Page 1

‘Erring on side of caution.’ PAGE 3

BE PREPARED Dry setting in PAGE 9


Discharge without tipping PAGE 22

DECEMBER 12, 2017 ISSUE 392 //


“We came to farming in our forties with no experience.” – Jean Mansfield, Waihi PAGE 6


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NEWS  // 3

Payout ‘erring on side of caution’ PAM TIPA

Goat farmers still waiting. PG.10

Cow collars cut stress. PG.15

A “HINT of conservativeness” can

be detected in Fonterra’s updated forecast on the farmgate milk price last week, says ASB’s senior rural economist Nathan Penny. Fonterra shaved off 35c, taking the milk price for the 2017-18 season from $6.75 to $6.40/kgMS. But Penny says ASB is sticking with its $6.50/kgMS forecast. He points to Fonterra chairman John Wilson saying the lower forecast reflects a “prudent approach” to ongoing volatility in the global dairy market. “For us you can see they have erred on the side of caution,” Penny told Dairy News. “Later on they talk about how they have actually lifted the advance payments to farmers. So on the one hand they are saying they are being

conservative, but on the other they are showing actually there’s a bit more underlying confidence by showing they are happy to lift those advanced payments. “Those advanced payments are fairly higher than what farmers would have been receiving under the $6.75/kgMS milk price forecast. So you can see there is some underlying confidence although they are being a bit careful by cutting back to $6.40/kgMS.” He says ASB is calling it where they see it, which is slightly higher than Fonterra. Announcing the revised forecast, Wilson said the GlobalDairyTrade price for whole milk powder is a big influencer of the farmgate milk price and it has declined by almost 10% since August 1, 2017. The Danone $180 million judgment against Fonterra had no influence on the forecast milk price, says Wilson. (Fonterra had already

Nathan Penny, ASB

revised its forecast earnings per share range by 10c down to 35 to 45 cents.) Strong production in Europe and continued high levels of EU intervention stockpiles of skim milk powder are driving the forecast. Demand for dairy remains strong, particularly in China, other parts of

Big and nimble. PG.21

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NOT TOO much can be read into butter being 11.1% down at last week’s GlobalDairyTrade, says ASB’s Nathan Penny. “We think butter will be really volatile over the next few months,” he told Dairy News. “There is still a massive shortage around the world.” He would expect possible gains on that price in auctions to come. Overall the auction recorded a small rise of 0.4% after four declines in a row, he says. The whole milk powder index rose 1.7% to an average

price of US$2830/t. “We are past the production peak and the auction volumes are falling so you tend to get a little bit of pressure on prices.” Weather will be the next talking point, he says. “If you look on NIWA’s maps it is looking pretty dry and the forecast is for more good weather. If we don’t get some rain in the next few weeks or so that risk will increase pretty quickly and push prices higher.”

Asia and Latin America “This downward pressure on global prices is being partly offset by the lower NZ-US dollar exchange rate,” says Wilson. “Our strong financial position, customer order book at this point in the year, and confidence in demand means that the board is able to increase the payments made in January by 10c/kgMS and will hold the advance rate through to the payments in May. “In effect, our farmers will receive equal or higher payments for their milk over this period than were scheduled under the previous $6.75 milk price.” Due to weather Fonterra reduced its NZ milk collection forecast by 1% to 1525 million kgMS – the same volume as last season. @dairy_news


4 //  NEWS


reminded to update existing business agreements as they face joint liability for meeting upcoming changes in respect of their using palm kernel (PKE) as feed. Federated Farmers says extensive consulation has resulted in a “fair resolution” for both parties. Farm owners and sharemilkers in current agreements should seek to add a clause to address this new ( joint liability) risk. New agreements will also have an additional clause under milk grading and feed to direct the parties. “We conclude this is the fairest way to allocate these new ‘demerits’ as per the revenue share of milk production,” says Feds sharemilker farm owners’ section chair, Tony Wilding. “We intend to update federation contracts to acknowledge these changes.” Fonterra will introduce a grading

system next September to measure milk fat composition, which changes with excessive use of PKE affecting manufacturing capability and seasonal customer preferences. Fonterra farmers who don’t comply with new recommended levels for cows’ PKE intake will be penalised. Lisa Payne, regional head of Fonterra Farm Source, explained that the fat evaluation index (FEI) grading system will help farmers supply milk with the right fat composition, to enable the co-op to continue making products that meet customer specifications and provide the best return to farmers. “The co-op has a responsibility to constantly evolve to meet customers’ needs, and provide the highest value return for milk,” Payne said. Most farmers’ milk has the correct fat composition, and the FEI grading system will help others meet this requirement.

Duncan Coull

Co-op made right call – Coull SUDESH KISSUN

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co-op was right in issuing a precautionary recall of infant formula four years ago. Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Duncan Coull says the decision to put safety ahead of everything else was the right decision. Fonterra was this month slapped with a $183 million fine in an arbitration claim filed by French dairy giant Danone for recall costs during the false botulism scare at a Fonterra plant in 2013. Coull says the council is confident the co-op acted with integrity when it issued the precautionary recall. “ ‘Do what’s right’ is one of our four values and in continuing to put safety ahead of all else

we will build on the trust people throughout the world have in us. “As tough as this outcome is, the lessons learned have enabled our co-op to emerge stronger and we now need to move forward together, proud of who we are, what we have achieved and of our commitment to our values.” Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says Fonterra is disappointed the arbitration tribunal did not fully recognise the terms of its supply agreement with Danone, “including the agreed limitations of liability, which was the basis on which we had agreed to do business”. Both Fonterra and the New Zealand Government conducted extensive reviews into the events. A

follow-up review by the Independent Inquiry commissioned by the Fonterra board confirmed that the cooperative’s management acted in the best interests of its consumers and the business at all times. “The decision to invoke a precautionary recall was based on technical information obtained from a third party, which later turned out to be incorrect,” says Spierings. Danone says the arbitration outcome stresses critical importance of food safety procedures and transparency.  “Danone considers this arbitration underscores the merit of its legal actions against Fonterra, including to champion the highest standards of food safety across the industry.”

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NEWS  // 5

Spending paying off NIGEL MALTHUS


are putting money where where their mouths are and playing their part in helping to improve water quality, says Canterbury dairy leader Tom Mason. “And it’s working. We have hard proof that water quality in the region is already beginning to show signs of improvement as a result of farmers fencing off waterways to exclude dairy cattle, and planting out riparian buffer zones that help to filter nutrients before they reach the water. “The latest data from Environment Canterbury (ECan) shows that 90% of the region’s farms have taken action to get a land use consent, but a number are on waiting lists for nutrient budgets. A farm environment plan is a requirement of their consent, so we can say with confidence that the vast majority of farmers have an environmental plan, also known as a sustainable milk plan (SMP). Under the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan, many farms now require a consent to farm, requiring them to meet environmental responsibilities, including adhering to nitrogen loss limits. ECan chief operating officer Nadeine Dommisse said ECan began a rigorous, targeted campaign earlier in the year to ensure that every farmer knew of their responsibilities and how to approach them.

Canterbury dairy farmer Tom Mason.

At least 900 farmers have acted, and the remaining 80 had received formal warning letters in late November. Dommisse said ECan was aware of those on waiting lists and they would be exempted from compliance visits scheduled to begin early next year. “We know it takes time to complete a nitrogen budget, and we would rather these were done well. “What’s most important is that farmers are taking the necessary steps towards gaining their land use consent, whether that is implementing good management practices, determining the nitrogen budget, creating a farm environment plan or applying for consent.” Resource management officers will soon start visiting farmers who have yet to either act or advise ECan of their progress. “We’ll be visiting anyone who has not yet taken action or con-

tacted us, because we are very serious about those who are not on track,” said Dommisse. “Next year we’ll start looking at issuing abatement notices to those who have still to take action.” Mason said the SMPs are not just to get farmers to meet regulatory requirements, but to get them running “truly sustainable dairy farm businesses that strike a balance -- best for the farm and best for their people and the environment”. DairyNZ catchment engagement leader Angela Harvey said DairyNZ first developed SMPs about five years ago, when the primary purpose was to raise farmers’ awareness of environmental risk areas, and to have them start working towards a more sustainable footing before regulations were introduced. “Many farmers had already been well on this journey, so having the

plan focused their activity on the areas where the most environmental gains could be made. “We helped the farmers pinpoint what needed to be done and involved consultants to work with them to explain the reasons why certain options were better than others, and provide detailed plans and directions for the work to be carried out.” Harvey said farmers find the SMP process more rewarding than simply being told what to do by a regulator. “Along the way, farmers have also told us they have been gratified by the fact that farming to SMPs has also helped them to be sustainable across the board, not only achieving better outcomes for their environment, but also for farm teams and business profit.” Notably farmers have found innovative, clever ways to reduce nitrogen leaching and ultimately improve water quality in their waterways. Meanwhile, an Ecan report into recreational water quality has found that, of 52 monitored freshwater swimming sites, 12 have improved one grade and four declined. ECan chief scientist Tim Davie said it assesses the health risks from faecal contamination at popular swimming sites in the region through the swimming season. “This year 12 sites have improved. The year before, 10 sites improved and the year before that only five improved, so the trend is in the right direction,” he said.

