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Co-op’s uphill battle in China. PAGE 3 ACE WINS

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FEBRUARY 13, 2018 ISSUE 394 //



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Co-op’s uphill battle in China. PAGE 3 ACE WINS

ONE-STOP SHOP Ag schools merge PAGE 15

Moving loads with ease PAGE 32

FEBRUARY 13, 2018 ISSUE 394 //


“We want to capitalise on NZ expertise in both sheep farming and pastoral systems for milk production.” – Peter Gatley , Maui Milk PAGE 6-7


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NEWS  // 3

Co-op’s China dilemma SUDESH KISSUN

Green light for milk plant. PG.08

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NEWS������������������������������������������������������3-16 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������18-19 OPINION��������������������������������������������� 20-21 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������22-25 ANIMAL HEALTH��������������������������������� 26 CULTIVATION & CROPPING��28-30 MACHINERY &   PRODUCTS��������������������������������������� 31-33

CHINESE DAIRY expert Jane Li says Fonterra’s Anmum is struggling to gain a foothold in the country’s lucrative infant formula market. Li says despite gaining 51 formulation registrations with Chinese authorities, Fonterra’s joint venture partner Beingmate is making little headway. “As you know, Beingmate gained 51 formulation registrations which is the greatest number of formula registrations in China. 51 formulations will make 17 brands, as each brand will have three stages. Why register so many?” says Li. Li says Beingmate was trying to offload the brand slots in order to can infant formula on behalf of other clients at the company’s manufacturing sites in China. “Beingmate will only keep twothree brands for themselves because they think it is impossible for them to manage more than three. “Does Fonterra know this new direction? I honestly do not know. But I think the question should be raised with them. If they don’t know,

A Chinese supermarket with prominent brands of infant formula: no sign of Fonterra’s Anmum.

then why not? If they do, have they told this to their farmer shareholders?” Li and her Kiwi partner Simon Page are the brains behind the successful NZ Milk Bar corporate stores in China, operating since 2012. They also owned the Biopure Health infant formula business which they sold last year. She is also a senior China analyst for Auckland-based World Civilisation Forum, an independent organisation “facilitating better understanding between China and

the rest of the world”. Li, who is in China this week, says Anmum is a great brand but it is failing to make inroads into the Chinese market. She blames an uncompetitive price structure and poor marketing. “We went to a Carrefour supermarket; every big brand, such as Mead Johnson, Nestle, Abbott all have their own dedicated shelf bays, with their branding, design…. Illuma which belongs to Wyeth even has their own salesperson. “Anmum by comparison has six

tins at the end of a shelf: two tins of pregnant formula and four tins of stage 3. Stage 1 and 2 appear missing, maybe out of stock. “All of the formulas next to Anmum are Beingmate brand. You can also see Mead Johnson’s bright branded bay in the same aisle as Anmum and Beingmate. “This is what a lack of competiveness looks like and it illustrates the concerns Beingmate was trying to raise on lack of brand building and support compared with other major brands in the market.”

‘FALSE AND MISLEADING’ FONTERRA SAYS its partnership with Beingmate has enabled the Anmum range to expand from 60 to 184 cities. The product is now in at least 10,000 stores in China, on all the major e-commerce platforms and is one of the top performers in Beingmate’s range. The co-op says the 80,000

retail stores touted at the launch of the joint venture was a reference to Beingmate’s footprint in China. “However, as Anmum is a premium brand, Beingmate has decided to focus on 10,000 stores to reach the right target consumers.” Fonterra says claims about

uncompetive pricing structure are “false and misleading”. “As the exclusive general distributor, Beingmate sets the recommended retail price for Anmum; RRP is based on the competitive market dynamic.” Fonterra also refutes claims that it hasn’t done enough to market Anmum in China.

“This is false and misleading because under the terms of our distribution agreement with Beingmate they are responsible for Anmum brand building activities.” Beingmate, facing financial issues, has seen its share price dropped to 5.31 RMB (NZ$1.14) this month.



Nationwide milk sampling begins NIGEL MALTHUS

MILK COMPANIES are this week taking bulk milk samples from tankers in the southern region of the North Island as national surveillance for Mycoplasma bovis moves for the first time into areas with no known infection. Dairy farmers are being called to meetings to hear about the programme and get sampling packs individually labelled for their farms. Meetings were held last week in Central Districts – the lower third of the North Island – and sampling has begun of bulk milk from those farms. Each farmer in the district is then expected to provide samples of

non-vat milk from any sick, lame or mastitic cows on two dates -- February 14 and February 28. Each farm’s contracted milk company will manage the collection of samples. The surveillance is going nationwide after being carried out in regions with confirmed instances of Mycoplasma bovis – South Canterbury, Otago/Southland and Hawkes Bay. The meetings were to have been held on February 7-9 in Central Districts, then February 13-15 for Canterbury north of the Rakaia, February 14-15 in Taranaki, February 19-21 in Northland and the South Island West Coast, February 19-22 in Bay of Plenty, Febru-

ary 22-23 in the top of the South Island and February 26-28 in Waikato. Releasing the schedule of meetings, the head of Fonterra’s FarmSource for Southland, Mark Robinson, said while the sampling was strictly speaking a request rather than a demand, the compliance with the scheme so far had been “pretty good”. If a farm did not supply samples, then the company would determine whether that was a simple error or the farmer’s decision, in which case the company had the option of taking additional samples from bulk milk. “In addition to that, it’s likely that MPI might track non-compliant farms and then impose on

it an absolute mandatory requirement to supply samples under the Biosecurity Act. I’m hoping it doesn’t get to that point,” said Robinson. “Most farmers are willing to comply -- for want of a better term -- with this because I think the vast majority understand the importance of understanding how far this thing has spread.” The testing is a joint effort by all dairy companies, DairyNZ, DCANZ and MPI, who are all working “really well” together to ensure it goes quickly and efficiently, Robinson said. “It is important that all farmers in New Zealand who are supplying milk for processing to any dairy company participate.

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“The information we gain from the surveillance programme will help MPI make the right decisions about what to do next -- whether that is eradication, which is still

very much the intention. If it has spread further than is currently known or expected, then obviously the decision might change.” It is hoped to have

TONSILS HAVE IT WHEN IT comes to trying to detect the

cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis, it turns out that the tonsils have it. Testing the tonsils for the bacteria is by no means easy – effectively it is only feasible at slaughter – but it is giving the most accurate results, says MPI response coordinator David Yard. Yard explains that when the disease was first found here last July, New Zealand and Norway were the only two developed milk industry countries where Mycoplasma bovis was not already established. Other countries had “just learned to live” with it. That meant there had been a number of testing methodologies developed, but none was really applicable for what NZ wanted to use it for, he said. “Because we are truly going for eradication we have to have confidence in the technology and the methodology of the testing.” “So we’ve been experimenting with different methodologies, and we discovered that at slaughter we tried things like nasal swabbing and blood tests but by far the more accurate results we are getting at the moment are from examining the little crypts in the tonsils.” As in humans and several other species, crypts are crevices, sometimes very deep, in the tonsils. The bacteria “seem to like hanging out” in the crypts, says Yard.

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results about 10 working days after supply of the second sample vial. MPI will directly contact any farm with suspect results, while processors will contact farms that test clear.

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However, he said getting to the tonsils is only practical at slaughter so it is not a standard methodology to analyse a whole herd. “It’s only because we’ve been fortuitous and lot of these animals have been directed to slaughter that we’ve been able to look at these and discover that this is quite a good technique, or place to look, to find the bacteria.” Yard said the discovery hadn’t yet made much difference in the way MPI is handling the disease, “but it’s helped us when we do send animals to slaughter”. “We now know that we’ve got a target area we can go to which has given us more definitive results than the previous methodologies.” Yard agreed that the discovery could potentially help in management if, in the worst-case scenario, Mycoplasma bovis cannot be eradicated. He said blood tests can be non-specific because animals do not always raise antibodies against it. “That’s why whenever we test a herd we are having to take between 100 and 130 samples. “But if we have animals going to slaughter this is quite a good test to find out whether the herd is actually contaminated,” he said. “It’s given us more confidence that we now have a test that we will be able to use for diagnosis to determine whether a herd is positive or not.” – Nigel Malthus


NEWS  // 5

Farmers smile, stock brokers feel the heat PAM TIPA

DAIRY FARMERS would have

woken up to better news than equity fund managers last Wednesday says ANZ’s agri economist Con Williams. While global stock markets plunged, the Global Dairy Trade overall price index was up 6%, with whole milk powder (WMP) up 8%. Williams says this will bring year-to-date milk price indicators back in line with Fonterra’s $6.40/ kgMS forecast. Meanwhile Westpac upgraded its forecast to $6.50/kgMS (from $6.20/kgMS in December) and ASB held its forecast at this rate. However Westland’s board last week reviewed the company’s payout prediction, reducing it to a range of $6.20 - $6.50 per kgMS (previously $6.40 to $6.80). Williams says last week’s GDT

improvement was driven by lingering NZ supply concerns and more price sensitive buyers filling the Chinese post New Year void. “Price sensitive buyers have also been aided by a lower USD at recent auctions,” he says. “Where to now? Technically WMP has traded back toward the top of its recent range (US$2800 - $3200/t) and with Chinese New Year celebration’s coming up a pause is likely. “That said, supply developments in NZ will remain important. Things remain fairly patchy around the country at present and most still seem to need more follow-up rain to avoid an early end to the season. In saying that, the hotter weather pattern does seem to have been replaced recently.” Williams notes the next quarter WMP offer volumes will be 30% below last year, which is expected to cause a further squeeze higher in prices.

through the GDT Additionally given the falling the higher EUR/ milk flows.” USD is making There will be European pricing plenty of interless internationest in the January ally competitive, milk production allowing NZ furnumber due for ther breathing release this week, space he says. Michael Harvey “Looking from RaboRebeyond the shortsearch observed term support for last week’s GDT Con Williams, ANZ Oceania-sourced rise was the third increase in a row and its biggest product due to tighter supply in NZ, market sentiment still remains increase for 16 months. “There were price increases fairly bearish. European milk flows right across the dairy commodity are gaining momentum ahead of complex, with the all-important their seasonal peak and the key WMP price one of the best per- question remains where will the milk end up?” formers. They are still waiting on fresh “It was a not real surprise given the concern and uncertainty sur- data but RaboResearch knows rounding NZ milk flows this EU milk production was up 6.1% -- albeit against weak comparasummer. “We know Fonterra has been bles -- in November and gaining managing volumes on offer momentum.

KEY TRADING MARKETS UNDER A CLOUD WESTPAC SENIOR analyst Anne Boniface says fears of tighter international supplies, particularly for whole milk powder, helped dairy prices squeeze higher in the first few GlobalDairyTrade auctions of 2018. While Westpac has upgraded its forecast to $6.50/kgMS, slightly ahead of Fonterra’s estimate, it continues to caution against extrapolating recent trends too far into 2018.

“Our view remains that growth amongst NZ’s key trading partners is likely to slow this year, led by China. “Chinese policymakers are poised to follow through with moves to rebalance their economy, reduce the risks generated by rapid credit expansion and put the economy on a more sustainable growth path. “And while the consumer sector isn’t the focus for


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Chinese policymakers, they are unlikely to escape a period of slower growth completely unscathed.” ASB’s senior rural economist Nathan Penny observed that NZ weather’s wild ride continued with storms and flooding in some regions in January and February. “On the production side, we expect the improved weather will lead to production

growth of 1% compared to last season. That said, there will be wide variations across the country given the varying extent of storms, drought and rainfall.” Penny says they expect some of this price strength will be temporary. In particular, weather to date in 2018 has improved, with most regions getting substantial rain. “So production is likely to improve later in the season.”

