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Battle to convert high country basin land to dairying. PAGE 10


O’Shea wins top award PAGE 4

MARCH 25, 2014 ISSUE 309 //

RESCUE MISSION TO SAVE OZ DAIRY Kiwi dairy farmers and workers sought to bring Tasmanian and Victorian dairy sectors back to life. PAGE 3

Play to the conditions... Now’s not the time to drop the ball, feed to succeed.



NEWS  // 3

Oz out to poach Kiwi dairy talent PAM TIPA

AUSTRALIAN DAIRY, banking and investment Limiting N losses. PG.19

Amazing maize crop. PG.30

Smart sharemilkers on a mission. PG.35

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interests are out to entice ambitious New Zealand dairy farmers and workers across the Tasman. They want to rejuvenate the Tasmanian and Victorian dairy industries and inject new impetus into productivity. They are dangling the carrot of a cheaper path to dairy farm ownership – about one third the cost of New Zealand, claims Andrew Radford, a director of ATR accountancy and owner of two Tasmanian dairy farms. He and two Rabobank rural managers, from Tasmania and Victoria, Rabobank senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey, and another investment specialist, were delivering the message at four bank-organised seminars around the country last week. They want Kiwi talent to cross the ditch to help provide “the next wave of farmers to take the industry up another notch,” says Leigh Barker, a Rabobank rural manager in Devonport branch, Tasmania. They think New Zealand farmers and workers will bring new ideas, new competition and new innovation. “In the late 1990s to 2000s when the first wave of New Zealanders came, they contributed to growing the industry to a new level,” says Barker. “That contribution can come again with the capacity available.” With big investment in processing plant in Tasmania in recent years, there’s an annual 335 million litres extra capacity in Tasmania alone, Barker says. “If you go over there and buy a farm, all processors will turn up on that farm and try to grab you. They need to fill that stainless steel,” says Radford. “There’s a lot of spare capacity that can be generated by new blood.” As with farming globally, many farmers in Tasmania and Victoria are ageing and many are at “the end of their business cycle”. Young farmers aiming

The grass is cheaper on the other side says Leigh Barker, Rabobank, Tasmania (left), Andrew Radford, accountant and Tasmanian dairy farmer, and Ron Masin, from Rabobank in Victoria.

for ownership in Australia don’t have to buy Fonterra shares, says Barker. It is a good way to progress their career. The dairy industry in Tasmania and Victoria is virtually all export orientated and poised for growth. It does not face the same degree of price pressures from supermarkets as the regions that produce mainly for the domestic market. “The investment in Tasmania into stainless, which is basically manufacturing, has been huge over the last three or four years. So we’ve got extra capacity which is driving the need for more milk,” Barker says. “There’s also a new player in the state – Tasmanian Dairy Products. We’ve now got four processors so the state is poised for growth. “The main purpose of my trip is to let the New Zealand guys know there’s opportunity. Tasmania does still have a competitive edge in that we still grow grass and plenty of it, we’ve got good rainfall, high quality soils and the important part – available farms. “We now have water schemes as well; there’s water surety. You’ve got to buy that water surety…

but it is there.” Ron Masin, from Rabobank’s branch at Sale, Victoria, says on the back of irrigation Victorian dairy is flourishing. Year-on-year production is improving with grass yield going up, the plentiful availability of grain and the implementation of technology. “Probably the two big areas that have improved production are automated irrigation and automatic cups-off and that’s helping with labour. Production’s going up and the gains are quite significant financially,” says Masin. The Rabobank roadshow around New Zealand last week aiming to show different ways of getting into the farm ownership or investment in Australia. New channels have opened up within Rabobank as well, so anyone in New Zealand interested can contact their local branch, who can then make the contacts in Australia. “Ten to 14 years ago a lot of people from New Zealand who went out and pioneered did it the hard way because they had to find their own way. “It is fair to say there’s a community of New Zealand farmers in Tasmania now.”


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‘Big week’ for rural leadership mentor PAM TIPA

IT WAS a “big week”, in

her own words, for Northlander Charmaine O’Shea, a dairy farmer and chartered accountant specialising in farming accounting. On Monday she became chairwoman of the AgriWomens Development Trust and on Wednesday night she was named Dairy Womens Institute’s Dairy Woman of the Year. Winning Dairy Woman of the Year is “such an opportunity” she told Dairy News. “I can continue developing my leadership skills and enhance those skills within a corporate environment. “It will help me with

my vision of improving the financial, environmental and social sustainability of our sector. “I think I am in a very practical leadership role at the moment; that is how this has evolved. This is the opportunity to enhance that in a corporate environment and create networks useful for myself and the sector.” The challenge facing the sector is linking those three things together, she says. “It is finding a balance between the financial, environmental and social. It is understanding how those three knit together… it shouldn’t be all about financial. It shouldn’t be all about environmental without considering those other two. That’s what I

think is the biggest challenge.” The Global Women in Leadership programme which O’Shea will attend as Dairy Woman of the Year will provide a unique opportunity. Justine Kidd, the 2013 winner, speaking at the Dairy Womens Network conference in Hamilton last week, said it’s like “putting on your opportunity overalls”. Says O’Shea, “I intend to invest in a pair of opportunity overalls and invest in opportunities as they arise.” O’Shea grew up on a dairy farm in Maungakaramea and then trained as an accountant in Northland. She set up her own practice at age 28 in Whangarei and has developed

that practice to specialise in farm accounting. In the early years she was also 50/50 sharemilking with her former husband and in 1993 they were named Northland Sharemilker of the Year. After a change of circumstances in 2005 she had the opportunity to invest with her brother Shayne. Shayne is the majority shareholder and farmer and O’Shea is the accountant and they have a dairy farm in Maungatepere, Northland, which was the supreme winner in the Ballance Northland Environment Awards last year. The farm milks 390 cows on a 93ha milking platform and Charmaine still milks cows at times at the weekends

Dairy Woman of the Year Charmaine O’Shea flanked by Fonterra director Nicola Shadbolt (left) and DWN president Michelle Wilson.

“to keep it real”. In her spare time O’Shea contributes to improving the financial and business aspects of dairy farming performance through her involvement in industry-good projects such as DairyBase and presenting at local and national field days. In 2012 she completed

the Agri-Womens Development Trust ‘Escalator’ programme. She was so inspired by the organisation she became a trustee in 2013 leading to her elections as chairwoman last week. She fosters and encourages other dairy farming women to further develop their business leadership

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and governance skills and provides mentoring for dairy farming women in this area. O’Shea was nominated for the accolade alongside Fonterra Shareholders Council member and dairy farmer Julie Pirie from Hauraki, and veterinarian and dairy farmer Joyce Voogt, King Country. 

as Dairy Womens Network trust board chair at the next annual meeting. She has held the position for four years. “As I transition from the role of Dairy Womens Network chair I would like to acknowledge those of you who continue to support the network,” she said at the annual conference in Hamilton. “It has been a privilege to represent your organisation and to have had the opportunity to travel the journey

from regional convener in 2004 to deputy chair in 2008 and chair of Dairy Womens Network in 2010. “With the support and inspiration from many amazing women involved in agriculture from grassroots to executives I have been fortunate to be able to walk beside you all, learn and be inspired by you. “I encourage you all as women of power in the dairy industry to continue to influence and each other and keep your finger on the pulse.”

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‘A man is not a financial plan’ PAM TIPA

FISHER FUNDS founder and execu-

tive director Carmel Fisher will never forget the 1987 sharemarket crash. As a young sharebroker she had to chase clients who had bought on the Friday before the crash. She had to get them to pay full price the following Monday and Tuesday even though the shares had halved in value. “That was horrific and I watched people’s lives change completely,” she told the Dairy Womens Network conference in Hamilton. One client was a big punter. Fisher knew he was “in dairying” and she assumed he was a dairy farmer. When she chased him up for money it turned out he was in ‘dairying’ – he had a milk round – and he was buying the shares by mortgaging the family home, which his wife had bought with her inheritance. Fisher watched the man’s life crumble: his marriage broke up and his children were pulled out of private school. “I saw what wealth can do – positively and destructively. In those early

Carmel Fisher says success for women is achieving what we want and being in the position where we can actually make choices.

years of my career I saw the highs and the lows and I saw the human face of that. I think that has made me a successful businesswoman and a better investor as a result.” After the sharemarket crash she was made redundant from the large sharebroking firm she had joined in 1984 as a 21-year-old graduate. Before the crash she said it was “mad times” – cocktails flowed during drinks on Friday nights and her first year bonus was $20,000. But after redundancy she joined an insurance company which was the

opposite – “the brown cardie brigade”, very conservative. “But it was a great thing to do after the high risk shenanigans of the sharemarket – to go and manage money conservatively for an insurance company.” She started Fisher Funds when pregnant with her first child and a former employer asked her to manage a “small” portfolio of $17m. Speaking on the theme ‘Breaking Through the Grass Ceiling’, Fisher said it is not about moving up the hierarchy and getting higher management posi-

tions. “It really is about achieving success to the best of our ability. To me that is not about what my title is or my salary or earnings. “To me success for women is achieving what we want to and being in the position where we can actually make choices. If we can make choices about how we spend our money and our time then I think we’ve achieved success.” Fisher urged the dairywomen to start taking control of their own finances. She urged all to start saving and investing and not leave it to their partners or husbands. “A man is not a financial plan,” she said. Women lived on average eight years longer than men and she wanted to be the one “who could afford the blue rinse in the rest home”. You did not need to wait until you had paid off the mortgage, but could start investing at the same time. Investment in property or shares is needed for good returns.








Preparedness – she worked longs hours and weekends. When she went solo she did a thorough business plan Risk-taking – women tend to avoid risk. Fundamental rule of investing: if you want to get higher return you have to take risk. The younger you are the more risk you can take. Differentiation – Fisher played on the fact that people knew who she was because she was a woman funds manager in a male dominated industry. Confidence – sing your own praises; no one else will. Focus – multi-tasking can mean spreading yourself too thinly; focus efforts on the most important matters. Communication – women know how to talk and should harness those skills in business Forgiveness – we are allowed to make mistakes. Fisher says every year she makes investments that don’t pay off; but others do.




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If staff are not moving, they are not growing STAFF RETENTION is a big issue in the dairy industry, says the 2013 Dairy Woman of the Year and business manager for Bel Group, Justine Kidd. “It’s the nature of our industry: people move to grow,” Kidd told a Dairy Womens Network workshop. “I have been around the industry for just over 20 years and it’s an ethos in our industry… if you are not moving you are not growing.” Even if we are doing a good job of looking after staff, “if we are not growing and allowing them to move [outside] our business… our industry culture is they are going to move. “If we are bad [employers] we’ll have crazy high turnover rates. If we are really good [with staff], compared with town businesses even our good levels of retention are seen at the lower end, not at best practice compared to town.” The rule of thumb used by the New Zealand Institute of Human Resources is that when a staff member moves on

it costs about three times their salary. That includes training, loss of productivity and recruitment. “It is definitely more than 1x the salary and the further up that person is in your business – the higher level of responsibility – the bigger [the cost].

“Our industry culture is they are going to move.” And you are also paying them more, so three times $100,000 is a lot more than $45,000. It’s a really big impact. “[Given] the time and effort you have to put into them, it’s about changing dynamics; out of all that is lost productivity.” Lower stress on an employer is an outcome of better retention. A better team gets you better results; they are easier to manage and you’ve got more

time for other things. Retention also builds a better CV for the people working for you. Retention is usually measured over the June-June dairy season, Kidd says, but that will one day change and the industry will recruit mid-season. Resignations in May-June is a critical measure for dairy farmers – not just those during the year. Kidd says the Bel Group targets 85% staff retention for the year. If you have 100% you have stability but you can get stagnation, she says. “Turnover creates freshness and potential to bring new ideas into your business; it creates pathways for people.” Fifty per cent retention, which can be common in dairying, is too low: depending on the business size, the retention goal should be 70-85%. Ideally a senior couple should be stable but expect juniors to change every year or two. Planned turnover is preferable to unplanned.

Dairy executive Justine Kidd illustrates a point at her ‘Making Your Team Tick’ workshop.

Kidd has been involved in the family business Bel Group as business manager for six years, much of that time dealing with staff. She supervises 10 dairy farms with just under 3000ha of

dairy plus dairy support. The group employs 58 people onfarm and 65 people business-wide, including dairy operations managers and farm managers.

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NEWS  // 7

Calf cull consultation opens ANDREW SWALLOW

IS BLUNT force trauma acceptable as a routine method of killing calves? That’s the question the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee has put in a public consultation opened this month following the furore over footage of a New Zealander clubbing calves in Chile. TVNZ brought the footage to public attention in January prompting many industry representatives here to say blunt force trauma is only used in emergency. While that may be so, the current Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare doesn’t prohibit routine use of a hammer.

of years and it is no longer common practice. However, we agree there are significant animal welfare concerns when this method is not used correctly.” Phillips was unavailable for interview on the matter but told Dairy News in a written statement that the proposed amendments are not an attempt to close a loophole. “The Animal Welfare Act 1999 already requires the killing of animals to be done in a way that does not cause unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress…. “However, the boundary between what is acceptable and unacceptable treatment of animals is always evolving, and good practice also changes over time. In view

along these lines,” says Feds Dairy vice chairman Andrew Hoggard. “Any review must set in stone that blunt force is an emergency measure, when there is no access to one of the approved methods and the time to get hold of one would only add to the animals’ suffering.” Dairy NZ says it will be making a submission but

at this stage can’t say what that will be. “We will try to make sure we come up with a sensible way forward,” strategy and investment leader, sustainability Rick Pridmore told Dairy News. “We support emergency use [of blunt force trauma] but what we’ve not gone through is working out what to do on farm in a

non-emergency.” Like Hoggard, he says what constitutes an emergency must also be defined. Dairy News’ enquiries show a new captive bolt gun costs about $500 plus about $1.50/cartridge. Obtaining a firearms licence and rifle typically works out at well over $1000.