FARM SAFETY ACADEMY OPENS A MAJOR new initiative to improve safety in farm-

ing has been launched by Landcorp, branded Pamu Academy. It’s a joint venture with Wilson Consulting, a specialist in helping companies to embrace a culture of safety from boardroom to staff on the front line. Pamu Academy general manager Rebecca Keoghan says after three staff were killed on Landcorp farms the company asked Wilson to audit their safety culture and mechanisms; they found it was not good. “Yes, we had orange clothes and safety procedures, we had bits of paper and we had top managers who understood safety, but we didn’t have every staff member understanding why -- and the why is very important.” Keoghan says all Landcorp staff have now attended courses to bring about a paradigm shift in safety culture; they like it because it has given them reasons for the change and practical tools to implement it. “As an organisation we have an obligation to send people home in one piece – not two,” she says. This success has prompted the setting up of the Pamu Academy to share Landcorp’s discoveries with the wider agri sector. Eight separate programmes are now available, ranging from courses for executives through to staff on the front line. Mental health and wellbeing gets a lot of emphasis. “If people are not mentally 100% they will make wrong decisions and behaviours and you end up with a safety problem,” says Keoghan. All the courses are up on the Pamu Academy website ( – Peter Burke

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6 //  NEWS

Everything cheesy about this venture SUDESH KISSUN


Jean and David Mansfield like running their business their way. Their debt-free 94ha farm milks 220 Jersey cows; the cows are fed mostly grass and some silage; no feed is bought in. This season they switched processors. They first thought of independence 10 years ago when they looked at setting up a boutique cheese company using milk from the farm to make boutique cheese for

SWITCHING SUPPLY THIS SEASON the Mansfield farm has switched from supplying Fonterra to Open Country Dairy. Jean says the move to Open Country Dairy has given them a boost in many ways. “We truly feel part of the Open Country family. When we speak to

sale. Jean went to Brisbane to learn cheesemaking but on her return found that setting up a cheese plant in New Zealand, with high annual compliance costs, was beyond their reach. “To be a cheesemaker

other Open Country suppliers the story is always the same: ‘we have become human again’ -- they are no longer just a cog in the machine. “Our milk supply manager really gives support and our sharemilkers are happier in a closer relationship with the company.”

and sell cheese in NZ, the compliance costs are huge… you would be paying thousands,” she told Dairy News. She dropped the idea but soon the Queensland Department of Agriculture contacted her, following

up on her cheese-making course. Much to her surprise the Queensland government offered to help her teach cheesemaking in NZ, sending her containers of moulds and starters.

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Jean and David Mansfield on their Waihi farm.

Soon Jean was teaching NZers to make cheese, hiring catering rooms at high schools and teaching groups. “I would approach a local farmer to supply me milk to make cheese at each location,” she says. She launched her own company, Make Cheese, and started making cheese from goat milk; at one of those classes a magazine editor asked her to write a monthly column. While the magazine writing contract has ended, Jean has published her own range of books and DVDs; her first title was How to make cheese with Jean Mansfield - 50 artisan cheeses step by step. Two volumes on cheese -- and other dairy products -- have been released. “Because I had so desperately wanted to learn I thought other people might like to learn also, and it turns out I was right. “I was inundated with enquiries and went on to create the ‘Make Cheese’ company. “For ten years Dave and I travelled all over the North Island running cheese-making classes. I talked about cheese to groups of farmers, goat breeders, chefs, teachers

and anyone interested in food. “These days our teaching is mostly to smaller groups on the farm.” Cheese has become a large part of their lives. Jean is a judge for the NZ Cheese Awards and shares information with farmers and cheese makers worldwide. “Facebook and web pages have brought ‘cheesy people’ together which has been great to see. Being a dairy farmer, I’m also interested in everything ‘milk’. I make butter, cheese, yoghurt, ice-cream and even paint and buttons -- with milk. Its properties are everexpanding as technology advances. We can look to the past for inspiration but the future holds wonders yet to be discovered about milk.” Jean and David live in South Auckland; their Waihi farm is run by a lower-order sharemilker but they both visit the property regularly. She says dairying has been a roller-coaster ride. “We came to farming in our forties with no experience. Dave was a painter and I was a librarian. We both love the land and our animals and have always regarded ourselves as caretakers who

wish to leave the farm in better heart than when we took over.” They bought the farm 25 years ago from the family trust. David’s uncle and his brothers won two adjoining farms in a ballot for returning wartime soldiers and ran 300 sheep and pedigree Jersey cows. “Since we knew nothing about farming we straight away had to employ somebody; we got a sharemilker and decided to quit the sheep to concentrate on dairy. When the farm was bought 25 years ago, there was a dip in sheep meat and wool prices so to make it work we had to go dairy.” The farm still runs high quality Jerseys with LIC semen used for AI. They both had to learn the ropes on the farm. “I learned to milk and do animal management, and Dave did mechanical work, fencing and races. “Although we aren’t on farm full time we had to learn in case our sharemilkers were unable to work or we had to step in at short notice.” Jean’s How to Make Cheese books and DVDs are available from www. @dairy_news

TIME TRAVELLERS JEAN AND David Mansfield travel extensively. “We visit farmers and cheesemakers all over the world,’ she says. This year they were in France and England, last year Canada, talking to farmers to gather ideas to improve their farm management. “It opens your eyes to improvements you otherwise might not do; we read a lot about farm management in the papers delivered here but if you actually visit and talk to

farmers you get a different perspective; it’s an eye opening experience.” She says the visits also highlight the good sustainable practices on NZ farms. “In Waihi you have a lot of small farms, lots of them family farms the farmers will hand over to their son/ daughter. Those who think NZ is all about corporate farming should come to Waihi; this is stepping back in time because we still do it the old fashioned way.”


NEWS  // 7

Strike price to help farmers share up SUDESH KISSUN

FARMERS SUPPLYING milk to Fonterra

under contract will now have up to nine years to be fully ‘shared up’. And they need only buy shares when the farmgate milk price is above a ‘strike price’ set by the co-op. This new financial tool was introduced last month to make it easier for young farmers to join the co-op and become fully share-backed owners. Fonterra’s move comes as it faces a milk supply squeeze caused by rival processors, many of whom don’t require their suppliers to own shares. In Waikato, the country’s second-largest processor Open Country Dairy is building a new plant at Horotiu and is campaigning to sign more milk suppliers. In Gore, Mataura Valley Dairy is building a new $240 million plant and will need more milk. In Otorohanga, Happy Valley Dairy is seeking resource consent to build a $230m infant formula plant. At its annual meeting last month, Fonterra chairman John Wilson said in the year ahead the co-op “will continue to defend and grow market share here in New Zealand”. Fonterra head of Farm Source Southland/Otago, Mark Robinson, told Dairy News “it’s no secret the requirement to share up can be a hurdle for farm-

ers at first”. But they know being part of the co-op brings significant benefits as well, he says. “One benefit is having a Farm Source team that’s always looking for ways to help our farmers. We often meet with young farmers and those looking to grow their operations. It’s great when we can turn ideas from a shed meeting or a chat over coffee into reality. These new tools... help farmers share up while maintaining the integrity and strength of the co-operative model.” Fonterra farmers must own one share for every kgMS processed by the co-op; last week the coop’s share price on NZX hovered around $6.36/ share. Fonterra’s strike price contract acknowledges milk price volatility, only requiring them to buy shares when the milk price is above the strike price. However, in the first year farmers must buy at least 20% of their share requirements. If the milk payout moves above the strike price (set at $5.25/kgMS for 2018-19 season contracts) the farmer must use 50% of the amount above the strike price to buy more shares. The strike price contract will last six years; farmers not fully shared up by then must buy onethird of their remaining shares in each of the following three years. Robinson says the feedback from farmers to the new financial tools

SWAPPING REWARDS FARMERS CAN now use their Farm Source reward dollars to buy co-op shares. Each farmer will be offered a two-week window in the months before the compliance date of December 1 to use at least $500 of rewards to buy shares. Farm Source will pay Fonterra and shares will be issued by the co-op to farmers. The co-op has also decided to put the 5c/ kgMS it charges for each contract milker into a trust, which will use the funds to buy units in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund. When a farmer needs to share up, the trust will distribute units back to the farmer, who can convert them into shares.

has been positive. “I’m hearing good things on the ground... about making it easier for a farmer to join the co-op or boost their current

shareholding. “Even our older farmers who are thinking about retirement and don’t necessarily need these tools are happy to

see we’re bringing them in for the next generation, giving their kids and grandkids more options if they want to get into dairy.”