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6 //  NEWS

Sheep milking set t SUDESH KISSUN

Farmers watch sheep being milked at Maui Milk’s Wakino Station near Taupo.

A NEW breed of milking sheep and a demonstration farm with a 64-bail internal rotary have set the ball rolling for the dairy sheep industry. The Wakino Station, on the western shores of

Lake Taupo, is the home Maui Milk, a joint venture between the Waituhi Kuratau Trust and Shanghai food company Be Well. The JV has milked 3000 ewes on a neighboring farm run by the trust since 2015; lessons learned are being implemented in the green-field

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development at Waikino Station which adds another 2000 ewes to the tally. Last month the Wakino Station hosted an open day; about 300 farmers, rural bankers and accountants attended. Maui Milk general manager Peter Gatley says there is plenty of interest sheep milking. He says New Zealand needs diversification in agricultural exports and every farmer wants a high value product, stable pricing and environmental sustainability. “We admire what the dairy goat industry has achieved, but we want to capitalise on NZ expertise in both sheep farming and pastoral systems for milk production.” A hot topic among visiting farmers at the open day was profitability. Gatley points out that the parallels with other types of farming are strong. “Once you have decided on your farm system, the costs are largely fixed. We already know what the expenses look like, but there is a lot of potential to increase income from milk. “In the past, large scale operators in this country have struggled with lactation yields per ewe of only 100 to 150 litres. Barn systems in other countries put out 600L plus, but we look to the hybrid grazing system in France where 400L is standard.

“Grazing offers us a competitive advantage in production cost, but it is also key to our product positioning. It is also the preference of most potential new suppliers in NZ. They don’t want to spend their life in a barn.” The system at the Waituhi Kuratau farm is all outdoors; there are no barns. The Wakino Station has two Aztech barns with feed conveyors. Gatley says the barns are there for lambing and occasional use when there are climate extremes. “Having both systems enables us to compare the two. We may find both Sheep waiting to be milked at Wakino Station.

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NEWS  // 7

t to take off Peter Gatley (left) and Jake Chardon.

work well and it becomes a matter of preference, just as it is in the dairy cattle industry.” Payment is expected to be based on milksolids. “Like the dairy goat industry we measure total solids including lactose, and we aspire to match the dairy goat payout at about $17/kg. “Sheep milk is about 18% solids so that works out at $3/L, so the prospect of a ewe earning over $1000 is possible, but two things need to happen. We need to demonstrate a big lift in yield, and our marketers need to per-

form well to tap into the top end of the market. The dairy goat guys have done it, but they have a 30 year head start.” A milking demonstration impressed everyone as ewes competed to get on the 64-bail internal rotary imported from France. At a rate of 1000 per hour with two milkers cupping, and automatic cup removers, it was an impressive performance. Maui Milk does not expect any new conversions this year, but advises farmers who are contemplating a move in 2019 or

2020 to first think about breeding the sheep. “The lowest cost and lowest risk part of the whole exercise is breeding the animals, but it takes time and no amount of money can turn back the clock. “Putting some rams out this year would provide first-cross hoggets to milk next year, or firstcross two-tooths in 2020 backed up by secondcross hoggets. We have rams available from our ET and AI programmes and potential new suppliers can lease these to get underway,” says Gatley.

NEW BREED OF MILKER GENETICS IS the primary focus for the business whose members have plenty of experience. Peter Gatley spent over 20 years in LIC and founded Deer Improvement. Marion Benoit brings a masters degree in genetics from the centre of the milking sheep universe in the south of France. Jake Chardon is known world-wide as a geneticist and chief executive of Dutch cooperative CRV, one of the truly international genetics companies. Gatley and Chardon met when LIC and CRV formed an alliance in the mid-1990s, and Chardon came to New Zealand to semi-retire on a small sheep farm in the hills near Cambridge. He ended up running the Deer Improvement genetics programme and consults to the Dairy Goat Cooperative. In 2017 a large volume of East Friesian embryos and Lacaune semen was imported from the UK

and France, respectively. These two breeds are complemented by the Awassi, another northern hemisphere breed, and all three will contribute to forming a specialist hybrid to be known as the Southern Cross™ breed, selected on performance in NZ. Chardon says that “until now sheep milking in this country has depended on a very small sample of 1980s East Friesian genetics that arrived in 1992 to put some milk in our meat breeds. No one has ever milked a world class dairy sheep in NZ, but we now have lambs that carry those genes, and they will milk in spring this year”. The Lacaune is expected to make the biggest contribution to the new hybrid because it has been subject to rigorous selection on all the relevant traits. These include milk volume, components, udder conformation, temperament, feet and legs, and longevity.


8 //  NEWS

Green light for formula plant SUDESH KISSUN

An artist’s impression of Happy Valley Milk’s plant in Otorohanga.

LAND USE consent has

been granted for a new

$230 million infant formula plant on the outskirts of of Otorohanga, Waikato. Happy Valley Milk’s land consent application





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was strongly opposed by some residents including Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Duncan Coull, who milks 700 cows on two farms 6km from the proposed site. The opponents queried the economic viability of the project and expressed concern about increased traffic and noise levels. However, independent hearing commissioners Alan Withy and Phil Michell last week approved the application with 73 conditions, including factory size and noise control. The Otorohanga District Council received 69 submissions -- 34 in support, 30 opposed and four neutral. The commissioners ruled that the proposed milk plant will have significant economic benefits for the Otorohanga township and wider district. “We have given careful consideration to the issues raised by Mr Coull, and others, who question the economic viability of the proposal and whether or not Happy Valley Milk Ltd will be able to secure milk supply contracts and operate in a commercially viable manner. “The reality of the situation is that if the applicant cannot secure milk contracts, the proposal will not proceed and that is a matter for the applicant and milk suppliers to negotiate. As Ms BarryPiceno (Happy Valley lawyer Kate Barry-Piceno) noted, case law has made it clear that those types of economic viabil-

ity decisions are for ‘the boardroom, not the courtroom’ and we accept that.” While the commissioners accept that project-related traffic is of concern to neighbours and other road users, they are satisfied that the proposal meets accepted standards. On noise effects, they were satisfied “that the noise limits proposed for construction and operational traffic are appropriate”. Happy Valley Milk founder and director Randolph van der Burgh says his company is pleased with the decision. The company is now making submissions to the Waikato Regional Council on water use; construction work will start once water use consents are received. Van der Burgh says the company had planned to start production in the 2019-2020 season but the project will be delayed about six months by the lengthy land use consent process. Farmers around the factory will be offered milk supply contracts once construction work starts. “We will be doing some soft selling but we’ll wait until construction work starts [before we] approach farmers,” he told Dairy News. “We expect some farmers to switch supply to us; others may want to stay with Fonterra… it’s entirely up to each farmer.”

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NEWS  // 9

Westland back up to speed NIGEL MALTHUS

WESTLAND MILK Products is com-

pletely back to full collection and production at its Hokitika factory after the devastation caused by ex-cyclone Fehi. The West Coast and Nelson regions bore the brunt of the storm, which struck late on Thursday February 1, smashing roads and other coastal infrastructure, causing slips and bringing down many power lines. The power outages affected many areas including Hokitika, where Westland’s main factory is located. Without power, Westland was unable to process milk and had to send it to other dairy companies in Canterbury. Storm damage also blocked many roads so tankers could not get through to some supplier farms. Some had to recycle milk to their effluent systems, either when they reached their onfarm storage capacity or if power outages meant milk could not be kept refrigerated. Westland Milk Products chief executive Toni Brendish says the co-op’s milk collection and processing had now returned to normal. “From the moment the first impact of the storm was realised, our focus was on collecting as much milk as possible and forwarding it to other proces-

West Coast farmer Richard Reynold’s flooded farm.

sors to avoid waste,” said Brendish. “Immediately after the storm we were unable to reach about 40% of our suppliers, but responders acted quickly. Each hour after the storm first hit we were able to get to more and more farms. By Sunday evening we were finally able to receive milk at the Hokitika factory again, and from Monday morning were able to recommence processing.” One farmer who had to dump about three days milk was Richard Reynolds, who farms on the coast at Barrytown, about 25km north of Greymouth. He had one paddock inundated by saltwater and lost about about 1km of

“Each hour after the storm first hit we were able to get to more and more farms.” – Toni Brendish

fencing. One neighbour lost two big sheds and another lost power. Although Reynolds’ power stayed on, they all had to dump milk because the road to the south was washed out. However, he reckoned the area got off lightly compared to some. The

inundated paddock was “not too bad” because the storm also brought a lot of rain to wash away the salt. “Some of it’s browned off but even the stuff’s that browned off is starting to shoot back.” But Reynolds said he had also lost an estimated 200kg/ha of grass cover from the rest of the farm simply from wind damage, leaving the farm a bit short of feed on the back of the unusually hot dry summer. “We had it and now it’s gone. I was quite looking forward to grazing it.” Brendish said it was far too soon to put a figure on the amount of milk lost or the potential economic impact on

the company or individual suppliers. “It will take a while to get all the information from suppliers as to how many litres they had to put through their effluent disposal systems.” Brendish said it had been a tough time for its farming families. “On Monday and yesterday (Waitangi Day) I visited shareholders around Hokitika and also further south. I saw for myself the damage caused by the storm and also heard how communities worked together to support each other. “We expect to give shareholders a detailed storm damage report at scheduled March meetings,” she said.

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10 //  NEWS


Mad mother nature ‘BIZARRE’ IS how

A DWINDLING supply of sup-

plementary feed is one problem facing Southland farmers working through drought. Federated Farmers Southland president Allan Baird, a dairy farmer near Dipton, says the market for palm kernel (PKE) has tightened because a lot of PKE was fed out in November, December and January. “A lot of the suppliers’ stocks have been consumed and now they are restricting [what they have] to farmers with contracts; that’s taken away some of the short-term supply. You’re never quite sure how much to contract so you contract 30-40% of what you need and hope to pick up the slack if it’s required. “Every summer is different in Southland,” Baird says. “Some

years you may get away without needing PKE at all whereas this summer is a 15-20-year dry period and it’s really been in demand.” Reasonable rain fell a couple of weeks ago, with coastal areas getting 50mm and inland 100mm, he says. In Dipton they got about 60mm. Some parts of the province are worse hit by the drought than others: there are pockets where it is bad and others where it is not as bad. Traditionally there are places where in summer it is relatively easy for dairy farmers -- from the coast up towards Dipton where Baird farms. “The southwest rains traditionally come in and keep those areas in good shape. But this season the rains have come more from the

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northwest and so properties in Mossburn through to where I farm here in Dipton have received still below-average rain; but we have had some rain so it’s not as dire as other parts of the province.” Farmers in Southland have seen their options narrowed. They rely on summer crops such as turnips and grass silage. Irrigated farms have found themselves in trouble with low river flows causing some irrigation schemes to be shut down; not enough rain has fallen to recharge rivers and groundwater. Now farmers must wait and see what the rest of February brings, Baird says. Normally it’s Southland’s driest month. – Peter Burke @dairy_news

DairyNZ’s general manager for extension, Andrew Reid, describes the current season with its weird mixture of floods and droughts in regions that normally don’t get these conditions. He says the recent declaration of drought in Southland and Otago followed by the massive deluge that hit parts of the West Coast are examples of the unusual weather experienced by dairy farmers nationwide. “If we go back four to five months to spring, we would have seen in some areas the wettest spring ever experienced, as in Waikato and Bay of Plenty

