Page 1

Trade war poses big risks. PAGE 3

CREAM OF THE CROP Black sesame triumphs PAGE 20

JUNE 26, 2018 ISSUE 403


More milk shows up in vats PAGE 27

// www.dairynews.co.nz


“This is not national politics; this is NZ’s biggest company.” – Lloyd Downing, Fonterra farmer. PAGE 4

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NEWS  // 3

All trade seriously at risk – Petersen PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

Calf clubs at risk. PG.08

Jersey-cross beef breeder. PG.26

Green green grass of Eire. PG.35

NEWS������������������������������������������������������3-16 OPINION����������������������������������������������18-19 AGRIBUSINESS����������������������������� 20-21 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������22-25 ANIMAL HEALTH���������������������������26-27 EFFLUENT & WATER������������������28-34 MACHINERY &   PRODUCTS��������������������������������������35-38

THE EMERGING US-China trade war is the biggest challenge to trade in 30 years, says Mike Petersen, New Zealand’s special agricultural trade envoy. “The World Trade Organisation was formed in 1995 and it was the body that started to bring together rules on trade, particularly for agricultural products, and right now that’s all at risk,” he told Dairy News. The potential US-China trade war poses long term threats for NZ products. While the products being targeted now are not NZ products, the risk of spill-over into our products is very high, Petersen says. If there is a tariff on a product from the US into China, you’d have to question where that product will go, he says. It could displace NZ product in other parts of the world or it could find its way to NZ. “The whole displacement effect could have a big effect on NZ as a country that relies very much on exporting and access to markets. “While it is not an issue directly impacting on NZ, the spill-over effects could be significant. They are the ones we have to watch very closely.” Peterson says some people suggest NZ may be advantaged by a USChina trade war. “There may be a short term opportunity for some products into

Mike Petersen

these markets as a result of the tariffs but the long term risk of it impacting NZ products is far greater,” he says. In some ways NZ needs to keep its head down; it does not need to join sides on any of this, Petersen says. “We need to keep our head down – keep calm and carry on. But equally we need to make sure our voice is heard and people understand the risks of the trade war that is looking increasingly likely.” Petersen has just returned from a relationship building trip to the UK and Europe where, he says, a lot of advocacy will be needed over the next three to five years. Brexit, the new NZ-EU trade agreement already underway, and the need for a new trade agreement with the UK once it leaves Europe all require a lot of work. NZ needs to be better under-

stood in that part of the world, he says. “That was the aim of the trip, and making sure NZ’s voice is being heard particularly with all the other countries going there at the moment. “When we visit there is no doubt that the message is heard and I think the message is understood. “There are contentious issues we

are trying to work our way through. One is what happens to our market access during the Brexit process; this is the allocation of the tariff rate quotas that exist up there for sheepmeat in particular but also for dairy products. “Providing our view on all of those is really important.” While the trip was successful, significant progress is “not a one trip wonder”. “It will take a lot of advocacy over the next three to five years,” he says. “It is actually quite difficult for Europe and the UK to work out a future relationship with countries like New Zealand until they have resolved their own relationship: how will UK and Europe interact in the future? It is a big challenge for them working out their own relationship. Third-party countries like NZ are a big complication for them.

THRILLED TO WIN MIKE PETERSEN says it was “a big thrill and a big honour” to be named the Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year by the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators He says it is absolutely vital to keep communicating the agricultural message, domestically and internationally. “New Zealanders in the agricultural sector have a really strong interest in what is happening offshore and the different market issues. “I find wherever I go and talk about trade, people love to hear about it and want to be more involved.”


4 //  NEWS

‘Politicians should butt out’ ing that more fully. We only discussed it for a little but we discussed it for a bit longer than they were going to.” He says he doesn’t care whether another farmer wants to sell his shares or not but

PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

NZ FIRST should butt

out of Fonterra’s business, says Lloyd Downing, a Morrinsville dairy farmer and former Waikato Federated Farmers president. For NZ First leader Winston Peters to speak out now when there is a Fonterra board election coming up is “completely irresponsible,” Downing told Dairy News. “This is not national politics; this is NZ’s biggest company. He shouldn’t be messing with that right now.” But Downing also says Fonterra farmers themselves should be taking more notice of what is going on in their own business. “Nobody wants to have a 15c dividend. But I don’t believe it is right for a politician to get involved in that sort of thing. “Having [NZ First MP and Cabinet Minister] Shane Jones saying he is going to lean on [Agriculture Minister] Damien O’Connor to change the legislation... is an absolute

he should still be able to have the blue tanker coming up his drive. They should get a bit lower milk price, but only a little as they will go to another supplier. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews


Lloyd Downing

disgrace.” He says NZ First is below the 5% threshold and will be “trying to keep their votes up”. Downing says no one wants to lose $190 million – the cost to Fonterra of compensating Danone for the 2013 product recall which proved a false alarm “But if there had been a bug in the baby formula and they hadn’t pulled it we wouldn’t have a cooperative anymore,” he argues. “I think a lot of people don’t understand that.”

And Fonterra’s $350 million write-down of the value of its investment in Beingmate has to be seen in the context of the value of Fonterra as company -about $20 billion, Downing says. “I understand the whole Chinese stock exchange has been downgraded anyway.” He also understands the Chinese Government is saying to Fonterra “please stay”. “That’s positive news.” He says the Beingmate decision was a “board decision”. The blame

cannot be placed on chairman John Wilson; he was just part of it. Downing says he sees the reasoning behind Fonterra’s decision to invest because he understands the Chinese at one stage stopped dealing with Australia because “they did not have enough skin in the game”. “When they look at foreign ownership in New Zealand, they look at what the company can bring to the country, don’t they? This is no different from what China is doing.” He admires Fonterra

as a company; as a shareholder farmer attending its conference “you just want to belong to them,” he says. “The biggest issue is if I sell my shares I can’t supply Fonterra.” His farm produces about 200,000kgMS and if he wanted to release capital and sell his shares he’d have to have a different tanker coming up his driveway. “I think that’s crazy; that is the biggest issue. I complained at the conference in May that we should have been discuss-

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LLOYD DOWNING says under DIRA all dairy companies should be required to disclose how much they pay for milk. He says some dairy companies “give you a little bit for that, a payment for this and a payment for that”. “The more they do that the easier it is to hide the total pay check. “What farmers need to do is divide their milk cheque by the number of kilos they supply,” he says. “NZ farmers don’t. NZ farmers are the best in the world at turning grass into milk but they are terrible businessmen in general. That is pretty tough but not far off the truth. “To back that up, how many farmer-owned companies have we got? We used to control the meat industry, the wool industry, dairy meat, and there used to be a veterinary club in every small town in NZ. When I first started there was a veterinary clinic and a vet club in Morrinsville; now there are about five vets in Morrinsville. “That is telling me we are paying too much for our veterinary services because our veterinary clubs and our farmer-owned businesses are not well organised. “If farmers are so good at business why don’t we still control the meat industry, the wool industry… dairy meat? The only reason we still control our fertiliser industry is because we have two fertiliser companies trying to beat each other to death on the dividend.” So while NZ First should butt out of Fonterra business, Fonterra farmers themselves should take more notice of what is going on in their business, Downing says. “They should be coming along to a lot more meetings than they do. “The biggest issue facing our company is the share structure. They are going to be working on that but you’ve got to watch the fenceposts to see if they move.” Dairy News asked Fonterra to respond to the NZ First criticisms but the co-op said it is not commenting at this time.

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NEWS  // 5

Constructive talks, not mud-slinging – Lewis PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

THROWING MUD at New Zealand

First over its comments about Fonterra would not be constructive for the dairy industry, says Federated Farmers dairy industry group chairman Chris Lewis. He knows some Fonterra shareholders are upset by comments made by Cabinet minister Shane Jones about Fonterra chairman John Wilson, and further comments by NZ First leader Winston Peters about Fonterra’s financial performance. “I know some Fonterra shareholders are a bit upset by the comments but we must also remember that New Zealand First is a vital part of this govern-

ment and we are going through a Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) process at the moment,” Lewis told Dairy News. “NZ First is very influential in this government, and they seem to get their way on certain things. So as members of the dairy community we want the government to do a really good job on this DIRA bill, so we must be mindful of what we say in this political climate, and understand that Shane Jones and his fellow MPs have a fair bit of influence. “We have to take their feedback on board but we have to make sure we can also still be heard by having a constructive conversation with all those three parties. “Throwing mud or sh** back is prob-

ably not the most constructive thing for the dairy community to be doing at the moment.” Lewis said he was at that KPMG breakfast where Jones made his comments under Chatham House Rules and those comments took the crowd by surprise. Lewis says Jones is entitled to his personal opinion like everyone else “but for a Cabinet minister is there a different standard?”. But Lewis told Dairy News he had declined to talk about this to other media and the media have made more out of it than the people who were there or the people concerned. He understands the frustration felt by a few people, he says. But Fonterra is owned by 10,000 shareholders and


DAIRY PRICES softened slightly

again at last week’s Global Dairy Trade Event but results were again mixed, says Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins. Before the auction the prices had been expected to fall. The average sale-price index was down by 1.2% (to an average sale price of US$3481/tonne) and follows a fall at the previous event. The whole milk powder (WMP) index was down 1%, average price US$3189/t, while the butter index was up 0.8%, average price US$5611/t. “Fonterra had lifted its offer volumes of skim milk powder (SMP) ahead of this event with an extra 200t on offer, and volumes increased over the next 12 months by 6000t. “Both SMP and WMP prices

eased slightly. Butter prices held steady but Oceania prices continue to trade at a discount to European wholesale prices, meanwhile cheddar prices saw the largest declines -- falling 3.6%. “This is a quiet period with New Zealand milk production largely on hold until August, so another muted auction event is not unusual for this time of year.” NZ milk production numbers for May 2018 were released last week. The data confirmed a strong finish to the season with 6.2% growth year-on-year in volume (up 5.7% in May on a milk solids basis) versus the prior year. “This brings the 2017-18 season into line with the prior year: production is up 0.1% [in tonnes, but on a milk solids basis full-season production is down 0.6%],” says Higgins. ASB’s senior rural economist

Chris Lewis

they decide what Fonterra does. “Fonterra was put together by a government Act -- the DIRA Act -- and the Commerce Commission makes changes to allow a big monopoly to take place.

“That happens with government support so we’ve got to be mindful that we still want government support for Fonterra to be successful in the future and have the DIRA review done properly,” he says.

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Nathan Penny says they suspect the price weakness was driven by a late season rally in production and a stronger US dollar. The US dollar index lifted about 1% since the last auction, making dairy more expensive in most buyers’ local currency terms. ASB is maintaining its 2018-19 milk price forecast at $6.50/kgMS.

