of this is deposited in the yard, Murphy notes. “Multiply this by the number of milking days (270) and each cow produces 972 litres a year. There are about 4.4 million cows in New Zealand so that’s 4.2 billion litres of effluent a year that has to go somewhere.” Murphy says the Supascraper helps channel effluent into recommended disposal systems quickly and easily with minimal outlay and significantly reduces contaminated water runoff from yard cleaning. About 20,000 litres of water a day is used hosing down the average yard, taking on average an hour. Using the Supascraper before hosing has been proven to cut down water usage by up to two thirds and reduces the total cleaning time by half, saving costs, he says. The Supascraper is also beneficial to yards with cleaning systems already in place, he says. “It is proven to increase cleaning effectiveness when used in conjunction with floodwash and tipper drums systems.” The Supascraper was initially made of timber. It was effective but Murphy knew it could be made better. He took his idea to an engineer who made a steel scraper

on wheels. It was heavy but it worked, Murphy recalls. He lent the steel scraper to neighbouring farmers and the response was good. But it was a farm advisor, helping her husband sharemilk on a farm, who borrowed the scraper and encouraged Murphy to develop it. At the Supascraper’s first visit to the National Fieldays in 1995, Murphy knew he was onto a winner. At the National Fieldays, he questioned farmers how long yard washdowns took them. “The average time was 30 minutes, some took an hour or 45 minutes. The shortest was 20 minutes. On our farm we timed hosing down at 25 minutes but with the scraper, it takes eight minutes hosing after five minutes scraping.” The Supascraper is used on dairy farms in New Zealand, Australia, the US, UK and Argentina. Murphy says the Supascraper is built to withstand years of continual use. “The frame is hot-dipped galvanised to protect from rusting by acidic cow dung. The tough rubber blade is fabricated from three layers of moulded-in nylon webbing to help rigidity and extend the life of the rubber. The blade is guaranteed for two years. www.alpinepacific.

Effluent Solutions 67,000L to 3,000,000L

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Houle effluent systems are built to deal with the toughest loads – solid effluent. And after 50 years of heavy work in North America, you can be sure they’ll handle the lighter effluent loads we pump.

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KLIPTANK™ Effluent Above Ground Storage Tanks are a patented modular fully lined tank, with capacities of up to 3,000,000 litres and more that will meet your local authority requirements for the storage of effluent. Our tanks are delivered flat packed to your site for efficient assembly.

Choose a system you can trust to go the distance – choose Houle. Call 0800 657 555 to find out more.

GEA Farm Technologies The right choice.


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Dairy News // september 13, 2011


machinery & products All eyes on liquid fert spreader TONY HOPKINSON

A TOW AND Fert Multi 800 liquid fertiliser spreader is expected to pay for itself in two years on the Mangatangi, Hunua, farm run by the Millar family. David Millar says their recently bought Tow and Fert, made by Metalform, is probably the best piece of

David Millar rates his Tow and Fert spreader a top farm tool.

equipment he has on the farm. “I or my staff can spray as big or small an area as we need to. We spread any coarse material such as magnesium, liquid fertiliser and weed spray, combined or singly, when we want to.” The patented Tow and Fert keeps coarse material in suspension by constant circulation in the tank and

delivery lines. This and large spray nozzles prevent virtually all blockages. Millar and his wife Marie farm in a company partnership with his parents Bill and Marilyn, trading as Enton Farms. The farm is at Mangatangi, midway between Auckland and Thames, managed by David his father Bill and two full time staff. Marilyn heads the calf rearing. The property is 60% flat, the balance rolling. The herd comprises 650 Friesian and Friesian X cows, milked through a 50 bail rotary with a Westfalia milking plant with automatic cup removers. The area is prone to very dry summers; any production after Christmas is a bonus, Millar says. “Last season was the exception that proved the rule with rains in early January. For the first time for a while we were able to milk right through.” The Tow and Fert is powered by a Honda engine. The tank holds 1200 L total, of which 800 L is usable. Spreading width is 14-18 m and it can cover 12-16 ha depending on product and application rate. In operation, the tank is first filled with water and products such as bio-fertiliser, dissolved urea, magnesium oxide, lime flour, RPR and trace elements are added from one tonne or 25 kg bags through a grate to avoid lumps. Within a few moments the material is totally in solution, no material getting a chance to settle. The machine has built in weigh scales with a large display, easily read. The booms are extended and spraying started with a remote operated by the driver. Millar uses a GPS Tracmap to track the area covered, so “it’s just a case of doing one circuit and then colouring in the rest of the paddock.” The Tow and Fert comes with five sets of nozzles 14-18 mm, kept on the machine with snap couplings, saving time if different rates are to be sprayed. These nozzles can apply 15-50 L/minute. To page 58

