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Cattle disease on the move. PAGE 4

Time to wise up PAGE 39

TOP CHEESE Silver award winners PAGE 24 AUGUST 29, 2017 ISSUE 385 //

JITTERS OVER WATER TAX The lack of detail is absolutely frustrating. – Katie Milne, president Federated Farmers PAGE 3


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NEWS  // 3

Talking about the tax will calm the nerves PAM TIPA

THE WATER tax proposal by the Oz cheese plant opens. PG.13

Pugging vs pasture. PG.15

Detecting heat. PG.32

NEWS������������������������������������������������������ 3-21 OPINION���������������������������������������������22-23 AGRIBUSINESS���������������������������� 24-25 MANAGEMENT������������������������������ 26-29 MATING MANAGEMENT����������30-36 ANIMAL HEALTH�������������������������� 37-38 MACHINERY &   PRODUCTS��������������������������������������39-42

Labour Party “is making us all fairly blimmin’ nervous isn’t it,” says Federated Farmers president and dairy farmer Katie Milne. “It is an election year, there are a lot of votes to be had out there in urban New Zealand and unfortunately water and farming impacts are a hot topic being used,” she told Dairy News. The linkages between pollution and irrigation are clearly not there. The Ministry for the Environment report states that, she says. “So what the supposed driver for this is becomes unclear if you actually go into the detail and have a good look. We are really concerned that this has been proposed and is potentially on the table. “But at least [Labour if elected] have said they are going to talk to all the stakeholders and so on, so we will be there boots and all to have those discussions because as we all know the devil is in the detail. “If it is going to be something we will all have to bear the cost of and live with, we need to know how that will work and present all these economic conversations on it so that it is workable and doesn’t destroy people’s incomes.” The lack of detail is “absolutely” frustrating, Milne says. From day one when it was first announced she has talked about farmers being “petri-

fied” because there is no detail yet. “To get people to vote on something without a high level of detail, something so contentious and which could have such an impact for individuals, of course it’s scary for farmers,” she says. But views of the land tax are nothing to do with being committed to clear water quality and swimmable rivers, Milne says. “We want to go hard and fast for that – we all want that. It is such a no brainer,” she says. “That is what [farmers] have been doing anyway with all the things we have been learning as we go and the progress on wetlands, planting, precision agriculture and all those things; it is all working towards that. “I don’t think we have great language for that when we look at how a town person might look at it… someone who knows nothing about farming. “We need those great stories from farmers to get out more…. We need to get pick-up in the wider community that we are making massive progress and are doing well. “We know we can do more but we can nail this, and these amazing little projects going on in catchments all over NZ need to be championed and sung from the rooftops. “Town people might even pick up some ideas on how they can do that in the cities and towns with water problems -- how they can implement similar ideas to get their end cleaned up too.”

We know this is all NZ’s problem, not just a rural problem, Milne says. The response since the clean water pledge announcement from Milne and other farming sector leaders has been a “quite reasonable response”. “It is broad ranging really, but most people are positive about it. A couple of people are not so positive because we haven’t talked about the urban thing, but this is about doing the bit we can do and we actually can’t do a lot about the urban one except give them tips and ideas

about what worked. “But we need to own part and deal with that and that keeps the public’s trust up too. We are not shying away and hiding from where we’ve got issues; but there are not issues everywhere. “Unfortunately there is a perception that there are issues everywhere. Clearly we know -- because we live in our environment -- that there are not issues with water quality everywhere.” Katie Milne


4 //  NEWS

MPI still hopeful of eradicating cattle disease NIGEL MALTHUS

THE MINISTRY for Primary Industries (MPI) hasn’t given up hope of eradicating the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis despite its spread to a third South Island farm. MPI says it “strongly suspects” the third farm is positive for the disease, identified for the first time in New Zealand on first one then a second farm in the Morven area, near Oamaru, in mid-July. Both farms are part of the 16-farm Van Leeuwen Dairy Group. The third farm is also in the Oamaru area and has a direct connection with

one of the infected VLDG farms, having received some animals from it before the discovery of the disease. MPI’s director, response, Geoff Gwyn, said that as a result the property is now under a restricted place notice, controlling the movement of animals and other risk materials off the farm. Gwyn said the new development is not a sign the disease is running rampant in NZ but is evidence of the extensive surveillance and testing programme working. “This is not a game changer for us. Along with the animal industry bodies we remain com-

mitted to continuing the biosecurity response, finding any infected properties, controlling the disease and, if possible, eradicating it from the country. “The disease is being well contained on the known properties and we are confident our control measures are sufficient to contain it there. Our surveillance programme continues to investigate whether the disease had been spreading around the country before it was discovered in South Canterbury,” said Gwyn. In a stakeholder update email, MPI said movement tracing from the farm showed that


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before the response animals had moved to 14 farms. MPI had already contacted and taken samples from many of those farms and was contacting the others urgently to arrange testing. MPI was aware of persistent rumours of other infected properties but was tracing all reports and emphasised that there were only three positives, as of August 23. Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesman, Guy Wigley, said it was always anticipated there might be more positive tests. The stock movements had occurred before the disease was identified and so were legitimate. Quite a number of other farms were on the same pathway and also needed to be tested, he said. “At this stage it still looks as though it is con-

Two farms belonging to the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group are tested positive.

tainable. It’s not out of containment because all these properties are in their sights. There are a known number of properties, so I’m still optimistic we can contain and eradicate this disease.” Wigley said the positive result on the third farm did not make the task harder, but meant the tests were working. Allnegative tests would have been a bonus, but further positives were to be expected. Wigley praised the response of MPI and the vet, Merlyn Hay, who originally raised the alarm. “MPI came in after the disease had been cycling for perhaps six weeks at least before the penny dropped that this was a new organism that hadn’t been seen here. So all credit to the vet involved

who managed to join the dots, because it’s a very difficult disease to identify unless you apply the specific test looking for it. And if it’s not a disease that’s already here it’s not a test that you apply, is it? “I think when we look back in hindsight we might say the testing should have started earlier or that we should have had the testing equipment on hand,” said Wigley, “But can you have testing equipment on hand for every exotic disease that’s overseas and not here already?” MPI has estimated that 33,000 tests will have to be completed before they can know the extent of the outbreak; it is getting through them at a rate of about 3000 a week. “They know the mountain that’s in front of

them,” said Wigley. Gwyn said there was no need to name the third farm concerned. “The farmer has been in regular contact with us and has voluntarily kept stock and risk goods on the farm for more than three weeks while our testing has taken place. “No animals have left the property since July 20. However it is understood that before this some animals were moved to a number of other farms. MPI is contacting those properties and is testing animals with urgency.” Gwyn said there is no clear evidence that disease is on these other properties. MPI was considering whether the farms would need to have specific controls placed on the movement of risk goods.

WATCH STOCK CLOSELY - DAIRYNZ DAIRYNZ SAYS it is working with MPI and others to help contain the spread of Mycoplasma bovis. Chief executive Dr Tim Mackle said farmers have to be aware of the signs of the disease and contact their vet if stock show unusual levels of

mastitis, abortions or present with arthritis or pneumonia. Farmers should also maintain proper biosecurity measures and call DairyNZ or MPI with any concerns. Meanwhile, the South Canterbury Rural Support Trust




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has been contracted by MPI to provide welfare support. The trust has hosted a dinner for VLDG staff and families and made contact with others affected, and has also provided food parcels and other support. The trust is contactable through a Facebook page.

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NEWS  // 5

Water tax to suck cash from irrigating regions NIGEL MALTHUS


terbury enjoy a direct relationship between water use and employment, says Federated Farmers. The unemployment rate in Ashburton district is “miniscule” because the district benefits hugely from irrigation, said Ashburton-based Chris Allen, Federated Farmers board member with policy responsibility for the environment (water and biodiversity). Allen said Labour’s proposed water tax or royalty – mooted at 2c/cu.m -- could cost individual irrigated farms $10,000 to $35,000 each. That would be a lot of money not going back into the local economy, where each dollar spent is recycled about sixfold, he said. Allen said 85% of the national water tax take would be from the East Coast of the South Island, 25% of it from Mid-Canterbury alone.

Chris Allen

Echoing an IrrigationNZ analysis which shows the bulk of the tax would be gathered in regions where the rivers were already cleanest, Allen said the most polluted rivers were nowhere near where irrigation is happening. “It’s not going to fix any river that’s not being worked on already,” he said. Dairying has been the red herring in the debate but represents less than half of Mid-Canterbury’s irrigation. With Mid-Canterbury

providing much of the world’s carrot seed, much of the irrigation goes to very specialised cropping and it would be “a worry” if that were made uneconomic, he said. There is also a risk that the water tax would push more land into dairying, because dairying tends to give the highest return and the tax could therefore price other uses out of the market. Allen said it would also be an “incredibly” inefficient way of collecting and distributing money.

Compliance costs would be huge compared with GST or income tax which are pretty efficient and equitable, he said. He said if Labour is arguing that water is a public resource, then everyone should be asked to pay for it, rather than picking on one sector of society. Maori would have a view, he said. “If the Crown says it owns the water, clearly Maori will say quite rightly ‘well, we want a part of that if you’re putting a price on that resource.’ So that’s an issue which would have to be very carefully considered.” If the issue is water quality, as Labour is now saying, there are much better ways of dealing with it. Allen said there is no direct relationship between water quality issues and irrigation. “In fact the guys in Canterbury with precision application of water have a very low environmental footprint.”


ink calls the proposed water tax “a lolly scramble” and “a cheap way to grab some votes”. Leferink decries what he calls a “poorly-drafted” One News/ Colmar Brunton poll, which asked whether irrigating farmers should pay water royalties and the funds be used to help clean up our waterways: 59% of voters

Waikato will pass were in support, 32% it on, so the conopposed and 9% didn’t sumers in the end know. will pay.” “They all said ‘yes’ Labour’s because they don’t have spokesman on to pay,” said Leferink. the environment His message to them and water, David is that they would pay in Willy Leferink Parker, has said the end. money raised “We [dairy] as exporters have nowhere to go, but the locally would be spent locally but vege growers in Pukekohe and Leferink said there is nowhere

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locally for it to be spent. “We don’t even know what to do with that kind of money in Mid-Canterbury.” Leferink sees some value in going after overseas-owned water-bottling companies that are not taxed in New Zealand because they are taking their profit overseas, but that is a tax legislation problem not a water quality issue.








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6 //  NEWS

A2 profit surges on Chinese demand

A2 managing director Geoffery Babidge.


A2 MILK’S after-tax

profit of $90.6 million is 198% ahead of last year on surging Chinese demand.

Revenue of $549.5m in the year to June 2017 is an increase of 56% over the previous year. Earnings before tax of $141.2m were 159% ahead of the previous year and the basic earnings per

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share (EPS) of 12.7 cents were up 186% on the previous year. The company reported continued strong growth in sales and market share for a2 Platinum infant formula in Australia and China and sales growth of a2 Milk branded fresh milk and milk powders in Australia. “The company made further strong gains in revenue and earnings in the 2017 financial year (FY17), with outstanding performance in infant formula and continued growth in liquid milk in each of its core markets,” says its annual results statement. Sales of a2 Platinum infant formula continued to grow strongly in Australia and China in online and offline channels, consistent with growing brand awareness among consumers in both countries. Infant formula generated 72% of total revenue for the year, up from 61% in the 2016 financial year. The company is focused on growth of a2 Platinum infant formula through investment in product supply and quality, building brand awareness and strength, and meeting the requirements of China’s regulatory regime. Managing director Geoffrey Babidge says: “The company’s continued growth reflects increasing consumer acceptance of the a2 brand and the benefits of dairy-based products free from the A1 beta casein protein type. “We have continued to support and expand our brand proposition through effective marketing and promotional activities in each of our markets. Our support for relevant scientific research and continued investment in intellectual property are also key aspects of this strategy. “It is particularly pleasing that we have been able to respond progressively to the supply challenges arising from growth in demand for a2 Platinum infant formula over the year which exceeded our

previous expectations. “A key element in fulfilling the growing demand is the renewed long-term supply agreement with our manufacturing partner Synlait. We have also been successful in adapting to shifts in demand for infant formula between the major retail, e-commerce and personal shopper (‘daigou’) channels, recognising this is an important dynamic for continuing growth. “The company is also strongly focused on China’s evolving regulatory regime, in particular the requirement for registration of infant formula brands by China’s Food and Drug Administration from January 2018. “The company has a number of initiatives under way to progress portfolio growth in nutritional products and to extend its business into emerging markets, without loss of focus on current initiatives. “With a strong cash position and no debt the company is in a robust position to continue the implementation of its growth strategy.” The closing cash on hand of $121m was after an investment of $48.7m in shares in Synlait Milk Ltd, In Australia, a2 Milk branded fresh milk achieved further growth in sales, while a2 Milk branded whole milk powder, introduced in the previous year, showed strong growth. Further progress was made in building the US business, with a continued focus on California and expansion to the southeast through a premier retailer in that region and in the natural grocery channels. Fresh milk sales in the UK showed strong growth on the previous year with continued marketing investment and improved customer engagement, delivering operating profits for the first time. Expanded distribution was also achieved with a number of retailers by year-end.


