Page 1

New water accord brings extra pressure on farmers. Page 7

mf controlling expands series cashflow Living without using an overdraft. Page 8

Four new models added to range. Page 36

february 26, 2013 Issue 285 //

when will the rains come? “Unfortunately there is no rain predicted for the remainder of February, and for the start of March it’s looking a little bit dry as well.” – Philip Duncan. PAGES 4&5



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Dairy News february 26, 2013

news  // 3

Feds in gun over swaps deal sudesh kissun

FEDERATED FARMERS is facing Second time lucky for young Titoki farmer. PG.04

Irish gear up for EU cap lift. PG.16

Big crowds turn out as Northland field days kick off. PG.35

News������������������������������������������������������ 3-17 Opinion����������������������������������������������18-19 Agribusiness����������������������������� 20-21 Management�������������������������������22-25 Animal Health�������������������������� 26-29 Pasture Renovation & Cultivation���������������������������������30-33 Machinery & Products��������������������������������������34-38

calls to do more for dairy farmers affected by interest rate swaps. Some Federated Farmers Dairy executives are unhappy with the board’s stance on the issue. President Bruce Wills has come under fire for saying farmers should take responsibility for their own actions. Delegates at the Feds Dairy Council meeting last week in the Bay of Islands called for greater support for affected farmers. Some described Wills’ comments as negative. A remit, moved by West Coast Dairy president Richard Reynolds, saying the council did not support the board’s position on swaps was passed at the council meeting. It urged the board to push for an inquiry. Wills says in November last year it asked the Commerce Commission to look into swaps and how they were

sold. “It is fair to say we have received a number of inquiries from members and even non-members regarding swaps. “Speaking as a former banker [I can say] swaps are incredibly complicated instruments. Certainly you only go into them after independent advice to ensure they are appropriate to your needs. The issue is less the product and more the way they were sold, hence [our request to] the Commerce Commission.” The swaps were sold in 2006-07 by some banks to farmers as insurance against interest rates – and hence floating-rate farm mortgages – rising rapidly, farmers say. But when interest rates dropped, the farmers who had bought the swaps were left locked in to high interest rates they could not escape without paying hefty break fees. Already heavily indebted, some farmers lost their farms because of the swaps. A Commerce Commission spokeswoman told Dairy News it had

received complaints. “We are making an assessment of the information received. No decision has been made regarding a full investigation.” Reynolds says though farmers were responsible for signing swap agreements with banks, he wants a Commerce Commission inquiry into the way the product was sold. “Any inquiry should look at the pressure placed on farmers to accept swap. Back then banks were coming to farmers telling them they had high equity and should borrow more.” Taranaki Dairy president Derek Gibson says one farmer in his region was paying $7000 extra interest every month under the swap agreement. “The issue is causing concern

among members and we are getting calls from farmers. While we are not seeking financial help, we want an inquiry to look at the way banks were signing on farmers for swaps. Farmers believe they were duped.” Feds Dairy chairman Willy Leferink believes about 50% of dairy farmers have signed up for swaps. @dairy_news

Milk free of DCD since mid-November NO TRACES of dicyandiamide (DCD) have

been found in New Zealand milk since midNovember last year after almost 2000 samples were collected since June, says the Ministry for Primary Industries. “MPI and the New Zealand dairy industry have conducted voluntary testing of New Zealand dairy products to build a comprehensive picture of the presence of DCD in New Zealand’s milk supply,” MPI director-general Wayne McNee says.

The tests have found no traces of DCD in milk collected from New Zealand farms after midNovember 2012. McNee says they released the core findings to be as open as they could with markets and customers, “despite the fact the quantities of DCD found in our dairy products creates absolutely no food safety risk whatsoever”. Nearly 2000 samples of dairy products have been tested from all the major dairy companies. Testing has specifically targeted dairy products

using milk collected during the New Zealand spring last year from the 5% of dairy farmers who used DCD on pastures. As expected, minute traces of DCD have been found in various dairy products already in the supply chain from a variety of companies. However, there remains no food safety risk; all traces have been significantly below the European Commission’s daily intake level for DCD. @dairy_news

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

4 //  news

Weather patterns set to stick around peter burke


much change from the present weather patterns, says weather expert Philip Duncan of weatherwatch. He told Dairy News the weather this year has been “pretty neutral” compared with previous years when either El Nino or La Nina have influenced the patterns. The present situation is a “healthy mix”, he says. “There haven’t been any droughts officially declared so it hasn’t been quite as bad as other years because we’ve been getting the odd southerly which brings in a bit of rain. “I agree farmers have had it bad but the rain we had 10 days ago really did a huge amount of good. It wasn’t a lot but it was enough to stop and reverse for a while the trend that was setting in.

“I saw the NIWA maps which completely reversed [the situation] a week earlier – when it looked like a drought was forming – to one which looked like we were in spring.” Duncan says the rain that fell has averted a drought in the short term, but rain is needed within the next few days to avoid that happening again and there may be declared droughts in some regions in March. “Unfortunately there is no rain predicted for the remainder of February, and for the start of March it’s looking a little bit dry as well. But these highs can’t stay with us forever and even if it is fairly dry for February and March I still think the rainmakers are going to come back.” Duncan says the change in land use over the last 35 years has been massive – in particular the change to dairying. He says while sheep can probably survive better in a drought that’s

not the case for cows. “We feel droughts a lot more than we used to and we are now farming swamps that were sodden in winter but which dried out in summer. The Hauraki Plains area is the perfect example of that. I grew up in that area and the transformation I saw in that region in the 1990s was massive. Farming is more intensive and so it places greater demand on the water we’ve got in those areas.” Duncan says the winds have been “all over the place” this summer, but he notes there have been a lot of easterly winds, more like La Nina. “A lot of the highs coming in over the country have brought the hot westerlies to the South Island and the colder easterlies to the north. That’s the pattern we have had and I don’t see that changing quickly. “When I said to someone that our summer

would be average this year, they took that as a negative and as being not great. But in my terms average means there will be a little bit of rain but still plenty of sun. “Generally the weather across the country has been pretty mixed up this summer with a bit of everything. The only thing we haven’t had is a lot of rain but even then we’ve had fronts coming through on a pretty regular basis, unlike some previous summers where we have had not one drop of rain for a month.” According to Duncan summer has peaked early this year, around mid February, but he says that doesn’t mean it will end early. “We just did a report for Fonterra the other day and our feeling is that in the first week of March there is a chance of rain, but as far as the whole month is concerned we are just going to wind down from summer and slide into autumn.”

Some regions could be declared droughts in March.

Extreme moisture deficit NIWA SAYS soil moisture defi-

cits are at extreme levels for many parts of the eastern North Island. Senior climate scientist Georgina Griffiths says the areas that look particularly bad are parts of Northland, which is among the worst hit, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, parts of Gisborne, Taupo and Wairarapa. It’s very El Nino-like, she says.

“Almost all the remainder of the North Island is also in significant deficit, as is all Otago, Canterbury and parts of the Kaikoura Coast.” “Almost all the remainder of the North Island is also in significant deficit, as is all Otago, Canterbury and parts of the Kaikoura Coast. The thing about Canterbury is that it’s pretty normal to be at

this point and it’s no worse than normal. “Traditionally it’s very dry in Nelson, Marlborough Canterbury and Otago although Nelson and Marlborough have had a little bit

of rain so they are in a little better shape than usual.” Griffiths says at this time of year western parts of the North Island may have expected significant rain but this hasn’t happened. She says there is little likelihood of significant rain in early March, but by later that month the chances of rain increase as temperatures fall in autumn.

Herd manager sentenced for tail twisting A WEST Coast herd manager was sentenced yes-

terday in the Christchurch District Court for serious animal welfare offences after failing to take care of his herd when 230 of his cows’ tails were injured or broken. Michael Joseph Jackson pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to alleviate pain or distress in 230 injured dairy cattle under Section 11 of the Animal Welfare Act 1999. He was sentenced to 300 hours community service, reparation of $223 worth of veterinary costs and was banned from owning cows for five years. Canterbury/Westland District compliance manager Peter Hyde says a veterinarian had discovered that 46% of the 500 cows had fractured or dislocated tail bones, or soft tissue damage to the tail as a result of a twisting or lifting of the tail. “This is the largest percentage of animals in a single herd we have seen that have been deliberately physically injured.” The damage to the tails occurred from about late October to late December 2010, with the farm owner being alerted to the situation at that time by another farm worker. As a result, Jackson was suspended from his duties under suspicion of serious misconduct in the form of mistreating his stock and was advised of a disciplinary hearing. He later abandoned his position at the farm with no notice. “This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated, and the court has made this message very clear.” People in charge of animals have an obligation to the welfare of those animals, and the vast majority of farmers and industry take their obligations very seriously.

Dairy News february 26, 2013

news  // 5

Time for action as dry kicks in peter burke

IT’S NOW time for dairy farmers to act as the dry weather around the country continues. So says DairyNZ’s Craig McBeth, who told Dairy News farmers must take action on issues that were being talked about a few weeks ago. He says production-wise it has been a good year for dairy farming around the country but it seems to be rapidly descending into a poor finish because of the weather. “Take the example of the Waikato from a production perspective. It had

been an above-average year until about January, but then production started to slide. Production so far in February is down about 17% on the same time last year, though for the whole season to date it’s about 2%.” McBeth says farmers need to remember it hasn’t been a particularly bad year – especially at the start of the season. But he says they have to be careful at this time of the year to ensure they don’t compromise next season’s production by milking cows too long or hard. DairyNZ is planning to run some ‘summer dry’ seminars shortly to make sure farmers have the necessary information to make good decisions.

Parched land near Morrinsville last week.

In the last week, McBeth says he’s flown over many parts of the country and while it might look green from the air, it’s a different story on the ground, particularly in Waikato.

Fonterra silent, Open Country fronts FONTERRA DECLINED to answer a request by Dairy News for production figures to date for the year or to speak to us about this issue. In the past these figures have been freely available to us. But a spokesman for Fonterra told us that with the share float this information would no longer be available and would only be released every six months to all

parties at the same time. Open Country Dairy chairman Laurie Margrain says it’s not rocket science to see the weather conditions are reducing the milk flows. “In our case it varies around the country. “It’s not so pronounced in Southland, Taranaki is not too bad but Waikato and Bay of Plenty are

the most adversely affected.” Margain says until now it’s been a good season and how it will eventually rate against last year will depend on the autumn. “We had a very very good autumn last year but it’s not looking that likely this year. “But you won’t know overall until you see how April and May pan out,” he says.

“Grass growth rates are very low because of the dry and whilst there were residual covers, once the cows have chewed those down, the growth behind them is so low that when they are back again there isn’t much feed for them. The result is the cows will be losing a bit of condition as they are not eating enough and not producing that well either.” McBeth says many farmers are feeding out which is quite normal for this time of the year as they try to keep milk production going until the autumn rains. He says the challenge with a drought is that you never know when it will end so it’s important farmers have plans and set trigger points for certain actions. “This involves deciding when to dry

off animals, bearing in mind dried-off cows still need to be fed.” A plan must be in place to get cows up to a body condition score of 5.0 for a cow or 5.5 for a heifer before calving. Do feed budgets and source supplementary feeds, McBeth says. Ask which core cows you want to have milking in autumn when hopefully the rains come, so they can be milked through to the end of the season, and which ones should be dried off now. Farmers should be looking to cull unwanted cows now because they are ‘passengers’ on the farm and are not going to be wintered. Better to get rid of cull cows now and reduce feed demand, even if prices are low. McBeth reports having spoken to a farmer in Canterbury who told him he was losing 5mm a day due to transpiration; even with irrigation it’s hard to keep moisture in the soil. McBeth says not as much supplement as normal was made because of the cooler and drier weather. And the cooler temperatures have affected the yields of some maize crops. A key message to farmers is look at feed budgets from now right through to next spring when the cows come back from winter grazing.

Now’s the time to cool the cows WITH THE hot dry conditions, dairy

farmers are being reminded they need trees to provide shelter for stock. AgFirst consultant James Allen, Hamilton, told Dairy News there are four-six weeks each year when cows get hot and need shade. Walk into a paddock on a hot day you’ll see cows nestled under any shade they can find, he says. His comments align with some excellent papers on the subject by DairyNZ. For example, Adele Arnold notes cows

are at risk when temperatures exceed 24C at a relative humidity of 75% or higher. She says such conditions are typically found in Waikato, Northland and Bay of Plenty where about this time of year cows are at risk from heat stress resulting in a reduction in production. Another DairyNZ study says Friesian cows are more susceptible to heat stress than Jersey cows. While severe heat stress is relatively uncommon in New Zealand, DairyNZ is

advising farmers to help cows manage the heat better. Shade is the obvious answer, but modern production systems limit the planting of trees in the middle of paddocks; trees on fencelines are an alternative. Another way to manage heat stress is to put cows on paddocks without shade after the evening milking. Or install sprinklers in the dairy shed yard, running these before cows arrive, to cool the concrete. Then, with the sprinklers

controlled by a timer, give the cows a cool-down before milking. DairyNZ says farmers should feed out after the afternoon milking or early in the morning when temperatures are lower. A novel idea from Australia is to assign a score to paddocks for the shade they provide. Meanwhile, Allen says, sometimes farmers in New Zealand get a bit annoyed when they see cows resting in

the shade and not eating grass. But the cows are just saving energy which they are using to lower their temperature. Now is a good time for farmers to start thinking about trees, beyond the immediate need for shade, Allen says. “I like to look at trees in a whole farm context. They provide shade on farms in summer and shelter in winter. They can in some cases prevent erosion and they add to the aesthetic value of the farm.”

Dairy News february 26, 2013

6 //  news Recommendations have been made on PKE importation.