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we get, Reid says. and southern regions of From March onwards the North Island. farmers should start “Whereas Southland thinking about what next experienced the most season might look like, favourable conditions they’ve ever had in spring capturing what they can this season but not comand then suddenly the promising their operation; drought declaration. One they should minute we’re set up properly talking about for the 2018-19 saturated soils season. and the next “Once you minute it’s get into March, drought.” make sure you Reid says have your feed this shows plan sorted so how rapidly Andrew Reid, DairyNZ you know what things can are the critical points on change: in Southland a your farm calendar and drought at this time of when you need to make year is unheard of. those key decisions on The rapidly changdrying off. ing weather has affected “At this point the focus farms in different ways and in some cases farmers needs to be next year, not this year, and farmhave benefited from this: ers should be starting to some regions are getting do that planning now so bumper crops of maize. they know what their feed “Bizarre is the best supply is like for the rest way of describing what of the year.” has happened so far this DairyNZ consulting season. The flash floodofficers nationwide will ing on parts of the West Coast is a good example.” be telling farmers to be mindful of what they’re Production varies from region to region and paying for supplementary feed and to focus on even within regions, but making the most of pasnationwide it appears to ture, Reid says. be down by about 3%. “A couple of key mesThe dry conditions sages are ‘make money have some farmers considering drying off or sell- from milk’ and ‘it’s easier to take the cows to the ing cull animals early; others have gone to once- feed than take the feed to the cows’.” a-day or 16-hour milking He says farmers “They have all made must keep aware of appropriate decisions Mycoplasma bovis, given that in many cases ensuring that while they feed supply was down prepare for winter by and cow condition falling shifting animals around and the medium outlook they maintain sound for the season was pretty biosecurity. And in some bleak. But it doesn’t take areas – especially the long for things to turn lower North Island – around after a decent humidity is increasing the spell of rain.” risk of facial eczema. Much will depend on – Peter Burke what sort of an autumn

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12 //  NEWS

UK vet for Massey PETER BURKE

Jonathan Huxley

A VET with a dairy background in the UK is to head Massey University’s School of Veterinary Science. Professor Jonathan Huxley is now professor of cattle health and production at the University of Nottingham, England.

Massey University’s vice-chancellor announced last year that the school of veterinary science was to be a stand-alone operation. Huxley was raised on a dairy farm in North Wales and gained his PhD on the subject of bovine mastitis. He first lectured at Bristol University before joining Nottingham in 2006. He is recognised in the UK and

Europe as specialist in dairy cow health and is expert in cow welfare and the behaviour of dairy cattle. He has appeared as a vet on many television and radio farming programmes in Britain. Massey vice-chancellor, Professor Jan Thomas, says she looks forward to Huxley starting later this year. She says his academic credentials and leadership will ensure

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that veterinary science at Massey University remains world-leading in research and education. “Professor Huxley’s expertise in the dairy industry aligns strongly with one of Massey University’s strengths and with a key industry for New Zealand,” she says.

WORK HAS begun on a new food research facility to support New Zealand’s exports. The $45 million AgResearch and Massey University Food Science Facility, on the university’s Manawatū campus, will have 140 staff and students from the two organisations and from the Government-funded centre of research excellence, the Riddet Institute. It will have laboratories and shared spaces for education and research into meat and dairy in a three-storey, 5000 square metre building that will be NZ’s largest agrifood innovation centre. It will also be a key aspect of FoodHQ – a partnership to grow NZ’s reputation in food and beverage innovation that includes AgResearch and Massey University. AgResearch chief executive Dr Tom Richardson says local firm McMillan & Lockwood will lead the construction.  “At this stage, the plan is to have the building completed by October 2019. The occupants will include AgResearch staff already based in Palmerston North, and others working in the food sciences who will be relocating to the city,” Richardson says.   “This new joint-facility concept – similar to what AgResearch is doing with Lincoln University near Christchurch – will accelerate innovation by having world-class talent working together under one roof. “For food research it means the opportunity for new generation products that offer new textures and flavours and improve human health and nutrition.” Massey vice-chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says the facility is another development for the university and its Manawatū campus, and integral to Massey’s collaborations with research institutions and other organisations and businesses helping grow NZ’s food exports and reputation for quality and innovation. “Part of Massey’s strategy is that all our campuses will be innovation ecosystems, magnets for smart enterprises and operated in partnerships founded on respect, trust and mutual benefit,” Thomas says. “The creation of this facility epitomises those goals we have set for ourselves and our partners.”


NEWS  // 13

Greenhouse gas course a hit with advisors ADDRESSING GREENHOUSE gases onfarm is a top priority for the dairy sector. Over the last three months, reports DairyNZ, climate change workshops nationwide have attracted hundreds of rural professionals keen to help farmers understand New Zealand’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. NZ aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030; that would restrict them to the level of 2005. A course was also held at Massey University and similar workshops will be held mid- Kara Lok year for dairy farmers. The workshops and courses are part of DairyNZ’s part in the Dairy Action for Climate Change, as is research now underway on technologies to mitigate farm methane and nitrous oxide emissions. DairyNZ senior climate change advisor Kara Lok says while there is no silver bullet to reduce on farm methane and nitrous oxide emissions, DairyNZ is educating dairy farmers on options available now to address emissions. “The first round of workshops were targeted at rural professionals because they work alongside farmers, so they are in a unique position to influence change on farms. The next workshops will be targeted at dairy farmers.” The courses cover how greenhouse gases are calculated on NZ farms, how farm emissions contribute to global emissions and climate change, and they tell farmers about the mitigation options now available to them. Michael Edmondson, an environmen-

tal advisor for Synlait who attended the course, said he found it informative. “I’d used Overseer in the past but never the Overseer greenhouse gas models to see how different solutions reduce emissions output. “We worked through the theoretical models to calculate how many hectares of trees a farm would need to plant to offset its emissions, or whether a better option would be to retire some land. It got us thinking about what the best option is for each farm.” Andrew Kempson, a Fonterra sustainable dairy advisor, said he is now better informed to talk to farmers about how they can ‘future proof’ their farming businesses. “With the new focus recently on farming and its related biological emissions, my learning the fundamentals of greenhouse gases and seeing first-hand the R&D has given me a wide range of information to provide farmers. “Rural professionals can give accurate and timely advice to farmers, and the course provided the information in an easily digestible form.” Ross Abercrombie, a project manager in the On Farm R&D team, says all environmental advisors should learn more. “The more consultants and dairy advisors there are who understand these issues, the better. It’s important they can talk about greenhouse gases with farmers because emission reduction will become an increasingly prominent issue.” For details of courses in 2018 visit www.

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proving scheme. Most are the result of a contract mating between a top cow and one of LIC’s top bulls; all have passed inspection by LIC’s breeding team. Simon Worth, livestock selection manager, says the bull calves are chosen for their potential to produce high performing, efficient dairy cows. The bull calf’s parentage, DNA profile and physical traits are all taken into account. “We personally eyeball each calf to make sure of their physical condition.” The bull calves will now be put through their paces, to see if they will be up to joining the Premier Sires.

Each will be named and reared to maturity, undergoing health testing, vaccinations and training. Their first semen collection will take place at one year of age, and their first daughters be born the following year. Worth says getting a bull to Premier Sires status is a long game and only about 1% of all the calves inspected by LIC each year will make it. “It takes four years for a bull to become daughter proven, which is when we can get the first lot of production and conformation information from their two-year-old daughters. Calves that enter the sire proving scheme are bought by LIC.

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14 //  NEWS

NZ needs more water storage IRRIGATION NZ says

Without water crops don’t grow; a fodder beet crop on a Canterbury farm photographed in early January.

water storage is crucial in helping provide a reliable supply of water and for food production. Its chief executive, Andrew Curtis, says Cape-

town (pop. 4 million), expecting soon to run out of water, is showing “poor future planning for the effects of climate change on water infrastructure”. “By ratifying the Paris

A good start goes a long way.

Agreement in 2016, NZ confirmed it will plan for and take action to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Developing more water storage to supply towns, rural communities and for food and energy production is important to protect the future wellbeing of Kiwis,” he says. A new draft government report, ‘Adapting to Climate Change in NZ’, highlights that droughts are expected to occur more often and to be more severe, as are more intense rainfall and floods. January 2018 was the hottest month ever recorded in NZ. And in

Andrew Curtis

“Maintaining adequate river flows and river ecosystems is important for our future, so is looking at options to store water. Overseas water storage projects have combined flood protection works

Overseas water storage projects have combined flood protection works with water storage for urban and rural use.

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2017 shortages or surpluses of water caused huge problems: severe flooding in several regions in autumn and winter were followed by droughts in spring and summer. “Many areas went for several weeks with minimal rainfall this summer. Where water storage was available it played an important role in ensuring locally grown produce was still available in supermarkets. But there’s still a lot of work needed to improve the resilience of our communities by improving our water storage,” says Curtis. The 2012–2013 drought in the entire North Island and the West Coast show the impact climate change could have on NZ’s economy and communities. It was among the most severe in these areas in at least 40 years. The economic impact is reckoned at least $1.5 billion by Treasury.  According to NIWA, NZ now gets an average of 550 billion cubic metres of rain each year, of which 805 million cu. m flows out to sea, supporting river ecosystems along the way. About 25m cu.m is used for irrigation, urban and industrial use, with the remainder evaporating.

with water storage for urban and rural use. “There are may options available. Projects to recharge underground water supplies through wetlands which provide a habitat for wildlife have also been completed as a cost-effective way of providing water when needed in Europe and America,” Curtis says.   In Timaru, Oamaru and Kerikeri irrigation schemes supply drinking water and farmers with stock water. Modern irrigation schemes can also be designed to provide environmental benefits by allowing river flows to be supplemented in times of low flows. Curtis says IrrigationNZ is pleased that the government has indicated it will honour existing Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd commitments to support irrigation scheme modernisation and development. “By 2050 our population is expected to reach 6 million. We’ll need to feed more people from the same land area, and supply water and power to new homes and businesses. Water is critical to our nation’s wellbeing. We must continue planning today to ensure we can meet New Zealand’s needs in the future.”


NEWS  // 15

Farmers too busy to pause for that cuppa PETER BURKE

IT’S VERY difficult at present for

farmers to find time to look much at what’s happening beyond the farm gate. The director of the Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre (FLRC) at Massey University, Professor Mike Hedley, says in the last year or two the frequency and nature of unpredictable storms -- not to mention market volatility -- have forced farmers to make looking after their livelihood their main priority. Many simply have not had time to look beyond their farms to being part of consultative groups with councils, which they normally do. Massey last week held the 31st FLRC workshop, attended by 250 scientists, rural professionals, policy makers and scientists. The focus was on farm environmental planning, and looking at science, policy and practice -- including how to engage farmers and other community groups in this process

and how to get farmers into discussions on farming within new limits. But Hedley says farmers are at present in a reactive mode as they cope with bizarre seasonal fluctuations that test their management skills. Their key focus is on having enough supplements to get them through the season. “From Horowhenua north we have next to no grass silage anywhere to match the maize silage which at last is growing well. We have somehow got to have some protein to balance the pH in rumens,” he says. Dairy farmers are under a lot of pressure from criticism in the mainstream media, Hedley says. Most farmers are not equipped to deal with this. “If you have been educated for hard business you can deal with the hard knocks, but if you are a dairy farmer who hasn’t been educated for hard business it’s very difficult to take bad press. That bad press is undermining the morale of dairy farmers at a time when some environmentalists are giving them a battering.”