Mark Robson, Fonterra.



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8 //  NEWS

Banks: we’re loving them MOST FARMERS are

Andrew Hoggard

satisfied with their banks, according to the latest Federated Farmers Banking Survey. The survey last month by Research First shows farmers’ overall satisfaction with their banks remains strong and stable, with an average 81% satisfied or very satisfied.

The twice-yearly survey started in 2015. Federated Farmers vice-president Andrew Hoggard sees it as positive that sharemilkers’ satisfaction has improved to close to the industry average, given that “sharemilkers represent the next generation”. “Some sharemilkers

had been under quite a bit of financial pressure in the recent past but good on them for working hard to get good financial processes in place. It’s great to see their high levels of budgeting. “As usual though, farming isn’t plain sailing. With particularly dry conditions early in the

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summer it’s going to be important that if conditions worsen farmers will make proactive decisions on the financial implications, and keep accountants and bank managers in the loop.” New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Karen Scott-Howman is pleased with the survey findings. “It shows banks are continuing to work closely with their agri clients. That’s not surprising given the high level of bank support for the agri sector,” she said. “Constructive relationships are essential in helping to deliver good results for farmers and their banks.” The level of investment required in modern dairy farming stands out: the size of mortgages and the number of dairy farms with overdrafts is increasing. In dairy and non-dairy sectors, 75% of the 480 survey respondents said they felt under the same pressure from their banks as six months ago, 8% said they felt under more

pressure and just under 10% were feeling less pressure. Four of five respondents have mortgages, with the average across all farms increasing slightly since May 2017 from $3.1 million to $3.2m. Dairy farms (89.7%) and sharemilkers (97%) are more likely to have mortgages than non-dairy farms (71.8%). Mortgage interest rates have been stable (average 5.2%) and no respondent was paying more than 10% mortgage interest, for the first time since the survey began in May 2015. Hoggard says it is encouraging that only a small minority of farmers feel they have come under undue pressure over the past six months, and this proportion (8%) has been easing back over the last 12 months. The survey found 60% of farms this season have an up-to-date, detailed budget: sharemilkers show well in this (90%) but non-dairy farmers not so well. @dairy_news

NEW REGIME RATTLES FARMERS THE CHANGE of government is rattling farmer

confidence, according to the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey. The survey last month found the number of farmers expecting the rural economy to improve in the next 12 months has fallen to 29% (down from 46% last quarter), 49% were expecting similar conditions (up from 42%) and the number expecting the rural economy to worsen rose to 16% (up from 8%). Dairy farmers’ confidence fell to +18% -- from +50%. Rabobank New Zealand general manager for Country Banking, Hayley Moynihan, says the survey found farmers in all sectors more pessimistic about the expectations for the rural economy than in the previous quarter, largely because of worries about the recent change in government. “Of the farmers who thought the rural economy will worsen over the next 12 months, government policies were cited by 80% as a key reason,” says Moynihan. “With a change of government comes uncertainty about the impact of policies on NZ’s agricultural sector. “During the election campaign, each of the three parties that now make up the government indicated they wanted to make changes to how NZ’s rural economy was operating. “These results indicate that farmers have some concerns about what these potential interventions could mean for the performance of the rural economy.”


NEWS  // 9

Be prepared PETER BURKE


PLAN NOW how you

will manage for drought this summer, says DairyNZ. Spokesman Andrew Reid says the signs are ominous: NIWA reports show all New Zealand was drier than normal in November – strange given that a month ago people were talking about how wet it was. This shows how quickly conditions can change, so farmers need to prepare to deal with a big dry, Reid says. The implications of the November dry, and what the rest of the season will bring, is “top-of-mind for us at DairyNZ”. “People need a management plan in case things get worse and there is no rain in the traditionally dry months,” Reid says. “And they must be ready and willing to act on it. Having a plan is one thing; acting on it in a timely way and making

STAY ALERT to what is happening, regardless of the festive season, says Andrew Reid. While DairyNZ staff traditionally take a break at Christmas they remain on call; and before then the consulting officers will get out messages via discussion groups. “Also our website is a massive resource for people wanting to get clarification on any issue. On the website we have management plans available that people can work through.” Despite the weather watch it is equally important everyone gets a break and has time to recharge their batteries, Reid says. Staff rosters should be arranged to facilitate this.

decisions makes all the difference.” Reid says the present dry spell is compounding the problems of incessant rain that fell earlier in the season. Farmers have since been playing catchup to cope with a marginal start to the season. Now their focus is on the next couple of months. One problem is the prospect of a supplement shortage. “Pasture supplements weren’t harvested in spring because they were needed at the time so that

option has been compromised. One option while pastures are still growing is to apply nitrogen or to extend rotations out to 30 days or so.” Keep an eye on the weather so that if things turn a lot worse you can respond in a timely manner, Reid says. Once-a-day milking is an option, but it should not be the first choice because of the long-term implications in the loss of production and the risk of increased somatic cell counts.

METSERVICE FORECAST DECEMBER TEMPERATURES are expected to run well above average right across the country, says MetService. December is likely to start drier than usual in most regions, but around mid-month there should be a change to more reliable rainfall in the north and east of the North Island and in Nelson. Highs are expected for southern and central New Zealand. Below average rainfall is forecast

for most of the South Island and in the west and south of the North Island. But near-normal rainfall is signaled for the north and east of the North Island and Nelson due to frequent northeasterly winds. November had extremes – high, low then high temperatures. A high pressure system anchored itself over New Zealand, resulting in an extended dry run for all regions. In particular the West Coast experienced a notable run of 18 consecutive dry days.


10 //  NEWS

Goat farmers still waiting NIGEL MALTHUS

SOUTH ISLAND dairy goat farmers still have no large-scale market for goat milk some 18 months after a Chinese-backed processing plant began to be built -- with some fanfare – at Ashburton. New Zealand Dairy Collaborative has been set up by local businessmen with Shaanxi Fineboon, said to be China’s largest goat-milk infant formula brand, as the major shareholder. It has built a plant at the Ashburton Business Estate, just north of the town. It was reported they would initially blend dried goat milk powder from the North Island into infant formula for supply to China, and later add a drying plant to process locally produced goat milk. The building was to have been finished in October 2016 but is not yet operating. The building appears complete but has no branding, and no fit-out is visible through the glass frontage of its ground-floor offices. A spokeman for Ash-

burton businessman Peter Huang, a director of the company, has told Dairy News that a new chief executive was due to be appointed on December 12 and the factory could start operation in March or April. Local dairy goat breeders say they are willing and ready to supply milk but still do not know what NZ Dairy Collaborative’s plans are. Jonathan CardenHoldstock, vice-president of the Canterbury Dairy Goat Breeders Association, says they have no way to get in touch. “We’d welcome them to come and talk to us because if they are longterm and looking to get a supply base, we would obviously be very interested in hearing from them. “Surely they need to start talking to people and I would assume naturally one of the first ports of call would be the local breed groups.” Phill Clapham, who milks 200 goats at Seadown, near Timaru, told Stuff in August 2015 that he and his wife Amanda had been tempted back

into dairy goats, buying a herd of 125, with the intention of supplying the Ashburton factory. After many months of discussions with New Zealand Dairy Collaborative, however, he has not had any contact in about a year. “I think they’re embarrassed because all the things they said they were going to do haven’t happened.” The Claphams are now suppling Oamaru’s Whitestone Cheese. “We all thought the Fineboon place at Ashburton was going to be the cat’s whiskers. I don’t give up on it but I’ll just keep supplying Whitestone for now.” New Zealand Dairy Goat Breeders Association president, Jayne Arscott said she also had tried unsuccessfully to contact the people behind the Dairy Goat Collaborative. There were a lot of rumours about what they were planning to do “but unfortunately they’re not talking to the local people”. “Many people have been burnt because they heard it was going to start

