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One Plan in tatters. PAGE 3


Intensive, yet simple farmers PAGE 23

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APRIL 11, 2017 ISSUE 376 //


“We have seen what Miraka have done and what we’d like to do is emulate what they have done”. – Tiaki Hunia, Putauaki Trust – PAGE 4

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NEWS  // 3

One Plan in tatters PETER BURKE

“WE JUST want to get on with it,”

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NEWS������������������������������������������������������3-14 OPINION���������������������������������������������� 16-17 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������18-19 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������22-23 MATING MANAGEMENT���������� 24-28 ANIMAL HEALTH��������������������������������� 29 DAIRY INDUSTRY AWARDS��� 31-35 MACHINERY &   PRODUCTS��������������������������������������36-38

say Manawatu dairy farmers reacting to news that Horizons Regional Council’s One Plan implementation has effectively been ruled unlawful by the Environment Court. This decision promises more delays and uncertainty over resource consents in the region. The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) and Fish and Game (FAG) challenged Horizons’ implementation in the Environment Court; the court agreed. In the process the court has strongly criticised Horizons’ approach and their failure to work with EDS and FAG who, before they took court action, had complained about the process. The court says such an attitude on the part of a law making and law administering body is not acceptable. The president of Manawatu Federated Farmers, dairy farmer James Stewart, says farmers in the region are frustrated and face more uncertainty. They don’t know where they are with their costings and consents, he says. “I was talking to a dairy farmer the other day and they just want to get on with it. They want to move on, get consented and do the right thing. They are concerned about what it means for those who already have consents.” For its part the council claims there is no problem with existing consents, but as Gary Taylor of EDS asks, if the implementation process was unlawful where does that leave

consents? Stewart says it is all frustrating for farmers who are fed up with the drawn-out One Plan process. “Farmers have been doing a lot of work on this and we have seen good results, such as the reduction in N leaching and improvement in water quality, yet it keeps going on. “Fish and Game [told me] they had nothing against farming and that the appeal was about a point of law. To me that’s a cop-out and a contradiction; of course it affects farmers.” Stewart says farmers have been hard-out to improve the environment but are now nearing the point of asking “why bother?” Dairy farmers feel they are being used as a political football and that’s not a nice feeling. TO PAGE 5

Manawatu Federated Farmers president James Stewart says farmers are frustrated.

HORIZONS HALTS PROCESSING CONSENTS IN THE wake of the Environment Court decision, Horizons has suspended the process for approving any consents for twelve weeks. Chairman Bruce Gordon says this includes consents now in the system and any new ones. He says Horizons farmers, through regulatory and non-regulatory measures, are making good progress in managing nutrients and the resulting environmental outcomes. He says the council understands farmers’ need for certainty, and staff will stay in touch with them as this next phase is worked through. “We respect that we may

not have got it completely right, however no one has said that we’re not on the right path when it comes water quality improvement,” Gordon says. “Some groups have simply indicated they would like to see faster implementation. Based on the decisions as they currently stand, we foresee a longer, more involved and costly consent application process. “It is unclear what this will achieve in water quality, which is disappointing given we were on track for reducing at least 200 tonnes of nitrogen once all the estimated 400 consents for dairy farms had been processed.” Meanwhile Horizons strategy

and regulation manager Nic Peet says the court judgement clearly sets out the legal requirements for consent applicants and the council in considering those consents. “The judgement specifically did not question the legality of the consents already issued by Horizons. It identifies process steps for future consents,” he says. Peet says at all times the council has sought to appropriately apply its plan in line with the RMA. Like any new piece of legislation it has met some challenges along the way, and the court process will help inform these challenges.


4 //  NEWS

New Maori dairy factory for BoP PETER BURKE

A NEW Maori-owned new dairy factory is being planned for the Kawerau region, modelled on the first Maori dairy company Miraka, near Taupo. The new plant, to make milk powder, will use geothermal power owned by Putauaki Trust, one of the Maori trusts in the project. Miraka has just such a deal with one of its geothermal power-owning partner trusts. Maori leader Tiaki Hunia, a leader in the development, is chairman of the Putauaki Trust which has dairy farms around Te Teko and Kawerau. One of the farms, Himiona, named after his late father, was a finalist in the Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Maori dairy farm in 2014. Hunia is a solicitor and is the general manager, trusts, for Te Tumu Paeroa. He is also deputy Māori trustee

and a director of trusts, companies and iwi authorities. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and the New Zealand Law Society and is highly regarded in Maoridom and the agribusiness sector. “We are very excited about the project,” Hunia says. “We have seen what Miraka has done and we’d like to emulate this. The idea is... to utilise what we have -- clean natural resources with dairy farms locally.” There has been a tradition in eastern Bay of Plenty of Maori trusts working together to scale up their dairy operations for greater economic viability. Hunia says they intend to work together. “I am involved because the factory will be built on our land, but six or seven other Maori trusts will be involved in the project, from Rotorua, Bay of Plenty and down to Opotiki.” Hunia says at this stage they expect to have 15-20 farms -- about 9000 cows

The Putauaki Trust in Bay of Plenty hopes to have its own milk powder plant by 2019.

-- supplying the new factory. But he emphasises it’s early days and the governance structure of the new entity has still to be finalised with all the interested parties. And they must finalise finance and get resource consents. Leading the project is Poutama Trust, Rotorua, supported by Te Puni Kokiri; it could produce its first milk powder by 2019.

NEW PLAYER THE PUTAUAKI Trust is a relatively new entrant in dairying, having bought Himiona farm in 2006. Until then its main activity was raising beef and grazing dairy cows on its land near Kawerau, a forestry block and an interest in geothermal power, also at Kawerau. The enterprise mix has expanded to include dairying, maize growing, manuka for honey, industrial land uses and a composting business. The farm is situated on the Rangitaiki Plains be-

tween Te Teko and Edgcumbe The original land purchase was just 57ha – barely economic -- but since 2006 the trust has acquired leases from several smallholdings and built up the milking platform to 180ha running 570 Kiwi cross cows. In 2015 Putauaki Trust converted its drystock property at Kawerau into a 650-cow dairy farm. This included a $1.5 million 54-bail rotary cowshed. The property is partially irrigated.

Win for environmentalists FISH AND Game and the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) may seek costs against Horizons Regional Council as a result of the Environment Court siding with their claims about

the unlawfulness of the implementation of the One Plan. Gary Taylor, of EDS, says the court case cost them a lot of money and they are considering applying for costs against

the council. He says the council needs to analyse the decision of the court and come up with a lawful process. EDS took the council to court esseentially because it wouldn’t listen

to their concerns – something the court also agreed with, Taylor says. “We met with the council but they hadn’t satisfactorily addressed the concerns about the legality of the process. So

we decided with Fish and Game that the only way forward was to test that legality and that has now happened. “Hopefully that has cleared the air on this and it should be possible to


Gary Taylor

get a solution. I am sympathetic to farmers caught up in this because of the uncertainty, but it’s of the council’s making.” Taylor says the whole country is in a period of uncertainty because fresh water policy is still evolving. He says the national policy statement is being amended and that will require all regional policy statements and plans to be amended to give effect


to it. Farmers are asking “are their existing consents still legal?” According to the council, the answer is yes. But Taylor says if the process of granting those consents wasn’t lawful it casts doubt on them. The council may need to look at this and other issues, he says. EDS hopes to tlka to the council to work out the next steps. – Peter Burke

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NEWS  // 5

Cream teas wow Chinese “the great work our foodservice team are doing in the markets”. Fonterra’s Waitoa plant now has seven production lines; lines 1, 2 and 6 are dedicated 1L foodservice lines capable of foodservice whipping and cooking creams,


TEA TOPPED with blended cream may not appeal to many Kiwis but it does to Chinese, says Fonterra. They consume about 20 billion dairy-topped drinks annually -- a lucrative market. Most popular is tea macchiato, a tea blend topped with a whipped cream and cream cheese blend. Fonterra says sales of its cream and cream cheese to Chinese beverage outlets has risen 500% in two years, hence more production lines at its Waitoa UHT plant. It recently completed a 1L UHT line and has begun building a second

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A hot and cold tea macchiato shot (left) using Fonterra UHT cream and cream cheese (seen on Waitoa plant production line).

line to make an extra 45 million L for Asia, Middle East and Caribbean markets. The $35m expansion will make 120 million extra 1L UHT cream packs and add 26 jobs. Fonterra director

global foodservice Grant Watson says Chinese are preferring fresh products and “dairy is really starting to take off... NZ dairy, grass-fed and nutritious”. The co-op grew its combined consumer and foodservice volumes in Greater China by 48% in the 2016 financial year,

it says. It is active in 76 cities and aims to grow that to 160 cities in five years. In China, many dairy products, such as cheese, are consumed mainly with and on other foods, rather than on their own. The co-op’s Anchor Food Professionals division identifies and exploits emerging product trends, such as beverages, hence the tea macchiato. Modern Chinese tea

outlets range in size from large cafés to street-side kiosks. Big brands have huge queues at peak times: a major new café in Shanghai had customers queueing for up to two hours. The growth is especially among young, affluent consumers. Fonterra chief operating officer global operations Robert Spurway says decisions to expand, based on demand, reflect

One Plan in tatters FROM PAGE 3

He says the court ruling is complex and detailed and it will take time to fully analyse the details and work out what action his organisation may take. Meanwhile farmers face uncertainty and disruption. When the One Plan was finally approved, there were concerns about its workability and the council set up the implementation plan which in effect tried to by-pass some of the actual intent

of the plan. The Environment Court says the correct course of action would have been to initiate a ‘plan change’. But the council feared this could have taken years. Ironically, in the light of this judgement, Horizons may have to do a plan change, but if it attempts to go for anything less than the status quo, FAG and EDS will almost certainly oppose such a move. Also criticised by the court

is ‘guidance material’ provided by DairyNZ to help the council determine its consents. The court says important parts of this material are not consistent with, or fall short of, or are even contrary to, the declarations they consider should have been made. The court has also taken a swipe at the council in its implementation for focusing on economic impacts on individuals. “That is not a reason to manipulate or pervert plan implementa-

tion,” says the court. Since its inception more than a decade ago the One Plan has always been complicated and dogged with controversy. It was ‘sold’ to the public as a simple solution which incorporated a myriad of planning documents. Ten years on, the One Plan is regarded by many as a bit of dog and the present decision will likely spark at least another twothree years of uncertainty for land users – especially dairy farmers.

and UHT milk. Line 3 is a 200ml pack line handling Milk For Schools packs.  Lines 4 and 8 are 250ml pack lines mostly for children’s milk and organics, and line 7 is for 125ml packs of pineapple flavoured beverage, a favourite in China.

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6 //  NEWS

Fats flex muscle at GDT auction PAM TIPA

THE RISE of fats continues to play out as the GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) auction saw its second consecutive rise last week, says Rabobank dairy analyst, Emma Higgins. The GDT price index rose 1.6%, with whole milk powder (WMP) up 2.4% to US$2924/tonne. The spread in pricing between fats and proteins is at record levels, Higgins told Dairy News. Anhydrous milk fat (AMF) lifted 2.5% to US$5936/t -- the highest average price for AMF in GDT history, she says. “And although butter lost ground by 1.6%, the average price of US$4751/t is still the second-highest average price in the history of butter offerings on GDT.

“Given low SMP pricing dynamics coupled with lower global milk production, low fat stocks are underpinning outstanding fat prices.” Looking at the powder front, Higgins says the

“Providing a floor for SMP pricing support over the coming weeks and months will be the reopening of the European intervention scheme. As at end of March 2017, no sales had yet taken place,

“Low fat stocks are underpinning outstanding fat prices.” – Emma Higgins modest WMP price lift was supported by lower auction volumes, with 20% less on offer than in the previous auction. While SMP moved a fraction lower (-0.8%) to US$1913/t, a sizable 50% increase in SMP offer volumes makes the result overnight seem “very positive indeed”, she says.   Despite this Rabobank expects to see SMP prices stay about these low levels.  

but watch this space.” Higgins says they expect to see the divergence of proteins and fat prices to continue for much of 2017. “Global milk production continues to decline, impacting the volume of milk available for export. We think the exportable surplus will take until second half 2017 to increase and this will help underpin relatively stable prices in this period.”

ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny says from here they expect prices to largely track sideways, before drifting higher later in 2017. This result reaffirms ASB’s 2016-17 and 201718 milk price forecasts of $6/kgMS and $6.75/kgMS, respectively. “With the better-thanexpected NZ summer and autumn production now largely priced in, we expect WMP prices to tread water about these current levels,” he says.  “With that in mind, we note that a broad range of buyers (Middle-Eastern, African and European) participated in the auction overnight, whereas in prior auctions they may have been waiting in the wings, anticipating further price falls. “Heading into next season and as the NZ pro-

Emma Higgins, Rabobank analyst.

payment to $6.40/kgMS.” For the next season a farmgate milk price in the low $6’s is their “base case although uncertainty bands are wide at this stage”. Rising global supply is expected to cap the upside to dairy prices this year and there is a risk of oversupply if weather conditions allow. And while global dairy demand has improved over the past year, it is patchy in regions and products.

side in prices,” she says. “But dairy markets had more resilience than we gave them credit for, as buyers stepped in to take advantage of lower prices.” Westpac has upgraded its farmgate milk price forecast for the 2016-17 season by 10c to $6/kgMS, in line with Fonterra’s latest forecast. “At its half-yearly update Fonterra indicated confidence in its guidance for a 40c dividend, which would take the total cash

duction filip clears markets, we expect WMP prices to remain wellsupported and to drift higher.” Westpac economist Sarah Drought says following the extremely weak auction in early March (when WMP prices fell 12%), the last two auction results have been encouraging. “Global dairy prices have been known to overrun fundamentals and we had been concerned about further near-term down-

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NEWS  // 7

Online sales platform passes US$20b mark THE ONLINE global

dairy auction launched by Fonterra nine years ago has sold US$20 billion of products. Global Dairy Trade (GDT) passed the milestone at the 185th trading event last week. It offers three services: GDT Events, GDT Insight and GDT Marketplace, for dairy buyers, manufacturers and the financial dairy trading sector. Director Eric Hansen says GDT Events enables high volumes of dairy ingredients to be traded efficiently, its unique scale underpinning the reliability of the reference pricing. “Over 40 specifications of dairy ingredients are offered to at least 500 registered bidders from 80 countries, offering more trading opportunities than any other platform.” GDT Events, now in its ninth year, has traded at least 5.8 million tonnes of dairy ingredients, enough to fill 365,000 twenty-foot shipping containers.

GDT Events kept going through the two-year downturn on the global dairy market; in 2016, despite the relatively weak market, at least 95% of the products offered were sold. “We’re [now] also looking at the viability of creating multi-seller pools for homogenous products, such as generic lactose or other commodity products available from certain regions,” Hansen says. “This would extend the benefits of credible price discovery to a wider range of markets and products.” In 2016 GDT set up a GDT Events oversight board to promote the independence and transparency of the twicemonthly auction. Chairman Bill Shields says GDT Events is the leading provider of reference prices for core ingredients, reflecting the levels of global supply and demand traded on the platform. “The prices established on GDT Events

provide businesses along the supply chain with enhanced visibility of the dairy sector and can be used to improve their planning. “GDT Events shows that better price discovery can be beneficial

to market participants whether prices are weak or strong, and can contribute to better price risk management in the dairy industry.” GDT is now in its ninth year of selling Fonterra dairy products online.

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MPI frustrated but beating weed pest PRIMARY INDUSTRIES Minister Nathan Guy says they are very frustrated about not knowing how velvet leaf arrived in New Zealand. “It is hard to pick up when you have a coated seed,” he told a Helensville field day. “The fodder beet seed has little horns on it; you’ve got to coat it or it won’t run through the drill. It is virtually impossible for MPI to test every seed so we are trying to put the onus more back onto the importers to ensure the seed is certified and clean.” MPI has stepped up its response: after the first stage it is now managing it short, medium and long term, Guy says. Though “hopefully not long term; we hope to eradicate it. But the seed does hang around for a long time in the soil. “We have been training dogs to detect it, and drones that can fly up and map certain paddocks to understand what is happening.” Individual farm plans are enabling infected farms to gain control. “When the contractor comes onto that property he understands, and the farmer understands, where they have been, where they are going, what happens with stock coming out of [a particular] paddock, and whether the seed may be in the feed and being transferred to another paddock. Guy says MPI and regional councils are spending money to ensure the farm plans are operational. “We have worked with the challenged farms at a high level, and now we are down into the next level.” – Pam Tipa

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8 //  NEWS

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Finalists emerge in dairy women contest THREE EMERGING dairy industry leaders are finalists in the sixth annual Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards contest. They are Claire Nicholson from Bay of Plenty, Jessie Chan-Dorman from Canterbury and Jolene Germann from Southland. Claire Nicholson (Ngati Ruanui) is a director of Paraninihi Ki Waitotara (PKW) and chief executive of Sirona Animal Health; Jessie Chan-Dorman is a Fonterra Claire Nicholson shareholders council member and a director of the Ashburton Trading Society; and Jolene Germann is an Agribusiness Consultants dairy consultant and chair of Rural Business Network Southland. The award will be made at an evening event during the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) conference, this year in Queenstown on May 11-12. DWN chief executive Zelda de Villiers says the finalists all contribute much to the business of dairying in New Zealand. “They are making big decisions and contributions that affect the future of dairying. All are recogJessie Chan-Dorman nised leaders in their networks and communities, are influential at a national level and are committed to progressing our dairy industry internationally.” Jo Finer, Fonterra’s general manager NZ industry affairs, says the co-op is “100% behind initiatives like this, that celebrate high performers in the dairy industry”. “The calibre of the finalists is outstanding; every year we see worthy nominations and I have no doubt each will continue to Jolene Germann excel in dairy leadership well into been offered a partnership role at Agrithe future.” Nicholson, a veterinarian, has been business Consultants. She is a volunteer general manager for Intervet New Zealand mentor for DairyNZ Dairy Connect and and business development and marketing PrimaryITO. She says she’s surprised to be nomimanager for Agrifeeds. She says she is “a big advocate for protecting and enhanc- nated for the award, “and humbled at the ing our dairy assets for future generations, same time. I’m constantly impressed with and being nominated for this award sig- the opportunities and passion so widenals that the work I’m doing is on the right spread in the dairy industry.” The award winner will receive a scholtrack”. Chan-Dorman has worked in rural arship prize of up to $20,000 towards propolicy making, R&D and sustainable farm- fessional/business development. Previous winners were Landcorp busiing. She sees herself “progressing further into [this] leadership role that will allow ness manager Rebecca Keoghan (2016), me to make further contributions to the Westland Milk Products board member Katie Milne (2015), Agri-Women’s Develindustry”. Germann is a relative newcomer to the opment Trust chair Charmaine O’Shea dairy industry, milking her first cow just (2014), Milk New Zealand agribusiness seven years ago. She and her husband own chief executive Justine Kidd (2013) and a 570 cow dairy farm in equity partnership Taranaki-King Country National MP Barin Aparima, Southland, and she has just bara Kuriger (2012).


NEWS  // 9

Farm flood work spins off jobs for youngsters


working recently in farm flood recovery via a Ministry for Social Development scheme have got jobs on those farms, says Andrew Maclean, Auckland provincial president, Federated Farmers. Maclean visited a DairyNZ autumn discussion meeting in Clevedon last week to tell the farmers about this service. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy in March officially classified the storm damage in that area, and in Hauraki and Thames-Coromandel districts, as a medium scale adverse event. Clevedon and nearby Orere Pt and Kawakawa Bay were hit hard by floods in mid-March, with stock drowned and and horses seen on the internet finding their own way to safety. Maclean says some youngsters on Taskforce Green work squads for flood recovery ended up getting jobs. He knows this from experience elsewhere. “And farmers [in Clevedon] have told me exceptional youngsters among them will be offered work beyond the organised programme.” He said an offer has come from the government, since Nathan Guy’s

recent visit, to provide groups of youngsters to help with flood recovery. They would help repair fences and gates, clear debris from fields and do other work. About half a dozen farmers in Clevedon, Kawakawa Bay and Orere Point have shown interest in such help. Maclean asked the farmers attending to tell him if others need help. “Also, it is not [limited to] physical help on farm [but can be extended to] people who are clearly suffering from that event. We are here to help and channel services to those people.” He also urged farmers to draft health and safety plans, saying if they don’t already have them they should speak to their Federated Farmers representative. Further explaining to Dairy News about the work squads, Maclean said they have been available in other regions following storms. Resources are being put together to help people who have suffered serious damage to their properties and don’t have enough resource themselves to fix them. Auckland areas Clevedon, Kawakawa Bay and Orere Point were especially hard-hit by floods recently, as was Coromandel. “The Rural Support Trust is co-ordinating

IN BRIEF Mud, glorious mud! DESPITE A soggy start, organisers say the 2017 South Island Agricultural Field Days (SIAFD) at Kirwee were a success- more than 30,000 attended. Guests included Prime Minister Bill English and Selwyn MP Amy Adams. SIAFD organising committee chair Rodney Hadfield says rain during the days leading up to the opening of the Field Days meant it was not an easy task to get the agricultural machinery and other display items onto the site. “We had to tow everything in with tractors, telehandlers and even a 4x4. I am very grateful to the members of the organising committee. They put in long hours in the weeks leading up to Field Days and then had to work extra hard to get everything finalised,” Hadfield says. “We scraped mud from the laneways and rolled them before the opening. Visitors were better off in gumboots on the opening day but after that it came right.”

needs assessment and the people coming out to help, who will mainly be youngsters,” he says. “On properties they are putting in teams of six plus a supervisor for two days for a start. [The

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teams] get around half a dozen farms for a start and if there is more work to do they go back to the start. “They come from the Ministry for Social Development so are on benefits

or between jobs – a mixture of different circumstances. “Some have farm experience, and they will have a supervisor with them – that is critical -who will definitely have some farm experience.”

Federated Farmers Auckland president Andrew Maclean.

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10 //  NEWS

Miraka’s new products for home, abroad PETER BURKE


pany Miraka, at Taupo, is about to launch two new value add products, one

Whai Ora powdered smoothie drink will soon be launched in NZ.

aimed at the international market, in particular China, and the other for the domestic market. Chief executive Richard Wyeth says Taupo Pure is a premium international brand under

which Miraka will produce a 1kg sachet of milk powder aimed at busy Chinese women who want to give their children a good start each day. “Our market research shows women in China

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are busy people and the times they can control their children’s food is evenings and mornings. “This powder product is targeted at giving opportunity to a family to sit down morning and evening to have a glass of milk and so control children’s nutrition,” he says. Miraka is now finalising its China distributors but Wyeth says much of the product will be sold online, notably on WeChat, a popular platform with at least one billion account holders. “All our research shows consumers there are buying more and more products via their phones using WeChat. There is nothing quite like it in NZ – it’s huge. “The other week when I was there we ordered Subway on WeChat and it was delivered in half an hour. It is incredible how the consumers’ buying habits are evolving.” Wyeth says the Taupo Pure brand will help optimise the value of Miraka’s milk powder, telling the story of the milk’s beautiful origins -- the lake, mountains and grass-fed cows. These facts will appeal to Chinese consumers.

Also soon to be launched in New Zealand is a Whai Ora (in pursuit of wellness) brand powdered smoothie drink aimed at ‘lifestyle’ consumers, especially women. It consists of milk powder blended with oats, honey, fruit and vegetables, all sourced locally, packed in 400g cans. “The consumer will put some in a blender and mix it with water to produce the smoothie. This is aimed at the NZ market, though some will be sold in Malaysia and Singapore.” Wyeth says Miraka has always planned to develop consumer products based on whole milk powder. The Whai Ora brand will enable Miraka to tell the company’s story. As part of its promotion, Miraka has sponsored the Spirited Women’s Adventure in Taupo. Blending and packaging of the Whai Ora smoothie drink will be outsourced but in time when volumes build up it may be done by Miraka itself. The new product launches are resulting in more sales and marketing and innovation staff being employed.

