Page 1

Forecast interest rate hike could bring pain. PAGE 6


10% more productive PAGE 38 JANUARY 28, 2014 ISSUE 305


DWN conference preview PAGE 14 //

NIPPING AT OUR HEELS Nuffield scholar Tafi Manjala, DairyNZ, says the rest of the world is catching up fast to our high-profit, low-input farming systems. PAGE 5


NEWS  // 3

Have one rule for all ANDREW SWALLOW

IT’S ONE rule for them and another for us.

Rock and roll in Eketahuna. PG.09

No looking back from organics. PGs.26-27

So bemoans Federated Farmers’ Southland president and dairy farmer Russell MacPherson because of minimal news coverage of improved environmental compliance by the region’s farmers and improving water quality nationwide. Meanwhile politicians, environmental commentators and the general public remain quick to bad-mouth farming at every opportunity and turn a blind eye when urban pollution incidents occur, MacPherson says. He told Dairy News a prime example was last week’s comments by Green MP Eugenie Sage. She was on radio blaming farming for raised E.coli levels in the Taieri River, yet was silent on an arguably more serious string of pollution incidents of urban origin in Lake Wakitipu over the holiday period. “Here’s a council polluting an iconic water body and hardly anyone has commented about it. If it were a farmer doing it there would be hundreds of comments,” he told Dairy News. It’s not just the commentary that’s one-eyed either, he maintains. Regional councils’ policing of compliance by urban bodies, notably district councils, needs to be as rigorous as it is in rural areas. “If town and country had the same level of scrutiny then the national conversation, I feel, would be much better.” The Lakes’ District Council’s response to the

Fine-fert spreader. PG.36

third Wakitipu incident was to use disinfectant to treat the beach and water’s edge, says MacPherson. “If that was our business doing that we’d be up in front of a judge and the judge would say ‘it’s dirty dairying’ and we’d be fined hundreds of thousands.” MacPherson’s comments follow December’s release of an Environment Southland report showing improved compliance by the region’s dairy farmers. The results were “a real boost” for the region’s farmers, said MacPherson, yet like Russell MacPherson the Ministry for Environment’s river condition indicator summary released earlier in the year, media coverage of the good news was minimal. “The shame is that some people have been suckered in by a clever but increasingly redundant slogan [dirty dairy].” He stresses he’s “not saying two wrongs make a right” and says regional councils’ increased scrutiny of farming has been a timely wake-up call for some. “But as farmers, and dairy farmers especially, we want to see consistency from councils and from the people who make public comment. Farmers should not be the whipping boys for all that’s wrong with the environment.” Environment Southland’s environment com-

pliance monitoring report shows full compliance by dairy farmers increased from 54% in 2011-12 to 58% in 2012-13. Significant non-compliance was also up, from 10% to 12%, but new measures such as the Southland dairy effluent advisory group are in place to reduce that in future, says the council. “We can approach this group with incidents we have found on farm, and then work with them and the farmer to find long-term fixes,” says ES compliance manager Simon Mapp. MacPherson welcomes Environment Southland’s new approach which mirrors that of Taranaki Regional Council. “Farmers previously felt like they’d be belted for anything but we’re now seeing partnership and greater understanding.” Mapp says regulatory and enforcement tools will remain necessary in some cases. “In the past year there were 34 infringement notices and 16 abatement notices issued as well as 11 individuals or companies prosecuted… Council’s focus is on maintaining and improving water quality, so it’s important to retain these tools.” @dairy_news


NEWS������������������������������������������������������ 3-21 OPINION���������������������������������������������22-23 AGRIBUSINESS���������������������������� 24-25 MANAGEMENT������������������������������26-30 ANIMAL HEALTH��������������������������� 31-34 PASTURE RENOVATION AND CULTIVATION����������������������������������35-37 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS��������������������������������������38-42

OTAGO REGIONAL Council, which polices the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s activities, says it was notified of the three spills into Lake Wakatipu. Two involved pipes blocked by human debris. The third was a pipe malfunction. ORC says QLDC worked quickly with contractors to remove the blockages and make repairs in each case. “We are continuing to work with QLDC to reduce the number of spills. However,

despite public education campaigns by QLDC, some residents persist in trying to dispose of items the sewerage system is not equipped to handle, such as pillows, paving tiles, and grease and fat,” ORC director environmental monitoring and operations, Jeff Donaldson, told Dairy News. Donaldson says QLDC is aware of ORC’s expectation that such incidents should be minimised and has made “an ongoing commitment in this regard”. He says ORC

will continue to monitor QLDC’s progress and rejects MacPherson’s suggestion farming activity is policed more closely than district councils’. “This is not correct. ORC works with all groups to apply the provisions of the Resource Management Act and the Otago Water Plan among all sectors. A range of enforcement actions are available to council to ensure these regulations are upheld,” he says.


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4 //  NEWS

‘China becoming our supermarket’ PAM TIPA

THE LEVEL of focus on just one

market, China, gives a perception it is becoming our supermarket – and supermarkets are not good for farmers, says agribusiness expert Jacqueline Rowarth. Her reaction to the $250m bond issue in China is “Fonterra needs to get the money from somewhere”. “Clearly it’s got some domestic issues here…. by deciding to go for

market has the ability to the bonds in China it is say ‘yeah fine, that’s 10c hoping to engage and less’ [for milk price],” encourage the Chinese she says. public – like ‘we are all in It’s not China that’s this together’,” Rowarth the issue, it is the domtold Dairy News. inance of the one “It’s in the same way market. “The person at we made the case for New the bottom of the chain Zealanders buying shares Jacqueline Rowarth is the New Zealand in Fonterra here. It’s the general philosophy of ‘let’s all get in farmer who cannot pass on costs. The more we allow investment from other this together’. “The problem in the future is that countries the more we are at their whim. “There are feelings in the rural comthe more we rely on one market, that

munity that China is becoming our supermarket, and we know what supermarkets do to the farmer unless there is a very strong cooperative in between.” Rowarth says any money Fonterra has domestically at the moment is needed at home. They need to save for Danone and they now may need to shore up the Pahiatua plant. “They need a certain amount of money to do things in New Zealand, partly because of the increased supply and ‘can we process it?’ and also this big stress of Danone hanging over us.

“The group that will win out of the Danone issue is the lawyers. Theo Spierings [Fonterra chief executive] says ‘it’ wasn’t in the contract: we are not quite sure what ‘it’ exactly was or is. So it’s the lawyers who are going to have a beanfeast.” Rowarth says certainly Fonterra at present needs to be quite careful where money is going. “If they want to do Chinese expansion it makes sense to be in partnership with China, but of course partnership leads to vulnerability.”

Bonds will help boost domestic milk supply FONTERRA’S $250M

bond issue in China is largely to expand its domestic milk supply on its China farms, says ANZ rural economist Con Williams. The co-op needs to invest capital if it wants

to hit its objective of one billion litres of milk produced in China by 2018, Williams told Dairy News. “That is part of its strategy to plan to square the milk curve a bit in New Zealand and that’s critical to its long-term strategy to

build more of a presence in dairy nutrition and consumer businesses in Asia.” Fonterra announced last week it has raised 1.25 billion Chinese renminbi (about NZ$250 million) through a five-year “dim sum” bond issue (Chinese

renminbi raised offshore) as part of its commitment to developing its China business. Fonterra chief financial officer Lukas Paravicini says the funds raised will be used for growth of its businesses in China and

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refinancing some of its existing China operations. Growth includes further expansion of its consumer, foodservice and farming operations. Fonterra president Greater China & India Kelvin Wickham says the

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Fonterra chief financial officer Lukas Paravicini says the funds raised in China will support growth.

co-op has had a strong focus on driving growth in volume and value as it develops its integrated business model in China. “Last year we successfully launched our premium milk brand Anchor and also launched a new paediatric formula product tailored for the China market under the Anmum brand. “At the same time China is expected to see a continued gap between the demand and supply of raw milk so our farming business will continue to build supplies of raw milk to meet local consumer demand. “Our foodservices and

ingredients businesses, which import products from New Zealand, are also expecting to see continued growth. “The renminbi bond issue will support the growth of our whole business, in particular our consumer brands business which are a key focus for growth given it is at an earlier stage of development,” Wickham says. This is the second time Fonterra has issued bonds denominated in Chinese renminbi. The first time was in 2011 when it became the first Australasian company to tap the dim sum market.


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NEWS  // 5

Competitors nipping at Kiwis’ heels GARETH GILLATT


culture sector is ahead in the development of highprofit, low-input farming, but the rest of the world is catching up fast. So says Nuffield Scholarship recipient and Northland DairyNZ regional manager Tafi Manjala after six months in Europe, South America and North America. Manjala travelled through Canada, the US, Ireland, England, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Denmark, Mexico and Brazil to connect with rural leaders and professionals and explore how to better communicate current and new ideas to farmers. He says the New Zealand dairy industry still has an edge thanks to its grass-based system and fast uptake of technology, but other countries’ dairy sectors are increasing productivity and profitability. And though the strong Irish dairy sector and union are getting ready to ramp up production after the end of milk quotas in 2015, European dairy farmers still face excessive red tape, capital issues and expansion blocks, Manjala says. The single farm payment scheme, paid to farmers for owning and working on land, looks likely to stay in place until 2020 at the earliest.

The average Irish farm is 34ha and landowners must actively manage the property year-round to get the subsidy, Manjala says. Dairy farmers looking to expand are having difficulty finding the land to do it. “There needs to be alternative ownership models to generate enough revenue that owners need.”

tive edge being grass, and I completely agree with them.” One of Manjala’s goals was to learn how to better help the spread of information between farmers, and from researchers to farmers, and the trip proved fruitful in that respect, suggesting changes he believes we could make immediately.

“People overseas talk about our competitive edge being grass, and I completely agree with them.” Farmers are also struggling in the UK, says Manjala. With processing facilities controlled by retailers, farmers are price takers, and with high-input systems they only break even, at best. “Pasture-based farmers made 8–10c/L surplus.” High input costs and heavy debt are causing difficulties for farmers in Denmark too, where farmers were offered loans 120% larger than the value of the properties they intended to develop. Manjala says the industry there is now in such disarray that the price of dairy land had fallen 50% and most farms are being bought by Dutch farmers. Farming leaders Manjala talked to were surprised at New Zealanders’ moves away from grassbased to high-input systems. “People overseas talk about our competi-

The report will be on the Nuffield website from April 2014. He promotes closer collaboration among rural professionals, in line with the aim of the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management. Though New Zealand farmers are supported by such rural professionals as bank managers, farm consultants, fertiliser representatives and vets, these are not always on the ‘same page’ and can give conflicting advice, thus confusing farmers, Manjala says. In Ireland, more rural professionals talk to each other, guarding against conflicting advice. “When a consultant suggests there’s an option to increase the stocking rate, the bank manager might say ‘hang on, we don’t have the money in the budget to pay for the extra infrastructure’.”

Getting rural professionals to work in partnership need not be difficult, and Manjala says Northland DairyNZ members have been trying to do their bit by including consultants’ and bank managers’ email addresses in emails they send to farmers. “If we know you’re the trusted advisor for a business, we ‘cc’ you into discussion so you can help with ongoing discussions or support for the farmer.” Manjala was impressed by Irish farmer discussion groups, which take information sharing to a higher level. Each group had a facilitator who accesses farmers’ production information and farm data and then puts it on a document available only to the group. It means discussion groups are able to make better suggestions on actual data rather than the rough estimates typical in most discussion groups in New Zealand. “Members of the group can take the sheets home with them, look back and see what was happening throughout the season. “In New Zealand, there are rough estimates when you do the whip-around.... We’re dealing with estimates, they’re dealing with facts. Ireland is ahead of us in farm systems research and many countries lead us in using social media to share farm practices.” Manjala discovered, during a lengthy interview with a noted psychologist

Tafi Manjala

and professor emeritus of social science in psychology at Stanford University, Albert Bandura, that complete disclosure networks, like the ones in Ireland or business groups in dairy, are especially useful when it comes to improving people’s practices. The two discussed Bandura’s theory on social learning, which suggests that subjects need to see similar people making gains through a process before they themselves do it.

The meeting was so inspiring that Manjala says he could have written his entire report after that meeting and Bandura’s comments validated the reasons why certain farmer activities were more effective than others in New Zealand. Manjala says a Far North focus farm, run by Alistair and Lynn Candy with the theme ‘more profit from pasture’, has attracted much more attention than any other he has seen. Manjala attri-

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butes interest to the level of gains made by the management team and to the Candys themselves. “Usually, focus farms are in the top 20% of farms.” “The Candys, who are in their 50s, were running what could be described as an average business operation... after three years on the same farm they are close to being in the profit top 25% for Northland by doing the basics well. “People were thinking if these guys can do it then so can we.”