Dairy goat farmers Chrissy and Jonathan Carden-Holdstock with two of their champion animals, Clovenhoof Flavious, a Saanen buck, and Tamarvale Jaylee, a Toggenburg doe.

and they bought a lot of young goats and stuff and started to get ready, then it just didn’t happen so now they’re having to sell off stock.” Arscott farms a herd at Cust, near Rangiora, with her daughter and son-inlaw Alice and Craig Jones. They are milking 18 goats this year and hope to milk about 30 next year. They make their farming pay by using the milk to raise calves. They also make cheese for the family but Arscott says compliance costs are prohibitive to sell milk or cheese to the public. “We understand everything has to be done right, but for small people to set up it’s a huge compliance

cost before you get any return and at this stage it’s a bit of a gamble. How big is the market going to be? How much can you sell to your local area? You haven’t got a supply chain.” Jonathan Carden-Holdstock and his wife Chrissy farm about 120 goats and 100 cattle on their 67ha at Ataahua, nestled between the Banks Peninsula foothills and Lake Ellesmere on the ChristchurchAkaroa Highway. Most of their goat milk goes on feeding their calves and kids. Chrissy has recently started making goat milk soap, selling about 15 bars a week through a local farm shop. However, that

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accounts for only about 4.5L of milk a week – about one good milking doe’s daily production. They also sell young does to North Island milkers, “which is a shame because if they stayed in the South Island you’d build up the herd very quickly,” says Chrissy. Jonathan CardenHoldstock said the Canterbury breeders group have a core of 15-20 serious breeders, “a whole load” of hobbyists, and South Canterbury members south of Ashburton. “The Ashburton factory pretty much sits in the middle of those two areas so potentially they’ve got a good base but they just need to be talking to us.” The Carden-Holdstocks said they had investigated building a factory room for cheese, ice cream and yoghurt, but decided the compliance rules were “a total nightmare”. “The system does not allow for small startups,” said Jonathan. “The reality is the cost and ongoing costs and it doesn’t end

there. We’re farmers, not marketers, not sales reps.” Meanwhile, he said it was “weird” that even in the North Island where the Dairy Goat Co-operative operates, most product goes overseas as dried powder. He said New Zealand is the only western country where fresh goat milk is not readily available at a corner shop or supermarket. Some is imported from Britain and sold “at $7.00 for a little tiny carton”. “The whole thing is completely nuts.” He said fresh goat milk is what people asked about the most whenever they do milking demonstrations at A&P shows. Jonathan is the dairy goat convenor for the Canterbury Show, where this year they showed about a dozen animals. He says showing animals is not for everyone but acts as a shop window. “When you’re breeding stud stock, it’s been hugely beneficial.” “A bog-standard average dairy goat might be worth a couple of hundred dollars.”

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NEWS  // 11

Software firm raises more capital FARMLANDS COOPERATIVE has bought

into the farm software firm FarmIQ, a developer of software for farming and agribusiness. Farmlands joins Landcorp, Silver Fern Farms and Veterinary Enterprises Group Ltd as shareholders in FarmIQ Systems Ltd. FarmIQ chairman John Quirk welcomed Farmlands as a shareholder and the decision by Landcorp to increase its shareholding. “The FarmIQ board wanted to achieve a broad shareholding to reflect FarmIQ’s role as the provider of an open, independent platform for farming and agribusiness,” says Quirk. “The shareholding companies now comprise two farmer-owned co-ops, a national veterinary business and a land-based state-owned enterprise. “They represent the value chain from farm suppliers, farm consultants and farmers to processors. We remain open to working with other companies that can add value to farmers through data.” Farmlands chief executive Peter Reidie says the investment will help Farmlands support and

service its shareholders. “This investment will help our shareholders and their businesses, particularly as emerging technology changes how we farm. This is another step towards our goal of being market leaders in agricultural knowledge and expertise.” Landcorp chief executive Steve Carden says increasing the Landcorp investment is a vote of confidence in the future of FarmIQ Systems Ltd. “FarmIQ has been instrumental in connecting our day-to-day operations with the rest of our business,” says Carden. “Farming businesses of all sizes are now adopting FarmIQ as their digital information hub, and we are pleased to see the whole farming ecosystem starting to share their information through the FarmIQ platform.” FarmIQ chief Darryn Pegram says this is good news for farmers and agribusiness. “FarmIQ now has all the resources we need to fuel our growth. We will accelerate new software development to meet the needs of our existing sheep and beef customers, and launch our dairy product and partner with companies in the pasto-

ral value chain. The result will be more information at farmers’ fingertips.” Silver Fern Farms chief executive Dean Hamilton says the new investment

is a sure sign of confidence in the future of the FarmIQ software. “Silver Fern Farms has itself invested over $5m in the last seven years in

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66,000 SHAREHOLDERS FARMLANDS COOPERATIVE has invested in FarmIQ to bring its technology to its 66,000 shareholders nationwide. FarmIQ software makes it easier for users to understand what is happening across all aspects of the farm, including their health and safety requirements. Farmlands chief executive Peter Reidie says they are confident the investment will help shareholders and their businesses, particularly as emerging technology changes how we farm. “Our goal is to be market leaders in agricultural knowledge and expertise. This partnership with FarmIQ is another step towards achieving that goal.” Pegram welcomed Farmlands’ investment. “This completes the capital raising and helps maintain a strong and diverse shareholding for FarmIQ,” Pegram says. “We are pleased that Farmlands supports FarmIQ as an open, neutral platform that will underpin the future of farming. The investment will enable us to continue developing the software tools that farmers want.” Reidie says the partnership with FarmIQ will be officially launched to shareholders in February.

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Farmlands chief executive Peter Reidie.




Where’s the rain now?

MILKING IT... Poisonous letter IS THE anti-1080 campaign taking an ugly turn? A nay-saying group has threatened to bring down Department of Conservation helicopters if it continues droping the controversial pesticide in Taranaki’s Egmont National Park. The threat comes a month after the group – New Zealand Hunters – illegally released dozens of sika deer in north Taranaki forests in what DOC believes is retaliation for its dropping 1080. In a letter to DOC and news media last Tuesday, the group threatened war against the use of the pesticide: “This will be a war like no other; you watch this happen around you.” Police are investigating.

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CHANGE IS coming to yoghurt, now poised to be the next big nut-milk trend. It appears 2018 will be the year of alt-yoghurt. Starbucks is one of many companies making launches into the (non) dairy case, e.g. Greekstyle yoghurt made with almond milk, drinkable ‘cashew-gurt’ and decadent full-fat coconut yogurt. Why alt-yoghurt and why now? Industry research shows the category could grow to $35 billion by 2020, largely driven by millennials who are generally more health-conscious and less likely to define ‘milk’ as a dairy product exclusively. And they’re willing to pay for them.

WHO WOULD have predicted an attack on dairying in Morrinsville? A precious member of Morrinsville’s Herd of Cows street art project has fallen victim to vandals. Number 13, the Greenlea Premier Meats cow (named ‘Rising to the Challenge’) usually hangs from a 5m pole like a helicopter. Now she’s in the bovine hospital (Greenville Auto Painters) for urgent repair work. Stones thrown at the fibreglass cow have caused serious damage. Repair work will take two weeks.

Poop to good use WE HEAR that methane produced by cows is terrible for the environment; in 2015 it comprised 16% of all greenhouse gases. In fact, it is estimated that methane’s globalwarming potential is seen as 28 times greater (over 100 years) than the villain CO2. But Toyota has a plan to use it for good, as announced at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. It wants to build a renewable energy plant in California and run it purely on methane from cow poop. The plant, scheduled for start-up in 2020, will use the methane to make water, hydrogen and electricity.

SIX WEEKS ago farmers around the country were hoping for sun after a terribly wet winter and spring. This was a horrible time with pastures saturated and grass not growing and being badly damaged by stock. Dairy farmers were forced to feed out valuable supplements to keep their cows in condition for mating. Calving was hell with even simple tasks made harder by the soggy pastures and incessant rain. The wet spring also made it harder for dairy farmers to detect if their cows were ready for mating, affecting reproduction rates. The wet weather also made it challenging for farmers to manage pasture, with many areas having higher grazing residuals than usual. But how things can change in one month. The once sodden pastures are hard and cracking and the absence of rain has stunted growth. Seeing the North Island countryside from the air brings to mind the words ‘green drought spring’. And the West Coast, often unfairly referred to as the Wet Coast, is bordering on drought, with milk production starting to slide away. For dairy farmers this is not good news: they have already suffered the rain and it’s likely their reserves of supplements were depleted in spring; in many regions the first cuts of silage will have yielded less than normal. So what is normal? It seems the unexpected is now the norm and extremes of weather are replacing ‘normal’ seasons. At the best of times farming is hard, but volatile weather and volatile markets are setting the bar higher by the year. Our scientists and rural professionals, along with farmers, have for many years sought solutions to such problems in new forages, better pasture management and ridding the industry of a ‘she’ll be right’ mentality. These have helped, so has the concept of strategic planning and setting action milestones and sticking to them. Irrigation has also been a saviour. Let’s be clear, there is no actual drought right now, but it’s worrying that there could be unless rain falls soon. If this widespread dry continues through December and into January the challenges will become far greater. Farmers and their advisors will need all their collective skills to deal with this, and for the new Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, it will be a test of his ability to handle what could be a disaster.