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RESEARCH SOON to start on the Canterbury Plains is hoped to confirm farmers’ anecdotes that irrigation doesn’t just water plants but actually improves the quality of irrigated soil. MPI recently announced a Sustainable Farming Fund grant of $295,950 to enable Federated Farmers to study of the effect of medium to long-term irrigation on soil water-holding properties. Landcare Research scientist Dr Sam Carrick will lead the study, helped by students doing the field work; he hopes to be taking soil samples for laboratory analysis as early as July. Carrick says there appeared to be no research quantifying the impacts of irrigation on soil organic carbon and water-holding capacity. The results should help farmers and regional councils to more efficiently use water, reduce drainage and retain soluble nutrients. The project will have three main components: searching “dusty shelves” for any previously published work in scientific journals and irrigators’ records; having post-graduate students do the field work to close the knowledge gap; and funnelling out knowledge via field days and workshops . – Nigel Malthus

7/02/17 2:10 PM


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12 //  NEWS

Demo farm’s 100th year milestone THE STRATFORD

Demonstration Farm Society will celebrate its centennial on June 10. A farm open day will be followed by a social hour, dinner and live entertainment for invited industry leaders and people with present or past close, active links with the farm and its activities, says secretary Tracy Kivell. Top billing will be a comedy, Jersey Girls -- Farmed and Danger-

ous, written by Lynelle Kuriger, produced by Tracy Blake and performed by Stratford on Stage. It follows the yearlong tribulations and schemes of a herd of talking dairy cows, as seen and expressed by them. Records show that on June 19, 1917 the Stratford Model Dairy Farm and Experimental Area Society held its first committee meeting and applied for incorporation under The Incorporated Societ-

ies Act. Its objectives were to set up and run a model dairy farm, to encourage, promote and experiment in farming and promote and protect agricultural and pastoral interests. The farm stems from the foresight of forwardthinking pioneer Stratford farmers who early in the 20th century recognised science would increase its role in farm production. They were keen to ensure Taranaki’s expanding

dairying industry adopted and promoted new ideas and technology. “They proposed to the government that a research and demonstration farm be set up. The government proved supportive in principle, but not to the extent of providing financial assistance,” Kivell says. “Faced with this setback, in true pioneering spirit the local farmers fund-raised, bought the farm and formed an

Stratford Demonstration Farm Society members.

incorporated society to own and manage it.” Initial annual membership cost 5/- and 100 years later fee remains at 50c. The members claim that a nil fee increase for 100 years is unique in all the

annals of financial management. Governments have over the years often supported the research work of the farm, paying for personnel and materials, but the farm ownership,

policy and management has remained controlled by the society. The centennial will be marked by a book outlining the history of the farm, its work and the people involved.

Shanghai customers get virtual trip HAS launched three products at a huge food ingredients event in China, impressing attendees with New Zealand’s dairy story via a 360° virtual reality experience. Food Ingredients China 2017, a three-day event, drew 100,000 customers from all over the world. The products launched were NZMP gold whole milk powder for UHT, NZMP tasty cheese powder and NZMP butter concentrate products. “Many of our key Chinese customers were in attendance,” says Fonterra president NZMP Greater China, South and East Asia, TehHan Chow. “China is an important


NZMP stand at the exhibition.

market and it was great to launch the ingredients there.” NZMP Gold whole milk powder for UHT helps customers improve manufacturing efficiency for UHT milk products by reducing the rate

of product fouling and improves shelf-life stability. NZMP Tasty cheese powder is made from natural cheese, milk solids and other functional ingredients, to give a consistent full-

bodied cheddar cheese flavour and functionality. Butter concentrate, made from cream and milk fat, is a natural ingredient that gives a concentrated caramelised aroma and taste to foods. Visitors to the NZMP stand were offered the NZMP virtual reality tour via a headset, to watch NZ dairy products go from farms to overseas markets. Chow says the technology, only now entering mainstream communications, “expand their connection with customers and enables them to see how NZMP turns farmers’ milk into dairy products for customers worldwide.”

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ability-coded cans of Anmum infant formula in New Zealand. The codes allow consumers to track and trace ingredients and products electronically throughout Fonterra, from the raw milk source on farm through to retail stores. Unique to each can, the code connects consumers via a mobile phone app to a web page with information which verifies the authenticity of the product and its batch number. Consumers can also scan their can any time after purchase for an update on the product. The co-op’s marketing manager Anmum, Teresa Smyth, says as a mother of twins, knowing exactly where the product comes from gives her confidence to buy it and feed it to her children. “By scanning the QR code to trace the product’s journey, consumers can be assured of quality and safety.” The co-op’s general manager trust in source, Tim Kirk, says it expects to have total electronic traceability to world-class standards by 2020. “In attaining total electronic traceability we have broken down the job into achievable steps. By the end of this year, 90% of our plants globally will have traceability data electronically connected, with the remaining 10% to be completed in 2018-19. The aim is electronic traceability for all milk starting from the supplying farm.

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14 //  WORLD

US lawsuit over Irish butter SUDESH KISSUN



America’s ‘dairy state’ but in butter some citizens’ loyalty lies with Kerrygold from Ireland. A recent ban on this grass-fed butter has led to a consumer revolt – a law suit against the state of Wisconsin seeking to preserve citizens’ freedom to buy and sell whatever type of butter they want. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) says it filed the lawsuit on behalf of four consumers and Slow Pokes Local Foods. Legislation from the 1950s rules that butter for retail sale in Wisconsin must bear either a state or federal grade mark.

ORNUA, THE largest exporter of Irish dairy products, on St Patrick’s Day (March 17) launched a range of Kerrygold cheese in Singapore. At the launch were Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, and Sean Ryan, general manager of Ornua Asia. Kerrygold butter and cheese is now sold by large Singapore retailers and e-commerce sites. With an eye on Brexit, Ornua is busy opening new global routes to market for Irish dairy products.  Ornua in late 2015 bought Ambrosia Dairy, a Shanghai dairy manufacturer that sells sour cream, yogurt and speciality cheeses to high-end retail and foodservice markets.   For two years Ornua has been buying businesses in Africa, Germany, Ireland, Spain, UK and US. 

This effectively excludes Kerrygold because it is produced, graded and packaged in Ireland. Ornua (formerly Irish Dairy Board), owner of

the Kerrygold brand, is pressing state officials in the hope of keeping the product on sale. Kerrygold is said to be the top imported butter

and the third-ranking overall butter brand in the US, favoured by Americans on low-carb high-fat diets; grass-fed butter is seen as the best form of fat. Ornua owns the Wisconsin company Thiel Cheese and Ingredients. Violators of the labelling law risk jail or thousands of dollars in fines. Wisconsin is the only US state with specific and onerous labelling rules that prevent the sale of Kerrygold and other similarly produced butters. WILL president Rick Esenberg says because the Wisconsin butter law serves no adequate government purpose it violates due process and equal protection guarantees of the Wisconsin

constitution. “The rule that sellers of butter… publicise the government’s opinion of how a butter tastes also violates the guarantee of free speech.

Processor’s outburst stuns Qld farmers QUEENSLAND DAIRY farmers

says it is working with processors to keep the industry sustainable Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) president Brian Tessmann says it was surprised and disappointed by Parmalat Australia’s attack on Queensland’s dairy farmers by labelling the farm sector “unwilling to make itself competitive”. The cost of milk production rises the closer you are to the equator, says Tessmann. “The warmer climate, lower quality tropical pastures and fodder all contribute to an overall higher cost of milk production. In addition, processors in Queensland require constant year round milk production to ensure shelves can be stocked 365 days per year. “The lower production costs in

southern Australia stem from the cooler climate and the seasonal spring production system that relies on the availability of temperate pasture.” Tessman says Queensland farmers are now busy with the same dairying improvement projects as others, including animal genetics. French-owned Parmalat Australia, the largest buyer of milk from Queensland farms, told a state parliament select committee hearing that farmers need to quit their “protectionist mindset” and “disinterest in being nationally competitive”. Parmalat insists it can survive without Queensland milk. Meanwhile it is in formal arbitration with the farmers’ collective bargaining group over farmgate prices. The company, which has fac-

tories in Rockhampton, Nambour, South Brisbane and 12 other plants nationwide, including Darwin, slammed producer attitudes in its submission to the Fair Milk Price Logos Bill, now before a Queensland parliamentary committee. The logos name the region where the milk was produced and assure the consumer that the farmer gets a specified minimum payment for the milk. Parmalat says the concept amounts to quasi re-regulation of farm milk prices. “Imagine if that same mindset was applied to bananas and Victoria chose to set a fair price for bananas that encouraged banana production in that state,” Parmalat chief executive Craig Garvin said in the submission. “That mindset is not found in

Queensland beef, tropical fruit or grains.” But Tessmann says that since 2011 times have been tough for processors and farmers. “Both have shared the pain caused by the introduction of A$1/L milk. At that time Parmalat was forced to implement a 3c/L drop in the price it paid its suppliers. “QDO wants all milk sold in Australia sold for a sustainable price that equally benefits farmers and processors and ensures a fair rate of return for the industry as a whole.” He says QDO is working with Parmalat and all processors to improve the sustainability of Queensland milk production. “The Fair Milk Logo builds on this commitment and will in the long term deliver for consumers, retailers, processor and farmers.”

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“Wisconsin is known as the ‘dairy state’ so it is ironic that consumers and businesses don’t have a full range of butter options.” The butter ban is seen

as inconsistent with the competitive federalism championed by WILL. It says US courts are said to have long held that a state may not protect favoured interests.

Spark for MG board STRUGGLING AUSTRALIAN dairy co-op Murray Goulburn has appointed John Spark as chairman, succeeding Philip Tracy, who retired on March 31 after serving since 2011. From 1989 to 2004 Spark was a partner, then managing partner, at Ferrier Hodgson, overseeing the restructuring and return to profit of large Australian companies. Until recently he had an Angus cattle farm at Kerrisdale, near Yea, Victoria, and shares in Victoria’s fourth-largest asparagus farm and a large kiwifruit business. Spark refers to the “honour to apply my passion and expertise to the chairmanship of Murray Goulburn, a proudly farmer-controlled co-op -- Australia’s largest dairy producer and a large exporter”. Tracy says the time is right to complete MG’s leadership transition. “It has been an honour to be chairman of MG and contribute to the cooperative which has invested in world-class infrastructure and developed branded retail opportunities.” Tracy’s departure completes the revamp of the co-op’s leadership: chief executive Gary Helou and other executives left after the co-op shocked the dairy industry and retrospectively cut farmer prices in April 2016.



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One Plan, one mess

MILKING IT... Shipped out pronto

A FOULED vessel carrying PKE, ordered by MPI to leave Tauranga on March 6, has been allowed to return after divers cleaned it outside New Zealand waters. The DL Marigold had dense fouling of barnacles and tube worms on its hull. MPI says it won’t hesitate to take a hard line on vessels with severe biofouling in the lead-up to the introduction of new biosecurity rules in May 2018. No action was taken against the PKE importer.

Debbie the swimming cow

A PREGNANT cow survived a mammoth swim through floodwater between Lismore and Ballina on the north coast of New South Wales. The Angus-cross cow, six months pregnant and due to calve in a few months, clambered ashore at Pimlico, near Ballina, at the mouth of the Richmond River, to the surprise of landholders. John Stead and his wife were watching the Richmond River in full flood and the debris roaring past. “We have a jetty and angled ramp where she could scramble and get a foothold, so that’s how she scrambled up. Most of the way it is all mangroves she wouldn’t have got out of.” The couple called a neighbour and built a temporary yard for the cow, now called Debbie, after the cyclone and all the debris floating down the river.

Moo-rooned no more

AND AN Auckland cow moo-rooned on a ‘desert’ island has been ferried back to greener pastures. Friday, a cow, swam to uninhabited Karamuramu Island, in the Hauraki Gulf, after being swept down the Wairoa River in southeast Auckland during the ‘Tasman Tempest’ storm. The 6.5ha island, locally known as Red Rock, is 1.5km offshore at its closest point. Three men who work at McCallum Bros quarry there were surprised when they turned up for work on March 10 to find cow hoofprints on the shore.  She became “part of the furniture”, waiting on the shore for her 7am breakfast of hay and standing on high points to watch the men work. She was shortly barged back to the mainland. Quarry worker Gordon Hall says he and his workmates miss Friday but “we had to get her off since there’s not much grass on the island and you can’t just give her hay all the time”.

Better bagged

CONSIDER THE billions of plastic jugs, paper cartons, and glass bottles needed for milk. Now consider a vessel far more compact and environmentally sound -- a plastic milk bag. In Ontario, Canada (largest state by population), 75-80% of milk comes in plastic bags, also in Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, Russia, Argentina, Hungary, South Africa and India. Here’s how it works: at the supermarket you pick up a plastic sack containing three pouches of milk holding roughly one gallon. You place the pouch in a pitcher, snip off a corner and pour. So why is this cheaper, more ecologically friendly milk container not more prevalent in the US -- or NZ? By the 1960s, consumers began shifting away from glass-bottled milk in favour of jugs and cartons; and what consumers want, they get.