NEWS  // 7

2016 price gains largely holding SUDESH KISSUN

DAIRY PRICES have cumulatively

eased only 3% after falling in four of the past five auctions, says BNZ senior economist Doug Steel. In his BNZ Rural Wrap, Steel notes international dairy prices rose strongly in 2016 from low levels and these gains have largely held this year. “While there has been a hint of a pullback over recent months with the Global Dairy Trade price index falling in four of the past five auctions, the cumulative decline over that period has only been 3% -- a tiny move in the context of price swings over recent years,” Steel says. The minimal moves this year suggest reasonable market balance, although the headline changes mask material differences in individual segments. Milkfat prices have lifted strongly in 2017 and cheese prices are mildly higher. Meanwhile milk powder prices are lower than at the end of last year. But Steel notes that overall, despite easing slightly over recent months,

Doug Steel

dairy prices have generally been holding up well. Some supporting factors this year have been: - EU milk supply has disappointed after showing earlier signs of increasing. Poor weather (too hot and dry) has seen latest figures dip in production on a seasonally adjusted basis. - US milk supply has not increased as much as the USDA expected in 2017, despite more cows. While US milk production is now expected to be up 1.6% in 2017, it is less than the 2.4% expansion expected earlier in the year. - Very strong milkfat markets as

strong demand (much of it seemingly structural) faces limited supply. International butter prices have essentially doubled over the past 12 months. - Buoyant Chinese import demand with year-to-date gains in many major product categories. - A stronger Euro, at least 12% higher against the US dollar this year, making European product less competitive on the world market. - A softer USD, about 9% lower this year on a trade weighted basis. This tends to lift prices quoted in US dollars, like dairy products. - A difficult winter in NZ and recent dry conditions in parts of Australia may raise questions about how much southern hemisphere supply can rise in the new season. Steel says given all the above it is perhaps surprising that dairy prices haven’t pushed a bit higher. “They could yet do so.”

$7/KGMS IN SIGHT? BNZ HAS lifted its forecast 2017-18 season milk price to $6.75/kgMS, matching Fonterra’s latest forecast. “We think this sits closer to the current mid-point of a still wide range of possible outcomes,” says Doug Steel. “If current international dairy price and currency levels were to persist through the remainder of the season, our calculations indicate that this would result in a milk price close to $7/kgMS. “Dairy prices could yet push higher. It wouldn’t take too much to see milk price forecasts nudge up to $7 or more. BNZ’s central forecast is underpinned by wholemilk powder (WMP) prices drifting down toward US$3000/tonne (now about US $3150/t) over the coming nine months or so. A downside scenario might see WMP fall back to about US$2600/t by season’s end. This could involve a blend of a strong lift in global milk supply, a pullback in the EUR, slower-

than-expected global economic growth perhaps stemming from policy-induced trade disruption, an economic stumble in China denting dairy demand, a retreat in oil prices and/or even weaker international grain pricing. Even with a lower NZD under these conditions, it would suggest a 2017-18 milk price in a range of $5.90 to $6.30/kgMS. An upside scenario might see WMP push up toward last December’s peak of about US$3600/t by season’s end. “Such a situation could stem from some combination of pullback in EU milk supply, a lack of lift in NZ production, ramping up of Chinese demand, a jump in international oil and/or grain prices, or perhaps a weather event in a major milk producing area. The NZD could lift in such a scenario, but even so, and given other uncertainties, we estimate this would give a 2017-18 milk price in a range of $7.20 to $7.60/ kgMS,” says Steel.

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8 //  NEWS

Leaders sign up to swimmable r PAM TIPA

DAIRY LEADERS have come together with other livestock and farming leaders to pledge their commitment to swimmable rivers for future generations. The Farming Leaders’ Pledge was signed last week by an informal group of New Zealand pastoral farming leaders who represent at least 80% of the country’s farmed land. They began work in May on issues of importance to farming. The group’s commitment is to working to make NZ’s rivers swimmable for their children and grandchildren.  Speaking for the group is Federated Farmers president and dairy farmer Katie Milne; its other

members are DairyNZ chairman Michael Spaans, Fonterra chairman and dairy farmer John Wilson, Mike Petersen (sheep and beef farmer), James Parsons (sheep and beef farmer and Beef + Lamb NZ chair), John Loughlin (Meat Industry Association chair) and Bruce Wills (sheep and beef farmer and Ravensdown director). DairyNZ chair Michael Spaans says “this is a clear message from NZ’s farming leaders that we want our rivers to be in a better state than they are now, and agriculture needs to help get them there”. “I have joined my fellow leaders to stand up and say that I want my grandchildren, and one day my great grandchildren, to be able to swim in the same rivers I did growing up,” he says.

“I don’t know one farmer who doesn’t care deeply about their land and who doesn’t want to leave it in a better state than they came to it.” DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says “dairy has been on this journey for many years and I’m proud of what our farmers have achieved so far. More work is required and we need to keep going forward”. “At the launch of the third year of results of the Sustainable Dairy Water Accord in May, the dairy sector celebrated that 97% of dairy waterways are excluded from dairy cattle. Dairy waterways are planted with millions of native trees to create strong riparian margins to ‘sop up’ nutrients. And as of June last year, almost 27,000km

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NEWS  // 9

e rivers of dairy waterways had been fenced, and more than 99.4% of 44,386 regular stock crossing points on dairy farms now have bridges or culverts. “Our farmers have personally invested over $1 billion to protect their waterways by planting and fencing their riparian margins. DairyNZ has spent more than $18.5 million on research and development, and a further $10.6 million on environmental work last year. Even with this investment and a strong commitment to nutrient and effluent management, we are still not where we need to be.  “We are all committed to playing our part to help create a better NZ for everyone.” Milne says the intention behind the pledge is clear. “Many of our rivers are not in the condition we all want them to be. We are doing this because we want our kids and their kids to be able to swim in the same rivers we did as children; and by swim we mean swim, it’s as simple as that.  “We’re standing up and

saying we haven’t always got this right. More work is required and we will play our part. While there has been progress on farms in the past 10 years, we know there is more to be done and that it must be done fast and together. “Today isn’t about laying out the detail on the huge amount of work going on already on farms up and down the country and how these efforts will need to increase. It’s about us as farming leaders signalling our commitment to making NZ’s rivers swimmable and doing everything we can to achieve that.” Katie Milne says the group understands much of the work needed will be challenging for the farming sector. “We haven’t put a timeline on our commitment. Each community will need to decide that for themselves.  This goal will be difficult to meet and we don’t have all the answers today on how it’s going to be achieved,” she says. “We know we have work to do. We know it will be challenging for farmers. We know the

answers are complex and we don’t have them all now. This commitment is simply the right thing to do in playing our part to give back to future generations what we enjoyed as kids.”  Top brass... from left, Michael Spaans, Bruce Wills, Katie Milne, Mark Petersen, Carolyn Mortland, John Loughlin and James Parsons.

THIS PLEDGE from farming leaders shows the real commitment farmers have to tackling these long term issues, says Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy. “Most of NZ’s rivers are in a good state but there are a number that need work, and this will take concerted effort by all NZers – farmers, urban people and local and central government,” he says. “We need to recognise the massive environmental improvements farmers have made in recent times. In the last five years it’s estimated farmers have spent over $1 billion of their own money towards environmental measures on farm, with about 98% of dairy waterways fenced off.” Environment Minister Nick Smith says the pledge builds on the good will and work of the Land and Water Forum. The new National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management was announced on August 9 and introduces a new requirement for rivers to be suitable for swimming. It sets a timetable of 90% of rivers and lakes to be swimmable by 2040, establishes a system for monitoring and reporting and requires each of the 16 regional councils to set regional targets by 2018. “The Government has put in place a robust plan for improving swimmability of our rivers and funding to assist in the cost of achieving it. This pledge will help drive the next steps of finalising national stock exclusion rules and the work towards delivering good management practices for the different farming sectors,” Smith says.

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10 //  NEWS

Judge passes good sentence on farm PAM TIPA

Waikato farmers John Hayward and Susan O’Regan with children Lily and Jack.

WE NEED to be posi-

tive that our product can be premium and people will pay for it, says John

Hayward of Judge Valley Dairies. “I have a philosophy that we have to look beyond what we see and for the last five years I think we have achieved that on our farm,” he


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told the Environmental Defence Society’s conference’s discussion ‘The Future of Farming’. He outlined the steps they took to improve the farm’s environmental performance; it won the Waikato Farm Environment Awards in 2016 while tripling production. “When we looked at our farming practice – we own 245ha, 140ha of it a dairy platform -- we had to see ourselves as different from everybody else, with the mindset that we had to produce a product that was better, had a better story to it, had traceability that we could take to the world and the market and that somebody would be prepared to pay a premium for.” They carried out a land use capability assessment on their farm. “We worked out our farm’s contour, which was the best land to use for dairy and which was the best land to plant in trees. “We have retired 20ha to manuka as a diversification, not to get rich out of manuka but to stop nutrient and sediment loss and to secure land which was marginal and probably shouldn’t have been farmed.” Hayward says he was reassured when a woman who owned the farm 30 years ago showed him a picture of it 70 years ago; the land had manuka on it “It was a 70 year cycle for somebody to say ‘we need to change what we are doing’,” he says. But they have also tripled production in the last five years from 70,000kgMS to 210,000kgMS. “That goes down into our farming practice. We looked at our cows; we had Ferrari cows but they were producing like Minis. We needed to change that so we took control of what we were doing; we took control of our costs

and instead of bringing maize in we grow it on farm. We use our effluent to grow our maize on farm.” They also had to take control of their footprint. “We had to understand our nitrogen footprint, how much P we were losing and our sediment, and what we could do to mitigate that. We have planted something like 30,000 natives on our property to make it better and create biodiversity. “While I agree there are challenges out there, we are still an agricultural country. World population is growing… but we need to continue to grow a product someone wants to buy and pay a premium for. But our product has to be a premium product.” Though there are challenges they are in “a really exciting place,” Hayward says. “I look at what else we are doing onfarm in regards to water. I sat on my phone here before (at the conference)… I can tell you now that we’ve had 25ml of rain, our cows have used 36,000 litres of water today, my milk is sitting at 3°C and the tanker hasn’t been. “It is all information that is valuable so we can produce a product someone wants to buy and we have traceability. “We have cut our PKE use in half and have the vision that in the next three years it will be gone…. We’ve embraced CRV Ambreed’s low end sires hoping that science is right and we can breed a greener cow which causes less nitrogen in our waterways. “So all in all there’s heaps of exciting things out there – plenty of science we all need to just grab hold of and use. “We need to be positive that our product can be premium and people will pay more for it.”













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12 //  NEWS

Political consensus vital for TPP talks executive director of the NZ International Business Forum, told Dairy News. “We have an opportunity potentially to conclude the Trans Pacific Partnership before the end of the year among the 11 remaining parties, excluding the United State which has pulled out. “It would be a lot easier to conclude that agreement if it wasn’t open to renegotiation.” Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson said last week NZ



and the Labour Party should reach a bipartisan consensus on how to roll out the current Trans Pacific Partnership process, says trade expert Stephen Jacobi. Negotiations are at a “delicate” stage. “This is too serious for New Zealand to just leave to domestic politics in my view. That’s why we like bipartisanship,” Jacobi,

should hold out for a better Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal that includes blocking offshore buyers buying existing homes. Jacobi says if we reopen negotiations, other countries will come up with different issues and “we will see a repeat of the eight years of negotiation we just spent trying to get TPP right. That’s the risk. “Of course at this stage it is hard to say whether others will want to reopen negotiation. It is conceiv-

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able they might. It would be particularly damaging if the market aspects got reopened because that was a very delicately balanced exercise. “For those reasons we would rather stay with TPP as it is at the moment. “As you know the risk for us is if we don’t get TPP through we will be seriously squeezed in the Japanese market.” The Europeans and the Australians now have free trade agreements with Japan. The Australians already have a much stronger advantage over us in beef, the Europeans will have that too once that is ratified. The outcome for dairy wasn’t as strong in the TPP as it was for beef but nevertheless the same conditions will apply, say Jacobi. “Over time Australia and the European Union would steal a march on us.” That would apply to

many products including dairy, and horticulture, wine and wood would also be exposed. “The real gains from TPP came to us from Japan in the end, not from the United States,” says Jacobi. “It’s Japan we don’t have an FTA with; it is the only country in Asia we don’t have one with now. “A lot rides on getting TPP through and things are very delicate at the moment. Calling for renegotiation is not a straightforward exercise and I don’t know that New Zealanders would be very

well served to be the ones calling for it.” TPP has got to this stage against the odds, he says. “Everyone assumed once the United States pulled out the others would dissipate and all credit to the Government and negotiators for keeping up this work. “But the Japanese are the key in this. They have put a lot of emphasis on this agreement for their own domestic restructuring so they clearly are not wanting to waste all that effort and that of course encourages other people

to stay on board as well. “Things are delicate. There’s been a meeting last month in Japan, there’s another one coming up next month in Australia. It is all around the time of the election.” That is why Jacobi says a bipartisan agreement between the two major parties is needed. The Cabinet has formally approved a negotiating mandate for the TPP 11. The TPP11 are NZ, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Peru, Chile, Mexico and Canada.

TARIFF WALL NEEDED FOR DAIRY MOVING FORWARD with the TPP market access arrangements is important if New Zealand dairy exports are to avoid being at a tariff disadvantage to EU exporters in the Japanese market, says the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ). DCANZ supports the Government’s efforts to bring the TPP into force between the 11 remaining countries. “Japan and the EU have recently announced substantial conclusion of a trade agreement which

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NEWS  // 13

Fonterra opens $150m Oz cheese plant SUDESH KISSUN


$150 million cheese plant in Australia will help meet growing demand, says the co-op’s Australia managing director René Dedoncker He says demand for cheese is growing domestically and in Asia, particularly in China and Japan. “Fonterra is the leader in Australia’s $2 billion consumer cheese category, the market leader in foodservice, providing dairy solutions to chefs across Australia, and one of Australia’s top dairy ingredients exporters. “The new Stanhope cheese plant helps us build on our market position, ensuring we have a sustainable business that delivers to everyone along the value chain.” In December 2014, the existing cheese production facility at Stanhope was destroyed by fire. Fonterra decided to rebuild the plant; the 18 month building and commissioning task employed over 200 people. It included demolishing and rebuilding the fire damaged hard cheese room, installing process plant

to increase production of a range of cheeses and building and installing a mozzarella plant. The project required 7500 tonnes of concrete, about 80 containers of equipment and 330,000 man hours worked by contractors. The new cheese plant can process up to 1.3 million litres of milk every day. Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford, joined Fonterra chairman John Wilson, Fonterra leaders, local farmers and community members to officially open the new plant. Wilson says Australia is a global ingredients hub for Fonterra’s cheese, whey and nutritionals, complementing its consumer and foodservice businesses. Wilson says the new Stanhope plant in Victoria will help meet the growing global demand for cheese from a growing middle class in key markets. “China alone is already a $4.6 billion market for protein, and is growing at 4% per annum,” he says. Pulford says the Victoria State Government has worked with Fonterra Australia to help rebuild,

modernise and expand the Stanhope factory. “Fonterra will be making cheese in Stanhope, in the heart of Victoria’s dairy country, and sending it around Australia and to the world,” she says.

