Page 1

Rising interest rates here to stay, so plan accordingly. Page 4

master of the land Versatile utilities Page 42

passionate about fonterra

Happy to lead shareholders Page 18

april 29, 2014 Issue 311 //

Carnage on the Coast Ferocious storm leaves trail of destruction: dead cows, damaged barns and unusable farm tracks. PAGE 3

Planning today... ...supports tomorrow’s results



Dairy News april 29, 2014

news  // 3

Trail of destruction peter burke

ONE OF the most ferocious, wide-

Top bulls on parade. PG.12

An eye for rural networks. PG.24

spread storms ever to hit the West Coast has left a massive trail of destruction from Karamea in the north to Fox Glacier in the south. Dairy farmers are hardest-hit: cows killed by falling trees, hay barns blown to bits scattering roofing and hay hundreds of metres and farm tracks blocked by hundreds of fallen trees. A few dairy sheds are damaged and general damage to some farms will take months to repair. Milk production is well down and the season at a premature end for some farmers. Power has been out, concrete and wooden power poles having snapped in winds 200km/h, some farmers told Dairy News. Generators are in use for milking. Access to farms has been a huge problem but Westland Milk Products has maintained collections and little milk has been dumped. Leo McIntyre, Westland general manager, milk quality and technical

Cows were killed by falling trees during the storm.

at Hokitika says the storm was followed by an immediate 40% drop in the Coast’s milk flow because of the wind cutting power in the collection area from Karamea south to Fox Glacier. Trees were down everywhere and access was difficult for 24 hours especially at Karamea. “Once access was restored we were able to get on farms and collect what milk there was in vats. Farmers man-

aged to milk with generators which they shared – either taking the generators to sheds or driving the herds to sheds with power. The milk has been in reasonable condition. The water was cool – there is water cooling. It gets knocked down to 12-14oC going into the vat so if we can pick that up daily it is suitable for processing.” Farmers who lost mains power were hardest hit, many resorting

to once-a-day or 16-hour milking, McIntyre says. “The cows got very stressed by the storm and the disruption it’s caused and somatic cell counts have risen significantly. That stress and milking them twice a day would probably add to that [SCC rise]. Farmers are extremely busy trying to repair fences and tracks so OAD milking is all they can manage.” Some farmers are considering drying off in the next week or so, McIntyre says. The priority for farmers is to feed and water cows and look after themselves. Federated Farmers adverse events spokesperson and West Coast dairy farmer Katie Milne cannot recall a worse storm on the Coast. Farm cleanups will take months with roofing steel wrapped around trees or scattered for hundreds of metres. Some hay sheds have gone and fertiliser bins are damaged beyond repair. Milne’s farm was not badly damaged. She praises Westland for its hard work in collecting milk in such tough conditions.

Tiny settlement faces the brunt THE TINY settlement of Karamea

One large retirement plan. PG.26

News�����������������������������������������������������3-20 Opinion���������������������������������������������22-23 Agribusiness���������������������������� 24-25 Management������������������������������� 26-31 Animal Health���������������������������32-35 Machinery & Products��������������������������������������36-38 farm bikes & atvs�����������������39-42

– population about 600 – lying 96km north of Wesport is one of New Zealand’s most isolated communities. Its long-thriving dairy industry was among the worst-hit by the storm. The wind roaring around their house persuaded Karamea dairy farmers Debbie and Peter Langford it was too dangerous to step outside. It was horrendous and nasty and the house was almost shaken off its foundations, says Langford. When the wind died they were able to survey the damage. “On our farm it’s dropped trees over fence lines – trees 1000s of

years old which we have saved are now down on the ground. The creek has several large trees that have toppled into it and we have no machinery capable of even cutting it let alone lifting it, it’s so big. One of our tracks had 100 trees over it so I’ve had to get up a working bee to get that cleared; and it’s only an 800m track.” Langfords’ property was not as badly hit as many others but it took nearly a week to get mains power back on. “A dairy shed down the road is damaged beyond repair. The building is still being held up by tractors

and diggers and the turntable still goes around so they are milking in it. “People have raced around and helped others prop things up. “I heard about a farmer whose hay shed was pretty much full of hay yet it still blew out. The hay is all over the place and the roof flew a few hundred metres and damaged a hangar and aeroplane and a few other things. It’s a disaster.” Road access to Karamea is particularly difficult, especially to Karamea Bluffs, Langford says. “At first the milk tankers couldn’t even get in here; the bluffs were lit-

tered with trees. Then the Seddonville fire brigade came and cleared a track through and later a digger and a working bee helped out and the road was cleared.” Langford knows of farmers recording wind gusts exceeding 200km/h. A tomato growing house disintegrated when struck by a 140km/h gust. “Personally I’m fine. None of my sheds were destroyed. All that happened was the roller door of the milk room got sucked out and blown away. I’ve been lucky: within 50m of those sheds there are trees flat on the ground.” – Peter Burke

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

4 //  news

Rising rates ‘here to stay’ PAM TIPA

RISING INTEREST rates are here to stay and dairy farming businesses need to plan accordingly, says Graham Turley, managing director commercial and agri at ANZ. The Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler hiked the official cash rate (OCR) by 25 basis points last Thursday after figures show the GDP grew 3.5% in the year to March. Turley says there’s likely two or three more hikes this year. “Whether it’s the dairy sector or all sectors, the fact is interest rates are increasing the floating rates. “For every business looking forward they are going to have to factor in having increased costs in interest rates. We have seen two moves by the Reserve Bank and the likelihood is we’ll see more over the next year or two. “So unless farmers have fixed rates or some other risk management tool, they will have to factor in an increased cost base with respect to interest. “It is one of a number of volatilities

metrics he sees and it’s just one tool he uses.” Dairy prices will be one influencing factor on his decisions; how commodity prices and the tradeable sector feeds through to the economy. “It’s one of the many variables he will have to juggle; he has a very tough job,” Turley says.

they have to work with – milk price volatility, feed cost volatility, labour cost. I don’t think it’s going be a major but it’s certainly something they have to work with and plan for.”

“For every business looking forward they are going to have to factor in having increased costs in interest rates.” Turley does not think farmers are taking a hit for Auckland house prices. “No, I think there are a number of factors the Reserve Bank will look into when they make this decision. “I know there’s a lot of noise about the house market in Auckland but when you read through the list in Wheeler’s announcement, we’ve also got high commodity prices, Christchurch and other factors, so there’s a lot of things feeding into the growth. “What an interest rate increase signals is there’s a bit of strength in the

milk price prediction Graham Turley

economy which is a good thing.” The Reserve Bank looks at a lot of metrics, including the possibility of the dollar staying higher, meaning cheaper imports, which would slow inflationary effects. “I don’t think any of the economic experts are predicting the OCR will go up every month or six weeks. They have been saying it might go up a couple of times and then he might wait and see what economic data comes out, and he may move or not move again. “He is trying to manage the inflation part of the economy based on the

ON THE milk price, Graham Turley says most economists are saying dairy prices have peaked for a while and will be on the downside next year. A farmgate milk price of $7/kgMS is forecast. “That’s the result of increased supply around the world and other factors. But who knows? Let’s hope they’re wrong and they stay high. “But most people think there’s going to be a softening of milk prices for next year,” he says.

Feds seeks promise from politicians Federated Farmers wants all political parties to commit to keep fiscal promises modest in this election year in order to keep interest rates low. This follows the Reserve Bank last week increasing the OCR from 2.75% to 3%. and indicating there is more to come. “The Reserve Bank is right – the high exchange rate is causing ‘headwinds’ for the tradable sector but the Reserve Bank does not believe its current strength is sustainable,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers’ president. “They go on to say that the economy remains strong and that inflationary pressures are building, especially in construction and other non-tradable sectors. “The economy has been progressing and agriculture and the tradable sector have made a significant positive contribution to that.”

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

news  // 5

Credit at last for dairying Local dairy farmers have helped improve the condition of the Manawatu River.


chairman says local dairy farmers have led the way in the clean-up of the Manawatu River, once falsely described as one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Bruce Gordon told Dairy News farmers’ efforts have made many others feel guilty about their contribution to improving the state of the Manawatu River. The river’s improved state is noted in a recent report coming three years after the Manawatu River Leaders Forum – including Federated Farmers – pledged a clean-up. Horizons led the project. The project involved 130 tasks including

Damien O’Connor

upgrades to wastewater treatment plants at Dannevirke, Pahiatua and Shannon. Says Gordon, “Other projects included local iwi restoring fish habitats, 200km of stream fencing and riparian planting. It’s been rewarding to see there are already improvements in the water quality. It has a long way to go but the trend is encouraging.”

At first there was a lot of angst among farmers about the river and Horizons, “all to do with misinformation about the council’s One Plan and how nutrient management… was going to affect each farmer. Now that people understand Horizons is in control of how it implements the One Plan they are talking to us and getting assistance from

our rural advice team.” Gordon says dairy farmers still believe they have been easily picked off because of the nature of what they do. But he is impressed with Federated Farmers taking a leadership role in the project. “They understand the importance of agriculture in overseas markets and that we have to be clean and green.” – Peter Burke

progress will encourage other regions FEDERATED FARMERS says it is thrilled by the improving health of the Manawatu River, and provincial president Andrew Hoggard says the recent report on the river is a “huge boost for the farming community”. The farming community can take pride in “knowing their efforts and investments are

paying off, and the investment is not just economic”. “It is in a culture change, a shift in farmers’ mindset on how we farm,” Hoggard says. All Manawatu-Wanganui dairy farms have stopped directly discharging effluent into waterways and have shifted to land-based nutrient treat-

ments and have completed farm/nutrient management plans. “Farmers are quickly coming up to speed on the scientific skills required to do their job today,” throughout the country and the report should encourage other regions that results will come.

PM blasted for China hold-up LABOUR’S SPOKESPERSON on

rural affairs has taken a swipe at Prime Minister John Key’s apparent failure to get the Chinese to allow Fonterra’s components for infant milk formula to be sold there. Damien O’Connor says Key went to China and assured everyone he was sorting out the trade issues but he has not helped Fonterra to progress on the matter. “John Key made progress for Oravida getting its products into the China market but made no progress for Fonterra with its value-added infant formula product…. “We had all the senior people from Fonterra there with senior [Chinese] officials…. Clearly Fonterra has a lot of work to do in that market and the Gov-

ernment should be there supporting them.” O’Connor says he doubts an enlarged MPI presence in China, including senior official Roger Smith, will make much difference. “Oravida and other companies seem to be getting their product into China and Fonterra seems to be blocked. “Obviously the Chinese officials imposed the temporary suspension for good reason: they suspected there might have been botulism, as we did, and that was proven wrong – thankfully. “But there has been a blockage and an inability to get the Chinese officials to accept that Fonterra now produces safe components for their infant formula.” – Peter Burke

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

6 //  news

Not worth squeezing out the last drop pam tipa

A HIGH payout year always brings the temptation to push that extra bit of production, says

Craig McBeth, DairyNZ

DairyNZ regional team manager Craig McBeth. But by now farmers will be weighing up the extra milk production against more feed costs and the toll on cow body condition score (BCS).

Many complete herds have been dried off in Waikato and parts of Northland, and other farms nationwide are now drying off progressively depending on their individual farm situation.