Tow and Fert Multi 800 The Multi Role Applicator

Weigh feed precisely TONY BENNY

TAKE THE guesswork out of feeding silage, hay, grain or palm kernel with a newly developed farm version of Loadrite’s ‘Weigh It’ hydraulic weighing system for tractors with front-loader attachments. It was launched this year at National Fieldays. Says managing director Steve Alloway, “If a farmer wants four tonnes of silage fed out, he can tell the farmhand to put four tonnes on the wagon. Whereas before, he would say ‘go to the pile and put 10 grab loads onto the feedout wagon’ and who knows how much that really was? It’s all about consistency.” Farm advisers are pushing a more scientific approach to farming and feeding out, Alloway says. “Once you know the product dry matter ratio to wet matter weight, a farmer can calculate how many kg of

silage, baleage or hay are required for their stock numbers per day. Then it is just a matter of weighing that amount of feed into the wagon each day and feeding out with confidence.” To page 58

Mix and Apply, When you Want - Animal Health Products (eg. Zinc Oxide, Lime Flour)

- Dissolved Fertiliser (eg. Urea)

- Fine Particle Fertiliser (eg. Lime, RPR)

- Soil Conditioners (eg. Humates)

The Tow and Fert means that you are no longer dependant on contractors with ground spread trucks and aerial applications, who may not want to do a small job of up to 8 hectares. This enables the optimisation of your fertiliser programme with timely, cost effective and regular applications!

call now for your free DVD today! 0508 747 040

The Tow and Fert’s guaranteed even spread over an 18 metre swath gives you confidence that every plant is evenly covered and each cow is receiving the required mineral dose to keep metabolic issues under control.

Proudly Manufactured by: Metalform (Dannevirke) Ltd Free Phone: 0508 747 040 | Call George: 021 310 921


Dairy News // september 13, 2011

machinery & products

Rumen modifier can deliver high return A NEW monensin rumen modifier, made in Europe by Huvepharma NV, is reckoned by its distributor to provide not less than 10:1 return on cost from extra milk protein production. Monotec 100 microGranulate premix marketed in New Zealand by AgriVantage contains 10% monensin in a uniform granular form. AgriVantage claims monensin the

most efficient rumen modifier available for NZ dairy herds. The company says during 17 independent trials in NZ and Australia over 10 years, an average 40 grams extra milk protein was produced by cows consuming 300mg of monensin per day, compared with untreated cows. Research shows 5-7% more energy is utilised from feed by cows treated

with monensin – an extra 1kg DM for a cow eating 16kg DM/day, for a cost of 3 cents for the 3 grams of Monotec 100, the company says. Business manager Warren Tanner points out milk protein is worth substantially more than milkfat. “As milk protein payout is forecast at over $10/kg for the 2011/2012 season, that’s an extra 40 cents in milk pro-

tein for only 3 cents” MAF’s Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Group has approved Monotec 100 label claims to increase milk production, and to help control ketosis and reduce bloat in cows. Other ACVM approved label claims: In dairy heifers promotes weight gain and earlier onset of first oestrous.

In beef cows improves feed efficiency as indicated by improvement in the relationship of feed to cow weight, calf weight and reproductive performance. In beef cattle improves feed efficiency and/or rate of weight gain, and helps reduce bloat.

Tel. 0800 64 55 76

Fert spreader From page 57

A diagram on the tank shows which nozzles to use and the correct towing vehicle speed to give the required spreading rate. All mixes in solution immediately begin to be absorbed by the plants.