Put onus on PKE importers andrew swallow


kernel expeller meal (PKE) need to take more responsibility for ensuring their suppliers meet New Zealand’s biosecurity standards, says Federated Farmers Dairy chair

Willy Leferink. His comments to Dairy News come as colleagues within the federation await Ministry of Primary Industry action over a report they filed following a visit to Malaysian PKE processing facilities (Rural News, Feb 19). “If I was MPI I’d be a bit embarrassed [by this

report] and take measures to see these lapses [in Malaysia] stopped… If we import any disease through the poor performance of the authorities over there it will be disastrous.” Leferink says importers also need to be vigilant that their suppliers meet our regulations, just as our exporters meet the stan-

dards of China and other countries. He says MPI should require importers to have good protocols for ensuring biosecurity standards are met, and make unannounced checks that protocols are put into practice. With the New Zealand dairy industry regularly using at least one million tonnes of PKE a year – the Feds’ report says 1.5mt – some farms could face a feed supply issue should a biosecurity lapse result in a shutdown of imports, acknowledges Leferink. “There would be a realisation we’ve got to look to other products… If we base our businesses on PKE that’s dangerous but if we use it as a strategic feed once in a while to mitigate drought or get some condition on cows, then it has a place.” He says users should demand to see a sustainability ticket to ensure the PKE they’re buying is produced without endangering native fauna and flora in the country of origin. He also suggests taking samples and getting them analysed as consignments can vary widely. “We do regular samples and tests for NDF, protein and ME.” Feds filed its PKE production report with MPI in November, recommending action (see panel) in light of the findings of Maize Growers chair Colin Mackinnon and Mid Canterbury Grains chair David Clark on visits to two PKE plants in Malaysia. One plant, visited on an official tour, met New Zealand’s Import Health Standards but the other, in an area that had recently had a foot and mouth disease outbreak, was woefully lacking. “And we suspect there are other plants that are a damn site worse,” Mackinnon says. He’s concerned MPI

appears to be seeking to transfer responsibility for checking imports to the Malays. “As the Malay officials told us, it is up to our officials to check this, not theirs.” Clark says the changes he and Mackinnon are calling for in the import process are reasonable, inexpensive and certainly will not end the trade in PKE. “As a nation we cannot afford to import the agricultural equivalent of PSA as a result of lax biosecurity.” MPI director of plants, food and environment standards Peter Thomson says at this stage, based on inspection, sampling and documentation, MPI has no evidence that PKE meal from Malaysia does not meet the New Zealand standard. However, he says MPI has undertaken to investigate, to clarify the context of what Clark and Mackinnon saw, and whether it is relevant to assurances being provided to New Zealand. “MPI understands that Malaysia supplies PKE for a number of uses and markets with differing requirements… [and] has made a formal approach to Malaysia’s Department of Agriculture, the National Plant Protection Organisation of Malaysia. Clark and Mackinnon’s report provides no direct evidence of “massive biosecurity breaches”, or that palm kernel is supplied to New Zealand from the processing plant that Clark and Mackinnon were concerned about, Thomson adds. Clark acknowledges that but says equally, based on the sales and exporting pathway they saw, nor was there any evidence that PKE from the plant could not form part of a shipment to New Zealand.

recommendations: ■■

PKE imports only from certified sites.


Routine audits to ensure supply chain secure.


Screening of PKE to be done before it leaves import facilities.


Non-PKE items removed in screening to be removed, recorded and reported to MPI.


Screenings to be disposed of by a biosecure and audited procedure.


Pest and disease risk of individual contaminants assessed to identify possible incursion pathways.

Dairy News february 26, 2013

news  // 7

New water accord will squeeze many peter burke

MANY DAIRY farmers will have to lift their game to comply with a new environmental code of practice announced last week. The new ‘Sustainable Dairying Water Accord’ is a two way partnership between the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) and DairyNZ and replaces the ‘Clean Streams Accord’ which expired last year. Federated Farmers supports the new accord and has signed on as ‘friends’. Others such as regional councils, government agencies, fertiliser and irrigation industries and iwi are likely to do the same. The new agreement covers five key

areas: riparian planting, nutrient management, effluent management, water use management and conversions. It promises that 90% of all dairy cattle on the milking platform will be excluded from waterways by May 31, 2014 and 100% by May 2017. The new accord requires farmers to better manage nitrogen and phosphorous through an industry-wide monitoring and support system. They must also comply with regional council effluent rules and improve water efficiency in irrigation systems and around their cow sheds. Farmers undertaking conversions will have to meet ‘good practice standards’. DairyNZ chairman John Luxton says the new accord will take effect from the start of this year’s dairy season and is a broader and more comprehen-

Feds ‘supporting partners’ FEDERATED FARMERS has committed to the new accord as a ‘supporting partner’. Dairy chairman Willy Leferink says the new accord is different in having commitments industry-wide to ensure improvements happen on farm. “Farmers are not only going to be involved in supporting change but will deliver it by meeting these targets. These include the irrigation and fertiliser sectors as well…. This is the biggest step yet in getting everyone in our industry to work together by agreeing on some common standards….” Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Ian Brown says the accord is a fantastic result and tangible confirmation of the hard work done by farmers.




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DCANZ ceo Simon Tucker says the accord was worked through carefully.

sive commitment than its predecessor, the ‘Clean Streams Accord’. “The new accord covers all dairy farmers, not just Fonterra suppliers. All dairy companies and DairyNZ will be accountable for its commitments and farmer uptake will be supported through supply contracts and support programmes.” Farmers grazing dairy cows away from their milking platforms will be required to ensure they don’t get into streams. Luxton believes councils will before long require this as a matter of course, but he forsees problems given that cows grazing off-farm in winter may be on hilly country difficult to fence. The new accord is based on some proposals thrashed out by the Land and Water Forum (LAWF) in line with its ‘collaborative model’; environmental groups have been consulted as part of the process. Says Luxton, “I suspect there will be the odd recalcitrant farmer and they will have to take some action over that, but in most cases farmers do respond once they’re told what’s expected of them.” DairyNZ will design resources to help farmers meet the targets. Fonterra plans to hold 50 supplier meetings between March 4 and 15 to explain the new accord and other companies are expected to likewise. Getting information out to farmers is critical, says Luxton. “If you go to a regional coun-

cil and ask them what to do, most refuse to tell you.” DCANZ chief executive Simon Tucker describes the new Accord as a commitment by all companies to an ‘environmental benchmark’. Each company will have its own way of ensuring these obligations are met. “For example Fonterra has the ‘supply fonterra’ model for this and most companies will adopt a similar approach. Westland and Synlait are both heading in that direction and the other companies will as well.” Tucker says the new accord has been a ‘long time in gestation’, partly to enable DCANZ to work with all stakeholders including central and local government. “We have worked very carefully through all the issues with the councils and [are asking them] to join this commitment as ‘friends’…. We recognise councils have legal obligations under legislation and there is no way that we are seeking to replace that.” Tucker says if farmers comply with the new accord they may in some instances meet the rules and limits set by some councils. But he says in some catchments such as around Lakes Taupo and Rotorua, farmers will have to comply with higher standards set by the local councils. He says the main thing is that there is nothing in the new accord will run counter to any rules set by councils.

‘Good let’s do it’ PRIMARY INDUSTRIES Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the new accord as showing the dairy industry is serious about improving its practices. “Annual reporting on progress and independent auditing will give this accord more transparency and accountability. It’s pleasing to see the dairy industry taking leadership on this important issue.” The previous ‘clean streams accord’ has seen good results in some areas over the last ten years, but this new approach is a step forward, he says. Forest and Bird says it’s disappointed at the number of farmers still mistreating waterways after a decade of the Clean Streams Accord. Spokesman Kevin Hackwell says he hopes the lessons from that accord will be carried over to the new accord. “The key lessons are the need for all actions to be focused on improvements in water quality, for an independent audit of whether targets are being met, the need for direct help for farmers to improve their practices, and a way of dealing with consistently poor performers – applied across the sector.” The Environmental Defense Society (EDS) spokesman Gary Taylor says they welcome the commitment of the dairy industry to introduce new best practice guidelines. “The new accord seems to contain greater commitments to implementation by Fonterra than other dairy companies. We think they should be using their supply contracts to enforce compliance and follow the Fonterra lead.” @dairy_news


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Dairy News february 26, 2013

8 //  news

‘Keep cashflow under control’ GARETH GILLATT


farm owners, Garth and Lyle Preston told a delegation of Federated Farmer regional dairy leaders February 18 that living without an overdraft kept them profitable. Feds held their annual Dairy Council in Paihia last week and went on a pre-farm tour of Northland starting at Matakohe

Garth Preston

Museum and ending at Kaeo, just north of Whangarei. The first farm on the tour was Garth and Lyle Preston’s 368ha 800 cow farm in Ruawai. Co-owner Garth Preston told delegates the business was able to get through a tight season by keeping the overdraft under control. Prestons avoid using their overdraft, as they say it puts them on the back foot when doing financial planning. “We want to be on the front foot for opportunities and climatic disasters and not beg and scrape with the banks. We want to be in control of our own finances.” He says the current and forecast payout and the six months from August

through to December mean everything is ticking along fairly well in the business with the property likely to produce 260kgMS/cow from an on-farm cost of just over $3kgMS (including palm kernel). Northland Feds Dairy chairman Ashley Cullen says the tide is turning for farmers in the north generally and despite the dry weather, things should be looking up for farmers in the region. “If you’ve survived this long you’re now through the worst of it.” A total of $2 million had been put into the Preston’s farm over the last two and a half years including a new 60 bail cowshed, underpass, effluent system and feed pad. Preston says close to $500,000 had gone into the standoff pad alone. “The builders gave us the option of putting up the

Federated Farmers Dairy executives on the Preston farm, Ruawai.

poles and putting up the roof and we’re glad they did.” The standoff pad was used extensively during winter while soils were wet. That has dealt with pugging and it should result in better grass growth once rain comes.

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The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) says soil moisture levels are so low that the region is dry enough to be considered a drought zone for the third time in four summers. Only 175mm of rain have fallen on the property

in three months and Preston says it is the driest it has been in a while. “If it weren’t for that big drop of rain between December/ November I think the farm would look a lot worse.” The Prestons are feeding palm kernel to maintain condition – about 3kg/

day. “We’ll be looking to pull the plug as soon as conditions allow.” The flexibility palm kernel offered was the reason they decided to use it as a supplement and at 30c/kgDM it worked out to be more affordable than grown crops.

Banks, farmers to blame for rising mortgage sales weren’t realistic.” Farmers and lenders were to blame; farmers were overly optimistic with their BANKS NEED to take a long hard look at forecasts, banks were just as aggressive, the way they lent money in the past, says says Cullen. “The banks were pushing them Northland Federated Farmers Dairy chair to buy the neighbor’s; now that the shit’s hit the fan the banks are selling them up.” Ashley Cullen. Cullen feels rural lenders didn’t give There were 51 rural and urban mortgagee sales in Northland in March 2012, borrowers enough information to make according to land and property informa- a prudent decision about their future. tion provider Terralink – 155% higher than “Some people borrowed too much, they in March 2010 and much more numerous paid too much for farms and caused their own downfall, but in some cases the banks than mortgagee sales in other regions. didn’t give them the right Kerikeri Harcourts advice and they were pushrural manager Chris “Farmers and ing them to buy the neighWhite says more farm bor’s. mortgagee sales have lenders were to “They allowed them to occurred during the last blame; farmers borrow more money than two years; now the real were overly they actually should have.” estate industry is waitoptimistic with Cullen thinks New Zeaing to see what happens land farmers should be in the next few months. their forecasts, through the worst of it, with “It’s been a gradual banks were just current payout predictions, change rather than as aggressive.” being huge; there have – Ashley Cullen and farmers should be able to trade their way out of certainly been more in high debt loadings. “If you’ve the last year than the survived this long now you’re through the year before and the year before that.” While interest rate swaps are respon- worst of it.” White says while mortgagee sales have sible for some farmers’ financial hardship, Cullen says many were because farmers dropped for Northland lately, real estate and the banks that lent to them were overly agents are waiting to see what happens with dry weather and current economic optimistic about the marketplace. Farmers and financiers were buoyed by conditions. “Everyone is waiting with the record $7.90 07/08 payout and thought bated breath. There’s certainly one or two it would last, he said. “The budgets they did financiers looking at tidying up long term were based on the high payout and just difficult clients.” GARETH GILLATT


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Dairy News february 26, 2013

10 //  news

Minister plugs partnerships ANDREW SWALLOW

RESEARCH AND Development hubs such as Lincoln, Ruakura and Palmerston North are a great asset but they should have more input from private companies as well as the traditional institutions of the universities and Crown Research Institutes, says Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce. “In my view we should attract private companies onto these campuses as well,” he told an audience of dairy farmers and industry professionals gathered for a focus day on Lincoln University Research Dairy Farm (LURDF). “That would build a very strong hub.” In an hour-long visit the Minister gave a brief address to the focus day crowd, plugging the various Government funds going into agricultural research and development, then heard how some of that is being deployed from a string of scientists.

AgResearch science leader Mark Shepherd outlined phase II of the $7.7m/year, 5-year Pastoral 21 project. “It’s a really good model for how industry and science should work together,” he told the Minister, explaining the cross-industry, cross-secCameron demonstrates DCD’s tor input into the project. Keith impact on N loss to Steven Joyce. The project has four said AgResearch’s David Chapman. work streams: next generThe lower stocking rate ation dairy systems; breakthrough technologies in feed; mixed live- approach, at 3.5 cows/ha compared stock systems; breakthrough tech- to 5.0/ha, with pastures laced with clover, chicory and plantain but nologies in environment. Shepherd stressed that in dairy using much less nitrogen that the it’s about providing “accessible high stocking rate farmlet, had the technology” and “not about the potential to be “very profitable” while significantly reducing losses, complete redesign of systems.” Out in the paddock the Minister he added. The focus day crowd later saw heard about how LURDF is testing high and low stocking rate/input data showing the low input farmlet had an operating profit of $4809/ systems. “We don’t expect the high stock- ha to the high input’s $4590/ha last ing rate system to come in under season, while Lincoln’s commerthe nutrient limits that are likely cially-run, 660-cow demonstrato be put in place in the future,” tion farm made $4850/ha.

