Page 1

Big black cloud called ETS looming. PAGE 3 DOG ON WEED

Sniffing out pests PAGE 24-25

MAY 8, 2018 ISSUE 400 //

$35,000 CALF

Gold label sale PAGE 8-9

Big black cloud called ETS looming. PAGE 3 DOG ON WEED

Sniffing out pests PAGE 24-25

$35,000 CALF

Gold label sale PAGE 8-9

MAY 8, 2018 ISSUE 400 //

MILK HUBS TURN GOLD “I’m confident that in a few years our farmers will say ‘what a great investment we have in China farms’.” – Christina Zhu Fonterra Greater China president PAGE 4


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NEWS  // 3

ETS threat looms PAM TIPA

ALL FARMERS should feel threat-

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ened by the possibility that agriculture will come under the emissions trading scheme (ETS), says Federated Farmers climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard. “We will all be under the gun.” And the Government’s sudden move on the oil and gas industries has the farming sector “a bit spooked” as to what sudden changes could be imposed on any sector, he told Dairy News. “Everyone saw it as a kneejerk reaction.” Farmers are definitely concerned what the costs might be if agriculture is brought under the ETS, how it will affect their businesses and what they might have to do. “The biggest problem here is how can you have farms in a scheme when you can’t even properly measure what is coming off farms to

sphere, says Hoggard. start with?” More discussion and “Massive” investresearch is needed. ment in technology A different method is needed before it is from ETS may be even doable. required to achieve He hopes the the goals. numbers are One thing he agreed crunched and long, with in the Greens’ last hard thinking is policy was that gases applied before any should be split up and sudden decisions. Change Minister treated differently. “We have had Climate James Shaw “We didn’t agree good discussions with [Climate Change Minister] with how they were going to treat James Shaw and he accepts some of them but we did agree with splitting the points we’ve made. But whether them apart.” An ETS does not magically solve some other people in the Government are wedded to certain ideas… everything, especially if the products are still needed. “Everyone still that could be the challenge there.” Hoggard hopes common sense has to be fed globally; we need to be prevails. The Environment Commis- producing food in the most efficient sioner in his recent report highlights manner we can. Luckily enough New the need to treat different gases dif- Zealand is at the forefront of doing ferently and to view methane and that. “But it’s a global issue and NZ nitrous oxide differently. Methane does not need to be doesn’t operate in a little bubble taken to zero because it is a recy- of its own. [We need] global solucling gas always present in the atmo- tions across some of these sectors

and hopefully technology advances.” Asked whether he hoped common sense would prevail with the new interim climate change committee, Hoggard says a problem is that the international settings and discussions haven’t been the right ones. NZ’s agriculture probably needs to pursue this more with its international counterparts. Most global emissions come from electricity generation in about 10 countries. “What really worries me is effectively they will be slapping a tax on an industry; we will just be paying a tax – not actually solving a problem.” Any scheme needs to be focused at farm level. Another issue is everyone focusing on the gross emission not net emission. Science does not recognise what is sequestered in the grass and in the soil. “What is going around in a circle here? The problem isn’t the stuff going around in a circle, but what is coming out of the circle.”

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BRINGING FARMING into a revamped emissions trading scheme (ETS) is now being considered by the interim climate change committee, says Climate Change Minister James Shaw. “The committee, announced two weeks ago, will consult with the public and sector groups, including agriculture, from about October until the end of this year,” he told Dairy News. “It will then aim to report back

about June-July next year.” Asked if dairy farmers should be concerned about how they will be affected, Shaw said he didn’t want to pre-empt the interim committee’s work. “It is neither the interim committee’s intention, nor the Government’s,to make dairy farmers worry. “This is why we want to consult with them and all NZers, and gather as much expert evidence as possible on which

to make whatever just transition is required, with the necessary supports to ensure transition is fair and sustainable,” says Shaw. “I urge farmers and their [lobby groups] to make submissions to the committee, whose six members have respected expertise in relation to agriculture. “Dr Harry Clark (a member) is a leader in agricultural greenhouse gas research and is

the director of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre. “And deputy chair Lisa Tumahai... oversees the operation of Ngai Tahu Farming and its work in agribusiness. “I know lots of farmers are already taking action on environmental issues and the Government wants to work with them to continue that good work and scale it up.”


4 //  NEWS

Tide turning in China milk pool SUDESH KISSUN

THE TIDE is turning at Fonterra’s China Farms. The co-op is moving into the next phase of its integrated strategy in China by converting more raw milk from its three farming hubs into higher value products. Under the ‘White Gold’ project, 5% of raw milk from the China milk pool will be processed in the financial year 2018 into UHT milk and Barista Milk for coffee and beverages by third party manufacturers; Fonterra is also

using milk from its Hebei farm hub to supply fresh milk to online giant Alibaba’s retail arm Hema Fresh. Fonterra’s Greater China president Christina Zhu says that after years of preparation the co-op is beginning to leverage the strength of its local milk pool. “Starting from last year, we’re creating downstream value with our upstream milk,” Zhu told Dairy News in Auckland last week. “Sales have been better than expected; my focus is to grow this very fast. I’m confident that in a few years our farmers will say ‘what a great investment we have in China Farms’.”

REDUCING COSTS FONTERRA GREATER China president Christina Zhu says reducing costs on China Farms is her number-one priority. The farms are said to be doing well in productivity, milk quality and food safety. Now Zhu wants to reduce costs without compromising food safety. She says it is clear Fonterra won’t make money in a sustainable way selling raw milk at the farmgate.

“The milk price in China does not fully reflect the cost of production; two main processors have a major influence on the farmgate price. “But it is what it is; we cannot change that. So, we have to rise above it through cost leadership and creating downstream value with our raw milk. “I’m serious about driving costs down without compromising food safety.”

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and truly underway.” Zhu says the co-op is already facing capacity constraints in the White Gold project. Fonterra’s credentials in China are impressive; it is the number-one player in ingredients and food service businesses. Half of all pizzas sold in China have Fonterra’s cheese; half of all cream cakes made in China are topped with Fonterra cream. The co-op also commands 80% market share in butter sales. However, for Zhu the proudest achievement is Fonterra’s Anchor brand topping the UHT milk market. With at least 64 imported UHT brands fighting for market share, Anchor UHT milk made at the Waitoa plant in Waikato entered the Chinese market only 18 months ago. Today, 55% of Anchor UHT milk is sold online. However, only 4% of packaged food, which includes UHT milk, in China is sold online. “Anchor, our everyday nutrition

brand, is the number-one imported milk brand online and offline,’ she says. We rode the wave of online trade well; the digital DNA has served us well.” Zhu says most overseas UHT exporters to China are there only as traders. “They are not there to build brands, unlike us,” she says. “Some of them have a commodity trader mentality, doing online only with one of the internet giants. “This gives you volume very quickly and it’s an easy way to build the business; you don’t need a huge team. It’s not a huge learning curve but you give your destiny to someone else.” @dairy_news


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Fonterra has three farm hubs in China: 15 single farms in each hub milk 34000 cows in total. Last year the farms produced 300 million litres of milk. The co-op has spent at least $800m over the last five years on setting up the farm hubs, with little return on investment for farmer shareholders. Fonterra’s half-year results in March show China Farms breaking even with a normalised EBIT of $12 million. Zhu defends Fonterra’s investment in farms, adding that it was part of the Chinese Government’s desire for Fonterra to be part of the local dairy industry. Fonterra accounts for 36% of total dairy imports into China. Zhu says given Fonterra’s scale in China, just trading at the border wasn’t a sustainable long term strategy. “The Chinese government and stakeholders really want to see us being part of the community and the local dairy industry.” Zhu says Fonterra’s China Farms have been selling raw milk at the farm gate to Chinese processors. “That was ok as we were building the farms; we’re now maturing our operations and a push to shift more of our local milk into higher-yielding consumer and foodservice products is well

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FONTERRA’S BUSINESS in China has blossomed in recent years. Fonterra Greater China president Christina Zhu says for a long time the co-op was just an exporter with a small team based over there. “It was just an agency model for NZ exports,” she says. Today, Fonterra has about 1700 employees in China; 1100

people work in the 35 dairy farms. About 500 staff form a core group looking after the co-op’s ingredients, food service and consumer businesses, working primarily in sales, marketing and distribution and supply. Zhu joined Fonterra China seven years ago as vice-president of the ingredients business; she recalls working with around

20 staff. “We didn’t have a marketing function, there was no supply chain or technical function either; we had a handful of junior sales staff.” Today, Anchor UHT milk is sold in 13,000 stores nationwide. The Anchor brand fetches a higher price than most other brands and its growth is in double digits.


NEWS  // 5

Biosecurity is for all Kiwis could happen with other diseases, so Biosecurity NZ will look to discover the best ways to manage farms in the light of such a risk. Smith says the way MPI has run the M.Bovis


FARMING WILL change post M.Bovis, says Roger Smith, the man appointed to head Biosecurity New Zealand, a new dedicated stand-alone business unit within the Ministry for Primary Industries. The new unit, launched last week, is designed to focus more on biosecurity, not just at the border but in developing a nationwide awareness among NZers of the importance of biosecurity. Smith told Dairy News that M.Bovis has taught us that we need to bring biosecurity back from the country’s border to the farm border. “Farmers are going to have to learn that biosecurity starts at the farm and that is something very difficult for us. If you look at the Southland model, cows move freely

incursion will not change. The systems were based on science and internationally agreed models and there is no need to change this. “At Biosecurity NZ we will make sure it’s not just

seen as biosecurity for the primary sector. I go out and survey people: farmers understand biosecurity, people in Auckland don’t. So we’re saying that biosecurity is for all New Zealanders.”

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from farm to farm, people swap around and that is fine in a disease free environment. But we don’t always have a disease free environment and now we have to look at how we farm. “We will have to go back to basic rules about how we control the movement of animals between farms, how we protect ourselves from spreading a disease from one farm

to another. We are learning quickly as the world changes and as farming gets more mobile and more agile we have look at how we control the movement of goods and pests between farms.” Smith says in the coming weeks the Government must make big decisions in light of M.Bovis. It must look at management systems onfarm and how these are

PUBLIC AWARENESS A FRIGHTENING statistic for Roger Smith and his team is that fewer than 40% of NZers know what biosecurity means; only a mere 2% say it is relevant to them. Turning around this lack of appreciation of the importance of biosecurity is a task for Smith and his team. “You ask people, ‘does biosecurity impact on you?’ and they say, ‘no’. So then you ask, ‘do you like to go camping?’ and they say, ‘yes’. I then ask them if want to have snakes in the ground and obviously they say ‘no’, then I point out that is biosecurity at work. I also point out some other nasty bugs and diseases that could affect our biodiversity and they start to get it. So it’s about making the biosecurity message relevant to people,” he says.

implemented. Some farms have ‘closed’ farming systems, others don’t. “I come from a dairy farm with a closed system and we have a very safe biosecurity system because of this. But if you have transient stock moving between farms you have to look and see what controls you have in place before you start sending stock off-farm. “Also, what controls do you have before you bring stock onfarm? And what about, say, your tractor movements? “We have to make sure that a disease on a farm is not transmitted to another property.” Smith says although moving stock around farms may have economic benefit in some cases, there is risk that needs to be managed. M.Bovis is terrible but it

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6 //  NEWS

Beingmate JV needs new leader FONTERRA’S CHINA

business head Christina Zhu says its Beingmate joint venture needs a leadership revamp. Zhu, Fonterra’s Greater China president and Beingmate joint venture board member, says performance starts with good people. “Beingmate needs a

strong leadership team and chief executive; Fonterra is in the process of working with Beingmate to ensure that’s in place,” she told Dairy News. “It is critical to have the right people at the helm; we are working on stepping up governance.” This month Beingmate Baby & Child Food

Co reported a net loss of $230 million for 2017, bigger than expected. Fonterra owns 18.8% of the company, which is listed on the Shenzen stock exchange but has been warned it risks being delisted. Zhu, one of Fonterra’s two representatives on the Beingmate Baby &

Child board, visited Auckland last week for a major farmer network conference. She says Fonterra is disappointed with the result. “The deterioration in 2017 performance is unnaceptable; performance has to turn around.” Zhu says the infant

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formula sector in China is growing and Beingmate is well placed. “It has never had a food safety issue and still is a trusted brand with a well-positioned manufacturing footprint; there’s a lot going for them.” She says an effective distribution network and strong leadership are missing. Fonterra said last week in a statement that Beingmate’s announcement is of the audited results for February 2017 to January 2018. “Its final losses for the year have increased by

about $20m more than previously announced, which is disappointing but broadly in line with expectations, based on previous performance updates. “The result further reinforces the urgency of Beingmate’s business turnaround plan. We continue to push for the appointment of a new independent chief executive, improved internal controls and a focus on unlocking the right distribution channels, which we believe are key to Beingmate realising its potential.”