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6 //  NEWS

Synlait starts milk drive

IN BRIEF Organics exports rise



tory at Pokeno, Waikato, will start receiving milk on June 1, 2019. Foundation site works are now underway. Milk supply manager David Williams could not say how much milk the plant will initially take but Synlait expects to sign up about 80 supply farms in Waikato, probably soon now the start date is known. “We’ve had a positive response from dairy farmers looking to supply Synlait, so we’re confident of securing sufficient milk for the 2019-2020 season,” he said. “This was reinforced at Fieldays [where we met] passionate dairy farmers serious about doing more with their milk and adding value onfarm,”

Synlait staff were at the Fieldays talking to potential Waikato farmer suppliers.

said Williams. Asked how Synlait would compete for supply in Waikato, Williams said it would be by adding value beyond the farmgate. “That’s giving farmers the opportunity to earn more from their milk through the Lead With Pride programme and the supply of A2 milk.” Lead With Pride is Synlait’s best-practice programme under which

farmers are audited and certified to meet its standards and are paid a premium for their milk. “What we’re doing doesn’t appeal to every farmer but there is a specific group of farmers passionate about environmental sustainability or animal welfare or A2 milk. This is going to appeal to them as a way of getting value for doing those things.” Pokeno will be Syn-

lait’s first foray into raw milk collection in the North Island, although it already runs a blending and canning plant in Mangere -- which Pokeno will supply -- and a research facility in Palmerston North. It will pay the same base milk price in both islands, said Williams. Meanwhile, the planned capacity of the first spray dryer at Pokeno has been increased to

45,000 tonnes from 40,000t because of forecast customer demand. The first dryer will be able to make a full range of nutritionally formulated powders including infant-grade skim milk, whole milk and infant formula base powders. The plant is costing about $250 million excluding the land previously acquired. Synlait says it will fund it by cashflow and larger bank revolving credit. “Our immediate focus is on establishing the nutritional spray dryer and associated services, including a wet-mix kitchen and warehousing,” said chief executive John Penno. Synlait Pokeno will first make infant-grade ingredients, and is seeking registration to make infant formula base powder.

EXPORTS OF organic products from New Zealand are now worth $335 million annually – 42% more than three years ago. Domestic market sales also rose -- to $254m, bringing total sales to just on $600m. Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) last week unveiled the results of its three-yearly survey at a function at parliament attended by growers, processors and supermarkets. Fresh fruit and vegetables remain the largest export earner at nearly $136m; then dairy, meat and wool $99.5m; and wine and beer $46.5m. OANZ chief executive Brendan Hoare says great opportunities exist for NZ organic producers: the world wants what NZ has to offer and we have the capability to grow our share of the global market. “The report articulates a national and global mood for change to natural, ethical, sustainable food and other daily used products. Consumers want change so they can live their values, producers and farmers are seeking change to do what is good for the land they love, and global markets are demanding greater and greater choice as organic goes mainstream,” he says. Hoare says producers and manufacturers are listening to the market signals: at least 50% of producers surveyed are interested in getting full organic certification or transitioning towards organic. The number of certified-organic operations is up 12% to 1118 licensees and 1672 certified enterprises, and land under organic production has increased 17% to almost 89,000ha due to a 50% growth in organic livestock area.


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8 //  NEWS

Calf days in limbo as M.bovis lingers PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

DAIRYNZ AND Beef + Lamb NZ are recommending postponing calf days or looking for alternative events while the Mycoplasma bovis eradication plan is underway. “Calf club days are a highlight of the year for all families and we know how much children and adults love the day,” DairyNZ says. “However in this heightened time of biosecurity risk, the likelihood of Mycoplasma bovis being spread from animal to animal must be considered. “Ultimately, if animals don’t come into contact, the risk of spread is low. However it is likely animals will come into contact at a calf day and under the current climate of heightened biosecu-

rity in New Zealamd, DairyNZ and MPI agree that mixing young animals and then returning them to their home farm is a risk,” DairyNZ told Dairy News. “We recommended that, while Mycoplasma bovis eradication is underway, schools and those managing calf days look for alternatives. It could become a ‘pet day’ with other pets and animals or use technology to provide an innovative compromise.” Dave Harrison, BLNZ general manager policy and advocacy, says if schools and clubs want to go ahead with events, then MPI has a factsheet with some simple precautions that can be taken to minimise the risks. If schools still want to carry out calf club days and are planning to manage the risk of animals coming into contact, then DairyNZ encourages them to

Calf days are in doubt thanks to Mycoplasma bovis.

apply the following: Calves from farms under movement restrictions will not be allowed to come to school, and children from these farms should be allowed to bring an alternative pet. ■■ Some farmers will not want calves from their farms going to school and returning home, and an alternative pet should be allowed under these circumstances. ■■ All calves (and other animals) coming to school must be healthy on the day of the calf club. If in doubt leave them at home. ■■ All calves must be correctly identified with NAIT tags







All animals must arrive clean, i.e. no mud or poo on the animal’s coat or feet. All children (and adults) must come with clean footwear and clothing. Footwear should be cleaned and disinfected before returning home. Each calf must have its own halter and lead rope and these are not to be shared with other calves; its own drinking bowl or container; and its own feeding bottle or bucket if it is going to be fed. Calves should be kept separated as much as possible. Children should be encouraged not to handle each other’s calves with-



out washing or sanitising hands between calves, especially if children’s fingers have been inside a calf’s mouth. Care should also be taken to prevent calves sucking clothing. Judges should sanitise their hands after handling each calf, and calves should be prevented from mouthing clothing and any other items. If milk is brought from the farm for feeding calves this milk must only be fed to the calf from that farm and not to any other calves.  If there is a concern about milk, then milk replacer should be used. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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NEWS  // 9

EU trade talks underway PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz


agreement between New Zealand and the European Union have at last got underway. Trade Minister David Parker and other ministers met last week at Parliament with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to begin the talks. Then will follow at least two rounds of talks by NZ and EU officials this year and more talks probably over the next two years to conclude a deal. Strong support comes from the British High Commissioner to NZ, Laura Clarke, who says it’s great the negotiations have begun and they have the full support of the UK. The European Union’s ambassador to NZ, Bernard Savage, says the EU has prepared well for the start of the FTA negotiations. The aim is not to finish the talks quickly but to get the best deal possible as quickly as possible. Savage says an important facet of the talks is to get input from not only officials but also industry groups and the public. Important feedback will come from the Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ), whose chief executive Kimberly Crewther says it will play a full role in consultation and promote the FTA as a quality, comprehensive deal that ultimately results in full liberalisation of trade. This will be a 21st century FTA, she says -not just about trade but also the environment and labour issues. For DCANZ a big issue will be ‘geographic indicators’ (GIs) relating to cheese names. It opposes Europeans’ misuse of GI frameworks to unfairly monopolise the use of cheese varietal names commonly used globally for many decades.

“In our view names like mozzarella, paremsan, harvati, halloumi, feta, danbo, cheddar, gouda, edam and gruyere are generic names for types of cheese which should not be monopolised for use by producers in a specific region,” she says. Crewther says before

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom

the negotiations began, both sides agreed on their scope, including the aim of fully liberalising trade in goods -- from DCANZ’s point of view a positive starting point for talks. But she says they know agricultural negotiations can be complex. “The bigger picture for both the EU and NZ is we are both competitive dairy exporters. The EU is a growing exporter of dairy products onto the global market so… it doesn’t make a lot of sense to maintain barriers between our own sectors,” she says. Tariffs are not just a barrier to exporters such as NZ, but they also cost the consumer in the country that imposes tariffs, resulting in higher food prices. “For example, prices spike at a time of shortage of supply in a market,” she says. DCANZ will work through the issues as the negotiations proceed, Crewther says. It knows its counterparts in the EU dairy industry well because they all belong to various dairy forums. The negotiations present an opportunity, she says, “not just for trade between our markets but in terms of leadership for trade globally”. “We have the

opportunity to demonstrate that it is possible to move forward on liberalisation in a way that is mutually beneficial,” she says. @dairy_news

Tell the dairy farming community about your event through the Dairy Diary. Email event info to editor@ruralnews.co.nz




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10 //  NEWS

Milk price rise puts Kiwis on top – Wilson PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

THE LATE rise in the

farmgate milk price means Fonterra is now paying New Zealand farmers more than most of the world’s farmers are receiving, says chairman John Wilson. They are competing in a global marketplace in food service products and their competition has “a lower value of milk underneath it than ours has,” Wilson told the recent Jersey NZ conference. “This hasn’t happened

ever in our history,” he says. He was talking about the milk price rise from $6.40/kgMS to $6.75/kgMS over a three month period in accordance with their milk price mechanism. He says he has no doubt that mechanism has “driven absolute performance within Fonterra but it has created some real hard edges in the way we talk about performance in our earnings business”. He made these comments in answer to a question about the dividend, saying the milk

price situation is “creating some credibility challenges in the unit market which we don’t like at all, so we have to think about the implications of the right internal signalling in the business having some external challenges for us”. “The specialty ingredients consumer food service business is generally operating well; it is getting its margins squeezed at the moment… and we can see that. “There is the odd market that sometimes doesn’t perform as well and our home market is

one of those this year, but we are getting hit by these product mix changes and underlying cost of goods. We have to think carefully about this, listen to what is important to farmers for flexibility, and think about how we need to evolve.” Wilson says Fonterra currently sees a 20-year change taking place in onfarm conditions. “Access to capital and access to land for growth are creating succession challenges for farmers, in particular where so many of us are passionate family farming businesses;

SPLITTING OF MILK MORE SEGREGATION of milk to different factories is a strong likelihood, says Wilson. “With A2 part of the business proposal we have committed to, there is capital investment on our sites to segregate milk,” he says. “The ability to take a small amount of milk on a site is really expensive as you change product mix, clean the plant, start again repacking -- it’s really expensive to do. So it’s likely, but not definite, that you will see more segregation [in future].

“The key driver is that 87% of your milk and mine goes into markets around the world where we pay a tariff greater than 10% -- often [over] 100% for a product. We don’t have easy access to the wealthy markets of the world where consumers think about making choice because they can afford choice. “US, Europe, Korea, Japan, Canada all sit behind significant tariff barriers. “In China, where we have a reasonable free trade agree-

ment, consumers are wealthier; there about 40 million in Beijing and Shanghai. The GDP per capita in Beijing and Shanghai is equivalent to the Swiss GDP per capita. You have consumers there who truly can make a choice and have the luxury of choice. “It will be market driven we are thinking; our mindset is changing and technology is assisting as well. There is likely to be more segregation than over the last 20 years, but it has to be consumer driven.”