HORIZONS REGIONAL Council unveiled its One Plan some ten years ago as the plan to end all plans. In theory it was a good idea to amalgamate a number of regional plans into an omnibus version and deal with the region’s water quality. Sadly for everyone it’s been an unmitigated disaster, with council staff and interest groups including farmers unable to agree on a sensible approach, paving the way to court hearings and decisions. The biggest winners are the lawyers and other experts brought in to support the positions of the groups paying them. The losers are the ratepayers who have paid a high price over ten years for something that, according to the Environment Court, is not right. The council says in its media release on this latest chapter that “it may not have got it completely right”. That is 100% correct and they have to carry the can for the ongoing mistakes with the One Plan. Neither staff nor councillors have helped the situation and the Environment Court has been left to sort out the mess. Sadly the court has added to the muddle. The trouble was that the council pursued its plan’s intended approach even when it saw it would be unworkable. The council’s implementation plan was an attempt to try to make it work, but legally they have been found wanting. Many of the staff involved in developing the plan have since left the council, leaving others to implement their work; interestingly, some of the former staff were involved in the recent court case, presenting evidence for the Environmental Defence Society and Fish and Game against the council. Farmers and other land users have every reason to feel aggrieved, having been let down by an imperfect system and, unlike the legal eagles who still get paid for stuff-ups, they have to bear the costs. This latest chapter must be on the radar of the Minister for Local Government. Is Horizons up to it or is there a case for a commissioner to sort out the muddle? By and large Horizons does a good job, but if it doesn’t get the One Plan sorted soon a commissioner may well be knocking on its door. Meanwhile the environment is no better for this multi-million dollar muddle.

Publisher: Brian Hight ...................... Ph 09-307 0399 Head Office: Top Floor, 29 Northcroft St, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone 09-307 0399. Fax 09-307 0122 Postal Address: Published by: Printed by: Contacts: Advertising material: Rural News on-line: Subscriptions:

PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Rural News Group PMP Print Editorial:

ABC audited circulation 27,023 as at 30/09/2016

ISSN 1175-463X

Editor: Sudesh Kissun ................ Ph 09-913 9627 Sub Editor: Neil Keating .................... Ph 09-913 9628

NATIONAL SALES MANAGER: Stephen Pollard.................. Ph 09-913 9637, 021-963 166

Machinery Editor: Mark Daniel...................... Ph 07-824 1190 Reporters: Peter Burke....................... Ph 06-362 6319 Pamela Tipa...................... Ph 09-620 7811 Nigel Malthus .............. Ph 021-164 4258 Subscriptions: Julie Beech ...................... Ph 09-307 0399 Production: Dave Ferguson ............... Ph 09-913 9633 Becky Williams ................ Ph 09-913 9634 Website Producer: Jessica Wilson.................. Ph 09-913 9621

Dairy News is published by Rural News Group Limited. All editorial copy and photographs are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior written permission of the publisher. Opinions or comments expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of the staff, management or directors of Rural News Group Limited.

WAIKATO: Ted Darley ........................... Ph 07-854 6292, 021-832 505 WELLINGTON: Ron Mackay ........................ Ph 04-234 6239, 021-453 914 SOUTH ISLAND: Kaye Sutherland ..............Ph 03-337 3828, 021-221 1994


OPINION  // 17

Farmers river clean-up spend is working PETER BUCKLEY


land Herald article indicated that collaboration over Waikato Regional Council’s Healthy Rivers/ Wai Ora Plan Change 1 has cost ratepayers in the Waikato $14.8 million, to date. This money has been used for research, stakeholder consultation groups, and council staff time. But Plan Change 1 does not include all costs, for example money spent by industry groups and individuals, or the cost of stress on farmers as they are weighing up whether their business is still viable under Plan Change 1. The original goal was to develop an inclusive and harmonious plan to restore and protect the Waikato River and its catchments. To help achieve this goal, the community was appointed the task of generating practical solutions, from which the Collaborative Stakeholders Group (CSG) was formed. Five years down the track, Plan Change 1 has been developed but the original goal has not yet been achieved. There is considerable upset and disharmony throughout the region, and in governing bodies, as the realisation of Plan Change 1’s impacts become clear. The main concern is whether the potential environmental gain outweighs the definite social and economic loss. A report commissioned by and presented to the CSG, estimated the value lost to the Waikato’s regional economy to be $101 million, once Plan Change 1 is fully operative. Nationally, the value lost due to Plan Change 1 was estimated to be $212 million. It was also estimated that 1,198 jobs would be lost in the Waikato region and 2276 jobs lost nationally, once Plan Change 1 is fully operative. These estimates do not include the projected cost, of up to $880 million, to update present consented urban

& industrial point source discharges. Meanwhile, nitrate concentrations, which are heavily focussed upon in Plan Change 1, continue to trend downwards. The latest report (released in January, 2017) indicates that mean nitrate concentration at the Waipapa Tailrace has reduced from 0.204 g/m³ in 2013 to 0.175 g/m³ in 2015. At Mercer, it has reduced from 0.446 g/ m³ to 0.375 g/m³. NIWA suggests,to achieve 99% protection of aquatic species in high-value conservation systems, nitrate concentrations must be less than 1.0 g/m³, and in moderately disturbed environments 2.4 g/m3 provides 95% protection. Along the CSG process, it was decided to interpret the Waikato River Authority’s Vision and Strategy to mean the Waikato River and its catchments must be swimmable and fishable all seasons, instead of when it is safe. This detail has generated an unrealistic and costly water quality goal. For example, the Waikato River, for the bulk of the summer, has met the guidelines for safe swimming. Therefore, if the water quality goal was swimmable and fishable when the River was safe, it would mean we have already achieved a large proportion of this goal. Although media continue to present images of polluted waterways, the bulk of New Zealand rivers are in a better state than in the 1950s and 1960s when industrial, town and farm effluent waste was emptied into rivers as the fastest disposal route – the idea being dilution which then disappears out to sea. It is pleasing to see the water quality indicators heading in the right direction. Farmers in the Waikato have spent, on average, $139,000 each because they could improve environmental performance. Latest data indicates this is having a positive effect on the

environment. Given the state of our Waikato River and its catchments, and the overall downward water quality trends, it seems Plan Change 1 is unnecessarily restrictive and limiting.

The cost to the economy and society outweigh the potential benefit to the environment. More research is required to provide the community with confidence that Plan Change

1 will make a significant environmental improvement, when what has already been done appears to be working. • Peter Buckley is chairman of Primary Land Users Group.

Waikato farmer Peter Buckley.

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Farmer takes helm at Canterbury A&P DAIRY FARMER Peter

Gilbert is the new president of the Canterbury A&P Association for 2017. He was elected at the annual meeting, replacing Warrick James. Gilbert is looking forward to his presidential year after a long association with Canterbury A&P. “I’ve been on the Canterbury A&P committee since 2002 and chair of the dairy section since 2007. Now it’s my turn to take the top job and it’s an honour to follow in the footsteps of many great presidents. “I love showing and I’m looking forward to adding to the history of the association and doing my bit for those who share my passion.”

Peter Gilbert

Raised on a dairy farm in Ellesmere, Gilbert married schoolteacher Anne in the 1980s and they bought a 180ha dairy farm in Winchmore. Last year they bought an additional dairy farm -- 176ha in Rakaia. Their three sons work in the dairy industry: Michael runs the new block at Rakaia, Nick

works the Winchmore farm and Luke works for Semex New Zealand. Gilbert first began showing calves at primary school and has been showing Holstein Friesian cattle at Canterbury, Ellesmere and Ashburton A&P shows for nearly 40 years. He is proud his three sons have inherited his

passion for dairying and showing: all three are senior judges for at least two different breed societies. “It means a lot to have had my sons so heavily involved in the show with me over the years. Obviously youth are the future of events like ours and it’s heartening to see so many great young people get stuck in at the Canterbury A&P Show, especially in the cattle section.” Overseeing the family business and his presidential duties will make for a busy year for Gilbert; he has board meetings, sub-committee meetings, general committee meetings, association events and working bees over the next 12 months.

Primary exports on the increase PRIMARY INDUSTRIES Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming new figures forecasting that primary exports will reach $37.5 billion for the year ending June 2017 -- up $0.8 billion on the previous December forecast. “This is the first time MPI has produced a quarterly update of its Situation Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) which will give us a more accurate picture during the year,” says Guy. Next year overall primary sector exports are expected to grow by 9.7% to $41b. Guy says it shows New Zealand has a strong, diversified primary sector and shows forestry and horticulture doing well. And it’s pleasing to see dairy rebounding after several tough seasons. “This year is likely to be more challenging for the sheep meat sector with market volatility and the UK’s exchange rate fluctuations. “So the government is strongly supporting the meat industry through the Primary Growth Partnership, with about half the funding going to red

Nathan Guy

meat projects. Access to China for chilled meat is also a major positive, along with renegotiated access to Iran.” The SOPI report was released by Guy at the Te Hono National Summit for primary industries leaders in Christchurch last week.


FARM BIKES & ATVs Reliable transport is essential for the efficient operation of any dairy farm and the April issue of Dairy News will take a special look at the latest technology in farm bikes and ATVs. To be in this special report contact your advertising representative now to promote your products and/or service to all NZ dairy farmers and sharemilkers. Contact your closest Sales Representative

National Sales Manager Stephen Pollard .... Ph 09-913 9637 Waikato Ted Darley ............ Ph 07-854 6292 Wellington Ron Mackay ......... Ph 04-234 6239 Christchurch Kaye Sutherland ... Ph 03-337 3828


25 April 2017 12 March 2017 18 April 2017



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Ben Meyer (left) and his son Miel with the top cheese award.

family with Dutch origins, the company Meyer Gouda Cheese is continuing its golden run at the awards. Highly commended over the years for their traditional Dutch style cheeses, this year it is the Meyer’s innovation with new cheeses that has set them apart from hundreds of other entrants. Meyer Gouda Cheese won a slew of medals and four category Champion Awards; topped up with the coveted Countdown Champion of Champions Award (commercial) for its Meyer smoked goat gouda. Master cheese judge Russell Smith described it as “a gorgeous goat cheese, and a pleasure to eat”. ‘The Countdown Champion of Champions (commercial) cheese winner has a smooth creamy texture that delights the palate with sweet and mild piquant flavours,” he adds. The winning cheese has been made and sold in New Zealand no more than 12 months. “2017 has been a surprise…. We are not known for making goat’s milk cheeses yet these have been selected as the heroes of the awards,” says Meyer cheese manager Miel Meyer. “My brother Geert, our head cheese maker, is chuffed to see these cheeses do so well in this year’s competition. “Most of our cheese making is with cow’s milk from our own herd, so working with goat’s milk is a relatively new thing for us. Winning this supreme award for excellence in cheese making is an awesome reward for his effort.” The company also won four gold medals and took championship titles: 180

degrees Champion Goat Cheese Award for the Meyer Goat Milk Gouda; AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese for Meyer Fenugreek; MPI Champion New Cheese Award for Meyer Smoked Goat Gouda; and Brancott Estate Wines Champion Flavoured Cheese Award for the Meyer Smoked Gouda. It also won six silver medals for its Sheepmilk Gouda, Vintage Gouda, Cumin Gouda, Amsterdammer, Smoked Goat Gouda and Cracked Pepper. It won bronze for Meyer Tasty Gouda and Meyer Cumin with Cloves. To date the Meyer family has won 83 medals. “Quality has always come first; we have always been focused on quality over quantity and we are proud of our consistency,” says Miel Meyer. The Meyer family hails from a small village in the south of the Netherlands. The founders, and parents to the next generation of cheese makers -- Ben and Fieke Meyer – were inspired while visiting a monastery in Postel where monks made handmade cheese. When the Meyer’s came to NZ in 1984 they built a cheese factory on 2ha at Hautapu, between Hamilton and Cambridge. Miel began making cheese while still young, winning NZ Cheesemaker of the Year in 2011. He was the youngest cheese maker in the history of the competition. “Success at the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards is a good feeling for the whole Meyer family and makes all those long hard days more worthwhile,” he says. The Meyers make about 50 tonnes of Gouda a year, most of it sold in supermarkets and cheese shops.