‘No politics in water debate’ FARMERS WHO pollute waterways and damage

New Zealand’s brand image cause problems for companies trying to sell our high value food exports. The Minister for the Environment, David Parker, says high value products rely heavily on the NZ ‘clean and green’ image, and if would-be buyers overseas perceive this isn’t strictly true it damages the overall brand and can make it harder for exporters. But by and large the vast majority of farmers do get the sustainability message, he says. They have done much in improving effluent control and mitigation of issues on milking platforms. There remain problems for farmers in regions where winter grass growth is limited however, for example, where crops are grown on sloping land which leads to a lot of sediment and nutrient loss to waterways. Parker says most farming leaders are more effectively conveying the message about sustainability. “DairyNZ and Fonterra are showing leadership now. And regional councils that were a bit slow off the mark are now improving. But during the election someone from Federated Farmers in Wairarapa denied intensive farming was causing a problem with our rivers. “That was a farm leader who certainly hadn’t got the message.” Parker does not oppose dairying as such, but says it’s clear the greater loads of sediment and nutrients in waterways result from intensive farming, especially dairying, despite dairy farmers “not being bad people”. “But the economics of dairying have changed because of the Uruguay round of the GATT that limited the quantity of subsidised dairy products that would come from developed countries into growing markets, mainly in Asia. “That meant the greater supply to service dairy demand in Asia went to the lowest-cost producer; for a long time that was NZ.” And there were other prompts towards intensive farming, notably new and cheaper technology for NZ land already in production; so intensification became the only alternative to increase milk production. Parker says the politics are now gone from the environmental debate because all parties see that NZ must do better. – Peter Burke


NEWS  // 7

Farmers can appeal M.bovis payout




plasma bovis and unhappy with compensation payments offered may go to arbitration and appeal, says MPI. “Claimants can write back to us pointing out why they believe our assessments are incorrect and can provide further evidence of their losses. At the same time they can still bank the compensation payment,” said an MPI spokesman. “If claimants are still unhappy they have rights under section 162a of the Biosecurity Act to take us to arbitration.” MPI was responding to questions about Fernside Jersey breeder Peter Hansen, denied compensation for MPI’s blocking his importation of four Jersey cows from Australia. While Hansen believes he is the only affected farmer so far denied compensation, MPI said this is not so.

“Others [have] claims in dispute. picion and undergoing testing. “Sometimes a property is under Some claimants are questioning the compensation payment but we are restrictions when there’s considunable to provide further informa- ered to be even a low risk of disease. These affected farmers tion for privacy reahave a right to privacy sons.” and it is up to them By late April MPI whether or not they had received 95 claims want to inform others for compensation of the situation.” assessed at $5.8 milProperties under lion, and had paid out RPNs may not move $3.22m. None of the animals on or off claims then received premises without perrelated to the 28 farms mission from MPI. whose herds were to be Peter Hansen, While properties culled. Jersey breeder under notice of direcMeanwhile, the latest update lists 32 infected farms, tion (NoD) must apply for a permit and 53 properties under Restricted to move animals off their premises, they are free to move animals on to Place Notices. MPI insists it cannot name their property. MPI said several farms are being affected farms because of the Pritested without having a risk that vacy Act. “This is the case for all farms requires movement restrictions. under controls, whether it’s because They are not legally required to take they have a positive M.bovis infection any special measures and may operstatus or because they are under sus- ate as usual.

prices were softer at last week’s GDT auction, taking the average price down 1.5% to US$3231/t and the overall price index down 1.1%, says Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins. This coincides with Fonterra last week revising upwards its production forecast for the full season versus last season to -2% (from -3% previously) to 1.5billion kgMS. While New Zealand product pricing now tends to wane as focus turns to the northern hemisphere, the late spring retains demand for fresh skim milk powder (SMP), says Higgins. SMP lifted 3.6% last week and NZ product is

Emma Higgins

still selling for more than European product. ASB’s Nathan Penny says the WMP fall contrasted with its expectations. However the sharp move lower in the NZ dollar more than compensates for the fall. Since the last GDT auction the NZD versus USD has fallen about 4.5%. The net affect sees overall dairy auction prices about 3% higher in NZ dollar terms – the terms that matter for the

farmgate milk price. Fonterra’s Global Dairy Update released last week says NZ dairy exports in February increased 4% (11,000t) on the same month last year. Growth was again driven by WMP and fluid and fresh dairy, up a combined 12% (16,000t) for the month, slightly offset by declines in cheese, lactose and AMF. Exports for the 12 months to February were flat on the previous comparable period, it said. Exports of fluid and fresh dairy and WMP -both among the largest export categories, and up a combined 117,000t (7%) -- this was offset by declines in most other categories. – Pam Tipa


8 //  $35,00O CALF

NZ calf sells for $35,000 NIGEL MALTHUS

Sales docket

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Sale near Duntroon in mid-April was a huge success, setting a believedrecord price for a New Zealand calf -- $35,000. Nathan and Amanda Bayne offered 49 Holsteins, made up of North American genetics and high-indexing NZbred cows. The star of the sale was a lot 1, sixweek-old heifer calf Busy Brook Doorman Hailstorm, a daughter of the two-time World Dairy Expo and Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion RF Goldwyn Hailstorm. She was sold to Peter Sherriff and family, of Sherraine Holsteins, Kaiapoi, for $35,000. Next price was $18,000 for lot 3, Busy Brook Wind Miss NZ, a direct daughter of the 2012 Canadian Cow of the year and Royal Winter Fair and World Dairy Expo Grand Champion

❱❱ 20 unjoined heifers, average $7535 ❱❱ 4 joined heifers, average $4125 ❱❱ 6 unborn calves, average $4400 ❱❱ 2 embryo packages, average $4250

Busy Brook Hosteins’ Nathan and Amanda Bayne with daughters Brooke, Sophia and Lily-Grace with calf, Busy Brook Doorman Hailstorm.

❱❱ 45 lots gross $303,200, to average $6738.

Eastside Lewisdale Gold Missy. “Amanda and I were really pleased with how the sale went,” said Bayne. “Getting a top price of $35,000 for Hailstorm was a standout moment for us, but overall we were very happy with the presentation of all the cows on offer, which is a credit to the team working behind the scenes. “It’s a big effort to put on a sale like this but well worth it when you see such an enthusiastic gallery of

buyers who had travelled from around NZ, and some from Australia too.” PGG Wrightson Livestock national dairy manager Paul Edwards said, “It is very rare to see such an outstanding offering of dairy cows in one sale. Nathan and Amanda’s breeding programme is world class and they offer a range of genetics because their herd is made up of North American genetics and high-indexing New Zealand bred cows.

“The buyers came from Northland to Southland and interest was strong across all lots, in particular lot 1. “To see a six-week-old heifer calf sell for $35,000 is a real credit to Nathan and Amanda. It was a privilege to run the sale for them as they are impressive operators and their approach is lifting the game for dairy breeding in NZ.” The Baynes sharemilk near Duntroon in Waitaki Valley. Their herd of 1000 cows produces 500kgMS/cow average and 1800kgMS/ha.

They began breeding Holstein Friesians 15 years ago, aiming to balance high index with above-average type. PGG Wrightson said the Baynes imported many embryos over the last few years -- some world-best -- and were excited to offer direct daughters from RF Goldwyn Hailey and Eastside Lewisdale Gold Missy. They run NZ- and North Americanbred cows together in one herd, fed and treated the same, but recorded as two separate herds.


$35,000 CALF  // 9

A unique buy NIGEL MALTHUS


breeder Peter Sherriff says buying New Zealand’s most expensive heifer calf is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Sherriff, who runs the Sherraine Holstein stud with his wife Rhonda, daughter Olivia and her husband Jared Cahill, recently paid $35,000 for six-week-old Busy Brook Doorman Hailstorm. Born at Duntroon’s Busy Brook Holstein stud from an imported embryo, she is the daughter of the two-time World Dairy Expo and Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion RF Goldwyn Hailstorm. Sherriff said he will make a detailed plan of how best to use the heifer, to be renamed Hailey, but will probably start flushing her for embryos from 14 - 16 months age. “We’ve had three lots of NZ enquiries already. Because she’s the only progeny of that cow family in the southern hemisphere there’ll also be Australian interest. That’s where we can market the embryos. “We’ll keep some of her first embryos as insurance in case something goes wrong. “There’ll be some on the market and then we’ll calve her and hopefully she will be as good as her mother.” Under the North American classification system, the calf’s mother, RF Goldwyn Hailstorm, has been rated three times as excellent 97. Sherriff says that is the highest any cow’s been classified in the world and to get it three times is

“unheard of”. “It’s also unheard of for a cow to win twice at that type of show; that’s the best of the best.” With a grin, Sherriff admits you can’t see the $35,000 just by looking at the calf. “What you’re buying is potential -- marketing ability,” he says. “There’s certainly nothing wrong with her; she’s extremely correct. If she wasn’t, if she didn’t look right, we wouldn’t have bothered buying her.” Sherriff says he is not known for going out and buying stock. “This is a once-ina-lifetime opportunity really, to be able to get a calf like this.” While proud of his purchase, Sherriff is just as proud of another calf, born in April on his own farm from genetics best described as historic. He said he has three straws of semen still in storage, dated 1969, from MMB Linmack, a bull he described as the numberone in Australasia in the 1970s. Linmack is known to have sired at least 100 cows rated as excellent. He decided to give one straw a try and the result is a healthy female calf, which he has dubbed Sherraine Linmack Molly. Sherriff’s farm is 150ha, milking 140 - 180 cows year-round from staggered calving, averaging 9000L per milking and about 650kgMS/cow. “Our focus is on larger, high-producing cows,” he said. It’s a small and intensive farm on which nutrient leaching is no more than 20. “We keep all our young stock. Everything’s grazed

and produced onfarm including maize; we buy in only wheat that we feed in the shed.” Sherriff says the industry has been “under the hammer” with its push to high stocking rates, but environmental challenges will cause a return

to valuing production per cow. His philosophy is that one heavy cow could produce as much milk as two light ones, and with less environmental loading. “I’m really enthusiastic about the future of the Holstein Friesian breed.”

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Ohoka farmer Peter Sherriff’s daughter Olivia with their $35,000 pride and joy, Busy Brook Doorman Hailstorm.

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10 //  NEWS

Green water turns into yard wash NIGEL MALTHUS


ClearTech technology uses a special coagulant to settle effluent particles out of water.

Ravensdown and Lincoln University have unveiled effluent technology that could lift the dairy sector’s effluent and water efficiency. The patented

technology, known as ClearTech, looks to cut freshwater use, help existing effluent storage ‘go further’ and reduce environmental and safety risks linked with dairy effluent. It is now being tested at pilot scale at the Lincoln University


Dairy Farm, where it was publicly unveiled on May 3, giving farmers a preview of likely future technology. Installed between the dairy shed and the effluent pond, ClearTech automatically monitors and treats circulating effluent.