John Wilson

so succession becomes a whole lot harder because of the amounts of capital involved. “Farmers own land, they need cows to produce milk off that land to drive cashflow and so the only asset they have in these challenging times is Fonterra shares. We see that in our exit interviews – the biggest driver of change is the capital requirement onfarm. So we have to find more solutions there.” Fonterra believes stainless steel will continue being built in New Zealand, driven mostly by regulation changes in China. “That first change was six or seven years ago when the Chinese government forced change on the dairy industry, looking to condense it from 200odd companies to apparently nine; I think they


are about half way on that journey.” To be among those nine a company had to have a majority investment in an offshore plant. “The infant formula regulations have driven vertical integration -- nine

recipes per plant -- so you can no longer just blend in a plant somewhere in the world and sell infant formula into China. We think that will drive stainless steel here so we have to find much more flexibility.”

MARKET IN BALANCE THE FORECAST farmgate milk price of $7/kgMS for the year ahead is the third-highest milk price in a decade and the third year in a row of recovering prices, says Wilson. “We have a lot of confidence in that $7 number,” he says. “Strong demand through China and SE Asia is driving ingredients such as whole milk powder and strong growth in our food service channels in particular. “In China there is very strong growth in UHT: we are the number-one imported UHT product in China. “For Russia, no change -- the trade embargo stays. Latin America and the Middle East have growth but it’s down a bit on the last couple of years. Most growth is in the Asia region, but in most [regions] there is still underlying demand. “On the supply side we are forecasting 1% to 1.5% growth in New Zealand. It will be interesting if we can have a reasonable spring again… because spring was when we actually lost milk over the last couple of years. “Our autumns have continued strong; three years in a row we have had a stronger autumn than the year before. We have the people, the cows and the production systems to produce milk; but we have had two challenging springs.” Milk production growth is expected to grow at the same pace as global demand growth -- about 1-2% a year. “There could be the odd shock, but we see a good strong balanced dairy market at the moment; it will move around from month to month but we see a market that is fundamentally in balance.”

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12 //  NEWS

CORRECTION In Dairy News dated May 29th issue, we ran a story titled “An investment for the future” We apologise for a typographical errorthe correct title for the Numedic travelling Irrigator is ADCAM 750, while the unit was supplied and installed by McGregors Farm Services of Morrinsville. Dairy News apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Lower revenue but less stress with OAD milking PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz


last week’s once-a-day (OAD) milking conference in Palmerston North

says he is stoked at the turnout. Gray Beagley, from DairyNZ, says 140 people attended this first national event in three years, coming from Northland and Southland,

Nelson, Taranaki, South Waikato and elsewhere. The previous conference was run by the late Professor Colin Holmes, a keen advocate and supporter of OAD. The conference theme

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was ‘happiness comes before success’, with most keynote speakers telling farmers to enjoy their work and not be driven to exhaustion by the quest for profit. “So often farmers are driven to gain the extra kilogram of milk solids that they often lose sight of things that create a happy team. The buzz and vibe in the room tells you these are guys are happy and valuing their happiness and not just the bottom line,” said Beagley. In Manawatu, Beagley’s home region, every year he sees more farmers turning to OAD, some for part of the season to cope with weather, others taking it up full time. They are less stressed, so are their cows, he says, so they get in calf more easily. Otaki farmer Kerry Walker says his change to OAD two years ago has reduced his stress levels. When he was milking TAD it was uneconomic to employ an extra worker; the switch to OAD has improved the financial viability of his farm.

Gray Beagley

“Production is vanity, profit is sanity,” Walker says. “There are two sides to this -- revenue and costs; so maybe we lose a little bit of revenue but we can balance this up with less cost. “With lower stress levels I will be able to work in my twilight years. I love farming and I don’t want to give it away. This way I can continue farming without having to do all those hours.” The two-day conference had a day of speakers and the second day in the field, including a visit to Massey University’s No 1 dairy farm and to wellknown OAD farmer Christine Finnigan’s property in Manawatu.

Students win Fieldays gong A TEAM of St Paul’s Collegiate School agribusiness students were named young inventors of the year at Fieldays. Year 13 students Edward Sclater, Thomas Nicholson, Spencer Clayton-Greene and Jarrod Mealings designed a product called ‘gudgeon guard’ that fits over a gate gudgeon to help lift it off the ground. “The gudgeon extension is good for farmers of dry stock and dairy who experience a lot of problems with gates that slump or scrape across the ground due to wear and tear,” says Nicholson. “Rather than having to replace the entire gate system, these guards can be fitted over the top of each gudgeon to help lift the gate up and get it swinging properly again.” The young innovators developed the product in one of their agribusiness classes at St Paul’s and exhibited it at the Innovation Centre at Fieldays. Another group of St Paul’s students also entered the Innovation Awards with a steel rig invention that easily marks out a fence post to show where wires should be stapled. The agribusiness programme was pioneered by St Paul’s with DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and several industry leaders. The prize for the Young Inventor of the Year award is $1000 cash, which the students plan to use towards developing their product further.



Don’t worry, says US semen audit report

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ics standards organisation Certified Semen Services (CSS) is reassuring New Zealand farmers that semen conforming to its protocols is safe from Mycoplasma bovis. CSS, a subsidiary of the American National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB), provides an objective auditing service for semen. Its processing protocols include freezing the semen and using a protective cocktail of antibiotics in extended semen. In a recent statement CSS says it sympathises with the plight of NZ’s dairy producers. It notes that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) does not list M.bovis nor does it recommend testing for it in either the semen or donor bulls for safe international trade. “Nonetheless, using thorough research and testing methods, CSS instituted semen processing requirements that are effective in controlling M.bovis (and other specified potential semen borne microbes) in each breeding unit of semen. “Over the last 35 years the track record shows there have been no reports of M.bovis being cultured from frozen semen processed according to these CSS minimum requirements. This historical testament to safety should give NZ’s dairy producers complete confidence in using CSS Health Certified Semen in their herds.” Hank Lina, the general manager of World Wide Sires NZ, whose parent body Select Sires is a NAAB member,


THE AMERICAN dairy genet-

welcomed the reassurance, saying it more than M.bovis will.” Lina recently returned from a trip provided an objective science-based perspective which farmers could with some of his staff to the parent company in the US, where he found trust. “In contrast with NZ, where that M.bovis was not an issue for genetics companies apply their own American farmers. He called it “a nuisance disease,” standards to the collection and and said there is “not processing of bovine a country in the world semen, the US has an where the economy has autonomous scientific suffered because of it”. body which provides World Wide Sires an objective auditing NZ imports 95% of its service for semen and stock from the US. It sire health and identidoes not itself harvest fication,” he said. in NZ but occasionally “Until now, many of buys from breeding the messages about the services which also use safety of product have CSS protocols. been driven by com“The US produces mercial imperatives. Lina, World Wide over 50 million straws This reassurance, from Hank Sires. a year and it’s all CSS an autonomous science-based organisation, provides protocol-certified and there’s never the level of objectivity and reassur- been a known case of M.bovis being ance that farmers need as they con- cultured. So even if you had one case sider the upcoming dairy breeding in 50 million, I think the odds of not season.” getting anything are better than using While LIC has recently assured semen that has had no processing farmers that its bulls are free of whatsoever,” said Lina. M.bovis and has disputed claims that Cees van Baar, managing director frozen semen is safer, Lina said the of Samen, said AB companies were risk from properly prepared frozen still “a little bit in limbo” awaiting semen was “virtually none”. guidelines from MPI on how they “Maybe we need to eliminate bulls are to handle the coming breeding and go all artificial breeding as safest season. because I still think frozen semen However, he said all the semen is much, much safer than anything Samen harvests in NZ is produced else.” to the CSS protocols, with freezing Lina said his biggest concern now and antibiotics. is that farmers need to get at least “That is regarded as the safest five million cows in calf in a few method of using semen, whether it months. is imported or locally produced.” “I’d like to think we could all get Since last season he has also volthese cows pregnant without farmers untarily asked all his overseas semen compromising their level of genetics, suppliers to carry out pcr tests for because that will cost the industry M.bovis on every batch.






Farmers seek info at Fieldays PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

DAIRY FARMERS at Fieldays went searching for information on Mycoplasma bovis.

DairyNZ, in the pavilion, were ready for them with a booklet about the disease. Dr Nita Harding, DairyNZ’s veterinary technical policy advisor, says DNZ had earlier live-

streamed a farmers meeting near Auckland and this is now on Facebook. And a technical person on the site answered questions about M.bovis and biosecurity in general. “Many farmers have

called our 0800 number and used our info@ dairynz email address so we got a steady stream of queries. These are answered either by our 0800 person who’s very knowledgeable, or… by

Nita Harding, DairyNZ

the technical people in DairyNZ.” The questions are a mix of technical and general, much in response to information provided by MPI. Farmers in areas where farms are infected are naturally concerned and ask first, what does this mean for me? “There is a lot of rumour out there so if we can get the right information out to farmers it helps everyone understand what’s going on. It gives them confidence

r any o f y a w t s le The simp their e c u d e r o t r dairy farme issolve d o t is t u p fertiliser in rtiliser e f d li o s ir e h and apply t achine. m t r e F d n in a Tow a

We cannot simply apply

more fertiliser and hope that it will give us more grass or crop yield, those days are

over and now it is a delicate balance which we have to

observe rigorously.

John Barnes, Director Fertiliser New Zealand, www.fertnz.co.nz

and removes some of the stigma. “M.bovis is not a highly infectious disease; you are not going to pick this up by talking to your neighbour. “It’s the cows, not the farmer, who have the disease and the children coming to school are not going to bring it to school.” Harding says farmers whose properties are diseased need all possible support from their community.

Making NAIT userfriendly THE HEAD of BiosecurityNZ (MPI’s group dealing

with Mycoplasma bovis), Roger Smith, says its job is to make NAIT easy so that farmers will comply with it. NAIT has been widely criticised, notably by Federated Farmers vice-president Andrew Hoggard, who says the system is clunky and doesn’t interface with his own database which contains all the information NAIT needs. Smith says MPI will change this because if a regulation is too hard to comply with people may not comply. “I understand that when a farmer comes in at 11pm after a hard day on the farm and must then sit down at a laptop and enter NAIT data this can be frustrating and probably not ideal.” Time spent unnecessarily in an office typing in numbers affects productivity; a system is needed that works well for everyone, Smith says. The first task is to act on the review of NAIT by getting a better system up and running in the short term; they also need to better educate farmers about the reasons for NAIT. “Then we must step back and look at NAIT and what it might be like in the next five to ten years. The technology is changing: there are better internet connections and wand readers. “We must look at technology solutions and make it easier.” NAIT needs redesigning so that one set of data can shared across a number of systems, Smith says. A steady stream of farmers visited MPI’s Fieldays site seeking information about M.bovis. They wanted to know more about the disease and were stepping up their efforts to improve their farm biosecurity. “Our job is to help and advise them to run a biosecurity system that protects their farm.”