“We wan t to hear from farmers on whether or not our proposals are realistic for them.” – Karen Phillips, NAWAC of recent public concern, the minister asked NAWAC for advice on the use of blunt force trauma to kill unwanted calves. “NAWAC considered that the dairy cattle code of welfare could be updated to reflect current industry good practice and is releasing proposed changes for public consultation to gauge whether there has been a significant shift in public views since the code was issued in 2010. “Feedback from this consultation will be used to inform the advice that NAWAC gives to the Minister for Primary Industries.” Despite earlier comments by Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Willy Leferink questioning what further legislation would achieve (Rural News, Feb 18) the federation says it welcomes NAWAC’s consultation. “We need to more clearly articulate what situation is an emergency... There is no way blunt force ought to be standard operating procedure and we welcome the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) considering amendment

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NAWAC is seeking to amend that, prompted by Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy. It is proposing section 5.10 of the code, Calf Management, be amended to specify blunt force trauma is not acceptable for routine killing of unwanted calves and that those destroying calves must be competent. An amendment to the code’s section 6.4, Emergency Humane Destruction, is also proposed to make it clear blunt force trauma may only be used in emergency and to emphasise the need to ensure death. Currently bleeding out to ensure death is recommended best practice, but not a minimum standard. “We want to hear from farmers on whether or not our proposals are realistic for them,” says NAWAC deputy chairman Karen Phillips. The risk of incorrect use of blunt force and the fact that there are alternatives – captive bolt or firearm – that can be better for animal welfare mean it is time to consider changing the rules, she adds. “Industry bodies have been discouraging [blunt force] over a number

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says blunt force trauma is not acceptable for routine killing of unwanted calves.

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8 //  NEWS

Dairy prices dip further ANDREW SWALLOW

HAS THE dairy bubble burst? No, but it is deflating, say analysts watching falls accelerate on the fortnightly GlobalDairyTrade auction. A 1.3% dip on February 18, followed by a 4% fall on March 4 and a further 5.2% slide last week leaves the GDT price index at 1332, its lowest since June 4 last year. Of the major commodities sold on the platform, last week anhydrous milk fat was the biggest loser, diving 10.7% to US$4578/t, while whole milk powder plunged 5.8% to US$4439/t and butter backed 4.4% to US$4534/t. Cheddar went off 4.1% at US$4461/t but skim milk powder slimmed just 1.7% to US$4584/t. The relative strength of skim milk to whole milk points to the

fall being driven by New Zealand supply, ASB rural economist Nathan Penny told Dairy News. “We’re seeing the market respond to better late-season production from New Zealand. Auction volumes have been increasing when normally they’re going down at this time of year,” he explains. Buyers have “filled their boots” with the late season surge, and there’s a hint that some have brought forward purchases to take advantage of the easing prices, he adds. “From now on we expect these price falls to be contained, at least until the end of the New Zealand season. But we do see a more sustained fall coming later in the year as global production starts to rise. We’re looking in particular at the US and European Union: not large increases but modest and enough to take the pressure off.” The impact of recent falls on


“It may take the heat out of their competition on the export side.”

Nathan Penny

Fonterra and China exchange centre WHAT’S IN it for us? Fonterra

shareholders may well be asking following last week’s launch of a China-New Zealand Dairy Exchange Centre in Beijing. Announcing the initiative with China’s National Dairy Industry and Technology System, the co-op said the centre will support sustainable development of the industry in both countries. “It is a key priority for Fonterra to contribute to the development of the Chinese dairy industry and

Fonterra says the we believe there is centre will develop a lot to be gained by policy in the China both New Zealand and New Zealand and China through dairy sectors, arrange the sharing of knowlacademic exchanges, edge, research and industry promodairy expertise,” tion, dairy technology president of Fonterra Kevin Wickham research and personGreater China and nel training. India, Kelvin Wickham, said. An annual China-NZ dairy “Both parties have world-class dairy research and know-how. We research forum, and a ‘Golden are pleased to be playing a key role Key’ training programme to assist China’s local dairy industry develin bringing this initiative to life.”

opment will be among early initiatives. Wang Yuchan, a scientist with the China Ministry of Agriculture’s National Dairy Industry and Technology System said it hopes to learn more about New Zealand’s technology and expertise, jointly do R&D, and undertake technology exchanges and training on dairy sector issues through the centre. “This will help promote the sustainable development of dairy.”


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this season’s payout will be minimal, if any, but the emphasis on next season’s predictions is now on the downside, rather than being balanced around ASB’s current forecast of $7.80/kgMS. “That could go as low as $7 if there’s a material fall of, say, 25%, but if it did do that the currency would depreciate against the US$ softening the impact in New Zealand dollars.” Unusually, last week’s drop in the dairy market had no currency impact, with the forex focus on events in Crimea. Demand for milk products continues to be dominated by China and that’s expected to continue, says Penny. Signs of recovery in the US economy augur well too, as a boost in demand there would reduce US supply onto global markets.


NEWS  // 9

15,000-cow China hub in full swing PETER BURKE

FONTERRA’S NEW hub of five dairy

farms in China are up and running and already the co-op has started work on a new hub of farms at Ying in Shanxi province. The co-op’s vice-president international farming, Sarah Kennedy, told Dairy News from Beijing that calving at the final farm at Yutian 3, Herbei province, is almost over and all the 15,000 cows at the hub are milking. At full production the hub will produce 150 million litres of milk a year but with many of the cows first-time milkers it will take some months to reach that target. Completion of the hub, especially the last farm, ran close to deadline with 1000 construction workers on site to get it ready for the cows coming. Kennedy says all the cows at the farms have come from New Zealand or Australia under a scheme they call ‘genes on legs’ – selecting a certain genetic profile in partnership with LIC. “So our beautiful girls get on the ship and take two weeks coming from New Zealand to China. They are beautiful animals and we treat them like treasured gold. They are hard fed before they [leave New Zealand] to get them used to the hard feed on the trip. “When they get to China they go into quarantine for six weeks and then onto the farm. When we put them on the farm they are lovely and quiet and adapt to their new home extremely well.” All calves from the cows that go to China are kept – the heifers for replacements and the bull calves to be sold locally for the beef market. They are said to be popular with the locals.

Fonterra is using a combination sexed semen and is introducing Holstein genetics to increase the volume of milk from each cow: currently this is 34L. The reason is simple: they are paid for volume, not milk solids. None of the milk produced by the Yutian hub is processed by Fonterra. Instead it’s sold to local processors who turn it into UHT milk, yoghurts and other products. “For them it’s a high quality consistent product produced to all Fonterra’s standards,” says Kennedy. Lessons learned on the first, pilot, farm at the Yutian hub are applied to the subsequent farms. Cow comfort is one, says Kennedy. “Sand beds are the gold standard bedding for cows. You can tell when you walk around the barns how well a farm is run. Basically if the barns are quiet and you don’t hear mooing, that is the sign of satisfied cows. We want the cows lying down because then they produce more milk. Of course they are free to roam around the cow houses.” Raising cows’ body condition score to 5.0 is not difficult, Kennedy says. In fact the staff must ensure the cows don’t get overweight. Most feed is sourced locally and this helps build relationships with the community, says Kennedy. “We buy all our maize silage from them and there will be a mixture of cotton seed and brewer’s grain. We have nutritionists who make up the feed; we use some compound feed or pelleted feed to make up a complete diet. We test the food we bring in.” Fonterra plans to be producing one billion litres of milk in China by 2018. @dairy_news

Support for co-op’s guilty plea FONTERRA DID the right thing

■■ Processing dairy product not in in accepting the four charges laid by accordance with its risk manMPI over its false-alarm whey proagement programme tein scare, says agribusiness expert Jacqueline Rowarth, Waikato University. Rowarth told Dairy News that Fonterra’s own report showed best management and its own processes had not been followed. However, she doesn’t expect Fonterra’s reputation to take a beating as a result. “It could be used negaJacqueline Rowarth tively, but much better to be used by Fonterra and New Zealand to show that the coopera- ■■ Exporting dairy product that tive made positive changes immedifailed to meet relevant animal ately the problem came to light and product standards is now working hard to ensure best ■■ Failing to notify its verifier of management practices from ‘grass significant concerns that dairy to glass’,” she says. product had not been proMPI filed the charges in the Welcessed in accordance with its lington District Court last week. risk management programme ■■ Failing to notify the directorThey are:

general as soon as possible that exported dairy product was not fit for intended purpose. Fonterra is embroiled in a $500m High Court suit with French dairy giant Danone. The losses were incurred when Danone had to recall baby-formula product in eight of its markets after Fonterra’s botulism alarm in August last year. Rowarth doesn’t believe Fonterra pleading guilty to the four MPI charges will have an impact on the Danone case. “I think it will be a matter of contract interpretation,” she says. “Fonterra has said that ‘it’ wasn’t in the contract – but we haven’t heard what ‘it’ actually is. “It is the lawyers who will win in this case, and the farmers who will pay, and that means New Zealand will not grow as it might otherwise have done.”

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10 //  NEWS

From hard yards to high country dairy ANDREW SWALLOW

JUST HOW hard it is politically and physically to convert high country basin land to dairying was spelt out to a crowd of 140 farmers, industry representatives, councillors and conservationists at a Federated Farmers High Country field day last week. But they also saw how productive the heavy glacial outwash soils can be with irrigation as the 4x4 tour crossed land already converted, and vast tracts of sparse tussock and heiracium waiting for water. “I believe all these flats should be made productive,” Kees Zeestraten, owner of Ohau Downs and Glenary Downs stations told the tour. Zeestraten was one of three parties whose joint irrigation and land use consent applications were called in by the Government in 2010, and subsequently declined by commissioners. While others have since given up, Zeestraten has

appealed that decision, bought neighbouring Glenary Station, re-written his development plans with many concessions to meet other appellants’ concerns, and invested “about $0.5m” to answer questions raised in four rounds of mediation. The bill for Ohau Downs’ consent application alone to date is nearly $3m. Instead of seven 1000cow indoor/outdoor herds producing 3.5m kgMS he’s now proposing 4200 cows in three indoor herds producing 3m kgMS with 1500ha irrigated and the remaining 5800ha dryland. Covenant-protected area would be increased from 400ha to 1800ha and nitrogen loss cut to 11kg/ ha/year – “slightly less” than under the current regime of grazing sheep and dryland cropping – for low intensity wintering of cows. Agreement appears to have been reached with 80% of appellants but that’s still to be nailed down in writing and signed off. Meanwhile it looks like the Environment Court will have to

rule on remaining objections to his revised plans from Ohau Ski Field and Smithies, both from Ohau Village. Ohau Downs and Glenary are overlooked by the skifield, the zig-zag access road scarring the stations’ mountainous backdrop. Zeestraten anticipates court costs of another $0.5m over three-four years. “I’m getting the feeling it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s never enough.” The tour of Zeestraten’s properties followed an overview of Doug McIntyre’s two irrigated dairy platforms just south of Twizel, and neighbouring support blocks. “We started with 4000 cows and two sheds and the production’s been steadily increasing. The land’s getting better and better,” McIntyre commented. However, in the early 2000s, had he known how hard it would be to turn the former rabbitand hieracium-infested flats into the 1600kgMS/ha platforms they are today, he may never have bought

them, he added. His sharemilker and operations manager Dave Gordon gave an insight into the practicalities. Large rocks and wilding pines are cleared first, followed by chisel ploughing, grading rocks into windrows, clearing the rock windrows, and working a seedbed. It adds up to $3500-4000/ha before irrigation. “Reaching the cultivation point and cultivation is the costliest part. The natural fertility’s not too bad: 12-15 P level and pH 5.4, so fertiliser isn’t necessarily a big issue. We just use the fertiliser and lime we need to grow the crops.” Typically that’s 1t/ha of lime and 250kg/ha of something like Crop 20 with its 19N, 10P, 0K and 12.5S analysis. Off dryland

Ten years from conversion Doug McIntyre’s dairy farms are producing 1600kgMS/ha.

they get 4-7t/ha of triticale, rape and other forages from average rain of 400450mm/year. On the flats, with up to 6mm/day of irrigation, they grow 14-15tDM/ha off grass sown 10-11 years ago. Fodder beet does near 20t/ha. Irrigation is via the Benmore scheme. Efficiency of pivots means only half the scheme’s consented take is now needed to irrigate 4000ha on six farms, the maximum area permitted. Scheme manager Barry Shepherd explained what a difference that’s

made. “In 2005, when the scheme was just getting going, there were six farms in the command area with a gross turnover of $5m supporting seven families. By 2012 there were eight farms grossing $26m supporting 23 families. That’s what the water’s done.” Previously “even the rabbits out here were skinny, and they had their lunchbags with them,” he added. Shepherd told Dairy News a consent application to extend the irrigation area to 8000ha will be made in the first half of this year.

Monitoring of watercourses leaving properties already irrigated by the scheme has found some impact on water quality, but levels are “within the limits set by the consent… and have settled out now.” Shepherd avoided giving figures but he’s adamant dairying and other irrigated land uses are sustainable in the area, particularly with technological advances such as variable rate irrigation and automated soil moisture monitoring and irrigation scheduling. @dairy_news

EVERYONE TALKING SUSTAINABILITY THE SUSTAINABILITY issues addressed during the course of the field day are not just high country conundrums, but are “going on all around the country,” Federated Farmers vice president William Rolleston told the crowd before the 4x4 cavalcade set off. Federated Farmers’ approach, and that of farmers in general, has shifted from combative to collaborative, he added. Just as farmers were much more likely to heed policy and regulation they’d been involved in forming, so the public

would more likely accept policy they’d been consulted on. “The important thing is to work out how we can get there that takes the rest of the country with us…. 80% of our goals are the same, it’s just the last 20% we’re arguing about and those are more about the method than the outcomes.” The Land and Water Forum’s work was a case in point and it is disappointing Fish and Game continues to come out with “rhetoric… alienating dairy,” he said.