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6 //  NEWS

Interest rate hikes could bring pain PAM TIPA

DAIRY FARMERS will be hit by predicted interest rate rises because most are on short-term rates, says ANZ rural economist Con Williams. ANZ is predicting a 0.25% hike in the official cash rate by the Reserve Bank this week, Williams told Dairy News. It also picks interest rates will rise by 75 basis points during the first half of this year. “That will take shorter term interest rates for dairy farmers up and given a large majority is on shorter term rates that’s going to come out of dairy farmer’s cashflows,” says Williams. However ASB believes the Reserve Bank will hold the rates this week, but not for long. Chief economist Nick Tuffley agrees the likelihood of an OCR increase this week has increased. “The overall inflation was high

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ing and fixed-term debt costs. However, for dairy farmers the pick-up in income over the current season is a healthy buffer.” Agricultural analyst and consultant Phil Journeaux says about 20-25% of dairy farmers will be ANZ rural economist Con badly affected by interest rates Williams says most dairy rises because of their level of farmers are on short-term rates. debt. “At this given point in time they can probably handle it given an $8.30/kgMS payout. The danger comes if the payout starts to drop away again. If the payout drops to $6/kgMS they will be sweating badly.” The average dairy farm debt is still about $20/kgMS but some is now forecasting an interest rate are up to $55-$60/kgMS, says Jourincrease next week, and wholesale neaux. Some dairy farmers are now interest rate levels imply the market paying about $2.40/kgMS in debt seris factoring in about a 45% chance of vicing. If interest rates rise from 6% to 8% over the next couple of years, that a 25 basis point increase. “All borrowers, including farmers, is up to $3.20/kgMS, he says. “Given the good income this year are likely to face a gradual rise in their debt-servicing costs over the next few and again next year those farmers years as OCR increases effect float- should be paying down debt,” he says.

enough above the RBNZ’s forecast to give the bank pause for thought. Our view is that the RBNZ will still wait until March, but the decision won’t be straightforward.  “A small minority of economists

Double dip for farmers as grass grows, prices persist PAM TIPA

IT’S A lucky ‘double-dip’ for dairy farmers this year from a higher payout and decent production, says ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley. Milk production could be 10% higher this year than last, ASB predicts. Tuffley told Dairy News the season to date was about 6% ahead in production on the same time last year, which tapered off dramatically in the closing months due to the drought. “Even if we have a relatively normal progression through the rest of the season, that part is going to be substantially above what we had last year,” he says. “Last season was a game of two halves, it was doing really well through the first half of the season and then we got clobbered by the drought. “This year we’ve beaten that very strong performance in the first half of the season so we should be able to comfortably exceed last season. But there is still a way to go and the weather only needs to shift dramatically to turn things around.” Despite that good production from

New Zealand, prices have held up, so that’s encouraging in the short term, says Tuffley. “All up we seem set for a pretty solid season: there’s that really strong farmgate payout and what looks to be a decent lift in dairy production. “We have had the indication from Fonterra that at least during the peak season it wasn’t able to fully maximise that price differential it has been getting from the milk powder versus the other dairy products. “But that processing constraint becomes less of a bite once we get away from the peak parts of the season and get into the lower production parts of the season.” ANZ has production forecast at about 6%, says rural economist Con Williams. “Most of the gains will be in the last quarter of the season. Obviously last year was drought affected; there’s quite a strong incentive this year for dairy farmers to feed a bit more grain and other supplements such as PKE to extend production. “So we think we will see pretty strong seasonal milk flows for the last quarter of 2014.”


NEWS  // 7

Plant likely cause of fresh cream recall PAM TIPA


of equipment at Fonterra’s processing plant in Takanini, South Auckland may have caused the contamination of cream. The co-op’s investigation was late last week narrowing in on that cause but the final report and conclusion is not due out until this week. It is investigating how Anchor and Pams fresh cream became contaminated with E.coli, leading to the recall of 8700 bottles throughout the North Island. The recall is now completed. Fonterra Brands NZ managing director Peter McClure told Dairy News late last week he did not want to pre-empt results of that investigation but they had narrowed down the cause.

“Essentially we’ve eliminated most things, so we are zeroing in on one part of the plant,” he says. “We haven’t finalised that. It’s incredibly complex and we are working through that.” They should have a firm view this week. “We may never know precisely what did it, but it will be the most likely cause.”

Plant failure rather than human error is the focus, McClure says. Early indications were the way a piece of equipment was operating, but he did not want to speculate further. However test results identifying the strain of E.coli involved have eliminated the two most serious types.

In respect of the recall, those people who indicated they felt unwell are now all okay. A sick baby who may have consumed the cream has recovered. “There was always a question over whether the baby consumed cream or whether it was some other cause. The baby had been eating other things which were probably not recommended for babies. But we were still concerned and didn’t want to treat it lightly.” The recall is completed, they have got back from the market what they will get back; everything else has either been consumed or disposed of. His understanding from anecdotal feedback through Fonterra about the Chinese market is that “because we worked quickly and have been open, the reaction has been reasonably positive”. @dairy_news

In-calf rates increasing NEW ZEALAND herds are bucking an interna-

tional trend of declining fertility, say LIC and Dairy NZ. Latest data shows average 6-week in-calf rate has increased by 3% since 2010, to about 65%. Even at $5.50/kgMS that’s worth about $110 million in extra farm profit, they calculate. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle is optimistic that the new data signals the start of a turnaround in a problem difficult to solve. “I’m encouraged by the latest analysis and what New Zealand farmers have achieved. It’s showing results from our co-ordinated effort with the InCalf programme and its adoption by the industry. “The challenge now is how to sustain this effort and positive trend. For farmers making good progress the task ahead is to keep up the good work. For others not seeing the same improvements, the key thing is not to give up. Review your plan and make sure you are tackling the right issues.” LIC chief executive Wayne McNee echoes that, stressing a year-round effort is required, as detailed in LIC’s 6 Week Challenge programme to which 800 farmers and rural professionals have signed up. “The 6 Week Challenge supports DairyNZ’s InCalf programme and the work of vets and farm consultants all over the country.” • Fertility flaw found: page 11

26/11/13 3:53 PM


8 //  NEWS

Neighbours watch Fonterra quake drama PETER BURKE

FORMER FEILDING Vicki Buckley points to Fonterra’s Pahiatua plant adjacent to their property.

dairy farmers Vicki and Denis Buckley live on a small rural block which


backs onto the Fonterra Pahiatua site. Vicki says they were sitting in their lounge reading the papers when the quake struck at about 4pm last Monday. “We just didn’t move






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we were so shattered, and I said ‘that’s got to be eight pointer’, and of course it was only a six. China fell down in the two big cabinets bolted to the wall. We just didn’t move and when it stopped we were stunned. We’d never had an earthquake to speak of except for smaller ones in the night. Then we got up and went around the house and in every room except one something was broken.” Almost immediately sirens sounded and they looked out their window to see emergency vehicles speeding towards the Fonterra factory. “We then went outside and we could see a lot people outside the Fonterra factory. There was also a siren going for about an hour,” says Vicki. Back in their house the pantry was a mess of pasta, jam and broken glass. Many precious ornaments were broken and they were still cleaning these up the next day. Three fire trucks attended the call to the Fonterra factory. Their role was ensure there were no chemical spills and that the site was safe. They also helped deal with the problem caused by a broken sprinkler. Elsewhere in the district the fire service were helping deal with damaged houses. Roads in the area were also badly damaged – the main being the road out to Pongaroa which was closed while workman struggled to clear slips and contemplated how to deal with large cracks. Neville Baldwin, a property maintenance manager with clients in the region, was driving through the Manawatu Gorge when the earth-

quake struck. “I saw rocks coming down on the road and I thought ‘that’s got to be an earthquake’. The rocks were dropping in front and behind my vehicle but luckily I wasn’t hit. There were a lot of small slips along the road and some bigger ones which stopped traffic.” Near the epicenter at Eketahuna most retail outlets had goods shaken from shelves. The quake occurred on Wellington Anniversary day so most shops were shut including PGG Wrighton’s store in the centre of the township. Manager Anna Christensen was having a cup of tea with a friend when the quake struck. “It was pretty vicious and I immediately went to the fire station first because the alarms were ringing and the power was out. Then I came to the shop to check things out,” she says. On Tuesday morning – the day after the quake, the shop was closed as engineers assessed damage. A new beam had to be installed to make the premises safe and it was open later in the day. But like many shops and homes in the area, the floor became the home for many goods. Dairy News heard that it was the worst earthquake many people have experienced in 40 years. But despite the intensity of the quake, farmers by and large were not badly hit. Some, like Federated Farmers board member Anders Crofoot, who owns Castle Point Station, reported damage to glassware inside their homes and damage to television sets but little structural damage to the actual farm.

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NEWS  // 9

Rock and roll in Eketahuna

COWS WERE spooked,

milking disrupted, goods fell from shelves in shops and many rural homes were damaged when the 6.2 earthquake struck the lower half of the North Island last week. The quake was centred near the town of Eketahuna in the Tararua district but was felt to varying degrees throughout the country. For many dairy farmers, the loss of power right

structural engineers to look at the storage building on the site. “We needed the structural engineers to look at one building where we noticed there’d been a bit of movement. In the storage area we had a sprinkler give way as a result of the movement so we had water across the floor which required a cleanup. We also noticed some of the steel structure had moved against the concrete which may need bolting down. There were also some small cracks in the concrete.”

“Overnight we had about a dozen calls to our call centre.” on afternoon milking time was the biggest problem. Jim Galloway who farms near Eketahuna says his cows were spooked by the quake. “I was about to get into the shed when they suddenly turned around and came back to me,” he says. Jim Galloway says he was aware that some milk had to be dumped because of the quake. A major focus was on Fonterra’s processing plant at Pahiatua. Robert Spurway, Fonterra’s director of operations, told Dairy News that the plant was shut down to allow

Spurway comes from Christchurch and has a good understanding of earthquake damage and the effect on staff, their families and the business itself. He says it was pleasing to note there was no damage to the actual processing plant or to the area where chemicals are stored. One pump came off its foundations, but that was easily put back in place. “We have a business continuity plan which many businesses have and it covers a range of threats to our normal operation,

and an earthquake is one of those. We were able to make a business continuity call just after the quake and the first priority was ensuring the safety of our staff and suppliers.” Spurway says there was little disruption to the business despite the fact that the plant had to close down for about 24 hours.

“Overnight we had about a dozen calls to our call centre, all about farms that had experienced outages which had delayed their milking so they were making inquiries about what time the tanker was turning up. We collected all milk from farms overnight and will continue to do so. It’s a fairly normal

Items strewn inside PGG Wrightson’s Eketahuna store.

course of action for us to divert milk from one plant to another and we had the capacity in the region to do that for as long as we need to. We used the Longburn plant which is

not operating at present as a transfer station to keep the tankers on the road and then shipped the milk from Palmerston North to our plant near Hawera by rail or road,” he says.

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10 //  NEWS

Ecologist blames regional councils

Mike Joy

farmers for dairying’s impact on rivers and waterways. The councils have failed in that they knew a long time ago intensification was going to lead to bigger impacts on the



Joy says he blames local authorities rather than

environment, Joy says. But they spent all their time consenting dairy shed discharges and that’s the stuff that makes the news. This is a tiny proportion of the problem and the real issue is intensification, he says.

“Councils such as Horizons and Environment Waikato tried to do something about the issue, but they came under pressure from lobby groups such as Federated Farmers and others with an interest in the dairy sector.” Joy also criticises DairyNZ as being “just an

their milk production. “We are at the bottom of the world, miles from anywhere. We have everything going against us; the one thing in our favour is our ‘clean green’ image and if we lose that then we are just another producer of white powder.”

“The one thing in our favour, is our ‘clean green’ image and if we lose that then we are just another producer of white powder.”

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arm of Fonterra”. “I read the stuff they do and they are part of the problem for sure. They are a business and businesses are about making profit and I accept that as a reality. The thing that frustrates me is they seem to be shooting themselves in the foot with this. “KPMG and Rabobank and others are now pointing out how crucial the ‘clean green’ image is to marketing our products and now we are getting to the point where other countries are increasing

Joy wants a brake on intensification now and a fresh look at alternative systems to reduce inputs. He cites examples of this as once-a-day milking, cow houses, stand-off pads and reduced fertiliser use. He says there are plenty of examples of farmers performing profitably without intensive systems. Joy denies he is antidairying. He says he worked on a dairy farm and enjoyed it. But he opposes any form of intensification or unsustainable system of farming.

Moscow trade mission targets pastoral farming EIGHT NEW Zealand agritech companies will share a

stand at the AgroFarm show in Moscow, February 4-6, says New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. Among them are several with dairy interests, including AMG Pastoral, “a company with extensive knowledge in the conversion of non-productive land into dairy farms,” its website says. This is New Zealand’s first time exhibiting at the show, an NZTE strategy to help NZ agribusiness companies enter and develop business in Russia and to position New Zealand as an expert in pastoral farming. “Russia has 8% of the world’s arable land and thus enormous potential for expanding agricultural production,” says NZTE. “New Zealand can benefit by introducing its agricultural expertise to the market and forming distribution arrangements with local agents for its products, systems and services. The main segments of interest… are livestock and genetics, animal management technology, dairy equipment and farm consultancy.” Other participants are Shoof, ZeeTags and TruTest, Gallagher, NZ Pump Company, Instrument Supplies, Aitchison and Fieldays. NZTE aims to promote New Zealand as an attractive location for foreign investment in protein production systems and to develop bilateral agreements. A free trade agreement between New Zealand and Russia is under negotiation. Russia is the largest country in the world and the ninthlargest economy.


NEWS  // 11

Fertility flaw no big deal ANDREW SWALLOW


in dairy bulls is set to be weeded out thanks to DNA sequencing. The latest flaw, or “variation” as LIC refers to it, is called Fertility1 and causes embryo death or still born calves. “No live animals have been seen with the variation,” says LIC general manager of research and development, Richard Spelman. As that fact suggests, the trait is recessive, meaning carrier animals are unaffected and only when carrier is mated with carrier does the gene manifest itself, and only then in a quarter of progeny. The 50% of progeny born as carriers from such a cross allow the gene to persist in the population. LIC says about 3% of Jerseys are carriers of Fertility1 and about 1.5% of crossbreds. It’s extremely rare in Friesians. Analysis of stored genetics shows it’s been in the New Zealand dairy herd for at least 40 years.

LIC says the variation will be man- DUMPS, Brachyspina, Factor XI, aged out of the national herd but it Mulefoot and, last April, Small Calf may still use carrier bulls where their Syndrome. Berney says compared to some of those, Fertility1 genetic merit warrants use. is a minor. CRV Ambreed echoes “A gene like this is that. “Like LIC, we won’t just a bit of an annoyexclude bulls on the basis ance. The real benefit of of them being a carrier,” this technology is when marketing manager Peter we catch a real big one Berney told Dairy News. and get rid of that.” Using Sirematch – or in LIC says the disthe case of LIC, DataMate covery of each genetic – will ensure carrier-to-car- Peter Berney variation has led to a rier matings are avoided, he management programme, signifisays. LIC has posted a list of 38 bulls cantly reducing their occurrence in identified as likely carriers on its dairy populations internationally and website. Berney says CRV Ambreed in New Zealand. In a Jersey herd of 400 cows there will be getting its bulls tested once it has finalised an agreement with LIC will likely be 12 Fertility1 carrier animals but because carrier bull has to for testing. LIC told Dairy News it doesn’t mate carrier cow, and even then only know the gene’s frequency in overseas one in four calves are affected, it’s genetics, but about 300 New Zealand likely only one embryo or calf in the sires from the last 30 years have been herd would have been affected in the past five years. identified as possible carriers. LIC says the work which led to Fertility1 is the latest in a long line of recessive undesirable genes the Fertility1 discovery is co-funded discovered in dairy animals around by the Government through the Prithe world including CVM, BLAD, mary Growth Partnership.