Lincoln’s Prof Grant Edwards said the mixed pastures in the low input system could reduce urine nitrogen – the source of most nitrogen losses – “by as much as a third”. They grew just as much dry matter and, as the profit figures suggest, cows were equally, if not more productive off them. He also touched on how they’re testing species such as Italian Ryegrass as a tool to mop up nitrogen that might otherwise be leached. Meanwhile Professor of Soil Science, Keith Cameron, demonstrated how lysimeters are used to measure nitrogen losses on the research farm, and how DCD, before it was withdrawn, had been able to reduce that. “It’s amazing how effective this is at reducing nitrogen leaching,” said Cameron, presenting a graph of losses from pasture with and without DCD applied, prompting the Minister to comment “it’s a massive change, isn’t it.”

roller coaster season THE LINCOLN University Demonstration Farm has had “a roller-coaster type of season” to date, as have many others in the area, Dairy NZ’s Steve Lee told the focus day. Pasture growth rate, and quality, had been up and down all season and there had been three distinct troughs in cow energy intake as a result. However, production is still 4% ahead of last year and the farm is forecast to come in just behind the budgeted 315,000kgMS for the season, with 307,000kg or 1919kg/ha. Farm working expenses have crept up, notably in breeding expenses and vehicle costs. “The mowing has pushed the diesel up a fair bit and obviously there’s been a bit more servicing of the tractor,” noted farm manager Peter Hancox, reflecting on the 800ha of pre- or post-graze mowing undertaken. Final forecast FEW is now $1.2m against a budget of $1.18m, which at the revised forecast output gives $3.91/kgMS against the $3.80 budget figure. @dairy_news


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Dairy News february 26, 2013

news  // 13

Farm demand stretching supply ANDREW SWALLOW

THE PRICE per hectare

of dairy farms is edging up, as is turnover. In three months to the end of January, 82 dairy farms sold with a median of $35,530/ha, latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data shows. That compares to $34,483/ha and 63 sales in the three months ended December, $34,298/ha and 58 sales in the three months ended January 2012, and $35,090/ha and 46 sales for the same period in 2011. The median size of dairy farms sold in the

three months to the end of January was 98ha, down from 141ha a year previously and 108ha in 2011 for the same period. However, median size in January alone was 136ha, ranging from a 52ha in Waikato to 464ha in Hawkes Bay. Median production per hectare for farms sold in January 2013 was 1047kgMS/ha – the highest ever REINZ median. Despite the increase in per-hectare values, the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index fell 0.9% in the quarter ended January compared to December, and 8% compared to January 2012. REINZ rural market

spokesman Brian Peacocke says demand for dairy farms is mostly coming from existing dairy farmers, topped up by business/investor interest. “We saw a major drop in values following the peak of 2007/8 and there appears to be a resurgence in interest now as property values stabilise,” he told Dairy News. Investors are again starting to look at land as a security, rather than looking at returns in isolation, he adds. Some of the 69 finishing farms sold in the quarter to the end of January, achieving a median of $18,852/

ha, could be earmarked for dairy conversion, he acknowledges.

“Canterbury is [reported] to have another 30 conversions taking place

index and $/ha difference THE APPARENT divergence of the Dairy Farm Price Index and $/ha in this month’s data is most likely due to the size of farms in the data, says REINZ. There is a negative relationship between size and price on a $/ha basis so that larger farms tend to be lower in $/ha and smaller farms higher. The median $/ha calculation won’t show this but it is factored into the DFPI. The index also takes into account location as dairy farms in some areas sell for more than in others.

DAIRY FARMERS are welcoming an

agreement to reduce nutrient loading into Lake Rotorua over the next 20 years. Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Federated Farmers and the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective have agreed to 70% of the annual nitrogen loading being reduced to a sustainable level within the next decade. Rotorua MP Todd McClay brokered the deal as a compromise to an appeal by Federated Farmers to the Environment Court. DairyNZ, a party to the appeal, provided science and policy support to Federated Farmers. “Working with scientists from Waikato University, our water quality scientist Dr Tom Stephens managed to demonstrate trends that showed water quality has already been improving over the last 10 years,” says DairyNZ environmental policy manager Dr Mike Scarsbrook. “As the community’s goals for water quality are currently being met, we can afford to take this extra time to look for solutions that will be economically, socially, culturally and environmentally sustainable. There are going to be opportunities here for profitable, innovative and sustainable farm systems for a long time. “We are confident the great work being done on farms and elsewhere in the catch-

ment will see water quality continue to improve.” DairyNZ strategy and investment leader for sustainability, Dr Rick Pridmore, says this is an historic agreement. “All parties involved have shown true leadership to come to a feasible solution. This is a great example of how collaboration between farmers, communities and policy makers is the key to reaching the water quality standards we require in the coming years. “The road ahead is still going to be tough for Rotorua farmers, but with the signing of this agreement, we can all work together to find practical solutions for a clean lake.” Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo provincial president Neil Heather says the positive reaction to the agreement “is the application of a land and water partnership approach at a local level. Despite one academic taking a pot shot, most Kiwis will see farmers and landowners working hard with regulators to improve what is our lake too. “We started with a lake that was in a bad way.  It had suffered from decades of human, animal and industrial flows, and geothermal activity…. We now have a lake trending in the right direction…. We have bettered targets set for the lake and decades early too.”

you were a buyer from the EU that would be a consideration.” That said, “there have been reports of ongoing investment in Canterbury and Southland from offshore interest.” The dairy data came amid a 13% increase in all farm sales compared to January 2012, with an 18% increase in the $/ ha median to $23,980/ha year to year, and up 3.9% compared to December’s median. Reinz says listings are barely able to meet demand and there’s an increasing shortage of good quality listings.

REINZ Farm Price Indices

Jan 2013 index compared to: 1 month ago 3 month ago 1 year ago 5 years ago 10 years ago

Farmers, council agree to Lake Rotorua cleanup

for next season.” Nationwide the finishing-farm median price was unchanged on the three months to end of December, but back from $21,080/ha in the three months ended January 2012. “We saw most of the finishing farm purchases in the mid and lower South Island. In the North Island a lot of the land that could convert [to dairy] already has.” Peacocke acknowledged the strength of the New Zealand dollar could be a factor for overseas investors. “Certainly if

All farms -2.1% 6.6 -3.2% -2.4% 7.2%

Dairy farms -0.9% -3.5% -8.0 -6.2 5.2

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

14 //  news

Second time lucky for young Whangarei farmer IT WAS second time

lucky for a Titoki, Whangarei farmer in the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest. Ian Douglas (29), after missing out last year, has secured a spot at the contest grand final to be held in Auckland later this year.

Douglas, Whangarei Young Farmers Club, prepared harder for this year’s northern regional final, winning earlier this month at Barge Park Showgrounds. “I mostly prepared for the evening show by work-

ing on my general knowledge skills,” he says. “Being an all-rounder is important, but you also have to be quick on the buzzer.” He had to battle it out with his employee Jamie Lang, also from Whangarei Young Farmers Club. “We

get on pretty well. I taught him everything he knows, so it wasn’t much of a competition.” Douglas against seven other contenders including David Kidd, Helensville Young Farmers (2); Benson Horsford, Whangarei (3); and Charlie Barr, Whangarei (4). Douglas’ prize pack was valued at $9000, including cash ‘components’ from ANZ and AGMARDT, a Lincoln University schol-

arship, fertiliser from Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms retail products and a Honda XR125 farm bike. Prizes for the runners up included cash from ANZ, Ravensdown products, a Honda water pump and power equipment from Husqvarna. All entrants may apply for one of seven Lincoln University study scholarships worth up to $4000 each. Also competing at the Barge Park Showgrounds

in the TeenAg regional final Kamo High School students who won the top three spots. Team Why Not’s (Brendon Frost and Antony Clarke) were first followed by the Kam Boys (Andrew Martin and Ethan Carter); third place went to the Mozzhawks (Aidan Hawker and Sam Moscrip). The AgriKidsNZ competition was won by Country Bro’s made up of Cara Doggett, Michaela McCracken and James

Logue from Rodney College. Second place went to The Mean Green Farming Machine from Okaihau School (Jonty Morgan, Buster Carr and Jacob Cook), followed by Waioneke 1 from Waioneke School (Tyler Ross, Hamish Holst and Christopher Hill). The top three teams from TeenAg and AgriKidsNZ are invited to Grand Final in Auckland on May 17.

Banker goes down to the wire Ian Douglas

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BANKER TIM van de Molen is the second grand finalist in the ANZ Young Farmer Contest 2013 after he won the Waikato/Bay of Plenty regional final. It was a tight race; the final result came down to just one question. Van de Molen had his work cut out for him, narrowly winning by two points ahead Dwayne Cowin. Josh Cozens and James Bryan were placed third and fourth respectively. “I felt comfortable; it was great to be out there and amongst it again,” says van de Molen after a year off from the contest. But two components he found challenging: “A lot of work had to be done for the fencing module…and the module with GPS and iPads was complicated; but after that, I really found my groove.” Van de Molen, 30, is an agrimanager for ANZ and a long-time member of New Zealand Young Farmers. He held the national vicepresidency for three years and this will be his second time as a

Tim van de Molen

grand finalist. Van de Molen said he draws his motivation from the sense of accomplishment that competing offers. “It’s more the idea of achievement and being a part of the agriculture industry. We are so often at the forefront of innovation and incredible things; it’s great to be involved with that.” He also felt optimistic about bringing the contest to Hamilton. “More collaboration is needed between the rural and urban sectors. I don’t feel it’s quite right where it should be. We should focus on bridg-


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ing the gap between the two. We are a pretty small country and if we have a united front [of the two sectors] and the support of the government, we can put our best foot forward on the international stage.” The range of jobs he has held and his time in the army helped van de Molen succeed over the weekend. “I’ve been lucky to have had a variety of jobs and my time in the army certainly helped with the physical side of things. The agri-sport was very physically demanding, with the rowing machine you really had to dig deep”.

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

news  // 15

DCDs wanted back SUDESH KISSUN


shares farmers’ sentiment that nitrate inhibitors containing DCD should be allowed back on the market. But the farmer co-op adds this must only happen only when potential international trade requirements are met.

panies Ballance and Ravensdown following the discovery of small traces of residue in New Zealand milk products. A working group, headed by MPI, is assessing the use of DCD on farms and resulting residues in food. The working group is also made up of Fonterra, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ), Ravensdown and Ballance. Catto says the working

“This will require a bit of science and research. But we endorse farmer sentiment that nitrate inhibitors should be allowed back to help farmers tackle nitrate leaching on farms.” Ballance research and development manager Warwick Catto says the question is what standards need to be met on trade issues. “We have to work out what levels of DCD residues the marketplace will accept,” he told Dairy News. “This will require a bit of science and research. But we endorse farmer sentiment that nitrate inhibitors should be allowed back to help farmers tackle nitrate leaching on farms.” Nitrate inhibitors, containing DCD, were voluntarily withdrawn last month by fertiliser com-

Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Ian Brown says the products containing DCD are one of the effective tools used by farmers to mitigate nitrate leaching. He says Fonterra farmers are waiting to see if DCD products are allowed back by MPI. “It’s not the

silver bullet but it’s one of the spanners in our toolbox,” he told Rural News. “We’re keen to see it come back but let’s wait and see.” Dairy farmers are under pressure from regional councils to reduce nitrate leaching into waterways. Nitrate inhibitors were

Warwick Catto

one of the main tools used by farmers to meet targets set by councils. Brown says it’s important for regional councils to work with affected farmers and re-examine nitrate level targets following the withdrawal of DCD treatments.


group could take a couple of years to complete its work. “At the end of the day, we must have the confident of the market,” he says. Ballance had not sold its nitrate inhibitor DCn since July 2012 and had not promoted its use on pastures since late 2010. Catto says only a handful of Ballance customers have recently used the product. As a precautionary measure Ballance will not reintroduce any DCDbased products to the market until the potential international trade issue of milk residues is mitigated.

in brief Chance to shine ENTRIES HAVE opened for the 2013 New Zealand International Business Awards, which recognise New Zealand businesses succeeding internationally. Previous winners in the agriculture sector include Westland Milk Products, Grasslanz Technology and Simcro. The awards programme, run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) with support from ANZ, “celebrates the passion and vision of New Zealand’s most outstanding global businesses and business leaders, and benchmarks the contribution they make to growing New Zealand’s economy”. A $100,000 Supreme Award is presented to an overall winner who stands out across the awards categories. In addition, each general category winner earns a place on the 2014 Better by Design study tour. NZTE chief executive Peter Chrisp says entering the New Zealand International Business Awards is not just an opportunity to be recognised as a standout international company. “It’s important for businesses to take time to reflect on their international growth journeys, and the awards are an opportunity to do this. They are also an opportunity to celebrate achievements and honour the people who have helped drive international successes.”

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

16 //  world

Irish gear up for CAP reform PETER BURKE

THE IRISH dairy industry is preparing for the lifting of restrictions by the European Union (EU) that limit the amount of milk farmers throughout Europe can produce. The quota under the common agricultural policy (CAP) comes off in 2015. An Irish agricultural scientist from University College, Dublin – Tommy Boland, in New Zealand visiting colleagues and family, says Irish farmers in particular are well placed to take advantage of the new open market. As far back as three years ago, farmers were holding on to heifers and generally improving the quality of their herds, Boland says. But some farmers have increased production too early and under EU rules

have to pay a monetary penalty for this. “That penalty clause has put something of a handbrake on that development, but farmers are putting plans in place for land expansion and even to capture more of the

Tommy Boland

potential that is within their land. I think there are a lot of gains to be made within Ireland to increase the dairy output on the current land base without displacing other industries

and bringing new land into production.” Boland says there is a lot of variation in the pasture production potential across Ireland, some parts being very good for dairy production and others very bad. With heavy rainfall some of the ‘heavy’ land pugs easily and doesn’t stand up to grazing by dairy cows, he says. “But in the south west of the country around Kerry and Cork they have excellent dairy production and grass growing conditions. They can carry the cows out on grass for most of the year. As you move north and east towards Dublin the growing season becomes shorter. But within the country there are pockets or micro climates which will allow for very good dairy production.” Boland says there is

The Irish dairy industry is poised to lift milk production as EU milk quotas are lifted in 2015.

much speculation about how much Ireland can increase its dairy production. The Government wants it to increase production by 50% by 2020. Boland says many Irish


look at the gains made in New Zealand as the benchmark for their production and points to the similarities in their grass based production systems. The Irish note the huge growth of the New Zealand industry, while Irish production has stayed static, due to some degree to EU pro-

duction limits. But a significant problem for Irish farmers is the scale of their operations and the difficulty in merging farms and creating larger dairy platforms. “Land mobility (or amalgamation) is much less freely available in Ireland than it would be in

New Zealand. There is a strong tie to the family farm and land and it’s not common to mobilise that land. The farms are usually a one man operation supported by the spouse and the family. The scale is small and appetite for amalgamation is also small.”