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OPINION  // 13

Telling stories that make a difference TIM MACKLE

we have independently verified science and facts to back up everything we do. We’re not out to push a commercial product or service or to promote a personal agenda. That means it’s crucial

for others to put their hands up, especially those independent of the dairy sector. • Tim Mackle is chief executive of DairyNZ. This article was first published in Inside Dairy December 2017.

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AT LEAST 59% of the public surveyed has a favourable opinion of dairying and 90% of media coverage of dairying is positive/neutral. But much needs doing to get more people thinking positively about dairying, especially when a handful of strongly opinionated people are driving an anti-dairying message. DairyNZ and many other organisations are working to inform public opinion, but it’s a long game and there is no silver bullet. We have a dedicated team managing the media and supporting our community engagement effort. You may have already chatted to them or met them at a local discussion group. What are we doing? Most importantly, we represent you and your positive work onfarm. Your stories, effort and passion will ultimately make the difference. When members of the public listen to you, read your story or visit your farm, it has a profound impact on how they view dairying. And we’re here to support you to do that. We write and publish about a dozen columns each month, we pitch hundreds of positive dairy stories to mainstream media each year, and each day we counter misinformation and poor media imagery. We’re building strong relationships with journalists nationwide to help them understand our dairy world better. It doesn’t end in local newspapers or online news. In the coming months, we will begin work to generate positive coverage in other media, e,g, television and social media, to get dairy stories into places where traditionally they haven’t appeared: business, environment, technology and innovation pages; and home, lifestyle, travel and food magazines. We want the dairy story to focus on you and the great things you’re doing onfarm, in

your communities and in the wider sector. Media outlets have a tendency to home in on the negative and sensational, and this can cast dairying and farmers in a bad light. Small numbers of farmers don’t do the right thing and that lets us all down. Together, we need to stand up and say to those farmers ‘it’s not okay to treat animals poorly or to knowingly mismanage effluent’. There’s no place for these kinds of farmers in our sector. Engaging with media, and therefore the public, is a big focus for us but it’s not the only one. DairyNZ’s curriculumbased education package is now taught in a third of primary schools and a quarter of secondary schools. Meanwhile, 21,000 children have visited a dairy farm in the last six years and 36,000 children have completed our educational kit that explores science through the context of dairy. Engaging with children in this way is powerful, helping to form a positive view of dairying into adulthood and often positively influencing parents and teachers along the way. To the farmers who open up their farms for school tours; thank you, this wouldn’t be possible without you. In the new year, you’ll see a campaign launched by DairyNZ to promote dairying via a strong creative message in advertising, online and in print. It will reflect what we stand for in dairying. We, and you, can’t do this job alone. What if we got other people, even those outside our sector, to say good things about you and dairying? It’s hugely effective when other people promote your great work and say ‘I think dairying is good for our country’. DairyNZ will always promote dairying, but it’s unsurprising that some people come back at us with cynicism, saying ‘of course you would say that – you represent dairy’. It disappoints me because, as a research organisation,

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Landcorp to sponsor Maori awards PETER BURKE

LANDCORP IS to sponsor the Ahu-

whenua Trophy, which recognises excellence in Maori dairy and sheep and beef farming. The 2018 competition will be for dairy farming. Landcorp says the sponsorship deal for $20,000 will be under its Pāmu Academy brand, announced last week in Auckland. The academy is aimed at improving safety in farming. Pāmu Academy general manager Rebecca Keoghan said the sponsorship is a no-brainer for the organisation. “We are targeting safety leadership in the industry, and the trophy competition has a focus on farm leadership, and so the fit was natural for us.” The trophy committee chairman, Kingi Smiler, welcomes Pāmu as a

MADE FRENCH STYLE IN OAMARU DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle (left) and Ahuwhenua management committee chairman Kingi Smiler with the trophy.

bronze sponsor. “Pāmu Academy is an exemplar of the type of leadership and innovation on farm and beyond that aligns with the original [Maori farming] vision and values of Sir Apirana Ngata and Lord Bledisloe. They would both be impressed with what Pāmu Academy is doing.”

Smiler says he looks forward to working with Pāmu Academy to enhance the leadership performance of the New Zealand agri-sector and showcase its success to everyone in the country. The finalists in the 2018 Ahuwhenua Trophy competition will be announced in February.

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A CHANCE find of suspicious mould

in hay on a Fairlie beef farm has led to the discovery of a new blue cheese culture for Oamaru-based Whitestone Cheese. The company has registered the new culture as 45 South Blue and expects to market its first commercial batch of cheese made with it by the end of January. Whitestone Cheese, a family business set up in 1987, says it credits much of its success to the milk from the sweet limestone soils of the Oamaru region. Chief executive Simon Berry and cheesemaker Chris Moran had been taking swabs from natural limestone caves in the region in the hope of finding a new strain of Penicillium Roqueforti, as used in France for Roquefort cheese. They had almost given up when the lab testing the samples reported finding a Roqueforti in a sample of mouldy hay from the Shenley Station at Fairlie. Berry said that as a biodynamic farm that did not use use pesticide or herbicide, they had been afraid the mouldy hay would be toxic for their in-calf heif-

ers. “So they got the all-clear and we found a Roqueforti.” Berry said over 400 strains of Penicillium Roqueforti were known but because this is a new strain from this part of the world, Whitestone had registered it as its own. The first commercial batch of cheese from the culture should be on the market by the end of January, branded Whitestone Shenley Station Blue in honour of the farm where it was found. “The flavour of it is subtle but complex,” said Berry. “It starts off quite mild then the flavour develops a little bit differently. It tastes different, so we’re confident it’s going to be a lovely cheese.” Meanwhile Berry said he and Moran are continuing to swab caves in the hope of finding more commercially useful moulds, including in one “stunning” local cave originally a tunnel cut through the local limestone for early Oamaru’s water supply and now in use as a farm stock water dam. With samples now at the lab, Berry said they have some penicilliums but still don’t know the precise strains. He said the new cave was “great,” with high humidity and water flowing through and dripping from the ceiling.



Cow collars cut farmer stress NIGEL MALTHUS

FITTING OUT an entire

dairy herd with wireless digital activity monitors is so effective a management tool that it even reduces human stress, says farm consultant Meg Simpson, of the Centre for Dairy Excellence, Geraldine. The centre markets SCR monitoring collars, working with SCR’s parent company Allflex. Simpson outlined the benefits of the system at the recent Dairy Barns Conference in Timaru. Under the banner ‘Make Every Cow Count’, they relaunched the product with a new holistic approach to whole farm management, she said. About 20 herds use the system in New Zealand -14,000 to 15,000 collars including about 100 cows being assessed at the Lincoln University Dairy Farm. Each cow wears a col-

lar-mounted battery-powered device with a variety of sensors that can monitor and record her activity, the data being collected by one or more wireless base stations around the farm. Simpson likened it to the game-playing Wii console on which people play games like virtual tennis. “It detects those motions and the force of those motions. It knows when a cow’s eating, when she’s ruminating, when she’s jumping and when she’s lying down.” With 12 years of data behind it, Simpson said it is now an established technology. She presented several graphs to the conference, made up of data gathered in actual herds. One showed clear spikes in activity and corresponding drops in rumination as a single cow went through its heat cycle. The system would identify cows for mating and give

Battery-powered cow collars monitor each animal.

early indications of abnormal heats. Being able to rely on technology to detect heats reduces stress on the farmer, she said. It reduces the need for the decision maker to be “tied to the dairy shed” and

frees time to manage the farm better. “One [client farmer] told me he had breakfast with his family every day through mating, and he’s never done that before. Another said the weeds on his farm never looked

better. It might seem a minor thing, but for them it was their perception -- how their farm looked and how they felt about it.” Monitoring rumination habits is also key to man-

aging health issues, Simpson said. She presented graphs showing clear changes in rumination time as cows suffered illnesses and responded – or did not respond – to treatment. Graphing whole herd data can help manage events such as changes of feed. Simpson said an exciting opportunity lies in post-calving cow management: it can show when a cow is ready to join the main herd, rather than applying a blanket rule of keeping her among the colostrum cows for four days. She said rumination will drop to about half normal on the day of calving, then should increase by about 50 minutes a day as the cow returns to normal. Slow recovery of rumination can indicate problems such as ketosis, metritis or displaced

abomasum. “If we can catch that early we can intervene and set that cow up for the whole season.” She said there is a huge opportunity to ask whether a four-day colostrum period is a good rule. “Do we want that cow to be able to go out into the herd and compete and be healthy -not be coming back sick two weeks later? Or being identified 10 days later when she’s lost half her condition score?” Simpson said the cost of a system is determined farm by farm; but a basic setup for a 500-cow herd can be $100,000 -$120,000. Overseas systems commonly use central data readers that update only when the cows return to the shed, but SCR recommends NZ farmers install readers across the farm for blanket coverage and more immediate response.