CALL TO WORK TOGETHER FOLLOWING LIC’s Fertility1 announcement DairyNZ and New Zealand Animal Evaluation Ltd (NZAEL) called for breeding companies to work together to minimise the impact of the variation. “Accurate animal recording of fertility events and correct parentage identification make it possible to identify these variants and minimise their impact of cow fertility and calf survival,” says NZAEL’s national breeding objective manager Dr Jeremy Bryant.

“The use of the DNA screening test, matched with use of tools such as DataMate and SireMatch, is the right approach.” Continued improvement of genetic merit in the national dairy herd remains a critical element of the dairy industry, says Bryant. “Farmers should welcome the identification of these genetic variants by LIC, so that their impact on traits such as fertility and calf survival can be minimised in the future.”

DairyNZ says the focus onfarm to improve fertility should be sharp management in areas such as heat detection and achieving body condition score targets. NZAEL’s website provides carrier status for a range of genetic variants such as BLAD (bovine leukocyte adhesion deficiency) and Small Calf Syndrome. Bull carrier status for Fertility1 will be added as it becomes available. @dairy_news



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12 //  NEWS

Weather watch on Waikato, Northland PETER BURKE

PARTS OF Waikato are very dry, if not drier than at this time last year, says DairyNZ’s Craig McBeth. He says Northland also has been dry and the message to farmers in those regions is on dry summer management: keeping cows on longer rounds and filling any feed gaps with supplements. “With a reasonably positive payout

year, farmers can probably spend a bit more on supplements but they still have to make sure they are making profitable decisions. Where they have ‘passenger cows’ not in calf and are not going to be carried through the winter then they can start asking ‘is that cow is going to add value to the rest of the season or am I better to get rid of her and feed my remaining cows better’.” Weather-wise the rest of the country is looking good, McBeth says. “Soil moisture levels are average or above

average which is quite different from this time last year when we had a North Island dry looming in front of us.” And the rivers in the South Island are flowing well, helping irrigation in Canterbury. Most irrigators damaged in the September storm have now been fixed or are operating in some way. The amount of land not able to be irrigated now is not as much as earlier in the season. “In Southland the issue was the winter feed situation because it was

COWS ARE MORE RESILIENT THAN WE THINK COWS ARE often more resilient than we give them credit for, Craig McBeth says. His comments follow the earthquake last week centred near Eketahuna where there are many dairy farms. The quake occurred just on afternoon milking

time and there were reports some cows were spooked by the shaking ground. But McBeth says they quickly settle down and can cope well with such events. “As long as farmers feed them well and make sure they have

access to water they will cope. That can be a challenge when the power goes off and pumps stop running, but the cows will stay in milk for quite a few days.” The earthquake was distressing but everyone seems to have bounced back, he adds.

dry there in the autumn and the winter crops weren’t growing. But like the rest of the country Southland had a good growing winter so they were able to close the gap and production is going well there.” In Bay of Plenty soil moisture levels are up and production is up 5-6% and rising daily and on a season-todate basis. “It was one area hit hard last year but generally it is now doing well,” McBeth says. This also applies to Taranaki, the Central Plateau and the lower North Island.

Craig McBeth

More supplements are being made than at this time last year when the drier spring lead quickly into the drought. “A lot more supplement is being cut throughout the country. “But farming is tough and people don’t realise how hard it can be to get these decisions right. It takes a lot of observation and the weather working in your favour. “Generally there is more supplement on hand this year which will be fed out through the remainder of the season or used for winter feed.”



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14 //  NEWS

Food for thought at DWN conference PAM TIPA

FOOD PERSONALITY Nadia Lim and moti-

vational speaker Darryl Sabin – who at 23 has

Nadia Lim

recovered from a catastrophic brain injury – will speak at this year’s Dairy Women’s Network conference at Hamilton in March. They will challenge dairying women to live

their lives to the fullest by nurturing mind and body. Former MasterChef winner Nadia Lim will share her passion for preparing food untainted by additives or fancy packaging. “Even when I was 12


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years old I knew the best food came from our own garden, and I stand strong by this philosophy – eat food from the ground, sea or sky, and don’t tamper with it; what nature provides is nutritious and delicious as it is.” She has a BSc in nutrition and a postgraduate diploma in dietetics from Otago University. But Lim says the key to eating well is not by measurement in a science experiment. “I believe the key to eating well is enjoying your food. And if we make small shifts in how we eat, the benefits to the wider community will be tremendous.” With that in mind, Nadia’s hands-on presentation will focus on how and what to eat for a busy lifestyle, ensuring you get all the nutrients and energy you need. At only 23, Darryl Sabin’s is a story of survival and recovery from a catastrophic brain injury that nearly claimed his life while playing rugby on Anzac Day in 2009.  “I played rugby since I could walk and I was good at it. The concussions started when I was 15 and everyone told me to stop playing, including my dad. But I had my dream to become an All Black. I really should have listened to my dad,” says Darryl. When his brain started bleeding on Anzac Day 2009 Darryl fell into a coma and couldn’t be revived. The doctors said

he wouldn’t survive. His father Mike refused to accept that. “I told Darryl if he was still there he needed to fight and I would fight with him,” said Mike. And Darryl did fight. He has re-learned everything – to walk, talk, eat and move his limbs. His presentation ‘get busy living’ captures his rehabilitation journey with inspiring video footage and a heartfelt summation of five life-lessons he has learned along the way. “Darryl’s story changes lives and people can’t help but be deeply inspired to live their lives to the fullest when they see what he has overcome.  Don’t ever underestimate the fight of the human spirit,” said Mike. RD1 Ltd also recently announced it is the new national sponsor of the Dairy Women’s Network conference.   The third ‘Dairy Woman of the Year’ award winner will be announced at the conference gala dinner, which will be hosted by journalist and head of Maori TV Carol Hirschfeld. The winner will be awarded a position on the Women in Leadership 12 month programme run by Global Women, which is valued at $25,000.The award is sponsored by Fonterra Milk Supply. Early registrations for the conference are now open. Tel. 0800 396 748 or


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DAVID GALBRAITH, who works with the Chiefs rugby team and ASB Bank chief executive Barbara Chapman will also speak at the Dairy Women’s Network conference. They will put a rural focus on their work and discuss how New Zealand’s dairy farming women can achieve world-class mental and financial performance. A clinical psychologist specialising in sport, Galbraith grew up on a beef and sheep farm in Hawke’s Bay where his parents still live today. He’s worked with BMX Olympic medal winner Sarah Walker, and the Chiefs rugby and Magic netball teams. He will talk about self-acceptance, mental focus, redefining success and the power of optimism. He’ll also talk about the impact of mental distress, such as chronic stress, depression and anxiety. 


NEWS  // 15

Cheese, butter prices up PAM TIPA

A PRICE rise exceeding 10% for cheese and butter prices in last week’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) bodes well for the Fonterra’s dividend stream rather than its milk price, says ANZ rural economist Con Williams. “I am pretty sure the cheddar price was above whole milk powder prices for the first time; that has probably come a bit late to influence the dividend earnings for 2013-14 but would bode better for earnings for 2014/15,” Williams told Dairy News. “That should support the share price depending on other events such as the legal action with Danone and how events surrounding that play out.” Overall prices were up 1.4% at last week’s GDT. Whole milk powder (WMP) rose 0.1% to US$4943/MT (NZ$5943). Butter was up 10.8% with an average price of US$4657/MT ($NZ5600) and cheddar was up 10.4% to US$5133/

MT (NZ$6172). Williams says predictions have been for prices to oscillate around US$5000 per tonne mark (for WMP) and last week’s result was near that. “Milk powder prices were pretty flat but butter and cheese price were up quite a bit and that seems to be tightening supply out of New Zealand as more milk is pushed away from producing butter and cheese to whole milk powder as milk processing capacity is freed up. “There has been reasonable demand from the larger importers, particularly Russia, for butter and cheese which has soaked up a lot of European product over the last couple of months.” However new capacity is coming on line globally and pressure will continue on Fonterra’s market share. “Fonterra has been losing about 0.5% of market share over the last couple of years. There will be pressure on that over the next few years as well.” Rabobank senior dairy analyst Hayley Moynihan says last week’s

Butter prices rose 10% at last week’s GDT.

GDT result, with prices holding up well, was expected particularly given Fonterra’s announcement that its volumes on GDT over the next 12 months would be slightly lower. The strength of the butter and cheese prices were the highlight of the auction and part of the realignment of pricing across the commodity spectrum where butter and cheese had been lagging, Moynihan told Dairy News. The fact

Miraka rolls out UHT milk THE FIRST cartons of UHT milk will this week roll

they have increased so strongly is part of the realignment particularly between butter and anhydrous milk fat (up 2.2%, average price US$5,641/MT). “Because you have to utilise factory capacity it helps if you have more even prices for product; previously there had been some imbalance so this goes some way to redressing the balance but possibly a little late in being past peak milk flows,” she says.

out of the Miraka dairy factory near Taupo, headed for China. Miraka has built a $27 million extension to its plant to make the 250ml branded consumer packs for Shanghai Pengxin, owner of the former Crafar farms. Now under a special deal, some of the milk from the farms is being processed into UHT by Miraka. The chairman of Miraka, Kingi Smiler, told Dairy News the plant has been tested for several weeks prior to this week’s production startup. Full production will be reached at the start of the new dairy season. “The whole deal is a positive development with Shanghai Pengxin positioning themselves in the premium segment of the UHT market,” he says. The new plant will pack 60 million litres into 250ml UHT packs – 240 million packs per year. The factory is currently processing 240 million litres through the powder plant and the UHT project will take it to 300 million litres per year. The plant extension has resulted in 38 new jobs. The UHT facility is designed to allow rapid addition of new processing lines. Two are now running and there is space for two more. Smiler says they are talking to potential new customers including the Vietnamese who have a shareholding in Miraka. @dairy_news


16 //  NEWS

Water rules just the start PAM TIPA

NEW CONTROLS on water quality brought out this month by Environment Canterbury are just setting a holding pattern; there’s more to come, says DairyNZ’s regional policy manager James Ryan, based at Lincoln. The regional body is likely to want cuts of 20-30% in some areas over

the next 30 years, says Ryan. And it will be a forerunner of similar plans throughout the country. DairyNZ plans meetings throughout Canterbury in February to outline the impact and significance of new rules announced under the Land and Water Regional Plan notified on January 18. “The Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan has been two years in the

making and has significant implications for farming in Canterbury,” says Ryan. “This is not just for dairy farmers but there will certainly be some significant implications for them.” The meetings next month will help farmers better understand what the new rules mean for them individually. “And from an industry perspective it will help us understand the issues directly from farmers so that

we can work with them and ECan to ensure the regional council takes a practical approach to implementing some of the rules. “There are still some question marks about how they will implement some aspects. For example they have introduced the concept of a nitrogen baseline which means in many parts of Canterbury you will not be able to exceed nitrate leaching above that

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baseline figure. That figure will be different for every farm but say, for instance, you are currently leaching 30kg of nitrogen and you are farming in a red zone, you will not be able to increase that baseline into the future. “That will be using Overseer or a similar type of model, but in most instances we expect Overseer will be the default model used. “There are quite a few issues that might be associated with that, particularly for farmers who might be going through a development phase. Or for some farmers who have been outside the dairy industry who are not accustomed to having a nutrient budget and so forth.” Ryan says understanding potential impacts on how you farm needs to be worked through. “One of the points we should also stress is that at this stage the new plan is a holding position while ECan works through some more detailed plan changes on a catchment basis. “They are required to implement the National Policy for Freshwater Management; that involves looking closely at a community level. They have an intensive programme they are working through over the next 10-20 years. They have made significant progress in some parts of the region but in other parts they have a lot more work to do. “In the meantime the new regional plan will provide a holding position while they work through some of those planning processes at a more finegrained level.” In some areas ECan is likely to be calling for significant reductions in

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MEETINGS ON ECAN'S NEW RULES ❱❱ All held from 10.45am to 1.15pm ❱❱ Monday, February 17, Ashburton Celtic Rugby Club. ❱❱ Wednesday, February 19, Cust Community Hall. ❱❱ Thursday, February 20, Timaru RSA. ❱❱ Wednesday, February 26, Kaikoura Top 10 Holiday Park. ❱❱ Thursday, February 27, Lincoln Events Centre. nutrient leaching, Ryan says. “For example in Lincoln, I know that in the area around here they are expecting Ecan will call for reductions in the order of 20-30% over the next 30 years.” The ECan Land and Water Regional Plan now has to go through formal planning processes. Officially decisions were released in December and formally notified on January 18. Anyone who has submitted to plan can now appeal to the High Court on points of law. “There may be some appellants which will mean there will be some unresolved issues. At this stage I am not anticipating huge changes to result from that High Court process, but you never know.” Ryan says the workshops are to raise awareness that the plan is out and has implications for dairy farmers. “Farmers

can start grappling with some of those issues and we can work with them in working with ECan and others to help them take a practical approach to implementation. “There is going to be a lot of work for industry organisations like DairyNZ working with ECan to support farmers working through what is going to be a complicated process.” Canterbury will be a forerunner. “The ECan commissioners are keen to make significant progress with implementation of some of the Government policy while they are still in power. “Because Canterbury water wars have been raging here for years they are taking the bull by the horns and have set up a framework under the Canterbury Water Management Strategy to try to progress some of these issues quickly.”

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NEWS  // 17

Dairying women making every drop count DAIRY WOMEN are

improving their skills in practical water efficiency and riparian management through workshops being organised by the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) next month (Feb) with support from local councils and dairy companies. DWN executive chair Michelle Wilson says the ‘Water and Its Ways: Protecting your use, land and community dairy days’ arise from the release last year of the Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming and the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord, to which the Dairy Women’s Network provided input. “Now that most waterways around the country are permanently fenced and there is a new strategy in place for on-farm environmental practices, DWN members want to know what they need to do next on their farms,” says Wilson.