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20 //  MARKETS

We have to talk about cheese JOANNE BILLS

LOCAL NEWS media carry many reports and comments about the price of milk and how it’s hurting farmers. But when global dairy trade is discussed it’s all about whole and skim milk powder. In contrast, cheese is like a middle child -- kept in the background, often neglected and very overlooked. Recently retail cheese market dynamics and imports have had limited coverage, mostly aimed at provoking outrage about supermarket goings-on. But cheese has an important place in the Australian and global dairy industries, so it deserves greater mention. In 2015-16 cheese manufacture accounted for 30% of Australia’s milk

production – still ahead of drinking milk at 26%. As most cheese is made in the southern region it is even more important for returns in Victoria and Tasmania, accounting for 42% of milk intake versus only 12% for drinking. The domestic ought retail cheese market is tough, its value capture being eroded by the everyday pricing strategies of the major retailers and the increasing share of private label products. Cheese is the less-visible battleground for branded product, but it is no less important than drinking milk. Brand innovation that attracts shoppers is a big challenge for local dairy companies. Unlike drinking milk, cheese is highly exposed to global dairy trade. Of the 340,000 tonnes pro-

Cheese deserves greater mention in market reports.

duced each year in Australia, 40-50% is exported and is directly influ-

enced by global supply and demand. Just under half the cheese eaten in homes is on pizzas and in burgers, much of it bought via fast-food outlets whose chains have the clout to purchase ingredients worldwide. Local cheese makers compete with overseas suppliers for these contracts, and about 36% of Australia’s cheese is imported, mostly from New Zealand and the US who get their goods in through free trade agreements. Despite the volatility of the global dairy trade, cheese supply, demand and pricing is somewhat stable. Much of the trade is based on longer term supply contracts to customer specifications, for domestic supply and for export. Spot trading in cheese is limited and minimal volumes are traded in the fortnightly Global Dairy Trade online auctions. This is important in any discussion of Australia versus NZ farmgate price comparisons. In NZ, cheese accounts for only 12-14% of annual milk production; most of their supply goes into whole milk powder (WMP) where the dynamics are vastly different. As the NZ industry has grown and Australia’s has shrunk, product mix has become increasingly divergent. So the peaks and troughs in commodity returns – based on WMP’s dominance -- are

Figure 1

Cheese has an important place in the Australian and global dairy industries, so it deserves greater mention. much more amplified for our Kiwi cousins. What that means in practice is that for 10 of the past 15 seasons we estimate Victorian average milk prices have been ahead of the NZ payout (figure 1). The limited focus on cheese is just another reason why our Kiwi bros are a little bit different. In the big northern hemisphere dairy production regions, cheese is even more important to the mix, and therefore to farmer returns. In the US cheese accounts for 56% of annual output and sets the federally regulated Class III milk prices that are the key driver of farmgate incomes – much more than fluid milk prices. The US has maintained a milk production

growth rate of 1.5-2.5% over the past 12 months, as onfarm profit margins have been favourable. This has reflected historically low feed costs and farmgate prices that were protected from the downturn in global commodity prices by a healthy domestic cheese market. And during the past 12-18 months, an improving economy has helped buoy foodservice demand, especially cheese consumption, which has absorbed much of the growth in US milk. In the EU, cheese also accounts for well over 50% of annual milk output. Over the past year when the EU put the brakes on milk output, the volume of milk going into making cheese – eaten mostly in homes

-- was prioritised at the expense of powder production. This was important in rebalancing global trade in milk powders, as the EU’s export availability was disproportionately reduced in favour of supplying a growing domestic cheese market. In fact, the US and EU cheese markets combined have grown at a healthy 2.7% per annum between 2013 and 2016, absorbing much of the 16 billion litres of extra milk the global dairy industry has produced – two-thirds in fact. Cheese, no matter where it is made or consumed, has a hefty impact on global dairy trade balance and on returns to farmers. It is a domestic staple in most major dairy producing regions, and so greatly affects the availability of milk for export and the balance of global trade. • Joanne Bills is a director of Fresh Agenda, an Australian food industry consultancy.


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Changing milking intervals to balance work, life PAM TIPA


adjusted in a number of ways during a whole season, or part of a season, to become more efficient, reduce farmers’ hours in the milking shed and improve their lifestyle, says Josh Wheeler, milk quality consultant. Many countries’ farmers stick rigidly to milking twice a day, exactly

12 hours apart, and think they produce more milk, Wheeler said at a recent DairyNZ event. But in the Kiwi system starting at 5am makes a very long day. So typically the NZ method of twice a day has been at intervals of 10 hours and 14 hours. Now many farmers are milking three times in two days. In the South Island in late summer, 50% of farms can be on three times in two days. But farmers wanted three

times in two days because with 14, 16 or 18 hour intervals, one milking lands at 1am or 2am. A lot of countries do that but typically they have barns with grain-feeding systems and a lot of staff. “Farmers in NZ find they like to sleep in mornings but they don’t like late nights,” Wheeler says. A group of farmers at the top of the South Island doing three in two days for 10-15 years decided they would shift the system to suit them-

selves. They’d start in the morning at 7am rather than 5am so they got home by 9am. The following day they did 16 hours, starting at midday, avoiding the heat of the afternoon. They found they did better when they shifted the hours. Research shows three mikings in two days for the whole season amounts to a 7% average loss of production. “But we found that a lot of commercial farmers end up doing better than

BEATING SOMATIC CELL COUNT Managing SCC before reducing milk frequency (DairyNZ notes) ■■ Herd test prior to identify high SCC cows ■■

Cull persistent mastitis cows


OAD milking might not be an option if bulk SCC is over 250,000


Milking three times in two days may be an option for high SCC herds

If SCC is high and you can milk two herds, then milk high SCC cows TAD and the rest OAD

If changing to OAD, stagger the change to 24 hour intervals over four days, example below: ■■ Milk afternoon final TAD milking 3pm ■■

Milk next day at 10am (19hour interval)


Milk next day at 8am (21-hour interval)


Milk next day at 6am (23hour interval)


Milk next day at 6am (24 hour interval)

Once changed ■■ Foremilk strip herd for three milkings on OAD to identify any clinical mastitis ■■

SCC will rise in first 24-48 hours as cows adjust


Underfeeding in transition may exacerbate SCC so ensure cows are fed well


Milk freshly calved cows TAD for the first eight milkings to reduce incidence of mastitis


Pay attention to detail at milking.

DairyNZ milk quality consultant Josh Wheeler speaks at a recent DairyNZ event.

the research shows on three times in two days,” he says. People who do it after Christmas have 0-5% losses. Some people aren’t losing a lot when they do three in two, he says. For once-a-day (OAD), research shows the drop in production can be 4-15%. “If you are a dead-flat irrigated farm in Canterbury doing 500kgMS/cow/ year, and you go to OAD, your losses are going to be bigger, aren’t they? If you are up in Northland where, because of the nature of the land you are doing less, the change in loss probably won’t be as big.” DairyNZ scientist Paul Edwards says one analysis of herd testing data from


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farms within 20km of each other showed that in the first season of dropping from twice a day to OAD there was about 19% lower production than from OAD herds; by the second, third and fourth year it was down to minus 4%. “For whatever reason, in this data a group of OAD herds that had been doing it for a long time were back up to 0.9%,” he says. “When you dig into the detail and look at culling reasons -- under twice a day the culling reason is empties. The OAD culling reasons are udder, cell count, low production.... So you are breeding a herd that suits the system over time.” The key thing to understand about milk accumulation in the udder is that it’s pretty much linear up to 16 hours, Wheeler says. That’s why the losses are less doing 16 hour milking than 24 hour. A lot of the losses came between 16 and 24 hours. “This is where we are aiming to get the genetic gain: they are trying to breed a cow that loses less during this period, or is able to carry more milk to 24 hours in respect of its capacity. This is probably where the Jersey does a lot better, especially when we are paying for milk solids.” One of the moves down south has been to try to reduce the number of hours worked in a day, he says. So they are now doing a lot of 15 hours and night, or 16 and 8 on their twice-a-day milking routine. “They are bringing the afternoon milking forward to get everyone home before 5pm for very little loss of production.” Some

are doing it the whole season, some part of the season. “Milking frequency is not just once a day or three times in two days; it is about working on the intervals on twice-a-day to make it fit into a better work pattern. “Advantages in reducing milking frequency include getting more time in the day, sleep-ins if you go to three in two or you get the afternoons off; so it is easier to manage staff, it is lifestyle. “There is a lot to do on a farm; farming is relentless, milking every day, and jobs to be done, so three in two takes some pressure off. People use it as a tool, whether it’s full season or part of the season, to allow them some extra time off.” A key strategy when reducing milking frequency is to manage cell count. “You need to herd test beforehand for high somatic cell count (SCC) and if you are going OAD you need to get that below 250,000. “Three in two has been commonly used when people have had high cell count before they get to OAD. “If you are changing to OAD you stagger the milking times until you get to 24 hours. “We are doing that with a 1000 cow herd this year and hardly lifting the cell count. We are going twice a day; 3pm is our last milking, the next morning it is 10am and we start working back. It helps the cows to adjust, and the cell count. “The other key thing is when you change you will get some that are clinical, so it is vital for the first three milkings on OAD to strip them regularly.”



Intensive, simple farm wins enviro award AN INTENSIVE yet

simple farm near Helensville, south Kaipara, last month won the Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards last month. The Scott and Sue Narbey, fourth-generation farmers, have a 155ha milking platform for their 410-cow system five operation. The family farming operation was described by the judges as intensive but still felt “simple and logical”. A 44-bail rotary cowshed is set up to allow one person to milk most of the season. It has automatic cup removal, ProTrac drafting, in-shed feeding and an EZheat camera. Water tanks and pumps are monitored using a Water Smart system at the main house, allowing pumps to be turned on and off to minimise water and power use. The judges say the farm made excellent use of water and systems for efficient milk cooling and water heating. There are two employees, Matt Snedden and Robert Travers. Next season, in a first for the farm, Snedden will begin contract milking, allowing this valued staff member to stay on and to give him a step up in his career. Drains, ponds and a boundary with the Kaipara River are all fenced to exclude stock. In the past four years marginal areas have been retired

into wetlands and extensively planted -- almost complete. Much of the farm is on clay, subject to pugging. A feed pad and more recently a calving pad have been built to mitigate this. Narbey says the calving pad, laid two years ago at one end of the feed pad, is working well. “It is a lot easier to manage calving; the cows are happier and the staff are happier.” The judges say the farm’s placement and design of infrastructure gives it a feeling of no clutter and easy flow. “Effluent systems gravity feed to ponds and all effluent is contained easily.  “The milking shed and calf shed have innovations and specifications that make life easier and more efficient.  Races are tidy and functional and the pastures are well maintained.” The Narbeys’ children, Bella (6) and Ollie (5) are the fifth generation of Narbeys to live on the original (smaller) block cleared from bush to milk cows by Scott’s great grandfather Thomas. Now the 245ha business includes a neighbouring 45ha leased block and a 90ha runoff at South Head, Kaipara, where Scott’s parents Murray and Marie live. In addition, Scott manages a nearby 80ha maize and beef block for Sue’s

family trust. The couple also have a Helensville physiotherapy business which Sue, a physiotherapist, has run for 10 years. The award judges were impressed with the family dynamics and the Narbeys

run their business. “The history of the farm and importance of this for the future shows in all they do. Their decisions are made mindful of keeping the family farm together and providing a

Scott and Sue Narbey with children Bella and Ollie.

place for the family.” The Narbeys also won the region’s Waterforce Integrated Management Award and LIC Dairy Farm Award. They will host a field day on Tuesday May 2 from 10.30am.

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IN BRIEF Stomping Coast’s pests AGRESEARCH SCIENTISTS are set to present new guidance to West Coast farmers on how to deal with pasture-damaging pests. And local farmers have been involved in the research. For three years farmers in the West Coast Pest Management Group have taken part in a project funded by MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund to better understand pests that threaten pastures.    “This research is to provide West Coast farmers with the means to tackle these pests before long-term damage is done to their pastures and profits,” says AgResearch senior scientist Sarah Mansfield.