He says right now it’s hard for farmers to focus on issues such as improving the environment given that they are preoccupied with just keeping their basic farm business running. Anyone wanting to engage with farmers must create an easy pathway for farmers to do this. Hedley points to one regional council that has made a series of DVDs on best practice management in catchments; these make it easier for farmers to get key messages. He says people often talk about incentivising farmers to change, but achieving this requires someone to sit down and write a business plan. Increasingly farmers must hire rural professionals to help them prepare farm management plans. These are often complex and require people with special skills and good understanding of council regulations. Also discussed was the large contribution farmers make to ecosystems and the overall environment -- for which they get little credit.

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ONE-STOP AG SHOP EXCEPT FOR veterinary science, all Massey University agricultural academic courses are now in one school – the School of Agriculture headed by Professor Peter Kemp. He says it is exciting to have got all the agriculture and resources and staff into one school, also including animal science. The new arrangement has the components of the former school of agriculture becoming part of a much larger school including agronomy and farm management, soils, the Massey farms and all aspect of horticulture. “So we are better integrated and able to be more strategic across the whole range of agriculture than perhaps in the past. It’s not like we’ve done a bad job, but by getting synergy across the whole range of agricultural activity it will be a better deal for students. There will be no reason why an animal science student won’t see agronomy and soil management as part of what they may be doing.”

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COOLING another building, but no longer. And the change will also be positive for the wider primary sector. “It’s part of Massey improving its ability to deal with the primary sector – the one-stop shop approach if you like. Everyone including the environmental side will be in this new ag school. It will be a lot easier for all the sectors, be it horticulture, dairy and sheep and beef, to know who they are dealing with.”

Kemp says ag student numbers at Massey seem set to remain static this year: there is no sign of them being up and they may possibly be slightly down -- disappointing given that the agricultural sector is doing pretty well. “Sometimes we get this knee-jerk reaction. People may feel dairy may be down a bit but the reality is that jobs don’t go away. The professional jobs you get with a degree from Massey are always still there.”

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16 //  WORLD

Arla spending big EUROPEAN DAIRY

co-op Arla Foods will spend $850 million this year to expand its business. Arla Foods’ board met in London recently to approve the expansion plan put forward by management; the money will go into new, expanded and improved production capacity as well as innovative technology. Arla chairman Ake Hantoft says all investments by Arla Foods are made to secure long-term growth and profit for its 11,200 farmer owners across Europe. “Arla has a history of good investing for sus-

tained growth. The board has decided to increase our investments… because we have identified new projects and investments with short and long term potential for significant return. “The business growth these investments will create for our company will generate growth opportunities for our farmer owners. We see the investments as essential to the future of our business.” Arla grew 50% in the last decade and now operates in 120 countries. It has three key areas in view for investment: meeting the growing

AUSTRALIAN DAIRY farmers are welcoming

Arla is growing its global business.

demand for dairy, healthy and natural products that match consumer lifestyles; leading in whey; and sustainable food production. While global milk production continues to be volatile, dairy consump-

LACTOSE-FREE PRODUCTION BOOST MORE HEALTHY and natural products that match consumer lifestyles show strongly in Arla Foods’ investment plan. The company is attuned to the major food trends influencing consumer demand for health dairy products as part of a natural and balanced diet. Notable in lactose-free dairy production, Arla will use its experience in its Scandinavian markets, planning to spend $95m in preparing to make its Lactofree products at its Aylesbury site in the UK. In Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, disposable income is increas-


ing and families want more dairy products, Arla says. It plans to expand the production site in Pronsfeld, Germany, that supplies milk powder and UHT milk for many Arla Foods growth markets outside Europe. Arla’s ingredients business gets $170m for new technology and capacity expansions in whey production. In Sweden a further $8m will go to adding a whey processing capacity at Falkenberg dairy that can concentrate the whey from the site’s cottage cheese production and add more value through Arla Foods Ingredients.

RENEWABLE ENERGY IN LINE with the co-op’s Good Growth 2020 strategy, it has 46 projects and $25m of spending in view for sustainability. The projects will help Arla Foods reduce carbon emissions and pursue its goal of having half its energy come from renewable sources like biomass, wind and water by 2020. For example, a large biogas facility by Arla’s dairy site in Nr. Vium, Denmark, will supply heat for making milk powder.

tion worldwide is growing faster than it ever has. About 50% of the new investment will be on projects aimed at growing Arla Foods’ sales outside Europe; its fastest growing markets are Middle East and North Africa, China and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the US. Two thirds of this year’s spending will be to raise Arla’s European production capacity: $450m

in Denmark, $140m in the UK, $130m in Sweden and $110m in Germany; $60m is earmarked for production in other countries. The aim is to grow the co-op’s positions in key dairy categories and markets where Arla is already a key player, says chief executive Peder Tuborgh. “Our ambition is to create an even stronger foundation for our farmer owners and our future business growth.”


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Fonterra’s decision to spend A$165 million on plant upgrades in Victoria and Tasmania. United Dairyfarmers of Victoria says this is a positive sign about the health of the sector, but it adds that rebuilding trust will require more than this announcement. “We welcome investment in our industry, which is necessary to maintain and expand our international comparative advantage. It is a positive step. But we are conscious there is still a way to go towards rebuilding trust in the industry,” says Adam Jenkins, UDV president. Fonterra announced it will spend A$165m this financial year in Victoria and Tasmania, with $130m of that adding 500 million litres to its capacity. The Stanhope cheese plant in northern Victoria will have A$125m spent on expand its facilities. “The Australian dairy industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise and investments like the Stanhope facility are important for the continued viability of the sector,” says Jenkins. Victoria’s dairy output is integral to Australia’s export capability, food services and ingredients, and to growing its retail markets. “In Victoria the cheese plant will help unlock more opportunities in several important export markets, including Japan and China.” Some spending will be on projects in western Victoria -- A$13.5m at Cobden, A$8.6m at Dennington and a further A$7m to expand Darnum and Bayswater. René Dedoncker, managing director of Fonterra Australia, says customers want trusted supply options out of Australia, especially cheese, whey and nutritional powders which are in high demand. “We have a clear strategy that is delivering sustainable returns. To create value, we need to invest to stay ahead of the demand curve. These investments support our aim to secure positive returns back to our farmers on both sides of the Tasman.” He says Fonterra Australia will play to its strengths in cheese, whey, nutritionals and butter, increasing production capacity to meet rising domestic and global demand, but filling its expanded capacity will require securing more supply. Dedoncker says the Stanhope expansion will double its cheese making capacity, adding a further 35,000 tonnes for cheddar and mozzarella. Stanhope can currently produce 45,000t of cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, parmesan, pecorino, romano and ricotta. At Fonterra Australia’s largest site Cobden, A$13.5m is earmarked for robotic palletisers and improvements to the butter plant that produces Western Star, and another A$8.6m will go into Dennington for a new 25kg packing line for nutritional powders and efficiency improvements. A$9.7m will be spent at Wynyard on increasing annual cheddar production by about 3,900t and increasing the daily milk volumes processed from 1.3m to 1.5m L. At Darnum, A$7m will go into making more nutritional powders, whole and skim milk powders for domestic and export markets. About 36 jobs will result, plus the necessary construction work. Dedoncker says more capacity requires more milk and Fonterra Australia is working to secure this. Fonterra Australia’s total milk intake is now 2 billion L in Victoria and Tasmania. The company has employed 15 more drivers after spending A$8m on 14 tankers in Victoria and Tasmania.


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Meat sector needs more dairy input ONE OF three candidates standing in the upcoming Beef + Lamb NZ directorship election is calling for more governance diversity. Northland’s Murray Jagger says a worrying decline in farmer confidence about how their levies are being spent, and the fluctuating profitability of beef and lamb, are sure signs governance must change. He is concerned that about 50% of farmers who pay a levy to BLNZ are not satisfied with how their money is spent. The most recent BLNZ annual report (2015-16) shows that farmer confidence in the future of beef and

sheep also decreased by 26%, to about 30% in the last 12 months. “Sheep and beef farm profitability decreased by 20% in that last financial year,” Jagger says. “Those figures concern me. Despite stronger market prices for sheep meat and beef over the last year, we must continue to leverage the collective value of our meat levy through industry-good activities and achieve a more profitable red meat sector and more resilient and prosperous communities. “Dairy farmers contribute levies, so it makes sense that they see a return. This election is not just about the beef

HOW TO VOTE VOTING PAPERS will be posted to registered farmers on February 12; farmers not registered must register to be able to vote. To be eligible to vote, a livestock farmer must have owned at least 250 sheep or 50 beef cattle or 100 dairy cattle on June 30, 2017. Voting papers must be returned by March 16; internet voting is available. Check if you’re registered by calling 0800-666032 or emailing

and lamb industry but about the red meat sector, so dairy farmers should register to vote and have their say. “With dairy cattle numbers increasing 56% over the last ten years, beef cattle numbers declining by 31% and sheep by 40%, we must ensure our levy is used effectively to provide tools, solutions and research that enhance our competitive position.” One such enhancement, he suggests, is in breeding practices, with opportunities for farmers to see an increase in the return they get from their bobby calves. Jagger, the Whangarei candidate in the northern North Island district election, farms 650 dairy cows and 250 dairy/beef (Jersey/Angus) at Whangarei Heads. He has been breeding his dairy stock with Angus for 35 years, to improve the quality of the beef. “Most farmers currently breed for either dairy or beef. But if we could breed for both – with short gestation, easy calving and better-quality meat – there would be a greater return for

Murray Jagger and wife Helen on their farm.

farmers.” He says breeds such as Herefords, Angus and Wagyu are examples of animals with high-quality meat. The Wagyu is in demand from Asia, where marbled meat is popular. “We can increase the gross value from the national herd by having a beef focus.” He says his onfarm breeding practices, and his role on the beef advisory group for Beef + Lamb Genetics, inspired him to run for election. Jagger is running for a position against Martin Coup (Aria) and Ross Wallis (Raglan) as a director and chairman of BLNZ; James Parsons is not seeking re-election as chairman. Jagger says dairy farmers need to register with BLNZ to vote, to ensure they have a say.

“Beef and dairy operators are part of the red meat sector and all pay a levy to BLNZ; 70% of the beef kill is from the dairy industry,” he said. Jagger is in a governance role with LIC but will retire from that next year. He says profitability is decreasing for beef farmers as land gets converted from beef and sheep to dairy. Other challenges he sees for the sector include the price of wool and the impact of synthetic carpets and materials in the market. He says strong governance and diversity can raise social and political pressure that bear on farmers’ “social licence” to operate. Other challenges he sees are environmental, animal welfare, biosecurity and market access, and the need for farmers to be better educated about succession plans.