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Ireland exports 85% of its dairy production and has some strong international brands.

THE CAP is the control mechanism used by the EU to maintain a balance of production in the EU. The quota system was introduced to prevent stockpiles of subsidised food accumulating in Europe. In the 1970s and 1980s ‘butter mountains’ and ‘wine lakes’ were a feature of the EU as production soared and ultimately farmers were subsidised to reduce production. Ireland exports 85% of its dairy production and has some strong international brands such as Kerrygold. While Ireland and New Zealand are both exporters, today they don’t compete as fiercely as in the 1970s and 1980s. Major changes have taken place in the Irish dairy industry. For example in 1975, the average herd size was 9.6 cows. Today it is 60

and is predicted to rise to 80 by 2020. The overall number of cows in Ireland has dropped from 1.3 million in 1975 to 1.1 million today, but Teagasc, the Irish research organization, is predicting cow numbers will come back to 1.3 million by 2020. The major difference is that the Irish are improving the genetics of their cows and Teagasc forecasts milk production will rise from the present 5.45 million litres to 7.48 million by 2020. The lifting of the milk quota will also see production rise in the Netherlands and Italy. But it’s widely accepted that Ireland, because of it lower cost production systems, has the greatest potential. Most pundits think the government target of a 50% increase is optimistic.

Dairy News february 26, 2013

world  // 17

EU looks at grazing and robotic milking SIX EUROPEAN

nations’ dairy farms and research bodies have launched a €3.1m (NZ$4.8m), three-year project to develop technology integrating robotic milking of cows with grazing. The Autograssmilk project is being coordinated by Dr Bernadette O’Brien of Ireland’s Teagasc. It says the Irish Government ‘Food Harvest 2020’ report targets a 50% increase in milk production, a goal robotic milking could help achieve by addressing problems such as fragmentation of farms and labour shortages. Where farms are divided into more than one block, robotic milking could allow herd splits impossible if milking was done conventionally, Teagasc says. Similarly, robotic milking has the potential to reduce labour costs on farms, particularly as they expand, or at entry level to

dairying could allow farmers to work off-farm until the dairy operation was of sufficient scale to be viable. A Fullwood Merlin robot milking unit has been installed at the Teagasc/Dairygold Research farm to facilitate the research. Teagasc says the project findings will be notified to dairy farmers, producer associations and their members in dairy farming, and to all EU dairy farmers. Robotic milking is catching on fast in most EU countries because of lifestyle, less physical work and lower labour costs. But it tends towards a decrease in numbers of cows grazing, with a corresponding increase in indoor feeding systems, says Teagasc. It argues grazing has many advantages isuch as lower costs, improved environment, better animal welfare and higher quality milk. The objec-

Oz vets study FMD in Nepal AUSTRALIAN FARMERS and veterinarians have visited Nepal to gain first-hand experience on the diagnosis and spread of foot-and-mouth disease. “FMD could tear a A$16 billion dollar hole in the Australian livestock industry,” Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock councillor Geoff Fisken says. “That’s why we were given the opportunity to travel to Nepal – a country where FMD is endemic – to learn how to diagnose, identify and trace the disease.” The five-day training trip was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in response to the Matthews Report – released in October 2011 – which stated ways Australia could further prepare itself against an outbreak of FMD. Fisken says the purpose of the trip in December was to up-skill Australian vets – three were from the Victorian Department of Primary Industry – and industry representatives who could relay their experiences back to the Victorian livestock industry. “Part of the focus was on-site clinical examinations of infected cattle and conducting surveys within the region to assess the level of FMD awareness,” he says. An important part of prevention is increasing awareness of swill feeding among producers, according to Fisken.  “The practice of swill feeding is one of the greatest risk factors to Australia getting FMD. If a livestock owner feeds infected scraps of food to their animals, the disease could spread like wildfire,” Fisken says.  “This practice is putting our industry at risk, but like many issues in agriculture, education will continue to be a key to ensuring livestock owners are doing the right thing.” The renewed drive for FMD prevention was encouraged by the Matthews Report, which stated a 12-month outbreak of the disease in Australia could cost the Australia livestock and meat processing industry A$16 billion. 

tive of Autograssmilk is to develop grass-based systems of milk production, with robot milking. Teagasc Moorepark’s partners in the project include Wageningen UR’s Livestock Research, Netherlands; Aarhus Uni-

versity, Denmark; Institute de l’Elevage, France; University of Liege, Belgium; Swedish University of Agricultural Science; a commercial dairy farm in Ireland and one in Denmark; and the Irish Grassland Association.

Pictured at the launch of Autograssmilk, are project co-ordinator Dr. Bernadette O’Brien, Teagasc Moorepark; Ole Krestensen, Denmark; Dr Pat Dillon, Teagasc Moorepark; Brian Aherne, Fullwood Packo & Valerie Brocard, France. Photo O’Gorman Photography

Dairy News february 26, 2013

18 //  OPINION Ruminating


Fonterra shuts up

milking it... Monumentally excessive

FONTERRA IS reported to be considering building a new HQ on the Auckland waterfront, either near the Viaduct or the new Wynyard Quarter where billionaire Graeme Hart keeps his superyacht. There are plenty of monuments to corporate egos being erected at Wynyard Quarter at present, so why shouldn’t New Zealand’s biggest company follow suit? A farmer spoken to by Milking It asked how a $100 million building on the Auckland waterfront would make the Fonterra canoe go faster…. Good question.

Cheese wipes out smile

AUSTRALIA’S ARTISAN cheese and dairy producers are up in arms after a global supermarket chain wiped the floor with them at the annual Sydney Royal dairy awards. Aldi, based in Germany but with stores in Europe, US, Britain and Australia, picked up 49 medals, including eight gold, and was named the most successful dairy produce exhibitor at the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW 2013 Cheese and Dairy Produce Show awards. The results have prompted local crafters of fine cheese, butter and yoghurt to call for an overhaul of the judging system that would pit generic brands against one another only, while boutique producers would compete in separate categories. Pepe Saya, who supplies butter to Neil Perry’s Rockpool, Aria restaurant and Qantas first class, said while he fully supported the work of the Agricultural Society to grow the dairy industry, he personally stopped entering the awards after Coles started entering its generic brands.

In-flight gas Always triggers mayday negative

A KOREAN Air cargo flight recently made an emergency landing at Heathrow airport when the fire alarm on board was triggered over the Irish sea. Gas masks in place, the crew went to investigate. Instead of a blaze, they found that the 390 sweaty cows in the hold had set off the alarm. Cows produce methane which traps heat. This raised humidity levels inside the aircraft, triggering the alarm. Emergency landings happen for many reasons – sick crew and passengers, terrorism suspects and low fuel levels. Flatulent cows is likely a first.

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

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LAST WEEK’S Sustainable Dairying Water Accord (SDWA) announcement was a positive for the industry. Unless you’re the Green Party or Forest & Bird, that is. True to form, both organisations were determined to put a negative slant on SDWA. The Greens called it the “Dirty Streams Accord” while F & B, led by the relentlessly negative Kevin Hackwell, issued press releases titled “New dairy farmers’ accord misses key lesson” and “Dairy polluters still a problem a decade on”. These two well-oiled knocking machines only have one mode – negative.

ONCE UPON a time the New Zealand Dairy Board – the forerunner of Fonterra – was a model of great public relations. Its chief executive Bernie Knowles never failed to front and its public relations manager Neville Martin used to interrupt his lunchtime run around Wellington to drop in for a live interview with Rural Report on National Radio. The Dairy Board was open and accountable to its shareholder farmers in every way. It was also a great business that opened up new markets and fought the EU every inch of the way to retain access for New Zealand butter and cheese. Contrast that with the PR out of Fonterra today. The latest bizarre decision was to refuse to give Dairy News an update on seasonal milk production because “Fonterra is listed on the stock exchange so it will only report six monthly and will report it to all investors”. For heavens sake, it’s dry out there and we all know production is down. Is it too much to ask for a bit of honesty and transparency? Is the share market going to crash because the obvious is stated? We don’t think so. Fonterra is fundamentally doing a good job marketing our milk products, in part thanks to what it inherited from the past. But in respect of PR, we rate our chances of getting through to Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin a much higher than getting through to Fonterra chairman John Wilson. This latest move by Fonterra to restrict and limit information is not smart, although it claims it’s because of stock exchange rules. One could argue that Fonterra is becoming more uncooperative than cooperative – except when it’s dishing up reams of gushy blurb when there’s a challenge to its TAF proposal, or when its milk-in-schools scheme needs more grease on the skids. While one accepts a lot of information is commercially sensitive, it’s not hard for anyone to make an educated guess about the impacts of dry weather. It’s pretty hard to keep the weather secret and confidential. Fonterra needs to find a way around what are clearly silly rules.

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

opinion  // 19

Time to reengage with our co-ops? RAMSEY MARGOLIS


has released a report ‘Dairy Cooperatives for the 21st Century’ written by County Waterford dairy farmer David Murphy, reports ICOS, the Irish Cooperative Organisation Society. Murphy travelled to New Zealand and Australia, and to Europe and the Americas, looking at ways successful dairy cooperatives deliver a sustainable milk price to their farmer members, and how that

leads to strong wealth creation in rural communities. In Europe, Murphy focussed on FrieslandCampina and FloraHolland. His study tour then took him to Argentina and Brazil, and he was in New Zealand and Australia during September and October 2012. “It was a steep learning curve in how a cooperative can gain power in the international marketplace by farmers coming together and rationalising their industry with a clear focus on maximising

in brief Oz picks price rise DAIRY AUSTRALIA is picking international dairy prices should rise further in 2013, with tightening supply and steady demand. Buyers are unsure if more milk being produced by New Zealand herds will offset reduced growth from the EU and USA, says Dairy Australia’s ‘February Situation and Outlook’ report. Dairy Australia’s industry analyst Norman Repacholi says, “Most buyers are in a comfortable position regarding stocks, with little urgency to enter the market in late 2012.” He noted higher input prices were placing an increasing strain on US and EU milk producers, which was slowing growth in those regions. “In New Zealand, milk production has been strong for 2012/13. While it’s unlikely to stay as far ahead in the second half of the season, milk production will still be 3-5% ahead of last year,” he says. For 2012/13 the average southern farmgate milk price in Australia is likely to finish about A$4.90-5.10/kgMS which is about 8% lower than 2011/12. Repacholi says where the Australian dollar moves will be a big influence on the final milk price. Nationally in Australia milk production forecasts have been lowered to flat-to-0.5% to about 9.5 billion litres as a result of increasingly difficult seasonal conditions and farmgate margin pressure.

the value of their milk,” Murphy wrote. His report outlines the key differences between the cooperative way of doing business and investor-owned businesses, and identifies the key points of success in cooperatives.

vide value for members through the supply of farm inputs. This evolution has clouded the ownership of cooperatives, however,

Over 30 years of EU milk quota, Irish dairy farmers have disconnected from their cooperatives. The Irish dairy industry, says Murphy, has failed to rationalise effectively. He believes an additional 2¢ per litre can be achieved by bringing the industry together in a consolidated processing, marketing and R&D platform. Rather than sticking to just one service and doing it well, he reports that Irish dairy cooperatives have evolved into multipurpose organisations which not only process milk but also pro-

with just 30% of shares now owned by active dairy farmers. Over the 30 years of the EU milk quota, Irish dairy farmers have disconnected from their cooperatives, Murphy says. With quotas to be abolished in 2015, he sees an opportunity for Irish dairy farmers to expand production. “This is the time for us to to re-engage with our cooperatives and create a business which can compete effectively in a global

context,” he writes. “We need a dairy co-op for the 21st Century.” Six key suggestions are set out in the report: 1. Culture change: the need to create a single purpose milk processor. Handling 80% of Ireland’s milk, this cooperative would concentrate on maximising the value of members’ milk. 2. Business performance payments: the clearest interface between milk suppliers and management; the milk price needs to be transparent. 3. Share redemption: at board discretion, retiring members would sell their shares at a fair value to a new member, reducing redemption risk, and new shares would be issued when members grow production. 4. Cooperative educa-

tion: programmes would be offered on the cooperative business model and how it differs from investor-owned business. Attendees would be awarded points, with a minimum number of points required for a member to be eligible to contest a seat at council or board level. 5. Constant evolution: a modern cooperative business needs new rules that reflect better communication and connectivity. 6. Encouraging excellence: from

grassroots membership through representation structure to board level, excellence will be encouraged with a focus on the capability of management to deliver optimum business performance. What might this mean for New Zealand dairy farmers? • Ramsey Margolis is the executive director of Cooperative Business New Zealand.

Ramsey Margolis

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

20 //  agribusiness

Helping kids chill out on free school milk FONTERRA’S MILK for Schools

Matthew Orr, Fisher and Paykel and Carly Robinson, Fonterra with the new fridges.

scheme has secured its first co-sponsor – Fisher & Paykel, supplying Fonterra with discounted fridges for each of the participating schools. Made at Fisher & Paykel’s East Tamaki Plant in Auckland, the fridges will have strengthened shelves and adjusted airflow to chill the milk within 24 hours. Fonterra Milk for Schools offers all primaryaged children in 2000 schools a free pack of milk every school day. Fonterra group general manager global cooperative social responsibility Carly Robinson says feedback from the North-

land pilot has shown the need for fridges to suit the schools. “It’s great to have Fisher & Paykel showing their support… and helping us give schools fridges to suit their needs.” Fisher & Paykel Appliances vice president corporate planning and media Matthew Orr says the company is proud to sup-

port the programme. “Gone are the days when kids had to drink warm milk and I’m sure anyone who remembers those days will be glad of that. It’s fantastic we are able to help ensure New Zealand children can enjoy milk the way it’s meant to be,” he says. “Along with tailor-

ing the fridges… we are also able to offer three different fridge sizes that Fonterra can use to match to schools sizes.” Fisher & Paykel will deliver and install the fridges at participating schools through the company’s nationwide network of technicians. Its national contact centre will be available for support. Fonterra Milk for Schools will begin in Southland late in the first school term. Christchurch will follow a few weeks after. It’s expected that by the end of term 1 2014 all schools who want to take part in the scheme will be supplied.