“Being able to do smaller areas – 3 ha can take only 15-20 minutes – is a much better arrangement than having to wait until a larger area is available to justify the expense of a helicopter or bulk spreading contractor,” Millar says. Millars tow the machine with a Kubota RTV 900. The tank can be filled from a trough or stream using an extra hose supplied, also suitable for fire fighting. The pump has a 5 m lift. Millar cleans the machine on a concrete pad, draining to the farm effluent system so all material ends up sprayed on pasture. “With its effectiveness and being able to do smaller areas at our convenience this machine will pay for itself inside two years,” Millar predicts. Tel. 06 374 7043

Weigh feed From page 57

New Zealand-made Loadrite is claimed global #1 in onboard weighing scales, and in the quarry, mining and fertiliser industries it has at least 90% of the New Zealand market, the company says. “Prior to fitting Loadrite on-board scales, quarry operations involved going over the weighbridge and they’d have 9.5 tonne on so they’d go back and get another half bucketful, [then they’d have] 10.7 tonne so they’d have to tip it all off and start again... wasting time, loosing efficiency, ultimately costing money.” With Weigh It “you lift up your load to the marker, press the ‘weigh’ button and press ‘add’ to add it to a cumulative total, press ‘clear’ to reset.” Weigh It scales sell from $3250 + GST. Tel. 0800 493 444

Dairy News // september 13, 2011


machinery & products

One-pass cultivator frees air, moisture LOW-COST CROP planting gets a push from Origin Agroup’s latest from US implement maker Great Plains Manufacturing. The Alpego Rotopick single-pass powered cultivator is “an ideal one pass solution,” Origin Agroup says. The machine has a series of knives bolted on flanges mounted in a spiral fashion along a rotor which results in a smooth anti-vibration effect. The straight knives are designed to cut and slice the soil with a special curvature at the end which allows the knife to penetrate hard ground and mix the soil leaving a pan free base.

This ensures air and moisture freely moves throughout the soil structure. The machine’s centredrive gearbox means a minimum of moving parts and lowest-possible power requirement, and it provides extra support to the rotor. The absence of a protruding side gearbox means less likelihood of limits to ground penetration and no soil ridging. Difficult hard soil is easily penetrated and the machine works particularly well direct into pasture or after cropping, Origin says. When fitted with a Hatzenbichler Air 8 broadcast seeder it is

possible to re-grass or sow fodder crops in a single pass at low cost. Auto-Level, a further innovation on all Rotopicks, ensures the seed bed is left level behind the machine, this by means of a rear leveling bar attached to the rear roller via a parallelogram linkage. This allows the leveling bar to work independent of the machine and tractor, so any irregular ground contours are back filled resulting in a level surface for planting. This also eliminates any ridges when lifting the machine out of work on the headlands.

Tel. 07 823 7582

Update loaders easier to install, remove

Water Flow Indicator

Dispenses chemicals and minerals into a water supply Check Valve



i s ib

il it y F l o w I n d






Quick Release Couplings

Pressure Release

No Flow Control Valves

Particle Filter

E a s y A d ju s

Mast available in various lengths

Three models available tm

Flow (Flourescence Visible)

Benefits Inlet

e nt

NEW HEAVY-DUTY loaders from John Deere equally suit many sizes of the company’s new and older model tractors. The new H Series loaders, which replace the previous loader models, have more cast-steel connecting points and better visibility, and they have integrated components that make installation and removal easier. The H Series loaders, compatible with many John Deere tractor models, have different levelling options, nonself levelling (NSL) or mechanical selflevelling (MSL), depending on customer needs and legal/safety requirements. More cast-steel components in highstress, high-load areas of the loaders helps them handle big jobs with ease and extend working life, a JD spokesman says. “All major boom pin connection points are caststeel for better pin alignment and reduced load stress which is an improvement over traditional bushingtype joints. “We’ve also designed the H Series with a lower torque tube and concealed oil lines within the loader boom to give it a cleaner look, improve over-the-hood visibility for the operator and to reduce potential for damage to oil lines during use.” In addition, John Deere has added integrated park-

Auto Inline Liquid Dispenser

• • • • • • •

Reduce water loss Locate leaks with ease Saves time and labour costs Positive indication day and night Easy to install Stainless steel construction Designed and manufactured in NZ

Can Handle

ing stands and pins into the loader which, combined with a single-point hydraulic connection system, allows the loader to be quickly removed or reinstalled with virtually no oil loss. To give customers access to a wide variety of John Deere loader attachments, the company uses a common global carrier that standardises equipment compatibility worldwide. “These are the most rugged, durable and versatile loaders on the market today,” says JD. “They are engineered to fit a wide variety of John Deere tractors quickly and easily and provide years of trouble-free operation.”