Northern Victoria MP Jaclyn Symes says the investment secures the future of Fonterra’s Stanhope facility, supporting local jobs and ensuring Northern Victoria farmers have a home for their milk.

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14 //  NEWS

Work starts on $206m campus NIGEL MALTHUS

A GROUND breaking ceremony at Lincoln University has marked the start of work on the $206 million new joint facility to house AgResearch and Lincoln University researchers, students and staff. The Minister of Tertiary Education, Paul Goldsmith, joined AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson, Lincoln University chancellor Steve Smith, vice-chancellor Robin Pollard and Selwyn MP Amy Adams wielding spades on the site, formerly occupied by the quake-damaged Hilgendorf complex. The 27,000 sq.m building will house about 300 AgResearch staff including its corporate headquarters, a similar number of Lincoln University staff and about 75 DairyNZ staff. Parts of it will be complete in 2019 and the remainder in 2020. The Burns Wing, standing on the Springs Road side of the site, has yet to be demolished to make way for the new building. The facility will be jointly owned by AgResearch and the university with

DairyNZ as a tenant. It has been planned around the concept of bringing together staff from the disparate organisations, as well as Lincoln students, in a collaborative environment to enhance agricultural science and education. “The connections forged inside this facility are going to mean a new era of top quality science and impact for agriculture, which will in turn mean more prosperous communities across New Zealand,” says AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson. “It is also going to be a huge drawcard for the smartest minds to join in our research and keep us at the cutting edge.” Lincoln University chancellor Steve Smith called it an historic day. “The opportunity for Lincoln University – one which we intend to seize – is to unleash the potential inherent in having our teachers and students working alongside and partnering with the leading-edge scientists from AgResearch, other CRIs and industry.” “The real power in learning and research comes from proximity: human relationships, being in the same space, chance conversations and the synergies

An architect’s render of one of the labs to be incorporated in the new building.

observed between different academic and scientific disciplines,” Smith said. Vice-chancellor Dr Robin Pollard called the building a means to an end. “What really matters is to have staff students and colleagues in the CRIs to come together and work together though collaboration in ways that improve the outcomes. “Lincoln is multidisciplinary but

many of those people have not been involved in AgResearch-type projects, so the nature of research will change as well, I think,” said Pollard. “My plan for Lincoln is to be completely open to collaboration.” The project has been closely linked to the Lincoln Hub concept through the planning stages but is not being officially described as the hub build-

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ing. Pollard referred to confusion about naming the facility. The Lincoln Hub company, a joint venture between Lincoln University, AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research and DairyNZ, is already in operation as a facilitator and co-ordinator of joint projects, but Pollard said it would not “immediately” be a tenant in the new building.

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NEWS  // 15

Balancing pasture versus pugging PAM TIPA


while minimising soil damage are among the main issues dairy farmers have grappled with in early spring, says Andrew Reid, DairyNZ’s general manager extension. “In general terms the spring has been very wet everywhere except Southland region so that’s impacted on the rate of calving throughout the country,” he told Dairy News. “It is spring time but farmers have been saying how notably wet it has been compared to previous seasons for the same time of year. “Obviously there are regional variations. But thankfully the pressure that is not here, but was around last year, is the milk price. Where they are able to and where appropriate we are seeing some supplementary feed being bought in to fill the gaps.” Farmers are keeping cows off pasture where possible. “Obviously they are conscious of conserving as much feed as they can before the spring growth takes off while minimising soil damage in the process. “So sticking to the rotation planner they have got in place or the original intentions of feeding their stock has been challenging because of the weather. “It has been notably wetter than previous years and that is supported by some of the stats from NIWA and the MetService. “That’s farming though!” Where the soils aren’t waterlogged grass growth is starting to come away a bit now because ground conditions are warming up, he says.

“But where soils are waterlogged, utilising the pasture is the issue, not so much what is being grown.” There will be pockets and parts of each district “trucking along okay” but Bay of Plenty which had the flooding in April, and the Hauraki Plains which was extremely wet later on, will be struggling. Speaking to Dairy News from Southland he said things there look pretty good relative to other parts of the country. But just further north, at Taieri for instance, you can see they are still suffering from the floods from a month ago. This “has been a challenge and curve ball which farmers didn’t need at this time of year”. Federated Farmers Waikato provincial president Andrew McGiven says it has been a very, very wet winter. The ground conditions are saturated. “We only need 3-5ml and we are saturated again so this sunny weather we are getting is gold at the moment,” he told Dairy News last week. “To be fair I think we needed a season like this just to recharge our acquifers; those three or four years of drought we had, there were a number of wells and the like running dry. “So I dare say we have recharged them all right, because all you have to do is dig a fence post hole and you are hitting water one or two feet down.” Farmers with feedpads will be using them to the maximum at the moment, says McGiven “It is all about trying to maximise pasture utilisation and having the cows on the paddock only for the bare minimum of time to prevent pugging. “I think it has shown that one pugging event can decimate your clover population by up to 80%


so we are trying to look after our pastures for the coming spring and summer. “Some people I have been talking to had had their annual rainfall by mid June. That’s unprec-

edented as far as I am concerned. “Where I am we probably get a rainfall of about 950-1100ml (annually); last time I looked we were about the 1300ml already.”

Farmers are keeping cows off pasture to keep paddocks healthy for spring.

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16 //  NEWS

O’Connor defends proposed water tax THE FARMING sector has its head in the sand if it doesn’t realise water is a huge issue waiting to be tackled, says Labour’s primary industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor. If agricultural organ-

Damien O’Connor

isations like HortNZ or Irrigation NZ “are smart they will show leadership on this issue; if they are dumb, they won’t”, he told Dairy News. “This simply [requires] a user-pays regime where

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we need to spend money to clean up waterways, to better monitor what is happening with our water management systems and waterways and for more research.” O’Connor says userpays, as a principle, has long been acceptable to the electorate -- including farmers -- but the water issue has been largely ignored for a long time. “All you have to do is refer to John Luxton’s (former DairyNZ chairman) opinion that for the dairy industry in particular the social licence to operate is quickly evaporating. The industry needs to get ahead of a number of issues. “A royalty on water would effectively provide funding for storage where it is viable, and for irrigation, better monitoring, research and development and better monitoring of regulations and standards. “If we don’t do this properly our customers will be rejecting our product. We have to produce the finest, most ethically and sustainably produced products in the world and get a premium for them otherwise our future is not too bright. “We have traded well on our reputation but there is a lot of pressure coming on and we have to position ourselves at the premium end of the market in everything we produce otherwise the viability of our agricultural system will be at risk.” A royalty would be applied to all commercial use of water except that coming via reticulated supply. However urban and industrial clean-up of waterways are “just as necessary and need to be proceeded with”. Urban people would also pay for water cleanups of sewage and stormwater systems but through a different mechanism, he says. In rural areas charges wouldn’t be made for stock water but further details “have to be worked through”. That’s why Labour plans a round-table discussion if elected

“because in different parts of New Zealand there are different degrees of reliance on water and different impacts on waterways, as pointed out by Federated Farmers”. O’Connor says Labour, in Opposition, has not had the resources required to analyse the details sufficiently and properly. They are having to wait pending the resources of Government to establish the finer details of any proposal. He says if Labour was forced into the detail now it may not be accurate and fair. “We want to be accurate and fair so that what we implement is workable and people can see it is logical. It is important that we be honest.” He says the National Government was not upfront about increasing GST and that arguably had a greater effect on the farming sector than Labour’s water proposals. O’Connor says he was a sharemilker when Labour made a hard call in the 1980s to remove farming subsidies that were encouraging uneconomic production and driving up land values. “Thirty years on some hard calls are again needed. Water is one of the world’s most vital and valuable assets. We have taken it for granted but now realise we have to value and protect it. “Most of the science, management and restoration of water quality has been paid for by taxpayers and ratepayers but this can’t continue. “Money is needed for water storage and supply projects, it’s needed for better science and monitoring of waterways and its needed for management of water access rights by regional councils. “In a relatively efficient economy of user-pays principles it is logical that access to a publicly owned asset should generate a royalty to cover these costs. It happens with oil, it happens with gold and coal and it happens with gravel.”


NEWS  // 17


Co-op ready to lead on enviro discussing the future a lot. “We think the future is ing and will bring challenges for our industry and for dairy farmers,” she FONTERRA CAN and should lead says. “We are entering a world that has efforts within the agricultural sector to farm within environmental limits, an exponentially growing demand for says Carolyn Mortland, Fonterra’s nutrition – good food that will meet the dual global challenge of obesity director of social responsibility. The co-op will take a disruptive and malnutrition. That food may look approach where organisations or and feel different. It may be produced ideas we may never have considered by different methods by different come to the fore to drive change, she players and in different places. “But we will need to meet this says. “That is through a combination of nutrition demand from a natural providing support to our farmers to system, one way or another, and that system is reaching, and shift the base, working for some elements as with others on collaborwe know has exceeded, ative solutions at catchthe planetary boundarment, regional, national ies. and international level “We need to do this and investing in sciin a world that has got ence innovation to suddenly very small: develop the next genglobal consumers can eration outcomes,” she connect with local told the Environmental Carolyn Mortland communities with the Defence Society conferclick of a button; people will pay for ence in Auckland. “It will take collaboration, a product which makes them feel safe whether that is through technological or good or both; reputations can be solutions or catchment care groups. made or destroyed in 24 hours; and It will not happen through ad hoc sol- youth of today do not think profit at the expense of our planet is okay.” itary efforts. Mortland says it is an uncertain “It will take a systems approach where we think about a problem end- but exciting future because the world to-end across all aspects of the prob- needs food and New Zealand knows lem -- the environmental, social and how to make good food. “We know how to look after paseconomic, the intellectual and emotional, the future and the immedi- ture, crops and animals and we have extremely innovative farmers and ate.” Mortland says farmers need cer- people. And we come from an econtainty on what our environmental omy in a developed part of the world limits are and a vision of what we which means we are best placed to adapt to the new world. are heading towards. “Our challenge is to make that “Empower and celebrate leadership from any quarter and work food while sticking to environmentogether seeking solutions from obvi- tal limits, and in fact while replenishous and unusual partners. This is the ing the environment… that’s the only generation to do it and now is the way we will ensure our ability to produce food and enjoy our country for time to act.” Earlier she said Fonterra had been many generations. PAM TIPA

“The challenge is ours now because although there is an exciting future, it is this generation that has to create the enablers for this to happen. We could have done it earlier, we can’t do it later.” Mortland says certainty is needed on environmental limits, whether that’s water quality or biodiversity loss or greenhouse gas emissions. “We’ve got to throw our efforts into robust science-based analysis and difficult discussions and figure out the mechanisms to put a stake in the ground. “Things will always evolve as the science gets better. But we need to understand what our boundaries are and start to quantify the size of the gap. “We are seeing this right now with water quality. We are in the midst of debates on the methods of determining environmental limits, whose standard is right, how it is determined and who has a better idea. “It is not easy but we are on a critical path in this journey which is to seek to understand those environmental limits, the causes of the degradation and put in place the mechanisms, regulatory, market and social, to address them.” Leadership is needed from known and unknown quarters. “We are a change journey as a country and as a planet. It will take some vision and determination. “There are some obvious candidates to lead. We’ve done a lot of looking to the Government. We are asking businesses to act beyond their own interests for the greater good. And speaking honestly on behalf of business, we are only just getting a handle on what that really means. “We’ve got local heroes – farmers, environmentalists, politicians and community members who have rolled up their sleeves and got on with the job when they can.”


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18 //  NEWS

Body bows out of DairyNZ NOMINATIONS ARE

open for two farmerelected directors on DairyNZ board. Two farmer directors – Alister Body and Jim van der Poel – will retire by rotation; Body is not seeking re-election. The board consists of five farmer-elected directors and three board-

Alister Body

elected directors. Another vacancy exists on the directors remuneration committee; nominations for all positions close at noon on September 8. returning officer Anthony Morton says the first election for two directors is an opportunity for levy

paying farmers to get more involved in the leadership of DairyNZ. “These roles are a chance to contribute to the whole dairy sector, supporting DairyNZ, its priorities and objectives. This is an important governance role which will help shape and influence the organisation’s direc-


tion for dairy farmers.” The successful remuneration committee member will join a threemember team in considering and recommending remuneration for directors each year. Chris Lewis is the retiring committee member. “All farmers paying a levy on milksolids to DairyNZ are eligible to stand for either election,” says Morton. An information pack outlining criteria and nomination requirements can be obtained from the

returning officer (0800 666 033) or online www. If more than the required nominations are received, the elections will use the STV (single transferable vote) voting method. Vote packs will be posted on September 25 and all votes weighted by annual milksolids production for all registered DairyNZ levy payers. Election results will be announced at the DairyNZ annual meeting in Rotorua on October 25.        