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McBeth says conditions around the country are variable. He took part in a conference call last week with Federated Farmers in Waikato, the regional council, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Rural Support Trust. “There’s been good rainfall through most regions affected by the dry; those regions include not only Waikato and Northland but Manawatu and Taranaki as well,” McBeth told Dairy News. “It tends to be quite variable: there are still one or two places that missed the odd rain event and therefore will struggle to climb out of the soil moisture deficit problems. Parts of the west coast of Northland I understand are still short of soil moisture.” For those who haven’t dried off yet, it’s a question of weighing up the last of the milk produced versus “the risk of pushing substandard animal performance because of less than ideal body condition score and costs in future feed becoming increasingly great”. “You might end up feeding supplement to produce milk now, and you haven’t got sufficient supplement to get through what could be a kind winter or a tough winter, we don’t know. “But that could be an expensive exercise as you look forward to next season’s systems set-up.” McBeth says farmers will be monitoring and

planning their own farming situation based on BCS, calving dates, how much grass they have rebuilt the cover for and how much supplement they have on hand or can access. “It is still a case by case basis and it can be quite different from one farm to the next, a short distance apart, based on how they have managed their farm during the year and the rainfall they have had.” Animals need to be given time to regain their condition. “Just feeding them a lot in a short time won’t help them regain condition.” They will start restoring condition once they have dried off, but again will struggle to put on condition in the last few weeks before calving. Cows need sufficient time to get to BCS 5.0 for cows and BCS 5.5 for heifers. “That’s where the calving date becomes important because calving date coupled with body condition score will determine when you need to dry them off to get into that body condition score before they calve.” McBeth says finding some extra supplement to keep milking is always more affordable with a high payout, but supplement prices have gone up now the dry has dragged on. “That dry is a bit more widespread than in parts of Waikato and the west coast of Northland.” @dairy_news

‘go talk to somebody’ SOME DAIRY farmers have had an even more difficult journey through this summer dry than last year, says McBeth. But they may be feeling isolated because the dry is less widespread than last year. “Last year was really tough but everybody was in it together,” he told Dairy News. “This year – and this is the message also from Federated Farmers and Rural Support Trust – some farmers have been severely affected, potentially worse than last year. “If you are under pressure that’s ok and don’t be afraid to go and talk to somebody. Talk to someone at DairyNZ or Rural Support Trust, or go and talk to your neighbour. Look for support because a problem shared is a problem halved.”

Dairy News april 29, 2014

news  // 7

Dairy expansion under threat feds weigh in

peter burke


appears to remain for an expanded dairy industry in Hawkes Bay, says DairyNZ’s environmental policy manager Dr Mike Scarsbrook. His comment refers to a decision by a board of inquiry into the proposal for a water storage dam at Ruataniwha. The board issued a draft 700-page document containing consent for the dam and Plan Change Six for the Tukituki River catchment which the dam would serve. It consented to building the dam, but imposed tight limits on how much nitrogen can be leached. The decision is appealable to the High Court only on points of law, not the substance of the decision. The $275 million dam would be a landmark project, irrigating up to 42,000ha and bringing

Tougher restrictions on nitrogen leaching into the Tukituki river in Hawkes Bay could spell the end of dairy’s expansion in the region.

massive economic growth and development. But unless the dairy industry can find a way around the substance of the decision the prospects look bleak. Scarsbrook says he can only comment on the science side of the water quality issues. “My initial reading of the decision [shows] they have come up with a table that sets the limits and targets for the Tuki-

tuki River; already in there were targets for phosphorus, nitrate and algae in the river. “The board has added another column – DIN (dissolved inorganic nitrogen), essentially nitrate plus another couple of constituents…. This column makes several other columns redundant.” DairyNZ chairman John Luxton says the decision resembles that made

by the Environment Court on the Horizons Regional Council One Plan. “It’ll be worked through and there’ll be a better solution at the end but it may not be what the commissioners suggested. The legal system is responding to the submissions made to it but the

only way we can respond is to use the science behind it. “DairyNZ, with six environmental scientists, now has capability as good as anyone in the country to understand what’s going on and to try to resolve those issues,” Luxton says.

FEDERATED FARMERS Hawkes Bay president Will Foley says getting consent for the dam was great and a step forward, but the restrictions on nitrogen are two steps backwards, he says, calling the decision a hollow victory for environmentalists. “The risk is that farmers will perceive the restriction… as too hard, too tight, [so] they won’t have the confidence to sign up water rights. “And one key ingredient to get this dam project over the line is farmers signing up to water because that’s basically what’ll be funding the dam.” Foley says he can’t understand why some people are so “hell bent” on derailing a scheme that gives Hawkes Bay it’s best chance of dealing with climate change issues. It’s not as though the promoter of the Ruataniwha project got a “muppet” to do their scientific analysis, he says. His biggest concern is for existing dairy farmers. “They risk being affected… by this plan change regardless of whether they sign up to water or not…. “Current farmers, through no fault of their own, who were probably not following the progress of the dam or weren’t even in the irrigation zone could still be affected.”

Regional council surprised THE CHAIRMAN of Hawkes Bay Regional Council (HBRC) which is promoting the dam and Plan Change Six says he’s more surprised than shocked at the stringent nitrogen limits imposed by the board of inquiry. Fenton Wilson says the constraints on nitrogen don’t help the council with its plan to deal with phosphorus. It will have to look again at its modeling to see the implications of the decision. “I am reasonably calm about this… but I’m not saying I will remain calm if I can’t get clarification out of the board itself. At the moment we still have an opportunity to ask some questions and that’s what we intend to do.” But Wilson is concerned for dairy farmers because of the board decisions on nitrogen limits set for the Tukituki catchment. “At first glance existing dairy farmers are put under pressure to meet a standard with this ruling and I am not sure that was the intention… let alone make it more challenging for new farmers to get involved with irrigation and intensification. “I don’t think the board will shift on the nitrogen but it would be nice to work out how they see it working. There will be an opportunity before they come out with their final ruling for us to try to understand better what they have done. And if we get to the end and there is still a challenge, then we will have to weigh up our options.” Wilson says the nitrogen limits also affect intensive

cropping operations which also require lots of nitrogen. “Environment is one consideration when you do a plan change, [so is the possibility of ] unforeseen consequences to the economy, which is a big part of the RMA decision making process. We believe our scientific programme created a balance that provided a better environment allowed for increased economic growth for the community and the country. This decision has implications nationwide.”

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

news  // 9

Four dairy farms take ‘supreme’ titles FOUR OF the 10

‘supreme’ winners from the regions in this year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards are dairy farmers. The overall supreme winner will be announced at the National Sustainability Showcase in Christchurch on June 26. Taranaki was welcomed into the competition for 2014 and the announcement of the first Taranaki supreme winner, a high-achieving Tikorangi dairy farming operation, was another highlight, says David Natzke, general manager of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. “We also had former category award winners coming back into the competition and taking the supreme award,” he says. “That’s a positive for the awards programme because it shows that farmers who enter the competition learn a lot from the experience and it motivates them to continue to improve

the sustainability of their operations.” Natzke says attendance at all the regional award ceremonies was well up on previous years. “This reflects a great recognition of the awards and how well they are managed and promoted in the regions.” Natzke says 2014 entrants had come through a challenging year, with the 2013 drought affecting most of the country and severe storms battering Canterbury. Farmers are sometimes reluctant to enter the competition if their farms don’t look picture-perfect, he says, but the judges look past weather and its impact. “So farmers considering entering the 2015 competition should give it a go, even if they feel their farm is not ready because it’s a great way of finding out how well they are doing.” Entries for the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on August 1.

ate The ultim ion to tank solut

effective effluent storage

The dairy regional winners are:

towards staff. This has resulted in low staff turnover. They also noted the “full use of technology” to ensure the efficient operation of the farm dairies and the irrigation system. Careful management of resources also features.

Canterbury Large-scale dairy farmers Mark and Devon Slee’s business Melrose Dairy is on 1014ha in the Ealing district, south of Ashburton. With a milking platform of 660ha, Melrose Dairy milks 2600 cows on three dairy units. Last year the operation produced 1834kgMS/ha, well above the region’s average. BFEA judges described Melrose Dairy as a proven family operation achieving long-term growth and success through innovation, discipline and sound business management. Melrose Dairy is an industry leader in profitability. It is one of four top privately run Canterbury farms against which Lincoln University measures the performance of its dairying operations. During the 2012-13 season Lincoln achieved a profitability margin of $4600/ha

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Mark and Devon Slee, Canterbury.

compared with $5200/ha for Melrose Dairy, which was top of this benchmark group. The operation runs two

60-bail farm dairies and one 50-bail unit. Irrigation is via a centre-pivot system and herd size does not exceed 1000.

BFEA judges praised the Slees’ outstanding staff management and their high “level of awareness and consideration”

A high-achieving Tikorangi operation, described by judges as an outstanding example of best dairying practice, was the inaugural winner in Taranaki. The title was presented to Gavin and Oliver Faull, directors, Faull Farms Ltd, and their sharemilkers,

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to page 10


Dairy News april 29, 2014

10 //  news

Four farms reign supreme from page 9

Tony and Loie Penwarden. The Faull Farms Ltd/ Trewithen Partnership also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award. Faull Farms Ltd owns a 371ha property near Waitara. The Penwardens have been sharemilking on the farm since 2004 and currently milk 850 springcalving cows and 300 autumn-calving cows on a 282ha milking platform. Last year the operation produced almost 488,000kgMS and this season it is on target to

Oliver Faull (right) and his sharemilkers Loie and Tony Penwarden, Taranaki.

achieve 540,000kgMS. Judges said the farm showed what can be achieved with “two busi-

Andrew and Heather Tripp, Southland.

Roger and Jane Hutchings, Northland.

nesses combining effectively to service the aspirations of both”. They praised best prac-

tise in all areas, outstanding adoption of technology and innovation, excellent per hectare and per cow production levels and an “admirable focus on people”. Commitment to staff and their families is “exceptional, above and beyond the norm”. Cows are milked through a high-tech 60-bail rotary dairy automated to enable analysis of performance data. A former farm dairy has been converted into a calfrearing complex with a computer controlled feeding system.

Southland Andrew and Heather

Tripp, Nithdale Station Ltd, Kaiwera, have won the supreme title in Southland for the second time. They also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, the Massey University Innovation Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Alliance Quality Livestock Award. Since first winning the inaugural Southland title in 2002, the Tripps have added a dairy farm to their diverse farming operation based on historic Nithdale Station, southeast of Gore. Along with sheep, beef, dairy and forestry, the 1635ha property also runs a genetics business com-

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prising stud Romney and Suffolk sheep and a farmstay. BFEA judges praised the Tripps’ commitment to the land first settled by Andrew’s grandfather in 1924. Nithdale’s 275ha (eff) dairy unit was established in 2008. Sharemilkers Jan and Catherine de Klerk milk 830 cows and the farm achieved production of 1309kgMS/ha last season. A feedpad for up to 600 cows was built two years ago and helps prevent soil pugging. Judges described Andrew’s knowledge of soils on the property as “excellent”. Careful consideration has also been given to fitting stock class to the best use of land, judges said. Pasture utilisation, weed control and overall aesthetics are excellent, with established trees set to provide income, biodiversity and shelter. All waterways on the dairy unit have been riparian fenced to incorporate generous buffer zones.

Lodore Farm’s mainly pedigree Ayrshire cows are milked in two herds on the 270ha (eff) farm with two support blocks. One herd consists of the older cows on twice-a-day milking and the other comprises heifers milked once a day. This year’s production target is 240,000kgMS equating to 353kgMS/cow or 888kgMS/ha. Judges praised good awareness of financial key performance indicators and a strong passion for livestock, maximising the performance through attention to detail and genetic gain. A moderate stocking rate and the use of supplements helps to maintain the cow while extending lactation into June. Judges noted good knowledge of the soils and excellent use of a nutrient management plan. They also praised the Hutchings’ sound business practises and the focus on sustainable staffing and bringing young people into the business.


Other winners

Roger and Jane Hutchings’ 680-cow business Lodore Farm Ltd at Okaihau, Bay Of Islands, is a sustainable high-input system profitable in all ways, the judges said. “There is a clear balance between the financial performance of the operation and the environmental and social aspects.” The Hutchings also won the Ballance AgriNutrients Soil Management Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Meridian Energy Excellence Award.