The Water Accord released last year sets new targets for dairy farmers such as requiring all farms with waterways to have a riparian waterway plan by 2020 that specifies where riparian planting is to occur. The planting needs to be completed by 2030. “Regional rules for water use management and monitoring can also change and do vary across the country, and we want to help our members understand what they need to do to be compliant with the accord.” Workshops will be held on local farms and tailored to each region. Representatives from regional and local councils and dairy companies will lead most of the workshop content. Participants will better understand the expectations of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord and their regional council’s rules and plans. “They will also learn

Irish wasp moving west INCREASING CLOVER root weevil populations are being seen on the West Coast, but the AgResearchintroduced biocontrol is hot on its tail. AgResearch entomologists Dr Scott Hardwick and Mark McNeill, based at the Lincoln Campus in Canterbury, have been tracking the spread of clover root weevil (CRW) in the South Island, so that they know if and where to release the Irish wasp, a very effective biocontrol agent for this serious pest of white clover. Sampling last winter and early spring for the DairyNZ-funded biocontrol project has revealed that the weevil is now present through much of the northern parts of the West Coast. AgResearch is now asking southern West Coast farmers who suspect they may have the weevil to get in touch, so they can be sure the wasp keeps apace of the problem. In 2006, AgResearch scientists, supported by DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and AGMARDT, made a breakthrough in CRW control by releasing a potential biocontrol agent, a tiny parasitic wasp from Ireland. The first trial releases were made in Waikato, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu, and within just 18 months the wasps’ performance had exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic scientists. Hardwick says they found potentially damaging populations of the weevil from Greymouth north through to Karamea but in spite of extensive sampling south of Greymouth, they only discovered a single infested site in Waitahi. “The good news is that clover root weevil has brought its own destruction with it.”

how to use water more efficiently in the dairy shed without impacting on food safety standards such as detergent residue levels and managing e-coli, why monitoring water use is more important,

and what works and how to get started with riparian planting and maintenance.” The workshops start on February 11 at Reporoa in the north and finish in the south on February 28 at

Culverden. For a complete schedule visit www.dwn. or telephone 0800 396 748. Dairying women have been asking for a water workshop since the release of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord last year.




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18 //  NEWS

Industry leaders discuss sustainability strategy WHANGAREI DAIRY farmers Shayne and Charmaine O’Shea are among farmers who last month attended the Dairy Environment Leaders’ Forum in Wellington. Funded by DairyNZ, the annual event supports dairy farmers in environmental leadership, utilising their skills and standing in the community. The theme for 2013, ‘Dairy Leading Change: from Limits to Opportunities,’ aimed to put the industry’s strategy for sustainable dairying into action. O’Sheas run a brotherand-sister equity partnership and were the Northland supreme winners of the Ballance Farm Awards in 2013. They have since been spending more time as advocates for the dairy industry in Northland, highlighting the contribution it makes to the economy there. They know how the visual

impact of dairying affects public perception, and this underpins their farm policies, Shayne says.

gere Stream. “We all need to take ownership of the issues and apply solutions on our own land.

Dairy Environment Leaders’ Forum participants.

“We want to turn this into an opportunity and be proud of farming on a busy road. We are showing that dairying can be sustainable while supporting our industry at the same time.” He belongs to a group aiming to raise the quality of the Man-

The Dairy Environment Leaders Forum helped to build on ideas and enhance the knowledge and communication skills we need for the challenges facing our industry.” Catchment engagement leader for DairyNZ in Whangarei, Helen Moodie, says “the forum sought

to inspire and motivate farmers to work together to ensure environmental stewardship is part of dayto-day farm management on every dairy farm.” The 55 farmers at the forum discussed how the industry shapes its response to sustainability challenges and heard from speakers such as Sir Ray Avery. “The aim of the forum was… to look at at the big picture of financial, environmental and social sustainability, with the goal of capturing the talent of these farmers to lead change as active regional champions.” Northland dairy farmers Lyn Candy from Kerikeri and Terence Brocx from the Far North also attended the forum. Brocx operates two dairy farms in the Bay of Islands area with his wife Suzanne and is part of a group seeking to enhance the quality of Waitangi River.

Study grants on offer SCHOLARSHIPS TOTALLING $10,000 will this year be awarded to up to five young Northland farming students. Northland Field Days is offering $10,000 from which five farming students at recognised tertiary schools may each apply for $2000. Field days committee member Kim Leigh-Mackenzie says they want to give young Northlanders a ‘leg up’ in one of New Zealand’s most promising industries. “Agriculture is the powerhouse of New Zealand and there are plenty of exciting and lucrative opportunities for ambitious young people within it,” he says. “We want to make sure young Northlanders get the best opportunities available.” Applicants from Northland may study anywhere in New Zealand at a university, polytechnic or farmbased training provider like TaraTahi or Ag ITO. They must show a keen interest in farming present school and work references. The students can use the funds for materials and/or course fees. “We hope these grants students will enable students to go for jobs that carry their careers forward rather than taking the first job that comes up to pay the bills.” Application forms will be available at the Northland Field Days office during the event and may be downloaded from its website from February 27.



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WORLD  // 19

US dairymen want halter on Kiwis SUDESH KISSUN

THE NEW head of US

dairy farmers’ lobby group wants reforms of New Zealand’s dairy policies as part of a final TradePacific Partnership deal. In his first monthly commentary to farmers, National Milk Producers Federation chief executive Jim Mulhern says a priority for the organisation is to maximise the value of the pending TPP trade deal to US dairy farmers. Negotiations of this pact will likely determine this year whether the TPP final agreement represents a net positive opportunity for the US dairy sector, Mulhern says. “We need greater disciplines on non-tariff barriers, as well as greater access into Canada and Japan, in order for a TPP agreement to be useful to America’s dairy farmers. We also need reforms of New Zealand’s dairy policies as part of the deal.” Mulhern replaced Jerry Kozak, who stepped down on January 1 after 22 years with the US dairy industry. The NMPF represents 35,000 dairy farmers. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal under negotiation by 12 countries: New Zealand, US, Singapore,

Chile, Brunei, Australia, Vietnam, Peru, Malaysia, Canada, Mexico and Japan. Japanese dairy farmers oppose the TPP, fearing the accord will wipe them out by triggering an influx of cheaper imports. Some Japanese media reports suggest the Government is seeking to exempt agriculture from the pact. However, TPP is not the top item on Mulhern’s list. He says establishing a new and better safety net for dairy farmers is his top priority. What should have been achieved by the US Congress in 2012, and what had a chance of getting done last year, was passage of a new farm bill containing the Dairy Security Act, he says. NMPF and its members have been working hard with Congress since 2009 to devise and pass a new dairy programme. The good news is that it appears we’re on the cusp of getting a farm bill done as 2014 begins, he says. “Members of the House and Senate are returning to Capitol Hill this month, and finalising the farm bill is also at the top of the list of New Year’s resolutions for them. “I am cautiously optimistic that the farm bill negotiations between members of the House

and Senate agriculture committees will produce an economically and politically viable bill. It’s been bedeviled by controversies ranging from the mar-

keting of catfish and eggs, to the level of spending on food stamps and crop insurance; but differences over these items can and will be resolved.

Mulhern says another item that’s a holdover from the past, but that is also critical to the success of the dairy industry, is immigration reform.

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Three dairy servings call US DAIRY farmers support the recommendation of

three daily servings of dairy products for consumers. The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) is urging a scientific panel working on the next round of federal dietary advice to keep the recommendation of three daily servings of dairy products. “Dairy foods are uniquely nutrient-rich and virtually irreplaceable in the diet if we want to meet nutrient recommendations,” said NMPF vice president for dairy foods and nutrition Beth Briczinski. “We strongly urge the committee to maintain the current recommendation of three daily servings of dairy, and to focus on the serious public health problem of under-consumption of milk and dairy products.” Briczinski reminded the group that milk, cheese and yogurt contribute at least half the calcium and vitamin D in the American diet, and are the primary source of seven other essential nutrients in children’s diets: phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, B12, D, and riboflavin. “There is simply no substitute for dairy.” @dairy_news

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Saputo bags Oz processor CANADIAN DAIRY

Australia’s oldest dairy processor, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter has changed hands.

processor Saputo has finally won control of Australia’s oldest dairy processor, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter. Last week Saputo announced it had secured

a 53% stake in the listed processor. The breakthrough came after several months of bids and counter bids by Saputo and two Australian processors Bega Cheese and Murray Goulburn. Bega earlier this month called it quits, selling its 18.8% stake in WCB to Saputo. Bega had started the takeover battle but fled as bidding skyrocketed. Saputo’s offer of $A9/ share automatically extends for another two weeks. The company had announced it would pay an extra A20c/share if it got more than 50% of WCB, A40c for 75% shares and A60c for 90% or more shares. Murray Gouburn, which owns 17.7% of WCB,

is likely to sell its shares to Saputo. Bega and Murray Goulburn will each make about $75 million from the sale of shares to Saputo. One of the top ten dairy processors in the world, Saputo is the largest in Canada, the third largest in Argentina and among the top three cheese producers in the US. Its products are sold in 40 countries. Saputo shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Australian listed processor Warrnambool produces dairy products for domestic and export markets. Its products include cheese, butter and butter blends, milk, cream and dairy ingredients. Warrnambool operates two factories and has 420 employees.

Leader toasts bedrock Oz farming families AUSTRALIAN DAIRY Farmers (ADF) president Noel Campbell says farming families are the bedrock of the dairy industry and integral to its success and resilience. He toasted the contribution of dairy farming families across Aus- Noel Campbell tralia, as part of the United Nationsdeclared International Year of the Family Farmer in 2014. “As we celebrate the International Year of the Family Farmer in 2014, I encourage all Australians to take a moment to reflect on the enormous and often unheralded contribution that farming families make to this country,” says Campbell. “In dairy’s case, farming families underpin an industry that directly employs 43,000 Australians, generates almost $A3 billion in exports every year and puts a range of quality dairy products in nine out of ten of Aussie homes. “We should never lose sight of this or the substantial social and economic benefits that dairy farming families contribute to communities across rural and regional Australia. “So, the next time we buy a bottle of milk, block of cheese or tub of yoghurt let’s all take a moment to think about and celebrate Australia’s dairy farming families.” Campbell says family-owned enterprises make up 90% of dairy farm ownership in Australia and remain a source of strength and stability for the industry. “The family-owned and operated farm is part of the Australian dairy farming landscape, and long may this remain so.”

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NEWS  // 21

UK farmers demand rural flood protection FLOOD-RAVAGED UK farmers want more state funding directed towards river maintenance. The National Farmers Union says better maintained rivers will ensure flooding problems do not get worse and land in rural areas recovers as quickly as possible. The UK has been inundated with storms and floods during the past month. Parts of southern England had about double the normal amount of rain during December – the first big storm on December 5-6, another on December 18-19 and a third December 23-24. West Country farmers suffered

“Without adequate funding to maintain waterways, flooding problems will increase.” flooding again after torrential rain and high winds this month. NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond says flooding problems in parts of the country over the past month reinforce the need to ensure a balance between government investment in larger capital flood defence projects,

Parts of the UK have been inundated with storms and floods.

that primarily serve urban areas, and funding for river maintenance. “Staff from the Environment Agency have done a fantastic job in hugely difficult circumstances, working long hours over the Christmas and New Year period and should be commended. But spending is needed to increase the capacity of the pumps the agency and the drainage boards have available to help clear flood water quickly,” says Raymond. “Without adequate funding to maintain waterways, flooding problems will increase. The NFU recognises… money has to be spent carefully. But £20 million

spent annually on river maintenance is not enough to do the job effectively. “Maintenance is a key issue for farmers as regular periodic works maintains conveyance and capacity within the river system. This means floodwater can return to the river system quickly and reduces the extent and duration of any flooding. “If water can’t return to the river system, flooding will extend over a greater area and last longer because the water has nowhere to go.” The Government’s has announced an extra £5m for flood risk maintenance

in 2015-16. But the NFU says this cannot compensate for years of reductions in the Environment Agency’s revenue budget which funds its staff, maintenance work and flood warnings. The agency’s annual flood risk management budget will be nearly £50 million less in 2014-15 than in 2010-11. Raymond says the whole of the environment – rural and urban – is affected by flooding so money must be spent in all areas. “Many rural areas have been flooded by water that otherwise could have affected nearby towns and cities.”

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No joy in fouling dairying’s patch

MILKING IT... Man of milk and wine? MILKING IT understands one the country’s high profile dairy farmers is shuffling a few of his eggs from milk into wine. First, there was the holding company set up by one of his dairy companies carrying a Central Otago title, then at least one of that dairy company’s farms was on the market. Now the word in the backblocks is it’s bought into Bendigo Station where the Perriam’s have been seeking investment partners to develop the viticulture potential of the terrace country. Milk and wine might not be the greatest combination to drink but when it comes to business, why not? After all, New Zealand’s wine earns a healthy premium overseas, especially Central Otago Pinot. Here’s hoping New Zealand milk can do the same.

Friend in need

EMBATTLED AUCKLAND mayor Len Brown is turning to Fonterra to kickstart his 2014 programme. While no deal has been reached on the co-op buying naming rights for Shed 10 on Queens Wharf, the council and Fonterra are talking. For its part Fonterra needs to promote its Anchor brand, which was hit by the minor E.Coli contamination in a small batch of fresh cream. Brown needs to move on from his sexual affair and free hotel rooms. It smacks of one damaged brand helping another.

Harlem Shaker back

A FONTERRA employee sacked for performing the Harlem Shake at work has won his job back. Milk factory worker Craig Flynn was fired after his bosses discovered two videos of him and six other employees last year re-enacting the popular dance video craze at its Takanini plant. Fonterra accused Flynn of putting himself and others at risk of harm by “dancing with a shovel between his legs, hosing water where another employee was dancing, and splashing a pallet endangering himself and others”. Flynn argued his actions weren’t dangerous, but simply “horseplay” and that he was unfairly dismissed. The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) agreed with him.

Overweight cows

SCOTTISH FARMERS are facing a unique problem – overweight cows. Experts from Scotland’s Rural College are warning livestock farmers that one downside of last year’s excellent summer is the risk their cows are overweight as they approach calving time. The cold spring was followed by a warm season with good grass growth producing excellent quality silage and hay. If farmers have not adjusted their feeding regime to account for this increased nutrition, overfat cows could have caving problems.