Increased biosecurity in calf rearing THE 2018 dairy calving/mating season has a new, unsettling dynamic with the incursion of Mycoplasma bovis. And a prediction that the supply of quality dairy/beef calves will diminish has caused many farmers to be uncertain about how to protect their farms and livelihoods. Mark Bocock, who runs a large dairy beef calf operation and is a member of the Beef + Lamb NZ dairy beef integration programme, is reminding the industry that dairy farmers can increase farm profit by breeding quality calves for the red meat sector. “It just requires more attention to onfarm biosecurity,” says Bocock. “Traditionally dairy farmer focus has been on producing milk, not calves, but the potential to treble their calf cheque by breeding calves in demand by the beef industry has resulted in a growing number of dairy farmers mating cows, after replacements, to proven short gestation beef genetics. “The figures speak for themselves: last year bobby calves fetched $20 $40 while quality dairy beef calves realised, on average, $150 – the best going for at least $270. “The figures speak for themselves: producing quality beef calves has the potential to increase the calf cheque for the average dairy farm by at least $15,000. “Generally farmers choose between ‘going all AI’ over the herd, or mating the herd to AI for six-eight weeks and then following with run bulls. “Farmers I’m talking to are erring, in this Mycoplasma bovis environment, towards all-AI mating in fear of bringing diseased bulls onto the farm.” Bocock said advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)

Mark Bocock

and BLNZ gives simple guidelines for protecting the farm and perhaps getting record prices for quality dairy beef calves. MPI offers the following guidance on breeding quality dairy beef calves: AI 1. Get assurance from your AI company that its beef semen stocks are free of Mycoplasma bovis 2. Clearly state and demand adherence to your farm’s biosecurity standards by people visiting the farm and/or herd, i.e. AB technicians, etc. Run bulls 1. Ensure all bulls arrive onfarm properly identified and accompanied by details of their movement history. Tell the vendor or agent that you expect to get these details. 2. On arrival the bulls should be held apart from the main herd for at least seven days to enable an assessment to be made of their health status, and for any procedures such as drenching to be done. If you have any concerns about the health of the bulls, contact your veterinarian before you mix the bulls with the herd. 3. If the bulls are leased, talk over the options with the owner. 4. R2 bulls: once mating is finished these bulls should be sent to

slaughter directly -- not via saleyards or some other intermediate stopping point. If they are being held for further use (mating in autumn 2018 or spring/summer 2018/19) then follow the recommendations for R1 bulls. 5. R1 bulls: these may present a risk of spreading infection. The best indicator of the level of risk from them is the health status of the herd the bulls have been running with. If the bulls are of dairy origin and the herd has been screened via bulk milk and discard milk tests -- and the results show Mycoplasma bovis infection is not detected -- then the risk of these bulls spreading infection is lower than those from a property where test results are unavailable. If the bulls are from a beef property and Mycoplasma bovis test results are unavailable, then the best indicator of the level of risk from them remains the health status of the herd(s) the bulls have been running with: pay particular attention to the herd’s levels of mastitis and lameness. If the test results show evidence of Mycoplasma bovis infection, MPI will provide direction for the ongoing management or slaughter of any animals leaving the farm, including bulls.

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Buying calves

Feeding milk

protection your herd needs.

1. Buy from as few sources as possible. 2. Deal directly with the source farm or via an agent: ask about any M.bovis test results available for the farm and about cow and calf health on the farm for the past two seasons; use the prepurchase checklist available at dairynz.co.nz/ mbovis. 3. Avoid buying from saleyards because of the cattle mixing that occurs in such places. 4. Buy only NAIT-registered and tagged calves, and promptly record all movements. 5. Ask your trucking firm to avoid mixing calves with other cattle in holding yards or on the truck. 6. Isolate newly arrived calves for seven days and monitor them for signs of disease. 7. Find a buyer now for your future weaned calves, telling buyers about your efforts to reduce risk of M.bovis exposure.

1. Milk at lowest risk of containing M.bovis bacteria comes in three forms: calf milk replacer powder, pasteurised milk, or acidified milk. 2. If you’re using milk replacer powder, order now to avoid problems with supply. 3. If you’re feeding whole milk, consider the following: a. Discarded milk from cows under treatment for illness or mastitis is much more likely to contain M.bovis than milk from healthy cows -- so avoid this. b. M.bovis is not killed by adding potassium sorbate preservative. c. Yoghurt bacteria will give variable results and should not be relied upon to kill M.bovis. d. Pasteurisation will kill M.bovis if the machine is maintained and instructions are followed. e. Acidification with citric acid to pH5 for eight hours or pH4 for one hour will kill M.bovis. Below pH4 the milk becomes progressively unpalatable and calves will drink it slowly or refuse to drink altogether. It’s best to discuss acidification with your vet.

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16 //  WORLD

Ireland’s new vista on dairying The Irish Research Institute Teagasc, with industry partners, has set up a new programme to improve its dairy sector. Peter Burke spoke recently to the director of research, Dr Frank O’Mara. SINCE THE European Union lifted its restriction on milk production in March 2015, Ireland has been among the countries taking advantage. Milk production has risen slightly, as have cow numbers and herd sizes. Although the average Irish dairy herd is about

80 cows, Frank O’Mara says at least half now have 100-plus cows and herds of over 500 are emerging. The Irish economy depends heavily on farming, and with Brexit likely to force Irish farmers beyond their traditional UK market they are gearing up to make an even

greater impression on the global dairy market. To achieve this Teagasc is being funded by the Irish government to set up Vistamilk -- run by Teagasc with partners in specialist data, analytics, communications and sensor skills plus dairy companies and agritech

businesses. “The goal is to position Ireland as a leader in pasture based dairy systems and the use of precision technologies, so strengthening the Irish dairy industry and developing agri tech. For the farmer this will improve soil fertility for grass pro-

ATTRACTING YOUNG PEOPLE DR FRANK O’MARA says attracting young people to careers in Irish agriculture is a widespread problem at every level of the industry -- farm workers, managers and at the science level. Teagasc has several programmes reaching into secondary schools and the wider community to make people aware of career opportunities in farming.

“Especially important is to get rid of the image of dairy farming as a life of drudgery, long hours and loneliness. Sure the dairy industry can be that and… a lot of work, but if you are organised and plan things it can also be a very rewarding career.” Teagasc will soon launch a programme aimed at attracting young people into dairying. O’Mara says Ireland’s empha-

sis remains on training -- practical farm courses or university degrees – in which students spend time in the field, on local farms and sometimes on New Zealand farms. “This is because of the similarity of the farming systems, the scale people get to see in NZ, and it’s a lovely part of the world -- even though you beat us at rugby most of the time.”

Dr Frank O’Mara

duction animals, improve animal health and produce new tools to help do this. “In relation to food, by controlling the whole of milk production we might be able to produce a more consistent product or products that have particular characteristics that might suit particular markets or the needs of particular consumers.” The aim is to develop

better genetics and improve the nutrition of the cow, especially via pasture. But Vistamilk has a wider mandate, notably farm labour efficiency, O’Mara says. “Labour is a big issue in Ireland. Our industry is expanding and farmers are looking for more labour and it’s hard to get.” He says due to a combination of the milk

quotas and some social factors, the Irish dairy industry has stagnated for the last 30 years. But this is changing: a large proportion of Ireland’s 18,000 dairy farmers are seeking out new ideas. “Teagasc’s extension service has about 12,000 clients and we run a field day at our main dairy research centre at Morepark in Co. Cork “We would typically get 10,000 - 12,000 farmers so we have excellent connections out to the industry. This demonstrates that Irish farmers think there is something new for them to get by coming to the field day. Nothing is for sale at the field day; the only thing you can get there is knowledge, so farmers come to listen to our scientists and researchers to learn about their latest findings.”


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The strange case of Shane Jones

MILKING IT... Double the gate Mum’s the word take? FONTERRA HAS stayed NATIONAL Fieldays has again achieved 130,000 gate ticket sales over four days. The NZ Fieldays Society proudly points out that the 2018 attendance exceeded the 125,000 average of the last five years. One regular attender makes this suggestion to the organisers: to send attendance numbers really soaring offer free entry. This could double crowd numbers and site visitors, meaning more business for exhibitors... perhaps. And the organisers’ revenue loss could be covered by a slight increase in exhibitor site fees. Right now what does a person get for paying $30 to get into Fieldays? Just a thought.

mum through the attacks on its leadership by New Zealand First. Unlike Air NZ, which rolled out its chairman to counter Shane Jones’ attacks earlier this year, the dairy co-op thinks keeping the argument alive won’t do anyone any good. It also realises Shane Jones will get away with anything, e.g. watching naughty movies at taxpayers’ expense, so any attempt to counter his attacks would be futile.

Cows with guts to sing

Sex, drugs and... milk

IN A long process, barrels of cow guts are washed, spun and dried into strings that create beautiful music. A company tucked away in Gaywood, King’s Lynn, UK, has specialised in this niche technique for 100 years. It does it for Bow Brand, Highgate, a mass producer of gut strings for leading harpists and harp makers worldwide. Its customers are found in Europe, Asia, north and south America and Africa; the Italian company Salvi Harp is a big customer, and it made the strings plucked by the official harpist to the Prince of Wales, who played at Kate and William’s wedding reception at Buckingham Palace.

FEWER US teens are smoking, having sex and doing drugs these days. Oh and they’re drinking less milk too. No more than 33% of US high school students drink a glass of milk a day, according to a large government survey released Thursday. Ten years ago it was 50%. The 2017 survey asked 100 questions on a wide range of health topics including smoking, drugs and diet. Researchers looked at answers given over 25 years. The drop in milk drinking was a standout trend that started among all Americans after World War II. Teens have shifted from milk to soda, then to Gatorade and other sports drinks and recently to energy drinks such as Monster and Red Bull.

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IF YOU think only dairy farmers are facing fire from the new coalition Government, think again. The strange outburst by Forestry Minister Shane Jones, of New Zealand First, against Fonterra and its top brass at the most prestigious of farmer events -- National Fieldays -- is only the beginning and could be a sign of things to come. Jones has nothing to do with Fonterra, the co-op owned by 10,000 hard-working farmers who wake up daily at 4am to milk cows. They farm sustainably, look after animals and farms well and run their businesses profitably. Like any other citizen, each has the right to decide which political party he or she supports. It’s no secret that farmers, including dairy farmers, fear a barrage of taxes will come their way under this new Government -for using water, for cows emitting methane and for contaminants reaching waterways around farms. It’s also no secret that most farmers align themselves to the policies of the National Party. And some dairy farmers played a key role in pre-election protests against new taxes. NZ First would love to eat into National’s farmer support. While in opposition, NZ First leader Winston Peters was vocal on farming issues, notably the Chinese buying a stake in a meat co-op and the salary paid to Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings. Now in government, NZ First is unrelenting, with Jones as its attack dog. Jones has the gift of the gab and his one-liners make good fodder for the media. However, the bottom line is that he has no right meddling in the affairs of Fonterra. Unlike Air NZ it is not Government-owned; the Government doesn’t appoint Fonterra directors. The way Fonterra is performing, especially in China, may not be totally acceptable to farmer shareholders but the decision to change the chairman is their prerogative. Jones said, “I thoroughly believe this: as the chief executive leaves Fonterra the chairman should in quick order catch the next cab out of town”. For a Cabinet minister to attack a senior business leader isn’t a good idea. But Fonterra is staying mum on the attack and very few industry leaders are commenting on the issue, understandably. It’s clear that some in this coalition Government have set their sights on Fonterra’s leadership. How this affects the upcoming DIRA review remains to be seen. Jones wants Fonterra to be restructured but how he doesn’t make clear. NZ First wants to grow its farmer support base but it won’t achieve that by making unwarranted attacks on our business leaders.