Other regional winners were Katikati farmers Rick Burke and Jan Loney, Bay of Plenty; Tihoi beef farmers Mike and Sharon Barton, Waikato; Muriwai farmers Rob and Sandra Faulkner and Bruce and Jo Graham, East Coast; Rangitikei farmers Justin and Mary Vennell, Horizons district; Kaituna sheep and beef farmers Matt and Lynley Wyethm, Wellington; and McIntosh Orchard Ltd, Earnscleugh, manager Wayne McIntosh, Otago.

what you do in autumn

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13/03/14 10:45 am

Dairy News april 29, 2014

12 //  news

Top bulls for a new generation SOME OUTSTANDING

LIC farm technican Darren Williams leads top stud Howies Checkpoint at the parade. Checkpoint is still the number 1 crossbred bull in the country.

bulls were reunited with their breeders this month at an event to recognise and celebrate their contribution to New Zealand’s

dairy herd in 2013. About 120 breeders attended LIC’s Premier Sires Breeders’ Day at its Newstead headquarters. They had supplied bull

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calves for the 2013-14 team for artificial breeding. LIC director and Jersey breeder Murray Jagger welcomed the guests and expressed his envy of their achievement and efforts in breeding such animals. “I have strived for many years to breed a bull worthy of selection to Premier Sires so I am extremely envious that you have achieved that benchmark. “You have the distinction of belonging to a unique group of farmers who breed bulls good enough to bear the Premier Sires title and LIC is immensely proud of our relationship we share with you. “You can all take pride in knowing your excellence in farming ability and animal breeding is making an enduring difference and improving the prosperity on the dairy farm, the industry as a whole and to the New Zealand economy. “There is huge satisfaction in being part of a co-operative which creates value and prosperity for today’s farmers and

for future generations; we could not do it without you.” Premier Sires bull teams, daughter proven and genomically selected, sire three out of four dairy cows in New Zealand, contributing about $300 million each year to the economy – about $17 billion since LIC began artificial breeding services in the 1950s. LIC’s general manager of genetics, Peter Gatley, says Breeders’ Day is a special day. “Premier Sires are responsible for producing the next generation of high genetic merit, high performing dairy animals. “With the dairy industry accounting for about 40% of New Zealand’s GDP, our breeders make a difference to dairy farmers and the country as a whole.” The event included a tour of LIC’s bull barn, a bull parade, presentation of certificates and photos to each breeder and an overview of the co-operative’s new strategy from chief executive Wayne McNee.

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TOP BULL breeders help to disseminate their herds’ valuable genes – often representing several generations of work – throughout the national dairy herd and beyond, LIC director Murray Jagger told visitors at the Breeders’ Day. “Your excellence in farming and animal breeding is making an enduring difference and improving the prosperity on dairy farms, the industry as a whole and to the New Zealand economy.” He referred to statistics presented last year at the Breeders Day by chairman Murray King, who said an analysis of sires under survey, done in 1939, confirmed that only 28% improved production, 33% maintained production and 39% lowered production. This uncertainty and farmer frustration led to farmers working with their herd improvement associations to develop the country’s first AB service, Jagger said. “How things have evolved. Now… there is an expectation that every new generation of animals will be and should be better than the next.” The use of Premier Sires gives farmers confidence that herd replacements will be better than their mothers – more efficient, fertile, productive and profitable. LIC continually assesses emerging trends in our own market and beyond and what this means for breeding decisions. Crossbred cows are now 50-60% of cow population, while Jerseys have diminished to 12%. 1 million cows have moved from system 1 to more intensive systems reliant on more supplementary feed.


LIC’s new, fresh semen, SGL™ bull teams can offer you up to 10 more days in milk. After 13 years of selective breeding for a single trait, gestation length, we are able to offer SGL semen that brings forward calving by about 10 days. Talk to your local LIC Customer Relationship Manager about the various SGL semen options on offer.

Dairy News april 29, 2014

14 //  news

DairyNZ counters PCE’s water quality ‘modeling’ peter burke

DAIRYNZ HAS sought to put the record straight about the expansion of dairying in a submission to the parliamentary local government and environment select committee. Recently the chairman of DairyNZ, John Luxton, and the organisation’s environment policy manager, Dr Mike Scarsbrook, voiced to the committee DairyNZ’s concern at assumptions made by the parliamentary commissioner for the environment’s (PCE) report on water quality. They also came out in support of National Policy Statement on Freshwater. DairyNZ told the committee water quality problems persist in some, but not all, catchments and that the problem needs to be put into perspective for the public. They noted that most NIWA water quality monitoring sites

show stable or improving trends – not deterioration. Luxton told Dairy News that DairyNZ supports the setting of limits in catchments as a way of protecting the rights of farmers. He says farmers are responding to challenges on water quality because they do not want to see a continual degradation of water quality in streams and lakes. “The PCE [did some modeling] and models can tell all sorts of stories but the industry is changing rapidly and we are not seeing the numbers of conversions extrapolated in her report. But dairying tends to be giving the best return per hectare so farmers are looking at [that].” The PCE report contains science and an element of supposition, Luxton says. “So it is important to get the science in front of the select committee…. The public are rightly concerned, but the industry is responding

in a positive way. The new water accord is a classic example of a whole industry [tying] itself to meeting commitments.” Some people may want dairying stopped but when they look at the advantages – jobs and opportunities for all New Zealand – they tend to say the opposite. There are choices to be made. Scarsbrook says DairyNZ is not criticising the PCE for her approach – modeling the future – but wanted to present readily available data. “It was a valid approach to use modeling to look into the future: that’s what modeling is for. But we would like to talk more with the PCE about this as validating modeling using existing data from Statistics New Zealand which we presented to the select committee. Scarsbrook says the approach taken in the national policy statement is correct in giving the communities a fair say

in the state of rivers and lakes. This will have the best long term outcome. “[DairyNZ] is engaging – so are farmers as part of the community – right around the country in these limit setting processes. “Look at the zone committees in Canterbury, the collaborative stakeholder group in Waikato: we think having the community agree on what things should look like is the best

DairyNZ chairman John Luxton (right) and environment policy manager Mike Scarsbrook at the select committee hearing.

way forward.” Feedback during the recent levy forums suggests many farmers feel ‘under the gun’ over water quality, Scarsbrook says.

“But from my perspective we are able to lift our heads high over the achievements farmers have made. We are asking farmers to do even more

in effluent and riparian management and farmers have done a spectacular job.” @dairy_news

fish & game calls for inquiry FISH & Game wants a public inquiry into agriculture: it also made a submission to the select committee. Chief executive Bryce Johnson says an inquiry should cover all aspects of agriculture – not just dairying – “because they are all intertwined”. “We want to see farming put on an environmentally sustainable footing; it’s not at the moment. The water accord doesn’t do it because it doesn’t deal with small streams. There is no certainty in it – a lot of rhetoric but not a lot of actual solid requirements. An inquiry [would] get all those things on the table in a joined-up way.” Johnson labels as “stupid” the calls for dairy companies not to pick up milk from farmers who do not comply with environmental standards. “What does a farmer do when he has a whole lot of milk he can’t get rid of. Better for the industry to say, ‘We’ll pick up your milk, but we’ll withhold payment’; and let that become an accumulating incentive to cause behavioural change on the farm.” Johnson says he supports the PCE report because there is increasing intensification on existing farms and expansion into areas that have been marginal. He denies Fish & Game is anti farming, saying many members of his organisation are farmers and that he has farming interests.

Bryce Johnson

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

news  // 15

Lift game and attract good staff TO BE considered world leaders, the dairy industry needs to lift its game to attract and retain quality staff. That’s the message from DairyNZ’s strategy and investment leader for people and business, Mark Paine – one of the key speakers at next month’s Farmers’ Forum. “We need to ask ourselves if we’ve got an industry geared up

to accommodate the growing demands,” says Paine. “We have a range of initiatives in place and we’re working hard on all fronts – but is it enough? I’ll be keen to hear from farmers attending the forum about their priorities. “Our research suggests that for on-farm roles, we need 1000 graduates every year at diploma level and above, and another 250

Mark Paine

a year for rural professional and science roles. “We compete for the best young talent from schools and tertiary institutions, so improving our systems to train and equip young people for their farm role is a priority. We also need to provide a world-class work environment.” There is a growing focus on how farmers measure up to legal

employment obligations. “We’ve had labour and health and safety investigators focused on our industry in the past year. We’re in the spotlight and we need to shine to build and retain a good reputation as an industry,” Paine says. “We’ve got significant obligations around employment practices and, as an industry, we need to lift our game if we’re

going to be considered world leaders.” His presentation is one of three people-focused sessions at the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum at Mystery Creek, Hamilton, May 7-8. The forum is free to levypaying dairy farmers and their staff. Forum registration is essential. Visit farmersforum.

Finalists milk 5000 cows POTENTIAL FOR

financial gain and the family-friendly lifestyle offered by the dairy industry is helping to attract more skilled and talented people, says New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards national convenor Chris Keeping. The eleven 2014 Farm Manager of Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa the Year finalists are FMOTY Nick Bertram. together managing 5200 cows producing 2 million kgMS. “These finalists represent a group of dairy farm employees who work extremely hard and put in long hours to harvest the country’s sought-after fresh milk in the most cost effective, sustainable and efficient manner,” Keeping says. “The finalists are also passionate about what they do and are keen to progress their dairy industry career.” The winner will be announced at the annual awards dinner in Auckland on May 9. At the sold-out black tie dinner winners will also be named in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions and all winners will share $170,000 in prizes. The farm manager finalists include six farm managers and five contract milkers. Most have entered the awards before; three are in for the first time. The youngest finalist, Michael Shearer (21), Taranaki, is an experienced finalist: he once won the West Coast Top of the South regional Dairy Trainee of the Year title. The oldest finalist is Robert Hartley (36), Central Plateau, worked in information technology then switched to dairy farming. He now manages an 865-cow farm. Shearer and Hartley are among the nine men competing against two couples for the title. One couple, Thomas Blackett and Stacey Lepper, Bay of Plenty, are also new to the industry. Blackett was a design engineer at Fisher & Paykel and Lepper was a laboratory technician at AgResearch.

farm manager title hopefuls ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Northland – Michael & Donna Carroll Auckland/Hauraki – Simon Player Waikato – Liam Zander Bay of Plenty – Thomas Blackett & Stacey Lepper Central Plateau – Robert Hartley Taranaki – Michael Shearer Manawatu – Sam Ebbett Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa – Nick Bertram West Coast/Top of the South – Jason Macbeth Canterbury/North Otago – Phillip Colombus Southland/Otago – Jared Crawford

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

news  // 17

Farmers views sought on new products LIC IS inviting farmers

to go online for an early look at new products, rate them, talk to other farmers about them and pass feedback to the co-op’s developers. LIC general manager of farm systems Rob Ford says its Minda Labs website will allow more farmers to easily get involved as products develop. “Farmers’… ability to attend focus groups and provide us with their input has sometimes been limited by their busy schedules or location. “With Minda Labs, any farmer who uses Minda will be able to log in and take a look at a time that best suits them and regardless of where they are.

“Their input will help ensure new products and technologies meet farmer expectations, something they see value in for their farm, and that any technical issues are identified and resolved well before launching.” First up for review are programmes to help farmers analyse their herd’s reproductive performance and identify opportunities for improvement. “Reproduction is a key focus… but sometimes the data can be difficult to interpret and work out what action should be taken. New reproduction tools in Minda will make this easier.” The new Minda Reproduction area is now available at www.minda.

Process operators Neeta Sharma and Greg Smith with some of the first product from Fonterra’s Waitoa UHT site.

Rob Ford

First cream packs ready

Report. Other features will be added following farmer feedback. to allow access to the new DairyNZ InCalf Fertility Focus

FONTERRA’S $120 million UHT milk processing site at Waitoa has produced its first 25,000 Anchor UHT cream packs ready for sale. UHT operations manager Donald Lumsden says the first production is a key event for the Waitoa UHT site, transformed from a green field to a state-of-the-art milk processing plant in 12 months. “[At least] 500 people have been

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involved in the construction of the site and all their hard work has paid off. The first commercial production went smoothly and we produced 25,000L of cream ready for sale – a great result.” The site will enable Fonterra to increase its UHT production capacity by 100% over the next few years. It will process 100 million litres of milk per year when all five of its milk processing lines are running.


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Offers valid until 31 May 2014 or while stocks last. Prices include GST and are subject to change. Some products may not be available in all stores but can be ordered. Posts may not be available in all stores but can be ordered for you to secure delivery at a later date.


Dairy News april 29, 2014

18 //  news

Philip Palmer and wife Anne help out on the farm when needed.