The bartender, the contract milker and the drone pilot A FORMER cocktail

bartender, an award-winning contract milker and a drone-flying drystock farmer will face off in the Taranaki/Manawatu regional final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest. Farmers will head for Wellington for the event on February 24, believed to be the first time the regional final has been held in the capital city. The contest is one of seven regional finals; the final will be held in Invercargill in July. Vet student Emma Dangen (23) hopes her years of study at Massey University will help her outsmart the boys. “Competing has always

Will Taylor

been a dream of mine,” she says, facing her final year as a bachelor of veterinary science student. Her brother Tim is competing in the northern regional final. Also in contest is Kimbolton contract milker Michael McCombs, the Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year in 2015. He is a volunteer fire-

fighter and spent six months mustering cattle in the Australian outback. “I’d hardly ridden a horse before I got there, but I knew enough not to come off too many times,” he says. He is one of three finalists from Marton Young Farmers. The club’s vice-chairman, Will Taylor (26), is a Feilding technical field rep for PGG Wrightson. “I enjoy getting out there and benchmarking myself against other professionals in the industry,” he said. Will spent three years driving tractors and combine harvesters in West Australia. “I’ve also worked as a bartender at a cocktail bar

Nick Brown

in Palmerston North,” he adds. His clubmate Lachlan Fee (26) is in his second season managing a 600cow dairy farm at Opiki. He was stoked to win a district contest after placing third twice. “It seemed like I was always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” he says. Nick Brown (30) is

the oldest contestant in the Taranaki/Manawatu regional final. “This will be my last chance at winning,” said the Diploma in Agriculture graduate of Lincoln University. He and his wife Sophie use a drone to make video blogs about life on their Toko sheep and beef farm. It’ll be the first time competing by Dylan Brunton (25), Nick Brown’s friend. “My strengths are any modules involving machinery like tractors and quads,” he says. He has a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in ecology and zoology from Massey Uni-

Michael McCombs

versity and is a herd manager on a 500-cow dairy farm at Cardiff. Guy Harvey contract milks 220 cows in nearby Kaponga. “I enjoy the networking side of the contest; it’s a great opportunity to meet people,” said the keen cook, who was born on the farm behind the Tui Brewery at Mangatai-

noka. They’ll be in contest with Kieran McCahon (21), who recently completed a bachelor of agricultural science course at Massey University. He grew up on a 1000cow dairy farm near Dargaville in Northland. “In 2017, I was one of two New Zealanders to attend a youth summit organised by Syngenta examining issues facing smallholder farmers in Vietnam,” he said. The regional final will be held at Crawford Green, Miramar on February 24, hosted by Te Radar. It’s the 50th anniversary of the competition which started as a national radio quiz.




Are we being served well?

MILKING IT... Big supply switch

Show bans stock

Now it’s pea milk

Cow in a dish

FONTERRA HAS lost the supply of 4 million kgMS to rival Westland Milk. Southern Pastures, which owns nine Canterbury farms, is switching supply from the 2018-19 season; it has also spent $6 million buying Westland shares at $1.50/share. As a result, Southern Pastures becomes the largest shareholder in Westland. Ex-All Black captain Graham Mourie is one of the principals of Southern Pastures.

MYCOPLASMA BOVIS is now starting to affect agricultural shows. About 40 cows and heifers were barred from last week’s New Zealand Dairy Event (NZDE) at Feilding because of concerns about the spread of M.bovis. Cattle from the South Island and Hawke’s Bay, where the disease had been found, were unable to attend. On January 16, organisers advised there would be no exclusions from the event unless cattle were under movement control. But they changed their mind after a letter from Dairy NZ, supported by MPI, advised that although the risk was low there was further testing of farms to do and not all links were yet known.

A RECENT study published by McGill University in Canada claimed that cow milk is superior in nutrition to plant-based milks such as coconut or rice milk. But vegan milk brand Ripple says the study falls flat, especially when compared with its unique pea-protein-based milk. Ripple’s co-founder Neil Renninger, PhD, spoke with FoodNavigatorUSA about the research and about the company’s product. He agreed that some dairy alternatives aren’t as good as they could be, but he reiterated that Ripple can make “products that are actually superior to dairy from a nutrition standpoint”.

AFTER DECADES of effort, scientists have managed to derive embryonic stem (ES) cells from cows and keep them in their primitive state in a dish. Access to these cells, which can become all kinds of tissues, e.g. skin, muscle or bone, could make it easier to tweak and preserve useful genetic traits of beef and dairy breeds. That in turn could lead to animals that produce more milk or more tender meat, face fewer complications in giving birth, or have greater resistance to diseases. The discovery might also open up new ways to study the cow’s basic development and to model human diseases. “I thought I would never see this happen in my lifetime,” said Jose Cibelli, a developmental biologist at Michigan State University, one of a team that tried to harvest bovine ES cells in the late 1990s.

THE PACE of the agribusiness sector has moved up many notches in recent years and is set to get even faster as technology and science play an increasing role in how and where we produce our food. The skills required by the sector have changed. Not only do we need good agricultural scientists, we need engineers, IT people, statisticians and people with business management and human resource skills. The good news is this is happening; universities such as Massey are reconfiguring their courses to produce graduates with wider skill sets designed to meet the demands of the future. But at a recent conference one could be excused for thinking that while the farming sector is moving onwards and upwards like a well drilled army, the bureaucracy is nothing but a ragtag bunch that mirrors ‘Dads Army’. Hearing a group from a regional council speak on their various attempts to engage farmers, one could forgive the people of land throwing up their hands in horror then doing no more than the law -- with all its silly quirks -- requires. Thirty years ago when regional councils were created out of planning authorities, catchment and harbour boards and other quangos, there was hope that this may bring unity and uniformity to local government. Sadly this has not happened. Today there is a hotch potch of different, slow, complex, incomprehensible planning systems, many of which are abject failures, and there is a complete lack of consistency across the sector. There is also a lack of flexibility in their rules which stifles innovation in the rural sector. Obviously not everything is bad and councils do some excellent work on the ground, but some of their processes are desperately lacking. This is a serious problem because while agriculture is picking up the pace, councils seem wedded to the ‘Yes Minister’ style of bureaucracy -- slow, self-serving, inflexible and out of touch with the realities of the agri sector. The fact that it takes eight years or more to produce a district or regional plan is a sad indictment on the sector. By the time most plans are operative they are out of date. No doubt the policy wonks in Wellington are also part of the problem. The law in general needs to get its act together and serve society, not be a highly paid self-serving relic of the past. It needs to get people – lawmakers and judges -- to make laws and decisions that reflect the pace of the agri sector and to build into those laws the flexibility to deal with changes we cannot even imagine today. They and the bureaucrats are the weak link in an otherwise successful ag sector.

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OPINION  // 21

Govt standing firm on liberal trade settings Trade Minister David Parker this month opened the APEC Business Advisory Council meeting in Auckland with a speech about the new Government’s approach to trade. Here are excerpts. THE GOVERNMENT

intends to maintain this country as an open, outward-looking trading nation with public support for liberal settings, not just in trade but also the liberal societal settings we’ve maintained for many decades. Our trade record includes forming the single-market Closer Economic relations (CER)

with Australia and negotiating a ground-breaking trade agreement with China -- their first with a western nation. That was negotiated by the previous Labour Government and it has been good for both countries. However, it is no secret that we have also moved to push back on some aspects of the soonto-be signed CPTPP


– notably the ISDS provisions. In that regard the Prime Minister has acknowledged that the deal to be signed in Chile in March is better than the original TPP in respect of ISDS clauses but from our perspective is not perfect. There is no doubt that fair free trade and economic growth have benefited many. Millions of people have been pulled out of crippling poverty in the Asia Pacific region because of the work of APEC and other organisations.

For the first time in history, New Zealand’s two-way trade with APEC exceeded $100 billion in the year to last September. I hold the ministerial portfolios for the environment, trade and export growth, economic development and associate finance, and my aim is to bring together these strands so that we have an integrated view of growth, trade, sustainability and shared prosperity. I and the government believe we need that to create a fairer and more inclusive New Zealand. That is how we approach trade. Yes, we will strive for a progressive and inclusive

trade agenda through high quality, ambitious FTAs and trade relationships. But that means we will not only tackle those issues I have touched on but also trade issues relating to SMEs, women’s economic empowerment, the economic wellbeing of indigenous peoples and regional economic development. We are trying to show that the benefits of trade are touching all parts of society. The NZ government’s vision is one of shared prosperity for all; an economy that serves the people, where everyone participates in the economy one way or another and everyone has a stake in it.

David Parker

Through that we will restore support for trade, and I believe we have been succeeding in our short time in government. That also helps preserve public support for our outward-looking democracy, which in a virtuous turn of the circle will lift support for trade and for the other liberal settings we wish to maintain. There are challenges to

those in other parts of the world that we are keen to avoid. There are questions about how our regional and multilateral economic organisations can evolve to address these current and future challenges. But it’s important that we not hide from these hard conversations, whether they are with our own communities or with other economies.


EXPORT COMMODITY prices have started

2018 on a firm footing thanks in part to the buoyant global trade backdrop. The weaker New Zealand dollar over the course of 2017 has also boosted farmgate returns. Recent dairy auction prices have led us to revise upward our payout forecast to $6.50/kgMS. Yet despite the solid start to the year, we remain wary of the impact slower Chinese growth may have on demand for NZ’s commodity exports over the course of 2018. Locally, weather remains challenging for farmers up and down the country. On balance, we expect milk collections this season to be broadly on par with the 2016-17 season (although greater use of supplementary feed and poor pasture in some areas may have a bigger impact on fat content). Fears of tighter international supplies, particularly for whole milk powder, helped dairy prices squeeze higher in the first few GlobalDairyTrade auctions of 2018. Overall prices rose 5.9% in last week’s auction, including a 7.6% gain for whole milk powder. Higher auction prices have led us to upgrade this season’s milk price forecast to $6.50/kg, slightly ahead of Fonterra’s estimate. But we continue to caution against extrapolating recent trends too far into 2018. Our view remains that growth amongst NZ’s key trading partners is likely to slow this year, led by China. Chinese policymakers are poised to follow through with moves to rebalance their economy, reduce the risks generated by rapid credit expansion and put the economy on a more sustainable growth path. And while the consumer sector isn’t the focus for Chinese policymakers, they are unlikely to escape a period of slower growth completely unscathed. With China such an important market for almost all NZ commodity exporters, this could see NZ’s prices soften as 2018 progresses. • Anne Boniface is a senior economist with Westpac and this article appeared in the bank’s latest Agri Update.

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Your farm as viewed from space every week NIGEL MALTHUS

LIC HAS launched a satellite-based pasture evaluation service, calling it a giant leap forward for pasture management. SPACE (satellite pasture and cover evaluation) uses satellite images to measure pasture, emailing detailed reports directly to subscribing farmers. LIC says it can save farmers several hours a week by replacing the current practices of either walking the farm or towing instruments behind a vehicle. The technology hasn’t previously been commercially viable due to cloud cover, but LIC says more frequent satellite flyovers now counter that problem. Chief executive Wayne McNee says the project is part of LIC’s intention of developing products and services that improve pro-

ability, and includes an ductivity and decisionimage of the farm showmaking for farmers. ing pasture variation by “The SPACE service colour and estimated pasprovides a game-changture cover for each pading opportunity for farmdock. ers to gain an objective Ron Pellow, execuassessment of pasture tive director of the South cover which will result in Island Dairying Develmore informed decisionopment Centre, whose making on grazing, ferLincoln University tiliser and overall feed Dairy Farm was an management. early triallist, says “Satellites that pass the real opporover daily give us the tunity is for best chance to profarmers to know vide our farmers a clear image once a week, which and respond promptly to is aligned to best pracchanges in pasture tice for pasture measuresupply. ment,” said McNee. “We know Whenever a clear there’s a image is taken of a client 25% farm, a detailed pasture report is sent out within 24 hours. LIC says it offers an objective assessment of pasture cover, not subject to any human bias. Lincoln University The report credemonstration farm ates a feed wedge, manager Peter Hancox. ranking paddocks by pasture avail-

An enhanced satellite image of a Waikato farm showing how variations in pasture cover are detected by the new SPACE mapping serivce.

difference in milk production between the best farmers and the

average, and most of that is due to pasture management. SPACE will provide consistent, frequent data that can help significantly lift milk production from pasture. It could be phenomenal for New Zealand. “The technology will also help reduce our environmental footprint, as farmers will manage pasture better and so maintain production with less