Eco-warrior for dairy women conference THREE-TIME

BALLANCE Farm Environment Award winner Dan Steele will speak to the Dairy Women’s Network conference in March on why farmers and conservationists should work together. A bushman, farmer, conservationist and businessman, Steele runs an awardwinning eco-tourism business called Blue Duck Station, adjacent to Whanganui National Park, on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke rivers, Ruapehu district. The station offers accommodation, horse riding, kayaking, shooting and bush walking and is a working sheep and beef farm. It also hosts one of the highest concentrations of whio (blue duck) and kiwi in New Zealand, and healthy populations of weta, native bats and fish. To help ensure wildlife on the station continues to thrive Steele keeps improving through bush regeneration, enhanced water quality and trapping predators. He has won three Ballance Farm Environment Awards and received a Services to Conservation award from the Department of Conversation. Steele believes dairy farmers care deeply about their land and their ani-

mals, but he says sometimes the industry and its practices are in conflict with “brand New Zealand”. “The dairy industry has been through a massive growth phase in the last 20 years, and unfortunately it hasn’t always been done sustainably. “I don’t have all the answers, but I know what makes me proud to be a New Zealander, which is at the heart of my work. I enjoy talking to people about why the environment matters so much to us all as a nation, and how we can find common goals to protect our precious natural resources.” The Dairy Women’s Network conference will be held in Nelson on March 20 and 21. Speakers’ topics will include animal behaviour, environmental constraints and developing future leaders. The conference theme is ‘Taking down the boundary fences’. Other speakers include Olympian Mahe Drysdale; Jo Goodhew, Associate Minister for Primary Industries and Hinerangi Edwards, Trustee Parininihi Ki Waitotara (PKW ) Farms Ltd. Tel. 0800 396 748

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agribusiness  // 21

Staff choice - go beyond face value MANY OF the businesses I work with are currently focused on selecting staff for the coming season. As I mentor them through this process, my constant challenge to them is to go beyond ‘face value’ when evaluating prospective appointees. Selection is something that doesn’t happen that often in most businesses, especially if the team has been settled for some time. For that reason it can be difficult for business owners to get the selection process right. Effective selection strategies are critical to sustainability. After all, 80% of success with people and teams is how you select and the other 20% how you manage them. So what are the critical success factors for this important area? In my view, these include defining and communicating clear expectations for the position, getting proof of (not just hearing about) each applicant’s capabilities, understanding how applicants are wired (personality style) and ensuring prospective appointees are challenged in at least one area to prove how the relationship will function under pressure. Clear expectations are critical for discerning who will make the right appointee. This starts with a job description that not only communicates an overview of the role but also provides a credible checklist of performance measures against which appraisals can happen in future. Priority must be to make it clear what is excellence for your business. An effective selection strategy will ensure staff are capable of engaging with the expected standards. If this is not achieved there is a real risk of importing mediocrity, especially if appointees have not been exposed to best practice in their previous roles. That’s why the selection process must generate proof of capabilities. Interviews are a selling process. Applicants typically focus on highlighting their perceived strengths while employers can fall into the trap of over-promoting the role. This is a big risk in an environment where there are a limited

number of quality applicants and there is a temptation to lower selection criteria. It is vital to the future working relationships and job satisfaction for all parties to go deeper than this. Interviews should be not just about hearing people’s experience, achievements and aspirations. They are about getting proof of capabilities. This need not mean the person is able to meet performance expectations on day one. It should be more focused on proving they have core skills needed, immediately accompanied by experience, qualifications and trainability to eventually reach the desired levels. The selection process should be seen as an opportunity to ‘experience’ each applicant rather than simply having a superficial conversation. Interviews need to be structured to explore career history, experience, potential and limitations as well as lifestyle and personal background to the extent they impact on the position. There should also be clarity on each applicant’s ethics and values. All this means the interview process should include more than just talk. As well as the usual discussion it should include getting applicants involved in carrying out tasks, performing calculations and other demonstrations of their abilities to prove the realities of their expertise, capabilities and limitations. I recommend selection is approached as a two-step process. The first meeting is to explore the fundamentals and the second contact is to offer applicants an opportunity to show what they can do. When these steps are accompanied by robust reference checking, the chances of success are much enhanced. It’s vital to remember the success of every relationship depends on compatible personality styles because role and the dynamics of each team will demand different wiring. Getting evidence of how applicants function through personality questionnaires, reference checks and experiencing people and interview is

fundamental to complete the picture.

Finally, the selection process should always include some challenging conversation that will illustrate peoples’ behaviour under pressure. Obviously this needs to be managed sensitively but is critical to ensuring you employ those who you will find it easy to disagree with.

Success in selection is a fine balance of exploring and understanding applicants against promoting the opportunity your business offers. It requires employers and managers to look at themselves first and have a realistic understanding of their team’s strengths and weaknesses. I am currently updat-

ing the people management resources on my website. These new additions include audio presentations that cover how to advertise, interview and reference check as well as questionnaires and support documents to make managing this process easier. These are freely avail-

able to any businesses so that this critical aspect of teambuilding drives the main event -- profitable, sustainable and satisfying roles for all involved. • Kerry Ryan is a New Zealand based agribusiness consultant available for faceto-face or online for advice and ideas. You can contact him at

Use Teatseal to reduce mastitis, and you’ll have a lot more time on your hands.

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

22 //  managment

Life, career nourished by TONY HOPKINSON

IN A career beginning in

lem,” says Chisholm. Trading as H and S Chisholm Farms they 20 years ago bought 50ha. Now they have 374ha of flat to rolling land, where 85% can be mown. They also lease 90ha at Tokoroa

and harvesting of crops. “Best season’s production was 509,000kgMS – an average of 484kgMS/ cow, but the present drought is not helping this season’s production,” commented Chisholm.

Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, working as a stock agent then starting his own stock buying/selling business, Hugh Chisholm and wife Sue now “Even if there is rain there is no mud; own and run a all the newborn calves get a good large-scale dairy start and with the floodlighting and farm at Puketurua, near Putaremote cameras somebody can be ruru. Along the there if there is any trouble.” way he has been a top auctioneer and has refereed All feeding is done in for wintering some of rugby to first class level. troughs on feed pads along the milking herd and dry Hugh and Sue live at with onions, squash, PKE stock. Kale and swedes Mount Maunganui so are grown there for winter and some cotton seed. The he starts each day with a feed is mixed in a NDE feed. 100km drive to the farm, At home they grow and mixer wagon that can hold leaving at 5am and return12t. Molasses is fed in a ing in the evening. “A lot of conserve 37ha of maize, trough on the milking platpeople, including my wife, 60ha of grass silage and form. buy in a further 30ha of think I am mad but I have The dairy shed is a 64 maize silage. They use been doing it for 16 years bail rotary with a DeLacontractors for planting so I don’t see it as a prob-

Hugh Chisholm starts his day with a 100km drive to the farm and he loves it.

val milking plant and automatic cup removers. It has an Alpro system for recording yields and all

animals are electronically ear tagged. Chisholm is active in the day to day running of

the farm, with four full time staff and relief milkers. The stock are Frie-

sian and Friesian cross and 1035 head are milked at the peak in two and sometimes three herds.


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Dairy News february 26, 2013

management  // 23

livestock interests Chisholm milks 500 cows through the winter on contract with Fonterra to supply a minimum of 900kgMS/day for May, June and July. “We get penalised if we do not reach this figure but the premiums make it worthwhile.” He is now calving three times a season to fully utilise the grass grown, the feed supplied and to get any premiums available from Fonterra. For calving there is an area set aside where all cows due to calve are brought to. It has wind cloth for shelter and a thick base of bark. It can hold up to 200 cows. This has Novaflow piping, a layer of drainage metal and 500mm of bark on top. Twice a year the bark is scraped off and replaced “Even if there is rain

there is no mud; all the newborn calves get a good start and with the floodlighting and remote cameras somebody can be there if there is any trouble.” Chisholm Farms do not use any artificial breeding, preferring to buy in all replacements. He chooses instead to run Taurindicus bulls. These animals are noted for a slight hump, droopy ears and a dewlap to help heat loss. All heifer calves are reared under contract to PGG Wrightson Export and leave the farm when they are 100kg to be exported to Malaysia and the Philippines as two year olds, where they are used on tropical dairy farms. He has a market for the new born bull calves. “We have only 9% empties which is good

Modern cow shed with all the bells and whistles.

clever use of effluent ALL EFFLUENT from the farm is returned to pasture or cropping land and the net result is that there is no artificial fertiliser or urea used on pasture. “We use some urea and DAP on the maize and the whole farm has 2.5t/ha of lime spread annually.” The yards are scraped clean before hosing down and the solids are collected – Chisholm prefers ‘harvested’ – and they and the wash water go through a separator for recycling. The solids are collected and after further drying time are spread to pasture or crop land. The green water can be used for wash down, spray irrigated to 140ha, an area that is soon to be expanded, or it can be spread using a Giltrap slurry tank. The effluent from the first feed pads is scraped to a large pit with a weeping wall. The liquid is passed through the separator and the remaining effluent is emptied, dried and spread on pasture with an Abbey side delivery muck spreader. The bark from the covered shelters will be cleaned when necessary and the pre-calving holding pens are cleaned twice a year and all this material is spread on the farm. “The bark material has started to break down by the time we are spreading it.”

for us and it is successful financially.” The farm has extensive areas for holding and feeding cows especially when running two or three herds. The original feed pads are concrete based with only the feed troughs protected from the weather. They can feed

400 cows. The two newer feed pads can hold 220 cows each and the standing area is covered in bark to a depth of 600mm. These pads are covered by Redpath shelters which are thermostatically controlled. “When the inside temperature reaches a certain

figure either from the sun or from the stock beneath they open to allow more air movement.” There are five large bunkers that can store 300t/DM each as well as bunkers for squash, onions and other supplementary feeds when available seasonally.

Sue Chisholm


IT’S EASy To SEE ThAT EVEN LoW SCC CoWS BENEFIT FRoM LoNG ACTING DRy CoW ThERAPy New published studies1 undertaken here in New Zealand confirm that even cows with a somatic cell count (SCC) of less than 150,000 cells/ mL were at least 3 times more likely to get a new intramammary infection (IMI) during dry off if left untreated, compared to cows treated with a long acting cephalonium such as CEFAMASTER. Treated cows had significantly reduced somatic cell counts at first herd test compared to untreated. Talk to your vet today about the use of long acting cephalonium dry cow products as part of your mastitis management strategy. Be sure to ask them about CEFAMASTER dry cow treatment, an alternative cephalonium dry cow.

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

24 //  management

Fencing farm waterways FENCING WATERWAYS on-farm has many

benefits. It helps stabilise banks by preventing treading and erosion, and reduces the risk of stock bogging or drowning. Fencing to keep animals out of waterways leads to better water quality by reducing the amount of faecal matter and sediment deposited

directly into it. This will contribute to a better habitat for fish and other freshwater life, improve the appearance of the waterway and reduce drain maintenance costs. Many regional councils provide free guidance on fencing and other aspects of waterway management. Most provide free locally focused and helpful publi-

cations. Be sure to contact them in the early planning stages. Along with professional guidance, council staff can alert you to regulations and funding opportunities. In the meantime, here are some key things to consider. Fence set-backs and options Consider the overall

As a first step, fencing should be secure to keep stock out of waterways, but allow access for maintenance as needed.

layout of your farm when planning for waterway fences. Along with pro-

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using one of these:


Provide shade and shelter away from the water.


Monitor grazing and move stock if they start to damage banks.


Avoid grazing near waterways during wet periods (use temporary fencing).


Put in culverts or bridges where stock naturally cross waterways.


Provide reticulated water.

will make it easy to free stock that might get in. For areas that require drain clearing, an electric fence that can be removed or dropped will allow easy access. Where fencing is more permanent, adequate spacing should be left between the waterway and fence for digger access. Coping with floods Simple one-wire or two-wire electric fences are good choices in flood prone areas. They are less likely to collect debris or be swept away in floods. They are also easier to stand back up after a flood event. Here are some more ways to reduce damage and repair costs in areas prone to flooding: Place fencing a greater distance from the waterway (especially on the outside of bends) and place posts further apart than normal. Put fence wires on the paddock and/or down-

stream side of posts so they pop their staples and drop, rather than breaking. Use un-barbed staples so wires can pop more easily. Construct separate ‘blow-out’ sections across flood channels. You should also think about the height of the bottom wire relative to expected flood levels. Recording flood heights will be helpful with placement of fences in the future. Finally, temporary electric fences can be helpful to protect sensitive areas at critical times. You can run a hot tape around wet areas and seeps in winter, for example, to keep stock out and avoid pugging. • This article is adapted from the third in a series of nine DairyNZ Farmfacts on managing waterways on farms. They can be viewed at in the Farmfacts – Environment section.

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tecting waterways, new fencing could improve subdivision for grazing management and stock control. For fence placement: Go for a minimum setback of 1m where the paddock slope toward the waterway is less than 10 degrees (the set-back should be greater if you are going to be planting). Go for a 3m set-back of ungrazed vegetation where the slope is greater than 10 degrees. Where banks are unstable, set it further back. Weigh up straight lines (less materials and labour to install) versus following the waterway course (possibly less grazing land lost). Choose fencing that suits your budget and your current set-up. Ensure it’s stock-proof. Seven to nine wires with battens is best for permanent fences. A two- or three-wire electric fence with permanent posts is satisfactory to prevent cattle entering the waterway. For a single wire fence on a 1m set-back, increase the margin a little to allow for the grazing that will occur under the fence. Allowing for access Be sure to allow for access when needed. For margins retired permanently, removable wooden rails in a convenient spot

helpful hints










Main South Road, Rakaia 7710 • Mid Canterbury

MANAGING WEEDS and pests in the first two years after planting is critical for plant survival. Here are some ways to make weed control more manageable: ■■ Where weeds are present, plan and eradicate in the 12 months prior to planting. ■■

Plant larger plants at closer spacings to reduce weed competition.


Check on weed growth regularly, especially during spring and summer.


Keep on top of shade-tolerant weeds.


Use stakes to mark the position of seedlings so they can be easily found when small.

Dairy News february 26, 2013

management  // 25 DairyNZ’s Aidan Bichan explains the finer points of teat spraying at a Milking Skills workshop.