Room for sensible Fonterra Shareholders Council deputy chairman Philip Palmer believes “viable and sensible” dairy conversions will continue and should be encouraged. But some will have to be pulled back. He spoke to Peter Burke about the dairy industry and his own farming at Mauriceville, northern Wairarapa. HIS FAMILY has owned

the property since 1873 and Philip Palmer has spent most of his working life there. He had a brief

Wellington sojourn just after secondary school, working as an office junior for stock and station agent Wright Stevenson, then

run by the legendary Sir Ron Trotter. But almost a 100 years to the day when his great, great grandfather bought the original farm, Palmer bought land beside the existing property and that was the catalyst for him to come back to Mauriceville and the farm. The farm remains as it has always been, a mixed sheep and beef and dairy farm. “In the good old days my father had a dairy farm and pigs, a Romney stud and a commercial flock of ewes. We have now rationalised that to just cows and sheep and beef,” he says. Of the 500ha, 350ha is sheep and beef, 110ha the milking platform and the balance of 40ha is support. On the 350ha mainly Friesian and Friesian-cross cows are milked through a 32-bail rotary. This year they are targeting 120,000kgMS and Palmer says they will easily achieve this. On the sheep and beef property are 1400 ewes and 70 steers, a byproduct of the dairy farm. These go to the Feilding sale for finishers. His son Steve runs the dairy operation, Palmer and wife Anne help out as needed. They also employ a relief milker. Palmer runs the sheep and beef unit. About 65% of the platform is irrigated. “This has been a wonSteve Palmer washing the milking shed.

derful season. We had a great winter which set us up for a good spring and it’s rained pretty much on cue. Steve grows about 12% of the milking platform in turnips each year to get us through the summer and we grow about 12ha of maize either on the run-off or the sheep and beef block. We don’t use PKE.” Palmer’s Fonterra leadership role began when his long-time friend John Monaghan, a director, asked him to step into his shoes on the Shareholders Council. “I had a go and was elected in 2007 and it’s been a wonderful experience. [The council] meets in Auckland six times a year, but the biggest part of the job is a representation function in our ward. The Wairarapa ward starts just south of Woodville and goes south to Lake Ferry and that’s my patch with over 300 shareholders. My role as one of 35 Fonterra councillors is to inform and build the knowledge of our shareholders.” Palmer attends discussion groups and industry meetings up and down his ‘skinny’ ward. Lunchtime meetings best allow people to attend; other meetings also help give everyone a chance to hear news and air their opinions. “I’m talking to share-

Dairy News april 29, 2014

news  // 19

dairy conversions holders about what’s going on and more particularly getting [their] feedback about issues they are having and what they think about Fonterra. “We have a monthly reporting-back process in our executive office in Auckland, then that’s broken down and sent to the Fonterra board so they get a good idea of the feeling in the wards.” Palmer says an example of the important role of the Shareholders Council showed in the TAF debate; it influenced the outcome. The council is a microcosm of what’s happening in the dairy industry, he says. He often telephones fellow councillors to chat over issues, the co-op’s performance being the major talking point. Palmer sees the co-op as very strong. “I was lucky enough

to go to Asia at the end of last year and had a look at three countries – China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. It impressed upon me the wonderful staff we have and the potential there is in Asia. From what I saw I think we have a great future in China, especially in the food service area. Other Asian countries are looking for quality food and they are looking to us to provide it. Fonterra is in a strong position for the future.” On what Fonterra could do better, Palmer says the word ‘communication’ is always raised. But he believes shareholders are communicated to well by Fonterra. “There is the regular Farmlink, there is an email from John Wilson every week; they get a huge amount of communication, but you can always do better.”

The battle for communication with non-farming folk will take time, he says. City folk now lack farming connections so events such as farm days, where town people can see what happens on a farm, are a good idea and have been successful. Fonterra’s milk in schools programme is

also a great idea that connects town and country. “My key message to farmers is have absolute faith in the cooperative they belong to and don’t take a short term view. Take a medium view of the industry because I believe there is a huge future for us,” Palmer says.

Philip Palmer is a strong support of Fonterra’s co-operative model.

Technology, young people brighten horizon DAIRYMEN MUST “farm within limits” imposed by the various regulatory authorities, Philip Palmer believes. Farmers in the Horizons and Environment Waikato regions understand this well, he says, but there is more learning to be done in other regions. New technology will help, especially in the hands of young people. “Our young people are taking up technology rapidly;

for us older guys it’s a bit different. What you can do with a [smartphone] these days is incredible… recording and knowing what’s going on…. Our young farmers are keen to use that. We will find ways to deal with the sustainability issues… and are well on the way to doing a lot of that.” Palmer sees young people have a lot to offer farming, but also that more needs to be done to encourage them into




dairy careers. “We need to start with the secondary schools, to encourage young people into dairying, not just seeing it as an industry where you have to get up early in the morning and constantly work in mud and poor weather. There are huge opportunities at all sorts of levels – from university graduates to people who enjoy the practical hands-on side of farming.”

Philip and Anne Palmer are passionate about the dairy industry and have worked hard to improve their farm as generations before them have done. “I want this farm to be here for my grandchildren. If we do anything to the environment that detracts from that then they won’t have the opportunity we had. I am determined they will have that opportunity,” he says.

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

20 //  world

Move on energy helps cut consumption A PUSH by Dairy Aus-

tralia for efficient use of energy on dairy farms has been a success, it says. About 900 farmers were assessed and given an energy efficiency plan; 80% who took part for one year say they now think or behave differently about

Australian dairy farms are becoming more energy efficient.

energy use. In May 2012, Dairy Australia received A$1 million in Federal Government funding to do 900 farm energy assessments on dairy farms. One goal was to change attitudes about energy usage. “The Smarter Energy

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Use scheme provides participating dairy farmers with an assessment of energy consumption in their dairy, and identifies ways to reduce the energy being used,” says Dairy Australia natural resource management programme manager Catherine Phelps. “The funding has delivered energy assessments to all eight dairy regions, tailored to meet local needs. The response to the program, re doing things differently, has been good.” A further A$721,000 was granted to assess another 500 farms over the next year. Fred Veenstra a dairy farmer from Swan Marsh Victoria said, “there was two-three degrees difference in cooling which has saved a lot on the power bill. I’ve compared my bill with my neighbour’s who has a similar operation and dairy and we have saved A$200-$250 on the power bill. So over time I am confident we will see a

big difference. “Farmers are saving a lot of money mainly by switching off equipment and lights when not required, increasing maintenance of equipment to ensure it operates more efficiently and replacing inefficient machinery with more suitable options when it breaks down,” says Phelps. 92% of farmers interviewed said their Dairy Australia energy assessment plan was “useful” and 94% of farmers said they were “fairly” to “very satisfied” with the scheme. “There is a lot of interest in energy efficiency in the dairy industry and farmers are concerned about the cost of energy to their business, so it is not a surprise this has evolved into an effective national project.” The project is supported also by milk processors and the Australian Dairy Industry Council. @dairy_news

in brief Italians buy into WA PARMALAT HAS bought Western Australia’s second-largest dairy business Harvey Fresh. The Italian company says the takeover strengthens its position in the Australian market, broadens its geographic footprint and enables it to become a “fully national player”. Parmalat, of Italy, paid A$117 million (79m euro) for Harvey’s WA and NSW processing assets. Parmalat also recently signed a twoyear deal to supply Woolworths with milk for its private label in NSW. Last financial year the company reported revenues of A$166 million. Harvey also produces fresh and UHT milk including flavoured and lactose-free lines, and packs private label milk and juice lines for Coles supermarkets.

Warrnambool board WARRNAMBOOL CHEESE and Butter will at a general meeting on May 9 revoke the rule requiring at least four supplier directors on its board. Saputo chairman Lino Saputo Jr will also stand for the streamlined WCB board at the meeting. WCB told the ASX that as a result of Saputo’s 87.92% shareholding, it has asked to modify its constitution, including reducing the board from nine directors to five. All directors and associate directors will resign with effect from the close of the meeting and Terry Richardson, Bruce Vallance and Neville Fielke will stand for re-election. David Lord will remain chief executive officer. John McLean, associate director and former chief executive and managing director will become a consultant. Saputo executive vice-president, finance and administration, Louis-Philippe Carrièr, will also stand for election.

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

22 //  OPINION Ruminating


Forgotten coast battles through

milking it... Seeing red

THOSE ON the hard left of politics are refusing to acknowledge that Shane Jones’ departure has mortally wounded Labour’s chances in the election. Actually, they’ve gone a bit feral, baring their previously concealed fangs and tearing at Jones as he leaves. The Green Party bile has had the most media coverage, with claims that Jones is “sexist” and a “19th century man in the 21st century”. They were not alone. Among them, devout lefty Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury blogged that losing Jones was “like the relief of a haemorrhoid being removed. Good riddance.” Bitter blogger Danyl Mclauchlan wrote, “I told ya so.”

Lonely voice

SHANE JONES wasn’t the only Labour MP who could count, of course. While the hard left of the party are determined to see Jones’ departure as a good thing, ignoring the peril it now places them in, West Coast MP Damien O’Connor was quick to see that Labour had lost a line to the bluecollar and middle classes. He said on television last week that those in Labour who understood that “wealth needed to be created before it could be redistributed” needed to make their voices heard now that Jones had jumped ship. O’Connor faces a lonely task as Labour’s stricken ship lists even more to the left.

What next?

THE GUYS at Fish & Game (FAG) are at it again, this time asking for a public enquiry “to examine the future of agriculture in New Zealand”. What will the inquiry achieve, apart from giving FAG another platform for bagging farmers, most of whom do a sterling job protecting our environment? What will FAG suggest next? A public inquiry into didymo?

Backpacking cows could help save us all

SCIENTISTS IN Argentina may have a stunning ‘new’ solution to the problem of global warming. With cows being responsible for up to 25% of the methane gas released in the US each year, a group of scientists at Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology is now attaching backpacks to cows to collect their farts. Here’s how it works: tubes connected to the cows’ digestive tracts pipe the gas to the backpacks. Scientists say the daily gas accumulation could produce enough energy to run a car or refrigerator for 24 hours. It’ll never be mainstream, exactly, the scientists say. But how about these deadly bovine deeds being harnessed to, say, power remote farms?

THE STORM that wreaked havoc on the West Coast, and in particular the huge disruption it caused to dairy farmers, has gone largely unreported in mainstream newspapers. No front page pictures of dead cows or devastated hay barns. Imagine if this storm had ripped through Auckland’s posh Remuera, Herne Bay, Howick… blowing over roses, hydrangeas, garden sheds, and cutting the power for days. Flags would still be at half-mast on upmarket restaurants and government buildings; politicians and their entourages would be flying to the scenes in RNZAF helicopters to calm the nerves of stricken city folk. Not so on the Coast. People there just got on with it, managing as they always have, helping each other out and this time sharing generators so that nobody’s cows missed milking. No time for tears or reflection on why mother-father nature brought this disaster upon them. No political shoulders to cry on, no government BMWs ferrying politicians to and from photo opportunities. Coasters are resilient people, a rare breed some would say, often one sleep from adversity – economic or weather-related. They are hard workers in a hard, isolated environment. Helen Clark once called them “feral”. Karamea lies at the end of the road, a road at risk of slips and other blockages. There and nearby we saw again the true spirit of the West Coast. The power company was quick to act, Westland Milk Products was equally fast and lots of volunteer community organisations rose to the challenge: the cows were somehow milked. Coasters are proud individuals with reason to feel they have been hard done by over the years. Since the first settlers came to the Coast to mine coal and gold, life has always been a struggle. How impressive then, that the dairy industry on the West Coast pulled together to get this community through such a terrible experience.