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It uses a special coagulant to bind effluent particles together to settle them out from the water. The separation process kills up to 99% of microorganisms such as E. Coli, and reduces smell. Ravensdown said the pilot has so far cost the co-op $1.5 million. Jamie Thompson, Ravensdown’s effluent technology manager, said the technology has potential to reduce the environmental impact of effluent discharge on farms and to transform ‘green water’ for use as yard wash. “About a quarter of a dairy shed’s fresh water use is in yard washing, so the potential benefits to New Zealand are enormous of safely reusing ClearTech-treated water. “It could save 42 billion litres of freshwater a year -- the equivalent of 17,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.” Thompson said 70% of dairy farmers’ environmental spending is on effluent management. ClearTech can make their effluent storage go further and help them meet compliance obligations. Lincoln University soil science professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di are joint leaders in the science of the new system. Cameron said they

are “encouraged” at the industry’s willingness to collaborate in the development. Ravensdown chairman John Henderson said he is finding dairy farmers determined to work together to tackle issues related to water use. “This new technology is one important step... towards continuous improvement in the sector.” Dairy Holdings chief executive Colin Glass said the technology could transform the use of water in dairy operations and help reduce nitrogen losses. “[To shareholders] it makes sense Ravensdown is the driving force behind it, because the company is increasingly seen as a nutrient efficiency specialist.” The university and Ravensdown have been working on ClearTech for the last three years. After looking at overseas water purification practices, including the use of coagulants, the Lincoln team tested potential coagulants to find the best for use with dairy effluent. They then developed computer algorithms to monitor the effluent and apply the right amount of coagulant as required over time. @dairy_news

LATE 2018 RELEASE RAVENSDOWN SAYS its new ClearTech effluent treatment will likely go on sale later this year, once testing is complete. It recycles water for yard washing and stores any remaining treated effluent in the farm’s effluent pond. An integrated system comprises computerised processors, controllers, tanks, pumps and pipes. It can be retrofitted between a dairy shed and an existing effluent pond. The benefits: ■■ Recycling effluent water-content into yardwash reduces the daily effluent volume, so reducing the quantities going into a farm’s storage pond.

Treating your cattle with an eprinomectin pour-on post calving is proven to reduce the worm burden they carry in early lactation, and as a result increase their milk production1. Eprinomectin is also effective against lice, preventing production losses associated with heavy burdens.2 NIL milk withhold. NIL meat withhold in treated animals. NIL meat withhold for bobby calves born to treated cows. NIL effect on efficacy from rainfall before or after treatment.

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Less likelihood of environmental breaches from effluent ponds overflowing, and less need to apply effluent to land when soil conditions would not allow this.


Less freshwater used for dairy yard washing. The clear liquid portion of the treated effluent goes to a holding tank for the next yard wash, possibly cutting freshwater yard washing by as much as 65%.


Reduces microorganisms and odours via a 99% cut in E. coli in treated dairy effluent. ACVM No. A11278. 1. Effect of a peri-parturient eprinomectin treatment of dairy cows on milk production. WB McPherson, RP Gogolewski, B Slacek, AS Familton, SJ Gross, AE Maciel & WG Ryan. 2. Youngman, R. (2001). Now is the Winter of Our Discontent: Well, at Least Where Cattle and Lice are Concerned (Livestock Update-February), Virginia Cooperative Extension. VIR0238 Neoprinil 280X187 13_03_18 MAY.indd 1

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NEWS  // 13

Farming Expo DAIRY back in Stratford Diary

THE SECOND BDO Farming Expo will be held in Taranaki on May 17. Calling the event ‘Open to Change’, the organisers expect to attract 250 farmers and rural professionals. BDO Taranaki’s Sheree Hastie says the event will include “worthwhile seminars, networking and farming stalls”. World champion rower Hamish Bond will be a guest speaker to wind up the event. Hastie says BDO Hamish Bond Taranaki is proud to continue backing the farming community. “This day is being held primarily to give farmers access to information that will assist, motivate and inspire them in bouncing back from hard times.

“Holding the event in Stratford makes DATE EVENT DETAILS it accessible for most Taranaki farmers. Get the latest insights and opinions on Our aim is to attract 250 or more farmDairyNZ Farmers Forum, global trends from influential dairy leaders ers and professionMay 8-9 Hamilton. and commentators. DairyNZ Farmers als and the day will Forum will be held at Mystery Creek. www. include all seminars, lunch, coffee, drinks and most imporEleven regional finalists have been named tantly gather farmDairy Industry Awards in the Dairy Industry Awards. The national May 12 ers together.” national finals, Invercargill winner will be announced at a gala dinner at the ILT Stadium, Invercargill. Speakers will include LIC general manager NZ marThe annual conference will be held at BNZ Federated Farmers Auckland kets Malcolm Ellis, Business Centre, 86 Highbrook Drive, East May 18 conference and annual who will speak on Tamaki. general meeting the changing face of farm ownership and Current season finalists, sponsors and what drives farming farmers will attend the 2018 DBOY awards Dairy Business of the Year gains. night at the Devon Hotel, New Plymouth, June 21 Awards night The chief execcommencing at 6pm. Tickets cost $115. New Plymouth utive of Drone Technologies, Ben Plummer, will talk about technology on South Island Dairy SIDE 2018 will be held at the Dunedin June 25-26 the farm. Adam Duker, DairyNZ, will talk Conference (SIDE) Centre, Dunedin. about nutrient management. To register farmers can visit the BDO Tell the dairy farming community about your event through the Dairy Diary. website- Email event info to

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14 //  NEWS

German farm centred on g STEPHEN COOKE

A 1000-HEAD barn and

automated milking system is the centrepiece of an impressive family farm in east Germany. The Lansink family – Gerhard and Ivana and their son Guus -- built their barn on their Wartenburg farm, south west of Berlin, in 2014. Unfortunately, a dramatic drop in milk prices followed as Germany banned dairy sales to Russia when it

was implicated in the destruction of a passenger plane. The Lansinks run three branches – dairy, farming operation and biogas production – to spread their risks. “In the dairy sector, we hope the cash crop will help us out. Two years ago milk prices and crop prices were bad,” Guus said. The family employs 25 full-time workers. Recent changes to biogas production have

made it less attractive for farmers or other businesses, but they have a contract until 2032 with their current system. And they get government subsidies for their cropping land. The Lansink family moved to east Germany from Ontario, Canada in 2006, starting with 300 milking cows on 1500ha – 1000ha tillable and 500ha grassland with good loam soil. They farm 215ha of winter wheat, 170ha of

canola, 165ha of winter barley, 350ha of corn, 60ha of alfalfa and 40ha of sugar beets. Of the 500ha of grassland, 60ha is conservation area where manure is limited and mowing is forbidden until June 15 to enable birds to breed; and they have 40ha of grasslands around small local towns. They now run 950 milking cows, 150 dry cows and 900 young stock on three different locations. The herd averages

The 1000-head barn on the Lansink Farm in Germany.

Guus Lansink

36 – 36.5L a day with 3.9 fat and 3.4 protein. Heifers are kept about 3km from the new barn and are run on grassland in summer until October, depending on weather, before being housed in a barn. Construction of the new barn began on a greenfield site in June 2013 and involved 29 different companies. The 150 x 72m structure took 35,000 hours to build and required moving 15,000cu.m of soil. 2500 tonnes of construction waste from


communist-era sow barns was processed and used, as was 4260cu.m of concrete and 220t of reinforced steel. 480t of steel was used in total and 5km of timber beams. The barn contains 16 A4 Lely robots and a Lely Juno feed pusher. Solar panels generate 1.2mW per day from the roof rented for 20 years to a power company whose upfront cash payment paid for the roof. The office area and break rooms are heated with warmth of the milk, which offsets energy costs. Daily slurry production is 70cu.m and under




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the barn there is storage capacity for 20,000cu.m of slurry, used to produce biogas. They produce 360kW daily, with 60% from animal waste products (15t slurry/5t manure per day) and 40% feed products (silage) (5t corn/5t gas). “We sometimes employ a custom guy to shred manure straw, which enables us to get more energy with less product,” Guus said. “From the silos we take away silage from both sides and the top just in case there is any mould in feed; it usually


NEWS  // 15

n giant barn occurs on side or top, so we use it for biogas. “We were planning to build another biogas converter on this location, but EU changed laws and subsidies so it’s not as attractive.” They are renovating a shed where calves will be housed from day 1 to 20 weeks. They now use igloos and although Guus says it is a good system, feeding 100-150 calves is a lot of extra work. “Having calves in one barn in one location will make it much more efficient.” They will also install a new slurry system. “Right now we are hauling everything. Next year we will be able to pump manure from barn to fields with a drag hose. Our fields are in a radius of 5-6km so the drag hose system will be good. With slurry tanks we can spread 40cu.m an hour; with a drag hose it will be 250cu.m an hour so it will

save a lot of time.” Cows weigh 650 700kg. Milk now sells for 30-31 Euro cents/kg liquid milk. Guus said this was “pretty good, not the greatest”. Their production cost is about 29-30 Euro cents/kg. “When we started we were paid 27c. In Nov 2014 we were at 27c, then it went down to 20c. We had two rough years after building the barn. Then it went up to 40c but we knew it wouldn’t stay there. Then it dropped 9c from one month to the next.” There are no milk quotas but tillable land is 300 Euros/ha and grassland sells for 90 Euros/ ha. To get this price farmers must meet Government requirements. The Lansinks met the Government criterion of growing a green crop on 6% of tillable land by planting alfalfa, which Guus said is

PROFITABLE BIOGAS THE BIOGAS is profitable, as it earns money from the energy company and subsidies from the Government – 90 Euros/tonne. Their animal waste is mixed with a self-propelled feeder, making methane which is burnt off and generates electricity, which he is paid for. That waste is then used to fertilise grassland. It has a higher concentrate of nitrogen than dairy slurry and has proven more effective. “The way the dairy market is, it would have been more profitable to invest the money we spent on the barn in a new biogas generator,” Guus Lansink said. Farmers must give their processors two years notice of intention to leave, and Guus says they can be told their price two weeks into a month or at the start of the month. There is a bonus for additional fat and protein but litres milk is the main profit drivers. Once you produce a benchmark for fat and protein the additional cost required to raise this is not necessarily rewarded. “Effectively, the more I produce the more I’m paid. A few months ago we averaged 38L/day and that was a bit too much. We always need to look at what can be produced but also ask, is it going to work out for cows? We’re happy at 36 – 36.5L/day.” They produce 33,000 - 34,000L/day (3.9% fat and 3.4% protein). However, the real bonus is supplying nonGMO milk. “It’s a huge thing in Germany now; they are going crazy for non-GMO.” It wasn’t hard to change because GMO products are banned in the EU. They had to switch their soya bean supply from the US to Hungary. “We just feed that and show the government we’re not using non-GMO products from companies that don’t use GMO products in those trailers. “They’re pretty much forcing us to do so. DMK said ‘produce non-GMO or we’re not taking your milk’.”

great feed for dairy cows. “If you build a new barn you can get subsidies, but this province only subsidises up to 500 cows. They say bigger farms can sustain themselves. If we were 40km down the road we would have been eligible.” Subsidies for barns are 40%. • Lely paid for Stephen Cooke’s trip to Germany and the Netherlands.

Gerhard Lansink milked cows in Canada before moving back to Germany.


16 //  NEWS

Will the sector council be a schmooze? AGRICULTURE MINISTER Damien O’Connor

is defending the nature and makeup of the new Primary Sector Council. The 15-person council, chaired by the former Zespri chief executive, Lain Jager, will give independent strategy advice to the cabinet on issues confronting the primary

sector. And it will develop a sector-wide vision. But the council is criticised by National’s agriculture spokesperson Nathan Guy, who says it’s just paying lip service to the most important sector and lacks power to influence change at the level of the coalition Government.