Moving on from dad’s way of milking


time by up to an hour could be a big reward for the 160-190 people who turned up to the MilkSmart seminar held at Morrinsville last Tuesday. “[The event] is covering a lot of elements farmers can take away from today and implement into their systems this afternoon and see a difference straight away,” DairyNZ project manager for Milksmart Chris Leach told Dairy News at the Morrinsville event. “For example, looking at routines, we look at the most efficient way to milk a herringbone, for example, and go through that process. In a lot of instances we are seeing a lot of people knocking [30-60 minutes] off their milking time just by changing the order in which they cup cows,” says Leach. “So that’s an hour a day saving; farmers can use it to do more work around the farm or get home earlier and have time with the kids, or catch fish or whatever. So it is making a real difference on farm straight away. “We keep it simple, keep it practical. What we tend to see is farmers have learnt milking from their fathers or sort of a ‘this is how we do it here’ approach but they never get the opportunity to go

off farm and see someone else milk cows. So those habits keep following on from generation to generation. “What we are saying here is come and see how everybody else is doing it, see how you might be able to change your systems or tweak it in different ways and speed things up. We have yet to find a farmer

until about 1pm then they are off milking cows, then we get the managers coming along in the afternoon for the second lot of sessions,” says Leach. “We are really pleased with the turnout; we have run three events so far… before Christmas at Massey (Palmerston North), and just north of Whangarei; they averaged

“What we tend to see is farmers have learnt milking from their fathers or sort of a ‘this is how we do it here’ approach but they never got the opportunity to go off farm and see someone else milk cows.” who wants to spend more time milking cows.” By mid-afternoon 160 people had turned up to the MilkSmart workshop more were expected at sessions going into the early evening as 190 had registered. “We tend to get the junior staff coming to the morning sessions

140 which was really good. “This is the third year we have run these; this is a four-year programme and each year it is getting bigger and bigger; it’s getting a good reputation.” DairyNZ has six more large MilkSmart events: this week in Kihikihi and Reporoa then moving to

Chris Leach

the South Island for four more. Then it will run three more smaller events with SMASH on the West Coast. Leach says the feedback is that farmers love them. “It’s just practical; we are not talking about big cost changes, but about putting in procedures so everyone on the farm knows what order things are done and getting away from reliance on one key person with simple, straightforward procedures so everybody knows what is expected of them and what is done in what order. It’s not rocket science, just good sound management of milking.”

Volunteers put together a milking machine at one of the workshops.

BOVATEC® – the extensively trialled and proven ionophore that increases daily weight gain and improves feed conversion in growing and adult dairy cattle.1 Achieving target liveweights for calves and heifers sets them on the path to achieve the results you want in the future. BOVATEC does not restrict total feed intake, meaning more of your feed gets utilised by your herd.2 BOVATEC works by altering the population of micro-organisms in the rumen, which leads to an increase in the energy available to the animal for growth, weight gain and ultimately an increased production of milk solids.

Talk to your Feed Supplier, Rural Reseller or Vet now!

The more palatable ionophore 3 Pfizer Animal Health New Zealand Limited. Level 3, Pfizer House, 14 Normanby Road, Mt Eden, Auckland 1024, New Zealand. Tel: 0800 650 277, Fax: 0800 628 629. BOVATEC is a registered trade mark of Pfizer Inc. or its subsidiaries. ACVM Registration No’s A6956, A9679, A10829. 1. Data on file. 2. Nussio et al. 2002. Scientia Agricola, 59, 3: 421-426. 3. Erickson PS et al. Ionophore taste test preferences of dairy heifers J Anim Sci. 2004;82:3314-3320.

PAH 1100


Dairy News february 26, 2013

26 //  animal health

Making the case for greenfeeding maize DRY SUMMER condi-

tions have led to pasture shortages in many dairy districts and we have had a number of inquiries from farmers who are considering early harvesting a portion of their maize crops. The first management step in dry conditions is to reduce feed demand by removing culls, drying off high somatic cell count cows, low producers or young cows that are in poor condition, getting the young stock off the milking platform and putting the herd on once-a-day. Once these options have been taken, attention

turns to feeding the rest of the herd. The aim is to milk as many cows as possible for as long as possible without compromising either winter feed supplies or cow condition at calving. Trials in the mid-1990s at Waimate West showed

that very large responses to maize silage could be gained if cows which could have been dried off early were kept in milk. Feed forage crops If the cows are beginning to leave behind a grazing height of seven clicks or less then it is likely they are not getting enough feed from pasture alone. Feed any crops (e.g. brassica or forage sorghum) that have been grown for greenfeed purposes. Test for nitrates before you start grazing. Feed stored feeds It is important to have three weeks of stored feed


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


The corium (red outline) is the skin that grows the hoof. When a cow is under stress, the corium, ligaments and tendons weaken which lets the pedal bone rotate in the claw (blue arrow). Viewed from below, the back part of the pedal bone (blue outline) compresses the corium between the pedal bone and the sole of the claw.

on hand to feed the herd when it rains. After you have set aside three weeks of feed, look at how much stored feed you can afford to feed now. Consider buying in feed Consider buying in alternative feeds only if they can be sourced for less than the cost of greenfeed maize or if there is a lack of dietary protein. In the six weeks prior to harvest, under “normal” conditions, Cows eating greenfeed maize. maize silage will accumulate yield at around a silage stack containing the cows have access to 10 - 10.5MJME/kgDM 200 - 300 kgDM/ha/day. the crop at once to reduce enough maize to last until Green-feeding reduces the and crude protein of 8 the main crop is ready 12%. Always feed the low- the risk of acidosis (grain crop yield and increases for harvest. If you are not overload). est-yielding maize crops the cost per kgDM. As the compacting and crop gets closer sealing the maize, to harvest, maize “As the crop gets closer to harvest, watch out for excesgrowth slows, the sive heating and/or amount of yield maize growth slows, the amount of mould growth. you lose decreases yield you lose decreases and the case For more inforand the case for for greenfeeding maize gets stronger.” mation on mangreenfeeding aging drought maize gets stronstressed maize see ger. the Pioneer Technical Cut and carry first and test for nitrates Example 1: A maize Insight 344: Drought in If you have your own before starting. There are a silage crop that would number of ways maize can harvester, cut the maize on Maize (http://www.piohave yielded 25 tDM and a daily basis and cart it to be greenfed. cost 15 c/kgDM is greenproduct-information/ the herd. Grazing fed at two weeks prior to silage-technical-insights/ Contractor This is the least advisnormal harvest time. The drought-in-maize-silage. If a contractor is able method as the wastgreenfeed yields 22 tDM/ html) required to undertake ha and therefore feed costs age can be high. If there • Ian Williams is a Pioneer the harvest, either chop are no other options, feed 17 c/kgDM. forage speciliast. Contact enough maize for a maxmaize silage behind an Greenfeeding maize him at iwilliams@genetic. imum of three days and Greenfeed maize has an electric wire. If the plants leave it in a pile, or build have cobs make sure all energy content of around




This results in a bruising at exactly that spot in the claw. It has nothing to do with standing on a stone! It is weakened live tissue which we call laminitis.

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

animalhealth  // 27

Our cow’s digestion is different NEXT TIME you’re advised on cow

straw has been put to the test, that’s here in New Zealand, in Australia, in Europe – and hear me clearly on this, so there’s no ambiguity – they always test same. There’s no effect on rumen pH and production either stays static, or much more commonly is reduced.” The typically lower rumen pH on high quality grass diets has been shown not to be a problem and all straw, which typically has an ME of 6-8MJ/ kgDM, does is reduce energy intake. What’s more, because it sits in the rumen for up to 72 hours compared to about 18 hours for good grass, it reduces intake too. “So even if you’re only allocating 1kg of straw/day, that can lead to 3kg of rumen space being taken up. Even the biggest of rumens only holds 14-15kg of material, so what you’re doing is diluting your high ME diet with a very low ME material for no benefit.”

nutrition, ask where the data used to support the advice comes from, because if it’s not New Zealand, it probably isn’t relevant to your farm. If there’s a catch-all message from the dozens delivered during DairyNZ’s current series of ‘Spotlight on Cow Nutrition’ workshops, that’s it, judging by one held near Temuka last week. “Many times the research isn’t drawn from New Zealand; many times that research is on a completely different system and that isn’t always made clear… Sometimes it’ll be material drawn from a feedlot system overseas and presented as if it’s applicable over here,” warned Lincoln University’s Jim Gibbs, senior lecturer in livestock health and production. That’s important because the rumen function of a milking cow with a high intake of high quality pasture is quite different from that of a cow on a total mixed ration (TMR) or heavily supplemented pasture diet as is more common overseas, he says. On a high quality, high intake grass diet, the rumen content doesn’t form the layers typically identified in overseas research, explains Gibbs, who has done groundbreaking research on the subject. “It’s just one mass of lawn clippings: there’s a little bit of fluid down the bottom [and] a very small gas cap – you couldn’t fit a hanky into it; basically it’s 120kg of lawn clippings rolling round and round inside.” In addition, the cow is “eating” more than 100L of water in that grass, in some cases 150L, on top of what she drinks. “That changes the way the rumen functions; it changes the way things move through the rumen and stay in the rumen. It also changes the way they excrete various metabolites.” Consequently, cows on high quality pasture diets respond quite differently to tweaks in nutrition from those on TMRs Terry Hughes or other diets typical overseas, he says. Where straw has a benefit is for Following that introduction, Gibbs, and fellow speakers DairyNZ springers, winter feeding and possiprincipal scientist John Roche, and bly at drying off. It will bind faeces, independent consulting nutritionist but contrary to some nutritionists’ Terry Hughes, fielded dozens of ques- assertions that’s no benefit as there’s tions put by members of the near 100 no problem with the watery faeces farmers and industry professionals typical of cows on high quality grass – present, slaying many common mar- it’s simply the effect of the high water intake in feed. keting mantras along the way. The fact lactating cows tuck into Straw during lactation was the first supplement to go up in flames. All it straw is no indication it’s needed does is fill the cow up, cutting produc- either, Hughes pointed out. “Basically tion. The arguments that high quality if you offer them something dry that ryegrass pastures don’t have enough they can eat quickly and easily, they fibre for normal rumen function just will have a crack at it. And it’s not until don’t wash, says Gibbs. “Wherever three or four days later that you’ve got

John Roche

any feedback on the consequences of them eating that straw.” Gibbs said even with moderate grain intake there’s still no need for straw. “Under 5kg/day of grain on really high quality pasture there’s still no advantage to straw and even above that [grain intake] it’s ambiguous.” Asked about grain feeding, Roche warned feed substitution is inevitable and argued if there’s enough pasture, there is no benefit to feeding such a high energy feed. Hughes tempered that comment, saying grain-feeding farms simply need to be set up to allow for that substitution. “You can say I want to do this level of production; I’m going to put in these levels of supplement; I’m going to get this sort of substitution so my cows instead of eating 15kg a day [of pasture] will be eating 13kg so I’ll put on more cows so I’ll have another cow there to eat the pasture that the previous one hasn’t eaten… You can come up with very good systems that will utilise that feed well. If you don’t, that’s when the costs start to build up.” That reminded Roche that supplements such as grain could be put to good use to prevent residual pasture covers from going too low during a summer dry. “It’s very useful at this time of year to pull our residuals up to 1500-1600. That’s where we can use substitution to our advantage because if we deck summer pastures down to 12-1300 rotation after rotation it will take them a month longer to come back in the autumn. “That’s the thing about it: supplement should be used to manage pasture, not to feed cows. If you use them to manage pasture you can make a lot of money out of feeding supplements,” he says.

BOVATEC® – the extensively trialled and proven ionophore that increases daily weight gain and improves feed conversion in growing and adult dairy cattle.1 Achieving target liveweights for calves and heifers sets them on the path to achieve the results you want in the future. BOVATEC does not restrict total feed intake, meaning more of your feed gets utilised by your herd.2 BOVATEC works by altering the population of micro-organisms in the rumen, which leads to an increase in the energy available to the animal for growth, weight gain and ultimately an increased production of milk solids.

Talk to your Feed Supplier, Rural Reseller or Vet now!

The more palatable ionophore 3 Pfizer Animal Health New Zealand Limited. Level 3, Pfizer House, 14 Normanby Road, Mt Eden, Auckland 1024, New Zealand. Tel: 0800 650 277, Fax: 0800 628 629. BOVATEC is a registered trade mark of Pfizer Inc. or its subsidiaries. ACVM Registration No’s A6956, A9679, A10829. 1. Data on file. 2. Nussio et al. 2002. Scientia Agricola, 59, 3: 421-426. 3. Erickson PS et al. Ionophore taste test preferences of dairy heifers J Anim Sci. 2004;82:3314-3320.

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

breeding/animal health  // 29

Revised values to help sire, cow choice REVISED ECONOMIC values

released last week will allow dairy farmers to make better sire and cow selection decisions to maximise farm profit. DairyNZ subsidiary NZ Animal Evaluation Ltd (NZAEL) released values from the National Breeding Objective (NBO) review of dairy cattle. The NBO (currently delivered via breeding worth) sets the direction of genetic change in the national dairy herd and affects the appearance, performance and profitability of cows on nearly every dairy farm in New Zealand. The main changes were to the economic values for residual survival (three times higher) and to fertility (two and a half times higher). Residual survival includes genetic factors such as temperament, milking speed, udder quality and lameness. Other traits such as milkfat, protein, milk volume and liveweight had not materially changed in economic value, while the emphasis on somatic cell scores has increased slightly. The NBO and its expression as breeding worth (BW) are reviewed regularly to ensure it remains practi-

cally relevant and accurate. It involves consulting with dairy farmers, milk processors and breeding companies throughout New Zealand. During the current review, a software tool, 1000Minds, was used by NZAEL in conjunction with Dunedin based AbacusBio scientists Dr Peter Amer and Dr Tim Byrne. The tool was used to gain feedback from farmers on the traits they valued in their cows, says Amer. “The survey results and submissions showed us farmers want better balanced cows and value production combined with improved fertility and longevity. DairyNZ NZAEL manager Dr Jeremy Bryant says the consultation process also highlighted the need to update the economic models used to calculate economic values for use in BW. “Economic values place a monetary value on each additional unit improvement for a particular trait,” says Bryant. “For instance, the economic value of each additional percentage increase in cows calving within 42 days of the start of calving.”