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With 35 days protection against Ostertagia ostertagi, Cydectin Pour-On kills worms for longer. Freeing your herd from parasites for longer can increase milk production and improve the health and live weight of your stock.1

CALCULATE YOUR POTENTIAL INCREASED R.O.I. USING CYDECTIN POUR-ON AT WWW.CYDECTIN.CO.NZ The cost of treatment is based on 420 cows at 500kg live weight, pay-out value of $6.00, 4.26 kg milk solids per cow increase based on the average result from three NZ trials when treated at late lactation, dry off and four days after calving, 17L Cydectin Pour-On retail price of $1,769. Actual results may vary. 1. A.W. Murphy; The effect of treatment with Moxidectin, a long-acting endectocide, on milk production in lactating dairy cows. World Buiatrics Congress Sydney 1998. Zoetis New Zealand Limited. Tel: 0800 650 277; CYDECTIN is a registered trademark of Zoetis Inc. or its subsidiaries. ACVM No. A6203. CT2089. ZOE0014_ROI

cerned some residents may be treating dama wallabies as pets instead of pests. Wallabies, like possums, destroy native bush by feeding on seedlings, ferns and grasses which ultimately means native birds and animals miss out on food and shelter. In large numbers they can also cause problems for forestry and farming by feeding on pine and eucalyptus seedlings and competing with stock for pasture.  WRC biosecurity pest animals team leader Brett Bailey says the council had recently heard of a wallaby kept as a pet at a Hamilton residence. “This report is still being investigated, but it is simply irresponsible to keep pest animals as pets. These animals are hard to contain and the damage they cause is costly, environmentally and financially,” Bailey said. Wallabies are classified as an unwanted organism in the Biosecurity Act and possession of any live wallaby is an offence, except by exemption -only considered for petting zoos or wildlife parks that meet certain criteria.  “Under no circumstances will the council grant an exemption to the rules for people wanting to keep wallabies as pets. And people caught knowingly flouting these rules could face hefty fines or imprisonment,” said Bailey. Breaching the Biosecurity Act can result in fines from $5000 to $100,000 and in some cases imprisonment up to five years. In Waikato the dama wallaby population is rising as a result of their spread from Bay of Plenty. “They can be difficult to control, so we’ve been working with Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Department of Conservation on a long term management plan to prevent their spread. This project will be ramping up in the coming months,” Bailey said.  He urges alerting the council to dama wallabies so they can be killed to help protect native bush. “Pest management is a priority for the regional council. There is support and advice available to landowners, occupiers and the community about pest plants and animals.” • Tel. 0800 800 401 or visit www.waikatoregion.govt. nz/wallaby


NEWS  // 19







Big changes to provisional tax WITH THE Inland Revenue Depart-

ment (IRD) unveiling the new provisional tax rules that took effect at the start of this financial year, farmers should be satisfied with sensible adjustments to the rules, says Tony Marshall, tax specialist for Crowe Horwath. The new regime means that if you pay provisional tax using the standard uplift method, which uses the previous year’s liability with 5% uplift, you will no longer suffer high interest if your tax predictions are incorrect, says Marshall. “You do not need to pay tax unless you are making money, and with profits rising after a number of lean years, farmers will be reaching a position where they will be required to pay tax, particularly in the dairy industry.” The biggest change applies to what the IRD refers to as the ‘safe harbour’ which relates to those who have an actual income tax liability of $60,000 or less and have paid the amounts of tax required as per the standard method at the three provi-

For many farmers, the first instalsional tax dates for that year. They will no longer be charged IRD inter- ment of provisional tax under the est if they miscalculated and did not new regime will be due on October pay enough provisional tax, as long as 28 2017, so it is imperative farmers the final balance is paid by the termi- are up to date and understand how the new rules will affect nal tax date. them. Two important changes “There are many to note are an increase subtle nuances in the from $50,000 to $60,000 rules, which without for the safe harbour threshcareful planning could old and the inclusion of all result in the payment taxpayers, so it does not of more interest than just apply to individuals. is necessary,” Marshall The other major change says. applies to medium-large Tony Marshall “That being said, the taxpayers with an actual income tax liability of $60,000 or new regime only applies if you meet more and who have paid their pro- your uplift method payments, and visional tax that year based on the has no remedy for those who have cashflow constraints, meaning they standard method. Once again, interest will not be are unable to make the correct paycharged by the IRD if the amount of ments on time.” With the new regime already tax due was paid using the standard method at the first and second provi- underway and first instalments looming, it is important all businesses sional tax dates for that year. Interest will only apply from the ensure they understand how the third provisional tax date on any changes could affect them and what underpayment of the total tax liabil- their best move should be under the new rules. ity at that date.

HELPING FARMERS WITH CHANGE FORMER DAIRYNZ project consider how phosphorus, sedimanager Adrian Brocksopp has ment and E. coli might affect the taken over as principal consultant quality of waterways and how farmin Ravensdown’s environmental ers can influence this. “Farmers will need team in the Waikato. to assess for risk and Ravensdown says establish good manageBrocksopp understands ment practices. To do the issues facing farmthis, we need to adopt ers in the Waikato, a whole-farm approach having led DairyNZ’s when developing envienvironmental proronmental plans.” gramme there for four Brocksopp says farmyears. ers can often be over“Farmers will need whelmed by details and to get their heads Adrian Brocksopp fail to see the benefits around how the proposed changes to the regional plan environmental change can bring. “I love supporting farmers and will affect them, says Brocksopp. “In Waikato it’s not just mon- helping them through periods itoring nitrogen. We also need to of change. The benefits to farm-

ers, environmental and economic, can outweigh the costs of making changes. Once farmers understand this and can see the bigger picture the rest falls into place.” Mark Fitzpatrick, Ravensdown business manager, environmental, says Brocksopp’s appointment is part of an ongoing strategy to bolster the co-operative’s environmental consulting service throughout New Zealand. Brocksopp grew up on a dairy farm in Leicester, England. He came to New Zealand for the Kiwi way of life and now lives near Morrinsville with his wife Sarah and their boys Daniel (9) and Thomas (7). @dairy_news


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20 //  NEWS

Cheese, butter, milk powder booming PAM TIPA

CHEESE, BUTTER and Cheese manufacturing is set to continue growing, with butter and milk powder.

milk powder manufacturing has been picked in the top five of 200 New Zea-

land industries to perform well this year, according to global business intelligence company IBISWorld. The three categories are tipped to reach $17.1 billion in the 2017-18 year





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and China have grown strongly. “Butter has not had the strongest performance over the past five years but is expected to grow in the current year. Global butter production is also expected to grow strongly this year.” Recently Fonterra has increased its forecast milk prices so they obviously have a favourable outlook for milk prices in the current season, Johnson says. “That supports our strong forecast for the year. It is mainly driven by restabilising of the global dairy market.” If Russia were to lift its embargoes it would shake up the current stabilising of supply and demand and change export routes again, he says. “But I wouldn’t say either way whether that is likely to happen over the next year or two.”



0800 424 743

versus $16b in the previous year -- up 6.9%. The top five were picked by IBISWorld in terms of expected growth, by far the highest earner and having the third-highest predicted growth rate behind multi-unit apartment and townhouse construction (9.2% growth) and geothermal, wind and other electricity generation (8.6%). Samual Johnson, an Australian-based IBISWorld senior industry analyst, told Dairy News the recovery of global prices and increased output from farms are expected to contribute to growth. “Infant formulas have grown particularly strongly; it is a premium area and a high growth area. People have been investing in that and exports to SE Asia


THE AGRICULTURAL Leaders’ Health and Safety Action Group (ALHSAG) has appointed Tony Watson as its inaugural general manager. ALHSAG chair Justine Kidd says Watson brings strong ties to farmers and a deep understanding of the sector to his role as the inaugural general manager of ALHSAG. “Tony’s affinity with and understanding of the agricultural sector are of huge value in working to support the Tony Watson ongoing need for better health and safety in the agricultural sector,” Kidd says. He comes from a sheep and mixed cropping farm in Canterbury, studied farm management at Lincoln and since graduation has spent most of his career in the dairy industry. He has been hands-on in farming, worked for Dexcel (a DairyNZ predecessor) and worked for Westland Milk Products and most recently Danone Nutricia. “This breadth of experience aligns with the ALHSAG manager role,” says Kidd. Watson says he sees farmers looking after their people and themselves better. “I’ve seen things go wrong and learned things the hard way myself. Farmers learning from one another is really key, sharing practical ideas that work amongst themselves.”


WORLD  // 21

Fleckvieh fill the vats in Bavaria MARK DANIEL

SOUTHERN GERMAN dairying practice of keeping cows indoors 24/7 makes a convincing argument for getting cows out of winter cold -- or midsummer heat -- and explaining why more cow barns are springing up in the south of New Zealand. In July, a Power Farming Euro tour group popped down the road from the Deutz tractor factory in Lauingen to visit the Hermann family farm, 90 minutes north of Munich. Bavaria’s dairy farmers typically milk about 50 cows, so the Hermann operation, milking 250 cows on 150ha, was large by local standards. Alongside the dairy herd the farm carried the same number of young stock and followers, and crops maize, wheat, barley grass and sugar beet. Unfamiliar to the visiting Kiwis, the brown and white Fleckvieh cattle appeared in superb condition, spending their days in a purpose-built openspan shed 95m long x 40m wide x 14m high, built in 2011. First impressions of the shed being

over-engineered, with massive support beams, were quelled when the owner explained high snowfall is normal in winter; the building is designed to withstand a 30cm loading. The Fleckvieh cows, a dual-purpose breed not unlike Simmental, are largeframe cows. The herd averages 9500kg/ cow (about 790kgMS), yielding Euro 0.31/L based on butterfat of 4.1%. The milk is sent to a factory about 20km away. Cows are milked automatically by three Lely Astronaut robotic units, allowing staff to attend to the field work except for lifting sugar beet which is done by a contractor. Feeding was by a self-propelled diet feeder, the mix comprising maize silage, barley grass, meal and molasses for a targeted intake of 14-16kgDM/cow/day. Young stock were being raised in an equally impressive open-span building, built in 2016, divided into single calf rearing pens, before animals were

Cows spend all their time indoors in Bavaria. Inset: Basti Hermann.

grouped in larger pens in mobs of 15 to 20 cattle. Males were sold for beef at about 250kg, and females retained as dairy herd replacements, any excess being grown for about 15 months then sold for breeding. Renewable energy was high on the Hermann agenda, as on other farms.

Their buildings carry vast arrays of solar panels, the larger dairy building generating 460kWh, the smaller rearing shed 80kWh, with the output sold to the local supply company, paid for at a subsidised rate. Basti Hermann said the German farming model, supported by European Union subsidy, has a marked effect on the regional economy. Its mostly small

family farms would struggle to survive if they were not subsidised. The Kiwi visitors saw a quiet, calm and contented herd managed to high standards, resulting in production levels nearly twice the NZ average; the system could work in some of NZ’s colder climes. • Mark Daniel travelled to Germany as a guest of Power Farming Group.




By ‘swim’ we mean swim

MILKING IT... Not so fast ANOTHER REASON not to kill the goose that laid the golden egg: Stats NZ says we achieved a rare July trade surplus of $85 million this year, thanks to a recovery in dairy export prices. July months are typically deficits; this is the first July surplus since 2012 ($98m) and only the eleventh July surplus since 1960, says Stats NZ. And yet some want to reduce the number of cows and clip the wings of dairying.

Campaign money

Spoilt cows, costly milk

Goodbye to spillage

LABOUR’S PROPOSED water tax is causing jitters in the farming sector. Federated Farmers has already launched a water royalty campaign, seeking financial support. “We don’t agree with taxing water, particularly if it is just targeted at irrigators; we need financial support to gather evidence to show the full impacts of a proposed water royalty,” the Feds website says. It plans to ask an independent economist to evaluate the short, medium and long term effects of a tax on irrigation water supply in New Zealand -- how it will impact on urban communities in rural areas where irrigation plays a key role in maintaining productivity and providing jobs.

THEY’RE SUNG to while being milked, enjoy daily massages and are fed digestive biscuits. A 25-cow herd in Rutland Hills, UK are dubbed the luckiest cows in the world. They live on 48 acres of cow heaven, eating only the tenderest, tastiest organic grass available plus the odd organic carrot or digestive biscuit as a treat. Their extraordinary good fortune is all thanks to Nicola Pazdzierska (57) and Sanjay Tanna (52) who set up the not-forprofit Ahimsa Dairy Foundation (Ahimsa means ‘cruelty-free’ in Sanskrit) in 2011. And their milk doesn’t come cheap. At £4.50 a litre, it is also surely the most expensive -- nine times the cost of Sainsbury’s standard milk -- £2.60 a pint, for goodness’ sake.

SAY GOODBYE to spilt milk, as scientists offer dissolvable milk capsules you add to your tea or coffee just like sugar cubes. The capsules reduce the consumption of packaging material and are easier to use than conventional plastic containers, the researchers said. They essentially could be compared to sugar cubes filled with milk or condensed milk. “A crystalline crust forms a type of packaging around the capsules that easily dissolves in hot liquid,” says Martha Wellner, from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. Making the capsules is relatively simple. First a solution of milk and the desired sugar, or any other non-sweet material which gives the coating properties, is produced and placed in a mould. As the solution cools, the excess sugar moves to the edge of the liquid, forming crystals. The milk-sugar solution fills up the interior.

THE PLEDGE is simple: we are committed to New Zealand’s rivers being swimmable for our children and grandchildren. It has come from farming leaders and is a pledge to all New Zealanders. This is no ordinary vow; it has been made by industry heavyweights -- Fonterra chairman John Wilson, Federated Farmers president and dairy farmer Katie Milne and DairyNZ chairman Michael Spaans among others. They say as farming leaders they care deeply about our land, water and environment and the legacy we will leave for future generations. They agree many NZ rivers are not in the condition we all want them to be. “While there has been progress onfarm in the past 10 years, we know there is more to be done and that it must be done faster and together. “Today, we’re standing up and saying we haven’t always got this right. More work is required and we will play our part. “It is now time for us to lead and partner with all stakeholders to improve NZ’s precious natural environment. That is why we have all come together for the first time as farming leaders and made the following formal pledge.” It’s an ambitious goal because it’s the right thing to do – for all New Zealanders. There is no timeline to the commitment; each community will decide for themselves. The farming leaders are honest: the goal will be difficult to meet and they don’t have all the answers today on how it’s going to be achieved. “A number of rivers already meet this goal and some may not meet this commitment for a range of reasons beyond our control. What we do know is that some rivers will require new tools and science to make them clean enough for swimming.” But this is not a task just for the farming community; other sectors, including urban areas, also have a role to play if we are to achieve our goal of swimmable rivers. There is a huge amount of work going on already on farms up and down the country to improve water quality and these efforts will need to increase. The leaders say we must play our part to help create a better NZ. “We are doing this because we want our children and their children to be able to swim in the same rivers that we did as children. And by swim we mean swim. Today we are committing to lead as we start our journey towards our goal of swimmable rivers. This is simply the right thing to do.”