“Talking to each other and understanding each other’s views takes you a long way forward. You’ll never make much progress unless you understand your opposition’s point of view…. “The fact Forest and Bird were invited today and noone’s bothered to turn up to see the efforts of farmers like you to make this a sustainable place for farms and better for the environment too is disappointing. There should be a whole heap of people from Forest and Bird here.”

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NEWS  // 11

Muller vies for National ticket PAM TIPA

TODD MULLER says he has signalled early he intends to run for the National Party candidacy for Bay of Plenty because of the position he holds with Fonterra. Muller is Fonterra’s group director, cooperative affairs. “I have had some quiet conversations in Bay of Plenty and the feedback was positive that I put my name forward,” Muller told Dairy News. “Because

confirmed dates. He does not know if others are contesting the National candidacy. “I have heard comments that a couple of other locals are considering but it is still very early days.” Closer to selection time he will take leave from Fonterra and spend time in Bay of Plenty. If he is selected as the National Party candidate he will “pass that bridge when he comes to it” in terms of further leave from his position at Fonterra. “Apart from the three years I have been in Fon-

extraordinary contribution of Tony Ryall. “The Bay of Plenty offers so much, our rich natural resources, together with the talents of the people backed by the National Government’s investment in local infrastructure makes us a successful

Fonterra executive Todd Muller

regional growth story. “But like all growth regions, the Bay of Plenty needs a strong and assured voice at the decision making table to meet its ongoing economic and social needs.” Muller has a long history in the Bay of Plenty having completed

his schooling there, held senior executive roles at Zespri and as chief executive of Apata. In the last three years he has worked at Fonterra, most recently as group director, cooperative affairs, reporting to the chief executive.  Muller has been active

“Apart from the three years I have been in Fonterra, most of the rest of my life has been in the Bay of Plenty and I am obviously a strongly local person.” of the role I have at Fonterra I thought it best to be clear and signal that up front and early.” The Bay of Plenty seat is being vacated by the National Party MP and Health Minister Tony Ryall, who has announced his retirement from Parliament after the next elections. Muller says the selection process will be in the next couple of months but the National Party has not

terra, most of the rest of my life has been in the Bay of Plenty and I am obviously a strongly local person,” Muller says. “I am keen to return home to the bay where I grew up, worked, married, had our family and my parents have lived for more than forty years. With the support of local party members I know we can make a difference for all those living in the Bay of Plenty and continue the

DairyNZ holds levy forums DAIRYNZ WILL discuss new research and regional

projects at local levy forums next month. The 40 events, nationwide, are to help dairy farmers make informed decisions when they vote in May on whether or not to keep a levy on milksolids. It also wants farmers to help identify priorities and on DairyNZ’s work in the regions, which includes helping farmers prepare for regional policy changes. Chairman John Luxton, and other directors, will speak at some forums. He urges farmers in every region to have their say. “It is vital that dairy farmers vote on the milksolids levy in May. The opportunity comes only once every six years and voting is easy – a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The more dairy farmers who vote, and who vote ‘yes’, the stronger the industry voice for DairyNZ’s work.” Farmers get a lot of value for their levy, Luxton says.  “The dairy industry is co-investing with the government and others in science and innovation…. We need the levy to support and retain that co-investment. “Now more than ever, with all the compliance and competitiveness challenges ahead, we need a strong dairy industry body that can work with others, including Federated Farmers and across all dairy companies and regions.”

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in the National Party for at least 25 years and has held positions at branch, regional and national level as well as working for Prime Minister Jim Bolger during the National Government of the 1990s.    Muller is 45, married to Michelle and they have three children. 


12 //  NEWS

Dry worse than 2013 for some PETER BURKE

IN SOME regions, espe-

cially Northland and Waikato, the drought this year is worse than last. That’s the view of DairyNZ’s Craig McBeth, who says the west coast of Northland is in a dire

state. But even when rain falls these places will take time for grass to recover and bounce back. “The only difference is this year the ability of the farms to respond is significantly better because there is plenty of supplements such as grass silage, and potentially farmers have more money to exer-

cise options they didn’t have last year. “It’s still tough for them but their ability to respond is better so hopefully a little less stressful for them.” McBeth says the rain from cyclone Lusi was highly variable. “We got 8mm at Newstead, just out of Hamil-

ton, and I heard a report that Paeroa got 130mm, so the level of rainfall was variable. This drought is very localised and specific to each district and each farm. Farmers have to respond according to what rain they did or didn’t get.” Farmers who got rain need to implement their plan to continue to feed

supplements as the dry matter on their paddocks disappears, McBeth says. But once there is moisture the fresh grass will grow back and produce feed; staying on long rounds will allow that to happen. Meanwhile feeding supplements to make up the gap in the cow’s diet is important.


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the grass to recover.” McBeth is advising farmers feeling the pressure of the drought to talk to somebody and not bear all the stress alone. Many individuals and groups can offer help. Getting off farm and attending a farm discussion group is one way to share the burden.

Katrina Knowles, DairyNZ


of up to

“Those who didn’t get much rain will have to wait for some to fall before that moisture deficit is overcome and the grass starts to grow fast enough…. Again they need to make sure they have supplements on hand to bridge that gap to keep the cows on a long rotation to allow

DAIRYNZ’S TEAM leader in Taranaki, Katrina Knowles, says the north of the region is now very dry with moisture deficits similar to the drought last year. Supplementary feeding is keeping cows in condition and some herds are on once-a-day milking. “North Taranaki is browning off and it’s starting to get difficult for them up there.” South Taranaki has had rain, but this will change if there isn’t more rain by the end of this round. The feed situation is starting to get tight; it could be described as a ‘green drought’. Knowles notes autumn arrived on March 1 with overnight temperatures cool. Soil temperatures had been reasonably high, but are now dropping back. “Cow condition varies considerably. People have come into this season with reasonable cow condition, but now condition will be starting to strip from the cows so supplementary feeding is in full swing to get them in good condition for calving.” A few farms are using herb species such as chicory, mainly because of lessons learned from last season’s drought. But not a lot of chicory is grown compared with Waikato. Many farmers are using PKE because they see it as a supplement that can be quickly turned on and off. “This year people have good reserves of supplements. They made lots in the spring because we had great growth, so supplement reserves are better this year than previously.” Production is said to be 4-10% higher than last year to date. This is now dropping off and the final result may be similar to last year when there was good production in the region. Unusually for Taranaki empty rates are high, Knowles says. “Vets in the region are reporting these are higher… and no one knows why. This is disappointing for some people who feel they have done everything right but can’t pinpoint why it’s happened.”

Check out the latest news and information at



Off the bench, into the pit A FORMER professional rugby player has proved equally competitive in dairy farming by winning the premier contest at the 2014 Canterbury North Otago Dairy Industry Awards. Kevin and Sara O’Neill won the 2014 Canterbury North Otago Sharemilker/ Equity Farmer of the Year

title, taking $19,000 in prizes. O’Neill is a former Crusaders, Chiefs and Rebels rugby player. He gained an All Blacks cap when he came off the bench in an All Blacks loss to the Springboks in Dunedin in 2008. The couple switched to dairy

farming in 2011. The other major winners at the 2014 Canterbury North Otago Dairy Industry Awards were Phillip Colombus, who won the Canterbury North Otago Farm Manager of the Year title, and Isaac Vujcich, the region’s 2014 Dairy Trainee

of the Year. The O’Neills have worked two years in the industry, beginning with a six month stint as farm managers before entering a partnership as equity farm managers on Mrs O’Neill’s family farm at Waiau, North Canterbury. They oversee an 1190-


cow herd on the 340ha farm and have Duncan and Olivia Rutherford and James and Belinda McCone as equity partners.    The O’Neills both have agricultural degrees from Lincoln University and both grew up on farms. “A real strength of our business is we’ve got strong





governance in place, with a board of six containing two independent directors. We’ve also got opportunities for scale and development and both of these aspects allow for clear planning and growth.” The couple (both 31) have two young children. They say their future lies in multiple farm ownership. History is repeating itself for newly crowned Canterbury North Otago Farm Manager of the Year Phillip Colombus, a farm manager for Ngai Tahu Farming at Oxford. It is the second time Colombus (30) has entered the awards and the second time he has come out on top. In 2006 he won the Upper South Island Dairy Trainee of the Year title. He enters the awards to further his career. He won $10,100 in prizes. From Christchurch city, he has worked his way up the industry and enjoys the opportunities provided by Ngai Tahu Farming on the 1300-cow property he is managing. “Ngai Tahu Farming is committed to sustainability and to the continuous improvement of the environmental, social, cultural and economic outcomes on its farms.

Kevin O’Neill

The high standard of dairy farm conversion [has] all the latest technology and infrastructure.” Colombus and his wife Melissa plan to progress to sharemilking and ultimately farm ownership. Second in the farm manager contest was Rakaia farm manager Steve Veix, who won $3650. Also farm managing at Rakaia, Jonathon and Stacey Hoets, were third, winning $4250. A decision to quit city work motivated the 2014 Canterbury North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year, Isaac Vujcich (28). He worked four years in information technology then completed a degree in business studies, majoring in management and marketing, before deciding farming was for him. “I didn’t want to work in the city.” The O’Neills will host a field day on April 1.


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ENTERING THE New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has helped the winners of the 2014 Southland Otago contest to get ahead in the industry. Winton 50% sharemilkers Steve Henderson and Tracy Heale earlier this month won the 2014 Southland Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title, Riversdale farm manager Jared Crawford won the Farm Manager of the Year title and Winton second-in-charge Josh Lavender won the Dairy Trainee of the Year title. It was the second time for all. “The benefits of entering… helped us secure the 50/50 sharemilking job we are currently on,” Steve Henderson and Tracy Heale said. The same goes for Crawford, who gained third in the 2011 Waikato Dairy Trainee of the Year competition. “The benefits were endless – new opportunities through networking and this was how I got my first manager job. I also learnt a huge amount about myself and the direction I needed to take to achieve my goals, through the new skills and knowledge gained.” Henderson (27) Heale (28) are now 50% sharemilking 320 cows for Adrian and Bev Simmonds at Winton, aiming to produce 125,000kgMS. They won $11,000 in prizes. The couple met while studying at Lincoln University; they started in dairying in 2007. “We aim to have a terrific reputation with all the people involved in our career and are able to work together well to achieve our goals and grow our business.” They belong to the Winton Volunteer Fire Brigade, Waitane Young Farmers and are on the Southern Field Days committee.



Back again to take more prizes EXPERIENCE COUNTS and two of the

won regional dairy industry awards. In 2011 the McCaigs major winners in the 2014 gained second in the New Taranaki Dairy IndusZealand Farm Manager try Awards have that in of the Year contest, after spades. Both the 2014 Taranaki winning the Taranaki Sharemilker/Equity Farm- regional title. And in 2012 Shearer ers of the Year, Charlie and gained third in the New Johanna McCaig, and the Zealand Dairy Trainee of 2014 Taranaki Farm Manthe Year contest after winager of the Year, Michael ning the West Coast Top Shearer, have previously of the South regional title. The awards scheme began in 2006 to enable people to enter at different levels as they progressed in dairying. “It’s exciting to have two finalists Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the who have won Year Ben Frost. regional titles

in the past,” says regional convenor Rebecca van den Brand says. “[Progressing quickly] to competing on the national stage at a higher level is impressive,” “The winners say they enter the awards first and foremost to learn, grow and develop their farm businesses.” The other major winner at the 2014 Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards was Ben Frost, the region’s 2014 Dairy Trainee of the Year. The awards were announced at a dinner at The Hub, Hawera. The McCaigs are 21% sharemilking 500 cows for the Taranaki Community Rugby Trust at Manaia. They won $20,500 in prizes. The couple, aged early and mid-30s, are in their

fifth season. They believe their experience outside farming is a strength. “We changed careers to become dairy farmers. We brought knowledge acquired through employment in other sectors, and came to farming without preconceptions.” Their relationship and common goals also help. “We came to farming together and we continue to work together towards our goals – to grow our equity over the next 20 years so we can retire from operational activities in our early 50s and engage in industry leadership and governance.” Michael Shearer (21) aims to own a farm in 10 years. In the short term he is keen to gain equity in a dairy farm. He won $8800

Taranaki sharemilkers Charlie and Johanna McCaig.

in prizes. “The benefits of entering the awards include having my name out there in the dairy community and networking with people who have also entered the competition.” He manages a 360-cow Hawera farm for Steven and Ann Nicholas. The property has good topography and infrastructure, he says. “The farm is all flat which makes for easier management of the pastures and the farm layout means short walks to the

dairy shed. Having a good size dairy shed allows for quick milkings and more time for other work,” Shearer says. The 2014 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Ben Frost (21), is progressing to a farm manager’s position in June, on the same 450-cow split-calving Hawera farm owned by James Murphy where he is currently second in charge. Frost won $6400 in prizes and thinks the awards is a great way to promote himself. “The

awards also provide opportunities to network with other farmers, practice for future job interviews and are a great personal challenge. Success in the competition is a good confidence booster.” The Taranaki Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Charlie and Johanna McCaig, will host a field day on April 10. Shearer, will host a field day on the Kaponga farm he manages on April 3. @dairy_news

Nick Lawn, ANZ Taranaki Agri Manager. He’s a product of this environment.

Nick was born and raised in Taranaki. He went to school here, he’s involved in the local rugby team and helps out on the family farm where he grew up. Being part of the local community has given him a great understanding of the particular needs of the region and the

dairy industry. Nick’s a dairy and equity partnerships specialist, and part of ANZ’s dedicated Agri Business Team of 15 industry specialists providing expert local service to Taranaki. To find your local ANZ Agri Manager visit or call Nick himself on 027 230 1699. ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited




Reducing debt, increasing equity

West Coast/Top of the South winners Chris and Carla Staples.


2014 West Coast Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition, Chris and Carla Staples, are focused on reducing debt and increasing equity.