“The council doesn’t even have a heavy-hitter from the dairy industry, which is of concern; and dairy farmers and industry leaders will see this as just another sign that they are going to be dealt to by the Government,” Guy says. O’Connor rejects this criticism, saying the

Lain Jagger

council is made up of visionary leaders. “They are going to set a vision for NZ agribusiness that can be shared and understood by all, and then sit down with all the sectors and work out a strategic plan that aligns with that vision. “This is an opportunity for fresh thinking and

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to establish a vision and work on strategies that don’t get bogged down by the realities of day-to-day enterprise. “We have to look further ahead but lots in the sector aren’t facing the reality of the milk price payout and actually knowing where the dairy industry will be heading in the next 20 - 30 years. This is something that must be considered. “We also want to highlight career paths in the sector for young people.” O’Connor says several sectors, notably meat and wool, should have done more strategic research in the past and the new

council will do some of this work. The council is not intended to be a representative grouping of the whole primary sector. The Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Scientists have complained that no scientist is on the council. But O’Connor counters this by saying council members understand future directions, and have shown by their performance that they look further ahead than some industry have done in the past. @dairy_news

MOVERS, SHAKERS WELL-KNOWN PEOPLE on the Primary Sector Council include Mark Paine, DairyNZ; John Brackenridge; NZ Merino Company; Julia Jones; KPMG; Tony Egan, Greeenlea Meats; and Julian Raine, HortNZ. O’Connor says council head Lain Jager brings solid experience in leadership, value-adding innovation and stakeholder engagement -- all critical elements of the work he expects of the council. “It will meet first in late May,” he says. “Once it has developed a sector-wide vision it will work with each sector to develop individual strategic plans; for example, sustainable development, future value creation, technological opportunities and how a focused and thriving primary sector can reinvigorate rural communities.”

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WHY NOT MORE SCIENTISTS? THE NEW Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Hor-

ticultural Science is questioning the makeup of the Primary Sector Council. Institute president Dr Jill Stanley says the big question is ‘where are the scientists?’. The council includes Mark Paine, strategy and investment leader for people and business at DairyNZ and previously the Dairy Australia principal research fellow at the University of Melbourne. His job at DairyNZ is to address issues of recruitment, employment relationships, leadership and career development in the dairy industry. He oversees strategy and spending on dairy education and training, from apprenticeships through to post graduate scholarships, and is responsible for the industry strategy on developing resources for farm business management. “Beyond Mark’s name on the list of 15 appointees, there are no scientists,” says Stanley. “This is a disappointing reflection on the perceived value of including agri-science leaders, be it senior scientists at AgResearch, Plant & Food Research, Landcare Research, Scion and ESR, let alone Massey or Lincoln universities. “Presumably this is a deliberate oversight, giving expression to a ministerial embrace of ‘modern think’ whereby it is believed science will follow the lead set by innovators in business. This is contrary to experience: history shows science has led the way and enabled new opportunities in business to emerge.”


WORLD  // 17

Milk production in Australia is ahead by 3-4% over last season.

Oz milk yield up

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and total volumes out of the EU flat (see graph). Perhaps more extraordinary is the trade in infant formula. Australia imports alot of retail-ready infant formula, primarily from NZ, which are sold in Australian supermarkets and pharmacies. Based on available ABS data, Australian imports of infant formula have grown by 62% this year, and are on track to hit almost 50,000t by the end of 2017-2018. (For perspective, in 2011-2012 Australia imported just 6000t of infant formula. Whilst there is a lack of clear data on the subject, actual domestic demand seems unlikely to account for all, or even most, of this increased demand.) Since 2010-2011, ABS data shows that the Australian infant population (ages 0-3) has increased from 1.17m to 1.25m in 2016-2017, for a growth rate of 1.0%, whilst sales of infant formula have grown 12% annually over the same period. Demand from the so-called Daigou (shoppers who buy this product off Australian shelves and then re-exporting to China via unofficial channels) may explain some of this huge growth. This same demand for Australian infant formula has also seen

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produced an estimated 650 million litres in March, an increase of 2% on March 2017. On current numbers, this means Australian milk production for the 2017-2018 season is ahead by 3.4% on a year-to-date basis versus the 2016-2017 season. March production was up strongly in South Australia (about 12%), Tasmania (11%) and Northern Victoria (7%); and growth in drinking milk-oriented states such as NSW (-0.3%) and Queensland (-5.4%) show a very different trend. Severe 3-month rainfall deficits have developed across much of east and southeast Australia, along with severely depleted soil moisture levels. While parts of New South Wales and Queensland have had these for a while, the effects are beginning to show further south, with total Victorian milk production for March up just 0.1%. Prolonged lack of rainfall, severe dryness and record heat in April depleted pasture in western Victoria, depressing milk volumes 3.9% and 2.1% in Gippsland and western Victoria respectively. Whilst the latest climate outlook suggests above average rainfall for parts of eastern Victoria and northeast Tasmania, much of this is expected in June. The lack of a proper autumn break and the ongoing effects of the March 17 fires will continue to affect milk production, but with Victorian milk production still ahead by 3.7% on an YTD basis, a projected total national milk production of over 9200m litres still looks probable. Available data from Australian manufacturers continues to show a shift away from the butter/SMP manufacturing stream towards the production of cheese and WMP, as manufacturers respond to the better overall returns offered by this stream. And the composition of Australian

continued growth in direct Australian exports, with export volumes up 34% YTD, and on track to exceed 30,000t by the end of 2017-2018. Close to 90% of this infant formula is exported to China and Hong Kong, where Australian dairy products sell at a premium. In 2016-2017, Australia exported about 24,000t of infant formula, worth $US310m, whilst importing 30,000t worth $US240m. The case of cheese or infant formula also illustrates a key point: the global market is going to become more important for the Australian dairy industry. Australia certainly exports less -- in absolute terms and as a percentage of milk produced -- than it did immediately after deregulation. However, when faced with the latest industry crisis, a fall in milk production did not necessarily lead to a decrease in Australian exports; however imports did increase noticeably. Backed by free trade agreements, Australian companies have several high value export markets that, if forced to choose due to limited milk supply, they would service ahead of segments of the Australian market. Conversely, Australia also has free trade agreements with two major dairy exports (NZ and the US) and is negotiating another with the EU. Like it or not, Australia is locked into the global dairy market, through free trade agreements and the presence of multinationals such as Fonterra and Saputo, with global ambitions and supply chains and strategies to match. Australia is now an importer and an exporter of dairy products, so the idea of two distinct domestic and export markets for most dairy products appears increasingly irrelevant. This means that rather than retreating from world markets to focus on satisfying local demand, the Australian dairy industry will interlink more with global markets. • Laurie Walker is an industry analyst with Dairy Australia.



imports also appears to be changing. Based on ABS import data to February, the growth in Australian cheese import volumes appears down about 5% -- on trend for about 120,000t for the full 2017-2018 financial year. It’s still a record amount of cheese, but this growth is much less than the surge in 2016-2017, when cheese imports grew by an astonishing 26%. This growth has come entirely from the US, with cheese imports from New Zealand down







Farmers are spooked

MILKING IT... Street cows on the moove SEVEN MORE cows are joining their cousins on the streets of Morrinsville. This month the aptly named Tatuamooee artwork was unveiled among six others in the latest addition to the Morrinsville Herd of Cows street art project. Backed by farming families, communities, schools and businesses, these new cows are refreshing the herd. The life-size sculptures, including the mega cow, have put Morrinsville on the map as New Zealand’s dairy capital. Organisers say another six cow sculptures are in the pipeline.

Top 10 meaty facts

Oat dear!

THE GREAT British Beef Week, organised by UK Ladies in Beef, emphasises the nation’s locally produced food. Here are some meaty facts from the group: 1. Domestic cows date from 10,000 years ago. They descend from aurochs (wild oxen). 2. A cow’s heartbeat is 60-70 per minute. When eating, it chews at least 50 times a minute, eating about 100 pounds of food a day. 3. Cows can walk upstairs but not downstairs. 4. The bovine genome was mapped in 2009, revealing that cows and humans have 80% of genes in common. 5. A cow’s methane emission averages 70-120kg per year, causing global warming equal to burning about 220 gallons of petrol. 6. Bulls are not angered by the colour red; in fact, cattle are red/ green colour-blind. 7. In Somerset in 1841, 737 cows were milked to make a 9ft diameter cheese for Queen Victoria. 8. Google Earth images showed in 2008 that cows tend to align north-south when eating or resting. On this there are two theories: they don’t like the sun and wind in their faces; or it has to do with their magnetic sense. 10. The earliest record shows the word ‘cowboy’ used in 1735, but ‘cowherd’ in 1018 (give or take a year or two).

VEGAN OAT milk is so popular in the US that coffee shops are running out of stock. Oat milk marketer Oatly Inc is pressing its suppliers to raise production by 50% in the next few months to meet demand. A growing preference for plantbased ‘milk’ appears to be driving the changes. Data from earlier this year show almost 33% of UK consumers aim to quit cow milk in 2018. And 50% of US dairy consumers say they plan to buy vegan milk.

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DAIRY FARMERS are spooked and they have every right to be. We have a Prime Minister describing climate change as “my generation’s nuclear free moment”; and a Climate Change Minister who not only happens to co-lead the Greens but who sees climate change “as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvent parts of our economy and society for the better”. And this new Labour-Greens-NZ First Government is forthright in its green-leaning tendencies and policies. Last month, in a historic move, it announced that no new exploration permits for offshore oil and gas fields will be issued, in support of its commitment to action on climate change. We don’t think the oil and gas industry expected such a strong move against them; and dairy could similarly be blind-sided by the Government. Federated Farmers leader Andrew Hoggard, a dairy farmer in Manawatu, says this sudden move on oil and gas has farmers spooked. They fear that such sudden changes could be imposed on them. Will the Government demand the dairy industry reduces cow numbers? Will more costs be imposed on dairying? According to Federated Farmers, the cost to farmers of bringing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be up to $83 million in the first year, eventually rising to at least $830m per year. So although NZ farmers enjoy the reputation of being amongst the world’s most efficient food producers, forcing the sector into the ETS will impose costs that cut our competitive advantage, because no other country penalises agricultural food production through an ETS. Tackling dairy’s greenhouse gas emissions has long been a priority for the sector. The latest inventory of NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that gross emissions for 2016 totalled 78.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – 19.6% more than in 1990 but 2.4% less than in 2015. Dairying produces nearly half of NZ’s agricultural emissions and nearly a quarter of total emissions; the industry is well aware of the challenge these figures pose. DairyNZ says that’s why farmers are bent on every possible mitigation option. Hoggard hopes common sense will prevail. But that’s what the gas and oil industry leaders had hoped for; look what happened to them.

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OPINION  // 19

US dairy farmers are in the fourth consecutive year of poor farm margins.