MIKE JOY is seen by many farmers as a leader of the campaign to put the brakes on the ever-expanding dairy industry. In this he is seen as standing with Fish and Game, intent on saving small native fish while the nation looks to preserve and grow bigger fish in the form of GDP through the rise and rise of the dairy industry. Joy’s message is unpalatable, seen as throttling growth and profit. Not long ago Joy was seen as a ‘trendy leftie’, but today many – though not all – of his messages are becoming mainstream. Farming leaders are saying things which mirror his messages. With few exceptions farmers do care about the environment and in different ways are doing things to mitigate some of the harmful effects of the industry. Joy is right to point out that New Zealand’s main competitive advantage rests with its ‘clean green’ image and that any tarnishing of this helps open the door for competitors. European dairy farmers have stricter environmental rules than apply in New Zealand, which risks being knocked off the ‘clean green’ perch. The messages of Joy and others don’t deserve to be dismissed out of hand. Talking to him rather than about him might be more fruitful than some would have you believe. Not all growth is good and a way must be found whereby sustainable growth can be maintained without dire consequences. The past year has seen too many brand-tarnishing incidents in and around the dairy industry, including the destruction of vegetation on a QE II covenanted block of land. Zero tolerance is required and farmers who can’t and won’t comply with reasonable rules need to be ‘dismissed by lunchtime’ from the sector. The stakes are too high for persisting with the ‘wet bus ticket slap over the wrist’ as once seen. It is imperative that the dairy industry remains profitable, but it must be rigorous in setting and achieving high standards of environment sustainability.

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OPINION  // 23

Time for Fonterra to think food JOHN LANCASHIRE


to fulfil its potential and at the same time become more environmentally sustainable it needs to start acting more like a food company. It also needs to work on its image. With the avalanche of articles, reports and interviews resulting from the melamine and botulism ‘incidents’ it would be expected that some light would be thrown on these issues to avoid them being repeated. The ‘independent’ Fonterra internal report on the botulism crisis presented 33 recommendations largely concerned with the time it took to pick up the seriousness of the situation, and the need to develop a social media strategy and improve communications and by inference the company’s public relations. Action had already been taken on the latter with the appointment of a new communications chief, Kerry Underhill, who says “it is too early to say how many new staff we will appoint to the in-house team but a high priority is to [lift] our game in social media”. One of his first tasks could be to unravel the unseemly media reporting on the split between Fonterra and AgResearch over who was responsible for the wrong interpretation on the presence/absence of the botulism organism. The report also criticised the ‘fortress Fonterra’ philosophy which again highlighted inadequate communication planning and skills. A recent report on food safety aspects of the incidents has reassured Minister Nikki Kaye that we have a world leading system, which she simplistically suggests just needs a few tweaks to deal with some new trading relationships. We live in hope that one final report from MPI will at last throw more light on what actually went wrong, so that such a shambles will not recurr. Some answers can be found in a recent address by the manufacturing gen-

eral manager of Synlait Milk, Neil Betteridge. He pointed out that the Fonterra issue hurts the entire New Zealand food industry. “Synlait was a small company and kept a close eye on safety measures taken by its major customers such as Nestle, which was often the first to notice deviations to food products.” The recent cancellation of a supply contract with Fonterra by the French food maker Danone and its claim of hundreds of millions of dollars, which could be at least half Fonterra’s earnings last year, will according to one economist cost individual dairy farmers $43,000. This shows the botulism issue is not going to go away quickly. And now we have an issue with E-coli. However, that is only part of the problem. Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings has talked more about sustainability and the environment than the food industry. Despite criticising the report ‘Water Quality in New Zealand’ by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright – calling it “in the past and looking backwards” – he did admit that Fonterra was eight-ten years behind the Europeans in tackling these issues. And referring to the co-op’s expectations of 2.5-3.0% growth this year he admitted “we can’t keep growing in this way before hitting a wall in terms of sustainability and the environment”. Nevertheless, our biggest company, with 90% of the nation’s milk supply and 25% of our merchandise exports, has clearly a huge role to play in assisting the Government to achieve its goal of doubling primary exports by 2025. It was news to many to hear that Fonterra had presented a 10-year growth plan to the Government. It would be interesting to see how that is going to be achieved given the constraints identified above by Spierings. New Zealand has lost its place as the lowestcost producer of milk in the world. There are a number of reasons for this including the fact that alternative feeds that

20 years ago comprised 10% of farm expenses are now 25%. Interest costs have risen because of the huge debt carried by the dairy sector, probably up to $35-40 billion, and the Reserve Bank has flagged substantial increases in interest rates. The real problem with

John Lancashire

Fonterra, as illustrated by the melamine and botulism scandals, is that they are in the food business but they do not ‘think’ food. This is not surprising as 50% of the directors are farmers and some of the others have interests outside farming. The shareholders council rep-

resents the interests of farmers so it is inevitable that Fonterra is really just a big farmer with an outstanding manufacturing capability tacked on. It therefore comes as a surprise that Theo Spierings claims the co-op’s business model is 20 years ahead of the rest of the

world. If so, why hasn’t the co-op recognised that becoming a food company would add value to their product instead of their current emphasis on cheap commodities? • John Lancashire is a former president of the NZ Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science.



Bank wants one new client per day TONY HOPKINSON

ASB BANK has been around for 160 years and its rural banking division established in 1993 has in the last few years gone from strength to strength, says the senior rural manager for Bay of Plenty, Trevor Hurley. “We have a goal of increasing our market share to 20% of the market for all rural based customers, with our recent innovations we are well on the way to achieving the target,” says Hurley. At the start of a recent drive ASB already had 15% of the market and they aimed to gain the new customers with-

out losing any of their present satisfied clients. The banks year runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year and in the 20122013 year the bank set itself the target of gaining one new rural client for each day of the year. “The challenge was set and led by the general manager of our rural division, Trevor Hurley Mark Heer, and in our first year we had 373 new rural customers – slightly more than one per day.” This challenge has been ongoing into the next year, and figures to December

6, 2013 showed they had secured another 172 new customers in 153 days. One of the key reasons for the one new client per day joining ASB rural was in February 2013 ASB launched it’s rural environmental compliance loans available to all farmers, not only present ASB customers. The loans at 3.8% (subject to change) are to help farmers to improve their effluent management including stream planting or underpasses, fencing and doing all they

can to protect and enhance waterways. “Regulations are tightening and by investing now farmers can in many ways future proof their farms instead of having changes forced upon them.” The field day recently held at the Cawte farm highlighted both alternatives. Cawtes are already ASB customers and had taken advantage of the new loan to help them future proof their effluent handling system. “I again stress that these loans are available to all farmers, not just customers of ASB bank,” says Heer. The most recent rural environment compliance innovation is ‘Agri One’ where the bank is offering sponsorship

to a new series of courses being run by Massey and Lincoln universities. “The bank was involved in drawing up the aims and objectives of the course and will provide on-going support.” “We already have sponsored 21 people to a program on environmental sustainability and are looking to support more farmers on this program.” Hurley believes that while initiatives like these do not always make the headlines, and initially will be a “work in progress” as the bank and the universities work together to further educate and develop awareness within the dairy industry.

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A NEW Zealand engineer who lost NZ$1.2 million developing and marketing a UTV whose components were of inadequate quality is warning anybody interested in buying in China to first do their ‘homework’. Hawkes Bay engineer Hamish Gilbert is a backer of the 800cc, 56hp and 1100cc, 68hp petrol Avatar UTV and a soon-to-be-launched 62hp diesel Avatar UTV. He previously marketed a 650cc Chinese-made UTV, the Taska, developed and tested in Hawkes Bay but made in China. After the first shipment arrived the assembler proposed raising the price. “We told them no, to work within the agreed amount,” Gilbert says. “So they looked to increase margins by squeezing component makers who used lower quality components.” Because the factory assembling the UTV controlled the payment to component suppliers they were able to cut the amount paid to them and Gilbert says product quality quickly suffered. He understood the situation while reading a book, Poorly Made In China by Paul Midler, on one of his frequent trips to China to resolve quality issues. He lost $1.2 m on the first machine, and while working on a revised design he had to work part-time for a living. A new team of developers devised the Avatar and Gilbert recruited Chinese staff to pay component suppliers. A lot of money and time were spent setting up the operation –getting China patents, meeting with component manufacturers and the main manufacturer and generally ensuring things would go smoothly at launching. “We hired three people and took over payment to all component suppliers… and we will get the best quality components. You can’t buy products online from China and expect to get good quality; you need someone on the ground to check everything out.” One farmer who had used an Avatar UTV extensively said it excelled with its engine braking, ease of exit and entry and cab components. Graham Kearns, New Zealand China Trade Association executive director and chairman of the Auckland branch of Export New Zealand, says that while control of payment for component makers might not be necessary for everybody, people importing from China must organise checks on goods. “There are internationally recognised inspection services in China that will run services for you. It’s worth doing if it prevents heartache.”



Spray drift reminder follows complaints AGRICHEMICAL SPRAYERS in Waikato have been put

on notice: follow the rules or face the law. Waikato Regional Council says it has had 19 complaints about agrichemical spray drift in recent months. Under the Waikato regional plan, people doing ‘widespread’ spraying activities are required to have a spray control plan, including measures to avoid drift, and to notify neighbours before spraying. ‘Widespread’ refers to anything more than low pressure hand-held spray equipment used for spot spraying. The council’s incident response manager, Derek Hartley, says one notable problem is sprayers not notifying their neighbours as required under the rules. “This means people don’t

know what is being sprayed and can’t take steps to avoid contact with the spray, like disconnecting rainwater systems, avoiding hanging out washing or going out on the day spraying occurs. “Complying with rules when spraying is not onerous. If sprayers contacted their

neighbours a day or two before spraying, maintained an adequate spray plan as set out in the regional plan rules, and used common sense about choosing the right weather conditions when spraying, a substantial number of the issues we hear of would just not occur,” says Hartley.

People failing to follow the rules could get an infringement notice or face prosecution and a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $300,000 for an individual or $600,000 for a company. Examples of spray drift complaints include people saying it has damaged a recently planted wetland area, damaged part of a vineyard, made a person and their dog sick or contaminated tank water supplies. “While we can’t always substantiate what people have told us, these are concerning issues,” Hartley says. “We’d ask people to stick to the rules to avoid affecting other people’s health and lifestyle, and to avoid harming waterways, and non-target plants and animals.”

Rural contractors vital part of national economy RURAL CONTRACTORS pumped almost a billion dollars into

the economy last year, according to recently published research. Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) says a report prepared for it by research company Infometrics shows contracting added $947 million to New Zealand’s GDP in 2013. “This research shows that the rural contracting industry is not only a major contributor to our agri-sector, but also a strong and vital part of New Zealand’s overall economy,” says RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton. About 5255 registered rural contracting businesses were involved. Parton says the research shows how the rural contracting industry grew rapidly in economic output between 2000 and 2008, expanding by 4.1% a year compared with the national economy growth of 2.7% over the same period. “The sector’s economic output peaked in 2008 and eased back in recent years, due to cautious spending in the agricultural sector in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. However, Infometrics expects demand for rural contracting to expand back towards its previous peak again, as farmer confidence – buoyed by a sustained period of elevated commodity prices – returns in the coming years.” Parton says another key finding of the research is nearly 18,000 people work for rural contractors. An average of 17,984 people were in the industry up to March 2013. “This shows the importance and influence of rural contracting in the agricultural sector and the need for our politicians and policy makers to better understand the industry and its needs.”




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No looking back from Profit and greater sustainability were key drivers in a decision by Horowhenua dairy farmer Murray Moxham to convert to organics – and he’s never looked back. Peter Burke talked to Moxham about his farming philosophy at his property just north of Levin.


is a down-to-earth individual with clear goals and beliefs and he never deviates from them. He bought his first farm at age 28 at nearby Opiki and 40 years on he is as dedicated and enthusiastic about the dairy industry as when he started. The only difference is that he has learned and changed for the better. He sold the farm at Opiki in 2000 and bought the present one at Koputaroa, just down the road from the dairy farm of Primary Industry Minister Nathan Guy. He later bought a second farm which grew the combined

milking platform by 375ha. On the first and larger farm he runs 650 cows and on smaller one just 150 cows – all Friesians. Moxham made the move to convert both farms to organics about seven years ago. “Fonterra was promoting organics and offering a 20% premium. I thought that was a fair bit of money and as it turned out with the payout going up it was a lot of money. But that aside it was more about sustainability compared with the last farm I had at Opiki. There we seemed to be growing less and less grass and putting more and more fertil-

iser on and I didn’t want to do the same thing when I bought this farm. I wanted to try to change a few things.” One issue he’d had in the past, like most other farmers, related to animal health so he decided to “try to do the biological thing”. “It started paying dividends animal healthwise, then our grass started to look better. We grew more grass through the winter, such as clover, which stayed right through the winter compared with that of our neighbours. That’s when Fonterra came along and that was our opportunity to get some finan-

cial benefit out of what we were doing.” The first decision was to drop about 80 cows and to stop applying fertiliser. Fonterra helped by paying a 7% premium to convert to organics and that was a big help. But converting to an organic system was not easy with a lot of extra paperwork and of course an annual audit. Like all organic farmers Moxham has to be ‘self-contained’: he has to produce his own hay or any other supplements – there is no buying conventional hay. “But a lot of farmers don’t realise how little you have to drop to be self-contained. They are

Bulls eye... a bull watches cows on their way to milking.

spending huge amounts of money on grazing outside, buying in supplements such as PKE and maize silage… and really they are getting nowhere. I have changed because I

was a conventional farmer. I used to do all these things. I used to belong to discussion groups and everywhere you go with the conventional farmer, the first question you get

asked is ‘how much milksolids do you do?’ That doesn’t even enter my mind anymore; it’s what’s on the bottom line that I farm to now, and it’s a huge difference.”

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organics decision PASTURE BOOMS WITHOUT FERT MOXHAM ALSO has strong views on pasture renewal. He’s using herb mixes as promoted by Massey University and says these are working well for him “We now grow more chicory and plantain and clover mixes. As for ryegrass, it’s the lowest feed value product you can feed your cows so what’s the point of growing it? We don’t have to renew pastures as often as we used to and that’s one of the main worries for conventional farmers these days. It seems some of the new grasses only last three or four years. We’ve got pastures here that are 40 years and still growing as good as the day they were planted, but only since we stopped putting fertiliser on.” Moxham is a fan of lime and carefully monitors the pH level of his soils, giving problem paddocks a bit extra. His big challenge is weeds such as ragwort and gorse. The latter has been carried down the Manawatu River which backs onto the farm and has started to take a hold on the stopbanks. Of course it can’t be sprayed and he and his staff have had to cut the gorse before it grows too big. The two farms are run separately with son Wayne taking care of the day-to-day running. On the smaller property he has farm manager Maree whose husband Mike does some relief milking. Richard Mason is the herd manager for the larger farm and he has a full time assistant. Collectively the farms produce 260,000kgMS, about the same as when they converted to organics. Moxham also has a conventional dairy farm which he leases out. His contract as an organic supplier to Fonterra runs out at the end of the season and he has no idea what offer may be put to him later in the year. But this does not worry him. He likes organic dairy farming and the systems that go with it. He is happy about the way he farms and the returns he gets. Even if Fonterra doesn’t renew his contract, he’ll probably continue to produce organic milk.