The couple, who won $11,300 in prizes, are positioning themselves to take the next step to farm ownership. The other major winners at the 2014 West Coast Top of the South


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Dairy Industry Awards were Jason Macbeth, the region’s Farm Manager of the Year, and Amy White, winner of the Dairy Trainee of the Year title. Chris and Carla Staples were the runners-up in last year’s sharemilker/ equity farmer contest and have used the judges’ feedback to their advantage by improving their business and farming systems. “We found entering the awards provided a great opportunity to take an in-depth look into our business, as well as being able to benchmark ourselves against others in our region.” The Staples are 50% sharemilking 365 cows at Whataroa for farm owners Keith and Angela Kelly. They say their profitability and great working relationships are keys to their success. “We are aware of our financial position at all times and we are constantly reviewing our budgets against our actuals to produce consistent farm working expenses. “Our short term goal is to increase production while maintaining good profitability on our current farm.” The couple’s long term goal is farm ownership. Greymouth equity farm managers Kelvin and Heather McKay were runners-up in the competition, winning $3700 in prizes. The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, RD1, Triplejump and Primary ITO. Macbeth (23) wants to prove that West Coast farms can perform well against other regions’ top farms. He is contract milking 280 cows for Bruce and Jocelyn Palmer at Murchison. “We are low cost farming with minimal inputs, which I believe you must be in today’s times. We are focused on quantity and quality when it comes to feeding our cows and it pays off in production.” Macbeth is moving to a 25% sharemilking position

Amy White

in June and aims to be 50% sharemilking 300 cows in 2017 with his partner Beth Phillips. Second place in the farm manager contest went to Landcorp farm manager Hayden George (30), who won $3900, and third went to Takaka farm manager Alice Reilly (26), who won $2850. Reilly’s partner Stewart Watson was a finalist in the trainee contest and won the leadership merit award. Murchison farm assistant Amy White (20) is the 2014 West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year. White, who won $5000, entered the awards for the first time to “give it a go” and “it might lead to something”. It is her second season in the industry and she is currently helping on Stephen Todd’s 353-cow Murchison farm. Her ultimate farming goal is to own a farm milking 400 pedigree Holstein and Ayrshire cattle. “Until then my aim is to learn as much as I can about animal health and management so I can become a herd manager within five years, then go contract or lower order sharemilking to start my own herd and work my way from 50:50 to farm ownership.” Second in the West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year contest was Dobson assistant dairy production manager Joseph McNaull (24), who won $3000. Third was Rai Valley, Marlborough, second-in-charge Bridgette Payton, who won $2000. The West Coast Top of the South Sharemilker/ Equity Farmers of the Year, Chris and Carla Staples, will host a field day on April 3, while Farm Manager of the Year, Jason Macbeth, will host a field day on the Murchison farm he manages on March 27.



Vision propels vets to victory A VISION to achieve

rapid equity growth in livestock agribusiness is on track for the major winners in the 2014 Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards. Donald and Kirsten Watson were last week named the region’s Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year at an awards dinner at the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua, taking home prizes worth $17,000. The couple laid plans in 2009 to achieve financial independence and personal fulfilment. “We will continue to grow equity to enable us to buy an 800cow farm in 2020. Personal fulfilment means enjoying what we do, remembering life is a journey and not a destination.” The other big awards winners were Robert Hartley, Farm Manager of the

Year, and Ruth Hone, Dairy Trainee of the Year. The Watsons are in

Robert Hartley

their first season 50% sharemilking 990 cows for Glenn and Karen Speed at Taupo. They are both veterinarians and worked as mixed animal vets for 10 years before entering the dairy industry in 2009. “We have found the dairy industry to be full of supportive people with immense knowledge they are willing to share. Resources are made easily available and there is no

shortage of opportunities to learn and grow.” The Watsons, both aged 38, have three young children. They share vision, values and goals, and willingness to use resources to learn and to grow skills and knowledge. “We aren’t afraid to innovate, to try new things and to step outside the square. We have learnt to budget, record, monitor, analyse, benchmark and review. We ask for help and support if required and surround ourselves with fantastic people.” The 2014 Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year, Robert Hartley, believes integrity and structure are the two major strengths of the Rerewhakaaitu farm business he manages. “Integrity’s important as the farm I manage is a multi-million dollar oper-

ation. A lot of trust goes both ways. I need to know my employer has my best interest at heart and likewise he needs to know I am always acting in the best interest of the company. “Having a robust structure and policies is also important as the structure gives a lot of direction and reassurance on farm.” Hartley (36) runs the 865-cow farm for Trevor and Harriet Hamilton. He entered the awards for the first time for a challenge, winning $11,300 in prizes. He began dairy farming in 2003, after working in information technology. He has worked for the Hamiltons since 2008 and is interested in moving into an equity position on a farm. “I would one day like to take the knowledge I have and implement it on a farm of my own.”




Central Plateau Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year winners Donald and Kirsten Watson.

The 2014 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year, Ruth Hone, entered the awards for a second time to gain the discipline to learn the theory behind practical farming. “The judges also provide helpful feedback.”

Hone (24) won $8050 in prizes. She is in her third season, working on a 250-cow farm for Michelle and Ross Davison near Taupo. Central Plateau Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year Donald

and Kirsten Watson will host a field day on April 9. Farm Manager of the Year Robert Hartley will host a field day on the Rerewhakaaitu farm he manages on April 2. @dairy_news


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NEWS  // 19

Soil scientist rates N fert prospects LAB TRIAL results on

a slow release fertiliser have a prominent soil scientist saying it may help farmers to limit nitrogen losses from pasture. Dr Doug Edmeades, of AgKnowledge, has been working with Auckland firm Eko360, providing scientific and technical advice on establishing the effectiveness of the company’s slow release nitrogen (N) fertiliser Smartfert. The work is helped by Agmardt funding. The results of laboratory work during the past year are encouraging, the company says. “Laboratory leaching experiments have confirmed the rate of N release from Smartfert is slower than that of urea, and by adjusting

the manufacturing process, release rates can be adjusted,” says Edmeades. The results were a step closer to the “holy grail” of fertiliser research – to develop a truly slow release N fertiliser. Glasshouse trials have followed the lab work. They used ryegrass, finding it was possible to measure the rate of N uptake by the grass as the test plant, acting as a measure of Smartfert’s N release. The results proved similar to those gained from the initial laboratory trials. “We now have proof of concept established that the product works in the soil in a predictable manner,” says Edmeades. An early “look see”

urea. This indicates the nitrogen uptake efficiency of Smartfert was higher than from urea. While this field trial work was only preliminary, Edmeades says it was essential early research. He was comfortable recommending the Smartfert directors invest further to examine the agronomic and possible economic benefits of field trials over different soils and climate types. “The implications for this research are huge,” he says. Pastoral farming is under pressure to manage nutrient losses through soil profiles, with catchment plans in many regions poised to dictate how great those losses can be. Controlling

Doug Edmeades

trial that measured cumulative dry matter production on a commercial dairy farm from October to February has also proven positive. It revealed greater cumulative drymatter production over that period off the pasture treated with 25kgN/ ha and 50kgN/ha as Smartfert, compared to the equivalent rates applied as conventional





Bruce Smith, founder of fertiliser company Eko360 with conventional urea fully dissolved (left hand) and Smartfert slow release prills (right hand).

nitrogen losses from fertiliser application is a first step in helping reduce those losses. Smartfert is now stocked and distributed by Fertco, Tauranga. Chief executive Warwick


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20 //  NEWS

Milk for schools hits high seas FONTERRA MILK for Schools has now

reached the Chatham, Stewart, and Great Barrier islands, with 17 schools and about 160 children. Operations manager in-school programmes, Louise Aitken, says the coop wants to offer milk to children from year one to year six. “It is a big logistical undertaking, made easier with huge community support,” Aitken says. “Chatham Islands Shipping Ltd and Freightlink Cartage are providing free shipping of the milk

packs to the Chatham and Great Barrier islands.” Chatham Islands Shipping Ltd chief executive Dennis Nisbet and Freightlink cartage divisional manager David Hyland are said to be applauding the scheme. “It’s great to be working with Fonterra doing our part to support a communityfocused project,” says Nisbet.   “And delivering the milk packs to the island is just one part of the programme. Chatham Islands Shipping will also help Fonterra by bringing the milk packs back

Kaitoke School children on Great Barrier Island celebrate with chilled milk.

from the island to Auckland for recycling.” Mulberry Grove School principal Ally Gibbs and her students on Great Barrier Island have had their first delivery of milk. “Often Great Barrier is put in the too hard basket, so it is great that Fonterra Milk for Schools can make its way here to us. The milk will provide a great nutritional start to our children’s day.” Fonterra Milk for Schools offers a free serving of Anchor Lite UHT milk every school day to children in year one to six.

Awuwhenua helps lift the bar

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exists for Maori whanau to collaborate more and combine their interests to create large and more economically sustainable farm businesses, says a prominent Maori businessman. Kingi Smiler, Kingi Smiler chairman of the organisation that runs the Ahuwhenua Trophy for leading Maori farms, told Dairy News that exploiting this opportunity could add $8 billion to the New Zealand economy. Smiler says the three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Maori dairy farm have one big thing in common – their farms consist of small blocks owned by whanau trusts collaborating in creating larger and more profitable entities. He says the finalists offer a good example of what can be done in a relatively short time. “The good news is that others are going to be following suit because these ones here were started five or six years ago. This will continue to gather momentum and will be a major encouragement to the overarching strategy for Maori economic growth. “Government and Maori are keen to see these strategies developed regionally and get much greater momentum. I can only see that accelerating over time.” He also notes that it was the colonisation process that created the small Maori blocks that exist today. Smiler says all three finalists have themselves built business models not unlike those created on a smaller scale by the late Sir Apirana Ngata when he was Minister of Native Affairs. Ngata helped Maori owners in various regions to consolidate their blocks into more economic farms. What is happening now is a continuation and extension of that philosophy with the leadership coming from within the whanau. The Ahuwhenua Awards have helped publicise the contribution Maori agribusiness makes to the overall economy. “Certainly the government sector and the general industry are recognising that, and you are seeing now all the major agribusiness companies in New Zealand actively trying to network with Maori to be part of those opportunities that will inevitably come.” Maori are getting involved higher up the value chain, examples being their ownership of the dairy company Miraka and the dairy technology company Waikato Milking Systems. More from Awuwhenua finalist field day – pages 34-36.


NEWS  // 21

Clover pest little match for Irish wasp do that.” Southland farms firstTHE RELEASE of paraThe tiny parasitic wasp sitised clover root weevils hand. “The clover root weevil from Ireland is crucial on Southland farms this has been present in South- in this bettle. The wasp autumn is being beefed kills clover root weevil. land since 2010, but large up to try to combat extra AgResearch scientists have numbers were present in large infestation arisseen reductions of greater only a few locations. That ing from last year’s mild than 90% of the clover was until last year; what winter. root weevil population in we didn’t need was the The scheme is run by monitored North Island very mild winter. AgResearch, Beef + Lamb farms where the wasp has “The mild conditions New Zealand, DairyNZ been released. allowed a greater number and Environment SouthAgResearch scientist Dr of clover root weevil eggs land, Scott Hardwick leads the to hatch and more of “If we can make Lincoln-based clover root the larvae survived right releases of clover root weevil collection team. through the winter. As a weevil infected with the “We are literally vacresult the population of Irish wasp parasite on up uuming up weevils from the weevil exploded. to 1000 Southland farms “Tremendous pressure Canterbury farmland before winter, then we where the bio-control is now being placed on will have done as much pasture from the increased wasp is already hard at as we can this year,” says AgResearch scientist Colin numbers of larvae that fed work. “While most of these on the clover roots and Ferguson. collected weevils are their nodules last winter. “To do this we aim to That damage was followed already parasitised, we collect up to one million boost the parasitism by the large population of parasitised clover root levels by adding a few adult clover root weevil weevil over the next few emerging in early summer Irish wasps to the packs months.” of 100 we make up for Last year’s mild farm release. These winter has meant that packs are then delivclover root weevil has “Unfortunately, taken its small footthere is little farmers ered to Southland for The result will hold on the farms of can do by changing release. accelerate spread of Southland to a widetheir management the bio-control and spread infestation. the process of clover practices to “Unfortunately there is little farmminimise the impact recovery will begin. “Southland farmers can do by changof clover root ers can expect clover ing their management content to return to practices to minimise weevil.” normal levels two to the impact of clover four years after the root weevil and there wasps’ arrival on their and feeding on the clover are no current effective farms.” pesticides,” says Ferguson. leaf. Normal spring and Hardwick advises farmsummer grazing of clover “If the farm budget ers not to worry if their has added to the stress on allows, farmers can use N farm is not one of the already struggling plants. fertiliser to boost pasture selected release sites. “Affected farmers are production and cover for “In Canterbury and either seeing clover that the lack of clover, howNorth Otago we have seen disappears quickly once ever there are no quick the Irish wasp spreadgrazed or a complete fixes and they shouldn’t ing up to 30km per year adopt any unproven mira- absence of clover plants from release sites, so even in their pasture. Withcle cures.” if your farm is not one out clover farmers can’t Based at AgResearch’s of selected release sites, fatten lambs and those Invermay campus, Ferguthe Irish wasp released that are looking to overson has seen the damage on your neighbour’s farm winter dairy grazers can’t wrought by the weevil on

will quickly arrive on your farm.” Ferguson advises farmers not to panic. “While this is causing a lot of pain at the moment it will pass over time. Although things are going to be tough for the next few years farmers will get through this with the help of the bio-control. North Island farmers have already gone through this process and clover root weevil is not much of an issue now for any of them. “If we had let things run their natural course the Irish wasp would have continued to spread down the South Island, following the clover root weevil, and eventually arrived everywhere in Southland.”

Scott Hardwick collecting clover root weevil using a blower-vac.