Strange days for US dairy STEVE SPENCER

WE’VE BEEN in the US recently, at the annual American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI) conference, a big event for processors, traders, brokers and buyers in the US domestic and global industry. About 1200 to 1500 turn up to this event, held in late April in downtown Chicago. The conference has market and technical content, but most of the activity is one-to-one business meetings off to the side. The conference proceedings are a sideshow. The environment for the US dairy industry is now at least uncertain and the sentiment is highly variable. The ‘windy city’ is named for the vagaries of its climate and also for the bluster of its politicians, so it’s apt now to be pondering the future of the US dairy industry. The US dairy industry is facing a few challenges, but the extra layers of complexity brought by Donald Trump’s presidency is adding to the uncertainty. Dairy farmers in the US are in the fourth consecutive year of poor farm margins, and 2018 looks to be the worst of those. Yet milk production keeps growing. For much of the past year, milk output has grown faster than domestic demand for dairy products, mainly because the fast food market has slowed. The irony is that as the economy has improved, people have tended to ‘trade up’, eating fewer fast-food (i.e. dairy-filled) meals. Fluid milk consumption keeps sliding because of the onslaught of alternatives and rising consumer concerns about hormones in milk and the environmental impacts of livestock. As US milk production rises and the domestic market falters, exporting is the obvious answer – right? While the US has tried to step up dairy trade, the global market hasn’t grown at all in the past year. Despite

Steve Spencer

a stronger world economy, some key markets for dairy are much weaker: the Middle East, North Africa and the oil economies of Russia, Africa and South America are collectively buying far less than in recent years. The outcome has been weaker prices for cheese and butter, flowing back as lower milk prices. Luckily feed grain and oilseed markets are in a glut, keeping feed input costs to dairy farmers steady. The situation could have been far worse. Now add the complexity of the Trump administration, which affects not only the future health of the economy, but trade policy on several fronts and continued access to farm labour supply. The trade policy calls by Trump have been jaw-dropping for the dairy sector let alone the rest of agriculture. At a time when China has proven to be a key balancing market for global dairy trade, Trump picks a fight over imports to the US from China of steel and aluminium, which has escalated into tit-for-tat retaliation designed, from the Chinese perspective, to hurt Trump’s support base – factory workers and farmers. The scrap hasn’t directly impacted dairy trade but that step may come next. Trump pulled out of the Pacific

Rim free trade bloc (the TPP), which improves access to a number of ASEAN countries and Japan, but now seemingly wants back into the tent – or not, depending on the day. The NAFTA agreement presently includes open trade with Mexico, the most important export market for US milk powder and cheese. The main gripe of the US industry – echoed by Trump’s team – is Canada’s restrictive tariffs and internal supply management. While it has been recently reported that a revamped NAFTA is close to being finalised, Canada has not backed down from maintaining key components of its arrangements. Ironically the TPP (under the Obama administration) was formerly seen as a mechanism to modernise NAFTA, but Trump has been keen to trash “anything Obama did” and out went that strategy. The protectionist stance of Trump’s administration has weakened the competitive position of the US in trade; key competitors such as the EU have worked on improving market access through FTAs, including an agreement recently reached with Mexico and an FTA deal with Japan which is still a major cheese market. Meanwhile busloads of immigrant farm workers have been rounded up and removed from dairy farms over the past year. This has reduced the farm labour supply and increased farm costs in the major South-West and Mid-West regions of the US industry. Mostly Republican in their outlook, many Trump’s supporters in agriculture could be experiencing some buyers’ remorse. While the US dairy industry has been poised to take a more strategic approach to global markets for some years, it is now swimming against a rising and unpredictable protectionist tide. • Steve Spencer is a director of Freshagenda, a Victoria-based food consultancy.

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Screen stops effluent blocking irrigators NIGEL MALTHUS

A NEW screen that allows effluent to be better applied to pastures has won IrrigationNZ’s Irrigation Innovation

Gavin Briggs, Rainer Irrigation, with the award-winning Vibra Screen.

Award for 2018. The Vibra Screen, made by Ashburtonbased Rainer Irrigation, removes solids larger than 1mm, which makes effluent better suited to being sprayed on pastures by



Avoid any unnecessary livestock movements to minimise risk of introducing disease into your farm


Establish quarantine measures on-farm including minimising the mixing of herds until animal health status is observed


Keep your NAIT records up-to-date, including your contact details, tagging and registering your animals and recording their movements


Check the TB status and any other testing requirements of the animals purchased or that may apply to the area you’re moving to


Complete an animal status declaration (ASD) form when shifting stock and provide to the next person in charge accurately


Make sure that the stock moved from a TBfree Movement Control Area have a pre-movement TB test up to 60 days before the move

FURTHER HELP Go to or call 0800 482 463.

NAIT is an OSPRI programme

centre pivot irrigators. Effluent is more often applied via small travelling irrigators because though centre pivots allow more consistent application on larger areas, blockages can be a problem. “We were getting frustrated with having to repair existing effluent separators that were not reliable and had high maintenance costs for clients,” said Gavin Briggs of Rainer Irrigation. Rainer decided to build its own product and aimed to develop a design that was reliable, easy to install and able to handle varying amounts of effluent. The Vibra Screen has taken over three years to develop. It has only six components, resulting in low maintenance and power costs. “Our first production Vibra Screen has been operating for over 4000 hours with no repairs being needed and the farmer is very happy with the results,” said Briggs. The screen allows farms to reduce spending on fertiliser and also allows recycled water to be used for dairy shed wash-down. 20 Vibra Screens are already in operation on

NZ farms. Peter Holmes has installed a Vibra Screen on his property near Lowcliffe, Mid-Canterbury, where he runs two dairy sheds milking 1550 cows. “The system works pretty well. Being able to spread effluent through the pivots means it can be spread over a larger area and it’s a lot less staff time and hassle than the travelling irrigator system we used to use. Once it’s applied we get good grass growth,” he said. The innovation award, sponsored by Southern Wide Real Estate with a prize of $2500, was announced at IrrigationNZ’s 2018 conference. Other finalists included an animated video promoting safety awareness around irrigation races and other water bodies, aimed at school-age children and developed by the Waitaki Irrigators Collective. The video has already been shown to 2000 children at 21 schools in North Otago and South Canterbury. Another finalist was Aqualinc’s GeoRural GIS Database System, used by farmers and irrigation schemes for, e.g. developing and managing farm environment plans.

Raising steam with wood FONTERRA WILL modify a boiler to be co-fired with wood and coal to generate steam at its Brightwater plant near Nelson. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is subsidising the co-op’s work to adapt Brightwater’s coal boiler to also simultaneously burn wood biomass. This will cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 25%, making it the industry’s first plant to reduce reliance on coal. Emissions will fall by about 2400 tonnes a year (530 cars equivalent). Fonterra chief operating officer global operations Robert Spurway says the lower coal burn will be a notable step towards the co-op’s lower emissions target. “Last year we joined the Ministry for the Environment in developing a roadmap to a low-emissions future, including co-firing wood biomass with coal at one site.” The Brightwater project follows a trial there in 2017. The modified boiler is expects to start co-firing by October this year.



Milking technology pioneer to step down in December



Systems chief executive international, Dean Bell, will step down from the role end of this year. Talking to staff, Bell recalled that the organisation he joined 28 years ago “is very different from today’s WMS”. “We have achieved a great deal over those years, positioning the company as a world leader in dairy innovation. “Very few Kiwi companies achieve success at home and in international markets. We have done that but the challenges don’t diminish. The goal now is to

Dean Bell, Waikato Milking Systems.

become the world leader in dairy innovation and achieving that... requires a new approach.” Bell said the recent splitting of Waikato Milking Systems’ chief executive’s role into domestic

and international “is one of the strategic steps that will achieve our future”. Bell says the chief executive New Zealand, Campbell Parker, is providing new thinking and strategic direction on the

home front. “The time is right for me to step aside to enable someone new to bring similar strengths to the international role.” The company’s chairman, Randal Barrett, says Bell has been a true leader, demonstrating the values of WMS in the market and alongside staff, from the executive team to the factory floor. “During Dean’s tenure the business has grown to become the dominant player in its home market and an established competitor in over 20 others, and Dean has been a key part of this success.”

A SOUTH Island tractor and machinery

dealer, AgriCentre South Ltd, must pay $90,000 compensation for injuries suffered by a farmer’s wife when a tractor’s brakes failed. Michele Bastiaansen suffered leg wounds and fractures to her neck vertebrae, humerus and wrist when she fell from a trailer towed by a tractor driven by her husband Francis. The compensation -- $60,000 for emotional harm and $30,000 for consequential loss – was ordered in a case in the Gore District Court following an investigation by WorkSafe New Zealand. AgriCentre South Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health and safety of the couple from Mataura, Southland. The company in 2015 traded in a 2002 New Holland tractor and determined its brakes were defective. It replaced the vehicle’s brake master cylinders but did not determine why the parts had failed. The tractor was delivered to the Bastiaansens’ farm for a trial in 2016, and Francis Bastiaansen told an AgriCentre South employee that the brakes appeared “soft”. He told another employee soon after that the tractor would not drive.

Another employee remedied the problem and at the same time topped up the brake fluid reservoir and bled the brake system. The report says he did not appear to have checked the brake pedal to see if the issue of soft brakes had been rectified. In early April 2016 the Bastiaansens were using the tractor and a trailer to carry timber to a storage shed. Driving up a 25-degree slope, Francis Bastiaansen applied the brakes but they failed to work and the combination rolled backwards causing the trailer to jack-knife and detach from the tractor; the trailer hit a bank and rolled, throwing Mrs Bastiaansen into the roadway where the tractor rolled over her, causing a “de-gloving” of her left leg, a large open wound on her right leg and breaking several bones. During the hearing, Mrs Bastiaansen read an impact statement that said the accident had turned her life upside down, from both physical and psychological injuries. She spoke of the horror of the leg injury and loss of dignity, independence and self-confidence. She had endured eight operations on her leg. In her judgement, Judge Bernadette Farnanarm concluded the defendant exposed the Bastiaansens to a risk of death or serious injury by supplying a tractor with faulty brakes. The company will be fined at a later date.

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that encourages children to make their own ice cream using typical breakfast foods for inspiration. The kit -- called Can it ice cream -- prompts children in years one to six to decide which breakfast ingredient would make the best ice cream. The contents include rolled oats, fruit, honey, baked beans and Marmite. The children first put the base ice cream ingredients – including cream and milk – into a bag and mix them by dancing to Taylor Swift’s song Shake it off. They then decide which flavour to add to their ice cream. After naming their finished product they taste-test each other’s ice cream and give feedback. The project is multi-media including videos and a podcast. One video has an ice cream expert talking about the craft of making ice cream. Can it ice cream is part of DairyNZ’s school education scheme and is among its most popular learning modules. It was offered to the first 350 teachers who signed up through the School Kit database and all kits were snapped up in 19 minutes. Other schools can find out how to run the project; they just have to provide their own ingredients. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle

Tim Mackle

says Can it ice cream is an engaging and fun lesson investigating an element’s change in state (compulsory in the New Zealand curriculum) -- in this case from cream to ice cream: liquid to solid. “We want children to learn how ice cream is made including where cream and milk come from,” said Mackle. “And to get children thinking innovatively and planning, trialling and evaluating.” The children also learn what makes different types of mixtures different – suspensions, colloids and solutions. (Colloids are a fine substance scattered throughout another substance, e.g. marshmallow or gelatine).



Blazing the trail for OAD Jerseys CONVERTING A sheep and beef farm to dairy and going once-a-day milking has proven good decisionmaking by Jersey breeders Matthew and Emma Darke of Aria, Waikato. Ten years ago, Matthew and his parents Peter and Elizabeth moved to dairy to diversify the family farm. They first built a small shed to milk 100 cows and rear 1500 calves annually, with a plan to eventually milk 450 cows; now they milk on two farms in two herds, with each block about 260ha effective, supporting 625 cows each. The Darkes at first took a fair bit of ribbing from their neighbours, who found it interesting that they were converting to dairy, and with Jerseys on OAD. It turns out the Darkes are trailblazers in their area, with many of the local dairy farms following suit and adopting OAD. They credit Malcolm Ellis of LIC for the inspiration to move to Jerseys. And they’re in an OAD discussion group at Massey University started by the late Colin Holmes, who saw OAD as the future for dairy farming in NZ. “We weren’t ‘proper’ dairy farmers in the early days; we didn’t have our beliefs and systems firmly in place, so we were prepared to try new concepts

on farm,” says Matthew. An average farm with average infrastructure, the new (upper) block has previously supported a crossbred herd that produced 90,000kgMS in the year purchased, with a farm record of 103,000kgMS. In 2014, the Darkes purchased the neighbouring 135ha property, increasing the total land area to 500ha. “In our first year of operation on OAD, with a predominantly Jersey herd, we averaged 115,00kgMS,” says Matthew. “This season we changed it. We split the two herds and farms into equal land and herd sizes, with 450 cows in each herd,” he says. “On the lower (original) block, the longest walk to the shed was 4km but that paddock was only 2km from the upper block’s shed, so it made sense to swap them around.” In the 2016-17 season, the upper block averaged 850kgMS/ha -- 330kgMS/ cow in 250 days from the mostly Jersey herd. The lower block produced 750kgMS/ha on hillier country from a mainly crossbred herd. Having weighed the cows, the 400kg Jerseys were averaging 330kgMS/ cow, making them the most efficient converters of feed (82.5% of

liveweight). At other discussion groups the Darkes attended, the averages were 360kgMS from 460kg cows, with extra feed required for maintenance. Last season the Darkes’

production totalled 406,000kgMS, just 1% less than their record season. Matthew comments on the hard spring in 2017, then five weeks without rain. “Now that it’s rain-

ing, the grass is bolting,” he says. “We’re now about 2000kgMS (0.5%) behind last season’s pro-

duction but we’re well into catch-up mode and we’re looking at producing 400,000kgMS.”