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

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

opinion  // 23 Profits not so smelly RE ‘PONG wafting from rural trader’s profit’ (Jacqueline Rowarth, Dairy News, April 15). It was unfortunate that I wasn’t contacted for clarification on the opinion given. I would have been able to report that our earnings increase was the result of market share growth

Brian Eccles

Keep an eye on budget post-drought

and efficiencies, not price increases. In fact for the period referred – Fonterra’s yearto-date results released at the end of March – our margin was down. Our profit increase in that period was a result of market share and store growth, like-forlike overhead savings

shareholders: the value created by RD1 is distributed to Fonterra and returned to Fonterra dairy farmer shareholders and unit holders. We’d like to thank our farmers and customers for their support and look forward to more success. Jason Minkhorst managing director, RD1

on a same store basis, changes to core dairy offer based on category strategy and new nutrition offers from acquiring the 4 Seasons’ (Agrifeeds) molasses business. Increased profit generated by efficiencies and growth is a good result for Fonterra


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a drought is as tough as the drought itself. If stock have been sold to reduce stocking rates, in the short term the cashflow may look good. But there may be tax implications from the sale of capital livestock and in the following year, rebuilding livestock numbers will reduce available cash. For dairy farmers, feed reserves may be run down. Rebuilding these in the following year will add more costs – another financial setback. So the year after a drought, more than ever, farmers are likely to need seasonal finance. Bank managers, shareholders and directors – if it is a corporate structure – need to be told and reminded about the farming operations, their financial status and future plans. Unless interested parties are properly informed they are going to assume the worst. To show that you have a plan for recovering from the drought is critical. Moreover, if you are speaking with your bank manager, providing evidence of a cashflow budget and regularly updating it with factual information (budget revision) can help farmers negotiate much lower interest rates because the personal risk is lower. This can easily make a difference of 1%: this means $10,000 less per year for a $1 million dollar mortgage – an achievable target. Maintaining a budget does not demand that the numbers be set in stone. In fact, ‘budgets’ should be called ‘models’ because they factor in different scenarios based on information on hand. This information can and does change over time. During drought this is even more prevalent because of the many extra decisions required outside the usual farming cycle – decisions that have huge implications for cash flow. Revised budgets are also important for an accountant who can provide farmers tax advice to smooth out the bumps that can arise following drought periods. An early discussion with your accountant is worthwhile. They can’t advise you properly unless they have a good understanding of what is happening at the farmgate. Because farmers are likely to have sold capital livestock during a drought, tax will need to be paid. But the following year there may be no tax to pay. It doesn’t make much sense paying a lot of tax one year then getting a refund the next, especially when you probably need the cash in both years. Evening out the cashflow will help reduce pressure on the farm. Worst of all is delaying an important decision because of worries about its financial effect. Sometimes it’s better to make a few tough calls and work your way through them. Timing is critical during a drought and having an up-todate budget makes it easy to plug in a new ‘bright idea’ and see the big-picture impact. Leading farmers report they always consult their revised (up-to-date) budget before making decisions. Who knows, you might also plug a scenario into your budget and the result might be better than you thought. One thing is certain: unless you step back and look at the big picture you will never know. • Brian Eccles is chief executive of Cashmanager RURAL.

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

24 //  agribusiness

Lots of moves gave dairywoman an eye for rural networks MANY SHIFTS during

her early sharemilking years taught Karen Forlong, the new North Island convenor coordinator of Dairy Womens Network, what it’s like arriving ‘fresh’ in a farming community. She did many moves: Matamata, Ngarua, Tatuanui, Kiwitahi, Arohena and Tokoroa. She has now been dairy farming with her husband at Atiamuri for 19 years and first joined the network in 2002 as a member of the Rotorua regional group. “DWN is a brilliant network,” she says. “It’s a great way to meet women in your community who are on your level; women you can connect with because they are farming, have similar drivers and often face the same chal-

DWN’s North Island convenor, Karen Forlong

lenges. The network is inclusive and that support can’t be underestimated during stressful and difficult times.” In her 20 hours a week role Forlong is supporting 18 regional volunteers who run regional groups in the North Island. DWN chief executive Zelda de Villiers says Forlong brings a wealth of farming and leadership experience to the network. She is on the board of Rotorua District Vets

and is about to complete the Agri-Women Development Trust’s Escalator programme. “She has also contributed [much] of her own time to the DWN over the past 12 years, [helping organise] three of our annual conferences.” The network inspires and empowers, Forlong says. She applied for the job because women play a huge part in the success of a dairy farming business. After 30 years in the

industry she wants to continue in a role at home with her husband Maurice, milking 360 cows on their 200ha (140 eff) property. They will welcome family home in the coming season. Forlong says in her new role, supporting the network’s 18 North Island dairy farmer volunteers will be the priority. “Dairying women who put their hands up to run the DWN’s regional groups are hands-on farmers themselves with busy workloads that include juggling farming and family responsibilities. We respect that they give their time freely to the DWN and other women in their communities to run these groups. “Collectively our volunteer regional coordinators have an incredibly broad range of valuable skills. I see my role being to support and help them develop, share and deliver resources, information and training tailored to what

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the members in their area want.” The volunteer regional convenors are responsible for planning all the events for the year in their own regions. Forlong says each group has a different agenda depending on the convenor. “The level they are at in their own farming career, their farming experiences and how active the regional group members are in putting forward ideas and attending events influence how the regional groups are run. I would like to build on our inclusive ethos, aid the planning process and encourage the sharing of ideas between groups.”   Her South Island counterpart Cathie Cotter from Woodlands in Southland was appointed in June 2013. The Dairy Women’s Network has 5000 members in 30 regional groups, 18 in the North Island and 12 in the south. Membership is free.

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Ruby Peyroux and Maria Boow, both 10, of Mt Albert Primary School – official kids choice ice cream award judges.

Kids to pick the cream of the crop ICE CREAM now hitting the market, though made of milk, has flavours few Kiwi kids would have dreamed of a generation or two ago. For example, pineapple with pineapple chocolate chunks, or ‘dulce de leche’ with chocolate coated hokey pokey. These were among 21 flavours children from Mt Albert Primary, Auckland, sampled this month as part of the Kids Choice ice cream awards at the Food Bowl near Auckland Airport. There were new flavours and old favourites like three different entries of cookies and cream. The children had to rate the look, flavour, texture and say whether they liked it or not, then pick their overall winner. The results will be revealed at the 2014 New Zealand Ice Cream Awards on May 22 at the awards dinner in Blenheim, with The New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers Association. Overall there are 11 categories with 302 ice cream, gelato, sorbet and low fat entries from 32 entrants. Entrants in the open creative category include cafes, food technology R&D technicians, university students and individuals. Notable categories are ‘best of chocolate’ and, introduced two years ago, ‘new to market’, sponsored by Fonterra, for ice cream products launched in the previous 12 months. – Pam Tipa

Dairy News april 29, 2014

agribusiness  // 25

Commitment required from both ends the cornerstone of governance for a high performance business. Another area where delegation can be increased is people management and staff selection. I was impressed recently by new clients who asked for support to recruit a key staff member.

demand start to my professional year with many sizeable assignments starting for new and existing clients. This reflects a combination of a buoyant dairy economy and more willingness by top operators to make themselves accountable to best practice by putting key aspects of their businesses under the spotlight. Engaging new professional support brings an opportunity for farmers and their chosen experts to develop new ways to operate without compromising standards. There can be similar value from reviewing the performance of a business’s existing professionals to ensure new technologies are harnessed and any risk of complacency from long term relationships is minimised. Effective professional relationships depend on professional growth for both parties. Everyone must focus on continuous improvement so professional services empower the businesses and avoid creating dependency. When this is combined with proactive collaboration between professionals duplication will be avoided and cost efficiency enhanced. Such relationships require commitment so the business owners or key personnel grow their capability and understanding of key business processes – especially financial and forecasting, monitoring and recording. This is becoming easier with the emergence of online accounting and budgeting programmes which enable farmers and their professionals to share information gathering, input and recording. As farming businesses take greater control of these aspects of their operations their professionals are freed to concentrate on strategy and

tactics rather than being constrained by the time and cost demands of their traditional process focussed role. Here are some areas where this is delivering benefits in agribusiness consulting. The first is forecasting and monitoring. When farmers take responsibility for their own financial recording and budgeting their management and investment behaviours are more consistent with their budgets and agreed strategy. This results from greater awareness of the physical outcomes needed to achieve budget targets and real time feedback about variances. Self-managed forecasting frees me to focus on validation of the budgets to enhance credibility. I spend much less time acting as ‘score keeper’ or acting as an ‘enforcer’ trying to maintain the connection between onfarm decisions and budget targets. As well as saving cost, this enables me to spend more of my time on analysis and searching out opportunities for further gains. When mutual commitment to best practice is combined with collaborative input from all professionals servicing a business there is even greater advantage. Developing close working relationships between agribusiness, accounting, agronomy and other specialists harnesses powerful combinations of professional disciplines to resolve issues and drive strategy. This also builds relationships that become

Check out our websites

Our respective commitments and their location meant we were not able have face-to-face contact so we decided to combine phone and internet contact with the resources on my website for a self help approach. Job descriptions and an advertisement were

quickly developed with shared input. Online advertising generated an impressive number of quality applicants which the clients screened, reference checked and interviewed after guidance from our conversations. A selection was made within target timeframes

and at about one third of the cost of having me fully involved. Driving the quality of professional relationships is a two way responsibility. Proactive engagement by the business in key processes will grow capability and reduce costs. Most importantly, this will pro-

mote a culture where professionals are reminded they need to ‘win’ the right to be involved. This approach can be a catalyst for collective growth. • Kerry Ryan is a Tauranga agribusiness consultant available for face-to-face or online for advice and ideas.


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BAL21171 NZ Farmers Weekly_V01.indd 1


2014 HAS seen a high-

18/03/14 2:42 pm

Dairy News april 29, 2014

26 //  management

One large farm fits into retirement plan gareth gillatt


big farm is proving to be a good retirement plan for Far North couple David and Heather Gray. Gray’s team milks 740 cows on a 240ha dairy platform in Awanui, 10km north of Kaitaia. A much-respected farmer in the district, Gray is on the management committee for the Far North Monitor farm and is a regular speaker at DairyNZ and Beef and Lamb NZ field days. While Gray has made a name for himself in farming in the far North he originally started his working life as a microbiologist in Whangarei and Oxford, England. The Grays shifted to the northern part of New Zealand for a better qual-

ity of life, working fulltime at a Whangarei base hospital while running a 300-ewe sheep and beef farm at Opawhanga. Gray considered moving into dairying and seven enjoyable milkings on his neighbour’s farm sealed the deal, he says. “I really enjoyed that so I sold the big lifestyle block and went for it.” He bought his first farm in Takahue, 20km southeast of Kaitaia, in 1981. To that 79ha block carrying 150 cows, he added a lease block and another adjacent farm, which he ran separately over the next 10 years. Seven years ago he purchased a 122ha dairy farm in Awanui which he used as a base for the rest of the farm, gradually adding five dry stock properties and runoffs to the operation. Gray’s process usually

involves regrassing, laying drains and putting down races before stocking land at three cows to the hectare. Kaitaia flats is a great area to farm, he says. “Adding blocks becomes easier once you’ve done it once. The Kaitaia Flats are underrated and a few guys have lifted the expectations on what can be produced up here.” The fertile Far North plains, farm expansion and careful property management have helped farm production lift from an initial 86,000kgMS from the original 300 cows on 120ha to 290,000kgMS this season. Good pasture management is a main driver behind growth in production with attention being paid to grass growth and pasture health. Gray’s team does

Cool your farm milk

David Gray with his cows.

in seven years with moisture levels on the Awanui farm below average from the middle of October last year. The property has grown two and a half tons less pasture than the previous year resulting in a heavier reliance on extra PKE. Much of the farm is kikuyu based. He mulches and undersows Italian ryegrass on the entire farm in autumn to guarantee pasture growth remains strong through winter and spring when kikuyu doesn’t grow as well. As the farm is rectangular with the shed at one end of the property Gray divides his herd into two different groups, a 160 ‘priority’ herd made up of young, lame and old

cows and a 480 herd of the strongest cows. The priority herd is kept on a round in paddocks close to the shed while the larger herd grazes at the other end of the farm of the shed. Cows are milked in a 40 aside shed which has grown with the operation. Starting out as a 28-aside herringbone, Gray says the shed was laid out well enough to be extended to a 40-aside with enough space to have a pro-track automatic drafting system installed. “Basically we just need three to run, one getting the cows in and putting cows away and two milking,” he says. “With the automatic drafting, milking takes about three hours at the

peak,” he says. Gray has been developing the larger farm as he knows the dairy industry and was still enjoying getting out on the farm. “I see a lot of farmers retire farming and invest in something they are not familiar with. “Land is something tangible that I can enjoy, dairying is an exciting area to work in and I still very much enjoy playing a hands-on roll in the industry.” Having put together a team of five full-time staff members, Gray says he has developed a flat management style which allows everybody a say and enables him to take a step back from the day to day running of the farm when need be.