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OPINION  // 23

Keeping ‘natural capital’ intact BALA TIKKISETTY

ONE TEASPOON of soil contains more living organisms than there are people in the world. Without this biological diversity there would be no life on earth. In addition to providing habitat for billions of organisms, soil acts as a water filter and growing medium. It contributes to biodiversity, solid waste treatment, acts as a filter for wastewater and supports agriculture. Unlocking the secrets of this complex chemical, physical and biological powerhouse – a powerful source of ‘natural capital’ -- has had a huge impact on human life. The transformation of this type of natural capital into resources that people value and use is generally called ecosystem services. It is a concept gaining more attention as we see environmental pressure increasingly applied to the health of resources, such as the soil we once took for granted. Functional land management seeks to optimise the cropping and environmental returns from land. It focuses on soil functions related to agricultural land use: primary production, water purification and regulation, carbon cycling and storage, functional and intrinsic biodiversity and nutrient cycling.

Waikato Regional Council’s soil quality monitoring programme measures soil properties such as soil compaction, nutrient status, biological activity, soil carbon and organic matter at 150 sites. About 30 sites are sampled each year so it takes five years to get around all 150 sites. The sites covered include the major land uses and soil types within the region. The results show a variety of trends, ranging from issues such as compaction and excessive nutrients to an improvement in some indicators such as macroporosity (a measure of the proportion of large pores in the soil that provide the air supply to roots). The latter is most likely attributable to good land management practices by farmers. Building on that good work, some areas still need improvement. Good practices needed include optimum cultivation and avoiding overgrazing and heavy grazing under wet weather, both of which can damage the soil’s structure and lead to compaction. Others include carefully matching fertiliser applications to suit soil and crop requirements, practicing appropriate use of pesticides and other agrochemicals, managing pasture to maintain complete soil cover and careful application of farm

dairy effluent to avoid saturation and to optimise organic matter and nutrient status. Minimising humaninduced erosion and maintaining good soil quality are essential for

maintaining soil ecosystem services such as nutrient and water buffering, productive capacity, assimilating waste and minimising impacts of sediment and other contaminants on water

Soil is one of the most valuable assets that a farmer has.

bodies. Protecting sensitive areas on farms also benefits production. For exam-

ple, wetlands improve water quality, regulate flooding, and protect coasts and fish habitat.

• Bala Tikkisetty is a sustainable agriculture advisor at Waikato Regional Council.

Letter of the

WEEK 018



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Two Fonterra wins in global cheese contest TWO FONTERRA cheeses have won

silver awards at the international Cheese Awards held recently at Nantwich, UK. Among the most important events in the global cheese calendar, the awards attracted a record 5685 entries in categories that ranged from traditional farmhouse to speciality Scandinavian. Cheeses from the smallest boutiques to the world’s largest brands vied for top honours. NZ Milk Products Vintage Cheddar won second place in the Vintage Cheddar Cheese Class (over 18 months), open to non-UK creameries. This is made at Fonterra’s Lichfield, Waikato site and is matured for up to 24 months before release. NZMP Noble Cheddar won silver for Best in New Zealand Cheese Class. It is made at Fonterra’s Hautapu, Waikato site. Plant manager Hautapu Cheese,

Ross Burdett, and Fonterra process project manager and cheesemaker Iain O’Donnell from the Lichfield site, agree on the honour of having

Award winning cheese from Fonterra.

their work recognised on the world stage. Burdett says the team is proud to

receive the silver for Best in New Zealand Cheese award, an “acknowledgement of the hard work and care they take to make consistently great cheeses”.  O’Donnell says the Vintage Cheddar Cheese is one “we are really proud of and enjoy making. It is great to be recognised globally for it.” Fonterra dairy foods category director Casey Thomas says coming up against their European counterparts allows them to “receive independent affirmation that we produce some of the world’s best cheddar cheeses”. Established in 1897, the International Cheese Awards at Nantwich is the biggest cheese show in the world, attracting entries from 50 different countries, including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Visitors sample and buy the cheeses on display and watch cheese-making demonstrations and celebrity cooking shows.

Taylor to head F&G FISH & GAME has appointed “high quality applicants wanting Martin Taylor as its next chief to continue the fabulous work executive from early November, Bryce Johnson has done protectsucceeding the long-serving Bryce ing our environment and water quality”. Johnson. “That fight for Taylor has wide the environment experience in the isn’t over and there corporate sector, are huge challenges including as chief ahead, but with executive of the Aged Martin’s appointCare Association, ment, Fish & Game chairing the Welis well placed to lington Fish & Game meet them.” council and currently Martin Taylor Taylor says he is working for the Capital Coast District Health Board delighted with his new role and is “determined to make sure as a project manager. Fish & Game’s New Zealand NZ’s rivers, lakes and streams are council chair Lindsay Lyons says swimmable, fishable and safe to Taylor is the right person for the gather food from”. “I am also committed to demanding role – “highly qualified, an experienced leader and ensuring Kiwi families retain their access to the outdoors so politically astute”. “He’s also a mad keen angler our children can grow up enjoyand loves the outdoors and NZ’s ing our mountains, bush and wild places, so from our point of waterways.” Bryce Johnson will retire in view this is a perfect combination. We are delighted to have October after 37 years leading Fish & Game and its predeceshim on board.” Lyons says there was huge sor the Acclimatisation Societinterest in the role, with many ies’ national body.



Westland appoints finance chief WESTLAND MILK’S

new chief financial officer comes to the co-op with a track record in change management. Dorian Devers joined Westland last week from the Linde Group (formerly the BOC Group) where he was financial director Africa, UK and Ireland and group chief financial officer for subsidiary Afrox. Westland says Devers helped Afrox save NZ$48m, contributing to a 50% rise in its share

price in his first year. Westland chief executive Toni Brendish says she is “very excited” about Devers’ potential at Westland. Brendish, appointed chief last September, has worked to improve Westland’s efficiency and cut costs, improve the co-op’s financial reporting and strengthen its core nutritionals market. She also has a focus on partnerships with key commercial customers in priority, China espe-

cially. This has included strengthening the depth and experience of her management team. Devers is the third new senior manager she has appointed, joining a new general manager China (Gary Yu) and a new chief operations officer (Craig Betty). “Westland’s drive

to improve its financial performance, and seek constructive mutually beneficial financial, technical and innovative relationships with key customers will be well supported by Dorian’s experience,” Brendish says. “He has a proven record in leading transfor-

mational change in large and complex organisations to deliver sustainable benefits.” Devers is married to Stephanie, a New Zealander, and they have three daughters Charlotte, Isla and Matilda. He will be based at Westland’s Rolleston office.

Beat the seasons!

Steve Allen

Allen joins FMG board

Loafing barns …

TATUA DAIRY chairman Steve Allen has joined the

board of rural insurer FMG. Allen, Geoff Copstick and Murray Taggart were elected by FMG members at its annual meeting in Hanmer Springs this month. There were three vacancies on the board, caused by the retirement of former Fonterra deputy chairman Greg Gent and Graeme Milne, and a decision to add another member. Board chairman Tony Cleland, who also retired by rotation and was re-elected, says attracting the three new directors is “a significant endorsement of where we’re at as a business”. “Their inclusion will add to the diverse combination of agricultural knowledge and business acumen already within the board and position us well to support the mutual’s continued growth aspirations.” Increasing the board from seven to eight was done to recognise the number and calibre of candidates nominated, and because Marise James will retire next year after 16 years. “With three new additions, two talented rural governors in Greg Gent and Graeme Milne are retiring after serving FMG for the last 12 years,” says Cleland. “They’ve played an important part in helping reposition FMG and in the progress we’ve made over recent years. A special thanks to Greg for chairing the FMG board so ably for the last 10 years.”

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Prioritise waterway fencing FENCING WATERWAYS protects freshwater from nutrients, effluent and sediment by excluding stock and creating a buffer between water and the land. Fencing will help to maintain and improve water quality and create a habitat for birds and freshwater species. Fencing waterways is a priority under the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord. All stock must be excluded from all lakes and any permanently flowing rivers, streams, drains and springs, more than 1m wide and 30cm deep. Any significant wetlands, as identified in a regional plan or policy statement, must also have had all stock permanently excluded. Waterway fencing must be far enough back to allow for movement/ flooding of the waterway. Start by mapping your waterways and create a fencing plan; consider the overall layout of your farm; along with protecting waterways, new fencing can improve grazing management and stock control. Plan fence lines and crossing points; the area between the fence and waterway will slow runoff to ensure as much bacteria, phosphorus and sediment as possible is filtered out before entering the waterway. Choose your fence setback depending on how you are going to manage the area. There are four main ways to manage your riparian areas as out-

lined below. All have the benefit of stock exclusion and reducing phosphorous and sediment from entering waterways. Additional benefits and limitations for each option are listed below to help you decide on the fence setback that will best suit your needs. Grass filter strip between fence and waterway Additional benefits ■■ Low cost ■■ Small loss of grazing land Limitations ■■ Weed control required ■■ No shading of stream ■■ Minimal habitat for bird and aquatic life ■■ Minimal bank stabilisation without deeper rooted vegetation. Low planting between fence and waterway Additional benefits ■■ Stream bank stability ■■ Small loss of grazing land ■■ Can make use of sprays targeted to broadleaf species ■■ Helps control weed growth ■■ Shade and cover for fish and insect life. ■■ Limitations ■■ Weed control required ■■ Minimal habitat for birdlife Full planting between fence and waterway Additional benefits



Use fewer upright posts and less wire; this way less debris will catch on the fence. Do not use netting as it will trap debris. Put wires on the downstream back side of posts so that flood waters will cause the staples to pop and the wire drop rather than pull out the posts and strainers.


Use unbarbed staples so wires can pop off more easily.


Erect fences parallel with the way the stream floods so the fence does not collect debris.


Have fences further back where active erosion is occurring


Construct separate ‘blow-out’ sections across flood channels.

Planting along waterways is an attractive asset for any farm.

Reduced drain maintenance Attractive asset for your farm ■■ Provides shade and keeps water cool ■■ Increased habitat for birds.

■■ ■■

Limitations ■■ Higher cost ■■ Larger loss of grazing land ■■ Needs weed control for at least two to three years ■■ May require animal pest control. Extend fenced area to include seeps, wetlands, swamps and springs Additional benefits ■■ Reduces stock losses ■■ Provide habitat for bird life.

Needs stringent weed control Higher cost if planting required • Article sourced from DairyNZ. ■■

Limitations ■■ May result in loss of grazing land



Build an electric fence that can be dropped or removed to allow access, e.g. use pinlock insulators so the wires can easily be lowered for machinery to cross.


Position the fence so a long-reach digger can reach over the top.


For wide waterways, place a fence far enough back to allow a digger to work between the fence and the bank. This approach still allows for a wide grassy margin and you can plant low growing plants on the waterway margin if you wish.


Do not cut off gateways that give diggers access to neighbouring paddocks.



High yield Canadian cows milked three times daily STEPHEN COOKE


farmer Alex Huisman is no stranger to milking three times a day. However, he fine-tuned the process, adding a third milking for 84 high production cows from his herd of 150 head. Alex moved from Holland with his mother and father, Adrian and Bertha, at the age of 15 in 1994, and now manages the family farm, near Lethbridge in southern Alberta, Canada. He hosted an Alltech tour of Australian and New Zealand dairy farmers in May. Alex milks 145-150 cows, all housed due to winter temperatures that can drop to -35oC and colder. Milking high-producing cows three times a day has yieleded an extra 1000kg of milk – up to 11,400kg – over 305 milking days. Under the system, first milking begins at 3am, the high-production group is milked again at 10.30am and the final milking is at 4.30pm, with the low group milked first, followed by the high group. The herd was averaging 38kg of milk at 3.85% fat. Although Huisman said the format was working really well, he started milking the entire herd three times a day last

month because of heat stress. “The high group was too big so I have split the herd up evenly,” he said. “They are averaging 40.5kg at 3.75% fat. The drop in fat percentage was caused by heat stress.” Huisman’s father was dairying in Holland with his brother and father. There are many rules there, he said. He chose to move to southern Alberta because of the big open areas, the slightly lower cost of land there than in the provinces of Ontario and British Colombia, and advice that forage harvested in Alberta was of a higher quality. The warmer conditions in southern Alberta are better for irrigated pastures and cropping, whereas further north winter may persist for six months of the year. Huisman aims to be as self-sufficient as possible. On their 210ha farm, which is irrigated, they grow 22ha grass, 50ha alfalfa silage, and crop 66ha of canola for cash crop. They also grow 52ha of corn which they chop. They employ two fulltime and two part-time staff, enabling them to take on contract work, including field work and manure handling. For five years they worked to improve their infrastructure.

With cows housed all year, they run a total mixed ration system, feeding a mix of 500 grams of dry grass (grass hay), 2.8kg of alfalfa hay, 17.5kg of corn silage, 7kg of grass silage, 1kg of alfalfa baleage and 12kg of concentrate. “We add 10kg of water to get the concentrate to stick to the silage better.” It boils down to about 25kg of DM intake per cow per day. They purchased their own hammer mill early last year. “With a hammer mill you get better processing than rollers, which you have to adjust a lot depending on what barley and corn you get. We get a more consistent mix now.” All grain is purchased, selected by bushel weight and cleanliness. “We reject it if there are too many wild oats. Ergot has also been a problem lately in barley

and wheat. It’s horrible stuff and can cause pregnancy failure, depending on percentage.” The Huismans have improved animal and operator comfort by improving the dairy and cow barns. They initially milked 45 cows through a double-five parallel parlour but now have a double-12 parallel parlour, house their cows in a 152-freestall barn and a second barn with a special needs pen and dedicated areas for calvers and calves. “We used to have calves outside, but it could get to -30oC with wind chill. If a calf was born outside you’d better be there because it’s too cold for them.” An ABS mating system is used to select new genetics, with an emphasis on milk, fat and longevity. Sexed semen is used for heifers.

Alex Huisman and his father Adrian on their Alberta farm.