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WORLD  // 23

Another Oz processor changes hands AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST privately owned milk processing company has been sold to a Hong Kong businessman who plans to use it as a springboard into the lucrative milk powder market in China. William Hui last month paid $A70 million for United Dairy Power (UDP). He told The Australian newspaper that he planned to spend $A20m more to lift production and expand into the milk powder business. He says the company could consider buying farming properties as part of its expansion plan for UDP, designed to cash in on the booming demand for powdered milk products in China. A UDP statement says Hui will provide new opportunities to grow the business in Australia and other markets. It says company founder Tony Esposito will be stepping back from the business over the next few months, but will remain involved with UDP and committed to ensur-

ing the business continues to flourish. Mark Smith will become chief executive. UDP says that despite the change of ownership it will be business as usual. “We will continue to operate our facilities in Victoria and South Australia, and our name and corporate brand will all remain the same. We’ll continue to maintain our high ratio of field representatives and pay competitive milk prices.” UDP, based in south Melbourne, has plants at Poowong, Victoria and Murray Bridge and Jervois, South Australia. Established in 1999, it buys milk from the Kirin-owned Lion-National Foods Group and provides transport and logistics services and manufacturing facilities. The company makes dairy products including cheddar, the Caboolture brand of mozzarella, and butter and whey powder. The UDP sale follows a fierce bidding war for the listed Warrnam-

bool Cheese & Butter, a battle eventually won by Saputo after the Canadian giant beat off local rivals Murray Goulburn and Bega Cheese. Hui’s plants to expand production will add fuel to a fierce battle for milk supply in Australia. Fonterra is also seeking an extra 100m litres of milk in Australia. Hui plans a big expansion of production to diversify into milk powder for export to China. “We now still mainly rely on the local market,” he says. “If we get more milk supply then we will divert to the China market. “Our factories have the potential to produce more but supply is at the maximum already. We need to look for the milk supply, increase our production and then we can go to China. Right now we have about 150 farmer suppliers, and we are talking to them about supplying more. “We are also talking to our bankers to see if they can allow us to provide finance to farmers, assis-

tance to them, to help them grow as well.” Hui says the company will maintain capacity in the local market and will advance its expansion plans only if it can source more milk. He says other investors in China are willing to follow his lead in buying or investing in Australian dairy assets. “We know there are lots of investors in China.” In the coming five years there will be a lot of Chinese coming to this market. In the past five years it has been in mining, but in the coming five years it will be in dairy. “Whether it is a big company or a medium-sized company in China, they will be interested because the dairy product from Australia is very good. “The environment here is good for cows and milk. China has already been importing a lot of cows from Australia.”

FTA prospect firms, farmers happy AUSTRALIAN FARMERS

are happy with moves by Chinese authorities to accelerate a free-trade deal with Australia. NFF president Brent Finlay says China could become Australia’s biggest trading partner. “This deal is a potential boon for agriculture. It looks as though agriculture and food sectors will be major winners from this agreement, with mining and manufacturing sectors also benefiting. “The projected changes in exports of agricultural products are estimated at around an additional $A600m per year. However, results will obviously depend on what the final details of the agreement might be.” In his opening speech to the recent National People’s Congress, China Premier Li Keqiang

said it will “accelerate” negotiations for a free trade agreement with Australia, a process that started in April 2005. Finlay says there are major opportunities for farmers in finalising this deal. But he points out the China deal is only one of several now being negotiated. “We’re still focusing on bilateral agreements with Japan and India, as well as regional agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “We strongly support a freetrade agreement with China, but the agreement must take a holistic view of Australian agriculture and consider trade access across all markets. “We will not support a deal signed at any cost. A second-rate agreement in any area is simply not good enough.”

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24 //  WORLD

Fighting sceptics inside the farmgate SUDESH KISSUN

TEN YEARS ago one of Visitors take a bus ride through the cow shed.

the largest dairy operators in the US saw the writing on the wall: animal welfare

lobbyists were increasing their focus on farming and consumers were keen to know more about their food. Although environment groups were targeting the pig and poultry sectors

back then, Gary Corbett, chief executive of Fair Oaks Farms, Indiana knew “dairy’s time was gonna come”. In 1994, Fair Oaks decided to go on the offensive; it opened the 13,000ha dairy farm to the public, for them to see how cows are looked after and milked. A birthing barn auditorium also allows visitors to see calves being born. Milk, cheese, ice cream and yoghurt are processed and sold at the farm. Today, Fair Oaks hosts 575,000 visitors annually and is the number one destination for visitors to the town. Fair Oaks’ success has attracted interest from other sectors; last year Fair Oaks Farms opened a pig adventure operation with 3000 sows. Last month Corbett shared Fair Oaks’ success story with 350 farmers at the Australian Dairy Conference in Geelong. Speaking on ‘People, Planet and Profit- ensuring dairy farming has a future’, he urged Australian farmers to take their story to the consumers to counter negative publicity from animal rights groups. According to Corbett, the activists are well funded and passionate in their campaigns. “Consumers were also becoming well informed; they wanted to know about traceability, the food supply chain and animal welfare,” he says. According to Corbett, the dairy industry has always believed someone else will take care of the negative publicity generated by activists. Therefore, dairy has never been ahead of the game. He says people visiting Fair Oaks are very interested to interact with farmers. “In our experience 99% of the visitors have no agenda and come to understand agriculture better. Consumers haven’t let us down.” After touring the farm, consumers buy locally produced cheese and ice cream from the Fair Oaks store. Corbett believes there is an emotional attachment after visitors

see how it houses cows, feeds and milks them and takes care of them. Cheese produced at Fair Oaks is sold across the US however ice cream and yoghurt are only available at the store. Corbett has no regrets about opening the farm to the public. “The question is not whether we can

Gary Corbett

afford to tell the story but can we afford not to?… We can’t.” Fair Oaks practices sustainability on all fronts and Corbett says this will ensure the business will prosper for many years. Fair Oaks has 37,000 cows; the average herd size in the US is under 200. The property has 11 milking platforms and a permit to build another one. The free-stall barn operation milks 800 cows every 6.5 minutes for 24 hours a day serving the fluid milk market; it produces almost a million litres of milk daily. The 1.6 million gallons of liquid manure produced at the dairy operation is fed through a digester with the end product used in many ways. For example, liquid manure is turned into gas to power the business’s 45 trucks and to yield fertiliser, with the water used to grow a source of protein which is added to the herd’s total mixed ration. About 120 calves are born every day. Fair Oaks Farms also produces at least 60% of its own feed. Corbett says he doesn’t want to lose any sleep over what to feed the cows the next day. “We have two years of feed on hand. We try to have big healthy cows, ensuring we have feed in front of them 24 hours a day.” Fair Oaks Farms employs 450 people.

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Flogging a dead fish (and game)

“Right now he’s wishing he hadn’t locked the farm gate to hunters!”

MILKING IT... Putting it bluntly

Sign of the times

Feathers ruffled

HANDY AS a hammer is for culling a calf, in this day and age, where perception is reality, such practice has to be prohibited. It should have been when, in 2010, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee revised the Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare, especially as concerns had already been raised about routine euthanasia on economic grounds by such methods on New Zealand farms in 2009 when Fonterra’s opening forecast was just $4.55/kgMS and bobby calf prices were poor. It was fortunate this year’s furore was sparked in Chile. It could have been Hauraki.

IF TWENTY years ago you’d suggested to a high country farmer that dairying would one day be a feature in a Federated Farmers High Country field day, the answer would probably have included the words ‘pig’ and ‘fly’. But that day came last week with a field day touring dairy developments in the lower Mackenzie Basin – or rather Upper Waitaki as some call it these days to try to distance it from the ‘iconic landscape’ arguments associated with the Mackenzie. The developments are a credit to the pioneers behind them, and a sign of dairying’s adaptability to a range of climates and environments.

FAST-GROWING milk brand a2 is becoming a nuisance to conventional milk players in Australia. A2 Corporation, which claims its a2 milk has better digestive health benefits, has being accused of running a scare campaign in Australia that denigrates normal milk and damages the dairy industry. Parmalat Australia chief executive Craig Garvin says its farmers are of the view that all dairy is good and the vast majority of production is A1. Farmers are not interested in a divisive conversation, he adds. We say to Parmalat, get a life.

Residents see red over buttermilk

THE SOUTH Taranaki District Council’s decision to allow Fonterra to dump three million litres of buttermilk into the Eltham wastewater treatment plant has backfired. Locals say they’re being made sick by the odour and chemicals coming from the plant. Last year during the spring flush Fonterra dumped the by-product buttermilk, and milk contaminated with oil waste, on the say so of the council, which mistakenly thought its plant could handle the waste. Council chief executive Craig Stevenson says a mistake by an employee had snowballed into a much bigger problem. He is gutted by its effect on residents, and the council is now looking at how to deal with it.

ONE HAS to wonder what Fish and Game (FAG) was thinking with this latest survey, designed it would seem to discredit the dairy industry. As a strategic public relations campaign it’s an abject failure, pushing FAG further out towards the loony fringe. It lacks credibility in its attempt to revive the cracked-record hit of a few years ago – ‘dirty dairying’. The public have moved on from there and can see that the vast majority dairy farmers are working to keep the rivers and lakes clean. In fact farmers have moved faster than some local authorities who are way behind in improving their environmental footprint. If FAG leaders thought this latest ‘revelation’ would win friends and assist in some of its dubious challenges to council plans, they are wrong. We don’t see Maori, for example, jumping on the FAG waka. They are too smart to be conned by a pressure group and have their own environmental agenda which is culture and science based. Maori are big dairy farmers and FAG is like a dog with fleas; Maori will want to stay well clear of them. As for the Government, the extreme stance of FAG will not win it any political favours; it’s election year and politicians are looking for smart, reasoning supporters, not people who create a fuss and seek to derail such a key economic driver as the dairy industry. A few years ago Federated Farmers, like FAG now, was on a headline gathering rampage but its own members eventually decided enough was enough and made a major leadership change. FAG leaders are now on soggy ground. Most fishers are moderate, reasonable, in some cases well-connected people who don’t like unseemly scraps and agro. Many dairy farmers are members. FAG once had itself comfortably installed in the LAWF tent, but this survey will put it on the outer. If FAG persists in this extreme voice it will likely be ignored altogether, even if it has a reasoned point to make.

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OPINION  // 27

Spin vs reality WHAT WOULD happen

if Federated Farmers published a survey which asked, ‘do you feel introduced fish species should enjoy more legal protection than native fish?’ Or what about, ‘should the trout license fee ($121 for an adult) be abolished, and trout and salmon rules aligned with those for saltwater recreational fishing?’ Something tells me one group would explode in a rage.  So I am not going down that line.  Instead, let’s talk about that Mk 1 eyeball each of us is born with.  Every year, from October to April and again from May to September, anglers take to our rivers in the hope of landing a whopper trout.  They are inspired after reading the Southland Times where Fish and Game’s local manager says, “The rivers are all in good order and flowing a bit low for this time of year, which makes it good for fishing.”   A couple of years ago Fish and Game’s Wellington manager Phil Teal warned employers to be on sickie patrol from the start of the season.  He said, at the time, “monitoring has also shown good numbers of trout in the rivers, so prospects are looking good…. Wellington, Wairarapa, Kapiti Coast and Manawatu have worldclass trout fishing opportunities right on the doorstep.” So how do you square these exaltations with the national body’s curmudgeonly obsession that farming is somehow the mortal enemy of trout?  You cannot have rivers that run brilliantly when you want to sell a license but become toxic when you are pushing policy barrows.  Waikato University professor Jacqueline Rowarth recently wrote in the National Business Review, “Perceptions and beliefs are not the same as facts and data and Lincoln University’s ‘The Public Perception of the Environment’ has evolved into a document that tries to set perceptions into some sort

of context and shows most New Zealanders know we have a remarkably good environment. In contrast, the ‘Farming and the Environment’ report, which Fish and Game commissioned Horizon Research to undertake, suggests dairy companies should be taking a formal role in the environmental performance of their suppliers. But maybe Fish and Game chief executive Bryce Johnson was misquoted or is unaware that Fonterra already has employees working with farmers on nutrition budgets and effluent management, as does DairyNZ. Fish and Game suggests voters in the general election choose between the environment and the economy, but the Horizon Research report indicates New Zealanders are wiser than that. Take the Ruataniwha water storage scheme that has seen more spins than your average washing machine. Contrary to what Fish and Game says, the Tukituki River does have a nitrogen loss cap but here’s the kicker: nitrogen isn’t the big issue with the Tukituki River, phosphorus is.  In summer phosphorus mostly comes from the towns, so cue a collective yuck.  It’s also on the road to being fixed, but that takes money and the way to get that money is to grow the Central Hawke’s Bay economy.  The simple answer is ‘just add water’.   The National Policy Statement (Freshwater) and the National Objectives Framework could, as Federated Farmers’ Chris Allen told The Press, represent a seismic change in farming similar to 1980s Rogernomics.  Back then, nearly a third of Mid-Canterbury farmers left the land.  News media do themselves a disservice by not being aware of its implications, or in the case of many, its existence.   So instead of locking people out [as suggested by Rural News, March 18], invite anglers in and talk to them about what they see and suggest it would be grand if they shared their experience with the newspapers, talkback radio and on-line.  The

best way to defeat spin is truthful first-hand experience. Let us make it a positive experience and we’ve got allies in the likes of the Walking Access Commission to get people onfarm.  This is a time to talk about and to show off what we do each and every day.  Let’s build allies by

engaging with those who spend a small fortune in the hope of a fish. Yet I feel the anti-farming stance of Fish and Games’ national office is a huge own-goal. Telling the public our rivers are stuffed towards the end of the season also sends this message; ‘why bother

buying a license?’ Instead of continually throwing rocks from the sidelines, note that the Shag River, Otago, and Lake Rotorua show that together we can solve problems.  But only if we work together. • Willy Leferink is Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson

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Oz feed firm picks local team AUSTRALIAN FEED

supplier BEC Feed Solutions has appointed Trina Parker as country manager of BEC NZ, responsible for new and existing business with feed manufacturers. Jennifer McCarty will provide technical product support and field sales services in her role as techni-

Jennifer McCarty (left) and Trina Parker.

cal services officer. The pair have 20 years aggregated experience in animal nutrition and health, ingredient procurement and regulatory controls. They will work from Auckland, focused especially on the dairy industry. BEC managing direc-

tor Brett Antonio says Ms Parker and Ms McCarty are “highly regarded in the NZ animal feed sector and we are fortunate to have them on board”. “Their combined knowledge, understanding and experience in New Zealand feed and livestock will be integral to our success [there].” Parker has worked in the feed, poultry and regulatory sectors. She has pre-

viously worked with Tegel Foods, and several New Zealand agricultural businesses and trade associations, including the feed manufacturers, egg producers and poultry industry federations. McCarty, BSc in Animal Science, will support and facilitate the transfer of information to customers. She previously worked in feed formulations for NRM Feeds.