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No horns an ideal breeding aim - welfare watchdog PAM TIPA

THE NATIONAL Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) is concerned the dairy industry has the ability to select for polledness (no horns), but it is not a priority. “Given the welfare impacts and the financial costs of disbudding and dehorning, we would want convincing that the potential compromises outweigh what we would see as a means to significantly improve animal welfare,” NAWAC says in a new report on selective breeding practices. The committee understands it is not a priority due to “the compromises in genetic gain elsewhere that would occur if there was more of a focus on polled genetics”. “The committee supports efforts by companies (such as CRV Ambreed4) who are working to have high indexing polled genetics available.” NAWAC overall says the dairy industry has good standards and practices for selective breeding but it raises several issues. “The link between use of indoor systems and higher production could have implications for cow longevity. “The strengthening of traits such as udder conformation, particularly in relation to the suspensory ligament, as well as feet, legs and somatic cell counts, should be considered for higher weighting under animal evaluation.

“As varied environments are introduced (for example, indoor housing) it should continue to be emphasised that animal genotype is appropriate for its environment. “A high producing cow may do well in an intensive indoor environment, but suffer from poor welfare (for example, a lower body condition score) if raised in a low input pastoral system.” The use of early calve/easy calve bulls may lead to smaller animals being born and possibly more onfarm euthanasia of the smaller calves if they take longer to be big enough for processing or are undesirable for onward rearing. “Their benefit is however tied directly into reducing gestation length and these bulls are a useful tool now that there is no induction option as a general farming practice,” the report says. More emphasis is being put on the use of beef bulls as they are being pushed as an option to increase saleability of surplus calves. “Some of this cross-breeding can lead to problems at calving if the wrong bull has been selected, or if the cows are not of an age to handle having a bigger calf. Care should be taken to ensure that easy calve bulls are used when they are to be crossed with dairy animals, especially over maiden heifers.” The NZ Veterinary Association has warned of the potential negative outcomes from extensive use of popular sires of selection. A recent example was the

are observed and described. This has

NAWAC wants the dairy industry to focus more on polled genetics.

enabled more precise matching of genetics and phenotype related to health and welfare traits. The report says the dairy industry also notes emerging technology that has the potential to allow estimation of breeding values for lameness, mastitis and facial eczema tolerance. “The possibility of genetically improving dairy cattle for these traits is being explored. Key drivers for the future include the desire to reduce culling rates in the industry, thus improving cow longevity. To do this, cows need to produce well, have reduced susceptibility to common diseases such as mastitis and lameness, and be fertile.” An MBIE funded project lifetime productivity is underway.

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birth of about 1500 calves in 2012 which were particularly hairy, all sired by a genetic mutation from a single bull. Apart from these concerns, the selective breeding approach the dairy industry is following is appropriate for the welfare of the cows and the industry’s needs at present, the report says. Dairy cattle must be pregnant to produce milk, and excess calves, usually male, are often euthanased. Sexed semen would reduce the need to euthanase male calves (although would presumably result in an excess of female calves). NAWAC encourages such technology if it can be used alongside changes in animal management and selection to result in fewer calves being born, only to be euthanased shortly afterwards. NAWAC supports DairyNZ’s focus on all animals having a use, for example, having excess dairy calves raised for beef. The report says more comprehensive and accurate phenotypic recording has enabled better identification of the genetics underlying animal health and welfare traits in the dairy industry. In the dairy report it says deep phenotyping has become more commonplace in recent years. This is the precise and comprehensive analysis of phenotypic abnormalities in which the individual components of the phenotype





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ETHICAL APPROACH DAIRYNZ SEES as ethical an approach to selective breeding whereby animals are “fit for purpose”, NAWAC concludes in its report. Such animals would be profitable, well adapted to New Zealand farming conditions and productive without having health problems. “This means taking account of not only productive capacity when selecting animals to breed from, but also directly traits such as fertility, somatic cell score and residual survival, which includes traits other than production such as temperament, udder quality and resistance to lameness and mastitis,” NAWAC explains. “Focusing only on production as a trait led to a reduction in cow fertility in the 1990s, when a lot of Holstein type genetics were introduced. The industry now knows that a multitrait, balanced selection process produces animals that are better overall for the farming system.” DairyNZ also finds it important that all animals bred in the farming system have a use, the NAWAC report says. “It is claimed that there is very little slaughter, and disposal with no return, of animals in the dairy industry, with the number of bobby calves killed onfarm estimated at less than 0.5% of the total.” DairyNZ, through its subsidiary NZ Animal Evaluation Ltd, is responsible for setting the national breeding objective (NBO) for dairy cattle. The NBO is expressed via breeding worth (net farm income per 5 tonnes of dry matter) which includes seven traits (milk volume, milk protein, milk fat, fertility, somatic cell score, liveweight and residual survival) known to influence the profitability of dairy cattle. The use of the breeding worth (BW) index has resulted in dairy cattle that are more productive and live longer: on average, cows are staying in the herd for 207 days more now than in 1984 (LIC via Nita Harding, Dairy NZ personal communication). “The 2002 introduction of fertility into BW has helped – along with an improvement in bull fertility – arrest a decline in fertility in the national herd. “In respect of mitigating any negative effects of selective breeding, the dairy industry uses a balanced selection index that includes not only production factors, but also aspects of animal health and welfare, to ensure that fit-for-purpose animals are being bred for the industry. “For example, the addition of body condition score as a trait for BW has been approved and this began in February 2016. “DairyNZ also provides results of gene tests for individual bulls, such as small calf syndrome, so these genetic variants can be considered in mating.” A research project is underway with a range of industry partners to identify the reasons for the early exit of young stock and dairy cattle from dairy herds so that more targeted genetics and management solutions can be provided for the industry. “In-breeding is monitored and actively managed during mating via the use of alerts that warn of father-daughter mating: cow numbers are entered into database by the AI technician before insemination. An alternative bull can then be used instead of the bull rostered for use that day.” Useful technology is seen as including genomics, in enabling the identification of genetic variants that can have negative effects on animal health and welfare. This is widely used in the industry.


26 //  MATING MANAGEMENT From left: Matt Mcfie, Phil Beatson and Angus Haslett at CRV Ambreed stand at SI Field Days.

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FIVE YEARS of research has led to CRV Ambreed discovering that selective breeding will help reduce urinary nitrogen leaching on New Zealand farms by 20% within 20 years, improving the dairy industry’s sustainability. The research looked at the connection between milk urea nitrogen (MUN) and nitrogen in urine. The link between MUN and lower nitrogen output is acknowledged in international research, but this is thought to be the first time the specific trait has been bred for and promoted. Phil Beatson, R&D manager for CRV Ambreed, says the research looked at tackling urinary nitrogen (UN), considering that nitrogen taken in by cows in their feed is converted into milk protein, growth, dung, gases and urine. Since 2012 the research has looked at the MUN concentration in 650,000 milk samples and analysed them to understand what is inherited, and to create a MUN value for all animals. Today the company has identified about 25 high quality and top-

Activity, grazing and now rumination data monitored and analysed 24/7, a change in behaviour alerts the operator. Backed by a network of service providers, CowScout is the perfect herd monitoring system. Make a positive change with GEA 0800 GEA FARM (0800 432 327).

performing CRV Ambreed bulls with the desirable genetic makeup for low levels of MUN, while also offering traditional production traits. It will sell semen from bulls whose daughters will have reduced concentration of MUN under the LowN Sires brand. Hundreds of thousands of straws of semen are now available from the LowN Sires team, Beatson says, “exciting news for farmers -- the potential to help meet their environmental compliance through breeding.” Cows bred for lower levels of MUN are expected to excrete less nitrogen in their urine and so reduce the amount of nitrogen leached from grazed pasture. Says Beatson, “Daughters of CRV Ambreed’s 2017 LowN Sires could save NZ 10 million kilograms nitrogen leaching a year, based on the national herd number of 6.5 million dairy cattle.” CRV Ambreed’s projections indicate it is possible to breed cattle that will reduce nitrogen leaching by 20% within 20 years. CRV Ambreed managing director Angus Haslett points ahead to ‘greener’ cows -- improved offspring to be born in 2018 and lactating in 2020. Mitigating nitrogen leaching will save a lot of money and help the

environment, he says. “The beauty of the genetic approach is it adds to other strategies a farmer might be using to reduce nitrogen leaching. CRV Ambreed offers a long-term solution that fits within the standard AI mating programme. “Genetics can produce great gains for farmers, and many farmers already choose our bulls to breed certain traits in their cows; this is another step to finding solutions in genetics rather than products.” DairyNZ applauds the genetics news. Its strategy and investment leader for productivity, Dr Bruce Thorrold, says “if the planned science proves the link between breeding for MUN and urinary nitrogen output, this would give farmers in nitrogenlimited regions such as Canterbury more options to reduce nitrogen leaching without going away from a pasture-based system”. “Animal breeding would potentially add to gains from DairyNZ investment in research on managing nitrogen inputs, using stand-off and finding plants with lower nitrogen content.” CRV Ambreed has begun briefing regional councils about the work.


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More milk from same number of cows LIC’S HERD improvement roadshow last month attracted about 1500 farmers nationwide. Malcolm Ellis, LIC’s general manager New Zealand markets, says he was “blown away” by the response to the 46 events -- “a resounding success, and I’m sure the key messages were understood”. “We focused on communicating simple messages, but the roadshow was for connecting with our customers, our shareholders – the people who own our bulls and use our genetics. One highlight was the sense of LIC community we’re building. “A common farmer comment was ‘well, I thought I’d be coming along to hear how good your bull team is, but you actually ended up talking about our cows for an hour and a half’.” Some dairy farmers have for a few decades done well by riding the industry’s growth wave, but Ellis believes the size of the pie has now “reached equilibrium,” with downside and upside pressure on cow number growth about equal. “That had people thinking strategically, and it initiated discussion between equity owners, for example, about their future plans – given that recent business plans were underpinned by the potential for growth. In essence, many farmers insist the opportunity for further productivity and profitability will come via increased herd improvement. People have identified the scale of the

opportunity. “LIC is not coming out to sell one Premier Sires straw and one herd test sample at a time. But the roadshow has challenged farmers to think more about a targeted approach to breeding within their herds. “This means perhaps that only the superior cows -- the top 70, 80 or 90% -- might get elite straws during AB, thereby raising selection pressure in pursuit of a better overall herd. Poorer cows meanwhile can be mated to an alternative AB option such as SGL or beef.” The roadshow highlighted that, nationally, the difference between milksolids production between the top and bottom quartiles of the herd is 160kgMS/cow. That got farmers looking at their own herds, Ellis says, “particularly given the 160kg was calculated after age, breed and location were accounted and corrected for. There was an example of a farmer with several herds, together adding up to a milking herd of 5300 cows. It is a high-input operation with cows producing an average of 518kgMS. “They freely admitted there had not always been a big investment in herd improvement, preferring the ‘cow-is-acow’ assumption. But on inspection the top quartile of those animals were doing 693kgMS, while the bottom quartile were doing no more than 379kgMS; the difference was 314kgMS.

KEY MESSAGES COW NUMBERS consistently grew by about 100,000 per annum between 1994 and 2014, peaking at 5 million in 2014. Today the cow population is 4.92 million. According to Malcolm Ellis, the rapid organic growth in cow numbers of the last 20 years appears to have reached “capacity” in NZ. Driving forces behind this include tighter central and regional government regulations, changing land uses, environmental factors, economic forces and public pressure. Continued productivity and profitability for farmers in NZ is therefore unlikely from “a growing industry pie”. Instead it will come from milking a better-quality cow.

“Obviously there is an opportunity in that operation to lift the bar, because the potential for rapid revenue growth is huge if they breed and milk better cows.” Ellis says there is

increased interest in herd testing activity to identify performance opportunities in their cows. “We also had robust discussion about using AB to combat bull fatigue.” Farmer feedback from

the roadshow was deeply satisfying, Ellis says. “A farmer in Matamata thanked us in the end for our material, saying ‘this is what we want from our breeding co-operative – a story told with clarity’.