• • • • • • •

Suction Tube

Zinc Magnesium Copper Salt Bloat oil Minerals Chemicals

Ideal for:


• • • •

• • • • • • •

Animal health remedies General water treatments Wash system detergents Horticultural chemicals

Reduces labour costs Easy to install Operates using water flow Any pressure from 10 – 210 PSI Competitively priced Made from high quality materials Designed and manufactured in NZ

Features: • Water driven – no power required • Non-contact indication – no seals to wear • Designed for minimal maintenance • Available in packs of 2, 3 & 5 units Several sizes and mast lengths available

Singh’s Engineering Services 66-68 Mahana Rd, Hamilton, Ph/Fax 07-849 3108 or your local dairy equipment dealer

Tel. 0800 303 100

Replace aggregate capping with COWMAX® Farm Race Capping System high wear system ®

• Reduce potential stone hoof injury • Reduce stones tracked onto concrete • Reduce maintenance cost and time • No pugging and pot holing • Long life high wear surface

0800 60 60 20


Dairy News // september 13, 2011

machinery & products

Compact 35hp ‘new at used price’ A COMPACT utility (35hp) tractor newly added to the Kioti range offers an ideal replacement for “maintenanceprone older machines,” says local distributor Power Farming. The South Korean company – now said to have sold at least 9000 tractors in New Zealand and Australia – is reckoned the world’s fastest growing utility tractor maker. The new Kioti DS3510 compact utility uses the same chassis and componentry as the Kioti CK35, offering similar features but favouring “the end user strapped by today’s challenging economy,” says

national sales manager Brett Maber. The DS3510 35hp Daedong diesel engine drives through a constant-mesh shuttle transmission with 8F/8R. It has 4WD, power steering, wet disc brakes, rear diff lock, a comfortable and adjustable seat, foldable ROPS, seat belts and an option of ag, turf or industrial tyres. Heavy-duty PTO and threepoint hitch enable implements and attachments. The hitch comfortably and safely lifts up to 1015kg at a point 600mm aft. Optional attachments include front loader, 4-in1 bucket, backhoe, sun-

roof, rotary slasher, and rotary and finishing mowers. Brett Maber says the tractor is “basically a premium line CK-series machine with manual transmission. It is designed to be a high quality, value-priced machine to help start-up companies and existing organisations find a better deal on a solid, reliable tractor. It’s a brand new machine at a second hand price.” Warranty is two years or 2000 hours ‘bumperto-bumper’ coverage. Kioti makes at least 30 tractor models 22–100 hp. Tel. 0800432 336

Your grass measured EX-DAIRY FARMER Bruce Philip, has

Automated Dairy Feed Systems Farmers invest in your farm with a PPP feed system; • Improved production • Improved animal health • Less on farm feed labour required • Peace of mind – you can feed your cows in wet springs and winters and dry summers

be will f 2 1 20 ears o 50 y iness bus

NZ’s first feed system manufactured by us in 1967

Nationwide installers and after sales backup – 7 days a week Feed Systems

Tel: 0800 901 902 • •

launched a farm service monitoring – one-off or regularly – the quantity of dry matter (DM) in individual paddocks and in total. The service suits all grass based farming systems. “I’ve been a dairy farmer for many years and know the time pressures they face at different times of the year,” Philip says. On-farm Philip drives over each paddock on an ATV towing a C-Dax pas-

Water blaster firm ups pressure

Beat the seasons

Redpath’s clear roofing lets the light in for a clean, dry healthy floor from 10-year life Heavy re p u S all new elter roof duty Durash membrane.