DeLaval Test Farm


ELITE BULLS BOTH HERDS are now mated to Jersey, with the exception of one crossbred bull (about 150 straws). The lower 10-15% get a beef straw. Emma Darke mates each cow and selects bulls based on their breeding values, matching the requirements of each dam. “We’re using the elite LIC and CRV Ambreed bulls,” says Emma. “More recently we’ve used some overseas bulls from Genetic Enterprises to address a slight issue with inbreeding.” Coming from a stud breeding background, Matthew says the ‘bull of the day’ philosophy is not for them. “We can improve the herd more quickly by nominating semen,” he says. For the Darkes, the Jersey breed meets so many of their goals for their herd. “They deal well with the heat in summer,” says Matthew. “You see them eating well while the crossbreds are panting. “Their fertility rate is also much better, and in a normal year we don’t have to do premate heat checks.”

Matthew and Emma Darke, Waikato.

With onfarm costs of $3.25/kgMS they’re taking advantage of the OAD premium.



Dog on weed a friend PAM TIPA


trainer John Taylor has been in demand in the Waikato and other districts using his 8-yearold border collie Rusty to sniff out exotic plant velvet leaf which is a big threat to pasture. Rusty and Taylor’s other dog are also used on other pasture plant pests and in conservation efforts. Taylor and Rusty were in Northland recently to show council staff and volunteers how to train dogs to find pest plants. They discovered batwing which threatens native forests. And they may be used in Northland to battle two other weeds which threaten pasture. Taylor has worked a lifetime with, for example, sheep dogs and rescue

cessful; he was picking up plants they would never ever see. I was up there for a full week around the Waikato area.” Horizons Regional Council then contacted him and he went into Masterton, Levin, Palmerston North and surrounding areas, very successfully picking up many plants. “We won’t be going back to Masterton again; we reckon we’ve cleared that,” he said. “And a couple of properties in Whanganui we’ve cleared. But two properties in Levin still have plants popping up.” Waikato still has more work to do and Taylor says he has found velvet leaf on two properties in Henderson, west Auckland, where they thought they didn’t have it. He found some in Rotorua last year but it was sprayed and he didn’t

dogs; he started in biosecurity work during the velvet leaf incursion in Southland. The question popped up, “I wonder if a dog could find that stuff?” After battling Environment Southland he got a few samples and did some training. “I guessed my way through it and then I found out the dog was picking this stuff up real easy. It has got such a scent I can even smell the damn stuff,” he told Dairy News. The Ministry for Primary Industries then got involved, paying for a three-week trial, but decided not to go ahead with dogs. But Taylor soon got busy in Waikato, leading to his travelling the North Island with Rusty on a velvet leaf hunt. He says the initial trial with Waikato was “so suc-

John Taylor and Rusty at work.

find any this year. He also went to Napier and found velvet leaf on two properties assumed to be clear but they hadn’t got it all. He spent five days in Northland last month, showing a dozen dog owners how he trained his

dogs. While he reckons they will get three or four dogs out of that bunch, Northland will probably need about 10 dogs for the work it needs to do. They were training for batwing passion vine that gets into native bush. But

the Northland Regional Council is also looking at using dogs for nassella grass. “That is a real dangerous one: the cattle and sheep can’t digest it. It fills their stomach, balls up and they basi-

cally starve to death,” says Taylor. White briny may also be targeted because as a tuber it is hard to find when stock have eaten the leaves. Dogs also could be used in Northland to

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to all find turtles released into waterways by “idiots”, and possibly stray koi carp. Taylor will return to Northland in six to eight weeks to see how the trainers are progressing and should be able to tell then which dogs will make the grade. He says he is lucky with Rusty who is very good natured and travels well. For the Chilean needle grass effort in Christchurch he used his dog in trials to find out if the

pest is scented enough for a dog to find it. Two girls in Christchurch have now trained their dogs. The dog he trained for velvet leaf was one of two he initially trained for LandSAR Search and Rescue work but he is no longer involved. Taylor (67) has trained dogs most of his life, including hunting, deer stalking and gun dogs. And he is now in a small group training five dogs for local disaster work.

His second dog, obtained by accident, came to him in a “bad way”. That dog is now brilliant at helping DoC to find patches of spartina grass in tributaries to the local estuary which were missed during spraying.

Rusty, the eight year old Border Collie.

DeLaval has 128 test farms operating now. This year. You’ll find out what they’ve been testing.

Velvet leaf

JOHN TAYLOR plans to retire his velvet leaf dog Rusty at about 10. “I will carry on with the young dog on spartina grass, but I may train him on other things; I’m not sure yet. “That will be my last dog. Other people may want to learn about it; that’s why I went to Northland, just to pass on that knowledge.” He doesn’t think farmers would necessarily have the time to train dogs for this biosecurity work. “It is easy to train a dog for sheep; there is a standard set of commands and that is not hard to do; that is what I am using. I am basically using sheep dogs; both are collies, both are heading or eye dogs -- easy to train, they’ve got a brain.” For velvet leaf he needs to be able to train the dog so it indicates a find. “That’s the hard part; any dog can do the finding once you teach them the scent. But they have to be reliable and actually indicate to you they have found it.” You have to build a personal relationship with the dog, Taylor says. “You build a bond and relationship with the dog where you can tell without having all this fancy indication. My fella will go right to a plant and put his nose right on it.” He had a case in Levin when his dog kept barking and indicating in one area but he and a biosecurity officer couldn’t find anything. Finally they realised a convolvulus vine was camouflaging a velvet leaf. You wouldn’t have picked it up visually. “That’s where a dog comes in; when they are scenting they will pick that up. They can pick up really small plants too.”





UK-made cattle bolus now sold in NZ UK COMPANY Agrimin Ltd, maker ential,” says Annie Williams, Agrimin’s of trace element boluses for cattle animal scientist. “They promote growth, fertility and sheep, has launched its products in New Zealand through its subsidiary and a healthy immune system. Providing a balanced supply of trace eleAgrimin NZ Ltd. Its Smartrace Adult Cattle and ments allows animals to perform to Growing Cattle bolus products are reg- their potential with more cost-effecistered as veterinary medicine products tive growth.” Agrimin’s sustained-release erodwith ACVM; they provide cost-effective avoidance of deficiencies in growing ing bolus constantly supplies key trace remains unchanged, the and adult cattle in a single easy application. “Trace elements deficiencies bolus stays in the reticulum. is 100% retention and Agrimin 24·7 Smartrace Adult are a significant but treatable There no residue at the end of the Cattle and Smartrace Growing bolus’s life. Cattle are intra-ruminal eroding drain on performance and “The trace elements are boluses for the treatment of clin- profitability.” dispersed evenly throughical and subclinical trace element deficiencies. The boluses have been elements at a controlled dose rate. out the bolus ensuring rapid and conevaluated at Te Kauwhata under prac- Administered using a specially designed sistent supply into the bloodstream,” tical farm conditions; they are widely applicator, the bolus moves quickly to says Williams. “Trace elements are released from the rumen and, due to its high density, used in the UK and globally. the bolus from the day of application, “Trace elements deficiencies are a lodges safely in the reticulum. The wrapper dissolves and the two with immediate benefit. As dosing can significant, but treatable drain on performance and profitability; selenium, parts of the bolus physically erode to be combined with other treatments iodine and cobalt are particularly influ- release the elements. As the density there is minimal stress to the animal.”

The 24·7 Smartrace Adult Cattle bolus is for the treatment of selenium, iodine and cobalt deficiencies that can occur during critical stages of the production or breeding cycle. They are formulated for adult cattle weighing in excess of 400kg. It should be used during the winter period and at dryoff. The iodine content makes it ideal for brassica fed animals which are particular susceptible to iodine deficiency. The growing cattle bolus is

designed to treat deficiencies of the same vital elements in younger cattle weighing 200-400kg. It is for supplementing cattle on marginal land, and for animals reared off farm and in calf heifers. “24·7 Smartrace boluses offer a convenient, fast acting and efficient approach for producers determined to reduce the economic losses associated with trace element deficiencies,” says Williams.


THE FACTS! ● ● ● ● ● ●

88% of farmers read rural print at least weekly 79% of farmers say print is their preferred format 82% of farmers are influenced by rural print 77% of farmers use rural print for business and research 74% of farmers pay attention to the adverts in rural print 90% of farmers act as a result of reading rural print


The Rural Media Habits Survey 2018 is independent research conducted by Perceptive Research on behalf of the majority of rural publishers. Participants were screened to exclude lifestylers and ensure a robust sample of 820 Commercial Farmers. Results show the majority of farmers read rural print, find it highly relevant to their businesses, and that it influences their purchasing decisions more than all other media.



Spare the fibre, spoil your season

Maximum dry matter intakes (DMI’s) are determined by two factors, the quality of the feed itself and the cow’s ability to ingest it. It is recognised that most NZ

cows will ‘hit’ maximum daily DMI’s when they have consumed 1.0% 1.5% of live weight in Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF) and capacious cows have been known to eat in excess of 1.5% of live weight in NDF. The importance of this concept can be demonstrated in the following example; A 500kg Kiwi cross cow may ingest anywhere from 5kgs to 7.5kgs (1.0% - 1.5% liveweight) of NDF over a 24-hour period. As pasture enters the ‘heading’ reproductive stage NDF can approach and exceed 50% of dry matter consumed. Using this rationale, a poorly-adapted cow will hit a maximum DMI intake of 10kgs of low quality pasture (going to seed) whereas a welladapted capacious cow will be able to eat as much as 50% more. In this example the capacious cow will be capable of ingesting 50% more ME than the ‘slabby’ cow. This emphasises the fact that cows over the winter period must be offered diets that drive capaciousness and this is achieved by feeding diets with more effective or long stem fibre in the form of mature pasture, grass silage, hay or straw. While these fibre based feeds appear expensive from a cents/kg of Dry Matter or cents/MJME perspective they clearly provide a very important function in a dry cow’s diet. I have seen countless examples where cows and heifers fail to compete post calving due to very poorly adapted rumens and lack of capaciousness. The costs can be enormous and disheartening, if not devastating, to the person responsible for the operation. Aside from these obvious benefits, high

fibre feeds provide further important benefits through the winter months. Dry fibrous feeds generate greater thermal (heat) energy as they are digested. These ‘thermogenic’ (heat producing) feeds therefore have the added benefit of providing the cow with a feed

that complements the cooler winter climatic conditions. Many farmers that feed these sorts of feeds notice cows are more content and cause less pasture damage than cows that aren’t provided sufficient fibre. So, the take home message is ‘spare the fibre, spoil your season’

and remember you are feeding Ruminants that are adapted to thrive on fibrous feeds. • Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services This article is brought to you by

Here comes the

FUTURE of dairy farming ES V L O V LL RE





WITH DRY off date just around the corner for the vast majority of spring calving herds, it is easy to assume the next few months leading up to spring presents an opportunity to relax and take a breather. While most would agree that a holiday or some form of break is crucial for staff to recharge batteries before the onslaught of spring, it is equally important to realise winter is a crucial time where some attention to detail over those darker wetter months pays big dividends downstream. For cows to be successfully set up for optimal lactation and subsequent reproduction, they need to be fed in a manner which holds or gradually improves their body condition score (BCS) while at the same time maintaining or further developing their rumen capacity. The goal is to have a cow that is both wellconditioned (BCS of 5.0 – 5.5) and capacious. Fat cows (BCS > 5.5) that are ‘slabby’ (poor rumen development) are quite simply a recipe for disaster. These cows are prone to ketosis at calving and at far greater risk of suffering malnutrition on diets typically offered to NZ cows post calving. This translates to more animal health problems at calving, poorer production and reproductive failure. ‘Fat slabby’ cows are the product of poor feeding practices. They are usually cows that have gained weight rapidly while dry after being offered diets containing too high energy density (Maize, silage and PKE) and too little effective fibre (mature pasture, hay and straw). Post calving, due to their lack of rumen capacity, they are not physically able to eat and process sufficient amounts of the predominant ryegrass based diets through early lactation.