Malcolm Ellis, LIC

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CowScout interprets a cow’s movement via a collar around the neck.

neck. GEA New Zealand’s herd management solutions manager Jan Winke says the system better measures and interprets than the conventional ‘pedometer’ type heat detectors usually strapped to a cow’s leg. “Our experience is that this sort of sensor is

better for the NZ dairy situation where cows will typically be walking further than in Europe, meaning straight foot movement will not always be an accurate indicator of heat activity here.” The sensors also detect eating, so indicating an animal’s health. By recording and com-

You can’t manage, what you can’t measure.

paring individual cows’ eating they can detect any departure from the norm, and be set to alert operators to draft out sick cows. Data is transmitted to a central receiver-processing unit, so the activity of individual cows is logged for access via PC or tablet through an internet link. The CowScout can provide 24 hour direct alerts on cows that are presenting heat activity, and it suits NZ’s batch approach to mating, usually after the morning milking. Typically, the cows on heat during the last 24 hours would be displayed through the PC or tablet before milking starts, and their numbers can be entered into the system for identification and drafting for AB. GEA says pasture-

feeding farms where CowScout has been installed are finding it works: they are getting information about cows in poor health and help in identifying cows with hard-to-diagnose postcalving condition. Winke comments “a big challenge for NZ farmers is getting heat identification right for the critical first three weeks of mating. The CowScout has proven 90-95% accuracy, and provides options for the timing of AB.” For farmers doing their own AB, a real-time update on heat activity will help with timeliness; and cows not needing to come into the milking shed opens opportunities for breeders of pedigree or beef cattle to monitor their herds closely. – Mark Daniel

Samuel Anderson and Sarah Buchanan, Lely NZ, with the Lely Grazeway.


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is on a roll, as seen typically in the Lely Grazeway system that uses pneumatics to draft cows in up to three directions. Designed for stand-alone use or building into existing robotic or traditional dairy set-ups, the device can segregate cows before or after milking, and for a variety of reasons -- heat detection, mating, medication, etc. It can also be used as a controlled entry gateway to fresh pasture, 99% accurate. Alternatively, herd managers can make drafting decisions before cows enter the shed, and relax knowing animals will go unaided where needed. In operation, detection and drafting without intervention is controlled by a neck- or leg-mounted transponder, or by EID ear-tags. Overall control is by PC based software such as the Lely T4C management or the company’s InHerd, i-phone or Android based apps. When used with Lely’s QWES HRF-LD monitoring system, which looks at cows’ rumination and activity, the whole herd can be monitored and animals drafted to holding pens for follow-up inspection. Samuel Anderson, manager Lely dairy, says the system “can be the first step in automation.



‘Mastitis treatment needs major overhaul’ INNOVATION IS long overdue in mastitis management to protect New Zealand farmers’ global leadership in dairying, says an academic. University of Otago Professor Gregory Cook is leading research to develop new sanitisers to manage the disease, which costs the dairy industry $280 million annually in treatment and discarded milk. The industry now relies on two antimicrobial sanitisers to control mastitis, administered through teat sprays. Both formulations contain bioactive ingredients -- chlorhexidine (CHX) or iodine -- that are also widely used to control infection in hospitals. But there is a rising call for new types of products for the dairy industry, because of

a mounting threat of antimicrobial resistance in clinical environments and lower acceptance of chemical residues in consumer products. Cook says though iodine and CHXbased products remain effective under NZ conditions, both are ageing technologies. “Innovation in this area is long overdue to protect NZ farmers’ status as global dairy leaders. There is a risk in this huge industry relying on only two sanitising molecules, particularly given the globally growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and trends in reducing antimicrobial usage,” he told Dairy News. “Previous experience shows how  vulnerable  dairy exports can be

Mastitis costs the industry $280 million annually in treatment and discarded milk.


Leading researchers Phd student Nichaela Harbison-Price (right) and Dr Scott Ferguson (left), with Professor Greg Cook at University of Otago lab.

ANTIMICROBIAL USAGE PROFESSOR GREG Cook says there is a need to reduce the levels of antimicrobials used in the industry. He says in any environment where antimicrobials are used in large amounts -- hospitals, farms, communities -- there is antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It is the natural response of any

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Winners show keen aptitude Soon it will be finals night in the prestigious Dairy Industry Awards, an occasion for some regional winners to collect big prizes. Meanwhile a Manawatu regional field day attracted reporter Peter Burke, who found the winners all hail from towns. A FIELD day on the farm of Ian and Steph Strahan, near Palmerston North, attracted a large crowd of farmers and agri-professionals to listen to the Dairy Industry Awards winners and walk the farm. The farm is the workplace of Manawatu Share Farmers of the Year award winners Jarrod and Nikki Greenwood. The 109ha (eff) property runs 320 Kiwi cross cows and this year the couple are targeting 160,000kgMS. Tile drains and a feed pad help them cope with wet seasons. Neither of the Greenwoods has a farming background: Jarrod is from Palmerston North city but has farmed since he left school at 16; Nikki was raised on a lifestyle block near Wellington before her folks moved to Manawatu during her teens. But their passion for dairying and determination to succeed and develop a sustainable business has compensated for their lack of early farming

experience. They contribute different skills: Nikki is the behind-the-scenes numbers person; Jarrod has great practical farming skills. Nikki also has her hands full looking after their four children but next season when their worker leaves she will also work on the farm. “I wanted us to enter the awards because I think Jarrod has a lot of potential. And because we are not from a farming background it is a way of us getting our name out there to get recognition. It was also the way to allow us to assess our business and find areas we can improve on. It has definitely been worthwhile: we have learned much and the judges’ feedback has been good,” she says. Their focus is on doing the basics right and building a business that is sustainable environmentally and financially. Jarrod says a key philosophy is to value everything and everyone involved -- staff, advisors and cows.

Manawatu Share Farmers of the year Nikki and Jarrod Greenwood.

“If we can make the cows happy coming into the shed they will produce more milk so we make sure everybody is happy and enjoys what we and they are doing,” he says. He is now dedicated to measuring things on the farm, although he hasn’t always been a numbers man. “I failed my school certificate maths miserably but when we hired Paul, our farm worker, he was very figures-orien-

tated. I had all the practical knowledge of dairy farming -- basic knowledge to work out the pasture side of things. But Paul has taught me a lot about how to do the calculations and have some fun setting up all the scenarios.” Nikki says all their efforts are paying off because they are doing things properly -- keeping costs down and growing as much pasture as possible. Jarrod agrees, saying that to make the business

sustainable they need to know they are feeding the cows correctly and making sure fertiliser use is appropriate, not excessive, and that leaching levels are minimised. The Greenwoods hope to move to a 50/50 share milking arrangement as a stepping stone to farm ownership. Jarrod admits Nikki pushes him along, but he sees this as positive in helping them achieve their goals sooner.

Young town enthusiasts do hard yards don’t try to micro-manage them; I want them to make their decisions because they are there every day.” Hoogendyk says entering the dairy awards has taught her a lot about herself and her farm and given her ways to improve.


in the Manawatu competition is Hayley Hoogendyk, who won Dairy Manager of the Year. Originally from Mt Maunganui, she first studied accountancy at Massey University then changed to a business degree majoring in sports management. She worked as an events manager, but when the job was disestablished she went milking cows to fill in a gap. Today she is the farm manager at Te Paratai which runs 600 cows and is targeting 269,000kgMS this season. The farm is a system 4, now regrassing and growing 25ha of turnips. Hoogendyk has four staff, and finds the people management especially appealing. Her business degree is a big help, she says. The increase in large dairy farms means the days of a single owneroperator are gone, says Hoogendyk. Now, looking after staff is vital. “I like to see people progressing; I wouldn’t ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do. It’s important to look after people

She hopes to buy a house this year and in the future move to a lower order share milking role. Her ultimate goal is to manage multiple farms and use her people management skills. Stephanie Walker (22) is the Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year. She

hails from Bay of Plenty and came to Manawatu aged 17 to study agri science degree at Massey University. Now she works on one of eight Landcorp dairy farms in a cluster near Foxton. Her first contact with dairy cows came when

a friend at their pony club was milking cows; she tried it and liked it and decided to make a career in the dairy industry. Her foray into the Dairy Awards came when a Waikato friend won Trainee of the Year in 2016. “It gave me an incen-

tive to enter. I wanted to benchmark myself against trainees of like skill and ability and to see where I stood, and I came away with a great result,” she says. Walker says within ten years she would like to own 200 cows and be a 50/50 sharemilker.

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and see them succeed in life; if they are not succeeding then I am not succeeding. I want them to enjoy life, to turn up to work not because they have to but because they like the work.” She says staff treated well and having their views taken into account can add value to a business. Workers at the coal-face often have good practical ideas and they need to be encouraged to share them. “So I

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Finalists hit the home stretch The 11 regional finalists in the 2017 Dairy Industry Awards have been named; here are their brief profiles.

Auckland/ Hauraki



THE 2017 Northland

Share Farmer of the Year winners are Kaiwaka locals who keep it simple on the farm. Niall and Delwyn McKenzie say after farming on large and smaller farms in Northland, Austra-

lia and the South Island, they love living in Northland, where people appreciate their keep-it-simple systems. “Delwyn was born and raised on the same road we live on now.  We never intended to live back here, but we are happy

Niall and Delwyn McKenzie.

in Kaiwaka,” says Niall. “Remember, happy wife, happy life.” The 2017 Northland Dairy Manager of the Year is Greg Imeson, and the 2017 Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year is Blake Anderson. Imeson, who entered the awards to see where he sat amongst industry peers, says “I hope this experience will help me secure a future sharemilking position. It’s been fantastic to meet mentors and role models in the industry,” he says. Anderson’s farming goals include managing his own dairy farm.  The 19-year-old is farm assistant on Carlton Smyth’s 420-cow, 180ha property in Kaiwaka.  He won $3370 in prizes.

Farmer of the Year winners Fraser and Amber Carpenter have a clear vision of where they are headed and a plan to make it happen. “We have a clear vision of our future goals and work to set smaller goals to help us achieve our big-

picture plans,” they say. Rachael Foy was named Dairy Manager of the Year, and Alex Voysey Dairy Trainee of the Year. The Carpenters say entering the awards has always been a goal, which they are pleased to have achieved. “The learning and development these awards give you to better understand your business is an opportunity in

Fraser and Amber Carpenter.

itself,” says Amber (33). “The awards have also opened up networking opportunities with rural professionals and valuable members of the community which can only help us develop our business in the future.” Foy, who entered the awards to have her goals, achievements and weaknesses assessed, won $8975 in prizes. “I have had to consolidate all my current knowledge of the farm and assess why I do the things I do,” she says. “It’s a fantastic learning and networking opportunity.” After graduating from Lincoln University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Agriculture degree, she entered the dairy industry as 2IC on a 700-cow property, then moved to 2IC on a 500-cow property in the 2015-16 season.

She is now assistant manager on Bert and Merle Costar’s 178ha, 500-cow property in Te Kauwhata. Voysey is passionate about farming, being outdoors and being with animals.


Farmer of the Year Phillip van Heuven (30), strives to achieve in every area of his business and always looks for ways to progress. He is 50% sharemilking 230 cows for Brett Coubrough at Tirau and won $14,050 in prizes. His goal is to continue to progress through the industry by obtaining a bigger 50% sharemilking position, and he believes the strengths of his operation are in pasture and animal management. “I am always moni-




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DAIRY INDUSTRY AWARDS  // 33 Philip van Heuven (centre), flanked by Euan McLeod (left) and Kobus Liebenberg.

toring the pasture and achieving correct residuals and have an established regrassing programme,” he says. “For me, happy cows equals a happy farming life. Cow condition is a priority and growth rates of young stock are closely monitored.” Euan McLeod, the Waikato Dairy Manager of the Year, is farm manager for an established Waikato AB dairy farming operation, Murray and Janet Gibb’s 122ha farm, milking 380 cows in Taupiri, where he has progressed from farm assistant to farm manager. Kobus Liebenberg (23), the Dairy Trainee of the Year, is a young farmer committed to the dairy industry and determined to own a farm. “Long term I would like to own a chain of farms and be a Fonterra board member. Shortterm I would like to obtain a farm manager position.”