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OPINION  // 19

Is Your Herd in Peak Condition?

In-Shed Feeding

Riparian planting and fencing around waterway keep stock and pollutants out.

Give farming a fair hearing ANDY LOADER

MANY GROUPS out there, large

and small, seem to believe farming is the root of all evil to the environment. They talk about intensive agriculture and pastoral farming being emitters of methane, farming in prestigious landscapes, adding to carbon dioxide, polluting the water ways, etc as if these were the only sources of pollution. The agricultural industries are the first to admit that they affect the environment, but it is not all bad and they have taken huge steps to mitigate the detrimental effects of their activities on the environment. We all affect the environment as a result of our civilised way of living. For centuries man has always tended to locate towns and cities close to waterways for supply of drinking water and transportation. As a result man has also used the adjacent waterways as a convenient means of disposing of his waste; only in the last century or so have we begun to treat waste before it enters waterways. Most towns and cities still dispose of their stormwater and treated effluent by pouring it into the nearest waterway or into the ocean. In the light of the above the agricultural industries are asking for a fair go.

Have these critics looked at what agriculture has done for this country and what has already been done to mitigate the effects of agricultural operations? And have they noted the millions of dollars farmers have spent already and are still spending to mitigate these effects? We saw farmers 25 years ago acknowledging that water quality was an issue and starting to address the problem then. They addressed many current issues like keeping stock out of waterways, sediment control, fencing, tree planting, building wetlands, etc. By planting forests, woodlots and individual trees farmers have helped stabilise hillsides and stop erosion which reduces sediment going into streams and provides shade for stock. The amount of fencing done to keep stock out of waterways is huge and has helped improve water quality. Riparian planting is helping keep the invertebrates in these streams. Many farmers have fenced off native bush, wet sumps and wetlands and even built new wetlands to help treat the runoff from their farms. The unintended consequence of these actions is that farmers have been doing their bit for climate change in tree planting and protecting native bush and wetlands without the bureaucracy telling them what they need to do.

Many critics seem to have preconceived ideas about what farming hasn’t done to protect the environment, and sometimes make statements that have little basis in fact; and they ask for money to fight the agricultural sector. They seem to have forgotten, or conveniently ignore, that the agricultural industries provide the bulk of New Zealand’s overseas income and most of the local population’s food. When these groups have had their way and stopped the pastoral farming in NZ, where are they going to get the food to feed the nation or the income to pay bills? Maybe they are going to turn to support the production of genetically modified food grown in laboratories. If we are to carry on living as at present, then what is needed is a balanced viewpoint based on reality that allows for the way forward to be sustainable and environment-friendly. Farmers do not deny they affect the environment, but as a key contributor to the food chain and the national economy, and having already voluntarily taken many mitigation measures, they are merely asking for a fair go. But they will expect the rules imposed on them to apply equally to other sectors of our society. • Andy Loader is co-chairman of the Primary Land Users Group

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Black sesame ice cream wins gold SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

Ginelli’s managing director Max Tairi with his awards.

WHAT DO you get by mixing West Coast milk and imported ice cream paste? Award-winning ice

cream of course. Auckland boutique ice cream producer Ginelli’s last month scooped the NZ Ice Cream Manufacturers Association (NZICMA) supreme award for a boutique

manufacturer with its Black Sesame Ice Cream for 2018. The judges described the ice cream as “creamy, with a natural roast sesame flavour”. Ginelli’s, which supplies premium ice cream, gelato and sorbet to the hospitality and food service sector, buys its whole milk powder from Westland Milk in Hokitika. Ginelli’s managing

contains at most 8% fat. Tairi says Ginelli’s tried to sell its products through retailers but couldn’t match the “cutthroat” pricing. “The public is driven by price not that much about the quality but in the food service and hospitality sector it’s quality and not the price; the chefs put one spoon of our ice cream in their mouths and they know

“Westland Milk has been delivering us top quality milk powder without any hassles.” director Max Tairi says top quality milk is an essential base ingredient for making ice cream. “Westland Milk has been delivering us top quality milk powder without any hassles,” he says. “We deal directly with Westland Milk; there are no issues ordering and milk powder is delivered to us on time.” Tairi says most gourmet ice cream manufacturers use whole milk powder, instead of fresh milk, because of its longer shelf life. “You can’t keep fresh milk here for too long so logistically we can’t afford to use it.” Chefs who taste and buy Ginelli’s products aren’t worried about the use of milk powder “as long as they get the taste they want,” Tairi said. Ginelli’s has been operating in NZ for 25 years as a gourmet ice cream company; Tairi took over the company 14 years ago. It recently upgraded its factory in Mount Wellington, gaining a pass from the Ministry of Primary Industries. The company boasts 19 premium ice cream flavours, 20 gelato flavours and 14 sorbet offerings “We are limited only by size of our freezers not by number of ideas says,” Tairi NZ has a competitive domestic ice cream market. Most players make standard ice cream with fat content between 10-12%. Ice cream with fat content of 12 - 14% is considered premium. Gelato

that’s the product they want. They hardly ask about the price.” Ginelli’s also supplies award-winning handcrafted desserts to restaurants and hotels in variety of shapes. The company is no stranger to NZICMA awards, having won 80 awards in the past 12 years. Last month it won nine other category awards. But although the supreme award had eluded the company until last month, Tairi wasn’t surprised at the eventual victory. “It’s not like winning the lottery where you are caught by surprise; you know you will get it one day,” he says. So confident was he that he kept a space on the awards wall for the supreme title. “It was only a matter of time but I was a little surprised at the flavor that won me the top award.” Creating the black sesame ice cream was a bit bumpy road, he says. “Took bit longer to get it right, but we manage to do it just right…lots of grinding, boiling, ageing and finally it paid off,” he says. About 80% of paste for Ginelli’s products are imported from Italy. Tairi says the black sesame ice cream is popular in Japanese and Thai restaurants in NZ. Winning the supreme award is not the end of the road for him. “For me it’s business as usual.”



The Jack family from left to right Ethan, Nixon, Melissa and Dave with their Reb Band gumboots.

Red Bands still on the march THE MAKER of revered Kiwi Red Band gumboots is this year celebrating 60 years in production. Skellerup national manager footwear, Perry Davis, says Red Bands were the first short boots ever made in New Zealand if not the world. “Traditionally gumboots have always come up to just below the knee,” Davis says. “No-one is quite sure who at Marathon Rubber Footwear – the forerunner of Skellerup -- had the idea to create a shorter boot but in 1958 the new concept was tried. “The first Red Band gumboots rolled off the production line on October 21, 1958 and was an instant hit.” Sixty years later these gumboots are

still a staple in most rural NZ households. Natural rubber compounds with builtin UV inhibitors withstand our harsh environment, and a heavy-duty non-clog cleated sole plant the wearer’s feet. And they have heavy-duty cotton canvas bonded to the rubber to give the boots strength, flexibility and protection. Red Band gumboots were made at Skellerup’s Woolston factory in Christchurch until the late 1980s. Today the boots are made in the company’s new factory in Jiangsu, China. “They are still hand-made to the original specifications and formulations of 60 years ago,” says Davis. “Each Red Band is made up of 19 individual components with at least six different rubber formulations used in every boot.”

Fonterra to tackle malnutrition in the elderly FONTERRA HAS joined an interna-

tional project to address the issue of malnourishment in older people. The co-op is partnering with 24 science and nutrition organisations in the project. Older people in many countries, including New Zealand, are at higher risk of health issues because of poor nutrition. The five-year project, ‘The Prevention of Malnutrition in Senior Subjects in the EU’, is investigating the role of diet and appetite in malnutrition and functional decline of people over 70 years. Fonterra director NZMP medical nutrition Maarten van Beek says the research findings will help the co-op develop new food products that prevent malnutrition and support active and healthy ageing. Almost 75% of older NZ adults in a recent Massey University study led by associate professor Carol Wham were found to be at risk of malnourishment, or were malnourished, when they were admitted to hospital. “Older people need more protein to support good health, as malnourish-

ment can cause muscle shrinking and other health-related problems,” van Beek says. “The findings should offer valuable insights into the best ways to incorporate more protein into their diets. “A key focus of NZMP’s medical nutrition work is to develop tasty protein-rich products for the normal diet for older people.” The project’s food trials will assess taste, and mobility and muscle outcomes; research participants will add NZMP protein-fortified products to their regular diets, including a coconut protein water, chocolate and vanilla pudding and rice pudding. “Not only does improved nutrition make a difference at an individual level, it can also help to reduce strain on healthcare systems,” van Beek says. NZMP, Fonterra’s dairy ingredients brand, makes dairy nutrition products to help people recover from malnutrition and stay healthy and active as they age. The co-op says the functional foods market for seniors will likely be worth $95.8 billion by 2022.