BEC FEED Solutions Pty Ltd is said to be Australia’s largest independent animal pre-mix manufacturer. The family-owned, Brisbane company now operates in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Brett Antonio says producing optimum quality ingredients is at the core of BEC’s business philosophy. “Our business is guided by a healthy respect for our relationship to the human food chain and as such we are committed to manufacturing and supplying safe, quality feed products. This is now more crucial than ever considering New Zealand’s increasing consumer demand, stringent regulations, increasing exports, animal welfare, and the need to maintain competitive quality advantage.”

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FONTERRA CHAIRMAN John Wilson is impressed with the co-op’s new $126 million UHT milk processing site at Waitoa on the weekend. The site is in its final stages of testing before commissioning Anchor UHT milk and cream products at the end of this month. Wilson says he’s impressed with how quickly it had taken the site to get to this stage with construction completed in 12 months. “It was great to get the chance to visit and meet the team who have brought our Waitoa site to life. There is a real sense of pride from the team on the ground.



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Amazed by maize crop A well-oiled office will boost profits THE MAIZE harvest is

now getting into full swing and anecdotal evidence suggests the amount of land in maize is higher than normal. AgFirst Rotorua consultant Peter Livingston says he’s noticed a lot of maize is now grown south of Rotorua – mainly newer varieties that are shorter maturing and can grow at a higher altitude or in a shorter summer period. He says maize is

widely used by farmers in Bay of Plenty and South Waikato for supplementation, mainly in autumn as cows are dried off. Maize lengthens rotation and puts condition back on the herd. “You’ll find a quarter to a third of farmers use maize. It’s one of those things you can turn on or off. Maize has been getting more expensive in recent years. We used to be able to grow maize at less than 17-18 cents/kgDM and you still can if you get high yields. But once you get above that and add cartage, storage and wastage… maize starts to cost 30-40 cents/kgDM if you are not careful.”

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He also notes that adding in the cost of leased land for growing maize at low to moderate yields can make maize an expensive feed source. The true cost is also affected by costs of storage and utilisation rate at the time of feeding, matters that farmers sometimes pay minimal attention to, he says. Livingston says if maize is grown in the

same place year after year for a long time it can damage the structure of the soil and strip out the organic matter. Farmers must counter this by introducing compost or chicken manure or green crops such as oats to restore the organic matter. Maize is deep rooted and quite nitrogen and potash hungry. @dairy_news

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RUNNING A sharp business can contrib- that work because there is no boundary ute as much profit to a dairy farm as can between home and work when you live at milking cows, says Dairy Women’s Net- your office,” says Coles. Hiring one part-time admin assistant work (DWN). DairyNZ modelling shows the indus- seven years ago was the start of taking try’s profitability could be improved their business administration seriously, $1 billion per year (about $1000/ha) by and today Coles Farms employs two partimproving management capabilities and time administrators and has a purposebuilt office. financial literacy. Craw, a business developer, says the DWN will in April run workshops on the ‘Well-Oiled Office’ to teach dairy farmers workshop will help farmers better understand the administration role and the value effective business administration. “Dairy farming women who ‘do the books’ are often perceived as the household accounts manager, when in reality they are business administrators,” says DWN chief executive Zelda de Villiers.  “We know from DairyNZ research that Annabel Craw there is huge variation Frances Coles in profitability between New Zealand’s best and worst performing it adds. “If you look at other industries or busidairy farms.” Raising administration skills nesses, administration functions are percan close that gap, she says. Running the workshops will be Anna- formed at a high, professional level because bel Craw in the North Island and Frances they are at the core of a well-run business,” Coles in the south. Both are farmers with says Craw.  “In a farming business, administration 10 years aggregated experience between them, teaching financial literacy and busi- often falls to women who may be juggling other roles on the farm.”  When you really ness administration.  Based near Temuka, Frances and hus- understand business administration you band Aaron own Coles Farms and have can decided how you really want to run investments in three other dairying busi- the role, depending on your goals. A Q&A session will dwell on practical nesses, including a farm equity partnership, contract milking arrangements and experiences in dealing with dairy farmer shared ownership of a herd on a 50/50 compliance. “In particular DWN memsharemilking partnership. Coles says 13 bers often ask for more practical training years ago she was working full-time off the in ACC, tax and Kiwisaver, because the farm and ‘fitting in’ the accounts around information they get at a technical level isn’t easy to translate in a practical way.” everything else.  The workshops start on April 1 in Kerik“I had to reassess our approach to business admin, including whether the home eri and Nelson and finish on April 15 in Winton. high x 26.5cm wide) office was still the right place to12x7 be doing(12cm

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18/03/14 9:28 am



New payment system for dairy support farmers VIVIENNE HALDANE

A NEW payment system for dairy support cattle was unveiled by New Zealand Grazing Company’s (NZGC) managing director, Ian Wickham, at a company field day at Takapau, Hawke’s Bay, on March 18. The new concept, modeled dry matter (MDM), is one NZGC has been developing for five years. MDM rewards farmers for feeding dairy support cattle on a fair and equitable basis, where circumstances are variable. “We already help people grow great heifers. Now we have a modern approach to reward growers for doing an excellent job,” he says. The model has been validated by DairyNZ and is approved and used by Fonterra for the export cattle in NZGC’s care. MDM starts with the production (animal weight, weight increase, etc), calculates the amount of feed used to support that production and then pays the predetermined amount per kilograms of dry matter – with a price that has been

agreed for the value of that feed. The model takes into account seasonal variations, so juvenile pasture is worth more money, winter-feed is worth even more and feed in a drought is worth a lot more. “This system automatically corrects the price for the time that feed is in short supply; so if a drought is declared, the contract provides for an agreed price increase from then until the drought is over,” says Wickham. A bonus is paid for every animal that reaches an agreed target weight and, conversely, a penalty on any animal that fails to reach an agreed minimum weight. MDM also takes into consideration animal health and other husbandry expenses. The system relies on an undertaking by growers to weigh animals monthly. “If you’re doing a good job, weighing the animals, and they’re above target, then you’ll get paid a lot more,” Wickham says. The new fee system grew out of acknowledgement by NZGC of heifer owner dissatisfaction with

variable weight gain performance using the flat weekly rate, with fixed payment. Heifer growers were also dissatisfied with the highly variable income under the old system, particularly the risk of low gain at times when feed was expensive. “When agreed fair targets are met for an agreed fair price, then all parties win a profitable result.” At the core of MDM is a new cloud database whereby NZGC records and manages the information on each animal in a way not previously possible. Wickham says they’ve had strong acceptance from existing clients to MDM. The field day, attended by at least 100 farmers, included a tour of Brookwood Station, Takapau, to see firsthand how a successful heifer grazing system works. Owners Justin King and Meg Campion have been grazing dairy heifers for NZGC for several years and currently grow 1500 heifers. King says he chose NZGC as the link between himself and the dairy

farmer and believes it is a win-win for both parties. “Under the new contract I get paid more when cattle are juveniles and more in the winter; it works out about 21c/ kg dry matter for the 16-18 months they are on. The thing I like about the heifers is you are not speculating on when you are going to buy and sell, or the price. All I have to concentrate on is what’s happening within the farmgate rather than beyond it. It’s a safety net.”

Ian Wickham at last week’s field day.

Effluent disposal depot opens A NEW stock truck effluent disposal facility opened last

week at Te Kuiti will help reduce spills of stock effluent on King Country roads, says Waikato Regional Council. Designed and built by Waitomo District Council, with funding from the Waikato Regional Council and NZ Transport Agency, the new facility offers 24/7 truck access. It is located in Cotter Street, just off Waitete Road (SH 30), immediately adjacent to the Te Kuiti sale yards. Waitomo District Council will manage operation and maintenance. District mayor Brian Hanna says the facility in Te Kuiti is well placed to cater for trucks attending sale days. “Because it’s so accessible to truck operators, it should help to reduce spills of stock effluent onto our roads from heavily loaded stock trucks.” Regional transport committee chairman and Waikato regional councillor Hugh Vercoe says the facility will

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18/03/14 2:35 pm



Success in the shadow ABOUT 120 people attended a field day showcasing one of the three finalists in the Ahuwhenua Trophy contest for the top Maori dairy farm. Reporter Peter Burke headed to Taranaki to see how Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd (TROTM) made it to the finals. THE FARM is just




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outside Normanby, on a clear day enjoying fabulous views of Mt Taranaki. It’s also adjacent to the farms of another big Maori dairy farmer, Parininihi Waitotara (PKW), a previous winner of the Ahuwhenua Trophy. In fact many of the people in TROTM have links to PKW. The 189ha (170 eff) farm, like all the finalists in this year’s competition, is a collaboration (whanaungatanga) of a number of different entities: three whanau trusts, a private trust and a block banked with the Office of Treaty Settlements. This block is subject to a negotiation with Nga Ruahine which

already owns one of the Te Rua o Te Moko blocks. While this might sound complicated, in fact the collaboration between the trusts is seen as a breakthrough in unlocking small, largely uneconomic parcels of Maori land and creating a viable economic entity for the beneficial owners. In the case of Te Rua oTe Moko there are 1100 individual landowners. The farm is managed under a 50/50 share milking arrangement due to expire at the end of the 2014-15 season, at which time TROTM will take over the running. The 500 Jersey-cross cows are expected to produce at least 200,000kgMS this season. TROTM is already

Dion Maaka

building up its herd for the transition and most of these stock are on other farms in the district. The farm is not without its challenges, especially the 28-bail rotary shed which makes milking slow. The farm hosts a course run by Land Based Training, in which eight young people are doing

dairy farming theory and practice. (see page XX) The chairman of Te Rua o Te Moko is Dion Maaka who is also the chief financial officer of PKW. He says there were many challenges bringing TROTM into being in 2009. At first there was “push back” to the idea but “character resilience and leadership” among key owners saw the collaborative concept accepted. Governance has been critical to the success of TROTM, Maaka says. He is full of praise for fellow board members Philip Luscombe, Doug Brooks and Hinerangi Raumati (a chartered accountant long involved with PKW) for achieving much in a short

time. Close collaboration with PKW has been a big help, he says. “From a governance perspective, our goal is to continue to build our herd and work on the acquisition strategy to become a fully managed farm on June 1, 2015. We need to continue our engagement with the owners in ‘keeping them on the waka’ – so keeping them informed and making them part of the journey. There will be challenges going to a managed herd, however… the benefits easily outweigh the risks and with the management team we have in place we believe we can mitigate those concerns.” TROTM is committed






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of the mountain to kaitiakitanga (care of the land) and since 2010, 2500 plants have been planted along the waterways on the property, completion aimed for by June 2015. Pa site restoration is about to begin. Along with emphasis on environmental and cultural values, Maaka

says they aim also to provide a better return to shareholders. “The four blocks were previously leased on terms that gave economic return of maybe $1200-1400/ha, whereas the… board [aims to] at least triple [this] to a $4500/ha farm surplus.” Maaka says for 20 years Maori have educated

themselves and gained the skills to manage such entities as TROTM. The present focus is on growing the dairy farm but they will in time look at other investment opportunities if the “timing was right”. He notes the impact of entering the Ahuwhenua Trophy, which has “put us

in a position… to reflect on what we have achieved to date. This includes the owners’ aspirations of gaining control of the land and improving economic returns as well as in essence getting our people back on the land. These key aspirations have already been realised in a short time.”

Awuwhenua Awards chairman Kingi Smiler (right) and Michelle Hippolite TPK chief executive.

SMART SHAREMILKERS ON A MISSION TO SUCCEED QUICKLY MICHAEL AND Ruth Prankerd are two young people on a mission to succeed – and quickly. Nearing the end of their second season on the farm, they have one more to go before TROTM takes full ownership and management. Ruth (28) and Michael (30) are Massey ag graduates who since leaving university have achieved demanding goals. They worked on dairy farms in England and Ireland to gain experience, then before coming to TROTM were 50/50 share milkers milking 230 cows at Egmont Village, Taranaki. They have since entered the dairy awards, succeeding at the regional level. Michael came from a dairy farm and always wanted

to go into the industry. “When we came back from the UK we were keen and passionate about it and we saw how far we could go if we put our heads down and went for it.” Though involved in the business, Ruth works full time off the farm as a fertiliser field consultant for Ballance AgriNutrients and before that was a Rabobank rural banker. “It rounds our knowledge I guess and that’s why I decided to have a predominantly off-farm career.” The pair saw the move to TROTM as a career move, an opportunity to buy more cows and move further up the ladder, possibly towards farm ownership. “We are goal orientated, open to

challenges and like to work with people who have a passion and know where they are going and are working towards something. So our goals are in line Te Rua o Te Mokoa’s well. “At TROTM there is a corporate background that takes care of things an individual farmer doesn’t concern himself too much with. Sometimes that adds extra workload and sometimes it takes away.

Michael and Ruth Prankerd

“Of course Taranaki is the proud home of PKW so there is a lot of clout in agricultural society around the Maori land so that’s something we consider as well,” says Michael. For the Prankerds the infrastructure of the farm, in particular the small 28-bail rotary, poses challenges. At busy times it can take

five hours to milk the cows. They employ two staff and get some help from the Land Based trainees. They concede much on the farm could and would be different if it was owned by one party. But they knew what they were getting into when they signed up for TROTM. “It’s a matter of respecting what we have and the people we have with us to make it all work,” says Ruth.