AbacusBio in conjunction with NZAEL, a subsidiary of DairyNZ, has developed these economic models to re-estimate economic values. While no new traits are included in BW this time round, several new traits, including late lactation body condition score, were potential candidates for inclusion in February 2014. Bryant said the changes continue a natural evolution of New Zealand breeding goals towards an increasing focus on robustness and longevity that support ongoing feed conversion efficiency and production improvements.” “The changes driven by feedback and science will accelerate genetic gains in fertility and survival,” he says. “Most farms will not notice a marked decrease or increase in herd average BW due to these changes, except if the herds have genetically poor or very good levels of fertility, residual survival or somatic cell scores.” Jersey dairy cattle generally have the greatest increase in BW as they have, on average, higher genetic levels of fertility than Friesian or Ayrshires.


Bulls’ legacy remains closed last year for the last time on retiring bulls Okura Manhatten and Top Deck KO Pierre it was by no means the end of their legacy, says breeding company CRV Ambreed. The influence of these two dairy sires on the national dairy herd has been immense and continues today through the influence of their sons and maternal grandsons, it says. Manhatten and Pierre also have a considerable number of daughters still milking in the national dairy herd: Manhatten approaching 39,000 daughters, whilst Pierre boasts at least 49,000. Both were also successful ambassadors for New Zealand genetics overseas and as a result daughters are scattered around the globe. Pierre enjoyed particular success in Australia ranking in the Top 20 active sires there for many years. Meanwhile Manhatten was popular in South Africa, Australia and USA and the no.1 ranked Jersey sire in the latter two countries for a time. While over a decade has passed since Manhat-

Okura Manhatten ten and Pierre graduated as top sires in their respective breeds, they continue to command some strong breeding values, says CRV Ambreed. Manhatten, who became world renowned as a transmitter of protein, currently mainOzark currently rank on tains a protein BV 12kg, the top 30 Jersey RAS list, still ranking him amongst whilst four Pierre sons the best Jersey bulls for Mint-Edition (#5), Megathis trait. stud, Puzzle and Pamment Meanwhile Pierre, a are in the top 50 Holsteinfavourite with farmers for his high producing daugh- Friesians. The presence of materters with exceptional nal grandsons is also proudders, continues to rank found with top ranking amongst New Zealand’s CRV sires Manzello and top 10 Holstein-Friesian Pioneer being two of CRV transmitters for udder Ambreed’s best from Manoverall. hatten dams, as well as “As expected both half of CRV’s genomically bulls have now slipped selected 2012 Jersey InSire graciously into the shadteam being from Manhatows on the index charts, ten daughters. behind the next genera“Pierre’s influence is tion of New Zealand dairy similar with many Pierre sires, many of whom are daughters having an their sons and maternal immediate presence in the grandsons,” it says. pedigrees of RAS list sires Three Manhatten and young genomic bulls sons Joskin, Dominic and

for the black and white breed.” And finally the crossbreeding market has also understandably reaped the benefits from both these bulls, with Manhatten and Pierre often appearing together in the pedigree of many successful crossbred sires. “As a result of extensive use by AB companies as sires of sons alongside the many daughters procured as bull mothers, descendants of Manhatten and Pierre will abound on the RAS list for a while yet. So albeit ‘retired’ the influence of these two dairy giants on our national dairy herd is far from over,” it says.

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

30 //  pasture renovation & cultivation

New natural products fit biological farming profile VIAFOS IMPORTING

Ltd reports it expects to begin selling new products during the next two-three months. It will continue to import and sell guano phosphate and its more recently added ViaMSK, a natural product consisting of magnesium (7%), sulphur (17%) and potassium (20%). General manager Keith Jackson says Viafos remains committed to “natural products that offer beneficial results to soils, plants and livestock”. “There are a number of suppliers of chemical fertilisers yet a growing demand for alternatives that offer proven and longer terms benefits for the land and pastures where such products are applied; additionally animal health is enhanced much as the human diet is by keeping check of inputs.” Referring to regional councils’ drive against leaching and runoff from nitrogen and phosphates, Viafos says it is “ahead of the game” with its non water-soluble, low cadmium phosphate.

Products include a phosphate sulphur granule, nitrogen phosphate granule, magnesium and potassium granule. Says Jackson, “Biological farming can be classified as a topical subject especially in the fertiliser industry…. [Such] systems offer an extensive range of options including a consideration for chemical and non chemical fertilisers.” The key ingredients to make things work are awareness of the farming systems and environment, education on options and alternatives available, understanding of soils and what makes them active – rather than base management practice on what is seen and grows on top; both are important, however understanding soil can only positively contribute to outcomes. “The results may just surprise you, especially the reduced stress, often lower input costs, good production and most importantly, greatly improved animal health. There is nothing better and less stressful than seeing content stock and better returns achieved

Complete pasture renewal offers a range of benefits.

Pasture renewal guide PASTURE GROWTH

Good early grass root growth on new dairy pasture.

from their sale or breeding. “Reward comes from achieving a profitable return from an asset and knowing the health and wellbeing of the business is fundamentally robust.” Building knowledge and investing in the future is critical, Viafos says. “Make sure your consultant, soil or fer-



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can decline over time due to a number of factors. Pasture renovation methods describe how to improve the long-term production and persistence of poor performing paddocks. The most successful approach is often complete pasture renewal, the benefits of which include: ■■ Increased total pasture yield (1.0 - 8.0 t DM/ ha/yr) ■■ Increased milksolids production (if the extra growth is eaten) ■■ Improved pasture quality ■■ Can make pasture management easier by using late heading varieties to minimise the drop in pasture quality as seed heads appear in late spring

Reduced animal health problems. Should you renovate pasture? To get a return from investment in pasture renovation requires the identification of underperforming paddocks and estimating the potential extra pasture production. For example, where the yield can be increased by 2t DM/ha the return is about 130kgMS/ha. The return will be greater if the extra growth occurs at a time of the season when animal demand exceeds pasture growth. Pasture condition Many New Zealand farmers are managing pastures that have less than desired density of ryegrass and clover as a result of insect and drought conditions incurred during ■■

the previous summer or treading damage this spring. A DairyNZ led industry group comprising researchers, seed industry and contractors have agreed on an approach for farmers faced with this situation. This group recommends farmers carry out a paddock by paddock assessment of the damage by ranking paddocks one to five based on the extent of damage. They should then take the suggested actions to establish a plan for each paddock. Download or order your pasture renewal guide for the establishment and management of persistent, producing pastures.

More to grass success than just planting CHOOSING THE right cultivar (variety) as well as sourcing quality seed, storing it, then sowing it correctly all have a bearing on the success of pasture. Endophyte selection Before selecting the cultivar, select the endophyte that will give you protection from insects while not causing animal health problems. There are few areas in New Zealand that do not have to consider damage from one or more insects, except the West Coast region. As new endophytes are being released annually, contact your seed expert. Heading dates

Do not mix cultivars with different heading dates in a paddock. Consider sowing the farm in cultivars with a range of heading dates (e.g. half the farm sown in early heading cultivars, the other half in late heading cultivars). Aftermath heading (AMH) Aftermath heading refers to continued seed head production after the main spring heading.  Choose cultivars that have reduced aftermath heading for improved summer pasture quality and animal productivity. Tetraploids and diploids Tetraploids are more upright clover-friendly

plants. Tetraploid ryegrasses are highly palatable, tend to be grazed lower, reducing litter levels and hence accumulation of facial eczema spores. Diploids produce more tillers and consequently are more persistent and tolerant of overgrazing than are tetraploids. Winter productivity Generally annual and Italian ryegrasses produce more dry matter in the winter and early spring than other ryegrasses.  Annuals persist for 6-8 months; Italians can persist from one year in summer dry areas and up to three years in summer wet conditions.

Seed advice from the specialists. for pastoral advice tailored to your property, contact us today

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

32 //  pasture renovation & cultivation

Getting pastures chris glassey, dairynz farm systems specialist

Figure 1b

Chris Glassey

ATTENTION to detail

PRODUCTION ORIENTATED FARMERS... Are you suffering from:

• Surface ponding of pastures? • Hay & silage being tramped into pasture and wasted?

Pugged paddocks can reduce pasture growth up to 60%

during pasture establishment is vital to get new pastures off to a good start. When it comes to buying grass seed, correct endophyte selection is more important than cultivar selection, especially in the northern North Island where pastures are frequently attacked by insects. The most appropriate endophyte for your situation depends on the type of insect challenge you face. Pasture seed is

named by its cultivar, followed by the endophyte it contains, e.g. Commando AR37, Advance MaxP. Three endophytes associated with ryegrass provide protection from black beetle attack. They are AR37, NEA2 and Endo 5. Max P is an endophyte providing similar protection for tall fescue. If black beetle is not a problem (such as in the lower North Island and South Island) then AR1 can also be selected, as it provides protection from

other more widespread insect pests such as Argentine stem weevil. Ryegrass seed infected

with a particular endophyte should have had a test to measure endophyte viability. A minimum of

Figure 1a

DON’T PUT GOOD FERTILISER ON COMPACTED SOIL WHICH CAN’T ABSORB IT If your soil can’t support 15cm root growth and good worm population check for compaction. You could need aeration. In dollar terms, what would 20% production increase mean to your yearly turnover?





The benefits of having the correct endophyte were evident in the Waikato during 2008. These photos, taken in April, show recovery of pasture with nil endophyte (1a) and AR37 (above right), after prolonged drought.

70% of the seed line you buy must be infected by the nominated endophyte. Ask for the seed analysis certificate which contains this information. The benefits of having the correct endophyte were evident in the Waikato during 2008. The photos (below), taken in April, show recovery of pasture with AR37 (figure 1b) and nil endophyte (figure 1a), after prolonged drought. Buy treated seed Seed treatments normally include an insecticide and fungicide to protect establishing plants for the first six weeks of life. The endophyte protection (described ear-

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

pasture renovation & cultivation  // 33

off to a flying start lier) is only expressed in established ryegrass plants. Establishing seedlings have no endophyte protection against insects. Therefore, it is essential that only treated seed is sown in insect-prone areas. The impact of not using treated seed in part of a paddock in Northland is shown in figure 2. During sowing, a change was made from treated (on the right) to untreated seed (on the left). Consolidated seed bed Excessive moisture loss from the seed bed can reduce germination and establishment. A consolidated seedbed reduces moisture loss and keeps seed closer to available

soil moisture. Excessive cultivation and lack of rolling are the main causes of unconsolidated seedbeds. In addition to speeding up moisture loss, unconsolidated soil can also cause seed placement in the soil profile too deep for normal germination. Excess cultivation is the main cause of loose, unconsolidated seedbeds. After cultivation, rolling before and during sowing, is usually required. In figure 3, it is easy to see the consolidated row in a new pasture, caused by the tractor wheels, compared with the unconsolidated rows. Cultivation after forage

crops can be avoided by attention to weed control, contouring and levelling before and during crop establishment. Retaining soil moisture and consolidation through direct drilling then becomes an alternative. Sowing date Plan for all pasture renewal to be completed by March 31 at the latest. The rate of seed germination is reduced by soil temperatures (at 10cm) less than 15°C and is seriously reduced at less than 10°C. Research has found that for every day delay, from March 1, dry matter yield is expected to decline by 50kgDM/ha

Figure 2

The impact of not using treated seed in part of a paddock in Northland. During sowing, a change was made from treated (on the right) to untreated seed (on the left).

e.g. if new pasture is sown on April 30 dry matter yield is expected to be 3000kgDM/ha lower than if sown on March 1. Slow germination will delay the date of first grazing, which ideally should be before May 31 and allow weeds to establish. Where lack of soil moisture delays sowing until after March 31, it is recommended you proceed with sowing, as low soil temperature is likely to be a greater risk to establishment during April than lack of moisture (provided good moisture

Figure 3 Here, it is easy to see the consolidated row in a new pasture, caused by the tractor wheels, compared with the unconsolidated rows.

retention practice is followed as described above). Working with a contractor Good planning and paddock preparation before the arrival of a rural contractor will provide a better chance that all will run smoothly when it comes to establishing pastures and crops. Farmers can prepare for a contractor by ensuring: • Paddocks are sprayed out when grass is at optimum length for a good kill (10cm) and not straight after hard grazing. • Insecticide is added

to the spray to control springtails and other insects likely to threaten emerging plants. • Planting time is adjusted after application of some herbicides to meet label requirements for withholding times. • Check for slugs and apply slug bait if necessary. • No seed is carried over from previous years. • Regular crop check. • More information on the pasture renewal process can be found at This article first appeared in Getting the Basics Right 2013


? What is the percentage of Phosphate - 10.25% ave ? What is its pH8 (alkaline) ? What percentage of Calcium25-30% ? Does it have a liming effectYes definitely ? Is it water solubleNo ? How available is Viafosalmost fully ? What release periodapprox 12 months ? What about levels of these compared to some other phosphates . Cadmium . Fluoride . Mercury . Aluminium . Uranium

extremely low extremely low extremely low extremely low Nil

It must be one of the best phosphates for soil, biology, plant and stock there is! Yes, one of the best if not the best to offer production gains and contribute to longer term health benefits for soil, plant and stock. The result is far more than just green grass! EMAIL: FREEPHONE: 0800 viafos (842367)

Dairy News february 26, 2013

34 //  machinery & products

Brake on nitrate leaching, gives more pasture and reduces smell A PRODUCT shown to

reduce nitrate leaching and boost pasture growth also cuts odour from effluent, the supplier says. Farm-Aid, a ready-touse enzyme-fortified formula, is applied to farm effluent pond. It is distributed in New Zealand by Environmental Bio Solutions, a franchise of Environmental Biotech, US. Local franchisee Mike Cooper says Farm-Aid has been shown to achieve a 25% increase in pasture growth and to reduce nitrogen leaching into a water table. Trial results are posted online at the firm’s website. During trials in Waikato, Farm-Aid was applied to

effluent paddocks. Tests by WaterCare Services, Auckland, showed “significant enhancement of the potassium and sulphur fractions in the treated effluent compared with the untreated control,” Cooper reports. “Physical observation of the treated and control ponds by the farm staff showed a reduction of odour from the treated pond.” Soil sampling of paddocks before and after effluent application on both farms was by Stuart Lumley, Altum. Soil testing of the sam­ples was by Hill Laboratories Ltd. Hamilton.  Effluent, treated and

untreated, was applied to designated paddocks on the same day at the same rate of application (13 mls) well within the local body allowable application rate. Grass growth after seven and fourteen days was measured on both paddocks by using a calibrated plate meter, Cooper says. “It was observed that the treated effluent paddock achieved an average growth rate of 95kgDM/day, compared to the control paddock average growth rate of 68kgDM/day. “Soil sample analysis of treated and control paddocks showed that NitrateN + Nitrite-N* in the treated effluent paddock was nearly four times as

Treated paddocks achieved higher pasture growth.

both samgreat as the untreated ples. Therepaddock (42 mg/kg fore, it can dry wt. as opposed to be assumed 11.2 mg/kg dry wt.).” Mike Cooper that nitro The analysis gen in the of the treated and treated effluent has been untreated effluent before modified and is more readapplication showed virily taken up by the pasture tually the same amount which results in improved of total nitrogen (as N) in

grass production, Cooper says. Both farmers involved in the trial are said to have been impressed with the increased grass production achieved by the treat­ed effluent paddock and the ease with which the product can be applied to the

effluent pond. “The reduction in  the odours given off the treated effluent, while not important to grass production, was noted as beneficial to the overall environment of the dairy operation.”

getting aid from farm-aid FARM-AID USES specific hybrid microbes to promote faster degradation of effluent, reduce odour and improve handling characteristics. First, odorous compounds are absorbed to reduce volatilisation.