Cows on Murray Moxham’s organic farm.

It makes him realise what’s economic and what’s not. Farmers have traditionally focused on production rather than profit, he says. “That’s how the banks used to look at it, but they have totally changed now. They want to know what your

monthly balance is going to be.” The switch to organics has caused his farm costs to drop markedly, whereas conventional farmers spend huge money on fertiliser. “It’s just a poison, there’s no doubt about it,” he says. “We operate

under the Probitas system which is more about balancing the minerals in the soil, especially the calcium and magnesium levels. When you do that you don’t have any more troubles.” @dairy_news

Murray Moxham

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Key soil assessment tool gets update BALA TIKKISETTY


season, maintaining the condition of soils is a key to successful sustainable farming. A strong tool for helping farmers do that – the visual soil assessment or VSA – has been updated with some important new indicators. Understanding VSA and what it can tell us is a good investment for farmers. A decline in soil physical properties can take much expense and many

years to correct, and can increase the risk of soil erosion by water or wind. VSA’s results are easy to interpret and create a better understanding of soil quality and its fundamental importance to sustainable resource and environmental management. The updated VSA adds to that by improving assessments of soil condition and plant performance. It does this through a more balanced assessment of soil chemical, biological and physical properties. For example, VSA

now helps consider key aspects of the subsoil. Also, it better addresses the ecological footprint of organic carbon dynamics and environmental issues, including nutrient loadings – such as nitrogen and phosphorous – getting into waterways. One reason I personally promote the use of VSA is that not enough attention is given to the basic role of soil quality in efficient and sustained production, maintaining water quality and the effect of soil quality on a farm’s gross profit margin.

Its based on scorecardbased assessments of key soil ‘state’ and plant ‘performance’ indicators. Soil quality is ranked by assessment of the soil indicators alone. It does not require knowledge of paddock history. However, filling in the plant indicator scorecard satisfactorily requires knowledge of immediate crop and paddock history. Each indicator is given a visual score of 0 (poor), 1 (moderate) or 2 (good), based on the soil quality observed when comparing the paddock sample with

three photographs in the field guide manual. The scoring is flexible. If the sample being assessed does not clearly align with any of the photographs but sits between two, a score in between can be given, for example 0.5 or 1.5. Because some soil factors or indicators are relatively more important for soil quality than others, VSA provides a weighting factor of 1, 2 or 3. For example, soil structure is a more important indicator (a factor of 3) than surface relief (a factor of 1). 

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The score given to each indicator is multiplied by the weighting factor to give a ‘visual score ranking’. The total of the rankings gives the overall ranking score for the sample being assessed. This is compared with score ranges to determine whether soil has good, Maintaining soil condition is key to successful farming.

moderate or poor qualities. VSA can be used at any time of year, but is best done when the soils are moist and suitable for grazing or cultivation. • Bala Tikkisetty is a sustainable agriculture coordinator at Waikato Regional Council. email



Silage inoculants help lift milk yield THERE IS overwhelming scientific evidence which shows proven silage inoculants can reduce silage losses and improve silage quality, delivering more milk per tonne of forage ensiled. Each season some farmers choose to either (1) make maize silage without an inoculant or (2) use an unproven product. Both these decisions can be costly. No silage inoculant During the silage making process, bacteria convert sugar to acid. The acid drops the pH and preserves the silage. All crops contain a range of bacteria and some are more efficient than others. Scientists have identified the best ones and used them to produce silage inoculants. When you apply a quality inoculant, millions of the right bacteria are distributed throughout your crop. Like Olympic athletes these bacteria out-compete the naturally occurring bacteria, giving you a more efficient fermentation. Research data shows that at the current milksolids price Pioneer® brand 1132 gives more than $13 return for every dollar you invest in it. Not too many farm inputs deliver that level of benefit. Some farmers argue they would rather buy more feed than spend

money on an inoculant. This is another costly decision. If you inoculate 100 tDM of maize silage with Pioneer® brand 1132, it will cost you about $1300. Trials show that if you feed the inoculated maize silage to your herd, it will give you a return of $17,3271 more than if you hadn’t used inoculant. If you bought palm kernel (PKE) at $315 per tonne, you would get a milksolids return of $32292. An unproven product

says “These products can have variable bacterial counts, different bacteria or different recommendations for storing and applying. Not all are alike3.” A recent trial published in the Proceedings of the New Zealand Grasslands Association showed many locally available inoculants had no effect on silage fermentation when compared to an untreated control4. If you are buying inoculant always ensure it has guaranteed bacterial levels (the industry standard is 100,000 colony-forming-units (cfu) per gram of forage) and product-specific trial data which has been statistically analysed. Buying an unproven inoculant is like buying an unproven bull: you don’t know what you

Making maize silage without an inoculant can be costly.

are getting and whether or not it will do the job for you. In an article titled

Nitrogen is the most effective way to grow more grass when you need it – and your best feed source just got better. SustaiN is a new generation nitrogen fertiliser that gives you more growth for every unit of nitrogen applied. It’s the smart way to maintain milk production through summer by holding pasture quality for longer as well as increasing crop yields.

‘Determine what benefits you’ll get from additives before opening your wallet’, Dr Mike Hutjens says silage inoculants are a “no-brainer”3. I agree with him. Ensure you get the most out of your maize silage this autumn

$14,098 advantage to inoculating 100+DM with Pioneer® brand 1132 vs using the money to buy more PKE.

Dr Mike Hutjens (University of Illinois) urges farmers choosing an inoculant to “be careful3.” He

Get more out of summer with SustaiN

by applying a proven silage inoculant. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Email iwil- 1 Returns are calculated relative to an untreated control using drymatter recovery data from Pioneer trials, Washington State University milk production trial results and a milksolids payout of $8.60/kgMS. 2 Assumes a palm kernel price of $315 per tonne, a milksolids response of 100gMS/kgDM fed and a milksolids payout of $8.60/ kgMS 3 Determine what benefits you’ll get from additives before opening your wallet. http://www.farmanddairy. com/news/hutjens-determine-what-benefit-youll-getfrom-additives-before-opening-wallet/158.html 4 Kleinmans et al, 2011. Using silage inoculants to improve the quality of pasture and maize silage in New Zealand. Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association 73:75-80

If you need to apply potassium with your summer nitrogen application, SustaiN K is what you need. It replenishes your hay and silage paddocks post cut and is also an ideal way to support clover growth over summer. Don’t accept a production slow down. Talk to your local Ballance Field Consultant or call 0800 222 090.

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Steady climb in milk yield TONY HOPKINSON

Barry Cawte (right) with son James.

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is now 245ha plus 18ha of adjacent leased land which is flat to rolling with some areas of steep country. There is a small area of pines and the steeper country is used for young and dry stock. “The milking platform is about 185ha which includes 53ha of maize and 4.5ha of lucerne and this season we were milking 600 cross-bred cows at the peak,” said son James Cawte who with partner Katie is the contract milker. Their rainfall averages 1200mm and the area is prone to summer dries. The farm supplies Fonterra and their fertiliser comes from Ballance. James employs two full time staff plus a part time “milk harvester”. “All milking is done by [one worker] so I employ someone just to do several milkings a week which gives my staff and myself a break from the actual milkings to do other things but we are still involved with getting the cows in and cleaning down.” The farm has undergone some huge changes since James returned to the farm five seasons ago. He had not regularly milked cows and had done his OE including spending three years in Australia. “We had a series of farm managers and average production was 160,000kgMS. When James arrived he spent six months with the farm manager who had been with us for five year learning as much as he could as well as visiting other farmers,” said Barry. In his first season milking there was an immediate lift in production to 192,000kgMS, and in the second season to 230,000kgMS The cows were being milked through a 34-aside herringbone shed with cows travelling up to 3.5km to a milking including sometimes up to five hills. “Milkings were taking up to eight hours of the day and the terrain and distance were costing us production.”

A central site was chosen for a new 54-bail rotary, and two bulldozers and a digger worked for two months lowering a hill and contouring the site for the dairy, effluent collection to a weeping wall site and adjacent feed pads plus bunkers for silage and PKE. The shed has a Milfos milking plant and all cows have electronic ID collars. The installation includes full metering and recording at each milking, individual production, cow weights, protein and fat levels, cell counts, activity recording for detecting oestrus as well as ruminant activity as a sign of cow health. There are automatic cup removers and an inshed PPP Industries feeding system. This can be programmed to feed each individual animal liquid molasses and two different types of hard feed. The rotary was commissioned part way through the last season and ended with another production increase to 262,000kgMS. “This was the season of the bad drought and the farm was very dry. The installation of the PPP feed system played a big part as it helped the cows to get used to the new shed as well as keeping them well fed.” The next step was building the feed pad which they did themselves. It was 90m x 22m with single troughs down each side and two lines of double-sided troughs down the pad. It can feed up to 400 cows at one time. All effluent gravitates to two 40m x 8m holding tanks with weeping walls built by Archway Construction. The green water is collected and used to flood wash the dairy yard and the feed pads. With their high input feeding systems and the area’s ability to grow grass through the winter, James is changing the calving pattern to have a third of the herd autumn calving and the balance spring calving.



Heat stress hits production first As Australia suffers heatwave after heatwave, and on the chance the New Zealand summer will follow suit someday soon, Andrew Swallow talked to DairyNZ animal welfare developer Adele Arnold about what impact heat has on our herds. Reserving paddocks with good IF YOUR cows are getting too hot ing. If cows are taking over 60 breaths shade, preferably close to the shed, for the first place you will see it is in the vat, or rather you won’t see it because per minute that’s a sign they are suf- grazing on hot days is also advisable. Age is a factor both due to the the first symptom of heat stress is fering heat stress. Other signs include seeking shade, refusing to lie down size effect – bigger cows have a lower reduced milk production. And it doesn’t have to be especially and reduced feed intake. Crowding surface area relative to bodyweight hot: research shows 21 deg C and 75% round water troughs and body splash- which means less area to cool from humidity is enough to start cutting ing are higher up the scale of stress, – and because older cows are more output from Friesians in New Zea- as are open mouth panting, restless- likely to have heart or lung disease ness, excessive drooling, and eventu- which makes them more susceptible land conditions. to heat stress. “Cows start to feel the heat earlier Black coats are a disadvantage for than humans,” warns DairyNZ animal cows without access to shade when welfare developer, Adele Arnold. it’s hot and sunny, so what Kiwicross Admittedly smaller cows are less cows may gain by not being as big susceptible but even Jerseys are as their black and white herd mates, impacted by 24 deg C and 75% humidthey possibly lose in increased heat ity. absorption. Across New Zealand, analysis of DairyNZ’s built on the Thermal herd testing records shows 10gMS/ Heat Index approach to measuring cow/day is lost for every unit increase heat risk by adding night temperain a temperature-humidity index ture, wind speed, and solar radiain hot weather. The formula for the Adele Arnold tion to the calculation to produce a index is complex, but a one degree heat load index. In a typical year the increase in temperature jumps the index over 1.5 units. Humidity has ally collapse, coma, convulsions and threshold for heat stress in an average 450kg Friesian is exceeded 18-19 less impact, a 5% increase adding less death. DairyNZ warns water demand can days/year in parts of Waikato, notably than half a unit. But there’s more to working out double in hot weather and at least around the Hauraki Gulf and Hamilyour herd’s heat stress risk on any 120L of drinking water per cow per ton, with a larger area of Waikato and particular day than the weather. High day should be available, with water parts of Bay of Plenty and Northland producing cows are more suscepti- systems capable of delivering at least exceeding the threshold 12-13 days in ble to heat stress and will be the first 20L per cow in the two hours follow- a typical year. However, farm, herd, individto lose production when it gets too ing afternoon milking. Pipes should ual cow and management facwarm, reflecting their higher tors all influence risk of heat feed intake and metabolic rates. stress and it’s important not to Distance to the shed is “Shade over the yard is a only rely on heat stress predicimportant too: the further the tions, but to recognise physiocow has to walk the higher really good idea, but it’s the heat stress risk. “The walk something you’re only going logical signs in cows early and be prepared to undertake mitramps up heat production in to do in an area that gets a igation options, the levy-body the cow,” notes Arnold. lot of hot days.” advised in Issue 12 of its TechniStanding on hot concrete cal Series, October 2012. when they reach the shed, often Arnold suggests delaying in full sun in a mob that limits air flow, means there’s little opportu- be underground to prevent solar- afternoon milking until after 4pm on hot days. And if staff have to work nity to cool down after the walk, she heating of water. Shade in paddocks, either from later than usual to do that, why not adds. “Shade over the yard is a really good idea, but it’s something you’re trees or purpose built structures, give them a couple of hours off in the only going to do in an area that gets helps cows keep cool when not graz- heat of the day too? Sprinklers over yards using ing. Australian advice is for 4m or a lot of hot days.” Wetting yards 30-60 minutes more per cow. If there’s no shade in medium to large droplets will help before milking can help keep the area the paddock, on-off grazing with a cool cows arriving for milking. A 15 cool and a sprinkler system with large stand-off structure/area that does minute on-off cycle with maximise droplets, thoroughly wetting cows on provide shade is an option, suggests wetting and cooling while limiting water use. a 15 minute on-off cycle, will aid cool- Arnold.

COOLEST PADDOCK CALCULATOR ARNOLD NOTES there’s an Australian website ( au) dedicated to the subject of heat stress which, besides a heap of other useful information, includes a system for scoring paddocks for heat stress risk. (Click

on ‘Managing in the Heat’, then ‘Cool season preparation’, then on that cool season preparation page, click another ‘Cool season preparation’ tab.) Each paddock or group of paddocks is scored for shade, from 1

(no shade at midday) to 10 (at least 4m² per cow at midday), and scored 1-5 for distance to shed, under 1km being a 5, over 2km being a 1. Tally the two scores and the coolest paddocks are those with the highest scores.