Their 21-day pregnancy rate (eligible cows divided by pregnancies) is 22-25%, well above the Alberta average of 15-16%. Heifers are first joined at 13-14 months. Pre-calving cows are brought to a calving barn three weeks before calving. They get a ration of straw (1.8kg), corn silage (15kg) and 5kg of close-up ration including Optigen. Alltech products Optigen, Yea-Sacc and Bioplex/Selplex are used for lactation cows. The Bioplex and Selplex products provide a 100% replace-

ment of all inorganic trace minerals in the diet. Yea-Sacc is a specifically selected live yeast strain, which Alltech says is proven to enhance digestibility and performance in dairy cows; Bioplex and Sel-Plex are organically bound trace minerals. Optigen (called Optisync in Australia) is a non-protein nitrogen (NPN) source that enables improved feed conversion through the provision of nitrogen for the rumen microbes. Optisync drip feeds nitro-

gen consistently over the whole day, which Alltech says helps better diet utilisation, rumen health and fermentation. Alex allows cows to lick their calves dry before removing them. Cows are then moved to the free stall barn. Calves are weaned off milk and onto water, home grown feed that Huisman grinds himself and a calf starter. He does not like feeding meal to calves. At 10 weeks, calves receive grain and meal, which he also prepares himself.

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Right plants, good planting techniques USING THE right plants and techniques will help maximise the success of riparian planting and ensure value for money by getting it right first time, says DairyNZ. Planting fenced riparian areas adds further benefit to the environment as plants function like a sieve, helping to filter out sediment and nutrients before they enter waterways. Stabilising riparian plants help

prevent land erosion and increase the habitat for native wildlife. Once you have decided on a fence setback, the next step is deciding what to plant, where and at what spacing. In the riparian margin between the waterway and fence there can be up to three zones of plant types. Planting the upper and lower banks will improve water quality more than

using a grass strip alone. Download your region’s riparian guide to view the table of riparian plants best suited to your region.  A grass strip at least 1m wide should be left between all fences and waterways to help filter sediment, phosphorus and faecal bacteria from runoff before it reaches the water. The grass strip will also prevent plants from tripping electric

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wires or being grazed if the lower banks will be planted. The upper bank zone is on higher ground but may still be partially flooded every couple of years. Use flaxes, grasses, shrubs or trees which provide shade and shelter. The lower bank zone is prone to flooding so plants need to be tolerant of waterlogging. Use plants such as sedges and rushes, which are well rooted and can survive many days under water. Effective planting technique 1. Remove grass and weeds. Four to six weeks before planting, spray 1m diameter circles with a glyphosate-based herbicide at the location each plant will be planted. 2. Dig a hole big enough to accommodate plant roots without them

being curled up or bent in the hole. On drier soils ensure the base of the stem is 1-2cm below the soil surface.

HELP THEM THRIVE KEEPING ON top of weeds and pests is crucial in the first five years for a healthy riparian area to become established. The most effective maintenance option is to combine the protective and active maintenance methods below. Protective maintenance Surround each plant with at least a 30-40cm diameter patch of biodegradable weed mat, mulch or wool carpet to suppress weed growth. Avoid using plain wood chips around the plant as these will strip all the nitrogen out of the soil causing the plant to yellow off and die. Active maintenance Stake each plant for easy location and brush cut, hand weed or carefully spray with a glyphosatebased herbicide twice a year. If spraying, follow product guidelines; desired plants are usually sensitive to herbicides so take care to protect against spray drift.

Mulch around plants to help keep soils damp, reduce weeds and provide nutrients. Good mulches include straw, stakeddown cardboard or wool.

3. Put a stake beside plants (unattached) so they can be easily seen when weeding and identified if they have died and need replacing.



Keeping cows away from wet paddocks wet, restrict the amount of time cows have access to the paddock to two four-hour periods per day3. DairyNZ research shows there will be a slight, temporary drop in production but this is inconsequential in comparison to the potential

warm, wet autumn has been followed by a wet winter and many farms are struggling to cope. I’ve spent much of the last couple of months on farms across New Zealand and I don’t think I’ve seen farms this wet before. Most farmers have done a great job reducing pasture damage on wet soils over winter by standing cows off paddocks for lengthy periods. However, cows are now calving and pugging has become a lot more difficult to avoid. There are a few tricks farmers in traditionally wet spring areas (e.g. Northland) have learnt that farmers in other areas may need to adopt this spring: 1. Avoid pugging at all costs. Research on pugging in Northland showed one severe pugging event on wet soil can reduce pasture production by about 40% for up to 18 months after the event. If 30% of a 100ha farm growing 15tDM/ha is pugged, causing pasture growth to fall by 40% 1. on that area, the potential loss of feed amounts to about 180 tonnes of DM – and an enormous cost of $54,000 in replacement feed (at $300/t).

2. Don’t be too preoccupied with achieving target residuals until paddocks dry out. The longterm damage done to the soil by pugging often outweighs the damage done to feed quality by leaving a little feed behind. 3. Feed the cows on the feed pad after milking in the morning before they go out to the paddock2.. Cows with a belly full of feed are less likely to spend a lot of time walking around the paddock pugging the soil than hungry cows. If you don’t have a feed pad consider feeding the cows from trailers parked in the race. 4. Stand the dry cows off the paddock on the feed pad for as long as possible each day and only put them on the pasture after they have been fed on the pad. Tired cows will tend to lie down rather than walk around a paddock. 5. If paddocks are very

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loss in pasture production due to pugging. 6. If possible, take cows out a different gate from the one they came in through. Many paddocks have gates at either end, and cows walking back over long pasture will do less damage than

cows walking over short, recently grazed pasture. If your farm tends to be wet, seriously consider building a feed pad/standoff facility. I don’t know of any farmers who have built feed pads and regret-

ted the decision; however, I know many farmers who sleep easy on rainy nights knowing their cows aren’t ruining their paddocks. 1 feed/seasonal-management/ managing-pugging-damage/

Dairy NZ Farm Fact 1-42 Wet weather strategies to minimise pasture and soil damage 3 Dairy NZ Farm Fact 1-9a. Standing cows off – how cows change grazing behaviour 2


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Stats show better calving pattern NEW HERD reproduction data released by LIC shows good news for the industry and areas of opportunity for the upcoming mating period. The data, from the 2016-17 season, is from almost 4000 herds with a detailed fertility focus report in Minda, representing about 30% of NZ herds. The statistics illustrate herd achievement compared to industry targets, which are the benchmarks set by the industry to help farmers measure their animals’ reproductive performance and identify areas for improvement. Malcolm Ellis, LIC general manager NZ markets, says the highlight of the national statistics is a marked improvement in calving pattern, with more farmers achieving the target of having 60% of the herd calved within three weeks.

Last season, 67% of herds hit that target, up from 52% in 2014. This is now the third consecutive year calving patterns have improved, “a great achievement that can deliver big benefits to a farm’s bottom line”. “It should also provide a solid base to make further improvements across the board this coming mating season. “A tighter front end calving pattern allows more cows to recover from calving and start cycling before mating starts, giving them a higher chance of conceiving early in the mating period. This means more cows are in-calf earlier and then more days in milk before Christmas.” Ellis says the calving pattern also helps drive the most important measure, the six week in-calf rate, with the target to get 78% of the herd in-calf

in the first six weeks of mating. The latest stats show a modest drop in the 6-week in-calf rate, with the national average now at 66%, down 0.9% on the previous year. The chief contributor to the drop in 6-week in-calf rate was a decline in submission rate – the percentage of cows that received at least one AB insemination or natural mating during the first 3 weeks of mating. The national average herd submission rate declined by 2.1% and the heifers were slightly harder hit with a 2.3% decline on last year. This is understandable given the season, Ellis says. “The low dairy payout and a challenging spring in many regions would have played a part in some of these key performance indicators dropping slightly but farmers

Malcolm Ellis

can flip this into an opportunity this coming mating period.” Ellis cautioned farmers about shortening mating length solely to tighten calving pattern, as that can lead to more empties. “In the lead up to this year’s mating season the most important thing farmers can do is make sure their cows have a good body condition score and they are nailing their heat detection.” Ellis emphasised a con-

There has been a marked improvement in calving patterns, says LIC.

centrated calving pattern next season starts with a good mating management programme this season. “Many will identify

the ‘start of the season’ as June 1, others the start of calving as ‘when it all gets underway’ but I have no doubt that the for-

tunes and success of next season start with mating. Planning, attention to detail and heat detection are key.”

BEEF-DAIRY COWS FOR EXPORTS LIC AND First Light have joined forces

to produce export-quality grass-fed Wagyu beef. LIC is using artificial breeding technology to cross dairy cows with Wagyu sires to produce export-quality stock for First Light, the commercial producer of grass-fed Wagyu beef. First Light chief executive Gerard Hickey says there is “global demand for the product, fueled by the growing grassfed movement”. “The dairy-Wagyu cross creates a desirable product for export, with more of the marbling for which Wagyu beef is renowned. “Our experience has shown dairy

breeds, including the Kiwicross cow, produce a high quality marbled beef when mated with First Light Wagyu sires.” Grass-fed beef prices are at the top end of beef prices globally, Hickey says. “Consumers are willing to pay more for a verified product with the superior eating characteristics, just as they are willing to pay more for organic and grainfed products.” An increasing focus on provenance and the traceability of food items satisfies consumer demand for a verified supply chain, the companies say. LIC’s gene technology verifies the parentage of calves, “providing consumers with transparency from pasture to plate,”

says Richard Spelman, LIC biological systems general manager. “It gives farmers and companies confidence that the product they are marketing and selling is what they say it is.” LIC’s aim is to generate alternative revenue streams for its farmers and provide an alternative to bobby calves, Spelman says. “In this situation non-replacement calves become a value product for farmers, generating income diversification from calf sales in early spring.” Waikato farmer Sandra Kraakman, who supplied 63 calves this autumn, says the programme has given her peace of mind.

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Heat detection eases mating season stress LIC AUTOMATION says its product

Protrack EZ Heat can reduce the stress of mating. “Identifying heats and administering mating plans is a full-time job. Also, staff must be experienced and motivated for heat detection so that the incalf rate of the herd is fully maximised,” the company says. “By integrating EZ Heat into your existing farming system you are set to improve the reproductive performance of your herd, increase accuracy and simplify your farm management during the busy mating period.” With EZ Heat, the camera automatically identifies activated (missing and not activated) heat patches and communicates directly with the Protrack draft gate to draft out cows with activated or missing heat patches. After each milking these animals will be waiting to have their heat confirmed and their mating plan administered.

LIC Automation says this reduces the hassle of heat detection by: ■■ Automatically identifying standing heats, as indicated by an activated heat patch. This takes the pressure off farm workers by removing the need to view cows, and is likely to make heat detection more accurate. ■■ Automatically drafting cows with an activated or missing heat patch, so that the right animals are ready for AI at the end of milking. So staff are free to focus on the business of milking. ■■ Monitoring animals in your mating group only – meaning no time or effort is lost on cows you don’t wish to mate. EZ Heat also enhances mating management by: ■■ Capturing pre-mating heats automatically. This will allow easy identification of non-cyclers, so that

LIC Automation says EZ Heat will lift the reproductive performance of your herd.



timely action can be taken, increasing their chances of cycling activity and their opportunity for AB mating. Providing a simple set of reports, giving farmers the power to make better, more immediate decisions when it matters most. Providing the opportunity to extend AB (due to mating being easier). There is also the potential to eliminate use of live bulls. Extending AB and reducing the use of bulls allows farmers to

take advantage of short gestation semen, to tighten up the calving spread. LIC Automation says farmers Joe and Suz Wyborn, Geraldine, use EZ Heat and are satisfied with it. “The problem with identifying standing heats is being able to spot them, in the paddock or in the shed,” says Wyborn. “It takes time and effort and, if you miss a cycle, there’s the downstream cost of later calving and lost production. “Before we bought Protrack I’d

heard farmers saying they couldn’t farm without it. I wondered how they could be so reliant on a piece of technology; now I get it. I wouldn’t farm without it. “I’ve had the camera for two mating seasons and it’s doing everything I thought it would. “EZ Heat and heat patches have paid for themselves within a year from the savings in bulls (we used to carry 28, now it’s only 12) and savings in labour.” The Wyborns do nine weeks of AB.



Vets see success in CIDR treatments Despite a tough dairy mating season nationwide last spring, vets are reporting that farmers who used CIDR Cattle Inserts to get cows cycling have enjoyed more calves on the ground earlier this spring. North Canterbury veterinarian Rob Brunning believes that, after a prolonged campaign informing farmers about the value of improved six week in-calf rates, the message is starting to hit home, particularly now the option of induction at the end of calving season no longer exists. He had one client who aimed to “reset the clock” on their dairy herd after the six week in-calf rate had slipped from the mid -70s to 64%, and elected to use CIDRs last season to do that. They targeted younger cows that had not cycled before the planned start of mating and inserted the CIDRs 10 days before the planned start of mating, rather than waiting until later in the mating period.


The client enjoyed a strong response, helping to lift the six week in-calf rate back up to a respectable 74%, and had almost 50% of the treated cows conceive on their first cycle post-treatment.

“For them it had really been a case of trying to get the herd cycling earlier with intervention, and resetting things for the following season,” he says. Rob’s colleague at North Canterbury Vets Trish McIntosh said CIDRs prove a far more effective treatment for noncycling cows than putting “teaser” bulls out at mating time.

“The bull is basically just a four legged heat detector, he does not bring cows into oestrus just by being there. CIDRs are proven, with the hormones needed to achieve that, and the trials have been done with the results there to see.” Up in the North Island Richard Tiddy, veterinarian for the large Trinity Lands group, used CIDRs to help lift the reproductive performance of 15,000 cows over 21 herds, on farms of varied geography, with a variety of management structures. Between 30-50% of cows in every herd ended up with a CIDR. “We felt if we were going to commit to getting cows cycling earlier there was no half way to it, it had to be 100% commitment.” The immediate outcome using CIDRs was to lift the three-week average submission rate from 83% to 91%.