Daily milk urea readings could help tackle N in urine NEW ZEALAND’S 4.8 million milk-

ing cows excrete 1000 tonnes of nitrogen a day in their urine, and 200 tonnes of this end up in groundwater, says CRV Ambreed. The company says it calculated the daily numbers using existing data related to milk urea concentration in daily bulk milk reports. Farmers could be using the milk urea concentration (MU) value on their daily bulk milk reports to calculate the amount of nitrogen their herd is excreting in urine and take steps to address that, says Phil Beatson, the company’s head of R&D. He says the 200t/day that ends up in ground water “is an issue we must address now”. “Not all farms are the same in terms of milk urea, nitrogen excretion and leaching from their cows. Reducing milk urea, nitrogen excretion and leaching is achievable quickly.” MU is an indicator of how much

Phil Beatson, CRV Ambreed

dietary nitrogen (consumed by the cow as plant protein) is not being used for production and is excreted. Nitrogen excreted in the urine is particularly important because the high concentra-

tion of nitrogen in urine coupled with the small area of the urine patch means the plants and soil cannot cope with the nitrogen, and across all NZ about 20% is leached into groundwater.

Research from overseas and in NZ shows a direct relationship between MU and grams urinary nitrogen excreted per day per cow, Beatson says. On average the relationship between MU and urinary nitrogen is about 7 grams urinary nitrogen per 1 unit of MU. The average MU in NZ is 30 units, so the average cow is excreting 7 x 30 which is 210 grams of urinary nitrogen a day. With 4.8 million cows in milk, nationally there is 1000 tonnes of nitrogen hitting the ground in urine every day, he says. Beatson uses an example of a herd of 500 cows whose bulk milk MU on a day is 30 units, combined with the best estimate of the MU-UN relationship of 7 grams urinary nitrogen per unit of MU. On average, each cow is peeing out 7 x 30 = 210 grams urinary nitrogen and the herd is excreting 500 x 210 grams = 105,000 grams nitrogen in urine per day, a total of 105kg a day on that farm.

He says the effective way to deal with the nitrogen leaching issues is to reduce the amount of nitrogen hitting the ground, and that means changes in the way we breed and feed cows. Beatson says the MU value in bulk milk reports holds the key to this. Although the MU and urinary nitrogen relationship differs slightly from cow to cow when individual cows are considered, when a herd is considered, the average MU of the group relates tightly to the MU-urinary nitrogen relationship of 7 grams urinary nitrogen per unit of MU. This means that the bulk milk MU is a good predictor of urinary nitrogen on a per cow basis, and, when we multiply by number of cows, on a per herd basis, he says. While the average NZ herd sits around the MU 30-unit mark, some herds have a much lower average MU and some have much higher average MU.

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PHIL BEATSON uses examples of adjacent farms with similar stocking rates: one herd averages MU 22 and another MU 38. “Levels around MU 22 are low and would tell us that this herd is fed a well-balanced diet and that the cows might also have desirable genetic make-up for low MU,” he says. “But those at the higher level of MU 38 will likely be receiving a diet with excess nitrogen. The herd with bulk milk MU 22 is excreting 154 grams urinary nitrogen per cow per day, while the herd with bulk milk MU 38 is excreting 266 grams urinary nitrogen per cow per day.” He says reducing the amount of urinary nitrogen is the only effective way to safeguard groundwater quality. “It’s the duty of all of us to adopt farming practices that reduce the amount of nitrogen going into groundwater and waterways. Plantings, carbon banks, etc are helpful to reduce phosphorus and bacterial contamination of waterways but have minimal effect in reducing

nitrogen leaching into groundwater.” He’s encouraging farmers who get bulk milk reports from Fonterra, Open Country Dairy, Synlait and Westland Milk Products to use the MU information to start tracking their MU daily to determine what practices influence the MU value from day to day and with an overall aim of reducing MU and therefore urinary nitrogen. Beatson says about 45% of dietary nitrogen is excreted in urine. This amounts to each cow excreting about 75kg of nitrogen a year in urine and this urinary nitrogen is the primary source of nitrogen leaching. The relationship between bulk milk MU and urinary nitrogen is a very accurate measure of how much nitrogen is hitting the ground as urine on a herd basis and therefore it follows that MU is very likely to be a good predictor for how much leaching is actually taking place on farms, he says. Use of their bulk milk MU reading should therefore help farmers form the basis of strategies to reduce leaching.


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Goat milk popular globally WORLDWIDE, MORE

people drink goat milk than any other. A dairy doe should be milked the same way as a dairy cow, using good dairy hygiene. Milk by hand or machine; attend to milk cleanliness and

cooling as for any other milk. Goat milk fat and protein is more easily digestible than that of cow milk. This higher digestibility of protein is important to infants (human and animal) and to invalids

and convalescents. And, glycerol ethers are much higher in goat than in cow milk, important for nourishing a newborn. Goat milk tends to have a better buffering quality, which is good for treating ulcers. And goat

milk is a good replacement for cow milk in diets of people allergic to cow milk. The natural homogenisation of goat milk is, in human health, much better than mechanically homogenised cow milk. It appears that fat globules forcibly broken up by mechanical means allow an enzyme in milk fat (xanthine oxidase) to get free and penetrate the intestinal wall. Once xanthine oxidase gets through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, it is capable of scarring the heart and arteries, which in turn may stimulate the body to release cholesterol into the blood in an attempt to lay a protective fatty material on the scarred

More people drink goat milk than any other, says American Dairy Goat Association.

areas. This can lead to arteriosclerosis. Many dairy goats in their prime average 2.5 3.5L of milk daily during a ten-month lactation, giving more soon after freshening and gradually lessening toward the end

Many dairy goats in their prime average 2.5L to 3.5L of milk daily.

of their lactation. The milk averages 3.5% butterfat. A doe may be expected to reach her heaviest production during her third or fourth lactation. Goat milk is used for drinking, cooking and

baking; to make cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt, candy, soap, etc. Goat milk is whiter than whole cow milk. Butter and cheese made from goat milk are white, but may be colored during processing. Due to its small fat globules and soft small curd, products made with goat milk are smooth and cream-like. Goat milk is also naturally emulsified. Chevre is the French word for goat. Domestically, it is a generic term that applies to all goat cheeses and more specifically the mild fresh cheeses. The three fatty acids which give goat products their distinctive flavor are capric, caprylic and caproic. • Article sourced from American Dairy Goat Association.

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Caprine Arthritis-Encephalitis is a viruscaused disease in goat herds.

Keep an eye out for viruscaused disease DR MARJORIE ORR


ease of goats caused by a virus. It is present in many herds in New Zealand and tends to develop into clinical disease when goats are under stress, for example in dairy goats farmed intensively. It has no known cure. Infection most commonly spreads from infected does to kids via colostrum or milk. The milk from one infected doe going into bulk milk can infect all the kids drinking it. After infection it can take a long time for the first signs of the disease to appear. In fact, some infected goats show no signs, although they may have reduced productivity, and they can spread the virus to kids and other goats. The clinical disease takes two main forms: encephalitis (brain inflammation) is the most common form of the disease in kids. Signs are first seen at age one to four months; affected kids can be bright and alert but they develop a stilted walk then weaken in the back legs until they can’t walk (over two weeks to two months). Older goats can sometimes get the nervous form too, and this form of the disease can look like another brain disease – cerebral listeriosis – with aimless circling and a head tilt. Chronic arthritis is the most common form of the disease in

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SILENT CARRIER OF CAE GOATS THAT test positive can live a long time with no problems if they aren’t stressed. They can make good pets. But remember they could well be carriers that could spread the disease to other goats. The Dairy Goat Cooperative (DGC) in Hamilton runs its own CAE eradication and control scheme with its supplier herds. The New Zealand Dairy Goat Breeders Association (NZDGBA) runs a CAE accreditation scheme for its members. Clinical CAE isn’t common on lifestyle farms, but if you suspect it get a vet to test for it. If the disease is confirmed your vet can advise on control measures.

mature goats. This form of CAE usually develops later (at age one to two years). The knees and sometimes other joints swell and the goat becomes lame, often grazing on its knees; joint pain and stiffness increase over time. Again it’s important to distinguish between lameness caused by CAE and lameness caused by other problems such as footrot. Occasionally CAE causes mastitis, pneumonia or wasting disease. If you think you might have affected goats or if you’d like to make sure you don’t have the disease on your farm, the first step is to get your vet to arrange blood tests. Accurate diagnosis is important because other diseases can cause similar signs. Generally it’s best to repeat testing after a year or so, as some infected goats take time to give a positive result. In commercial herds any testpositive goats should be humanely

culled. Then with the help of your vet you can do more to get rid of the disease. Run two herds – one negative and one positive -- and manage them carefully to prevent infection spreading from the positive goats to the negative ones. Prevent spread from blood testpositive does to their kids via the milk by separating the kids from their dams before they suckle and raising them on bovine colostrum and milk substitutes or milk from known CAEfree does. If you have a CAE-free herd, it’s wise to make sure it stays clear by having a ‘closed herd’ policy. This means that any goats you introduce should be sourced from CAE-free herds, or they should be blood-tested before joining the herd. • Dr Marjorie Orr is a lifestyle farmer and veterinarian (retired). This article first appeared in

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Trimming hooves OVERGROWN HOOVES can cause a

lot of problems for dairy goats, including stress on joints and bacterial and fungal infections. When a goat has sore feet she/he will not eat properly and can lose vigour. At six-weekly intervals, use shears and a sharp knife to trim the sidewalls of the claws and sole. Wear a glove when holding the foot, to protect against a cut by shears or knife. Trim after rain, after the goat has walked in wet grass, or after scrubbing hoof with a nailbrush and warm water; the hoof will then be softer to cut. You can cut safely until pink starts to shine through the white of the trimmed part; this shows you are getting near the ‘quick’, which will bleed if you cut deeper. This does not show as easily

on black-hoof goats which usually have softer feet anyway, so go easy on them. Start on a front foot, then move to the back ones; the goat is less likely to play up. If the goat kicks hard

with her back foot, pick it up by putting your hand tightly round the hamstring above the hock, then run your other hand down to the foot, take up your usual grip, and get cutting; the hamstring grip immobilises the mus-

DEBUDDING HORNS TO TELL whether or not a kid has horns, feel the raised bumps between the ears on the top of the head. If they are pointed the kid will be horned; or check for whorls of hair which indicate horns. If in doubt, leave the kid for a few days and look again. Do buck kids at younger than four days old to avert scurs. Step 1: Clip as much of the hair as you can from the top of the kid’s head. The smell is terrible when it burns; it will grow back. Step 2: Locate the horn buds; the skin will be tight over the site. Apply the iron to the horn bud and cut out a circle. Count the seconds; hold for 10 seconds for an average hot iron. To keep the kid immobile

during this, clamp its neck between your knees or use a dehorning box. It helps to have someone hold the legs, especially if it’s a big kid. Be careful not to choke the kid; if necessary place your hand over its nose to hold it still; remember to give it a breathing spell once in a while. Step 3: If the horn buds are well grown (12mm tall or bigger) they may be removed now quickly with a sharp knife, then the area cauterised with the iron. Rotate the iron to use the hottest spot. The whole circular area should be copper coloured. Step 4: A cuddle and a drink of milk will restore the kid to its normal self. Apply charcoal powder. You can apply ice to cool the head.

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cles of the lower leg long enough for you to get a firm grip without hurting the goat, and once she realises you have her, she will behave better. • Information sourced from NZ Dairy Goat Breeders Association.