Then a blend of nine selectively adapted microorganisms including proprietary species of yeast, fungi and bacteria degrade the offending compounds. Degradation also consumes nitrogen and

phosphorous, converting it to biomass. Proprietary ingredients including enzymes and growth accelerators speed this microbial process to maximise the rate of treatment and throughput of manure.

Farm chemicals newcomer has market reach CROP PROTECTION

manufacturer and marketer Kenso NZ, a newly formed subsidiary of Kenso Corporation, offers products to farmers, growers and foresters in Australia and Asia. Local manager Andrew Fulford was raised on farms and orchards in Hawkes Bay, where he remains based. He has extensive experience in rural merchandising and

agro chemical sales management, Kenso says. The company has traditionally been strong in herbicides for cropping land, pasture and brush control. It plans to expand its range of specialty horticultural products, including fungicides, to suit the New Zealand market. Eight products have so far been approved for marketing through tradi-

tional merchandise networks. Applications are pending for a further 12. The company’s distribution system is said to ensure farmers and growers have local field support and logistics.  In Australia, Kenso has been active for at least ten years and it has 100 product lines registered. Its manufacturing and development of agricultural chemicals began in 1974 in

Malaysia. “Kenso has built an outstanding track record for the quality of its formulations using proven active ingredients and high quality additives which offer great performance and value for money,” the company says. “It is also known for innovative packaging with a focus on granular technology which offers trans-

port and storage savings and enhanced operator safety.” Kenso operates in six countries and exports to others. Its main premises is at Port Klang, where it has capacity of about 30 million litres of products including ghyphosates, paraquat, glufinosate and phenoxies. A factory in the Yangzi Valley in China makes crop protection products.

Andrew Fulford


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Dairy News february 26, 2013

machinery & products  // 35

Sunny start for Northland Field Days “One driver is coming up from Hamilton to take part in the event and there a lot of locals interested,” FINE weather and Phillips said. large crowds blessed the A record 550 exhibitors 2013 Northland Field Days were set up. And there was in Dargaville from Februa wider range of organiary 21 and 23. zations – from large scale About 5000 visitors had attended the event by power companies to lifenoon last Thursday, a sim- style products merchants – showing their wares, said ilar number to last year. Action events included Northland Agricultural Field Days president Lew a tractor pull, lawnmower Duggan. racing and logger sports “Olive oil, crafts, contests. More sedate was the silent auction and lec- liqueur, paintings – I was tures by ANZ rural econo- amazed by the range of exhibitors in the lifestyle mist Con Williams on the pavilion this year. And we state of farming. had one exhibiThe tor returning North“I would like a from Australand Field bit more rain lia.” Days TracOne exhibitor Pull cel- for the farm tor happy with ebrated its but it’s great how things 21st birthday weather for were working at the field the tractor out was Pacific days and Wind associorganiser pull.” ate executive John Phillips Bob Bull who says there was showing an innovahad been a lot of interest in all the competitions tive wind turbine funnel design. He had seen a with ANZ taking out the steady flow of traffic from bank challenge. Thursday morning. “The weather is per“We have been talking fect for the tractor pull,” to a steady flow of people Phillips told Dairy News. and got some good leads “I would like a bit more out of the event.” rain for the farm but it’s Duggan says the bright great weather for the tracsunny days make for a tor pull.” good field days. “The About 20 drivers were entered for the main com- weather is perfect for an event like this; there’s a bit petition on Friday, and 25 of cloud cover so it doesn’t drivers for the 21st birthday challenge on Saturday make it so hot to walk around.” February 23. GARETH GILLATT

Tractor pull organiser John Phillips.

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

36 //  machinery & products

MF expands award winning series MASSEY FERGUSON

has expanded its current MF7600 series tractors by adding four new models ranging from 140–175hp. Features include awardwinning technology and the latest fuel-efficient engines, the company says. The MF7600 can be specified with either the Dyna-4 and Dyna-6 Eco semi-powershift transmission or the Dyna-VT continuously variable transmission. All are equipped with the latest AGCO Power e3 engines with Generation 2 selective catalytic reduction (SCR). Across the range, the cab is said to provide great visibility, more interior space and greater comfort. Users can choose from three specification levels and new control options to match their requirements.

Highlights are as follows: ■■ These four new models expand the range to eight models from 140—235hp, offering lightweight and versatile tractors ideal, typically, for cultivation, crop establishment, top work and haulage. ■■ Choice of either Dyna-4 and Dyna-6 semi-powershift or Dyna-VT continuously variable transmission allows users to select the most appropriate driveline for their applications. ■■ Choice of Essential, Efficient and Exclusive specifications allow owners to choose the most suitable transmission and features for their needs. ■■ Latest technology AGCO Power e3 engines with Generation 2 selective catalytic reduction reduce fuel consumption and

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exhaust gas emissions. Power management on Dyna-6 models boosts engine power by up to 25hp for field and road operations. ■■ Enhanced cab comfort and visibility from new windscreen, slim bonnet and compact cooling package. ■■ Multi-function command control armrests and options of new Multipad joystick and Multi-function Joystick. ■■ Cab suspension choices of mechanical or the maker’s hydraulic OptiRide Plus. AGCO says Massey Ferguson pioneered the use of SCR systems in agriculture, and now the new MF7600 series tractors benefit from the latest Generation 2 e3 technology known to cut fuel consumption. The Generation 2 SCR system uses a diesel oxidation catalyser (DOC), which includes the AdBlue dosing injector nozzle and fits under the bonnet. On Dyna-6 models, power management now automatically boosts power by up to 25hp for field and transport work. This provides higher output for a range of appli■■

The new MF7600 series.

cations when conditions allow, taking account of PTO operation, travel speed and load. The MF7600 series can be equipped with either the Dyna-4, Dyna-6 semipowershift or the DynaVT continuously variable transmissions. Dyna-VT provides precise control of the forward speed, while minimising engine revs, which ensures the tractor always operates with optimum economy and efficiency. This is further enhanced by the dynamic

tractor management (DTM) system, which automatically adjusts the engine speed according to load. AGCO says Dyna-6 ECO is a “well proven, rugged and refined transmission” that offers completely clutch-less operation via the left-hand power control or righthand command control armrest levers. This provides a total of 24 speeds with six Dynashift (powershift) steps in four gears. The ECO feature

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The new models are equipped with AGCO Power e3 engines.

allows the top speed to be achieved at lower revs, which also reduces engine noise and fuel consumption. ‘AutoDrive’ is an output-boosting standard feature that provides greater levels of gear changing automation to increase work rates and cut fuel consumption. A new cab structure has a curved front windscreen, increased visibility plus a new roof with two adjustable lights on each corner. Inside, a slim dash and instrument panel improves forward visibility, the company says. This also moves with the steering wheel as it tilts and telescopes in and out to match driver requirements. Cab suspension choices are a straightforward mechanical system with coil springs and dampers, or AGCO’s hydraulic OptiRide Plus, which enables the operator to adjust the ride comfort level. New command control armrests are available with different multi-function joysticks, to match the model specifications. The new multipad joy-

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stick is standard on top specification tractors. This mounts at the front of the command control armrest and has a thumb button shuttle control as well as operating a range of other functions. Also new on the top two models is the option of a multi-function joystick, which includes forward/reverse shuttle and gear shift buttons, and also provides hydraulic controls. A high level of automation is standard, including the integrated tractor control system (ITCS) with electronic spool valve management and wheelslip control. The maker’s Datatronic control centre display is standard on the Exclusive models and is an option on the Efficient range. All MF7600 tractors come ready to be fitted with the AGCOMMAND telemetrybased machine management system. In addition, AutoGuide offers integral full auto-steering capability and this can be supplied either as a factory-fit option or retro-fitted. www.masseyferguson.

New Zealand Manufacturers & suppliers of: • Evenspread low application travelling irrigators • Strongest, most durable pumps available • Efficient & robust pond stirrers • Pontoons & Hydrants • Stationary irrigators

Dairy News february 26, 2013

machinery & products  // 37

Simple test detects antibiotics in milk THE PRESENCE of antibiotics in milk is reliably detected by a broadspectrum test called Cowside 2, marketed by Food Tech Solutions, Auckland. Typically, the cause may be adulteration of vat milk (sabotage) or milking of cows during a drug withholding period. Either way, knowing the antibiotic status of the milk is required and is of value, the company points out. The key information for a farmer is whether the milk contains antibiotic levels that may result in a penalty grading. Time is a critical issue, says Food Tech Solutions. But if there is doubt about the milk quality and at least three hours before the next collection then Cowside 2 will detect any antibiotics present in a

milk sample. It will detect a range of drug families at or near to the allowable residue levels as set down for grading purposes. Cowside 2 allows a farmer to confirm: That the cows coming off withholding (as per the recommendations from a vet and dairy company) have antibiotic concentrations below allowable levels (a single or line of cows is milked and the milk tested). That the new cows have antibiotic concentrations below allowable levels (a single or line of cows is milked and the milk tested). That the vat or silo has antibiotic concentrations below allowable levels. The product is a simple-to-use microbial inhibition test, the company says. If there are antibiotics in the milk over a cer-

tain concentration then when a Cowside 2 vial has milk added to it the bacteria in the agar in the vial will not grow . The agar will remain purple in colour (positive). If there are no antibiotics present or they are present under a certain concentration the bacteria

in the vial can grow. The agar will turn yellow (negative). A starter kit for Cowside 2 contains all the necessary equipment and test vials plus instructions for use. 09 576 7326

The key information for a farmer is whether the milk contains antibiotic levels that may result in penalty grading.

Platinum for Kia in NZ

A ‘PLATINUM award’ to Kia

Motors in New Zealand recognises the company’s standout sales. The company says it was a star performer last year in the Kia group, achieving the number one sales position on a key-per-

formance-indicators basis among countries that sell under 20,000 vehicles annually. 2012 was the fourth year in a row of record sales for Kia Motors New Zealand. And it recorded one of the highest increases for any Kia

operation anywhere; sales were up 22%, compared to an overall increase of 9.3% globally for the brand. “It was an extraordinary result in a competitive market,” says Kia Motors New Zealand general manager, Todd McDonald.

It’s not the first time Kia Motors New Zealand has won an international award for its sales efforts. Back in 2007, it was presented with the Zenith Award for achieving the highest market share in any international market outside Korea.

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Dairy News february 26, 2013

38 //  machinery & products

Pulling crowds with noise and smoke IT WILL be all on for those who enjoy noise, smoke and more at this year’s Central Districts Field Days (CDFDs) tractor pull event sponsored by Norwood Farm Machinery. The firm’s employees Todd Fletcher and Roger Allen have been busy inviting all contractors, farmers and wantto-be tractor drivers to get ready for three days of pulling, taking place near event headquarters — just look for the smoke and listen for the noise. Fletcher and Norwood’s mechanic apprentice Zac Harris will have their own tractor, a reconditioned Ford 6610 that the Norwood’s workshop team rebuilt after it was given to them by Hopkins Farming Group. It took the team 12 months to rebuild it in Norwood Farm Machinery’s workshop during their leisure time. Palmerston North branch manager Bruce Picard said, “They devel-

oped it to a 290 hp championship winning tractor.” In 2012 it won the Sports Class at the National Fieldays. “This bodes well for Norwood as this is our workshop staff building something of this ilk – it’s a special project,” Picard says. “They drive it on a regular basis at tractor pulls around the country.” A sponsor helps them occasionally to transport the tractor to events. Participants and tractor pull fans are bound to enjoy “plenty of smoke, noise and wheelies,” said Fletcher. During this year’s tractor pull event there is something for everyone. On Thursday, March 7 there will be a business house competition, for exhibitors to give tractor pulling a try. “On Friday, a new and highly anticipated competition the ‘Battle of the Brands’ has been scheduled,” says Fletcher. Farm machinery companies were invited

Pumping action as the reconditioned Ford 6610 shows that rebuilt tractors can pull the distance.

to participate. “After approaching the local dealers there is now a full field with nine tractor manufacturers represented who have signed up ready to give it their best pull. This is a chance (for companies) to show off their product and lift their profile,” said Mr Fletcher. Up for grabs in

this competition are the bragging rights for a year for the winners. On Saturday, there will be a competition for contractors and farmers getting behind the tractor steering wheels. “This will include a pre-1985 class,” said Allen. “All are welcome. The first 45 registrants will be taken.

Another Ford in action.


“The main objectives of the Saturday event are for contractors and farmers to come along and have some fun, while at the same time getting great exposure for their businesses.” Fletcher says

contractors and farmers might also learn how to get better performance from their tractors during the event. The three-day tractor pull is being held in conjunction with Tractor

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Pull New Zealand Inc. and Vaughan Coy. CDFDs’ event organiser Cheryl Riddell says she is thrilled Norwood Farm Machinery has come on board to sponsor the tractor pull event. “I am looking forward to participating in the business house event.” Other events at the Central Districts Field Days will include the National Excavator Championships, the Stihl Timber Aces, the Central Districts Double Power Fencing competition sponsored by Goldpine, Pacific Steel, Strainrite Fencing Systems and Gallaghers.

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Dairy News 26 Feb 2013  

Dairy News 26 Feb 2013

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