Caring for cows on crops HELEN THODAY

WINTERING COWS on crops is a common strategy to help keep them in good condition, but it may result in them getting sick. Farmers can reduce this risk in several ways. Monitor the herd carefully and keep an eye out for sick cows or those not keen to feed when the rest of the herd is feeding. Treat sick cows promptly, especially in poor weather, and call your vet as soon as possible. To speed up a sick cow’s recovery, provide a suitable recovery site such as a grass paddock with good shelter, a low stocking rate and extra, highly palatable feed and water. Your vet will advise you on the best recovery plan for your stock. Think carefully about weather when wintering cows on crops. Cattle tolerate cold conditions by making physical changes, i.e. thickening their skins and coats and drawing on their fat reserves. If a cow is clean and dry and there

is little wind or rain, cold stress is rare until ambient temperature falls below -10°C. The factors that increase the risk of cold stress are very low temperature, wind, rain and mud, low condition scores and low feeding levels. During periods of cold and wet, the energy required by cows can increase by at least 12 MJ ME/day depending on the severity of the conditions. Also, cows’ feed utilisation may decline, increasing the gap between energy intake and requirement. To keep cattle in the right condition during extreme winter weather offer additional feed. For a typical crop-based wintering diet aimed at gaining 0.5 BCS units during a dry period, during mild weather a 500kg cow needs to eat about 124 MJ ME/day. Typical diets to provide this include: ■■ 9.5kg kale and 4kg average quality pasture baleage (assuming 80% utilisation of the crop and 85% utilisation of the baleage) ■■ 9.8kg DM swede and 4kg average quality pasture baleage (assuming 80% utilisation of the crop and 85% utilisation of the baleage)

Helen Thoday ■■

8.3kg fodder beet and 3.5kg average quality pasture baleage (assuming 90% utilisation of the crop and

85% utilisation of the baleage). If this same cow were exposed to prolonged cold and wet conditions,

then her energy requirement would increase to at least 136 MJ ME/day. To achieve this increased energy requirement, assuming the same feed utilisation, either provide more crop or more supplement. For a herd of 160 cows this extra energy could be provided by an extra bale/day of average quality pasture silage (220kg DM equivalent, 10 ME) or additional crop: ■■ Kale: 160m2 for 160 cows grazing a 12t crop (1.2kg DM/cow) ■■ Swedes: 120m2 for 160 cows grazing a 16t crop (1.2kg DM swedes) ■■ Fodder beet: not recommended because it requires at least an additional 1kg DM/cow/day which could result in digestive upsets in some animals even when they were fully transitioned. Depending on the BCS of the herd, and the weather, wet and windy conditions require an additional 0.5 - 3kg DM/cow/day. For more information visit https://www. dairynz.co.nz/feed/crops/wintering-cowson-crops/winter-crop-management/ • Helen Thoday is animal care team manager at DairyNZ

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Visionary partners see farm triumph NIGEL MALTHUS


lance Farm Environment Awards was always the plan for Eric Jacomb, a founding partner of Medbury Farm Ltd, winner of the Canterbury Supreme Award. Jacomb did not live to see the vision fulfilled, dying in a tramping accident in South Westland in January 2016. General manager Dave Hislop said it was Jacomb who wanted as a key indicator in the farm’s business plan that it should be a farm happy to enter the Ballance environmental awards. “We are following his dream,” said Hislop at the farm’s recent winner’s field day. Nestled between the Hurunui and Waitohi Rivers near Hawarden in North Canterbury, Medbury has been progressively developed from an original 209ha dairy support block bought in 2001. The equity partners are now Jacomb’s partner Janet Girvan, accountant Mark Daly and Hislop and his wife Brenda. The farm is 442ha

Medbury Farm Ltd general manager Dave Hislop (second from left) with his staff.

with a milking platform of 350ha, producing 545,000kgMS from 1240 cows. It is run as two separate farms with separate rotary sheds, one of 50 bails and one of 54. It is irrigated from two bores and consents from both rivers. A complex shape unsuitable for solely pivot irrigation, it has been converted from border-dyke irrigation to a mixture of pivots, poles and long laterals, with the long laterals being progressively replaced by poles as finance allows. Medbury won the Canterbury region Supreme Award, the Ballance AgriNutrients Soil Management Award, the CB Norwood Distributors Ltd Agri-Business Manage-

ment Award, the DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award, the Environment Canterbury Water Quality Award and the Bayleys Canterbury People in Primary Sector Award. The judges commented that part of the farm’s strength was the governance and estate planning put in place before Jacomb’s death. Medbury Farm Ltd had a well thought-out and comprehensive share milk agreement and exit plan. “There has been an excellent attention to detail in business planning, governance and policies and how this influences and drives the business. “There is outstand-

ing documentation which includes a health and safety programme, farm environment plan and a five-year environmental action plan. The farm partners understand how management decisions and practices will have environmental influences.” The whole farm was soil-tested and fertilised. “The planned protection of soil structure and the use of nutrient budgeting in Overseer leads into a good understanding of risks and mitigation to prevent losses. Medbury Farm Ltd has fenced and planted its boundaries to the Waitohi and Hurunui Rivers. It has also planted natives around both the farm dairies.”

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A PLACE TO ENJOY THE FARM makes good use of technology including Aquaflex soil moisture sensors, irrigation telemetry and variable rate pivots. Both sheds have Protrack drafting systems and automatic cup removers. Dave Hislop said the farm’s purpose statement is to grow a sustainable dairy farm business to provide a low-risk long-term wealth-creating asset to enable shareholders and staff members to be part of a business they are proud of and enjoy, and to provide opportunities for shareholders and their families to move into some form of agribusiness ownership. The management struc-

ture has Hislop as general manager, and three farm managers, one covering irrigation and drystock management and one for each shed; each shed then has its own herd manager. Hislop said the farm is rich in shallow freedraining soils well suited to intensive pasture dairying. Having farmed in the Manawatu and South Wairarapa for 10 years each, he said Medbury is by far the easiest region to farm in. “It’s a lot easier to control what we’re doing and I believe do less damage to the soils and waterways.”

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Janet Gregory, chair of the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards, said Canterbury received 14 very good entrants, “many of them without much prompting,” while other regions had struggled to get entries.




LIC software will detect lameness early LIC SAYS it is in the early stages of developing artificial intelligence (AI) software to allow early detection of lameness caused by cow gait. AI and sophisticated imaging techniques are being used daily to monitor and track lameness. Injuries and illness in hooves (lameness) can lead to declining body condition and milk production, and if left untreated can affect the survival of a cow in a herd. This results in significant losses for the dairy industry.   LIC’s science leader Bevin Harris says the new technology could enable farmers to detect lame-

ness much earlier, leading to shorter recovery times and lower costs, and better cow health and welfare.   “Lameness is concerning for farmers on several fronts: health and safety for cow and farmer, plus the cost and time required to detect and treat animals. “With this new technology, farmers could receive daily alerts that show trends that can be used to develop prevention strategies that address the underlying causes of lameness at an earlier stage,” says Harris. “In time we would expect to see a reduction in the overall incidence of

lameness through the use of this software.” Indicators of lameness can be seen in the back arch and gait patterns of cows, but with the average NZ dairy cow herd size being 414 cows (NZ Dairy Statistics 201617), early detection can be a challenge. A study by Massey University found that only 27% of the cows showing reduced mobility (lameness score of at least 2) were identified by NZ farmers. LIC’s system will identify all levels of lameness and output a lameness score based on the DairyNZ scale of 0 – 3, tracking and recording the movement of each hoof

Lameness can lead to declining body condition and milk production.

and head using cameras. Healthy Hoof adviser and Anexa FVC veterinarian Hanneke Officer says lameness has a far greater impact on production than often realised. “Cows are very tough, so lame cows will keep up with their herd mates until it becomes too painful to do so, which is often lameness score 2 and 3. However, production losses start weeks before lameness is

detected by farm staff. “A lame cow will lie down more, walk less and eat less. This results in reduced quantity of milk, but also reduced quality through altered fat and protein levels.  If this technology can pick up cow lameness at score 1, then there could be a major impact on the financial and economic losses of lameness.”  LIC expects AI-powered image analysis to

be revolutionary to dairy farmers, who until now have required training to lameness score and spend time monitoring and recording each animal as they see them.   “Our aim is that the system will identify all levels of lameness. Smart use of this early trend information can be very useful to reduce workload onfarm,” says Harris.  Knowing the lowlevel lameness trend

allows farmers to make early changes in environmental or herd management conditions to avoid a rapid increase in cases of lameness. This can be achieved by improving races, or grazing in closer paddocks at critical times, or seeking professional advice.   The co-op hopes to start prototyping a system in the 2018 season. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews


CALVING The most successful dairy farmers take care to rear their young stock well. Dairy News will focus on calf rearing, featuring the latest techniques, calf nutrition and animal health. To be in this special report contact your advertising representative now to promote your products and/or service to all NZ dairy farmers and sharemilkers. Contact your closest Sales Representative

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10 July 2018

27 June 2018 3 July 2018



Intensification not a profit wrecker LAST MONTH saw the annual

release of the DairyNZ Economic Farm Survey and the NZ Dairy Statistics. These fascinating documents contain a wealth of data on the average physical and financial performance of 316 randomly selected owner-operator herds during the 2016-17 production season. Several things stand out in the survey, the main one being how well farm profit and return on asset have recovered after the previous season’s very low payout. During the 2016-17 season, on average, farmers received $5.79/ kgMS for their milk. As a result of the tough previous season, farmers

have learned how vital cost control is and despite a 48% lift in payout there was virtually no lift in farm working expenses/kgMS. Some commentators may be tempted to use the last two season’s data to push to de-intensify dairy farms, saying that high input farms are less profitable than lower input farms. However, such a conclusion would deny the long-term results of the survey. An analysis of the past twelve seasons (Table 2) shows that on average, high input systems made more money, had the highest return on assets and now also have the lowest closing term liability/kgMS. The data is quite clear. Over the

last 12 years, on average, high input systems have made the most profit/ ha, have had the best return on assets and equity, have had the best growth in equity and are less financially risky in terms of their closing liabilities/kg milksolids. Intensification is not wrecking the profitability of NZ dairy systems. And going on the previous 12 seasons’ figures, I predict that this season’s payout will reinforce the decision many farmers have made to intensify, i.e. their decision was correct. However, as we now know, profitability is not the only issue farmers are facing. In next month’s column I hope to cover things that farmers can do practically to reduce their environmental and biosecurity risks. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact him at iwilliams@ genetic.co.nz

Table 1: Owner-operators Production Systems 2016-17 season.