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Finalists help open career window PE TER BURKE


ing dairying careers are training for these in a oneyear course on the farm of an Ahuwhenua Trophy finalist. Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd

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now two years on, has graduated students who now work on local farms. Much credit for this is due to the dedicated, passionate and caring supervisor Cris Morrison, who has worked for much of his life with young people. While the course is based at Te Rua o Te Moko,

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anyone – not just whanau – can gain admission. The course takes eight or nine students a year who live off-farm, getting a ride daily with Morrison from home or other pickup points. He recruits and selects students carefully via community networks. They undergo an interview process as for a job. This year’s intake has only two men but six women – showing the girls are willing to do anything, including the hard yards, he says. Students, typically from the region between Waverley and Opunake, come from different cultures and backgrounds. They want careers in farming to upgrade their skills. “Most are looking for job opportunities, even outside the industry, and they all understand hard work. They have come from families where their folks have lived on the dole or worked at the freezing works and these guys are saying, ‘we don’t want to work at the freezing works this time and we don’t want to live on the dole’. They want to make a good income and live on a farm.” Morrison is on call 24/7, getting them to the farm by 8.30am to get into their routine of supervised farm work. This includes cleaning the cow shed, moving stock and fences and feed-

ing out. They do this for three of the five days each week. On Thursday their theory tutor, Peter Henderson, takes the students through a range of topics designed to give them the all-round skills of a good farm worker. Numeracy and literacy skills are catered for if required. The other day is spent developing other farm skills. “They are learning all about how to operate a farm effectively. Today they were learning about farm budgeting and being careful how they spend money and use different equipment, especially in a dry season. They learn a number of things to help them achieve that end.” But Morrison’s day doesn’t end when he drops the students home at night. Often he gets calls from them as they work on assignments. Some of the students work part-time to help fund their $3000 course fees. Morrison has a farming background, but was a tradesman before he took on this role, working much of the time for Land Based Training owner Rob Gollan. “This job gives me great satisfaction. I have worked with youth all my life, helped them out, given them work to do to earn a bit of extra cash.”

TASTE OF SUCCESS ONE OF Cris Morrison’s success stories is Monique Christison (21). She is a student in this year’s intake, so impressing a local dairy farmer with her skills and Monique Christison commitment that he is employing her full-time from the start of the coming season. She had a variety of jobs, including working in a library, before deciding to do the course at TROTM and making her career choice. She remarked on her passion for caring for animals. “The course was amazing. Not having too many students means we get the chance to build on our skills and learn new things as well. I have learned how to drive a tractor, managed my fear of two wheelers and definitely excelled more with the animals.” Like other successful students Monique is delighted at the prospect of full-time work and a career in which she can see a future. “I’m pretty excited and trying to see myself move up in the dairy industry. Someday I might even be able to own my own farm.”



Reducing N leaching while making money DURING THE past decade there

has been an increasing focus on improving the quality of the water in our lakes, rivers and streams. Currently regional councils nationwide are either working on, or rolling out plans which set nitrogen leaching targets for each catchment area. Like it or not, this legislation is set to have a big impact on the way dairy farmers can operate in the future. Overseer is the management tool being used to predict on-farm nitrogen (N) leaching. This computer model calculates and estimates the nutrient flows in a productive farming system. It identifies risk for environmental impacts through nutrient loss including runoff and leaching. DairyNZ suggests that if Overseer predicts you are within 6kgN/ha of the target, you just need to make your system more efficient, but if you are more than 6kgN/ha above the target you need to look at your whole farm system. While many factors contribute to on-farm nitrogen leaching, cow urine is the main cause of 69% of the nitrogen loss from a typical dairy farm1. Assuming there is a best-management fertiliser policy in place, farmers who are well above the N-leaching target can decrease N-leaching by either decreasing the number of cows (and therefore the amount of urine excreted) per hectare, or by moving to a more intensive system which uses a number of strategies to decrease the impact of urinary nitrogen. These strategies include:

• Decreasing the amount of nitrogen in cow urine. When dietary N exceeds animal requirements, a high proportion (typically 60-70%) of the excess N intake is excreted in the urine. The more surplus protein a cow eats the more urinary nitrogen she excretes. In early lactation a high producing cow requires about 18% crude protein but ryegrass-clover pasture can contain at least 30% crude protein. Diluting the excessive dietary protein in pasture by feeding a low crude protein supplement (e.g. maize silage or maize grain) will decrease the amount of nitrogen in cow urine. • Growing crops which utilise soil nitrogen. Maize has an effective rooting zone of 150-180cm depth. This allows it to capture nutrients from depths two-three times greater than most pasture species. New Zealand research has shown maize crops can be grown in high fertility dairy paddocks (including effluent paddocks) without the need for any artificial fertiliser. The maize plant effectively ‘mines’ the soil nutrients (including nitrogen) which have fallen below ryegrass roots. The net result is a reduction in nitrogen leaching and the provision of low cost maize silage. • Collecting and distributing cow urine over a large area. Dairy cows are estimated to urinate 10-12

times per day. Each time they deposit about 2L of urine on an area that is just 0.2 m2 in size. The volume of nitrogen in a urine patch (1000 kgN/ha) is greater than the annual plant uptake (300-700 kgN/ha/ year) and this results in the build-up of soil nitrogen2. Leaching losses from urine patches are high, especially in the winter when rainfall is high. Keeping cows off pasture during wetter months, collecting effluent and applying it evenly over a large area at an appropriate rate and time will greatly reduce N-leaching on many farms. The challenge for many will be how to reduce N leaching while at the same time maintaining or improving profitability. The good news is it can be done and there are farmers already doing it. While mitigation strategies such as feed pads and wintering barns are a significant capital cost, they deliver a number of benefits in addition to reducing nitrogen leaching. I’ll discuss this in more detail in my next article. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact him at iwilliams@

The more surplus protein a cow eats the more urinary nitrogen she excretes.

1 Agresearch data for a dairy farm producing 850kgMS/ha using 100kg fertiliser N, effluent applied to land. 2 Moir et al. 2011. The spatial coverage of dairy cattle urine patches in an intensively grazed pasture system. Journal of

Agricultural Science 149: 473-485

Sources of nitrogen loss on a typical dairy farm1

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DNA parentage service passes milestone LIC’S GENEMARK

screening DNZ technology has passed the one million milestone. That’s how many animals have been screened since it was introduced in 2001. At least 1000 herds are using the GeneMark par-

The Gerrings (from left) Daniel, Rebecca, Bill and Lynne Gerring were presented with a certificate and bottle of wine from LIC in celebration.

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History of LI C’s GeneMark w hole herd DNA pa rentage testing

calves was the millionth to be profiled by GeneMark. ● 2001 – laun ched by LIC “We’ve been farm● 2009 –new technology ing for 13 years, but two improves reso lution rates of calf to years ago our son Daniel sire and dam. was starting his dairy ● 2013 – 1 m farming career with us illion calves profiled, 1000 herds and I thought Geneutilising servic e. Mark would help him identify the replacement heifers corentage, the more accurate rectly,” Bill says. sire proving will become.” “It’s good to know for Gerrings were presure that our young stock, sented with a certificate especially those with high and bottle of wine from breeding values, are out LIC in celebration. of who they’re supposed LIC’s diagnostics manto be.” ager Geoff Corbett says With DNA parentage testing, the Gerrings don’t the service has been well received, but jumped need to match calves to ahead in 2009 when new dams, they simply collect technology improved the calves from the paddock ability to match calf to and, with a tool provided, both sire and dam, even in take a small tissue sample from an ear of each calf for the largest dairy herds. “As farms have gotten GeneMark to analyse. larger it has, understand“The tissue sample ably, become increassystem is easy to use, and ingly difficult to accurately GeneMark has given us record and confirm the more confidence when pedigree of calves, and selecting semen for a parthat’s important informaticular dam. It’s rewardtion as they are to be the ing to know the breeding worth of the potential off- new crop of cows in the herd.   spring is accurate. “Farmers wanted “I also believe that the an easier solution; they more farmers who use wanted assurance on DNA partheir AB

spend, that they are keeping the correct animals, and that any genetic gain is not lost to mis-identification of parentage.” The one-millionth calf profiled by GeneMark’s DNA service.

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Fert co-op offers award-winning online technology SHAREHOLDERS OF

fertiliser co-op Ballance are being offered free access to the award-winning Ag Hub farm technology system. Ballance Agri-Nutrients took over Ag Hub last year and chief executive Larry Bilodeau says that with farmers under increasing pressure to track nutrient use and manage nutrient budgets, putting the technology in shareholders’ hands has been a priority. All Ballance shareholders are being offered free access to the Ag Hub system for their nutrient information. “Farmers want practical, accurate systems to support on-farm decisions and Ag Hub provides the level of real-time information to help them make the right calls, both for their business and for the environment,” says Bilodeau. “Our goal is to help our shareholders farm more profitably and sustainably through the delivery of complete nutrient management products and advice. Free access to farm information technology is another step in this direction. “Longer term we envisage even more technology with the integration of new information-based products and modelling

systems into Ag Hub as we bring to market some of the outcomes of our research and development programmes.” Ag Hub has evolved from a farm mapping system into a solutionbased package available through our website. Included in the free offer to shareholders is GIS interactive farm mapping, access to farm nutrient budgets, soil tests and fertiliser plan histories, as well as online ordering of Ballance products. Shareholders may also add other modules specific to their farming operations. Ballance general manager of ag-information Graeme Martin says the technology is effectively a one-stop shop for farmspecific data. “If a farmer wants to look at any information on the farm to help make a decision, then Ag Hub will immediately show a complete view of the property over four aspects – production, environment, fertiliser and nutrition (feed). The system can measure and control water, irrigation and effluent, and monitor things like soil moisture and weather conditions.” The system can text users if it detects something out of the ordinary with an effluent irrigator,

such as a drop in pressure, or if the spreader is nearing a waterway or fence or stops moving, which could otherwise result in consent breaches. It can also shut off effluent spreading. Nutrient mapping capability records the nutrient value of the effluent and where it has been placed, allowing fertiliser plans to be adapted accordingly. Corporate farming organisations and farmers with multiple properties can use Ag Hub to view and compare information across each farm from anywhere in the world with internet access.

AgHub manager Clive Nothling shows customers what its all about at the recent Waimumu Field Days.

AG HUB’S OFFER Ag Hub won the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ) ‘best of the best’ prize at its 2011 Innovations Awards. Ballance bought a 51% shareholding in in 2011 and the remainder last year.




Mapping – an accurate map of farm boundaries, paddocks and land features. Ag Hub farm mapping is based on the best source of aerial mapping data in New Zealand. Nutrient management – accurate management of nutrients saves time and makes it easy. The farmer can view soil test information, fertiliser plans, access nutrient management plans, and view/manage nutrient budgets. Online ordering – seamlessly scan Ag Hub and Ballance Online to view the status of current orders and order history, and create orders for properties directly from historical fertiliser plans.

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Artists encouraged to get wired ENTRIES FOR the Fieldays No. 8 Wire National Art Awards are now open, with a cash first prize double that of last year. Held annually during Fieldays, the award challenges artists to create artworks using mostly wire. The judge this year will

be sculptor Greer Twiss, who has exhibited for 50 years and was one of the first New Zealand artists to work in cast bronze. Once called New Zealand’s ‘godfather’ of contemporary sculpture, in 2002 he was made an Officer of the Order of Merit (ONZM) for

sculpture. Twiss says, “No.8 wire is an iconic concept material. The romantic implications of its use go way beyond the reality of the farm fence. The influence of materials that carry associations far from art interests me greatly; this is one of those materials. I am a maker

“Waikato Museum and Fieldays have redeveloped the Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award to ensure its ongoing success. We look forward to working with them and judge Greer Twiss.” An impressive prize pool is offered. The award prize giving ceremony will be held on

and this material is all about making and making do.” The New Zealand National Fieldays Society is to partner with the Waikato Museum and ArtsPost galleries and shop to organise the award. Waikato Museum director Cherie Meecham is pleased.


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NORTHLAND FIELD Days organisers are promising even more improvements to the venue for the 2015 event. Committee member Julie Geange says there will be a permanent toilet block “and that won’t be the only improvement”. They constantly try to do better from year to year, she says. A windbreak behind marketplace stalls and shade in food areas was appreciated at the recent show. At least 600 exhibitors and 27000 visitors turned out between February 27 and March 1 this year. The exhibitors were delighted, the organisers say. About 50 new exhibitors attended. Steel building manufacturer Totalspan Whangarei branch manager Paul Clarke says its reps got 60% more sales leads than any other year.”People were a bit more positive this year,” says Clarke. He says the company will rebook their space in the next couple of weeks. “It pays to do it early if you want to get the site you want.” Avoca general manager Keith Squires says the event went well for the Northland fertiliser company, 67 years in business. Reconnecting with customers after a long time away from the field days was the main goal, and they got hundreds of leads. “We weren’t there specifically to make sales but to get back in touch with old customers and let people know we’re still there as a fertiliser business in the north.” The company set up a 1917 truck at the front of the site and a photo display of the company’s history. Twincoast Helicopters 2007 Ltd chief executive Scotty Booth gave the event 8/10, saying it boosted his exposure a great deal. “It allowed us to get coverage, to get our name out there. It was really good.”