Well grown young stock essential DEVELOPING well-grown

young stock is an essential part of a successful long-term farming operation, says Far North dairy farmer, David Gray. The Grays milks 740 cows on a 240ha dairy platform in Awanui, 10km north of Kaitaia, raising all their own young stock within the farming system. By producing well-grown heifers the operation turns over fewer animals in their genetic prime and gets better production overall. Care for young stock is so important that Gray has a separate team

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pasture walks over the entire property every 10 days with a plate meter to check on grass growth and is careful to get cows off pasture once residual covers are at 1500 kgDM/ ha. He is just as fast to control long grass growth through mulching and grass silage. Management through winter and spring can be perilous as the half heavy Kaitaia clay is especially prone to pugging. During winter and spring, weather is watched carefully with cows being stood off on in the cow yard if it doesn’t look good. “Pasture damage losses can be up to 40% with pugging,” Gray says. Managing damage is crucial given the region’s dry summers, says Gray. Parts of the North are facing their third drought

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member in charge of young stock with two extra blocks earmarked for their development. Calving for the main herd starts July 1 with heifers being calved on June 23. All stock are calved on to the sandy peat section of the farm to avoid pasture damage with replacement heifers being put into a mob and fed milk and meal till hitting a weight of 100kg. Calves then go onto a 34ha block where they stay for a year before going onto a 70ha leased block. Young stock get their own sec-

tion of the farm with Gray assigning staff to their care and providing documentation in the form of a guide. “It’s useful to have farm policies on how to get well-grown young stock, so I have developed a ‘how to manual’ for that,” he says.“My son came back to farm this year so it’s been his responsibility to do farm walks and handle young stock and it worked really well.” To manage worm burdens, the farm drenches and weighs calves once a month, putting cows on to the section in winter to cut some of the worm load.

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

management  // 27

Sheltered pad brings dramatic gains TONY AND Marlene Walters calve 225 cows on their system 2, 85ha (eff) dairy farm at Aka Aka, south west of Auckland. Until recently they ran the farm as a husbandwife unit, but decided to make changes as weather extremes and over-grazing were hindering production. The challenge was to ‘future-proof’ the business. “We wanted whatever we did to stand up to the regulations [imposed by] any council.” They decided to install a covered shelter for their cows – specifically a plastic structure as best suiting their needs: good for winter and spring and, with roof vents, relatively cool in summer. Plastic roofing they knew would transmit UV light, killing bacteria on the floor. Talks with the Fonterra sustainable dairying advisor prompted them towards a concrete floor where sunlight and air movement would dry moisture, resulting in a layer of dry matter to give the cows something soft underfoot. The all-concrete floor has a raised-middle feed lane covered by a Redpath structure 60 x 29 x 3m containing air venting controlled by a computer to open and close the vents, automatically controlling the environment inside. The Walters’ researches led to shed and shelter manufacturer Redpath developing a new product, says director Glen Williams. “The development of this shelter was customer driven, and the Walters were quite clear on the requirements for the design. “Redpath feels the design will be a solid solution to many farmers needs, especially those who need 100% effluent control and a secure shelter system.” The building design, now called a Redpath 100% containment shelter, was available for the Walters to use at the beginning of August with one side of the floor covered in a 400mm

layer of post peelings, and the other side left as bare concrete for a feedpad. As half the herd had calved, the area with the post peelings was sufficient to house 120 cows overnight. The results have been outstanding as the post peelings have stayed dry and the concrete floor built up a layer of dry matter with effluent drying to form a crust, making it comfortable and soft for the cows to stand on. No fluid has seeped from the building due to evaporation of moisture. As a result Walters have increased production 33% for the season to date with the same level of feeding and cow numbers as in past seasons. They now estimate they were losing 30% or more feed in the paddock. That feed is now available to be utilised for production purposes instead of being lost to the environment. Calving in the building was easy as they installed lights inside and out, which resulted in no deaths of cows, and made picking up the newborn calves much easier and everyone stayed dry. They added concrete aprons to either end of the building to collect outside effluent, providing an impermeable layer that directs fluids to the effluent system, which consists of a weeping wall of RX Plastics panels. This is pumped to an RX Plastics K-line system to spray to pasture at low rates of application. Maize and palm kernel bunkers were sited for easy operation and containment of leachates from silage which is also directed to the effluent system. Using a weather station with soil moisture monitoring, Walters manage their effluent system with the help of Re:Gen, an internet/cloud management system that calculates application rates based on the moisture content of the soil. They are able to utilise effluent throughout winter and spring, even in wet conditions with low application rates because they can prove where they have

applied it, and how much they are able to apply, which enables them to be more efficient with its use. The Walters spent a lot on their facility and surrounding infrastructure to future-proof themselves.

The initial budgets were for an eight-nine year payback period, and they say the production increase during this first year should enable them to halve this period. 0508733728

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A covered shelter for cows has brought milk production gains for farmer Tony Walters.

management – whether you’re milking 100 cows or 1,000. Give yourself time to make the right business decisions on your farm with a DeLaval VMS. Talk to your local DeLaval dealer today. Call 0800 222 228 or visit

Dairy News april 29, 2014

28 //  management Herd Homes technology allows effluent to drop through the slats into a concrete lined bunker.

Pre-plan winter stock tactics bala tikkisetty

GET A good handle on the stock wintering practices you intend for the wet winter months ahead. In recent years, land

use change, including intensification, have prompted changes in types of stock, dry matter production, stocking rates and nutrient input. All these can affect the environment.

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For example, a common practice during winter is to graze cattle intensively on large quantities of forage crops in relatively small areas which, if not managed well, can result in soil damage and risk other environmental impacts such as polluting surface and groundwater. Livestock density is not the only factor affecting water quality; selection of feeding sites and management of wintering systems are also important considerations. Also, wet pasture, heavy grazing and the resulting compaction can reduce pasture growth and detract from farm productivity. Feed pads and standoff pads are options for protecting soil physical structure over wet periods. The feed pad is a dedicated concrete platform where supplementary feeds are fed to the stock. Higher feed efficiency is achieved as the wastage is reduced to about 5% as against about 20% or more when silage is fed in paddocks. A stand-off pad is a dedicated loafing area for stock, with a soft freedraining surface and typically wood chips, kind to hooves. As stock can be withheld from pasture for longer times, the area required per cow has to be bigger, say about 8m2. Capture of effluent is an important aspect of stand-off pads. The law requires that the base of

any feedpad or standoff pad is properly sealed underneath with, say, compacted clay, a synthetic liner or concrete. Herd home technology has also recently gained in popularity. It is a combination of a feeding platform, standoff facility and animal shelter. Stock are fed on slatted, reinforced concrete floors. Cows’ effluent drops through the slats into a concrete lined bunker. Sacrifice paddocks, common in years gone by, are now generally discouraged. They risk damage to soil structure and may cause lameness and mastitis. If soil potassium levels become too great (potassium is excreted in urine) it may predispose the calving cow to metabolic problems. When building any wintering pad allow for solid and liquid waste disposal. Design the pad so that contaminants run into the farm’s effluent disposal system. Locate the feed pad or standoff pad well away from any waterway. It is unlawful to allow effluent runoff to enter streams or seep into groundwater. Do not feed out supplementary feeds in areas where run-off water may reach any water body.  If possible avoid feeding out in these paddocks. • Bala Tikkisetty is a sustainable agriculture coordinator at Waikato Regional Council. Tel. 0800 800 401 or

in brief Agri hub chair appointment FORMER FONTERRA executive Graham Stuart will head the national agricultural hub being developed at Lincoln University. He was most recently the chief executive of Sealord, and has worked for Fonterra, the New Zealand Dairy Board and Lion Nathan. He was recently a member of the Maori Economic Development Task Force. The Lincoln Hub is a venture between Lincoln University, AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, Landcare Research and DairyNZ to improve science and technology transfer and capability for farming. Stuart says the hub is a move towards a world class agricultural research facility where university, crown research agencies and the private sector can interact.


After 3 seasons and more than 100,000 inseminations LIC is able to offer what no one else can. Sexed Semen with near normal conception rates. In 2014 the availability of Fresh Sexed semen is rapidly growing into as many regions as logistically possible, with the major goal being nationwide coverage in coming seasons. Each straw delivers approximately 90% female cells and conception rates only 3-5% behind normal. There will be two teams to select from; Holstein-Friesian and KiwiCross™. The Holstein-Friesian is offered in combination with a forward contract to supply excess heifers to Fonterra and the KiwiCross™ is available independent of a contract. Supply is limited, so if you are keen to take advantage of Premier Sires Fresh Sexed, call your LIC Customer Relationship Manager today (Expressions of interest are required by 1 June).


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Dairy News april 29, 2014

management  // 31

Supplements, analysis please dairyman enable them to increase production and… profit.” The Washer property, between Hawera GRAHAM AND Ruth and Manaia, is mainly Washer have been using flat coastal land, prone to palaMountain Max Plus summer dries. It is 121ha for their cows and this (eff) milking 380 Jersey manufacturer’s calf boost cows through a 32-bail for three years and have now signed for the compa- rotary. It employs a herd manager. ny’s new QPM program. Washer told Dairy News QPM is a venture by that at palaMounthe end of tain and March he Quantum was still Laborato3% ahead ries, workof last ing with year but Massey the dry University. was hitIt involves ting. “All testing of John Palamountain our culls soil, herbhave gone age and and we are milking every faeces by a company representative and these data 16 hours and feeding the are analysed by Quantum. last of our supplements.” He says that feeding QPM was developed by palaMountains Max Plus Peter Lester, in New Zeasupplements helped them land. reduce the empty rate to Analysis results are below 6%. returned within seven Washer rears 80 days. Blood samples are replacement calves a year taken from a cross secon a Bell-Booth automatic tion of animals by the calf feeder with palaMounfarmer’s veterinarian and tain Calf boost suppleforwarded directly to mented at every feed from Massey University to get day one. “They always a complete assessment have access to straw to of a farmer’s operation. help gut development…. It equally suits dairy and Towards weaning we add sheep and beef farms. Fibre Fresh.” Says John PalamounTONY HOPKINSON

“All our culls have gone and we are milking every 16 hours and feeding the last of our supplements.” – Graham Washer tain, “With the information gathered it is possible for a QPM technical agent to advise fertiliser applications to balance and get healthier soils and to advise on nutritional products to allow the animals to fulfil their potential. “Both our companies are established in their respective fields,” said Quantum Laboratories’ joint managing director Raymond Burr. “[We combined] our respective expertise to give more information to farmers to

With Calf Boost he reports there have been no scours and the calves’ skins are shiny and healthy. Results from first tests of soil and herbage suggest there will be little variation of what he is doing. They contain some fertiliser recommendations. “I feed molasses in open troughs in the shed during the spring and they have recommended adding some rolled maize to my spring supplements.”

Farmer, Graham Washer says calves’ skins are shiny and healthy.