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Cool and clever Karoq arrives MARK DANIEL

WINNING UMPTEEN car-of-theyear titles in 2017 for the Kodiaq, Skoda might now be up for the double in 2018 with its new mid-sized SUV -the Karoq. A quick look and a short drive during the mid-April media launch left a good impression, so Dairy News looks forward to a longer test. The Karoq comes in two models: the Ambition+ and the Style. Effectively replacing the Yeti, the Karoq is slightly longer, wider, has a greater wheelbase and -- important in SUVs -has more boot space. Engine offerings are petrol or diesel; the petrol version is an allnew 1.5L, 4-cylinder unit that puts out 110kW and 250Nm torque, has a combined fuel rating of 5.6L/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 8.6 seconds -- pretty useful. The Style version can be specified with a 2.0L, 4-cyl. turbo diesel that delivers the same 100kW, but ups the ante with torque of 340Nm; this is

available only in 4WD format. Whatever your engine preference, both options come with the 7-speed, twin-clutch DSG transmission. Out on the road, the diminutive petrol leads to a little confusion, as it’s hard to believe that such a small engine can be so quiet, torquey and exceptionally smooth; it pretty much feels like the slightly smaller Kodiaq we

Skoda’s mid-sized SUV-Karoq (above) comes with an up-to-date cabin (left).

drove last year. In the cabin, a general feel of airiness and comfortable, supportive seats gave us a pleasant blast up Auckland’s northwest motorway. In this case the Karoq was fitted

with the optional Varioflex package that includes leather upholstery and steering wheel and a clever seating arrangement. In the rear, its three seats can alternatively be laid flat for moving large loads, or allow a spot of freedom camping at the beach or, with the middle seat removed and the outer seats

individual taste. For the safety conscious all bases are covered, with blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assistance, radar enhanced cruise control, rear crosstraffic alert, parking assist and a highquality reversing camera. Now it only remains to live with one for a week and report back our findings, which we suspect will say it’s not just good, it’s also clever.

moved outwards, can accommodate a couple of rugby players; whichever layout, it’s clever. That brings us to Skoda’s mantra ‘Simply Clever’, seen in the Kodiaq and clearly in view in the Karoq. A large touchscreen fills the centre dashboard and is easy to use, especially when in the carousel format, allowing drivers to easily move through menus and set all aspects of the vehicle to






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Proven throughout New Zealand and around the world by farmers and contractors alike, the M-Series Agrotron range has a reputation that is synonymous with German reliability and quality. Built using the best German manufactured components including a 4 speed power shift, 24x24 speed ZF transmission and an electronically controlled Tier 3a Deutz-Ag engine, the Agrotron is the dependable and reliable option that is well suited to our highly demanding New Zealand rural sector. The M Series gearbox has the best ratio of gears for all applications, an engine that is legendary for its fuel efficiency and a hydraulic system that is class leading. With cabin suspension, large tyre equipment and an ergonomic armrest control all standard features, the operator is comfortably in control of one of the best tractors for cabin visibility on the market today. And now on run-out, with a free loader and flexible finance options that we can tailor to your requirements, we are confident you will also find it’s the best value tractor in its class. Get in touch with your local Power Farming Dealer and try the Agrotron M Series for yourself.




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Love affair with front-end loaders MARK DANIEL

NEW ZEALAND farmers seem

to have a love affair with front-end loaders, particularly in comparison to their European counterparts who around the 100hp mark switch their allegiance to more specialised telehandlers. When it comes to buying a new tractor, the current system usually sees the tractor being delivered to the local dealership, where it gets its pre-delivery checks, then it gets a loader fitted, which dependent on size might take between six and sixteen hours. A new initiative from Case IH NZ sees the availability of ‘loader ready” options in the Farmall U, Farmall C and Maxxum 4 and 6-cylinder models right up to 160hp. Loader-ready means that while the tractor is being built at the factory, key loader compo-

AGCO’s onemillionth Power engine.

Richard Clapperton, Agri-Centre South and Martin Gray, Stoll NZ with the popular loader.

nent such as sub-frames, hydraulic and electrical lines, and loader joysticks, are incorporated into the build. When the new tractor arrives at the local dealership, the business can complete the standard pdi, then fit a new loader boom from stock, thereby saving time,

knowing the loader is fitted to the manufacturers specifications, and covered as part of the tractor for warranty purposes. From a dealership perspective, the loader ready option is also a bonus, by saving time, and meaning that a new tractor doesn’t have to be partially dismantled to fit

the loader subframes or hydraulic lines. The option is delivered with German manufacturer Stoll, which works with Case IH to optimise their products to fit the tractors. Once in NZ, colour matched Stoll LRZ loader booms are fitted in a range of sizes to suit the power available.

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75 YEARS, ONE MILLION ENGINES AGCO IS this year celebrating the 75th anniversary of

AGCO Power, its engine business. And it has produced its one-millionth AGCO Power engine at the factory in Linnavuori, Nokia, Finland. AGCO Power started making engines in Linnavuori 75 years ago, later becoming an important part of Valtra, which was bought by AGCO in 2004. AGCO has since developed new products and innovative engine technologies and has increased production capacities at the plant. Today it makes 3, 4, 6 and 7-cylinder diesel engines at Linnavuori and in Changzhou (China), Mogi das Cruzes (Brazil) and General Rodriguez (Argentina). It now makes at least 100,000 engines annually. At least 70% of AGCO machines use AGCO Power engines -- in Massey Ferguson, Valtra and Fendt machines delivered to the Australian and New Zealand markets. The company is noted for its pioneering development of emission reduction technologies; it was the first to launch SCR technology in agricultural machinery in 2008. Now its engines meet and exceed the latest emission regulations in the EU and the US, complying with the Tier 4 emissions standards. AGCO Power engines are also ready for the stage V emission regulations to be phased in gradually in 2019 and 2020, whose development started several years ago. AGCO Power’s innovations have improved the combustion process, offering customers excellent fuel economy; they continue to evolve and the company is exploring renewable fuels and electric power.

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Perfect for tight turns, small farms THE 1012 series Gyrot-

edders from Kuhn is expanding with the arrival of two mounted and two trailed models (GF 8712 / 8712T and GF 10812 /10812T) with eight and 10 rotors respectively, in working widths of 8.70m and 10.80m. Designed to meet the needs of medium to largesize farms, the GF 10812 with its 10 rotors is the widest mounted machine in the Kuhn range but is still designed to work with a 90-100hp tractor as is commonly used on dairy or livestock farms. The HLC rotorlift system should also ensure that the tight turns

common on smaller paddocks should not be a problem, with hydraulic valve operation resulting in a rotor lift of 50cm above ground level for easy manoeuvres and good crop clearance. The GF 8712 and 10812’s folding geometry sees transport wheels positioned in front of the rotors on the larger, trailed models and a patented connecting system between the headstock and frame on mounted units, making the machines compact, stable, well dampened and safe for transport, while also offering easy access into paddocks.

Both machines, as well as the rest of the range, come with the patented Digidrive system for reduced maintenance costs, individual rotor pivots, asymmetrical tines for parallel ground con-

tact and small diameter rotors with closely positioned wheels for clean spreading, and the option of in-cab controlled border spreading adjustment.

Kuhn’s new tedder.

THE STICKER MAY SAY GILTRAP Projecta Lithium Jump Starter.

TWO NEW Projecta jump-starters use recent high-

rate discharge lithium-ion phosphate (LIFePO) technology to provide maximum protection, safety and reliability. They are the LS950 (950A,12V) and the LS1250, more powerful at 1250A and 12V. Recharging these units is via a 240V mains connection or a 12V cigarette lighter plug charger whilst on the move. Lithium-ion technology provides up to 1800 battery cycles -- eight times more starting power than equivalent jump-starters with lead acid components. They have a long storage life without needing constant recharging, so can be stored in a vehicle ready to go. Their most likely use is in automatic-transmission vehicles you just can’t jump-start, and in boats, where a flat battery can quickly lead to trouble. They suit most motorcycle, passenger car, fourwheel-drive and light commercial vehicles, and marine batteries. The LS950 has 950A peak amps and 290A clamp power -- enough to start diesel engines up to 3.2L and petrol engines up to 6.0L. The larger LS1250, with 1250A peak amps and 400A clamp power, easily starts diesels up to 4.5L and petrol engines up to 7.0L. – Mark Daniel



With precise feed control, remote weighing and a solid design, our Forage Wagons are engineered to help you precisely deliver on your feed programmes over the long haul. It can handle all feed types, from grass, maize, whole crop cereal, silage, long and precision cut and both round or square bales.

The solid design and tough build of Giltrap bale feeders mean you’ll go thousands of bales without a hitch. Get total feed control and ensure nothing is wasted. Single and double models available that handle all types of round bales, there’s a solution to meet every farm and every workload.

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Plastic too good for rubberware THE FIRST milking machine,

designed by Pahiatua farmer Norman Daysh, was commercially released by DeLaval in 1917. Rubberware has since become the chosen material for milk and pulsation lines and milking liners. Napier-based Dairyflo, working for the last 10 years with Polymer Systems International and Covestro, has developed an alternative to conventional rubber -- Quthane soft plastic milking liners, matched with clear plastic liner shells and milk and pulsation lines for good visibility. The see-through liners – NZ made, food grade approved and recyclable -- allow any traces of blood or impurities to be seen quickly and to show when milk flow has ceased. They are reckoned 20% lighter

than rubber, helping alleviate repetitive strain injuries, retaining the flexibility and softness of rubber and maintaining durability especially in the event of hoof damage. Dairyflo says the Quthane product does not crack, perish or deteriorate due to chemicals or milk fat absorption, and a sample has shown zero bacteria count after 5000 milkings. These features and the product’s non-absorbent nature give a service life twice that of rubber, and could save $750 per season on an average-size farm. @rural_news

Plasback national manager Chris Hartshorne (left) with Donaghys general manager Tony McDonald.


Packaging has joined the Plasback product stewardship scheme that collects waste plastic from farms for recycling.

“And we have joined the The scheme pioneered the need to recycle their Plasback scheme.” used plastic. on-farm bin and liner McDonald says now “We are seeing record collection, growing into that the government is numbers of farmers joina nationwide network encouraging agricultural ing Plasback and, cruof collectors and baling waste recovoperations. “For years farmers have ery this is a It has so good time far recovused plastic silage film to to join other ered and maximise feed value. Now, in major suprecycled at pliers in least 10,000 the 21st century they are also increasingly aware of the need the agricultonnes of tural sector. crop packto recycle their used plastic.” Donaghys aging, much will support of it locally cially, the companies that Plasback and offer its custurned into Tuffboard tomers bins and liners to supply plastic to the priplastic plywood from make recycling easier. silage wrap, silage covers, mary sector also now Meanwhile, the Minisknow of their responsibilpolypropylene bags and ity for their products once try for the Environment twine. affirms product stewardthey are used.” Chris Hartshorne, Donaghys crop packag- ship schemes as a good national manager for Plasing general manager Tony way to deal with growback, says plastics play a ing volumes of waste. In McDonald says a recent vital role in farming. these schemes, all the parreview now has the firm “But concern is growties involved in the life supplying and servicing ing about plastic waste only farmers and growers. of a product -- producer, in the environment. For importer, retailer and con“We have created a years farmers have used sumer -- all share responplastic silage film to maxi- specialised sales and cussibility to reduce that tomer service team that mise feed value. Now, in product’s environmental is supported by the main the 21st century they are also increasingly aware of rural merchants,” he says. impact.



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IT HAPPENS MORE OFTEN THAN YOU’D THINK. All kinds of things can affect your business when you run a dairy farm. And we’re familiar with most of them. Which is why we recommend cover like Business Interruption* insurance so if your dairy shed suffers damage, you’re covered for your financial loss. It’s the kind of advice that really makes a difference in the country. If you’d like to know more, go to Or better still, call us directly on 0800 366 466. *See for product terms & conditions

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Dairy News 8 May 2018  

Dairy News 8 May 2018

Dairy News 8 May 2018  

Dairy News 8 May 2018