Farm System % feed imported




4-14% for dry cows

10-20% for dry cows & to extend lactation

More than 20% imported feed

Effective area (ha)




Peak cows milked




Stocking rate (cows/ha)




Milksolids per ha




Milksolids per cow




Net dairy cash income ($/kgMs)




Dairy operating expenses ($/kgMS)




Cash operating surplus ($/kgMS)




Operating profit ($/ha)




Total return on assets (%)




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Total return on equity (%)




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Growth in equity (%)




Closing term liabilities







Debt to asset (%)

Table 2: Average profitability of Owner-Operator Production Systems from 2005-2006 to 2016-2017

Farm System






Total return on assets %




Total return on equity %




Growth in equity %








Closing term liability/kg milksolids2

Growth in equity and return on equity figures are from 2006-07 to 2016-17. For the 2016-17 season



Operating profit ($/ha)



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Jersey-cross beef unit a lucrative side trade PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz


ers can add value to their business with selective Jersey-cross beef breeding and promoting the eating qualities of that meat, says Whangarei Jersey dairy farmer Murrary Jagger. Jagger runs a Jerseycross beef business as a

lucrative sideline to his Jersey dairy farm. He is a sixth-generation Whangarei Heads farmer on a 550ha property milking about 650 Jersey cows on 230ha and he runs a dairy beef operation carrying about 220 Jersey/Angus cross cattle on the marginal land. “Over the last 10 years the dairy industry has grown about 50%,” Jagger told the Jersey NZ confer-

ence in Whangarei. “The beef industry has declined 31% and the sheep industry has declined 40%.” Prime beef land has been lost to dairy. Of the current beef kill, 70% is sourced from the dairy industry. Of that, 28% comes from the dairy beef side not including bobby calves. “Alongside that we have the current push for a reduc-

Whangarei dairy farmers Murray and Helen Jagger.

tion in our bobby calf kill. “So there is room for improvement and there are opportunities for us all.” Global trends in flavours and tastes are influencing cuts, and Angus

CHOOSING BETTER BULLS JERSEY DAIRY farmers have an opportunity in beef breeding by choosing better quality bulls, says Jagger. “We need to treat Jerseycross calves as part of our herd improvement plan. “The number of dairy farmers who ask a stock agent to go and source x number of bulls to tailoff with and don’t focus on the quality of the bulls is larger than the number of farmers who ask for figures on those beef bulls.” Jagger says Jersey dairy

farmer’s herd improvement plan can identify cows not wanted for milking herd replacement calves and use better quality bulls over them with a beef focus. “When you buy a bull just from the yards or get a stock agent to source them you don’t know what the calving ease is, you don’t know what the birth weight is and you don’t know what the 600-day growth weights are. “By focussing on those things we can deliver a really good

product into the marketplace and protect our herd in terms of calving ease. “Because that is what we are about: getting cows in calf and having cows calve easily; and we are fortunate to have a breed that does that and we don’t want any issues, we just want cows in milk. But we can have both if we focus on the right areas.” Jagger says developing a market for calves also reduces the bobby calf issue.

and Wagyu are becoming more of a trend, he says. Customers are more focused on where their food comes from, animal welfare and the packaging. What does that mean for the Jersey breed? he asked. “If you hadn’t realised it, fat is back…. But it is not just about milk, this about the fat that affects flavour in meat. We are well placed as a breed,” he says. “A project at Massey in about 2006 was a study of Jersey meat quality. An outstanding characteristic of Jersey cattle is the high level of intra-muscular fat, and under pasture feeding conditions the genetic potential of breed to deposit that fat into the carcase is important.

“And beef from Jersey cattle is very high in tenderness. Taste panels have consistently rated Jersey cattle beef as being more acceptable due to its greater tenderness, juiciness, flavour and overall acceptability. “Jersey cross cattle have mono-saturated fat concentrations that are significantly higher than other breeds, [hence] the interest in these… there is a belief that they have gone from cholesterol-neutral to cholesterol-lowering. So there are many elements of the breed itself that translate into a meat carcase.” In 2009 AgResearch asked Jaggers to supply Jersey Angus cross heifers for a trial by Anzco Foods on behalf of Five Star. He had already sold his 18-month heifers so he trucked his second tier of animals to Invermay where they were put to trial alongside straight Hereford heifers to look at marbling content. They grew at the same rate as the Angus Hereford cross and the marbling scores of the Angus Jerseys were more consistent. The animals grew at 0.79kg/day. A number of research projects in the last few years indicate that by using easy-calve beef bulls over a Jersey or a cross-bred you can achieve a growth rate of about 0.65kg/day. But if you use higher-genetic EBV bulls you can achieve another 0.4kg/day which was consistent with the animals in the AgResearch trial. “The comment was made that these animals

grew in comparison to the straight beef line because of the higher EBV focus in the bull selection. So it is important to focus on better gull genetics in your beef.” Jersey farmers need to change the perception of Jersey as unsuitable for beef production, he says. Despite rearing cross-bred Jerseys for 30 years and having access to his father’s Angus herd, Jagger says it has been a battle gaining acceptability of Jerseys as worth putting beef over. “We need to change the perception of fat, colour and lack of growth, by using quality EBV bulls. We can change the fat colour and reduce the bright yellow colour you get with a straight Jersey animal by using better genetic beef bulls. “People have a perception of yellow fat and they don’t want it; but overriding that is flavour.” Using better bulls causes the colour to diminish “somewhat,” he said. “We also need to change the perception that Jersey-cross calves are hard to rear. It is probably something you have all heard before -that they are hard to rear. That is rubbish.” “We need to go forth and re-educate, advocate and repopulate. One of the things is telling the story and it is not just a dairy genetics story,” he says. “We have a real opportunity in the way the markets are developing and the focus on flavour to leverage the breed we have.”



Blue light helps fill the milk vat MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

OUR MOODS can be

influenced by the season: think about long summer evenings or short winter days and see which makes you smile. Our in-built adjustment to the changing seasons -- the Circadian Cycle -- is controlled by melatonin, a pineal hormone produced during the hours of darkness, its pattern mimicking the light or dark phases over a 24-hour period. In doing so, it acts as the daily decoder of seasonal changes in day length, and to regulate the annual breeding cycles of seasonally breeding animals. Light therapy has been used for many years in the equine breeding industry, by keeping mares in loose boxes with overhead lighting to inhibit melatonin production, so influencing breeding cycles to align with the traditional horse birthday of August 1 each year in the southern hemisphere. As long ago as 1978 it was reported that long summer days had a stimulatory effect on milk yields, with studies showing that 16-hour days followed by 8-hour nights could result in yield increases of up to 10%. This increase is thought to be linked to a photostimulatory increase in the insulin-like growth factor1 (IGF1). This is particularly rel-

evant given milk shortage and reducing sustainability in the global herd of 252 million cows, 50% of which are grass fed and maintained outdoors. Intensive indoor systems have seen production gains of up to 10% from using light therapy, so can this science be transferred to pastoralbased systems? Dr Barbara Murphy, founder of Equilume, set out to trial light therapy in dairy cows, working with researchers at Teagasc in Cork, Ireland; she developed the Bovine Light Mask. Early research was into understanding how much blue light was required to supress melatonin, equivalent to overhead lights during the evening. Then came the Bovine Light Mask that uses short-wavelength blue light; trials showed an output of 225 Lux largely mimics the effects of lights-on. That trial had 40 dairy cows in two groups, one as a control with no light therapy, and the other fitted with the light masks that delivered the blue light to the animal’s right eye. Masks were fitted to the group on the day of calving, with the light source active from 5pm to midnight daily. Production was monitored for the first twelve weeks of lactation, the results showing an increase of 9% consistently over the first 12 weeks of lactation. Additional trials inves-

tigating the use of the mask on winter calving herds are nearing completion and we will learn about those results soon. Ongoing research points

to more applications, e.g. fertility, growth, health and welfare. Murphy says the mask will sell in New Zealand for about $80.

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Cows fitted with mask produced more milk during the trial.

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

VIR0224 Multimin Calves at Birth 280X187 14_06_18.indd 1

14/06/18 12:46 PM



Shore-based stirrer.

Stirrer, power unit for poo handling MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

EFFLUENT HANDLING specialist Hi Tech

Enviro Solutions showed several new products at Fieldays, among them a shore-based stirrer and a portable skid unit for powering high output effluent pumps. The stirrer, made from high-grade galvanised steel, has a triangular pedestal designed to be bolted to a concrete pad at the edge of the pond. A deep, square-section support tube 8m long can be tailored to individual situations; it carries a large propeller surrounded by a heavyduty shroud not unlike an empty oil drum. The interaction between the propeller and the shroud is designed to increase the velocity of

Portable skid unit for powering pumps.

the liquid and simultaneously create a vortex that keeps solids in suspension, helping reduce the build-up of silted areas in the pond. Designed for a pond of 3.5 million litres, it has depth control achieved by a heavy-duty chain arrangement at the pedestal end, with an integral foot at the business end designed to protect the liner from damage. Also at this end of the unit a mechanical linkage can be adjusted to alter

the angle of the propeller/shroud to ensure thorough mixing. Power comes from a shore-mounted electrical supply from 4 - 7.5kW, and gearbox reductions at the propeller end can be tweaked to give a range of speeds and power requirements. The company’s skidmounted powerplant, seen at Fieldays, can replace a tractor for pumping duties, useful at busy times of the year. Housed in a sound-

insulated box, a 4-cylinder Cummins powerplant delivers 115hp and via an external coupling powers a PD27 or PD35 effluent pump with, respectively, outputs of 180,000 or 225,000L/hour. Standard equipment includes an LED lighting panel to illuminate the work area, and an integral engine protection system that looks for excess temperatures or low fluid levels and will shut down the powerplant if thresholds are exceeded.



Water plan shows good co-operation THE GOOD Farming

Practice Action Plan for Water Quality launched this month is another way dairy and the wider agricultural sector are working in partnership to improve water quality in New Zealand, says DairyNZ. As part of the governance group developing

the action plan, DairyNZ says the initiative is significant because it has been developed and agreed on between central and local government and the primary sector. “This partnership approach is essential to achieve improved water quality outcomes, a goal shared by all,” says Dr

David Burger, DairyNZ strategy and investment leader dairy. “Many farmers have already done a huge amount of work to improve their farm environmental practices over the last decade, including stock exclusion from waterways, effluent management and nutrient

HIGHER STANDARDS FEDERATED FARMERS environment spokesman Chris Allen says the plan is “a tangible illustration of the commitment by the primary sector, local and central government to work together to enhance our streams and rivers”. “Our agriculture and horticulture industries are already a long way down the trail of environmental stewardship but this is an important step towards achieving higher standards,” Allen says. “It’s all aimed at encouraging every farmer and grower to adopt good practice and put in place a farm environment plan that boosts waterway protection onfarm and at

catchment level.” Allen says the principles and actions in the plan will not be new to many farmers, such as those who already have farm environment plans.   “But it’s a comprehensive checklist they can use, and for farmers who are not up to speed on these things it can be their impetus and starting point.” Earnings from the primary sector underpin the NZ economy “and in a world where consumers are increasingly demanding proof their food has been produced to high standards of animal and environmental care we need to continue to lead the way”.

management, and this action plan will build on that.” The action plan’s 21 principles include actions on nutrient management, minimising risks to water quality, managing land and soil risks, ensuring effluent systems are adequate and managing irrigation. “Farm plans will continue to have practical, specific actions for each property, taking into consideration climate, soil and the farm system,” says Burger. “But those actions will align with the national set of principles set out by this action plan and be targeted toward the key things which will make the biggest difference in each catchment and

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across all land users.” The action plan’s principles build on previous work led by farmers and industry, and allow each region or catchment to prioritise and target the key actions most likely to make a

difference to local water quality. “This new action plan cements the ongoing importance of this work, and our commitment to achieve good farming practices on all farms,” says Burger.

“The collective actions implemented onfarm will be monitored and reported on, so collectively we will be able to show how much is going on regionally and nationally to reduce dairy’s impact on water quality.”