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

32 //  animal health/feed

Feed pads, cow housing a worthwhile investment MY LAST article talked

about ways farmers can decrease the amount of nitrogen leached from their farm systems. Options include reducing stocking rate, manipulating cow diets so less nitrogen is excreted in the urine, growing crops which utilise soil nitrogen and keeping cows off pasture, especially during the wetter winter months. While mitigation strategies such as feedpads and cow housing systems cost a lot, they give benefits in addition to reducing nitrogen leaching. These include: Maximising pasture harvested. Maximising pasture harvest is a key to dairy farm profitability. Standing cows off pasture and feeding them supple-

ments can help decrease both pugging and overgrazing. Research has shown that pugging (especially in winter and early spring) can cause shortterm decreases in pasture yield of up to 80%. For a Waikato farm, moderate pugging of 50% of the farm and severe pugging of 10% of the farm was predicted to decrease milk production by 16%. A 3-year study showed that paddocks with no pugging produced 28% greater pasture yields in the July-September period than conventional year-round grazing systems. Overgrazing pastures reduces leaf area, slowing growth rates and can decrease pasture persistence due to removal of plant energy reserves. In

recent years, overgrazing during dry summers has created as many if not more issues than pugging in the winter. Reducing supplement feed-out losses. There is a high wastage associated with feeding supplements in the paddock, especially when ground conditions are wet. Wastage increases the cost per kgDM eaten. The greater the wastage, the greater the cost of the feed and the more milk

you need to produce to pay for it. Increasing the range of supplements that can be fed. One of the downsides of relying solely on a meal feeding system is that you are locked into feeding concentrates which generally have a higher cost per kgDM. Home-grown or bought-in forages (e.g. maize silage or pasture silage), concentrates (e.g. grains or PKE) or local by-products (e.g. bread, brewers’ grains or kiwifruit) can all be fed on a feedpad or in a cow housing system. You can feed a mix of supplements at the rates you choose, anytime during the milking season or dry period. Minimising workload. A large amount of supplementary feed can be fed

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out relatively quickly on a well-designed feedpad or cow housing system. Feeding supplements on a feedpad or in a cow housing system often requires less work than break-feeding a crop, or feeding silage or hay in the paddock. Many farmers are using automatic gate latches so cows bring themselves to the feed pad prior to milking. Improving cow efficiency. Many farmers with cow housing systems are reporting increased feed use efficiency (i.e. less feed per kgMS) over the course of the season. Cows that are housed and fed do not use as much energy collecting their feed as cows grazing. Moisture, high winds and low temperatures can increase cow energy

Feed pads and cow housing systems deliver benefits.

requirements, whilst high temperatures depress feed intake and increase maintenance energy requirements. Housing reduces temperature fluctuations, meaning cows are more likely to be in their ideal temperature zone. In summary, a feed-

pad or cow housing structure should not be seen as a large cost but rather an investment, which in most cases will give financial and environmental benefits for many years. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

34 //  animal health

Theileriosis on the prowl – DairyNZ NORTH ISLAND dairy


The recent rain, along with cattle movement in the North Island, has raised the risk of theileriosis.

farmers are urged to look out for theileriosis in cattle, as reports emerge of an increase in cases. DairyNZ chief scientist Dr Eric Hillerton says theileriosis had a big

impact on farms last spring, when at least 350 cases were confirmed in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Northland and central North Island. The disease causes anaemia in cows. Hillerton says there

when necessary, especially if moving cattle off-farm or purchasing new cows.” Hillerton will explain how theileria affects a cow’s body, how to prevent it and what the predictions are for the disease. The forum is free to levy-paying dairy farmers and their staff. Hillerton says for now, farmers must check for signs of theileriosis, which include lethargy, pale mucous membranes,

“Tick activity will increase so farmers need to check cattle for ticks and talk to their vets”.


The recent rain and mild temperatures, along with cattle movement in the North Island, are particular risk factors. “Tick activity will increase, so farmers need to check cattle for ticks and talk to their vet about treatment options if they find them,” says Hillerton. “And with stock moving off-farm to winter grazing and gypsy day looming, there is increased risk of theileriosis spreading to uninfected cattle.” Stock movement is the most important factor in managing the spread of theileriosis, as infected animals take it to a new location or are introduced to healthy animals. “The best way to minimise the risk of infection is by good biosecurity including stock management and applying tick control



exercise intolerance and increased respiratory and heart rates. “Farmers may notice animals lagging behind the rest of the mob when being shifted or lying down in the paddock. The animals are also likely to be off their food and appear hollow-sided. “Cows with theileriosis should be given rest, high quality feed and water and be handled only when necessary. Farmers should also contact their veterinarian for advice. There is no human health or food safety risks associated with theileriosis.” Hillerton’s presentation is one of 12 workshops at the forum. It will be one of his last engagements before he retires. farmersforum Eric Hillerton.



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is a heightened risk now, due to autumn calving, stock movements and recent rain. “During calving, cows’ immune systems and energy requirements change as they transition to milking and it makes their immune system less efficient and the cows more susceptible to infection,” says Hillerton, who is speaking on theileriosis at the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum, May 7-8 at Hamilton.

17/04/14 11:55 AM

Dairy News april 29, 2014

animal health  // 35 A young tick.

Infection by ticks leads to anaemia respiratory and heart during the current hot, rates. dry summer weather and Farmers may notice drought in many regions. animals lagging behind The mild 2013 winter the rest of the mob when enabled them to survive being shifted or lying and get active early this down in the paddock. season. Try not to stress and Most cases of anaemia associated with theileria have been confirmed in Northland, Waikato, King Country and Bay of Plenty, mostly in upper North Island. Cases were confirmed in lesser numbers in Whanganui, Taranaki Fully fed adult tick. and Canterbury. (The Canterbury move affected animals, case was a single cow as their reduced capacity moved from the North to transport oxygen Island.) around the body can lead What to look out for: to collapse and death if Signs of anaemia in you stress or move them cattle include straggling quickly. on the walk to the shed, Affected animals pale rather than healthy should be rested, given pink vulva and lips under high quality feed and the tail, and increased water, and handled only when necessary. There are a number prevention helpful of causes of anaemia and its signs can be similar to

TICKS ARE the culprits

in the event of theileriosis and anaemia, says DairyNZ. The problem is that ticks feeding on an animal’s blood transmit a parasite called theileria orientalis. From this arises theileriosis and from that, anaemia. Cattle risk getting infected when they are moved to areas where infected ticks are present. Likewise, if an infected animal is transported, it can spread infection to ticks in the new location which will in turn spread disease to uninfected animals. The disease is not spread by direct animalto-animal contact in the absence of ticks. There are no human health or food safety risks associated with theileria. It is likely that tick populations increased


Regularly check all classes of stock for ticks. Look for them around the tail head, base of udder and inside the legs.


Apply a tick control product specifically for cattle, following the advice of your veterinarian and product instructions.


Quarantine new stock coming on to your farm for seven days, observe them and treat for ticks (if necessary).


Keep animals in good condition and well fed so they are better able to cope with disease challenges and stressful events.

those of other diseases. Farmers who suspect they have animals with anaemia should contact a veterinarian for advice. Ticks are considered the main means of spread of theileria. The control of ticks is strongly advised. Farmers in affected areas should be regularly checking their stock for ticks and treating animals as necessary. Treat any new animals, making particular effort to treat cattle before moving them from one property to another. Manage the tick population: inspect cattle for presence of ticks. Tick treatments can be useful to reduce the tick load and the severity of the disease. Ease underlying disease or stress, for example, transition management, trace element deficiency, BVD (bovine viral diarrhoea) and facial eczema.

signs of anaemia ■■

Cows straggling on the walk to the shed.


Increased respiratory and heart rate.


Pale, rather than healthy pink, vulva (FANI test).


Pale udder, yellow eyes.


Cows have no strength or energy to do anything.

Dairy News april 29, 2014

36 //  machinery & products

Effluent solids-liquid split ‘not needed’ FARMERS NEED not separate solids from the liquid in farm effluent, says the distributor of German-made Nevada pond stirrers, Mid-West Machinery. Usually dairy farmers will separate the solids from effluent to allow for low-application effluent irrigation, the company says. “But why should they, when we don’t need to? Why not deal with the one product and still achieve low application depths?” Mid-West says it offers an alternative to the trouble and expense of solids separation: innovative electric- or PTOpowered horizontal mixers. These can mix whole effluent, in lined ponds, concrete sumps or above-ground tanks of at least 5,000,000L capacity. Fast, effective agitation/mixing is achieved using the company’s Nevada Typhoon propeller, facilitating pumping and irrigating using a travelling rain gun or effluent pods that irrigate to council requirements. Tel. 0800 464 393

Nevada pond stirrer.

Geared reel transport lock good for business

Geared reel transport lock.

STRIP GRAZING crop and pas-

ture for maximum dairy productivity on steep land prompts a south Waikato sharemilker in his choice of electric fencing reel, reports Gallaghers. Dan Noble has for 12 years been 50:50 sharemilking 800 cows on 400ha south of Mangakino, doubling cow numbers three years ago when an extra block of land was converted. The farm’s steep contour can be challenging, he says. Every blade of grass grown is precious and good temporary elec-

tric fencing is a must. “We grow a lot of crop here and we’ve always got multiple fences set up.” He uses Gallagher reels with the maker’s new geared reel transport lock – “a no-brainer that makes good business sense,” he says. The strip grazing task demands a lot of gear: about 35 reels and 1200-1400 standards. Including the main energiser most of the gear is Gallagher, “because it’s robust and I know if I have problems I can call my local territory manager and he will sort it out.”

Noble learned about the geared reel transport lock – as fitted to new Gallagher geared electric fencing reels – during a chance meeting with territory manager Darren Smith. The insulated transport lock prevents reels ‘jumping off’ while being carried say, on a bike, or falling off a permanent fence. Noble says he likes the safety factor. “If you are travelling on a two-wheel bike and the fencing reels start to fall off, the first thing you focus on is the reels, and that can get you into trouble.” But the lock keeps the reel secured to the

bike – easier and safer. Being able to lock the reel to a permanent fence is also helpful. “If the cows are going to knock a reel over they will always do it on a Sunday morning, never on a Wednesday. Each break of kale is worth about $700 and each break of grass is worth about $600. So it’s important to protect that valuable feed.” And the lock keeps reels in good working order, Noble says, meaning reels don’t so often need replacing.

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

machinery & products  // 37

New welcome mats at global tractor plant TRACTOR MAKER New Holland Agri-

culture has opened a customer centre at its Jesi plant in Italy, the group’s global centre for specialty tractor production. The plant makes the NH T4F/N/V series, TK crawler tractor and the T4, TD5 and T5 ranges. “We look forward to welcoming New Holland customers to the home of specialty and mid-range tractor production here at Jesi,” said Carlo Lambro, brand president of New Holland Agriculture. “Our commitment to specialty farming is of growing global importance.” NH refers to “outstanding work going on at the Jesi plant”. The customer centre is 800m2 in area, adorned with “striking” New Holland prints, and equipped with a 50-seat conference room, mezzanine lounge, meeting room and shop. An indoor display area showcases Jesi’s current production: T4, T4F, TD5, T5 models are all present. The customer centre will open to the public this year and many customer visits is scheduled. NH also has customer centres at Basildon, UK, and Zedelgem, Belgium.

Jesi made tractor components when it opened in 1977 and in 1986 made its first tractors. Now it employs 880 people, covers 64,000m2 and has made 650,000 tractors. At least 10,000 different machine configurations are possible. The plant uses the most advanced technology available to improve manufacturing. Skids that transport each tractor along the assembly line can be raised or lowered to a height that best suits a worker. The cab line rotates the cabs to an angle for operators. Robotic painting technology allows use of 200 different finish programmes. Every driveline and cab undergoes simulated testing for shock loading and vibration. Extensive tests are done to hydraulics, engine, transmission, steering, brakes, differential lock and linkages of every tractor. Each day two tractors are tested from the customers’ point of view, with feedback directly used to improve future production. New Holland is imported in New Zealand by C B Norwood Distributors Ltd.

Indoor display of current models.

New Holland’s Jesi plant.

The customer area with display models in the background.

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

38 //  machinery & products

Needy cows focus wins award for ‘navigator’ DE LAVAL’S Herd

Navigator, which detects the handful of cows needing attention on a milking platform, has won the best product award at AgroFarm 2014, this year held in Moscow. The event is an

exhibition of animal husbandry and animal breeding and related technology. The award is for products that most help Russian livestock farms and that increase competitiveness of animal

production in Russia. A product’s balance of spending and economic benefits is especially in view. This year 370 exhibitors from 29 countries exhibited, and 10,000 visitors attended.

The technical programme is a big AgroFarm draw, DeLaval says. Forums this year consisted of 55 specialist events. DeLaval presented at the animal husbandry business forum, showing company expertise and consultancy services, and showing products and solutions. A large booth, demo areas and herd management zone allowed meetings with DeLaval


staff and product viewings. The site had two novelty attractions: an ‘ethno-pop’ group from Udmurt Republic that represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, and a kids’ club. Kia’s new hatch has arrived in New Zealand.