Bay of Plenty CAMERON AND Mar-

garet Bierre, Bay of Plenty Share Farmers of the Year, see their academic qualifications and previous careers as a strength. Both aged 30 years, they are 24% sharemilking 800 cows for Scottie and Jill McLeod at Whakatane and won $12,500 in prizes. They have been in the industry nine years, Margaret also working for Eastpack (Kiwifruit), using her BSc Ecology and Horticulture. Cameron holds a BSc in agriculture and agribusiness and

has previously worked for Dairy NZ. Both have many industry certificates and accreditations. The Bierres entered the awards to analyse and re-focus on their business and benchmark it against others in the industry to gain improvement. Hayden and Linda McCartie, the Bay Of Plenty Dairy Managers of the Year, are farm managers for the Gow Family Trust 215ha farm, milking 710 cows in Whakatane. “Taking a close look at how we manage the farm identifies our strengths and weaknesses and where we need to improve,” they say. Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year Hayden Goodall (24) was third time lucky; he says entering the awards has given him the opportunity to network with other entrants, farm owners, sponsors and their representatives. “It’s also allowed me to get my name into the farming industry and has helped me set goals.”

progressing through the industry from farm assistants to their current sharemilking position, held since 2015. Carlos was the joint East Waikato 2007 Dairy Trainee of the Year with Zarsha Osborne, and has entered the awards four times previously. Bernice was a registered nurse in the Philippines and enjoys raising their two children on a farm, with a new baby due in April. Anthony Kiff, the 2017

Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year, is the farm manager for the Landcorp 385ha, 1180-cow

farm at Reporoa. Kiff believes his strength lies in his financial understanding of

Carlos and Bernice Delos Santos.

sharemilkers’ and landowners’ costs coupled with excellent people skills. It’s second time lucky for the Dairy Trainee of the Year Taylor Macdonald (20), who says he has noticed a large improvement in his self-confidence since entering the dairy trainee competition last year. “I have also found it to be a great opportunity to broaden my view of industry competitions.”

Taranaki THE 2017 Taranaki Dairy

Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners hope their achievements will help them towards their farming goals. Dion and Jo Bishell say entering the dairy industry awards enabled them to push the boundaries of their business. “We’ve been able to analyse our whole business at one time. Experts TO PAGE 35

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and-wife team were named major winners in the 2017 Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards. Carlos and Bernice Delos Santos, both aged 33, are 50/50 sharemilking 300 cows for Andrew and Dorothy McPherson at Ngakuru and won $20,484 in prizes. Originally from the Philippines, the Delos Santos began farming in New Zealand in 2001,

Brian, Cathy and David Yates, Karaka, 170 cows When our children decided on careers in the city, Cathy and I thought we’d be the last of the Yates  family to live and work on the family farm. That all changed when our son Brian saw what robots made possible, and decided to bring his family home to manage the farm. It’s an approach that works for us, it works for my family, and there’s no reason it wouldn’t work for you. Visit to find out how robots kept our farm in the family.

Cameron and Margaret Bierre.

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goals. Dion and Jo Bishell say entering the dairy industry awards enabled them to push the boundaries of their business. “We’ve been able to the 2017 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year is Tim Bonner. Neal entered the awards hoping it would help him improve his the-

ing 225 cows for John and Jean Ellison at Norsewood. They won $9570 in prizes. It is fourth time lucky for the 2017 Hawkes Bay/ Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, Kenny Henderson. “Entering previously has made me more aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a manager, thanks to judges’ feedback. I have increased my

Dion and Jo Bishell.

oretical knowledge. Bonner learnt his general farming skills while very young and has always aspired to being a top NZ dairy farmer. “While my peers were buying fancy utes I was saving for my own dairy herd and still driving my 1996 Corolla,” he says.

Hawkes Bay/ Wairarapa SHARE FARMER of the Year winners say entering the competition has given them a better understanding of their whole business. “Being able to analyse why we make the decisions we do, and ensure they are the best for our farming enterprise has been a huge benefit of entering the awards,” say Rob and Shiralee Seerden. They have been on their 80ha farm since 2009 and say their goal is to look for a new role in the 2018-19 season and move to a 450-650 head position, either in 50/50 sharemilking or an equity partnership job. The couple, aged 45 and 44, and with seven children, are sharemilk-

profile within the industry and made new contacts,” says Henderson. Henderson (37), is the farm manager for 2008 NZ Sharemilkers of the Year Ben and Nicky Allomes, who are 50/50 sharemilkers for Kay Cassells on her Woodville property. Brandyn Beale (21), is the Dairy Trainee of the Year; he is herd manager on Mike and Jane Joho’s 350-cow farm at Dannevirke.

stock sales which maximises income. The winner of the West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Manager of the Year competition sees huge benefits in entering the dairy awards and has met good people through the process. Jack Raharuhi, who won $4680 in prizes, is the farm manager for the Landcorp 482ha, 1150-cow farm at Westport. Jack (24), began milking through a Gateway programme at Buller High School nine years ago, when he fell in with the wrong crowd. West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year Clay Paton (23) hopes entering the awards will open up doors for quality employment and career opportunities in the future.

Canterbury-North Otago South A FORMER adven-

ture tourism guide and a former secondary school teacher were named major winners in the 2017 Canterbury-North Otago South Dairy Industry Awards and they are thriv-

ing on the challenge. Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley, both aged 34, are sharemilking 515 cows on Graham Brooker’s 138ha farm in Ashburton. They won $12,607.86 in prizes. They entered the awards to discover where they fit in the industry. “The competition process created a focus on parts of the farm and business we may not otherwise have been as energetic towards,” say the couple. Kerry Higgins (32), the Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, says the awards have pushed her outside her comfort zone and have made her take a long, hard look at how she approaches her business. “This has helped me build a greater understanding of my strengths and weaknesses.” Dairy Trainee of the Year Ben Haley (24) thought entering the awards would test his knowledge of dairy farming and push him in the right direction to further his career. He has been in the industry for three seasons

West Coast-Top of the South A MURCHISON couple are the West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Share Farmers of the Year. Jon and Vicki Nicholls, aged 39 and 37, are sharemilking 470 cows on the Greenmile Ltd 185ha farm in Murchison. They won $6430 in prizes. They entered the awards to network, analyse their business and meet new people, and wish to buy land. The couple see the strengths of their business in the low cost of production which minimises expenses, and the high

Jon and Vicci Nicholls.

Southland-Otago THE WINNERS of the

From left: Kerry Higgins, Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley and Ben Haley.

after spending 14 months as a cattle station hand south of Alice Springs, Australia. His farming goals include promotion to second-in-charge and securing a management position in the next five years.


Industry Awards Share

policies and procedures, finding areas that need tweaking and improving.” Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year Hayley Hoogendyk says her win was a great way to realise the skills she had, and what she needed to learn more about. The Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year is Stephanie Walker (22), a farm assistant on a

Nikki and Jarrod Greenwood.

Farmer of the Year Jarrod and Nikki Greenwood have proven that persistence and resilience are the keys to success, winning the title on their fifth attempt. They say entering the awards has given them a better understanding of their business. “The judges’ feedback has helped us to improve and strengthen our farming operation. It got us digging into our business and assessing all our

Foxton Landcorp Farming farm. She won $5175 in prizes.

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2017 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year competition believe good staff management has stood them in good stead to help them to achieve their business goals. Russell (40) and Tracy (37) Bouma are sharemilking 762 cows on Andrew, Owen and Barbra Johnston’s 270ha farm in Clydevale. They won $20,065 in prizes. The winner of the 2017 Southland-Otago Dairy Manager of the Year competition says stock are the number-one priority in her business. Ann Linton (25), who won $8650 in prizes, is the assistant manager for their employers Nathan and Debbie Erskine and farm owners John and Helen Kerse on their 265ha, 800-cow farm at Gore. Southland-Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year Ben Mclean (22), entered the awards to give himself a challenge outside of the day-to-day work onfarm. “I wanted to gauge myself against others in the same position.”

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THE WAR of words over quad bike safety in Australia has recently been elevated, with a manufacturers’ group getting together to launch a Supreme Court action to block WorkSafe Victoria from forcing employers to fit operator protection devices (OPD) where there is a risk of rollover. In March WorkSafe Victoria said any employer who believed there was a risk of a quad rollover on farm or workplace should fit a suitably designed and tested OPD, or risk an enforcement notice for not doing so. This month Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki and BRP have called on the Supreme Court to declare “that WorkSafe Victoria has no statu-

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Highly suitable for AMS (Robotic Farming Systems) with low milk flows – no risk of freezing the milk.

Packo Milk Tanks

Energy Saving with Packo Ice Builders (PIB’s) – thanks to the ice energy store build-up during night time hours, a smaller refrigeration unit can be installed plus the potential savings of off-peak power rates.

Water Saving with PIB’s – bore water pre-cooling is not necessary with the correctly sized PIB. This is ideal for drought prone regions or where water supplies are restricted. Improved Milk quality through Snap Chilling = potentially a higher return adding PROFITS to the farm.

PIB 25-160

For 30yrs Eurotec has been supplying the NZ Refrigeration Industry with leading Global Brands. The only NZ supplier of this technology providing nationwide coverage and After Sales Support with branches in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with over 30 Approved Refrigeration Installers throughout the country from Invercargill to Whangarei. Check out the DCS website, talk to your refrigeration contractor, and come and see DCS/Packo milk cooling technologies operating at the Northland Field Days, Central Districts Field

PIB 230 - 370

Days and South Island Agricultural Field Days.

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Dairy Cooling Solutions Tradition meets Technology


38 //  MACHINERY & PRODUCTS The design provides better tracking, faster speeds and instant ground adaptation.

Racecar suspension sees mower conditioner flying off the grid MARK DANIEL


3.6m mounted mower conditioner takes mower suspension to a new level, with a concept giving constant ground pressure, alongside Adjust on The Go, a hydraulic adjustment of the cutting head to constantly optimise overlap. The KV 3336MT can be used on its own or with the maker’s front mounted 3632FT or 3636FT. The four-arm Quattro trailing link suspension is designed to achieve better tracking, faster speeds and instant ground adaptation. It provides for a 700mm vertical working

range and a 30° transverse working range. The geometry of the suspension arms provides even ground pressure across the full working width including the 400mm overlap, as well as full width break-back protection. The Kverneland hydraulic Variooverlap carrying arm allows 400mm adjustment of side shift to maximise efficiency by either aligning with the front mower’s working width -and compensating when turning -or working across the slope, on the move. On headlands, extra lift can be gained via a double acting lift cylinder and revised geometry to allow the lift arm to be raised during the turn, achieving minimum ground clearance of 500mm.

Kverneland has also improved the switchover from swathing to wide spreading with aptly named Flip Over wide spreading, which sees swath plates slid to the side and the hood flipping 180o in the space of one minute. The conditioner plate is further improved and now offers two adjustments -- to the front and top of the conditioner rotor, optimising crop flow in all conditions. During transport the complete weight of the 3336 MT is spread evenly on both rear tires, thus no need for higher powered or heavier tractors to cope safely with the unwieldly nature of this machine. @dairy_news

The latest Fusion Vario baler/ wrapper combo.

Fusion Vario goes one-piece McHALE IMPORTER and distributor Power Farming has unveiled the latest Fusion Vario baler/wrapper combo, in which the key change is the move to a single, wide belt system. This change is said to make the machine easier to operate and akin to a roller baler with its forgiving nature. Maintaining original features such as high-speed transfer, patented tip roller and an i-touch terminal, the machine has shown during two seasons of testing and development that the new belt system has many benefits. Much of the testing was done in New Zealand, with Holdem Contracting, Taranaki, playing a major part; the firm already runs a three-belt machine, so could make informed comment about the new

system’s performance. Jade Sklenars, from Holdem, says, “the machine’s ability to deal with poor lumpy swaths and short wet sticky grass makes the job much easier. Combining the belt with wide side augers appears to give a more positive feed across the full bale width, resulting in fewer blockages, so making the machine easy to operate and more forgiving.” The manufacturer says the single belt reduces leaf loss which leads to higher quality product, and the fitting of a secondary auger cleaning system behind the belt prevents build-up and reduces the likelihood of stoppages. If any blockages are likely, a flexible floor can move up to 15mm to allow the material to pass, or the

whole floor can be lowered completely with a touch of the i-terminal. Also new to the machine is a repositioning of the density control rams to help achieve denser bale cores, which have the effect of producing tighter bales with a welldefined shape. The net wrap system is a carryover from the Fusion 3 model, which includes auto feeding of any new net rolls installed on the machine. Daily maintenance is reduced by an auto-greasing system, a clever bale roll-back function ensures the cut end of the film sticks to the bale after wrapping, and external controls for the bale-tip function complete the package.

Compare your costs. We've put a price on our automated milking system. See for yourself how we compare.

Dairy News 11 April 2017  

Dairy News 11 April 2017

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