“The main value in it is it encourages farmers and herd managers to think through things like shade and the layout of the farm when they are planning their grazing rotation and other aspects of pasture management.”

Cows start to feel the heat earlier than humans.

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Milk urea - useful tool or distraction?

DairyNZ says having urea in cow’s milk is perfectly natural.


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stream of commentary from nutritionists, veterinarians, feed manufacturers and others, so much so Dairy NZ says “conflicting information” is flooding the industry as to what milk urea (MU) values mean. Dairy NZ senior scientist Jane Kay says MU does indicate the amount of protein in a cow’s diet: the more protein in the diet the higher the MU; but it is only an indicator and it is not a sensitive measure of dietary protein. “This is particularly true when dietary protein exceeds 20%, as often occurs in pasture.” The urea, a non-toxic compound, is produced by cows’ livers breaking down ammonia in the bloodstream. The ammonia, a potential toxin, gets into the bloodstream from rumen microorganisms digesting protein. Once converted to urea it’s excreted in milk or urine. “So having urea in cow’s milk is perfectly natural,” notes Kay. The questions come about how much should be in the milk, and what may be learnt from how much is there. Kay says MU levels are naturally much higher off pasture than where cows are fed a total mixed ration. Off spring pasture MU can exceed 50 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl). “Contrary to advice being given to New Zealand farmers, high MU concentrations are not detrimental to milk production, cow health or fertility,” she says. The high MU is merely because cows are eating more protein than they require. Feeding a lower protein diet would reduce it, but that would require supplementing pasture with a low protein feed which, Kay maintains, is not profitable if there is already enough pasture for the cows. DairyNZ principal scientist John Roche echoes that, warning farmers to be mindful of advice on feeding supplements containing

starch or sugar to ‘capture’ more dietary protein, or that a low MU means that more protein is being ‘captured’ by the cow. “Such advice shows a lack of consideration for post-ruminal digestion and postdigestive physiology. The conclusion from New Zealand data and data from all over the world is that the reduction in MU through feeding supplements is almost exclusively through the reduction of dietary protein and not some magical ‘capture’ of protein by the cow.” While acknowledging the link between high urinary nitrogen and high MU, Roche says high MU shouldn’t prompt action as lowering MU values will not necessarily reduce environmental N loading. Other management factors, such as stocking rate, pasture utilisation, effluent management and nitrogen fertiliser, have a much larger impact on environmental N loading, he argues. “It is not as simple as reducing urinary N concentration from the cows, as to do this profitably requires reducing the amount of N going down the cows’ throats, which involves an increase in stocking rate to maintain pasture utilisation and a greater excretion of N/ha,” he told Dairy News. “This doesn’t factor the N loss in growing the feed being fed or the greenhouse gases released from the associated mechanisation,” he added. Low MU, at less than 20-25 mg/dL, may indicate dietary protein is limiting production hence action may be warranted, Roche says, but given the limitations of MU as an indicator, the complete diet needs to be assessed for protein and feeds analysed before taking action. “Only then should any decision be made on whether to purchase high protein feeds.” And before commissioning any analysis, Roche says ask TO PAGE 32



Call for mating data to lift Oz herd fertility AUSTRALIAN DAIRY farmers are

being urged to provide as much mating data as they can for inclusion in the April 2014 Australian Breeding Values (ABVs), to help improve fertility in the dairy industry. The amount of fertility-related data contributed by dairy farmers to the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS), supported by Dairy Australia, has already increased significantly. Between October and December 2013, dairy farmers submitted 858,110 mating records, of which 123,325 were from cows that had not previously been part of ABV calculations. This is more than double the average increase over the last three years for the same period. The increase follows a recent upgrade of one of the key herd management software packages used on dairy farms, Easy Dairy. Dairy Futures CRC’s chief executive

officer, Dr David Nation, says this is an excellent start to a coordinated industry effort to boost dairy cattle fertility. “Dairy farmers need breeding values in order to select for fertility, and breeding values are only reliable if they are based on plenty of good data,” he says. “Improving dairy cattle fertility is one of the CRC’s key research focuses, and we know that a lot of quality fertility data is being lost. Farmers collect it for their own herd management, but it does not always flow from farms to data processing centres.” The solution was a coordinated effort between Dairy Futures CRC, the ADHIS and a range of other parties to maximise the industry benefits from the work being done on farms. Since early 2013, the project team has been working to identify and remedy barriers that prevent fertility data being included in

Australian farmers are being urged to provide more mating data.

breeding value calculations. Nation says the upgrade by Easy Dairy was timely and had produced immediate results. “This recent boost in data is a very promising result from early adopters of the upgrade, and we hope to see even greater impact as more farmers get on board.” ADHIS extension and education manager Michelle Axford encouraged farmers to ensure their data was included in Australian breeding value (ABV) calculations. “We know there is a lot more quality data on farms that

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could be used to bring about faster genetic gain within herds,” she says. “We’re asking farmers who use herd management software to check they are using the most recent version, and make sure they enter mating data by mid-February so it can be included in the April 2014 ABV calculations. We expect to see better fertility breeding values in April because more data is flowing.” Nation says the fertility data project was just one of a number of ways the CRC was working with other industry organisations to improve dairy

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Milk urea - useful tool or distraction? FROM PAGE 32

yourself what you’re going to do with the results. “Will I put in more protein? If so, what? What is the cost-benefit of this?” Roche says DairyNZ’s “conflicting information”

comment was prompted by some individuals saying high MU is associated with low milk protein and low milk fat and that a paper in last year’s proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production

supports that. “Having reviewed this paper, it shows a poor standard of reviewing and there is no way you can draw that inference from the data,” Roche says.

Apparently, a newsletter advising farmers to feed starch to reduce MU has also been circulating, he adds. “Let me be very clear, there is no evidence that a high MU is in anyway

detrimental to cow production, health or reproduction. Farmers should only take note of MU if it is low.” @dairy_news


EFFICIENCY THE POINT INDEPENDENT NUTRITIONIST Wybe Kuperus of Nutrisense agrees with Roche in that low MU may be an indicator of inadequate dietary protein but to say high MU doesn’t matter is missing an opportunity, he believes. “There will always be Wybe Kuperus one-off high MU results off certain paddocks but if it is consistently high, say over 40-45, then it suggests something needs adjusting in the diet. That may be altering the grass quality by using less urea fertiliser, or, if you are supplement feeding, using a lower protein supplement than grass silage; maybe maize silage? “High MU isn’t immediately detrimental to the cow but there’s still a cost involved because the cow’s consuming surplus protein and there’s an energy cost to convert that to urea. It’s just not optimal from a feed efficiency point of view. “Milk urea is just another tool for the farmer and farm advisor, just like the protein to fat ratio, to hel monitor what’s happening with cows and their feed composition.”

DISCUSSION ON MU GENERATES INTEREST SEALES WINSLOW science extension manager James Hague says the discussion on milk urea is good in that it generates interest in nutrition. “MU’s another piece of information to put into the jigsaw to try to understand what’s happening with our cows,” he told Dairy News. Hague was among those calling for Fonterra to make milk urea figures available to suppliers as standard, rather than just on request as was the case prior to June last year. Hague says he suspects even now many suppliers probably haven’t found the data on Fencepost as they haven’t gone looking for it. He says a key point to take from the milk urea issue is the principle of homeostasis between blood and milk. “That means what’s in the blood system shows up in the milk.” Consequently more information about what’s happening with the herd’s health and nutrition could be mined if more detailed milk analysis were available, for example, lactose, he suggests. As for milk urea levels, low figures indicate a need to look not just at the amount of protein in the diet, but the types of protein and whether they are rumen degradeable or bypass protein, he says. The possibility that low MUs are due to impaired liver function also needs to be considered as it’s the organ responsible for converting ammonia, a toxin in the bloodstream, to urea, he points out.


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MAL_Eclipse E_Tabloid_2013_280x187.indd 1

14/01/14 1:55 PM

FONTERRA SAYS milk urea analysis has been available to suppliers via Fencepost since June. It was added due to farmers’ and nutrition consultants’ requests. “We obtain MUN as part of our standard composition testing, so it made sense to make it available to suppliers if it can help them improve productivity and efficiency,” a spokesperson told Dairy News. A three collection rolling average is reported as that helps smooth the figures which tend to “bounce a little” day to day.



Do the groundwork PROPERLY ESTABLISHING a new perennial pas-

ture takes 12 months, says DairyNZ. Preparation of paddocks in the lead-up to sowing is important, regardless of whether a paddock has been cropped or is to be sprayed out directly from old pasture. This is the time to attend to issues which may hinder new pasture establishment and it may be the last opportunity to address issues affecting pasture productivity and persistence. To prepare paddocks for sowing new pastures, consider the following during the lead-up to sowing: Walk your paddocks Assess paddock condition and identify work required before sowing new pasture. Dig some holes to assess the soil profile in the seed and root zone, and to identify soil borne pests. Seek help from an expe-

Preparation of paddocks in the lead-up to sowing is important.

rienced advisor, and preferably have them walk paddocks with you. Soil test If not completed prior, soil test the specific paddocks being renewed; do not rely on results from farm soil tests or transects. Correct any pH or nutrient deficiencies before renewal.

Weed control Remove or kill existing plants. Remember you need 5-10cm green leaf for effective glyphosate absorption and kill. Add a broadleaf spray if required for hard-tokill weeds. For autumn spray-drilling in situations with hard-to-kill weeds, or where there are high

soil weed seed loadings, consider a double spray with a fallow period between sprays. Identify any pests Especially crickets, slugs, black beetle, grass grub. Talk to your advisor about remedies or management. If spraydrilling, apply slug bait. Use treated seed to protect seedlings from insect attack before

I can’t take risks here..

endophyte takes over this role. Prepare a good seedbed Aim for an even, fine and firm seedbed. Some form of cultivation or rolling may be required if conditions in the seed bed are not conducive to a rapid germination of seed and even seedling emergence, e.g. pugged or rough soil surface.

Tricks on putting new pasture THE FARMER group Smaller Milk and Supply Herds (SMASH) is holding a field day next month on tricks to putting in new pasture. Scheduled for February 11 at Tirau, participants will hear from seed company representatives, farmers and DairyNZ experts. Nightmare stories out there about how difficult it is to establish new pastures that last, SMASH says. “You will find out how to get your new pastures off to a great start this autumn and strategies that will help them to persist. “An expert speaker from the pasture renewal leadership group will give the lowdown on the tools to use to succeed.” Speakers will offer tips and strategies for getting the best out of crops such as maize, chicory, plantain and brassicas. The field day will be hosted by Jack and Antoinette Steeghs, 1459c SH1, Tirau. For more details contact smash.

Our pump sets come standard with the following features and benefits, for our farming clients: • Stainless Steel Baseplate - gives long-term protection against corrosion, unlike galvanised baseplates. • Silicon Carbide Mechanical Seals - prevent selfpriming issues common with gland packed pumps offered by others as standard. Provide long term sealing against effluent leakage to maintain a safe pumping environment. • Pump Life Expectancy based on our 35+ years of Progressing Cavity (PC) pump engineering by the only PC pump manufacturer directly serving New Zealand farmers - gives us the unique ability to ensure our pumps operate at the most effective speeds for pumping animal effluent, which impacts directly on the maximum pump life expectancy. For information on your nearest Mono dealer, contact: Nationwide Toll Free: 0800 659 012 Auckland: 09 829 0333 Christchurch: 03 341 8379 Dunedin: 03 476 7264

... that’s why I choose dairy farming’s most reliable and efficient effluent pump solution



Fine-fert spreader lifts yield, cuts land use GARETH GILLATT

A FINE-PARTICLE fertilizer spreader is said to

be enabling a Waikato ‘biological’ dairy farmer to produce more on less land. Laurie Hunter milks

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% 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?




300 cows on 120ha near Morrinsville, for 25 years using seaweed, lime flour and fish fertiliser to enhance sustainability. Fine-particle fertiliser used in organic and biological systems needs to be activated by mixing in water before spraying. Hunter engineered a makeshift sprayer to achieve this but the mixing was not as thorough as he wanted. Getting fertilisers and minerals onto the farm in a time-critical fashion was especially important for Hunter, who uses the phases of the moon as a guide for when to apply the fertiliser. He also

applies nutrients and minerals to a run-off 1.5km from his home farm. Eventually he achieved his aim using a Tow and Fert Multi 1000. This allows him to spray foliates quickly and requires less clean-up. It has a 1000L tank and a patented recirculating boom that can spray out to 16m. The new sprayer is

“wicked at mixing, has a boom giving twice the coverage of his old machine and is nice and low which makes it easy to fill,” Hunter says. The design allows to achieve mix ratios of 40% water, 60% lime flour. The high mix ratio ability means less water and more fertiliser per load, resulting in a lot less trips

rather than with his previous machine. “I started using more fine-particle fertilisers and denser mixes.” However, the 1000L tank proved limiting especially when spraying fertiliser and minerals onto the run-off. This property, used to rear replacements and all the farm’s supplements, required many trips with the sprayer, so when the 4000L Tow and Fert Multi 4000 was launched in June 2013 Hunter promptly upgraded. “I bought the prototype. The commercial model wasn’t even for sale when I bought it.”

Less time spent refilling meant more frequent fertiliser spreading, resulting in a dramatic increase in grass growth. “I’ve grown 40% more silage this season and the cows are in fantastic health due to spraying all the trace minerals required.” Hunter says he has been able to quit a lease on 27ha because the smaller area, serviced by his Multi 4000, meets his needs just as well. “I can grow more on my land with this machine and a bit of intelligence so why lease more land when I can do just as much here.” Tel. 0508 747 040

Spreader grilled for accuracy FIFTEEN YEARS of regular

independent testing for accuracy has rightly made SAM fertiliser spreaders the benchmark for such machines in New Zealand, says the maker, Coombridge & Alexander Ltd. Easy to operate and long-lasting, the spreaders have been ‘grilled’ for accuracy by Agcal NZ Ltd. Says the maker, “This testing has given rise to a spreader that is very accurate over a range of fertiliser products, with a coefficient of variation (CoF) of 8-9%. Testing has shown that the SAM spreader

can spread urea and superphosphate out to 23 metres and still be within the respective 15% and 25% CoF as specified by Spreadmark.” The spreaders come with one or two axles, carrying 4, 5, 6, 8 or 9 tonnes of superphosphate. They come in 400mm or 800mm floor-belt widths, with the 800mm ‘combo’ model able to spread


chemical and organic fertiliser. All chassis are now better painted – first sandblasted, then thermalarc spray galvanised, followed by a two-pot epoxy top coat. This and more stainless and hot dip galvanised plates has raised corrosion resistance. The meshing gears for the ground drive are now cut out of

20mm bis-alloy wear plate for longer life. The main drive chain is enclosed by a stainless steel box. Patterned two-ply rubber floor belts are riveted to bars and then welded to high-tensile hot dip galv chain. A new accessory available for the 800mm combo spreader is an agitator that can be lowered near the floor-belt, stirring and agitating organic material, allowing it to drop uniformly onto the spinner discs. Tel. 07 847 8492

EFFLUENT PONDS • Widths available from 3m up to 15m, therefore fewer joins, which equals less risk and faster installation saving you digger hire costs.