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need for imported feed.” Pellow said the reports sent to the farm include photos showing the colour variations of different pasture levels, plus figures for the likely yield of individual paddocks as calculated by LIC’s “smart algorithms”. LUDF was helping LIC calibrate the system by comparing their analysis with LUDF’s weekly pasture walk. “Over time we’ve seen those two images get much closer, and that’s given us confidence that they’ve got some technology that’s got a role to play in NZ agriculture,” he said. The LUDF farm manager, Peter Hancox, also saw potential in the system. As long as it gave consistency, farmers could have faith in it and it was “definitely improving, he said. “I’m sold on it, but I’m not 100% reliant on it at the minute.” LUDF had not yet made the switch from its weekly farm walk – as a demonstration farm LUDF has a standing invitation for interested people to join the walk every Tuesday at 9am – but Pellow said he can see a future where SPACE makes it unnecessary to walk the whole farm. “We may go and look at three or four paddocks identified by the SPACE data and discuss whether we think the number SPACE is giving us corresponds with the number we believe the cows are telling us,” he said. LUDF was involved when Australia’s CSIRO

trialled a similar system 10 years ago. NZ discontinued its involvement at the end of that trial because the satellite went over only about once a week, and too many cloudy days made the chance of getting an image on a regular basis too low. But so many more satellites are now available that there is a much greater likelihood of consistent data, said Pellow. “If you end up getting one three times a week – fantastic. That’s probably more than you need. If you get it twice a week that’s probably ideal – probably much more frequent than many farmers would assess pasture,” he said. The service is being launched in sections across the country, with six-week free trials being offered wherever a new area is added. Almost all of Canterbury is now covered, from Amberley to Oamaru. Subscriptions are priced in steps based on farm size, all but the largest farms coming in between $2000 and $3000/year. McNee is not giving precise numbers but said LIC is pleased with the response so far. “Almost half of farmers located in the first areas have signed up. They have been quick to jump into it and their feedback shows they are impressed with the accuracy and timesaving benefits,” he said. “We’re excited to continue with our regional analysis to take it to more areas around the country,” McNee says.



Food waste turned into stock feed

‘YOU’VE MADE my day

week. The operation has two sides. The feed side is off the back of what is called “former foodstuffs” in Europe which has a whole industry based on it. “It is a well-documented industry and EcoStock benchmarks itself off those guys. I visit them every year.” All the material is preconsumer waste; it comes from the manufacturing plant and hasn’t reached retail. All the companies Eco Stock works with have overseas executives/management because he says they are far more familiar with the concept and challenge their own internal systems; they know reject lines are not waste and can be recovered and re-processed. He reckons food manufacturers can cut a waste bill of, say, $750,000 a year down to $100,000 and cut their carbon footprint.

They have five very complex unpacking lines that can, for example, put the equivalent of two Toyota Hilux loads of chocolate bars per hour through each machine. That can’t be done by hand. Food manufacturers in New Zealand don’t have the same incentives to do what they do in Europe and America, he says. Our landfill tax is $10/t – the lowest in the OECD, he claims. Everyone else’s is $130-$180/t. However he has noticed in the last three months with Labour and Greens in power that sustainability managers are starting to get voices within their companies. Fisher says every manufacturing process will have start-of-line, end-ofline, trials, retained stock, undersold stock, underconfidence in a mix, R&D trials and such like. Overseas they are not embarrassed about it.

Andrew Fisher, Eco Stock.

Eco Stock cannot use anything for feed which contains meat or gelatine; many lollies have gelatine.

try standard for rejects is 2-3% so anything below that is not necessarily a good sign.

They understand the culture of quality assurance and some encourage staff in this respect. The indus-

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ning well and now want to build 20 of them throughout NZ. The fertiliser will have to go through a regulatory process so won’t be sold initially in NZ but will be exported overseas. Eventually he hopes it will be used in NZ. Trials are now underway with AgResearch in Hastings. The gas produced can go straight to electricity generation, or natural gas network.

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“In England there are 315 plants operating and there’s none in NZ,” says Fisher. “In NZ about seven farmers have tried them and they have spent a lot of money – millions. They are in fact very complex operations and similar to operating a high ‘in-put’ farming operation, just the out-put is ‘gas’ not milk.” They have the prototype run-


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FERTILISER, METHANE ON THE RADAR ECO STOCK wants to set up anaerobic digesters (AD) plants that turn dairy cow effluent and food waste into fertiliser and biogas (Methane and C02). Fisher says this side to the business is now under development. It would allow them to take other food wastes that aren’t suitable for stock feed, mix it with manures and create local biogas and fertiliser.



mate; the kids are coming back to the farm’. That was the reaction of a big dairy farmer who visited Andrew Fisher’s Eco Stock site with his kids last year. They were blown away by the innovation and technology involved in the system which takes former foodstuffs and converts it into cattle feed; and the prototype biogas site which takes cow manure and food waste and converts it into fertiliser and biogas. The young people could see that the wider dairy industry can be up to date, technologically savvy and environmentally conscious. He says the young people were enthused by the positive environmental side to the business, the tracking of sustain-

ability and the fact they are taking products like packaged unsold dairy products, depacking them and reprocessing as stockfeed for a range of animals. Eco Stock also takes dry food such as biscuits, bread, cakes, breakfast cereal, etc for recovery, reprocessing and conversion. They make a high-energy palatable stock feed for all animals including cattle, sheep, poultry and pigs. Fisher reckons the feed they supplied to dairy farmers in 2011 converted to milk solids was worth about $24 million a year in additional export earnings. A former NZ Army engineer officer who was raised on a small Canterbury farm, Fisher started Eco Stock in 2007. Fisher says they take in the equivalent of eight double-decker buses a day in pre-consumer food waste for seven days a



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‘Focussed’ young leader bags award WAIKATO FARMER

Zach Mounsey (28) has been recognised as a “focused leader”, winning a prestigious New Zealand Young Farmers Excellence Award.

Zach Mounsey and partner Laura Campbell.

The award recognises the country’s outstanding young leaders and is open to all Young Farmer members. Mounsey was one of three recently presented

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with the award at a VIP function in Christchurch. The other two were Sam Robinson and Sarah Tait, both from Methven, Canterbury. The award judges praised Mounsey, who is the technical assistant to DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle, as a “focused leader”. In 2015, he represented NZ on an international research project on agricultural greenhouse gases in Argentina, the Global Youth Agricultural Summit, and graduated from the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme. But Mounsey is humble about his achievements and says he was honoured to receive the award. “It’s been quite a journey that all started on a small farm in Otorohanga. I feel incredibly fortunate that I’ve had these opportunities within our sector,

along with the support of so many amazing people.” Mackle says Mounsey “is an extremely hardworking, focused guy who is deeply passionate about dairy” and deserves the recognition. NZ Young Farmers chief executive Terry Copeland says the recipients are outstanding in their fields and show the wide variety of talents the agri-food sector requires today. “Zach is passionate about ensuring NZ maintains its place as a world leader in dairy. Even though he’s still in his twenties, Zach has devoted his life to applying his knowledge and skills for the greater good. He’s a role model for future agri-food leaders.” The awards were set up in 2016 to recognise and acknowledge future leaders of the primary industries.

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SMALL CHANGES in Hamish Johnson’s milking

shed have enabled his staff to cut up to an hour daily off their milking time. The Canterbury farmer credits the efficiency gains to advice he got from milking specialist Josh Wheeler at a DairyNZ Milksmart event. Johnson says the main change he made to their 60-bail rotary system was to increase the automatic cup removers’ minimum flow from 0.2L/minute to 0.5L/minute and the pulsator ratio from 60:40 to 70:30. He also changed their milking liners. “We worked out we could get quicker milking liners for the back teats and saved another 40 seconds per cow per milking.” Coupled with upskilling staff on their cupping techniques, this saw them save 40 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon. Hamish, who was initially sceptical, says he was amazed by the results. “Our production levels didn’t change and the somatic cell count didn’t change; the only thing that changed was that we saved an hour a day in milking 1100 cows.” He says milking takes much of the time on a dairy farm so any savings in the shed are significant. And his staff and cows are happier as a result. “Our guys are now getting up half an hour later in the morning and starting milking 15 minutes later in the afternoon and we’re still finishing at the same time we were before, if not earlier.”



Attracting good staff: what sets you apart? VERONICA BRIGGS

WE ALL know how hard

it can be to attract quality staff, and how great it is when you find someone that works hard, knows their stuff and has the right attitude. The dairy sector faces a staffing shortage and over the next few months many of you will be vying for the same talented people to fill your roles for the coming season. To put it in perspective, in the last two years 10,680 dairy farm vacancies were posted on Farm Source alone. To get the best person possible, have you thought about how to make yourself stand out as an employer? I recommend you think about what makes you and your farm truly unique. For an impartial opinion, ask your current and past employees what they like about working for you? Make a note of what sets you and your farm apart and incorporate this into your job adverts. I’ve seen a number of job adverts with a longlist of benefits such as competitive salary/hourly rate, accommodation and

flexible working hours, to entice applicants. This is great, but we need to live up to these so that we

Veronica Briggs

retain these people in the sector. How much we pay is important to a job applicant. I recommend an employer refers to pay as a ‘total package value’ (TPV) and carefully explain how it is made up to avoid confusion. Otherwise, if the salary for a role is listed as $50,000, for example, but doesn’t mention that includes an accommodation allowance, it may deter some people from applying. TPV is the total value of the remuneration package including cash and non-cash benefits. To calculate TPV, assign a monetary amount to each item/benefit and then add them up. Wages are obvious, but for non-cash items, such as food and

accommodation, you may want to investigate what is fair. In regard to work hours, use your timesheet data to have an honest conversation about hours with prospective employees. If you don’t currently

use timesheets, useful templates are available on the DairyNZ website. We hear all the time that good hours of work and a good roster are crucial for employees and ultimately will help you attract and retain quality employees. As always, clearly artic-

A good employer will attract good employees.

ulating what you can offer in a job advertisement and being up front about what you are looking for, will enable you to find

candidates who are interested in the job you are offering and more likely to stay long-term. For more information

see employer • Veronica Briggs is a DairyNZ people management specialist

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Start thinking about BCS now GENERAL, all mammals use their own body reserves (fat and protein from body tissues) in early lactation, to meet the demands of milk production. In the case of the modern dairy cow, this process has been taken to the extreme as a result of decades of genetic selection aimed primarily at increasing production. Following calving, cows ‘mine’ nutrients from body reserves and lose condition for a period of 40 – 100 days. Cows therefore, with a lower BCS to begin with, simply lack reserves to achieve and maintain high levels of production in early lactation. These poorer conditioned cows are also less likely to conceive compared to herd mates in better condition. We are slightly unique here in New Zealand as there are two periods where cows are at risk of losing BCS. The first is at calving (as described above) and the second period coincides with loss of pasture quality and availability through summer months.


ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ

The extent of loss and gain of BCS is also crucial to both the health of the individual cow and the efficiency of farm system in terms of food conversion efficiency (FCE) of dry matter supplied converted to milk. To help illustrate this point, table 1 sourced from Dairy NZ (Cow Feed Requirements) shows that on average over the year, a cow gaining 1kg will require nearly twice the energy spared when 1 kg was lost. In other words, nearly twice the feed is required to lose and gain live weight compared to maintaining live weight. If the same rules applied when borrowing money, it would mean you’d be paying an interest rate of close to 100% for a short term loan. I haven’t met many farmers who would be prepared to pay this! In simple terms, managers that keep a close eye on condition and execute plans to limit excessive swings in BCS have far more feed available in their

Table 1.