WHat FaRmERs aRE sayiNg “The shelter eliminates rainfall washing effluent from the feedpad – and the clear roof keeps the cows warm and the floors dry and disease free” Waikato “Protects my herd and my pasture during extreme weather and lifts my farm production as a result” Northland “The soft floor system is easy on the cows and I can hold them inside for as long as I want, I mix the litter into my feed crop when finished” Gore


“I feedout along the sidewalls of my Redpath shelter, it saves me a lot of time and my feed waste is almost nil” Waikato

From as little as $320 per cow including the woodchip floor built on site, representing fantastic value and return on investment for your farm – book your summer build now so you can “beat the seasons!”

FREEPHONE 0508 733 728 email

and subsequent readings of the paddocks he follows the same patterns to prevent variations in results. “Most farmers have their own scale maps of their property so recording data with their own paddock identification helps them to comprehend the information.” Data collected during Bruce Philip each visit is downloaded then emailed or posted to ture meter. A GPS system the client. linked to the meter re- philip@slingshot. cords paddock numbers and results. On second Tel. 0274 788 399

AES WATERBLASTERS (Ag Equipment Specialists Ltd) has recently been appointed sole importer and distributor of Udor high pressure pumps for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Udor chief executive Marco Zanasi says his company has for some time sought a partner to further expand its presence in New Zealand. AES, the largest NZ importer and distributor of high pressure pumps, was the obvious choice, especially given its excellent back-up. AES director Alan Bisley says the new collaboration with Udor gives the company and its dealer network access to a leading European brand. “Udor is a progressive company which has expanded its range of positive displacement pumps to include options from 4 L/min (typically for misting) to 240 L/ min (typically for industrial multi nozzle washing), and from 60 bar (870 psi) to 1000 bar (14,500 psi). “Udor’s commitment to quality control at its new state-of-the-art factory at Ruberia, northern Italy, is impressive. We have in fact had long association with Udor, importing its agricultural diaphragm pumps and gearboxes for almost 20 years. This new range is a logical progression for us.” Tel. 0508 78 78 8

Dairy News // september 13, 2011


machinery & products

Hoof problems tackled TONY HOPKINSON


out to sea compensate Mt Taranaki farmers Lloyd and Jo Morgan for the winds that lash their property and the stony soils that bring on stock lameness. Morgans have farmed at Rahotu since 1990, ever mindful that “the next stop is Australia.” “There is scant protection from the wind and we’ve put in some remedial measures to help the stock. The main compen-

a foundation member of the Healthy Hoof scheme started by Dexcel. “This entailed many visits by their staff as they checked all facets of the stock travelling on races, and movement and behaviour affecting the stock. They also taught us techniques and remedies to help reduce the problems.” Morgan found this helpful, in particular the use of the backing gate and better ways of shifting the cows on the races. The farm has for many years used foot

Inside the tray is a Rebond non-slip liner made from recycled rubber. The tray holds 50 L of solution and is 43 mm deep. The permeable rubber compound prevents splashing while allowing the solution to rise to the surface to disinfect the

hooves. It also hardens the hooves and toughens the skin. The high friction of the rubber surface spreads the toes to allow solution to reach the inner surfaces. The rubber material is the same as used on the milking platform so was

accepted by the stock including heifers. “It’s working well, its effective and with no splashing we only have to top up once a week,” Morgan says. Tel. 0800 80 8570

“NOW YOU’RE TALKING” with a LM732 and LM740 New Holland Telehandler

Lloyd Morgan replenishes his cows’ foot bath.

sation is we now live in Ranfurly Shield country,” Lloyd jokes. The farm is 200 ha (150 ha eff.) at 300 m above sea level with high rainfall. The last three years have averaged 2.3 m and this season Morgan reports they are 400 mm ahead of the same time last year. The area has a few snowfalls but they’re limited. The farm milks 300 Jersey and Jersey-X cows through a 50-bail internal rotary. Brassicas, rape or kale are grown for winter feeding and turnips for summer. Stony pastures and high rainfall work against keeping good surfaces on the races; the herd has always had problems with lameness. In 2006 Morgan was

baths, the cows leaving the dairy shed walking through a shallow bath of copper sulphate solution to strengthen and sterilise their hooves. “But though the chemicals worked well for the stock, the splashing caused excessive wastage and the copper sulphate eats the galvanising off the pipes.” Protecting the pipes with different paints did not help. So this season he has installed a Burgess Hoofbond foot bath and is “thrilled” with the changes. The polyethylene tray (2150 x 960 x 58 mm) is free standing in the exit race. It is one piece, heavy walled, seamless and waterproof – and it will never rot, the maker says.