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Rusty helps sniff out velvetleaf LANDOWNERS AND

Rusty and his handler John Taylor helped to sniff out velvetleaf on eight Waikato farms last month. They will return in late Januaryearly February.

rural contractors are being urged to watch for pest plants. Warm, humid weather means velvetleaf and other weeds will start appearing on farms, says

Waikato Regional Council (WRC). Helping to sniff out velvetleaf in Waikato last month was Rusty and his handler John Taylor, from Southland,. They visited 12 high-risk farms, finding

plants sprouting on eight of them. They’ll be back to do more work in late January and early February. WRC’s biosecurity pest plants team leader Darion Embling says the wet winter and spring has delayed planting by farmers, but crops are now growing and now is the time to watch for and kill pest plants. “Most farmers have done pre-emergence spraying but we’re hearing from those previously confirmed with velvetleaf infestations that seedlings are pushing through. “This is a critical time for killing pest plants; hand-pulling seedlings and post-emergence spraying is essential.” Landowners and rural contractors should look around gateways and the

first 3-4 rows of crops for signs of velvetleaf. They can notify WRC for advice to avoid crop loss. Seedlings are vigorous, with plants left untouched growing rapidly in the first few weeks after germination. Leaves are heart-shaped and velvety to the touch, and have a distinctive smell when crushed. Velvetleaf grows up to 2.5m tall and has buttery-yellow flowers as it matures from spring to autumn. This aggressive cropping weed is among the world’s worst. It competes with crops for nutrients, space and water, and its seeds can persist on farms for decades, even surviving digestion and silage. @dairy_news


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DAIRYNZ WILL lead a seven-year $21 million research partnership to contribute to cleaning up rural waterways. The central idea is to breed cattle with less nitrogen in their urine. Participating scientists will come from DairyNZ, Abacus Bio, A. L. Rae Centre for Genetics and Animal Breeding, AgResearch and Lincoln University. The Government has granted $8.4m to the project, $11.5m will come from farmers’ levy payments to DairyNZ, and the balance will come from CRV Ambreed and Fonterra.  CRV Ambreed’s genetic discovery that led to the launch of LowN Sires this year is an important aspect of the work. DairyNZ’s strategy and investment leader Dr Bruce Thorrold applauds the government’s place in the project, a key in dairy’s drive to lower its environmental footprint. It will be based on large-scale research into thousands of cows on farms nationwide to test the effectiveness of breeding and measure the reduction of nitrogen leaching expected by the change – potentially up to a 20%.  “Equally, it is important to the beef and sheep sectors where animals raised for meat also contribute to nitrogen levels,” Thorrold says. “Beef farmers will be able to rear low-nitrogen cattle bred from dairy herds. “Better options to reduce nitrogen levels... give choices for our rural communities in achieving environmental gains and maintaining local businesses.” Thorrold says farmers are determined to solve the nutrient loss problem, by fencing waterways, managing effluent better and innovating on farms. “It’s a further step towards sustainable dairying, and will continue keep us as world leaders in this.” The use of the nitrogen-lowering trait to reduce nitrogen leaching was recognised by CRV Ambreed research scientist Phil Beatson.



No more milking aprons MARK DANIEL

WARREN LUND and son Daniel milk about 400 cows on 110ha at Pokuru, near Te Awamutu. Until early 2017 they used a 40-yearold 32-bail rotary that was showing its age. Deciding to upgrade they thought rotary was still the way to go, but the more working examples they saw, the more they became concerned about

of the cows arriving, being milked and departing, and is a clean place to work. Daniel Lund says “we now don’t bother to wear a milking apron, it’s so clean”. Cows entering the parlour are guided to individual milking stalls where moveable index rails nudge them into the correct position -square-on to the milking cluster positions. Operators are kept clean by a novel butt pan system that collects effluent which is flushed away periodically. Overhead lighting aids visibility, and udder lights illuminate the business end of the cows. The milking plant has a low line layout that helps reduce vacuum levels, reducing stress on the cows and damage to teats. High-level automation identifies individual cows and tracks yield measurement, and automatically drafts cows (or allows manual drafting) for mating or vet inspection; milk is analysed for blood, and conductivity testing gives early warning of sub-clinical mastitis. After milking, the rapid-exit stalls

husbandry -- finding cows were not being milked out properly and many with blind quarters from chronic mastitis infections. In a change of direction the Lunds installed a De Laval P2100 parlour with rapid entry/exit configuration for excellent flow through the shed; more importantly it allows the operator to be ‘closer’ to the cows and do a better job. Housed in a purpose-built, clearspan shed, the 24/24 herringbone is a good working environment in a wide, cushion-floored pit, has clear visibility

MAKING LIFE EASY DELAVAL SAYS its P2100 is designed for fast, efficient milking: walking distances are short, milking is fast and changes are quick from one group to the next. The compact design also helps to minimise building costs. Safety features include a gutter for kick protection, butt pan and ‘sensible’ pit edge design. Cows easily enter the milking place and hold a comfortable,

natural position during milking. Air-actuated indexing systems smoothly control milking parlour entry and exit. Automation options can suit milking needs and budget. Other options include a carrier rail and udder spotlights. Smooth surfaces on optional stainless steel upper cabinets and curb cabinets, on light cabinets and pit edges, enable rapid cleaning.

From left Chris Watkin, De Laval National Sales Manager; Daniel Lund, Warren Lund.

(with meal feeding bins) lift to allow animals to move away quickly, helping keep productivity up; and an automated deck flushing clears the floor of the stall for the next cows. After exiting, the cows move through a race where they get teat sprayed, weighed and pass through a foot-bath, or they are sent for inspec-

tion. Milking 400 cows in about 100 minutes, the system meets expectations, says Warren Lund. “It is easy for operators and animals and, more importantly, it allows high throughput and the ability to look at cows individually, which helps us to maintain high standards of husbandry.”




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Copper needs of cattle COPPER (CU) IS an

essential micronutrient of cattle with many vital roles, ranging from facilitating the formation of red blood cells and nerves to the manufacture of connective tissue and bone growth. Prior to the importance of Cu being fully understood, the pioneers of New Zealand farming reported a condition of ‘ill thrift’ where adult cattle presented with anaemia and rough coats, had lowered milk production and suffered diarrhoea (peat scours). Young stock too commonly suffered with these signs in addition to having poor growth rates. Later research revealed this to be a condition associated with Cu deficiency. Basically there are two scenarios leading to Cu deficiency. Primary defi-

ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ

ciency, where there are simply insufficient levels of Cu in the diet relative to requirements of the animal. Secondary deficiency occurs when there is sufficient Cu available but uptake is reduced due to the presence of ‘antagonists’ (Molybdenum, Sulphur) which dramatically reduce the normal absorption of Cu. Both examples of primary and secondary Cu deficiency existed in NZ. For example, it has been estimated that cows require 10mg of copper per kg of dry matter to

thrive. A survey of 1100 NZ pasture samples collected between 2001 – 2006 (1) showed 75% of samples had insufficient levels for cattle (lower than 10mg Cu per kg DM). This work shows that pasture doesn’t always provide sufficient Cu levels for cattle to perform and supplements are required in most pastureonly systems. As a result, a range of products were introduced over the years to the local market such as Cu injections, Cu bullets and soluble mineral mixes that could be added to the water supplying the herd. These products have proven effective in providing sufficient Cu to mitigate the clinical picture associated with Cu deficiency described above. To confuse this picture further, over the past