MJME required to gain 1kg Live weight

MJME spared when 1kg Liveweight is lost

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Dry cow






system to convert to milk. To hit industry targets of BCS 5.0 for cows (5.5 Heifers) the start of March marks an important period where BCS needs to become the focus. How you manage your system spe-

cifically will depend on options available to you, such as feeding additional supplements, culling empties or drying off pregnant light cows. Watching cows melt condition away through late lactation and crossing fingers is an option

albeit an expensive one. If your aim is farming successfully, start thinking about BCS now. References: facts and figures. Chapter 4 Cow feed requirements

• Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services. This article brought to you by


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Maize can make the difference MAIZE IS a vital crop that consumes a lot of farmers’ time and money, says DairyNZ. Maize grown onfarm can add value to a farm’s feed supply, help mitigate climatic risk, extract soil nutrients from high fertility effluent paddocks, and be used as a ‘break crop’ in the pasture renewal process. Maize should be fed to fill genuine feed deficits for economic responses and be well managed to reduce feed costs and wastage. Sowing location, sowing date, hybrid choice and population will all influence the potential crop yield. Yield may be reduced by weed and pest presence,

moisture stress, disease, and nutrient limitations. Ploughing is a quick and effective way to bury trash so as not to impede secondary cultivation or cause weed problems. DairyNZ says it often hears dairy farmers say maize is “hard on the soil”. A key cause of this is ploughing, which buries fertile topsoil, taking it out of the reach of new grass trying to establish after maize. “Talk with your contractor about alternatives to ploughing, such a discing. Be aware that you may need a longer fallow period (time between spraying out pasture and first culti-

WHAT ABOUT MAIZE SILAGE? MAIZE SILAGE is a maize crop cut and ensiled in a stack or bunker. It is commonly used as a supplement to pasture in situations where cows would otherwise be underfed. Maize silage is a high quality forage supplement. However, it is particularly low in sodium (Na),

calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P), and can be used as an effective carrier to supplement cows with magnesium (Mg). Maize silage is a useful supplement for filling genuine feed deficits, but needs to be well managed to reduce costs and wastage. 

Maize adds value to a farm’s feed supply.

vation pass); you need to balance this against the long-term damage to your soil fertility. “There are other reduced tillage options for maize, such as strip tillage and direct drilling, however these require more attention to detail and are best suited to specialist maize growers.” Dairy effluent can be used as a nutrient source for maize, assuming the crop requires the nutrients, and good effluent practices are followed. If the paddock is just out of grass, the soil can supply plenty of N, so more

N via effluent is probably not needed. Paddocks with a history of cropping (e.g. a dedicated cropping block or runoff) are most likely to benefit from effluent application. Maize silage grown on effluent paddocks will need much less fertiliser. Maize silage can also be used to extract excess nutrients from effluent paddocks, as it removes large amounts of N and K, reducing risks of N leaching and occurrence of metabolic diseases. Maize cost can vary depending on where and how it is grown. If maize is grown on the dairy platform in an efflu-

ent paddock the cost could be as low as 12c/kg DM before storage. Maize purchased off-farm is generally more expensive. However, allowance needs to be made for the value of extra nutrients bought in with the maize and a reduction in risk due to maize being grown off the dairy platform. Maize silage can be used to support pasture-based systems at times of the year when pasture is unreliable, e.g. maize on a feed pad when soils are wet, or fed in a dry autumn to build pasture cover.

TOGETHER WE CAN BEAT VELVETLEAF Velvetleaf is in New Zealand, so if you’re a farmer, you need to keep an eye out for it. It is a serious cropping weed which could steal the nutrients, water and light from your feed and arable crops. With the warm weather we’re having, it will also spread quickly if left unchecked.

Contact MPI on 0800 80 99 66 or contact your regional council.







WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Velvetleaf is an annual broad-leaved weed that grows up to 2.5 metres tall. Its flowers are about 3cm across and are present from spring through autumn. Its distinctive seedpods are about 2.5cm in diameter.

WHAT TO DO: Pull it out, bag it (use a fertiliser bag or sack) and bury it (at least 1m deep in e.g. your offal pit). Be very careful not to let any seeds spread.

For more info:



Cloud over fodder beet long-term NIGEL MALTHUS


gling with the emerging health effects of longterm fodder beet use on dairy farms, says DairyNZ senior scientist Dawn Dalley. The issue is now the focus of a big research grant from MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund, at $565,000 the largest single grant in the latest round. Problems are turning up on farms that have sorted out the initial transitioning issues, said Dalley. “A lot of farms won’t have any problems for two or three or four years but what we’re seeing is that the farms that seem to be getting these issues, particularly over phosphorus, are the ones that have been in the fodder beet feeding game for up to 10 years now,” said Dalley. Cows are showing very low blood phosphorus levels, despite supplementing with DCP or NCP, and giving low production despite good body condition scores. “On some of those farms the vets are struggling to understand what’s happening and animals aren’t responding to

treatment that should be working. So we’re tying to look and see what it is on those farms that could be causing that. “The challenge we’ve got in our grass-based system is that phosphorus has not been a mineral that we’ve really had to think about previously, because pastures have a pretty good calciumto-phosphorus ratio; it’s something that’s new to our systems.” The research will be a joint project by the South Island Dairy Development Centre (SIDDC), along with DairyNZ and AgResearch, and will partner with other agencies such as PGG Wrightson and Plant&Food. Dalley said it will aim to better understand the mineral interactions at play when fodder beet is included in the diet. The initial phase will include a national survey of farmers’ fodder beet usage. “We know it’s being used differently in different regions. Farmers are very innovative and they’ve been trialling different things to make it work in their system – to really understand what the issues are that they’ve had, if they’ve changed anything with their feeding or mineral supplemen-

tation, and what that’s meant in animal health,” said Dalley. Alongside that will be analysis of fodder beet’s mineral content, which is thought to differ between regions and cultivars. That aspect of the project will start on samples already held by Plant&Food and PGGW, which may have been analysed already for dry matter content but not minerals. Because the SFF project funding starts in midwinter this year the project will be less handson in the first 12 months but then they will identify farmers to partner with, said Dalley -- those who’ve been using fodder beet for some time and are having issues, or those who’ve been feeding it without issues. “In winter 2019 we will actually go in and take animal and feed measurements on those farms to fully understand their system, and try to tease out what’s happening at that mineral interaction level.” Dalley said the project will also link with the Southern Dairy Hub, the new research and demonstration farm at Wallaceville, Southland, which is in the process of setting up four separate farm systems to run for three

years, two using fodder beet and two using kale. Dalley said some of the changes may be happening in calves even before birth so the Southern Dairy Hub project will be a good chance to track calves born to dams fed on kale versus those fed on fodder beet. “We can take animals in two different directions and see what that means once they get into the herd.” In its funding application to MPI, SIDDC called fodder beet “a gamechanger in dairy systems” but said its benefits were jeopardised by animal health and welfare issues. If not addressed, those issues would cause a decline in fodder beet use, increasing cost, workload, and farmer stress, and could negatively impact the social licence to farm. “What we want to do with this project is move away from the anecdotal information and put more science around what the opportunities are, where the challenges are, and how to rectify them, and give farmers real solutions based on science,” said SIDDC executive director Ron Pellow. Fodder beet has gone from very little to about 75,000ha in 10 years. Pellow said that is the

DairyNZ is planning a national survey of fodder beet usage on farm.

equivalent of 100,000ha of any other feed because of its high energy content. It is valuable in providing

energy without too much protein, and so is useful in lowering nitrogen losses. “It’s a really good feed

DRAINAGE AND SOIL AERATION PAY BIG DIVIDENDS Don’t put good fertiliser on compacted soil which can’t absorb it. If your soil can’t support 15cm root growth and good worm population check for compaction. You could need aeration. In dollar terms, what would 20% production increase mean to your yearly turnover?

and that’s why it’s taken off so rapidly, but we’ve probably got to do some things differently.”








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Kale stands up well to drought KALE IS normally used as a winter feed crop. With a deep root system it has good drought tolerance. According to DairyNZ, Kale also has good tolerance to most insect pests and can be used as a second brassica crop, especially after swedes, because of its tolerance to club root and dry rot. It is usually sown in November or December. The yield will vary depending on soil type, fertility, and available moisture. Soil moisture is usually the main cause of yield variation: in some areas it can be the lack of moisture during summer, while waterlogging can be a problem in wetter

areas. Regardless of cultivar, yields as low as 6-8 t DM/ha can result if kale is grown on light, infertile soils or experiences water stress. Kale has no ripening requirements but maximum yield is about 150 to 220 days. Kale leaves and the top third of the stems are generally high in energy, and will test at an ME of 12 MJ/kg DM or more. Lower portions of the kale stems have reduced ME, with feed quality dropping off as the stem gets closer to the ground. All stems will become increasingly hard and fibrous with time. To maximise yield, a fine, firm, moist seed bed with good soil-seed con-

KEEPING PESTS AWAY THE MAIN insect pests are springtails, diamondback moth, white butterfly and aphids. Nysius fly can cause problems by allowing dry-rot (black leg) to enter; this causes weak bases in the plants. Inspect young crops regularly by walking well into the paddock and if necessary, apply the appropriate insecticide. If the spray and drill method is being used, slug control and checks for grass grub and porina are recommended, as these pests can cause the death of new seedlings.

tact and uniform plant population must be established. Full cultivation often produces the best seed bed for kale establishment, however if done correctly sowing method does not affect yield. If spray and drill

to N application; it is advisable to do an available soil nitrogen test before sowing to determine how much fertiliser N will be needed. Depending on soil moisture levels and potential crop yield, a typical recommendation for kale is 250-350kg DAP/ha at sowing, followed by two topdressings of 100kg urea/ha at 4-6 and 8-12 weeks after emergence.

Too much N, or late applications can lead to nitrate poisoning and excess crude protein in the leaf and upper stem. Surplus crude protein during grazing will increase urinary N excretion and the risk of nitrate leaching. While the requirement for P is quite low, sufficient P is vital for the establishment of seedlings. The P requirement

for a second crop is likely to be higher. The ideal pH is 5.8 to 6.2; this should be corrected with lime a year before sowing. Kale seldom responds to S or K fertiliser. Brassicas have a high boron requirement: applications of up to 400 grams B/ha can be required, but the amount should be adjusted depending on soil test results.


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(direct drilling) is being used the sowing rate is 3-5kg seeds/ha, and if the seeds are being broadcast and rolled then the sowing rate is 5kg/ha. The optimum sowing depth is 1-1.5 cm. Kale responds strongly

Kale is a good winter crop.

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identified in New Zealand 15 months ago has now been found nationwide. FAR seed research manager Richard Chynoweth says the red clover case bearer moth (Coleophora deauratella) was discovered in Auckland in October 2016, setting off alarm bells and prompting nationwide monitoring. Special pheromone traps were imported and distributed to red clover growers up and down the country during this summer’s clover growing and flowering period. “Traps were placed on farms from the lower North Island to the south of the South Island,’ Chynoweth says. “The results are not good news for red clover growers, with moths being found on farms, roadsides and other areas everywhere from Wairarapa to Southland. “As it was first identified in Auckland, we can assume they will be found across the North Island as well. Given the numbers and spread of this pest, it seems likely to have been here for quite a while. I guess it’s been around for at least a decade and could have been affect-

ing red clover seed yields for several years.” Red clover casebearer is a small moth (about 8mm long) and is very similar to two other species of clover casebearer moth (Coleophora spp.) already well established in white clover in NZ, however in this case it’s principal host is red clover. Adult moths lay eggs on developing red clover flower heads and once hatched the larvae tunnel into the florets to feed, destroying the growing seed. As the larvae grow, they stick onto a chewed-off floret, using use it like a cape for protection and camouflage. Feeding damage to seeds can severely impact crop yields. Chynoweth says because little is known about red clover casebearer in NZ, researchers have a lot of work on their hands. “We will continue to monitor its spread, but more importantly we need to understand its life cycle and exactly how that links with the red clover growth cycle. Once we have a clearer idea of that, we can start to consider control options, so that arable farmers can continue to grow this specialist crop.