Wider header lifts productivity COMBINE HARVESTER maker New

Holland is offering a new 12.5m wide Varifeed grain header for its CR model, up from 10.7m wide. Higher productivity is the goal. The choice of 12.50m header width is because today many large farms use 36m tram lines in their fields. With more farms adopting the use of controlled traffic, this combination optimises machine’s capacity while respecting the required tolerance that controlled traffic dictates, the maker says. The grain header is based on a welded frame design. The adjustment range for the blade in longitudinal direction is 575mm and adjustment is done electro-hydraulically from the cab. As an option, the header can easily be adapted to use with separating knives for rapeseed threshing, the maker says. Four wide Autofloat sensing pads

enable header height and inclination to adjust automatically. But, says New Holland, a working width of 12.5m is “a genuine challenge, and not just for the chassis and the overall design. This working width also constitutes a challenge for knives, auger, reels and their drive units.” The header is powered by two driveshafts. A wobble box on each end of the head provides power to the dual sickles. Two robust knife drives with torsion dampers, one on the left and one on the right, both driven by belts with an automatic tensioning fixture, move the harvester knives, which have a slight overlap at midpoint. The two-piece auger is supported in the center with a bearing. New Holland is imported in New Zealand by C B Norwood Distributors. Tel. 06 356 4920

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Quality fleet keeps contractor on top of the game HEAVY EMPHASIS

on quality gear is keep a Wairarapa rural contractor on top of its game, reports supplier Norwood Farm Machinery Centre, Masterton. B&B Contracting, run by Richard Blundell and Sandy Bidwill, works in southern Wairarapa, doing ploughing, cultivation, mowing, baleage, drilling and harvesting. Operations manager Tim Linton says the Bidwills have invested heavily in top-quality gear in recent years. The business has been running a 5.0 m Vaderstad Carrier seed drill for seven

years, doing about 6000ha with it. The business also runs a Vaderstad BioDrill bought at the same time.

to none and it’s a good machine. We use it for drilling mainly grass and brassica crops.”

“The T7070 copes with the plough well and does a good job. It has a much longer mouldboard, so it gives good inversion with a level consolidated finish. It’s also good on hills.” “The Vaderstad Carrier is still going strong. We like the build quality of the levelling boards and the small discs,” says Linton. The accuracy is second

B&B Contracting bought a new sevenfurrow Lemken Vari Diamant 10 plough last year, the first semimounted plough they have

owned. “We used to have a fully mounted plough, but we chose this because we could operate a larger plough more efficiently without having to run a bigger tractor,” Linton says. “We wanted to go to a Lemken plough. We like them because of their strength and the job they do. Fitted with the new Lemken W52 bodies, this Vari Diamant leaves a much wider furrow bottom which means we can run much wider tyres. Tractor tyres have been getting bigger, and that’s been quite a problem.”

B&B Contracting’s Matt Purdy (left); Aaron George, Norwood Farm Machinery Centre, Masterton; and Tim Linton and Richard Blundell, B & B Contracting.

A New Holland T7070 tractor pulls the Lemken Vari Diamant and Linton says it is a good match. “The T7070 copes with the plough well and does a good job. It has a much longer mouldboard, so it gives good inversion with a level consolidated finish. It’s also good on hills.” B&B Contracting also bought a 6.0m Lemken Rubin 9 intensive disc cultivator just over a year ago. It was chosen for the

size of its large scalloped discs and the angle they work. “That was a big factor for our autumn work. The rubber roller on the back is [unusual] and the strength of the discs makes it go well in hard stony ground.” The business also runs a Vaderstad RX620 roller with a StocksAG seeding unit – a “good, strong, reliable” implement with an accurate seeding unit. “It’s simple to use,

which is a key point for… the variety of operators who use this gear. It’s all user-friendly and easy to learn.” B&B Contracting also operates a Horsch Pronto DC6 drill – their second Pronto. Horsch, Lemken, StocksAG and Vaderstad are imported in New Zealand by C B Norwood Distributors Ltd. Tel. 06 356 4920

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Simplicity, grunt suit bale feeding tasks WHEN NORM Styles came to replace his bale feeder the Hustler Chainless 4000 was his first & final stop, says the company. He wanted something with relatively few moving parts. And another farmer is reported to have told him “I wouldn’t buy anything other than a Hustler.” Styles runs a 400ha operation at Pleasant Point, South Canterbury. He feeds out mostly round bales with a mixture of baleage, straw and hay. The bales are tube wrapped and weigh 700-800kg. He says the Hustler’s rear loading system has “all the grunt in the world”. Having “total control” of the bale from the ground to the platform allows the operator to safely remove net wrap – no chance of getting caught under the bale. The Hustler uses only one hydraulic cylinder and a mechanical action for extra safety – no relief valves with the potential to fail. Styles shifted from a three-point-linkage feeder to a trailed feeder to save time in his busy operation. His contour ranges from easy rolling to steep terrain. The CH4000 has been ‘bullet-proof’, he says. “I got the optional tractor grip tyres which were a good thing for me and the string box is a great feature to keep debris from the tractor cab.” “Gordon Handy Machinery looked after me with the deal and I largely tow it behind a JD 6920.” Tel. 0800 487 853

Norm Styles likes his bale feeder.



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Alloy deck ideal for heavy loads AUTO ACCESSORY firm Best Bars makes alloy

decks that suit most 1-tonne ute models and variants sold by leading vehicle suppliers, from single cab models, to crew cabs and double cabs. The alloy decks have an anodised finish, so won’t corrode, and will keep their looks for longer, the company says. The main advantage is their ability to haul extra loads. They are made from high-strength extruded alloy, a lighter material than steel. It means the vehicle can carry up to 20% more load per trip. And the lower weight causes less wear on driveline components and tyres, and keeps down fuel usage, Best Bars says. The decks can be installed as a rigid deck on a cab/ chassis or may be supplied with a tipping mechanism. A marine grade plywood overlay can be specified to protect the tray surface and to add grip to the tray. The decks have hinged drop sides and exterior lashdown rails. A 63mm alloy headboard tube is standard, as are tail light guards, alloy mudguards, mudflaps and rack pegs.

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Fert accuracy maximises yield TONY HOPKINSON

FERT SPREADING accuracy was to the fore in the Central Districts Field Days display of Kuhn’s Axis spreaders, all with H-EMC (hydraulic drive, electronic mass flow control). “Accuracy helps crop yield as the plant gets the correct nutrients to maximise yield and by that means farmers can monitor expenses,” said national sales manager, Kuhn New Zealand, Brian Robertson. The (Remove “range of”) models give spreading widths from 12m to 50m with capacities from 1000L to 4000L. These can be combined with manual/electronic application rate adjustment proportional to ground speed. The working width is changed by altering the drop point of the fertiliser/seeds onto the disc – manually on some models and electronically from the cab on others. With the larger capacity models (Remove “a range of”) electronically controlled metering outlets can be integrated with GPS to prevent the

Glenbrook Hire’s extended excavator fleet.

wastage otherwise caused by overlapping at headlands. Kuhn’s OptiPoint automatically determines the ideal point to open and close the metering outlets with GPS support. Models with weighcells working with Quantron E-2 or HEMC Isobus allow the farmer to alter the application rate during spreading. These systems check, several times

per second, whether the flow corresponds to the programmed rate and adjusts it to the correct amount. The EMC measures and continuously adjusts application on each disc on all hydraulically driven models. This gives high flexibility and accuracy. Tel. 0800 585 007

Excavator choice didn’t take long A NEW excavator added to the fleet run

by Glenbrook Hire, near Pukekohe, was chosen on the basis that the distributor, Norwood Farm Machinery Centre, knows what it is about. After 30 years of dealing with Norwoods at Pukekohe, and the Kubota engines the firm sells and services, Glenbrook Hire manager Shane Pinker says the choice was not difficult. Since 1976 the family-run Glenbrook Machinery has serviced greater Auckland region with AVANT loaders and AUSA rough terrain forklifts. When Glenbrook were looking to add excavators to their hire fleet they decided to stick with what they knew, Norwood says. Kubota engines powering their loader and forklift range stood the brand in a league of its own, the hire firm says, so the Kubota excavator range topped its list for

fleet expansion. Says Shane Pinker, “[Norwood’s] Steve Hale has been more than accommodating and nothing is ever a problem.” Auckland and Northland sales rep Steve Hale says, “The Glenbrook team are great to deal with, always making you feel welcome. “If there is a specific Kubota product a customer wants for a long term hire then we will do everything we can to make that product available” Pinker says With a dozen Kubota excavators now available, including the recently released KX016-4, Pinker says expanding the geographical reach of their hire division and the range available is the goal for 2014. Kubota is imported in New Zealand by C B Norwood Distributors Ltd. Tel. 0800 KUBOTA

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Good machinery helps steep climb in yield BURNHAM DAIRY

farmers Mark and Kelsey Williams have turned a 100ha sheep block into a high performing 600-cow dairy farm in a little over two years, says machinery supplier Landpower. They expect to produce 300,000kgMS this season. After running a small business, Williams bought the property in 2011, redeveloping it over 12 months with an 80ha centre pivot, 20ha of fixed irrigation and a 40-bail herringbone dairy and adjoining concrete feed pad. The dairy has automatic livestock identification and drafting, cup removers, teat sprays and back-up gate.

wagon and a JCB 536-60 Loadall telehandler are used to feed out twice a day after milking. The wagon contains two PTO driven augers that mix the feed which is discharged out a side-mounted hydraulic conveyor. The mixer has electronic weighing system, allowing accurate formulation and batching. Williams says both machines have more than paid for themselves in just one season. “Those two machines are loading and mixing out 1400 tonnes of ration a year in remarkably little time. I like the wagon; it’s simple and solid.

operation. We have freedraining soils, so [can] run high stocking rates… without impact on herd health or the environment. We only have one or two cows with mastitis at any one time. “In our opinion,

putting on high volumes of acid fertilisers or nitrogen is not sustainable. We are recycling all our liquid and solid waste, supplemented with guano (rock phosphate), kieserite (magnesium sulphate) and lime.”

Mark Williams says good machinery makes work easy.

A n e w a p p r oac h to productivit y

“Having good infrastructure and machinery and keeping them that way make work easy.” “We feed out one load per milking and it easily mixes about six tonnes per load. By the time we finish loading and drive to the feed pad it’s ready to feed out.” The telehandler has an assortment of attachments, including forks, a bale grab, a bucket and a scraper. “The JCB is… so versatile. We use it for everything from loading the wagon to scraping the feed pad, picking up silage and bales, carting gravel and installing gateways. “There’s no way we would ever go back to using a front loader. It’s easily 50% faster than a front loader and it’s [highly] manoeuvrable. Being able to stretch the boom [enables it to] get in or over areas we can’t reach with a tractor.” Other equipment includes a Claas Arion 630C tractor and a Claas Disco 3100RC mower conditioner bought from Claas Harvest Centre, at Templeton. With a stocking rate 50% higher than the Canterbury average and almost double the national average, Mark accepts his operation is not without detractors. “Our overriding objective is to run a profitable but sustainable dairying

The new 5 series tractors from Deutz-Fahr deliver unparalleled on-farm productivity with industry leading features like cab suspension, Stop & Go, 4-wheel braking, an ultra-clean tier 4 engine and a super quiet, ergonomically designed cabin. The 5 series provides the benefits of a big tractor in a compact, muscular 100-130Hp tractor ideally suited to New Zealand farming. Call your local Deutz-Fahr dealer for a demonstration today, and prepare to be impressed.

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The farm employs three staff. “Having good infrastructure and machinery and keeping them that way makes work easy and keeps everyone happy,” Williams says. Charlotte Westwood, a veterinary nutritionist with PGG Wrightson, supervises a feeding program that provides about one third of the herd’s feed intake. Cows get about 8kg of maize and lucerne silage, plus vegetable waste or barley, each day. “Our goal is to maintain production and body condition throughout the lactation,” Williams says. “After calving, we want to get the weight back in our cows so we give them a high-carb diet that contains more energy than protein. “By mating time, we cut the maize back and increase the lucerne content to increase the protein levels. “We also [feed] trace minerals, vitamins, salt, lime, cider vinegar and canola oil.” About 1500 tonnes of silage is grown on a neighbouring block, which supports 60ha of permanent lucerne stands, annual maize and kale. A Dutch-made Trioliet Solomix 2000ZX-T mixer



BALE STRIP & SOFT HAND Splits bales and removes net wrap and plastic. Call for seasons specials!.

SLURRY TANKER 4000-24,000 litre. Wide range of options including galvanising, auto fill, dribble bar and trailing shoe. From $25,000 + GST.

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Track options for everyday combines TRACKED DRIVE is now offered as an option on New Holland conventional ‘flagship’ combine harvesters, the CX7000 and the CX8000, reports C B Norwood Distributors. For years the New Holland ‘triangle concept’ tracked drive train has been used on CR combine harvesters; now its use widens. At the same time, for even more challenging tasks the maker’s new ‘SmartTrax with Terraglide’ system is being developed for the range. This tracked drive system was unveiled at Agritechnica 2013. The new design incorporates the following: ■■ Load-bearing capacity

increased to 43 tonnes Maximum transport width of 3.5 m with the largest possible ‘footprint’ to spread the vehicle weight ■■ Better adaptation to ground conditions ■■ Enhanced ride comfort with better suspension ■■ Improved durability ■■ Reduced weight. Based on a triangle concept with hydropneumatically sprung rollers, a drive roller and two raised tensioning rollers, the system ensures optimum ride comfort, the maker says. Long drive belts and less sharply pronounced ■■

Combined harvester.

belt redirection guarantee improve durability. Less ground pressure and better ground adaptation are achieved with patented double-joint mountings on the hydro-

pneumatically suspended idler rollers. For the CR8000 models, a SmartTrax unit with Terraglide tracked chassis measuring 725mm wide, makes for machine

transport width of 3.49m. To reduce weight, the idler rollers are made of aluminium and the covers from polyurethane (PU). Tel. 06 356 4920

VERTICAL AUGER DIET FEEDER 10-30 cubic metre. Single and twin auger. From $42,000 + GST.

XCEL 1250 MUCK SPREADER 12-15 tonne. Spreading up to 22m. Spreads both liquid and solids. Unique chopping system has the ability to handle foreign objects.

Contact: DENIS MADIGAN Hi Spec New Zealand Ph 03-693 7377 • 027-497 7299 •

The ‘triangle concept’ tracked drive system boosts load bearing capacity.

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Dairy News 20 March 2014  

Dairy News 20 March 2014