Most satisfying for Richard was the increase in the average 6 week in calf rate. “That lifted from an average across the group of 67%, to 70%. Other properties actually dropped 2-3%, so we increased ours against a headwind from a tough spring.” Down south at the Veterinary Centre Oamaru, vet Andrew Muir also enjoyed a good outcome using CIDRs in Mark Hodder’s herd near Waimate. “We opted to treat the early calving (45 day plus) non-cyclers first at the planned start of mating, and then 10 days later we administered them to those cows that had not cycled and were 40 days post calving.” Mark was encouraged by the outcome from the CIDR programme, achieving a 50% conception rate in the first mating. “That was almost as good as what we managed with the naturally mated cows.” Overall the herd improved its six week in-calf rate to 71% against a district average of 63%. Andrew Muir says Mark’s decision to put time and effort into his reproductive performance made good economic sense, with a goal to tighten up the calving pattern and to get more days in milk. “CIDRS are definitely an important tool to use, and really the only one in the tool box if you get to the start of mating and submission rates are not on target.”

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Does OAD lift productivity? IN THEIR quest to

increase six-week in-calf rates, a growing number of farmers are looking at once-a-day (OAD) milking as a way to improve herd reproductive performance. How effective is this strategy? The success of taking this approach depends on how long cows are milked OAD before mating. It’s important to note that the benefits of whole-season

When considering strategic or short-term OAD milking, farmers would be wise to carry out an assessment of herd reproduction, such as a Fertility Focus Report, to determine areas for improvement and to evaluate potential solutions. So far, there’s been no research to show exactly when a switch to OAD should occur before mating to have a positive

“Over time this can lead to more compact calving patterns with an earlier mean calving date. (or full lactation) OAD on herd reproduction don’t necessarily translate to the use of shortterm OAD milking around mating. Whole-season OAD offers benefits primarily because cows milked OAD from calving have a better energy status throughout early lactation. They achieve a greater body condition score (BCS) from about weeks five to six post-calving compared with cows milked twice a day (TAD). These effects result in cows cycling earlier (i.e. reduced postpartum anoestrus interval), a greater percentage of cows cycling before the planned start of mating, or fewer hormonal interventions (e.g. CIDRs). Ultimately, more cows can be submitted for mating earlier in the breeding period, which can result in a greater number getting pregnant earlier. Over time, this can lead to a more compact calving pattern with an earlier mean calving date. What about short-term OAD milking?

effect. Research to date tells us that milking cows OAD for up to six weeks following calving before switching to TAD is not long enough to improve reproduction in cows that calved at target BCS. However, in a DairyNZ trial, cows milked OAD for 10 weeks post-calving started cycling seven days earlier and required fewer CIDRs than those milked TAD. Still, it remains unclear whether shorter periods of OAD can improve reproduction when cows calve below target BCS or are underfed, resulting in poor condition during early lactation. It’s likely the switch to OAD needs to occur at least one month before mating to improve reproduction, and doing this from calving will achieve better results. However, milking OAD for longer periods (three weeks or more) results in sustained milk production losses. Every farm is unique, and you need to weigh up the cost of lost milk revenue against the benefits (improved BCS

and reproduction, and less pressure on staff and more time available for other tasks) before using this strategy. • This article was originally published in Inside Dairy August 2017.

More farmers are looking at once-a-day milking to lift herd reproductivity.

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Sooner in-calf makes for good calving pattern GETTING COWS in-

calf quickly is the key to achieving a good calving pattern, says DairyNZ. Heat detection, premating heats and bull management are key ingredients for a successful mating. Getting these right will benefit the farm’s submission rate and six-week in-calf rate. The easiest way to spot cycling cows is to do premating heat detection. Use tail paint to pick out cycling cows. Use one colour tail paint to start, then a second colour as cows cycle and lose their tail paint. Within two weeks about half the cycling cows will have been identified. At three weeks, cows with the original colour are the noncyclers. Calculate the herd’s pre-mating cycling rate using the DairyNZ InCalf book for the percentage of cows showing signs of heat before mating begins. If cycling is less than 75% by 10 days before the planned start of mating, heat detection has not been fully effective and/ or there are too many non-cyclers. At that stage it is time to seek advice and consider which options are available to improve heat detection during AB (artificial breeding) and treat non-cycling cows. The best heat detection starts with careful planning, good observation and the effective use

of detection aids. Being able to interpret cow behaviour and other signs is critical, along with good record keeping and training for those doing

broken tail paint during milking. Re-checking tail paint for rub marks immediately before each cow’s insemination will avoid

The best heat detection starts with careful planning, good observation and the effective use of detection aids. heat detection. Start by reviewing the farm’s heat detection skills: does everyone know what to look for when detecting cows on heat? Then decide which combination of aids the farm will use (tail paint, heat mount detectors, activity meters and heat synchronisation). Tail paint is an inexpensive and effective way to detect cows on heat. Apply it to all cows just before the start of mating. Touch it up at least weekly and check for cows with rubbed or

inseminating cows not on heat. To help identify cows not yet inseminated or those only showing weak signs of heat, reapply a different coloured tail paint to recently inseminated cows once other cows no longer try to mount them. Heat mount detectors can be particularly effective on farms with less skilled staff checking cows on heat and when used with paddock checks for heat. There are two types of heat mount detectors:

Cow on heat 1. She is standing to be mounted by other cows 2. Tail paint is removed 3. Heat mount detector is triggered 4. She attempts to mount other cows 5. Tail paint is rubbed but not removed 6. She is restless or bellowing 7. She has poor milk letdown 8. You see mucus around the vulva 9. You see mud marks on the flanks 10. The heat mount detector is lost.

Pre-mating heat detection is the easiest way to spot recycling cows.

pressure-activated tubes or scratch-off patches. Applied to the cow’s backbone, the detectors will become brightly coloured and easily recognised. Again, heat mount detectors should be

applied just before mating starts then monitored for activation and removed at insemination. Until the end of the AB period, the detector should be replaced after insemination when the cow is no longer

being mounted. Regularly replace any heat mount detectors if damaged or coming loose. Good bull management ensures they are well adjusted to their environment before mating. Move bulls to the farm two to

three months before they are required for work. Buy bulls from the same mob and split them into two teams to rotate them (half resting, half working) to reduce fighting. @dairy_news


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Take all the steps to lift herd performance INCALF PROMOTES

a ‘continuous improvement process’, challenging farmers with their advisers to take a systematic approach towards a sustainable improvement

in reproductive performance. InCalf is not a ‘quick fix’ or ‘silver bullet’. To get the most from InCalf you’ll need to be proactive and committed to solv-

ing the underlying cause of reproductive problems, not just the symptoms. What’s been missing is Step 1: Assess current herd reproductive performance. Without good

measures and achieveable targets, farmers and their advisers struggle to know where they are starting from. Without Step 1 the farmer cannot do Step

2: Identify scope for improvement and the associated benefits, which indicates improvements possible and whether these are profitable to pursue. By ignoring Step 1 and Step 2 the farmer, with his/her advisers, jumps straight to Step 3: Consider options for change and select the best options; these may or may not be the best options for this herd. Choosing options leads to Step 4: Implement selected options. However, the exercise is pointless if we do not learn



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COWS WILL start to cycle about six weeks after

calving when they should show the typical heat signs. The main ones are mounting other cows and standing to be mounted themselves, roaring and walking around a lot. If you want to control this activity rather then your cows, you can synchronise their oestrus behaviour. This is done by giving the cows a hormone in a plastic intra-vaginal device with wings that opens out after insertion in the vagina. The device releases progesterone which tells the cow she’s pregnant so stops all cycling. The vet may also give her extra hormone to stimulate ovulation. After about 7-11 days these devices are removed and after a few days the cows will start cycling together. The vet must do all this work. This has effectively synchronised the treated animals to be mated in a group and to calve in a group. This is a great idea but before you tackle it make sure of a few things: ■■ Realise the cost of veterinary treatment and visits ■■ If you are using bulls, have enough of them to do all the mating ■■ If you are going to use AB, you should have warned the technician that you’ll need extra supplies over a few days. ■■ Make sure you have good facilities for stock handling and clean areas for the technician’s gear. ■■ When it comes to calving, make sure you can cope with the extra work and that you have a bulk of feed saved up for the cows. • This article first appeared in



CATTLE WITH horns can hurt people and other animals, sometimes seriously. Farmers try to protect animals and people by preventing horn growth by removing the horn buds when the calf is one to six weeks old. According to DairyNZ, it’s important to use pain relief as disbudding and dehorning can be painful. Early disbudding is better for both the calf and the operator. It is best to remove horn buds before six weeks of age, when the horns are still small and have not yet attached to the skull. Most farmers wait until the calf is at least a week old to disbud, when calves are usually robust, have passed the greatest risk period for scours and the horn bud is easily felt. To administer local anaesthetic and apply the hot iron, calves will need to be restrained to disbud safely and accurately. This may be in a purposedesigned disbudding crate or in a head bail. Another option for restraint is sedation, which can only be done by a vet. Sedation results in low stress disbudding for calves and handlers,

and is ideal when other options for restraint are inadequate. There are many benefits of using pain relief, including: ■■ less pain and stress for the calf ■■ reduced growth check ■■ reach weaning weight sooner ■■ faster recovery ■■ the calf is easier to handle during disbudding. As a minimum, local anaesthetic should be used in disbudding, which numbs the horn bud for several hours. Using an anti-inflammatory also will provide longer term pain relief for the calf. All methods of disbudding require pain relief.

Hot iron cautery is the most effective method used to disbud calves and is used by 97% of farmers. Calves should be disbudded by hot iron between one and six weeks old. Caustic paste is not recommended as it can spread into the eyes or onto other calves, causing painful burns. Scoop/amputation should not be used as it leaves a large open wound with risk of bleeding, infection and disease. Dehorning of older animals should be avoided by disbudding them as young calves. However, if animals are purchased with horns or if a horn re-grows and dehorning is required, pain relief should be used and in fact

must be used on animals over nine months old. Tipping (removal of the insensitive sharp end of the horn) is not dehorning. However, the length of the insensitive tip is variable and it isn’t obvious. There is risk of accidentally cutting through and exposing the living tissue. If this happens you have dehorned the animal, and if you haven’t used pain relief then you will be breaching welfare minimum standards. Animals can only be tipped once, as after the first tipping the sensitive tissue of the horn is usually very close to the end of the horn. Tipping also does little to reduce the disadvantages.



PROVIDING PAIN relief should only add a few minutes to the disbudding process. Local anaesthetic takes three minutes to numb the horn bud. Administer the local to the group of calves one by one, and by the time the last calf is injected the first calf’s horn buds will be numb and ready to be disbudded. If two people are doing the disbudding, one person can administer the local while the other starts disbudding. Many farmers get someone else to disbud their calves for them. There are many benefits to using a contractor: ■■ you can get on with other work while the disbudding takes place

AFTER DISBUDDING the wound must be kept dry for 24 hours and calves will need to be housed if rain is expected. Check the calves regularly, at least daily, for signs of infection or bleeding. If calves were sedated for disbudding they should be left sitting upright after the procedure so that they can burp and to allow the saliva to run out of the mouth until normal swallowing returns. Wait until the calves are up and alert before feeding, which can take about three hours. If any calves are slow to recover to full consciousness, contact your vet. Using polled bulls, where available, will reduce the number of animals that need to be disbudded. Polled beef bulls are readily available. It is difficult to achieve widespread polling in a dairy herd without compromising breeding for other production or health traits, however polled genetics are becoming more available. Talk to your genetics supplier about using polled genetics across some of your herd.


they can be scheduled to ensure all calves are done in the optimum window


they have good, well maintained equipment and lots of practice


they can usually do other tasks at the same time, such as DNA sampling or removing extra teats.​


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Lepto vaccine not the only safeguard Nita Harding

Early results from a Massey University study show animal vaccinations are effective in preventing leptospirosis shedding in NZ dairy cattle, reducing exposure to humans. But the results also reinforce the importance of using other prevention measures, explains DairyNZ veterinarian Nita Harding.


MASSEY UNIVERSITY last year inves-

tigated the use and effectiveness of lepto vaccines in New Zealand dairy herds, testing 20 cows in each of 200 herds across the country. In 147 herds none of the cows tested were shedding lepto in their urine; in the remaining 53 herds at least one cow tested was shedding; and in 10 herds between two

risk to human health also requires other precautions (see below) which are especially important in light of Tarassovi’s growing prevalence. Recommended precautions for dairy farmers 1. Vaccinate your animals: seek vet advice to ensure the timing of vaccination is correct for each class of stock. 2. Control rodents and wildlife: seek advice on

Cattle can be infected by up to six lepto strains, but the two most common in NZ are Hardjobovis and Pomona.


Trials show that Multimin® + Cu supports and improves the health of calves during stressful times, from birth through to weaning. Injectable combination of copper, selenium, zinc and manganese. Aids in the prevention of scours and pneumonia.1 Optimises immune response.2,3

Improved growth rates.4


ACVM No. A9374. 1. Teixeira et al, (2014), Effect of an injectable trace mineral supplement containing selenium, copper, zinc, and manganese on immunity, health, and growth of dairy calves. JDS 97, 4216–26. doi:10.3168/jds.2013-7625. 2. Arthington J, Havenga L (2012) Effect of injectable trace minerals on the humoral immune response to multivalent vaccine administration in beef calves. Journal of Animal Science 90, 1966–1971. 3. Arthington J, et al, (2014), Effects of trace mineral injections on measures of performance and trace mineral status of pre- and postweaned beef calves. Journal of Animal Science 92, 2630–2640. doi:10.2527/jas2013-7164. 4. Virbac data on file.

and six cows were shedding. Which strains are causing problems? Cattle can be infected by up to six lepto strains, but the two most common in NZ are Hardjobovis and Pomona. These strains are included in the vaccines used for controlling lepto in dairy herds. Neither strain was significantly associated with shedding, which tells us vaccination against these strains is working. Two strains of lepto that aren’t included in the vaccines are Ballum and Tarassovi. And you guessed it, evidence of these strains was found in the cows tested (3.4% and 17.1% respectively.) We know Ballum is not associated with urine shedding but Tarassovi is. That indicates an increasing number of lepto cases in people working on dairy farms are probably due to the Tarassovi strain.  Tarassovi isn’t covered by the current vaccines because it wasn’t a common problem when the vaccines were first developed at least 30 years ago. Pharmaceutical companies are looking at developing a vaccine for Tarassovi, but this will take some years. The study results are now being further analysed. In the meantime, we can confirm that vaccination does prevent cattle shedding the strains of lepto included in the vaccines. But minimising

baiting and trapping, and vermin-proofing buildings and feed stores. 3. Minimise contact with animal urine through: ■■ personal hygiene – hand washing, no smoking/eating/drinking in the shed ■■ personal protective equipment (PPE) – aprons, gloves, boots ■■ keeping wounds covered ■■ being aware of other risk activities onfarm, such as effluent spraying, assisting with calving, home-killing and hunting. 4. Be aware: remember that people can be exposed to lepto onfarm even when they’re not working, e.g. kids playing in puddles. 5. If you have flu-like symptoms, seek medical help early and mention lepto to your doctor. Note: research has shown that shortening tails does not reduce the transmission of lepto, so it is recommended that all farmers follow these precautions above. This research was overseen by the Farmer Leptospirosis Action Group (FLAG), which includes representatives from DairyNZ, Massey University, the NZ Veterinary Association and Rural Women NZ. Funding was provided by the Government and AgMardt, industry and stakeholder groups. • This article was originally published in Inside Dairy August 2017.