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“Late last year did initial laboratory insecticide trials and the results indicate that some insecticides currently registered for use in clover crops are effective against red clover casebearer moth. However, field trials will be required, as adult moths moving within the foliage of a growing crop may not receive a direct application due to location in the foliage. Further work will investigate whether any of the parasitoid species which already help to control other Coleophora spp. in white clover crops could be of use.” In the meantime, farmers who wish to check their crops for the presence of red clover casebearer should inspect flowers looking for millimetre sized holes chewed into the base of individual florets and/or distinctive black droppings, also at the base of the florets. They may also be able to see the case bearing larvae, which look like small red-brown cigars on the flowers. If evidence of casebearer is found, discuss management with a crop agrichemical advisor. This work is done by FAR with support from the Seed Industry Research Centre.


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Three in one




basic bale feeder theme from UK manufacturer Wessex looks to have extended the versatility of the basic concept. The company’s BFR 180 won an innovation award at the recent LAMMA 18 event, the UK’s largest dedicated agricultural machinery show. The BFR 180, able to handle bales up to 1.8 x 1.5m, comprises modular elements that start with a basic bale feeder, morphs to become a bale feeder and straw spreader, or can be configured as a bale feeder with an extension conveyor. Like many NZ machines, the base unit comprises a bale unroll-

Wessex bale feeder

ing cradle carried on a detachable headstock which incorporates a twin tine bale handler. Once the bale is lifted onto the cradle, re-engaging the headstock automatically reconnects the hydraulic couplings and a safety lock to allow feeding to start. Feeding can be to either side of the machine. Adding the maker’s CrossFire straw spreading module allows

bedding of herd homes or deep litter cow barns. Alternatively the machine can be used for both tasks, with feed delivered to one side and straw to the other. The final module, the SideWinder extension conveyor, allows feed to be delivered cleanly into troughs or over feed barriers. Designed for use with tractors or telehandlers, the base machine weighs

770kg, increasing to 1000 or 1300kg, respectively, as the CrossFire and SideWinder elements are added. The units have zincplated chains and conveyor bars rated to 5.5 tonnes; it requires one single-acting and one double-acting remote valve to deliver hydraulic power to drive all the elements.

DESIGNED BY a dedicated team at Kawasaki, with input from New Zealand farmers, the 250 Stockman builds on the format set by the renowned Super Sherpa, known for its off-road and trekking abilities. The result should be equally at home on high country stations and flat dairy paddocks. The 4-stroke, 4-valve 250cc motor offers a few extra cubes over its rivals, delivering 26hp at 8000rpm and mated with a six-speed transmission geared to suit farm use. A semi-double cradle houses the engine and a twinfront, single-rear

Kawasaki KL 250


shock arrangement uses high quality material specifications from the offroad sector. Nods to easy use include an electric starter, automatic compression release, low seat height and side stands on either side for a rapid de-mount. And there are front and rear carriers, an engine sump guard and low-effort controls. Direction changes are easy and a low centre of gravity promotes better handling, particularly at low speeds. Progressive spring rates offer a more comfortable ride, and the ability to tune the machine to individual preferences via shock absorber preload and rebound should prove useful. Performance is more than adequate, and stopping is fast and safe via front and rear disc brake assemblies. Keep an eye out for the Dairy News practical review soon. – Mark Daniel







The Deutz-Fahr 120HP 5120 features the latest Tier 4, Deutz Ag 3.6 litre engine. The 4 cylinder turbo charged engine optimises fuel consumption, ensuring the engine always delivers the power to perform. With 60/60 forward/reverse speeds and 3 speed Powershift, true 4WD braking, Stop & Go clutchless operation and SDD high speed steering, the 5120C gives the operator complete control in a crawl or at maximum





speed. It’s perfect for use with a front-end loader as it has extraordinary visibility and an intuitive cabin layout that reduces operator fatigue, that is further enhanced by hydroblock cabin suspension. With tractor and loader packages starting from just $96,740 +GST, this particularly versatile and safe tractor is ideal for all farms. Contact your local Power Farming dealer for a demonstration today.


TS IN * + PAYMENO NTHS 12 & 24 M

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Normal lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. Prices valid until 28/02/18. * 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%. ** 2 year 2000 hour full manufacturer’s warranty plus additional 2 year 2000 hour Deutz Agrocare power train warranty.






Ace has a win up the sleeve MARK DANIEL

QUADS AND latterly UTVs have become indispensable on farms, vineyards and orchards, offering the ability to move people or small loads with ease. But such machines have earned bad press because of fatalities and accidents, a topic Dairy

Polaris Ace 570 HD

News covers in detail. Polaris a few years ago launched a different-format machine now favoured in some sectors, and it might offer an alternative for some riders. Best described as a cross between a quad and a UTV, the Polaris Ace 570 HD has the same footprint as the former but differs in that the rider sits in rather than

DEEPER, WIDER, LONGER The new Firestone Maxi Traction 65 is BIGGER in all aspects except price • Longer tyre life

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• Excellent traction

Covers more ground, faster and more economically

• Increased driver comfort

Better driver comfort on the road

Deeper lug Maxi Traction 65

Wider lug Predecessor

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Visit to find your nearest dealer or call 0800 80 20 80 for more information.


on the machine and steers with a wheel, has conventional auto pedals for acceleration and braking, and offers the added benefit of a full ROPS structure. The layout should prove interesting to those unfamiliar with motorcycle riding, farmers or growers who have trouble throwing their leg over, or anyone who needs to travel on difficult terrain, as the low seat position brings with it a much lower centre of gravity. Likewise, the Ace should find a place in orchards where overhanging canopies limit headroom. Dairy News took one for a test drive. You get in via fullwidth doors and get comfortable with the adjustable seat and steering column. The high-back bucket seat, substantial side bolsters and a 3-point seatbelt impart a sense of security. Rider safety is further enhanced by limiting speed if the seatbelt is not locked in position. Powered by a Polaris ProStar engine delivering 44hp, the 570 is no slowcoach, topping out, where conditions allow, at around 80km/h. Speed/range selection is by a single, right side lever offering the choice of high, low, neutral, reverse or park lock. Braking is by disc

brakes on each wheel, with the front axle benefitting further from twinpot callipers. Like other machines in the Polaris ranges, ondemand true AWD is standard, and sees the machine effectively using 2WD until wheel slip is detected and AWD is engaged. This happens seamlessly and during our test we never looked like getting stuck. But in extreme conditions a difflock can be engaged to lock both axles together. In rough conditions 260mm of ground clearance gives the Ace great ability and 240mm of rear wheel travel keeps the operator comfortable and the wheels planted to the ground. Suspension layout takes the form of a HD double-A arm setup, with HD front and rear anti-roll bars limiting body roll. The Ace carries several modifications for the Australasian market including sealed ball joints, driveshaft splines and suspension bushes, which all serve to extend the service life. First impressions of the Ace are of something different, and it is an option worth considering, showing that some thinking outside the norm by a manufacturer can lead to pulling an ace from up the sleeve to deliver a full house.





V16 SINGLE AUGER/T27 TWIN AUGER 20mm thick augers with 12 knives per auger. Molasses and mineral intake tubes for dietary requirements with front facing conveyor with side shift. Teaser rollers placed at door to break up clumps. 2 speed main gearboxes. Full chassis for strength.

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Bendies back in vogue? MARK DANIEL

IN THE 1980s and 90s,

articulated telehandlers from Matbro, Sanderson and JCB were popular with livestock farmers and anyone who wanted to place loads in difficult places. The movement of the carriage induced by the machine’s articulation offered greater versatility than conventional side boom machines; but the limitations on lift capacity and height -- about two tonnes and 5m respectively -- saw machines fall out of favour, except for JCB. A recent new product from French specialist Manitou appears to have no such limitations, with more capacity and a little extra lift height. Manitou says its MLA-T is designed with

animal production in mind, and should be at home feeding, shifting silage and muck, and of course moving pallets or bales. The company claims the layout, with the cab centrally mounted just behind the articulation point, better suits these tasks than a conventional, side-boom/side cabin machine. A whole new cab design offers improved access from either side and better soundproofing; in the seat the well-known JSM joystick is mounted on a floating armrest. The drive-line comprises a Tier4 Deutz engine delivering 143hp, coupled to a Vario-Plus hydrostatic/CVT transmission rather than a more conventional powershift set-up. In operation, the system uses two drive motors, each cutting in or

out as required. This has both motors working in tandem for grunt at low speed or when pushing, or a single motor being used for high-speed cruising. Four-wheel drive is standard and combined with a 40km/h maximum speed. Lift capacity is rated at 3.3 tonnes, with a maxi-

mum lift height of 5.2m. At the centre of the machine, a two-dimension articulated joint keeps the turning radius tight at 4.28m, and works with an oscillating rear axle for stability even at 44 degrees of full articulation. An intelligent hydraulic system powered by

Manitou telehandler

a 158L/min loadsensing

pump is said to lift the

game in the functions race: quick-lift, bucket

shake, return to dig and active CRC boom suspension are standard fitments.


ent ilk cooling equipm m e th s ha s on ti lu s. Dairy Cooling So the new regulation h it w y pl m co u yo to help

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AI here to help TECHNOLOGY ABOUNDS in farming, whether

its automatically milking cows, steering tractors or using variable rate application for seeds and fertiliser, but a glimpse into the future shows much more automation on the horizon. At the CES 2018 Conference in Las Vegas, Honda introduced visitors to its new 3E robotics concept, a vision of society where a robotic quad learns from humans and ultimately changes the way we work. 3E (meaning empower, experience and empathy) sees a scenario where robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) combine to help. Honda R&D people say they are comfortable and positive about the co-existence of humans and AI, as they offer opportunities to expand potential without any form of conflict. Honda showed the concept with the 3E-D18 autonomous quad equipped with an all-electric driveline and designed to be fitted with a wide range of attachments mounted on a track-based docking system, fitted in place of the normal ATV seat. Built around a standard Honda ATV chassis, the unit has 4WD and airless tyres. It can improve safety in tough conditions, particularly in agriculture, search and rescue and firefighting.

Highly suitable for AMS (Robotic Farming Systems) with low milk flows – no risk of freezing the milk. Energy Saving with Packo Ice Builders (PIB’s) – thanks to the ice energy store build-up during night time hours, a smaller refrigeration unit can be installed, plus the potential savings of off-peak power rates.

PIB 230 - 370

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

PIB 25-160

For 30yrs Eurotec has been supplying the NZ Refrigeration Industry with leading Global Brands. The only NZ supplier of this technology providing nationwide coverage and After Sales Support with branches in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with over 30 Approved Refrigeration Installers throughout the country from Invercargill to Whangarei. Check out the DCS website or talk to your refrigeration contractor to find out how you can comply with the new regulations before the 2018 deadline.

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Tradition meets Technology

Ripcord Insecticide

Annoying aren’t they?

Rip into nuisance flies, lice and ticks with the proven power of Ripcord®. Just one easy application provides long lasting protection from nasties around the herd and in the milking shed. And because Ripcord® is MPI approved for use in dairy sheds, there is no milk withholding period. Ripcord® is the perfect product to use.

Don’t settle for fly-by-night treatments. Insist on Ripcord®. Visit for more details or visit your local distributor.



Dairy News 13 February 2018  

Dairy News 13 February 2018

Dairy News 13 February 2018  

Dairy News 13 February 2018