To get more bang for your buck talk to your New Holland Dealer today


Dairy News // september 13, 2011

machinery & products

Loud hurrah from Jaguar owners THE JAGUAR XF sports sedan has been voted best car of the decade by owners taking part in a survey by the British auto mag Auto Express. For 10 years Auto Express has asked its readers to evaluate the car they own, on such points as reliability, design, handling, ease of use and dealer performance.

At least 302,000 readers took part, reporting on hundreds of individual cars. The Jaguar XF emerged as #1 – ‘Car of the Decade’. Acting editor Graham Hope presented Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover and Andrew Whyman, chief programme engineer, XF, with the award in


Height Adjustable Electric Dairy Platform for Rotary Milking Sheds

front of staff at the Castle Bromwich Factory. Said Speth: “We’re humbled by Jaguar owners voting to rate the XF as the number one car in the UK. It’s a tremendous achievement for everyone in Jaguar: the people here at Castle Bromwich who have been building the car since 2008, the engineers, designers and dealers. I’m proud to receive the award on their behalf.” Gathered at the presentation were technicians from the Castle Bromwich product line and the very first XF ever produced sitting alongside a new XF, fresh off the line.

Jaguar XF sports saloon: ‘Car of the Decade’.

Hope commented: “Jaguar’s XF is a deserving winner. Over the past 10 years, 302,000 Auto Express readers told us what they like and dislike about their cars, and no model has demon-

strated such consistent all-round ability as the XF. It’s fantastic to drive and extremely well built – a tribute to the skilled workforce at Castle Bromwich. I’m delighted a British-built car has

Land Rover’s big challenge • Full height (980mm) - travel time - 60 seconds • Electric - control voltage 24V • Collapsible safety rail • Portable - operate within any area of shed • Rated capacity - 150kg

Phone 06 758 0864 AH or 027 499 0737 email

Your cows will benefit from using a

Hoofbond Footbath • • • •

Limit Lameness Help prevent hoof rot Protect against heel erosion Promote resistance to bacterial infection • Exit/Entry Areas • Calf Trailers • Horse Floats & Trucks • Weigh Platforms • Bale Mats • Comfort Mats for Wet & Dry Areas

It’s simple & it works

• Utility Deck Matting

Phone: 0800 80 8570

LAND ROVER’s DC100 concept vehicle, a modern interpretation of the Land Rover Defender, will make its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Land Rover has confirmed production of a new Defender is intended for 2015. Commenting on the concept car, Gerry McGovern, director of design, Land Rover, said: “Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide. This isn’t a production-ready concept but the be-

ginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.” John Edwards, global brand director, Land Rover said: “We’re determined the new Defender will be true to its heritage.... We plan to engage with existing and potential customers to help us finalise the details of the new vehicle.” The Land Rover DC100 concept builds upon the essential elements of the car’s character and allows people to dream about the Defenders of the future.

won this award, and expect the latest version of the XF, with its new diesel engine, to achieve even more success.” Since 2008 about 37,000 XF cars have been sold in the UK. The

most efficient XF yet, the 2.2-L diesel model, will arrive in New Zealand early 2012, priced from $90,000. It can travel at least 1250 km on a single tank of diesel and emits 149 g/km of CO2.

Tow and Fert “not just another sprayer!” Mix and Apply - Nitrogen products; urea and gibberellic products - Animal health products; mag oxide, fine lime, selenium, copper, iodine and zinc - Fine particle fertiliser; phosphorus, potassium and sulphur - Liquid fertilisers; seaweed and fish based products - Soil conditioning products; humates - WeedSpray; spray thistles and ragwort

Customise to Suit The Tow and Fert has many options to suit whatever the situation. Spec the machine to suit you!