Time to wise up on ATVs MARK DANIEL

AT A recent product launch in Queensland, ATV manufacturer Yamaha came straight out with it: safety first, product second. Promoting safe use of ATV and SSV machines, Yamaha endorsed the 5-star safety guide, an initiative by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) to keep riders safe. The guide centres on choosing the correct vehicle for the job, rider protection, getting

trained, riding safely and understanding manufacturers’ recommendations for use. Mark Collins of FCAI said 300,000 ATVs are in use in Australia and 15 riders die annually. Detailed studies show that only 20% of riders wear helmets, 20% of deaths are children under 16 riding full size machines, 10% are passengers riding on single-seat machines, 10% are drunk or drugged and, most alarming, only about 10% of riders are formally trained. Coroner hearings in

Safety helmets can reduce ATV fatalities. Inset: Shark helmet.

MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN THE UK summer can bring out the best or the worst in many people. Thankfully, prison officer Andy Maxfield falls into the former category, having recently attempting to set a new Guinness World Record, in the vein of Forrest Gump, by driving a lawn tractor the length of Britain. From John O’Groats in the far north to Land’s End in the southwest, the trek covered 1408km, completed by Maxfield as the sole driver in five days, eight hours and 45 minutes, raising at least Pounds 5000. Star of the show was an unmodified John Deere X750 lawn tractor, which set out to complete the

aptly named Driving the Distance for Dementia Challenge that raised awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Society. He was supported by daughters Kathryn and Kaitlin who looked at the overall logistics, and support vehicle drivers from John Deere, Joanne Gregory and Becca Watson. The trip passed without a hitch other than a few detours. The X750 never missed a beat, nor did it require any spare parts taken along for the ride. The same can’t be said for the atypical British summer that sent down rain described as heavy bordering on torrential.

Australia had looked at several fatalities and had not recommended the use of crush protection devices as favoured by Worksafe Victoria; the coroners said more factual evidence was needed on their efficacy. They said wearing an approved safety helmet would have reduced the fatalities investigated by up to 42%. Alex Picard, of Shark Helmets, discussed rider resistance to the wearing of helmets: too hot, too heavy, difficult to buckle with gloved hands, and making it difficult to hear livestock or colleagues when herding. Releasing details of a new helmet, a world-first in its design specifically for farm use, Shark says its ATV helmet addresses these issues. The lightweight composite shell meets all ECE 22-05 and

DOT certifications for off- and on-road use, and weighs only 1200 grams. Its construction comprises four foam densities for maximum shock absorption, and it has two large adjustable vents in the upper surface for cooling. On the sides are hearing pods with apertures that allow the wearer to hear ambient noise, and a recess at the rear accommodates communications gear. An easy quick-release sliding buckle system has none of the problems of the old-style double D ring design, and a removable lining makes cleaning easy. There are kits for dust, insect and noise control. Riders were extremely positive about the helmets – cool and comfortable on a challenging off-road ride in typical 25oC temperatures.

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Wraps bales from the inside out HARVESTING SPECIALIST Claas has

developed a new internal wrapping system for its Rollant 400 Uniwrap balers that will slash processing time and film costs.

Claas Rollant 400 Uniwrap baler.

The new process allows 1.2m wide x 1.251.35m diameter round bales to be wrapped inside the chamber with film instead of net wrap. In operation, once the bale has reached

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the desired size it is automatically wrapped in up to eight layers of film which overlaps the edge of the bale by up to 10cm. The overlap removes the need to apply six layers of film on the wrapping table, significantly reducing the amount of film required to produce an airtight seal. Claas Coatex film (17 microns thick in a 1.4m wide x 2000m long roll) is ideal for use with Rollant 400 Uniwrap balers. The number of layers applied in the chamber and the extent of film stretching can be adjusted ‘on the go’ from the tractor cab. In use, operators can change from net to film wrapping in a few minutes thanks to a new roll ramp fitted as standard at the side of the machine. The foldable ramp allows the film rolls, which weigh up to 50kg each, to be easily loaded into the wrapper. A notable advantage of the system is the removal of the laborious task of separating netting and film once the bale is opened, resulting in easier handling and disposal of the bale wrap. The new Rollant 400 Uniwrap baler/wrapper with variable film and net

wrapping will be available with 2018-delivery machines. Also available for the new season will be an optional feed rake system on the Claas Rollant 620 round baler. Said to be ideal for smaller farms harvesting hay or straw on difficult, uneven or sloping terrain, the addition of the rake will increase the baler’s versatility and help to improve forage quality by continuously pulling crop off the rear of the pick-up and feeding it into the bale chamber. The rake treats the crop gently without the need for a cutting system, said to significantly reduce dust and help produce top-quality feed such as that required by horses. The Rollant 620 has a pick-up width of 1.85m and a bale chamber of 1.5m diameter. Its slimline drawbar allows a clear view of the pick-up and enables the driver to monitor the crop flow. The new Rollant 620 model is equipped with the Claas Operator terminal which allows the operator to monitor key machine parameters such as baling pressure, wrapping or tying, bale count and the position of the tailgate and the ramp.


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Mixing it with the big boys MARK DANIEL

NEW FROM Irish manu-

facturer Keenan is a selfpropelled diet feeder/ mixer built with its Italian partner Storti. The collaboration sees the Italian specialist build the chassis, running gear and loading arm, and the boys from Ireland dropping a 16 or 20m3 MechFiber mixer tub (as used in its trailed range) onto the rear. Power comes from a 4-cylinder, 4.5L FPT engine producing 170hp using SCR to deliver Stage

IV emissions compliance. It is mated to Storti’s own design mechanical transmission, said to be up to 25% more fuel efficient than hydrostatic drivelines. The system has an extended service interval of up to 1000 hours. Hydro-pneumatic suspension is fitted to the front axle for a smoother ride, machines of all specs get stability control, and Plus versions can travel at 40km/h. At the front end, the integrated loading arm can reach to 4.5m, carries a cutting drum fitted with 84 blades and is controlled via a proportional

joystick by the operator. Depending on the material being loaded, the drum rotates counterclockwise for the likes of maize or cereal silage, or clockwise for longer crops such as grass silage or hay. The latter function is said to eliminate blockages in the mouth of the crop conveyor. In either case, the firm closed finish at the clamp face is said to help reduce secondary fermentation and eliminate wastage. Chopped material is fed by the central conveyor over the full length of the mixing tub. The manufacturers claim that

RELIEF FOR TRADERS LIGHT IS showing amid the gloom of the challenging world market for tractors and farm machinery. Half-yearly results reported by AGCO, Kuhn and Deutz AG show some relief. AGCO had net sales of US$3.8 billion for the first half of 2017, an increase of 6.7% over 2016, and year-end sales figures are expected to hit US$8b. The company says higher demand and larger margins in Europe and the Middle East led the charge, and it appeared the dairy and livestock sectors were offsetting lower demand from arable.

Likewise, The Kuhn Group reported a 6% increase on 2016 sales, at Swiss francs 592 million, again reporting increased confidence in the Western Europe region with rising dairy and stable meat prices setting the scene. Increases are foreseen in these sectors for the second half of the year, but the arable sector is likely to remain volatile. Engine builders Deutz AG saw their revenue rise by 14% to Euro 734.5 million for the half year, on sales of 79,600 engines, an increase in numbers of 14.2% over 2016. – Mark Daniel

Keenan’s self-propelled diet feeder/mixer.

as the material is loose when it enters the tub it is easy to mix, resulting in time and fuel savings over bulk loaded commodities. Loading, mixing and feeding a mob of 80 cows is said to take only about 18 minutes.

Like existing Keenan trailed feeders, a heavyduty oil immersed chain at the rear drives a sixpaddle mixer system with fixed knives and a fulllength discharge auger, and delivery to either side.

A centrally located greasing bank should help simplify daily maintenance. Though the operator cab can’t be described as luxurious, it is like that of a telehandler – functional and offering good forward visibility.

All mixer functions are controlled by the Intouch box, including mixing and weighing, with the latter being calculated by a NIR sensor mounted at the loading drum. @dairy_news

Multi Height Service Platform

P&Pd consulted with users (dairy farmers) who trialled the platform. We combined our technical ability and factory load testing along with their suggestions to produce this product. The platforms features are: ❱❱ Five level options from folded (220mm) to full height (850mm) ❱❱ A strong, grippy self draining deck

17NH105m - Imported by C B Norwood Distributors Ltd

The P&Pd Multi-Height Service Platform is a height adjustable, brake-wheeled work platform that allows an operator (vet, AB technician, milker...) to work safely with an animal, elevated to its height, from the milking shed pit floor.”




+ GST + Freight

❱❱ A large brake pedal which can intermittently or permanently disengage the brakes ❱❱ Positive engagement brakes that cannot slip ❱❱ Large ground wheels for easy rolling ❱❱ A large footprint chassis for stability, combined with closed-section, thick wall aluminium beams used in the side rails and scissor beams that give excllent load strength and rigidity ❱❱ Components, materials and coatings that are durable and of high quality

For more information contact Kevin at or ph 027-573 0566. Visit our site at for more detailed informaton about the Multi-Height Service Platform.

Order your new T5 tractor by 31st October for delivery in 2017 and join the T5 movement!



12 month manufacturer’s warranty and 48 months Service Plus

Offer valid on all T5 utility series tractors signed up before 31st October or while stocks last. Finance rate is based on 40% deposit, GST back in the third month and 48 monthly payments. This offer is not valid in conjunction with any other promotional offer. Family holiday will be drawn on 1st November 2017.




VW Caddy Runner

As eager as a fox terrier MARK DANIEL

WHILE UTES dominate the new vehicle market, one should question how

many are bought by wanabee warriors for looks rather than function. With this in mind, Dairy News decided to join the ranks of ‘white van men’ in a diminutive VW Caddy Runner for a week, on the basis that many people just want a runabout for errands rather than a musclebound 4WD. And what a revelation the VW is, reminding you of an eager ‘foxy’ anxious to please, doing so with huge enthusiasm personality. Sporting a 4-cylinder 1200cc motor bumping out 62kW and 160Nm torque, the Caddy is no tyre-shredder, but is incredibly handy, whether going to the mailbox at the end of the road or venturing into town to fetch and carry the oddments of daily life. A slick, 5-speed manual transmission moves through the gears swiftly,

hitting the open-road limit of 100km/h quickly, before starting to run out of steam at around 110km/h, so no issues there. The cab is comfortable with all controls falling readily to hand, remembering that European vehicles have the indicator and windscreen wiper controls transposed (come on manufacturers, what’s wrong with standardisation?). Seating is typically Germanic and firm. Dairy News’ six-footplus tester found that the load partition prevents the seat from going back far enough, so the ride was cramped. Easy removal should cure that problem. Around the cab, plenty of storage spaces include two open gloveboxes, door pockets and a useful full width shelf above the passengers’ heads.

The load space is accessed via a full-size one-piece up-and-over door at the rear and a sliding, full door on the nearside, so loading cargo is no trouble from either point; the space itself is reminiscent of the Doctor Who Tardis. Measuring 1779mm long x 1556mm wide x and 1244mm high, the space has a useful 3.2m3 and a 730kg load capacity. A rubberised floor covering combines with tie-down points to keep loads in check, but ribs cast into the covering can make the area a little difficult to clean, as was evidenced by a split bag of sand on the way back from an errand. Living with the Caddy is easy, helped by the likes of rear parking sensors, the familiar stop/start engine function aimed at saving fuel in urban settings, and it runs on the smell of an oily rag.

FINDING THE RIGHT FUSE FINDING THE right fuses for your car,

truck or tractor should be easier with the expansion of Narva’s range in New Zealand. Its new ANS, ANL and micro-fuses, with holders, meet the ever-rising demands on vehicle electrical systems. The ANS fuses are a ‘bolt-on’ type -copper alloy manufacture with tin plating and an inspection window. These fuses are available in 50, 60, 80, 100, 125 and 150A. ANL variants are also bolt-on and again are in copper alloy but with a gold-plated appearance; they also have an inspection window for fast diagnosis, and come in 80, 100, 125, 150, 175, 200 and 250A ratings ideal for high cur-

ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ

rent applications. To complement these fuses, Narva also offers a range of new in-line holders, including single and twin holders with transparent and non-transparent covers, made from premium materials and sourced from leading manufacturers. Also new, is a selection of ‘Micro 2’ blade fuses, available in 5, 7.5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30A. Narva’s range of 10-32V, plug-in circuit breakers has also grown with the addition of a 5A manual reset model, a direct replacement for Standard ATS blade fuses with a flame retardant body and an operating temperature range of -30°C and 60°C.

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Dairy News 29 August 2017  

Dairy News 29 August 2017

Dairy News 29 August 2017  

Dairy News 29 August 2017