20 years there has been a decline in requirement of some of these Cu supplements. This has arisen due to the evolving feeding policies on farms, whereby the feeding of by-products such as PKE to dairy cattle has become commonplace. These by-products tend to be higher in Cu than typical pasture species. This recent reduction of the need to supplement herds appears to have led

to complacency about ensuring adequate Cu status in all stock, including replacement stock. Replacement dairy cattle spend a lot of time away from the milking platform where they are managed extensively and fed a mostly pasture diet. Replacements, therefore, are at higher risk of developing Cu deficiency than a herd being fed PKE if there is no trace mineral monitoring and supple-

mentation. The extent of this problem was investigated several seasons back when our practice conducted some basic surveillance work on rising two-yearolds returning from grazing, looking at Cu levels. We found that over 80% of R2 mobs sampled had individual animals deficient in Cu (Serum copper levels below 4.5 umol/L) requiring supplementation. The moral of this story is, while the importance of Cu in dairy cow production is well understood, the evolution of NZ feeding practices has reduced the requirement for Cu supplementation in adult milking cows. Unfortunately, this has led to complacency in Cu monitoring and supplementation in replacement stock allowing the

re-emergence of Cu deficiency and associated ill thrift in this class. If you have not already considered your trace mineral monitoring and supplementation policy in your replacement stock it is recommended you seek further advice from your veterinarian or nutritional advisor. References 1. Knowles SO, Grace ND. A recent assessment of the elemental composition of New Zealand pastures relating to meeting the dietary requirements of grazing livestock. Journal of Animal Science 92, 303 – 310, 2014 • Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services. This article brought to you by



Lepto no longer men-only disease PETER BURKE


working in farming, more are contracting the disease leptospirosis, says the president of Rural Women NZ, Fiona Gower. She told Dairy News, at a recent international conference on leptospirosis in Palmerston North, that the changing nature of the workforce on farms and in the rural sector generally means this disease is no longer a probably only for men. Women are getting to work on farms in their own right or in a partnership, “feeding calves, milking cows, doing work with the stock -- much more hands on these days”. “That’s why there is more prevalence of women getting the disease. The causes include rats running over the bags of feed where they are feeding calves, or in the milking shed; and there may be something in the woolshed for those doing the dagging and shearing

as well.” Gower says it’s also believed the spread of the disease may be connected to wet weather because it is spread through water. Women cleaning mud or water from homes or from silt around a farm are possible causes of their increased infection rates. Rural Women NZ and its predecessor, the women’s division of Federated Farmers, have supported research at Massey University into leptospirosis for 40 years and they will continue to do this, Gower says. “In the 1970s and 80s the women’s division of Federated Farmers gave $150,000 to research on lepto in the dairy and pork industries which led to vaccination. Again in 2007-08 we gave more funding for two PhD students to look at issues in the meat industry, in particular deer. The main reason is because of the harm the disease does in rural communities.” Heart wrenching stories are told about the disease’s impact on indi-

viduals, families, businesses and the whole rural society including schools. Some people have had to quit their jobs. Rural Women NZ will keep working to raise

awareness of lepto in rural areas, Gower says. It is targeting people on farms and rural professionals including health workers. @dairy_news

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STILL THERE A WARNING to dairy farmers: leptospirosis has not gone away, it’s still out there. So says DairyNZ’s veterinary technical policy advisor Dr Nita Harding, one of 200 people at an international conference on leptospirosis in Palmerston North recently. She told Dairy News at the conference of the many interesting papers presented and that many of the world’s experts were there. In some parts of the world leptospirosis is a big problem; vaccines have not made it disappear, she said. “It’s still significant for the dairy industry in NZ. We are seeing quite a number of human cases still -- more than we probably should -- and there is a reasonable amount of infection in animals.” Leptospirosis is still found mainly in dairy regions, possibly because not much testing has been done in other regions. The conference was told that with the advent of more intensive farming systems, including sheep milking and even deer milking, the nature of the risks is changing. Vaccination of dairy herds starting about 30 years ago has made a difference to human infections but they are still occurring in the dairy industry, Harding says. “Farmers need to realise that we have a number of strains of lepto. The strains covered in vaccines are good and the vaccines are very effective. But other strains aren’t included in the vaccines and so it is still really important for farmers to take precautions against picking up lepto. This includes wearing protective clothing, washing hands, covering cuts, not eating or drinking or smoking in the shed and being careful anywhere there is animal urine.”

Rural Women NZ president Fiona Gower.

AVAILABLE ONLY UNDER VETERINARY AUTHORISATION. ACVM Registration No: A11329 Registered Trademark. Schering-Plough Animal Health Ltd. Phone: 0800 800 543. NZ/MSP/0617/0001



Trailblazing Terra Trac MARK DANIEL



manufacturer Claas, known for the rubber track system it developed 30 years ago, went on to refine it. Now the Terra Trac system is a must-have for Lexion combine harvester users looking for less ground compaction and overall width, and much more traction, particularly on slopes. At the recent Agritechnica in Hanover the company unveiled a similar system for its Jaguar selfpropelled forage harvesters. On the Jaguar, a headland protection system protects the soil profile and the grass plants as the machine turns at the end of a run. In operation, the land wheel of each track is raised, leaving the machine’s weight to be carried by

Designed for war zones ONCE THE beers start flowing at the pub, your aver-

the rive wheel and middle rollers. As a result, the contact area and ground pressure changes briefly to match that normally imposed by 800mm diameter conventional tyres. The improved design is affirmed by testing at the University of Kiel, Germany, that showed

the technology reduces the undesirable ‘shear effect’ to just about the same level as on tractors with conventional tyres Jaguar Terra Trac systems use 635mm wide tracks that keep transport widths to about 3m and allow a top speed of 40km/h. As an option, 800mm wide tracks

will help reduce ground compaction but increase transport width to 3.5m. A further benefit is that the insertion and removal of the corn cracker modules is said to be easier, as tracked machines sit much lower than their conventional counterparts.


age contractor or cockie will tell you their latest tractor is bomb-proof. Really? It’s possible: look at the Reborack developed by German companies Rebo Landmaschienen and Rhienmetall Defence, whose latest offering is based on the hardy John Deere 6R tractor. Designed to work in war zones, e.g. land-mine territory or military training grounds with unexploded ordnance, the Rebo has ful armour to protect the driver from shrapnel or projectiles. Heated bullet-proof glazing and a full underbody made from armoured steel protect the tractor to NATO certified standards, and the original JD cab gives the operator a bright, modern environment. The makers suggest that farmers working land near military bases subject to stray bullets might like to buy one.

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VEHICLES ARE smelling of Jelly Belly Beans, a new air freshener that uses the fruity flavours of candy as fragrance. Two new flavours have been added to the range – vanilla and strawberry jam – which now totals 18. The new flavours are part of the 3D Jelly Belly lineup, a three-dimensional design with a hook to hang the air freshener. The ingredients “transfer the intensity of the tastes into scents to make a variety of different smelling air fresheners,” the promoter says. The scents can also combat stale odours inside boat cabins, often locked up for long periods, workshops, and even around home or office. Originally created in the 1970s, Jelly Belly jelly beans won the approval of US president Ronald Reagan, who kept them in the Oval Office and on Air Force One. The beans have even made it into space, on the NASA space shuttle in 1983.

QUALITY DAIRY HOT WATER CYLINDERS From 180 litres to 1500 litres

Superheat mains pressure domestic cylinders now available Available from your local dairy merchant. Manufactured by:

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Superheat Popular Sizes (measurements in mm) STANDARD RANGE AVAILABLE WITH COPPER BARREL, GALVANISED OR STAINLESS CASE 180 ltr 610 dia x 1330 high 3kW 200 ltr 600 dia x 1295 high 3kW 225 ltr 610 dia x 1550 high 3kW 270 ltr 610 dia x 1750 high 3kW 270 ltr 710 dia x 1350 high 3kW 270 ltr 810 dia x 1050 high 3kW 300 ltr 710 dia x 1330 high 3kW 350 ltr 710 dia x 1660 high 2 x 3kW 350 ltr 810 dia x 1400 high 2 x 3kW 400 ltr 710 dia x 1820 high 2 x 3kW 450 ltr 710 dia x 2010 high 2 x 3kW 450 ltr 810 dia x 1600 high 2 x 3kW

500 ltr 915 dia x 1400 high 2 x 3kW 600 ltr 810 da x 1900 high 3 x 3kW 600 ltr 915 dia x 1500 high 3 x 3kW 700 ltr 810 dia x 2200 high 3 x 3kW 700 ltr 915 dia x 1700 high 3 x 3kW 800 ltr 915 dia x 1900 high 3 x 3kW 800 ltr 1160 dia x 1400 high 3 x 3kW 1000 ltr 915 dia x 2400 high 3 x 3kW 1000 ltr 1160 dia x 1650 high 3 x 3kW SUPERHEAT STAINLESS SIZES WITH PLASTIC CASE 600 ltr 920 dia x 1650 high 3 x 3kW 1000 ltr 1170 dia x 1640 high 3 x 5kW 1200 ltr 1170 dia x 1865 high 3 x 5kW 1500 ltr 1170 dia x 2180 high 3 x 5kW

NEW SIZES AVAILABLE Now with stainless steel inner barrel and stainless outer case 350 ltr 400 ltr 450 ltr 500 ltr 600 ltr 700 ltr

710 dia x 1670 710 dia x 1860 710 dia x 2010 810 dia x 1690 810 dia x 2100 810 dia x 2370

2 x3 kW 2 x 3kW 2 x 3kW 2 x 3kW 3 x 3kW 3 x 3kW

Special sizes available on request. Superheat cylinders include elements, thermostats, valve pack, vacuum break and sight tube.