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long distance driving. It’s controllable and refined, pleasing to drive in fact.” This car and the Kia Cerato Koup Turbo have turbocharged Kia 1.6L Gamma direct-injection engines developing 150kW and 265Nm of torque. The Koup is automatic, the Pro_cee’d GT a 6-speed manual. “The market for hot hatches leans more towards male buyers, with a preference for a manual gearbox and we’ve tailored this car to suit,” says McDonald. The Pro_cee’d GT Turbo is the product of Kia’s European design team, the Koup comes out of Kia’s California design studio. Peter Schreyer, Kia’s chief design officer, says the car “embodies emotion and energy…. You know from a single glance this is a car you want to drive, not just own. The three-door Kia Pro_cee’d GT Turbo is priced at $43,990 + ORC, the Kia Cerato Koup Turbo SX $42,490 + ORC.

Dairy News april 29, 2014

farm bikes & atvs  // 39

Lean on workers to wear helmets WORKSAFE New Zealand (WNZ) urges farmers to be careful when considering whether a quad is the right vehicle for the job. What does the owner’s manual says about maximum towing and carrying limits, and whether passengers can be carried. “Most quads used on New Zealand farms are designed for one rider and the manufacturers say they should not be used to carry passengers,” WNZ says. “If you need to carry passengers and your quad isn’t designed to do that, the safest option is to use another type of vehicle.” About 7% of seri-

ous farm quad accidents during 2000-2008 involved passengers. 10% involved towing. Safety is paramount for when using bikes and quads. Helmets, usually provided, must be worn. The farmer must enforce this.  Workers who fail to wear helmets when riding bikes and quads should be disciplined, WNZ says. “Your response should be the same as if the worker did other serious things like consistently failing to turn up for work or turning up drunk. If you take the issue seriously, so will they. “Clearly communicate to the worker that wearing

a helmet prevents injury and that helmets must be worn or disciplinary action will be taken. “You can use employment agreements to spell out that workers must comply with all health and safety requirements including wearing helmets. The agreement can state that not complying with health and safety requirements would be considered serious misconduct and could result in disciplinary action, including [getting fired].” Workers need to know they may be prosecuted for not wearing a helmet, as may their employer.

soft approach not working WORKSAFE NZ says it won’t hesitate to use its enforcement powers to improve farm safety. It admits education campaigns have failed to reduce deaths and injuries from quad crashes on farms. Research shows farmers know how to prevent accidents but do nothing, WNZ says. But it stops short of throwing the rule book at farmers.

“In the case of quads on farms information alone is not working and we will move to also use our enforcement powers.” Inspectors have the authority to visit workplaces to assess safety and investigate accidents. They can strike agreements for safety improvements, issue ‘tickets’ that stipulate improvements, order a farmer to stop using dodgy gear and in serious cases prosecute.

Helmets must be worn at all times on a quad bike.

no specific law NO SPECIFIC law covers helmets, training, rider age, passengers and towing/carrying limits on quads. But when quads are used for work – as on farms – they are covered by the Health and Safety in Employment Act. This requires employers to take “all

practicable steps” to prevent employees and others from being harmed in their workplace. For farm quads these steps would include following the manufacturers’ operating instructions in the owner’s manual that comes with every quad bike.

All manufacturers say helmets should be worn, riders should be trained and children under 16 should not ride adult bikes. Most say passengers should not be carried. Manuals also set maximum limits for towing and carrying loads.

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

40 //  farm bikes & atvs

Crash risk rockets with towed attachments A SURVEY of quad accidents on

farms showed 86% were towing an attachment such as a trailer or spray tank when the accident occurred, says Work Safe New Zealand (WNZ). Quads risk rolling if their towed attachments are too heavy or too wide, or have an unbalanced load. Quads used for work, as they often are on farms, are covered by the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. This requires employers to take “all practicable steps” to prevent employees and others from being harmed. Choosing the right vehicle for the job is the key, WNZ says. If you plan to use a quad to tow, first consider: ■■ Maximum tow weight (trailer + load) ■■ Maximum tongue weight (weight on hitch point) ■■ Maximum quad load

Manufacturer’s recommended carrying limits ■■ Maximum front and rear load capacity How front and rear loads will affect stability and visibility. This information should be available in the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember that weight limits include the weight ■■

of the rider, the trailer and the load. If you fit an attachment to a quad, make sure the combined total weight does not exceed the manufacturer’s weight or towing specifications. Check the weight specifications for the different types of quad if you have more than one on your farm – they may

Loading tips to keep machine safe WHEN TRANSPORTING a quad by trailer or ute,

not be the same. Other things to remember: When fitting attachments, always use the mounting point or drawbar provided by the manufacturer. Incorrect connections can increase instability. Do not alter the height of the mounting point or increase the towing capacity outside those provided by the manufacturer. Do not reinforce the tow bar of the machine to make it stronger. This could have an adverse effect if a bike rolls with an attached implement. Instead of breaking, as it should, the reinforced tow bar could still take the strain of the attachment and add to the force of the roll. When a powered attachment is attached, ensure all guards are in place and that the machine can be comfortably operated from the seated position.

hazards arise at loading and unloading, and during the cartage itself. Work Safe New Zealand suggests ways to stay safe while loading. Remove loads from the quad or secure them well. If practical, empty spray tanks before loading. Select a suitable site – flat and free of obstacles. Use a loading bank or platform, or ramps of good quality and adequate strength. Check the trailer is stable and secure; apply the brake. Ramps should be well secured to the trailer to prevent movement as the quad is ridden up them. If using ramps, check the quad is lined up with them. Select 4WD if you have it. Only a competent rider, wearing a helmet, should load a quad onto a trailer or ute. Box-type trailers may be lower than other options and therefore safer to use. Some trailers may also have a winch to pull loads on. For unloading, reverse the above steps. Read the operator’s manual to identify the maximum safe slope for loading. Check ramp carrying capacity and angle. (Ramps will need to be longer, the higher the tray on the transport vehicle.) Maximum quad weight should be marked on each ramp. Example: if the safe working load for each ramp is 175kg, that’s a total load capacity of 350kg.

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

farm bikes & atvs  // 41

Know your bike before powering up – WorkSafe KNOW YOUR farm bike well before you ride it, says WorkSafe New Zealand. Not all bikes are the same, and it can take time to get a ‘feel’ for a bike you haven’t ridden before, it says. “And if you haven’t ridden a bike for a while, its condition may have changed since you last rode it.” Here’s what WNZ recommends: ■■ Before starting the bike, check cables for kinks or broken strands and make sure they’re oiled.



Ensure the tyres are in good condition. Check air pressure (read the manual): the bike won’t handle properly with tyres too soft or hard; braking and steering may be affected. Worn or uneven tread will affect handling, making control difficult on slippery or uneven surfaces. Cuts or cracks in the sidewalls, and nails stuck in the tread, are risky. A tyre blowout is extremely dangerous.




Check all lights: are the bulbs working and the lenses clean? Check the drive chain or belt for lubrication, wear and adjustment. (See the manual for correct settings.) Clean and adjust the mirrors before you start. (It’s dangerous to ride with one hand while adjusting a mirror.) Adjust mirrors outward to see around your body. You should see about half the lane behind and as much

Not all bikes are the same so get a feel for the bike before the ride.



as possible of the lane alongside. Check the manual for the correct grades of fuel and oil. And check the levels. An engine seizure could lock your rear wheel – dangerous! After you’ve started the bike:



Try the front and rear brakes one at a time. Make sure each brake, when applied, holds the bike. Ensure each brake control operates the brake light. Do the clutch and throttle controls work smoothly?




Can you operate hand and foot controls when you sit comfortably on the bike? Try the dip switch; do both high and low beams work? If your bike has a hazard light switch, check it works. And


check the horn works. Do you have enough petrol for your trip? Know the fuel tap’s position and operation. Don’t ride long distances with the fuel tap on ‘reserve’. Use the reserve tank only to go back and refuel.

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Dairy News april 29, 2014

42 //  farm bikes & atvs

Quad has ‘big brother features’ THE 2014 range of

Honda quads are now available at Honda dealers nationwide, including a 420cc model with design features similar to those on a bigger machine. As with the Honda quads custom-made for New Zealand conditions for at least 40 years, the new range is no different, the company says. The range extends from the TRX250 to the “awesome” TRX680. In between sit the 420cc and 500cc workhorses that are “unwavering favourites in the New Zealand market”. The 500cc Forman range comes in automatic or manual and with the option of power steering. These models are the

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Honda’s new 420cc model.

“power performers” of the range – the manual versions can tow 250kg. The manual versions also have front diff-lock enabling them to pull through deep mud. Big news in the 2014 offering is the 420cc

Rancher range, says Blue Wing Honda. The 420s now the same heavy duty frame as the 500cc machines. The 420FM has a solid rear swing-arm with durability similar to the 500cc design. And the automatic models have

revised transmission mapping. Other features include new styling, stronger headlights, thicker seat foam, enclosed rear axles and better CV boots.

A POWERFUL and fun utility capable of handling just about any chore: that’s how distributor Bruce Henderson describes the Landmaster range of vehicles. Henderson’s company Simplicity Imports has been selling the Landmaster range in New Zealand It includes utility vehicles ranging from ‘light’ (150cc) to mid-size 2WD and 4WD models and 4-seater crew vehicles with optional 6-seat configurations. The Landmaster range was designed with every need in mind – work or play, he says. “The LM200 runabout is a quick, 2WD, lighter duty vehicle perfect for adding to the enjoyment of land while helping to maintain residential, holiday or small commercial property.” Jobs such as moving mulch, logs or towing a mower or trailer are easily han-

Landmaster 2-wheel drive LM400.

dled by the 2WD LM300 or LM400. The more powerful 4WD LM500, LM650 and LM700 suit heavy chores or more rugged terrain. The Landmaster range also includes the electric LM48V. Henderseon describes this as quiet and powerful, good for offroad chores or for just getting around a property. “`The electric LMLSV is a street legal version of the LM48V. All of the Landmaster models (except the LM200) come with a ‘poly’ (structural foam) dump bed, but can be ordered as a steel bed model with a rear-facing flip seat that folds down to create the dump bed. The LM500 petrol 4WD costs $11,949 (incl. GST); the LM48V electric 2WD costs $12,857. Tel. 0800 384 450





1/3 IN 24 MONTHS

904CC - 24HP

KG 907





Subject to credit approval, fees, terms and conditions apply. Based on a 24 month Hire Purchase Contract. To approved Registered GST No. Holders for business purposes only on applications for Ranger 900 Diesel models. Offer expires 30/6/2014. Polaris Finance is a program operated by De Lage Landen Ltd Company No: 135515. Overseas Model Shown with optional accessories.

0800 440 290


Are you prepared to take a hit?

One shot could save a hiding Scours can knock you sideways – hurting your calves, your family and your income. And it can strike on any farm. With Rotavec® Corona, a single shot before calving helps protect your calves against coli Talk to three of the most common causes of infectious scours – rotavirus, coronavirus and E. coli. your vet today about Rotavec Corona – the easy, one shot way to help your calves stand up to scours.

AVAILABLE ONLY UNDER VETERINARY AUTHORISATION. ®Registered Trademark. MSD Animal Health Phone 0800 800 543 ROT-160-2013

00790_MSD ROTAVEC - Farmer Ad_DN.indd 1

8/05/13 1:37 PM

A service now could save on valuable downtime later. PGG Wrightson Water are New Zealand’s leading irrigation and pumping specialists with over 40 years of experience in design, construction and maintenance. We can service and repair any make and model of irrigator, pump or system throughout the country. To keep your irrigation system operating at peak efficiency, contact your local PGG Wrightson Water branch today.

Freephone 0800 864 774

PGG Wrighston Water branches: Auckland Hastings Kaiapoi Christchurch Ashburton Timaru Cromwell

2/4 Sultan St, Ellerslie 1203 Omahu Road 530 Mill Road, Ohoka 44 Mandeville St, Riccarton 447 West Street 7 Eversley Street 16 Pinot Noir Drive 11 Hughes Crescent

Helping grow the country

Dairy News 29 April 2014  
Dairy News 29 April 2014  

Dairy News 29 April 2014