Drainage and soil aeration pay big dividends. PRE-RIPPERS

• Design assistance and volume calculations available. • Material warranty from global company – Firestone Building Products. • Nationwide Firestone trained installation contractors. • Future proof – dependable performance, 50 year life expectancy even when exposed, Save tractor hours & reduce fuel consumption.

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Choosing the right variety CHOOSING THE right cultivar (variety) as well as sourcing quality seed, storing then sowing correctly all have bearing on the success of pasture, says DairyNZ. Before selecting the cultivar select the endophyte that will give you protection from insects while not causing animal health problems. There are few areas that do not have to consider damage from one or more insects except the West Coast region. 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 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 are more upright clover-friendly plants. Tetraploid ryegrasses are highly palat-

able, 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. Generally annual and Italian ryegrasses pro-

duce 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. @dairy_news

The right cultivar and seed quality have bearing on the success of pasture.

Benefits of pasture renewal PASTURE GROWTH can decline over time due to

AR37 provides the best ryegrass pest protection. ONE50 is proven over several years on NZ farms. A leading grass for summer, autumn and winter drymatter production. Late heading date (+20).

To find out how ONE50 can maximise production on your farm, contact 0800 183 358, visit or visit your local seed merchant. Another great product from:

Superstrike Grass seed treatment. Protect your seed. Protect your future. AGC1134

a number of factors, says DairyNZ. 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. Benefits of pasture renewal: ■■ 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. To get a return from spending on 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. 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 group of researchers, seed industry people and contractors have agreed on an approach for farmers faced with this situation.  They recommend farmers assess damage paddock by paddock, ranking paddocks one to five based on the extent of damage. They should then establish a plan for each paddock.



Monster combine delivers 10% more THE WORLD’S most powerful strawwalker combine (up to 490hp) is among the offerings from New Holland in a launch of its new generation CX7000 and CX8000 elevation super conventional combines. They deliver “unmatched straw quality and the cleanest grain sample

Kill flies fast FLIES ARE a more than just a nui-

for large-scale farmers and custom harvesters,” the company says. “The CX range was launched in 2001, and today it is still the most powerful, highest capacity conventional combine in the world,” says New Holland combine product specialist Greg Moore. “The introduction of our awardwinning Opti-Fan and Opti-Clean technology improves cleaning performance by up to 20% and will enhance

the profitability of all farmers.” The standard Opti-Fan system compensates for the impact of uphill and downhill slopes on harvesting performance. The CX7000 and CX8000 Elevation combines also feature the exclusive Opti-Speed strawwalker technology, which delivers up to 10%

more productivity on slopes. This automatically varies the strawwalker speed based on the field’s slope. The operator selects from four pre-sets – wheat, corn, canola and rice – and the Opti-Speed system takes care of the rest.

Mix and apply



Calcium Magnesium

sance, they are a production thief, says animal health company Domhealth. Using several killing methods simultaneously is the best way to prevent fly populations from establishing, the company says. One strategy is to use Fly-ax, an effective granular fly bait that quickly kills multiple species of flies. Fly-ax is permitted for use on dairy farms as long as it is used in a bait station, and must be at least 20m away from the dairy shed. “It’s easy to make effective bait sta-

tions out of milk bottles, that can then be placed for the optimum kill. “Fly-ax contains a strong attractant which draws flies to the station. Within minutes of feeding on the bait they die. When thinking about where to place your bait stations, think about where you want your flies to be drawn to – not near a house or animal sheds.  And place the stations out of the reach of pets and children. Fly-ax is available from all rural supplies stores.  Tel. 09 274 7676 



Urea: 35 kg Boron: 1 /ha kg Lime Flo /ha ur: 100k g/ Magnes ium: 5kg ha /ha Thistle S pray: 2li tres/ha 35 hecta res 1 Tow an d 3 minute Fert load s per he ctare

Or have the mix formulate consulta d by you nt based rn on soil a nd pastu utritional re tests

Thistle Spray

or whatever

Tow anD Fert 3 Models to choose from; 1000, 1200 and 4000 litres | Up to 24 metre spray width | Dissolves Urea in minutes Mix fine particle suspension easily with no blockages | Mix biologically active products without harming the microbes

0508 747 040



Monitoring water troughs from home MAINTAINING A reliable supply of stock drinking water

is made easier by a new wireless water monitoring system from Gallaghers. The product accurately measures water levels in tanks or ponds and transmits this to a touchscreen display unit that can be mounted at, say, a house, farm dairy or implement shed. Easy to operate and install, the system helps farmers keep track of water storage and highlights potential water problems before they get serious. It’s a crisis averter, says Gallagher group marketing manager Mark Harris. “As well as constantly measuring water levels in storage tanks and ponds around the farm, the wireless water monitoring system can also alert farmers to abnormal water loss caused by problems like broken water pipes or overflowing troughs. “If the level in one or more tanks begins to decrease quickly then farmers know they have a problem.” The system uses a high quality sensor to measure water pressure in the tank. Information from this sensor is transmitted via a solar-powered wireless communication unit, mounted on top of the tank, to a wall-mounted or desktop touch screen display unit located up to 4km away. “It’s a big time saver because you don’t have to physically visit the tank or pond.” Up to nine tanks can be monitored by one display unit. The display features a 2.8inch colour touch screen and can

Gallagher’s wireless water level monitoring system.

store water level information to give the user a clear picture of historical tank levels over 30 days. Optional equipment includes a wireless pump controller that allows the remote control of a pump to ensure water levels are maintained as required. A directional long range antenna is also available to increase the range of the signal up to 10 km. The system can also be used to monitor effluent ponds.

EARLY ORDER Quality hay from start to finish.

Water levels are transmitted to a touchscreen display unit.

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* Conditions apply. Finance available through John Deere Financial Limited to approved commercial applicants only. Offer is based on 20% deposit and GST back. Fees and charges apply. If not amended or withdrawn earlier, the promotion expires on 28/02/2014.



Cloud-stored feed data keeps farmers informed A CLOUD-BASED pro-

gram now measures and tracks the feed offered to cows from German manufacturer BvL’s Dairy Feeder. A measuring device fitted to the mixer is linked to a Palm Pilot in the loader tractor via Bluetooth. This information is fed to a website, updating the farmer on the feeding process. Webbline is the New Zealand distributor of BvL, which began making feed mixers in the 1970s, says marketing manager Glen Malcolm says. Southland dairy grazier Greg Drummond is finding the V-Mix faster than other mixers he has used, according to Malcolm.

“Also I am mixing a high straw ratio and it does this quickly without throwing the straw out of the top of the machine. It’s made my operation more efficient,” Malcolm quotes Drummond as saying.

Malcolm says. The loader driver first logs on to a Palm Pilot in his cab. This gives access to a website where he selects which cows to feed, the feed recipe and how much to load into the mixer.

Fast, accurate data enhances collaboration between farmers, consultants, nutritionists and staff. Dipton dairy farmer Louis English took delivery of a BvL V-Mix 20 at the start of winter. “Compared to our old method of layering the silage and straw in the feedout wagon, the BvL has improved our operation.” Operation is simple,

Dairy Feeder website, giving information on the amount of product fed, time of day and the loader operator’s name. “This technology [allows farms to rely] more on staff to manage day-to-day feeding of the cows… allowing farm owners to keep tabs on

BvL V-Mix (above) and the Dairy Feeder flow chart (left).

what is being fed at any given time,” Malcolm says. “This will be especially useful for absentee owners [who]… can see at any time what and when cows have been fed and also whether they have been given the correct rations. This is getting more crit-

Simultaneously the information is sent to the Dairy Feeder website via the Palm Pilot, updating the owner or manager on mixing and feeding progress. This information can be retrieved via a report at any time from the

ical as farmers push for higher production while keeping an eye on costs….” Fast, accurate data enhances collaboration between farmers, consultants, nutritionists and staff, Malcolm suggests. Tel. 0800 932 254

BvL Mixer Wagons – German Quality & Precision

BvL Shear Grab Reduce Loadout Time


SERVICING NEW ZEALAND WIDE Freephone 0800 932 254

BvL Topstar Eliminate Stack Face Losses





Big cat looks even more aggressive JAGUAR NEW Zealand has released a special edition model of the ever popular XF – the XF Black. The already powerful looking vehicle has been given a $10,500 of extra specifications with a ‘black design pack’ to give an even more aggressive look. Jaguar New Zealand brand manager Paul Ricketts says the Jaguar XF is its biggest selling model. “The XF Black special edition offers customers an exhilarating driving experience, powerful performance, with a sleek look to match.” Available in either a sports sedan or the newly launched Sportbrake (wagon), the extra specifi-

cations add black finishing to the front grille sur● The special edition XF round, lower Black comes in sedan spoiler blades, and wagon versions, window surwith a 3L V6 twinrounds and the turbo diesel engine. rear boot blade. ● It includes $10,500 of extra specification for Black 20” no extra cost: Black Kalimnos alloy Design Pack, 20” wheels are also Black Kalimnos Alloy added as is an Wheels and Sports interior pack Interior Pack. which includes ● Available now from XFR inspired $115,000 for the sedan and $120,000 for the 18x18 sport seats, wagon. sport pedals and piano black Ultimate Black, Polaris veneer. Both variations White and Rhodium Silver. come equipped with a The XF Black sport 3L V6 twin-turbo diesel sedan is priced at $115,000 engine. and the XF Black SportThe XF Black is available in three body colours: brake from $120,000.


Race-bred power in new sports car A POWERFUL Kia GT4 Stinger concept

vehicle turned heads when it was unveiled at the 2014 Detroit Motor Show. Harking back to the days of purebred sports cars, the GT4 Stinger has a 235kW (315hp) race-bred engine that drives through the rear wheels. Developed by Kia’s California design team, which also conceived the Soul Track’ster concept two years ago, the GT4 Stinger underlines the sporting credentials

of the Kia brand. “Driving enjoyment was the number one priority in designing the GT4 Stinger,” says Tom Kearns, chief designer, Kia Design Center America. “It’s a 2+2 sports car that can turn heads as a daily driver while also being at home on the track.  “It’s a throwback to days when driving a car was a visceral experience that wasn’t muted by electronic gimmickry.”

The new Jaguar XF Black



Colorado lifts its game ADAM FRICKER

Holden Colorado

HOLDEN HAS fettled its offering in the competitive ute market, with good results. The big changes are to the drive chain (more power and more gears) and in the cabin (the new

SWEEPERS V E R S AT I L E & R E L I A B L E • Attaches to forklifts, wheel loaders, yard loaders, tractors, unimog-trucks and special vehicles • Stable and rigid machine casing construction • Working width from 1250mm-3500mm • Brush diameter from 520mm-920mm • Free sweep and collect • Powerful Gerotormotor hydraulic drive • Heavy duty support wheels

0800 88 55 624


My Link entertainment unit). First, the engine: for the automatic version the 2.8 litre Duramax engine gets 11% more power and 6% more torque, up from 132kW and 470Nm respectively to 147kW and 500Nm; the manual version gets the same increase in power, but torque remains at 440Nm. However, the five-speed manual is replaced by a much more useful six speed and the engine modifications have improved the availability of torque across the rev range. We drove the LTZ automatic model, which now gets more kit including rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and a nifty chrome sports bar. The extra torque is instantly noticeable and the LTZ felt grunty on the road and effortless off road. Torque is now readily available and the automatic no longer has to hunt through the gears to find it. Holden now rates the towing capacity at a class leading 3.5 tonne. The chassis dynamics are not class leading – Ranger/BT-50/Amarok have moved the goalposts – but the Colorado has surpassed the big selling

Hilux, for now. It is fine by ute standards though and is easy to live with as a daily drive. Loading the tray or towbar up, as its maker intended, settles the ride. The entertainment system, dubbed My Link, is a well regarded unit now found in other Holdens such as the Commodore and Malibu. It is fitted standard on the LTZ, adding useable navigation and hands free for your phone to the Colorado. It can also link to your smartphone’s full range of functions, giving you access to all your favourite apps. Admittedly, extracting full value from that last feature in a truck was beyond us. Overall though we found the upgraded Colorado a much better vehicle, offering plenty of power and features for the money. It is also a tough looking truck and in LTZ form with the 17 inch alloy wheels and chrome sports bar, it has more than a hint of American pick-up about it. The LTZ automatic costs $61,990 and the manual costs $59,990. Forgo the fancy stuff and you can get into a work clothes DX single cab 4x4 for $44,990.

BX25 Tractor/Loader/Backhoe Combo $23,500

M8540 DT 85hp Tractor wiTh KUBOTA LOAder $59,900

MX5100 51hp Tractor $32,500

M9540 DT 95hp Tractor wiTh KUBOTA LOAder $61,900

F2880 Complete with 60”or 72”side or rear deck $25,900

GR2120 48” or 54” Mower $13,250


SEE YOUR LOCAL KUBOTA DEALER TODAY! All Prices are GST exclusive. Promotion ends 30th April 2014 or while stocks last. C B Norwood Distributors Ltd


‘‘We knew we had the right chemistry, One thing led to another... It was only natural.’’

Do you have the right chemistry? Naturally derived, SpartaTM insecticide is tough on caterpillar pests whilst also being soft on beneficial insects. It’s so safe to use, your crop will love you for it. Find out more by calling 0800 803 939 or visit

By improving m y will improve m 6 week in-calf rate I y and profitabilit fertility, productivity y at www.6week . Watc h my progress


Dan Brice, King Country

Dairy News Jan 28 2014  

Dairy News Jan 28 2014

Dairy News Jan 28 2014  

Dairy News Jan 28 2014