Big, powerful and nimble MARK DANIEL

NEED A manure

spreader to get the job done quickly? Look no further than the latest giant from German manufacturer Tebbe, whose latest fouraxle machine makes light of solid manures, digestive waste or

compost. A porky 17 tonnes empty, the 45 cu.m capacity body can carry up to 40 tonnes of waste. To move that weight, each axle is fitted with a pair of gargantuan 850-50 R 30.5 flotation tyres; the front and rear axles have forced steering and the middle two have passive trailed steering. Twin vertical beaters

HAVE ROBOT, GONE FISHING AUTONOMOUS DRONES, cars and even prototype autonomous tractors. And now it’s autonomy in feeding a dairy herd: the German mixer wagon specialist Strautmann previewed an autonomous mixer wagon at Agritechnica ’17. Using a smart control system called Verti-Q that can be fitted to the company’s Vert-Mix SF mixer wagons, it looks like the days of ‘let’s go fishing’ have arrived, especially if you have robotic milking. The prototype, to be field tested in 2018, autonomously travels to the silage clamp, loads itself, mixes the contents, then travels from the clamp to the cattle feeding area or building and feeds the stock -- all with no driver and a sat-nav that achieves 10mm accuracy. A 2D laser scanner rotating around its own axis allows three-dimensional detection of the surroundings to determine the machine’s exact position in the yard and the best position in the clamp to make the next cut. Interactive safety cameras and movement detection sensors will direct the machine to stop if obstacles, livestock or people are encountered. Meanwhile, the cabin is retained so a human can drive the vehicle on the road between work sites or buildings. (Now where did I put my fishing rod?)

shred the load, spinning discs spread it wide and accurately. Despite the retail price of $260,000 five units have been sold since

production started earlier in the year, as far afield as Canada, Poland and Russia. Could you fit ‘greedy boards’ to that?

Tebbe’s latest manure spreader.




WHILE THE McCormick tractor

brand has been in the doldrums for ten years, its revitalisation with the new X-Series is paying dividends. So much so that the latest X6-VT Drive recently won the Tractor of the Year Award 2018 in the ‘best utility’ category. Nominated by 24 European journalists, the X6 is offered in ratings 120 - 140hp and has a stepless, continuously variable speed transmission combining hydrostatic and mechanical elements. That transmission is engineered and built in-house at one of ARGO

McCormick X6-VT Drive.

Tractors plants near Bologna, Italy, where the controlling software was also developed. Built to a design that reduces the number of internal compo-

nents, particularly clutch packs, the concept should pay dividends in operating efficiency and running costs. The hydrostatic section of the

transmission takes care of driving speeds up to around 4km/h, from where more mechanical effort is introduced as speed increases, in turn helping reduce power losses. Said to be at the premium end of tractors in the marketplace, the X6-VT Drive has independent suspension in front, a 110L/min hydraulic system and bang-up-todate ISOBUS functionality. Accepting the award at the recent Agritechnica 17, ARGO Tractors marketing manager Antonio Salvaterra said, “The TOTY award confirms the success of investments made in this competitive sector. It has allowed us to deliver a tractor with functions normally only seen in much more powerful tractors”.

Lift using a Smart Push HIGH CAPACITY telehandlers and loading shovels sometimes need high output attachments, and here they come. Claas has launched its Smart Push range of buckets designed to handle silage, grains, feed ingredients and other loose materials, but cleverly designed to allow the load to be discharged without the bucket having to be tipped. Instead a hydraulically controlled rear panel pushes the contents out of the bucket in a controlled way. This no tipping allows smaller or mid-size wheeled loaders, telehan-

dlers or frontloaders to load high-sided transport, feed trailers or mixer wagons, discharging the stuff at maximum boom height. Seen as an alternative to toe-tip buckets, which are sometimes compromised in load capacity by a high tare weight, the Smart Push bucket allows maximum capacity because of its lighter weight. The units are also useful for areas with restricted headroom, needing less overhead clearance than a high-tip bucket at the point of discharge. In operation, the

Claas Smart Push bucket.

bucket is filled in the normal manner, then emptied by activating the loader’s third service to move the pusher plate

forwards. An optional upper grab can be fitted, needing more hydraulics. Available in capacities 1760 - 4000L, the buckets

will suit a wide range of wheeled loaders, telehandlers or frontloaders, and should be available in NZ in early 2018.

Buckton forage wagons and bale feeders work hard, so you don’t have to.


THE RECOVERY of milk prices normally heralds

an upturn in tractor and farm machinery sales, so it was no surprise to see the sales of tractors up by 11% in the year to date at the end of October. The Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) reports sales for the period of 3164 units, versus 2849 for the 2016 year and 2978 in 2015. As expected, Waikato, Taranaki, Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury and Otago increased sales by about 20%, 45%, 40%, 50% and 30% respectively, year on year. Northland, East Cape, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa and Nelson also had higher sales (5% - 10%), a sign of stability in the horticulture, arable and viticulture sectors despite the long wet, cold winter. TAMA also reports that the number of people employed in the tractor and farm machinery sector has risen by about 350 since 2015 and now stands at close to 2900 people. President Roger Nehoff says “the job growth bodes well for the future, and on the sales front 2018 looks set for another strong year”. Meanwhile, the car market looks set to hit 159,000 vehicles by year-end, nearly double the start of the decade when numbers hit 80,000 units. And the shape of the market has changed: the New Zealand public is in a love affair with light trucks and SUVs. Nowadays, the monthly top-ten is five light trucks, three SUVs, one van and a sole saloon car -- the enduring Toyota Corolla. Hilux, Ranger and Colorado sales number 235. SUVs make up 31% of sales; a staggering 63 different SUV models are offered by 12 distributors. The changes from 2010 show the market for light trucks rose from 12,000 to 36,500 units in 2017 (up 211%), and SUV numbers are even stronger -- from 15,000 to 51,000 units, a rise of 238%.


Award for McCormick

We’ve worked hard to build rugged and reliable forage wagons and bale feeders. Their strong steel construction makes them tough and hard wearing. On top of that, they’re designed to be low maintenance and easy to use. Before long, your livestock will be as big and strong as our engineering. Talk to your local Buckton dealer today, or call us on 07 533 1259.

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#Terms and conditions apply. Imagery may differ from product description. Contact your local dealer for further details. Normal lending criteria and conditions apply. All prices valid until 30/12/17. * DRIVEAWAY price is 1/3rd deposit plus total GST or/and use trade-in, then pay 1/3rd in 12 months then 1/3rd in 24 months at 2.99%. Terms and conditions apply. ** Monthly payments for Deutz-Fahr based on 35% plus total GST deposit or/and use trade-in, then 48 monthly payments at 3.99%. Monthly payments for Kioti based on 40% plus total GST deposit or/and use trade-in, then 60 monthly payments at 3.99%. *** Offer applies to TF35.7BS. Requires 25% of total price + total GST paid as deposit, then 48 monthly payments of $1226 each. Final payment of residual owed (40%) paid at end of term. † 2 year 2000 hour full manufacturer’s warranty plus additional 2 year 2000 hour Deutz Agrocare power train warranty.


Rural Survey WIN ONE OF 3



or one of 3 $500 Prezzy Cards We want to get to know you better. Farmers are different to the urban population.You have different priorities, work different hours during your work day and consume media in a different way to city folk.

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Dairy News 12 December 2017  

Dairy News 12 December 2017

Dairy News 12 December 2017  

Dairy News 12 December 2017