Easy Loading

Cropping Kit

remote control booms

18 metre spray swath

Finance with Benefits - Lease to own; no deposit, up to 60 months - Hire Purchase; low deposit, up to 60 months, no residual - Reduce your fert costs; apply less but more regular - look after your environment; accurate applications

Freephone: 0508 747 040 Phone George: 021 310 921


2011 Spring Land Production guide available in-store now! Spray Out 04-05

g land Sprin Spring 2011 ctionction produ produ land

Brassica 06-13

Your ultimate guide to crops, pastures, sprays and fertilisers.

Cereals 14-19

Maize 20-27

This year’s Spring Land Production guide is packed with quality products and sound technical advice for all your pasture and cropping requirements. Pasture 28-39

Brushweeds 40-41

Adjuvants 42-44

The PGG Wrightson team can also help you choose the right products for the best results in the months ahead. Fertiliser 45-47

Expert advice on: Spray Out 04-05 Brassica 06-13 Cereals 14-19 Maize 20-27

Pasture 28-39 Brushweeds 40-41 Adjuvants 42-44 Fertiliser 45-47 Land Production Planner 48-51

Land Production Planner 48-51

Visit your local store or talk to your Technical Field Representative today. Index 52

Contact Information Back Cover





36M28 Silage CRM 103

Getting soil fertility right is a key starting point towards maximising crop and pasture potential. A different programme is required depending on your soil type, crop type and pasture management style. Discuss your pasture and cropping plans with PGG Wrightson to maximise performance and yield with Ballance AgriNutrients fertiliser products.

A selective herbicide for the control of annual and perennial broadleaf weeds in fodder brassicas. TMAX provides good control of many brassica weeds not controlled by older herbicides. Trials have shown that crops treated with TMAX yield higher than those without a herbicide application. Not for use in brassica seed production crops.

The first herbicide of choice when spraying out pasture or crop residuals. With a quick turnaround of 3 days from spraying to cultivating or grazing, Roundup TRANSORB speeds up the renewal process and has the added benefit of a shorter rainfast period than most other glyphosates.

A high performance penetrating surfactant to optimise systemic and translaminar products whilst reducing drift. An excellent partner to glyphosate, sulphonyl urea and phenoxy products. It has no storage problems, pH or handling restrictions and no acidic smell. Not recommended for brushweed products where an organosilicone is preferred.

Another high yielding proven performer throughout the North Island. In Northern areas an excellent option if growing on farm to allow a slightly later planting or a slightly earlier harvest prior to planting pasture.

Power Paks


Atranex WG®

Hunter Leaf Turnip


At PGG Wrightson we have a range of pasture packs that will suit almost any situation, ranging from an intensive dairy farm system in the Northern North Island to an extensive sheep and beef farm system in the Southern South Island. These are ideal for those situations where you need your pasture mix at short notice.

For selective weed control of annual grasses and many broadleaf weeds in maize and sweetcorn. An excellent high strength pre-emergence option providing some peace of mind during early establishment when combined with atrazine. Monitor for weeds that may escape as post emergence herbicides are needed more regularly than they are used.

Residual herbicide for the control of certain broadleaf weeds in maize, sweetcorn, linseed and established lucerne. A high strength granule with good compatibility qualities. This product aids in the weed spectrum when mixed with Roustabout.

Hunter is a quick-growing, leafy turnip, with minimal bulb development and is best suited to multiple grazings. Hunter was selected for vigorous regrowth, resulting in a variety with fast recovery from grazing and excellent ability to yield in the second, third and sometimes fourth regrowth cycles.

Goliath is a new generation rape x kale interspecies cross. It is a high yielding multigraze giant rape with a potential yield of 10,500kg DM/ha. Goliath is a multi-purpose forage rape with excellent summer/autumn/ early winter feed with superior regrowth potential.

Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 No. P7050

Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 No. P7231

Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 No. P7464

Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 No. P4288

Receive one entry for every tonne of Ballance Agri-Nutrients fertiliser purchased.*

to be won

*Open to PGG Wrightson account holders only. Receive one entry for every tonne of Ballance Agri-Nutrients fertiliser purchased and uplifted between 1 September and 31 December 2011. A minimum of five tonnes must be purchased and uplifted during the promotional period to qualify. Excludes Lime and Gypsum fertilisers. Six North Island prizes and six South Island prizes to be won. For full terms and conditions see

Dairy News Issue 254 2011  

Dairy News Issue 254 2011

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