Five-year project to measure contaminant losses Riparian buffers and constructed wetlands reduce contaminant loss to waterbodies, but by how much? DairyNZ water quality specialist Aslan Wright-Stow explains a national project aimed at finding out, and why this matters as regional limit setting ramps up. MANY LANDOWNERS are in the process

of identifying and implementing ways to reduce contaminant loss to waterbodies, which are increasingly required by regional limit-setting pro-

cesses. Constructed wetlands and riparian buffers are at the forefront of the options available, but we need to know how they perform in all landscape settings so we can opti-

mise their performance, and as a farmer your efforts to reduce contaminants are rewarded in farm nutrient/ contaminant budgets. The project is jointly funded by DairyNZ

Constructed wetlands reduce contaminant losses but by how much?. Inset: Aslan Wright-Stow

(through the farmer levy), the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and regional councils.

It’s taking place over five years, beginning by developing provisional performance and design guidelines for immedi-


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ate use, based on current scientific understanding. At the same time, we’ll design, establish and monitor a range of riparian buffer and constructed wetland systems across New Zealand to quantify and compare performance in different landscape and climate settings. Wetlands and riparian buffers Monitoring the constructed wetlands is a relatively straightforward exercise comparing the quality of water entering and exiting the wetland to determine contaminant loss1. The aim of the riparian monitoring is to find out if having wider buffers at locations where runoff is more strongly focused (‘critical source areas’) will improve flow and contaminant filtering. In principle it should; however, testing this at catchment scale has so far not been done here or overseas. We’ll identify and compare suitable paired catchments throughout the country, each pair having a standard fixed-width buffer and a variablewidth buffer (made wider at critical source areas and narrower where overland runoff is less important). We’ll be trying to find out how optimal water quality return relates to cost, time and farm productivity. While mainly focused on reducing primary water quality contami-

nants (sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus and faecal microbes), this project will also provide new information on flow buffering, biodiversity and habitat enhancement. It’ll identify options for addressing issues related to climate change as well (e.g. providing stream shading, managing water temperatures). The project’s results will enable us to guide farmers’ water quality initiatives so you can meet regional limits, improve water quality on your farm and get greater certainty of performance. It will make your efforts more cost-effective, but also ensure your efforts are rewarded by authorities in nutrient budgets. Our results will also identify what works where and on what scale, so water quality efforts can be tailored to suit individual and regional situations. Overall, the research project will quantify the performance of riparian buffers and constructed wetlands to ensure farmers are recognised for their water quality efforts. • This article was originally published in Inside Dairy May 2018

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The average dairy farmer takes about 30 minutes to hose the yard after milking and uses between 10,000 and 20,000 litres of water. Water conservation and reducing effluent waste are major environmental issues impacting on all farming operations. It pays to look at options to keep these to a minimum.

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IRRIGATION USED precisely can benefit the environment, says Denis Gavin of Lindsday International. He says farmers with irrigation get more criticism as this is seen as the most serious of evils, but irrigation used with precision can benefit the environment: good pasture or crop growth uses up available water and nutrients and limits pollution. And using precision technology on irrigators also greatly reduces the amount of water used to grow good pasture or crops, he says. Irrigators using Growsmart Precision VRI get water savings of 25 30% and lower reducing electricity usage. And there are other benefits, e.g. being able to turn off irrigation over and around pivot ruts, tracks, water troughs, gateways, drains and boggy areas. “Growsmart Precision VRI has been supplying these benefits for 10 years,” Gavin says. “The original systems are still working perfectly and producing

world record crops for their farmers. This technology is industry-leading and is continually updated for ease of use and the required reporting for environmental regulators.” A new innovation enables farmers to create irrigation plans for applying effluent, fertigation and/or chemigation to specific areas under an irrigator. This intelligent system will automatically switch to a specified plan when the nutrients are being injected into the irrigation water line; it enables farmers to target resources to maximise yields, ensuring efficient use of water and nutrients yet still preventing leaching and run-off. The technology individually pulses sprinklers on and off while controlling the irrigator speed to modify the application depth along the length of the irrigator. This can be coupled with FieldNet, a platform that remotely monitors and controls all Lindsay irrigation products from a mobile or laptop

to receive real time information and ‘alerts’ allowing the farmer to make irrigation changes to enhance growth and save water. New to the company’s range is FieldNET Advisor, a management system that enables faster, betterinformed irrigation management, says Gavin. “This combines 40 years of crop and irrigation research into FieldNET’s technology platform, leveraging massive amounts of data, cloud computing capabilities and machine learning in one easy-to-use tool. No need to manually track growth or make complex calculations to ascertain the daily water usage.” FieldNET Advisor will deliver the data needed for better informed decisions without the cost of installing and maintaining extra field sensors or probes. Growsmart Precision VRI can be installed on new irrigation systems or as an add-on to existing systems. www.growsmartvri.com

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Gypsum application is a standard practice worldwide for addressing the build up of sodium in soils, including soils receiving waste waters.

Gypsum is one of those rare materials that performs in all categories of soil treatment: an amendment, conditioner and fertiliser.

How Does Gypsum Work?

It is useful in the transition period in dairy cows 2 – 4 weeks pre & post calving, and can be used as an anionic salt to counteract the effects that high potassium & sodium concentrations have on increasing hypocalcemia.

Gypsum is hydrated calcium sulphate. Calcium from gypsum replaces sodium in the soil. The sulphate allows the sodium to be effectively leached out of the soil. The soil then has more ability to flocculate and form stable aggregates to improve drainage and soil quality.

Gypsum, a readily available form of calcium, is 100 times more soluble than lime and is more suitable for the digestive system during this period.

Gypsum in fertilising Soil tests throughout New Zealand shows sulphur deficiency is wide spread. Although often overlooked, sulphur is needed in at least equal quantities to phosphorus. Many responses in crops are sulphur due to the sulphate radical (SO4‑‑). • Readily dissociates into free calcium ions (Ca++) and sulphate ions (SO4‑‑), major elements in plant nutrition • Has an approximately neutral pH and can be used in heavy applications without causing undue alkalinity in soils

Gypsum in water savings • Promotes water infiltration, retention and conservation • Allows water to penetrate the soil without forming puddles or water logging • Conserves water by stretching intervals between irrigations • Tests show that farmland treated with gypsum requires up to 33% less water than soils without recent gypsum application

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Gypsum in soil conditioning • Breaks up soils compacted by sodium and clay, and compounded by farm animals and machinery • Reduces cracking and compaction following irrigation and retards soil crusting • Allows soil to dry more quickly after rain or irrigation so that it may be worked sooner • Decreases energy requirements for tillage • Binds organic matter to soil and checks soil erosion • Enhances friendly bacterial action and discourages plant diseases related to poor soil aeration • Conditioned soil allows for deeper, healthier root development and water penetration

Gypsum in amendment • Displaces sodium binding clay soils • Reduces high soil aluminium levels • Suppresses the soil acidification effects of growing crops and the prolonged use of acidifying fertilisers

For more about Natural Gypsum and soil stabilisation visit gypsum.co.nz 00527 - Gyspum - DairyNews June 02.indd 1

20/06/18 6:21 PM



Like using eftpos to treat nutrients KENNETH IRONS

YEARS AGO, no one thought anything of paying for purchases by cheque or cash, waiting weeks for a bank state-

ment to come in the mail, trying to reconcile your bank account and realising that try as you may, with such a manual, slow, time consuming process, you never really knew exactly what was in your

bank account. It was just the way things had always been. Then came eftpos and online banking. So easy, so quick and so accurate, we’ve taken to it like a duck to water.

Eftpos is connected – when you swipe your card and choose your account, the eftpos terminal is connected to your bank. The money comes out of your correct account without you having to

match up the transaction with paperwork later.

WE MAKE NUTRIENT APPLICATION THIS SIMPLE Growsmart® Precision VRI with FieldNET® now enables you to use your irrigation system to apply nutrients exactly where they are required, all while continuing to control the irrigation of your crops and pastures. Individual, specific irrigation plans can be created for effluent, fertigation or chemigation. The innovative technology will automatically switch to the appropriate plan when the ingredient is injected into the irrigation water line. Proof-ofplacement application reports will ensure you meet regulatory requirements and help with future decision-making. This amount of control makes improving the sustainability of your operation effortless, so you can spend less time in the field, giving you more time for what matters.


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Eftpos is automatic, immediate, hands free and is what you did rather than what you planned . Now Ballance and Precision Farming bring the same benefits to nutrient management that EFTPOS has brought to money management. Launched earlier this year, and rolled out widely at National Fieldays, the MyBallance nutrient management platform in partnership with Precision Farming, has had over 3,000 Ballance shareholder siging up to the new platform. This brings together the substantial resources of Ballance and Precision Farming to “close the loop” on nutrient management. MyBallance + Precision is connected – being an online electronic platform, the MyBallance + Precision system means that all five major resources that come together to deliver complete nutrient management to farmers, their advisors and their contractors are now within the one context. That makes soil science, ordering, delivery, application and reporting connected end to end. MyBallance + Precision is automatic – When you select paddocks or blocks to which fertiliser is to be applied, whether from your annual fertiliser and application plan online or as a special order, your requirements are linked directly to your chosen account or merchant for payment, to your chosen customer service centre or consignment store for delivery (even including your order going directly to front end loader driver’s iPad in his cab), to your Precision Tracking or TracMap equipped contractor. MyBallance + Precision is immediate – complete your requirements online and hit send, and everyone has your instructions immediately. MyBallance + Preci-

sion is hands free – Once you have completed your order on the day, everything from there on is hands-free. No more paper maps showing spreading lines stapled to your contractor’s invoice that you then have to sit down and sort out into your Overseer report or dairy company return. Go online any time after your application is completed and see GPS tracks, applied rate and full calculation of your NPK results, reported by paddock, by block, by date range, by product type. All without having to sort through a ring binder of pages adding up on paper or spreadsheet what went into which paddocks. MyBallance + Precision is as applied, not as intended – If you write down what you ask your contractor to apply at the time you are requesting the spreading, you are recording an intention – something you plan to have happen in the next few days. Not everyone embraces change for change sake. Sometimes its appears easier on the surface to keep doing things the way you’ve always done them. Some of us may even have resisted using an eftpos card and preferred to keep writing cheques for day to day purposes. Not any more. Who would go back to an unconnected, manual, slow, labourintensive, inaccurate form of money management when we are now all used to the many advantages of online banking. So too with nutrient management. The MyBallance + Precision system offers so many advantages, with many more to come as further functions and features are added, that it is understandable why thousands of farmers have already started taking advantage of this new resource. • Kenneth Irons is chief executive of Precision Farming Ltd



Green, green grass of Eire operating in Ireland. The GT120S can hold 25cu.m, markd@ruralnews.co.nz suitable for feeding 120 cows over a 12-hour period. Brian McArdle, for Grass TechUTILISATION OF available grass, a key to New Zealand’s dairying success, nology, says “cows will typically eat is known to result in lower costs of pro- their fill in about one hour then ruminate, where the process will normally duction. In Britain and Europe, where wetter take five hours out in the paddock”. seasons restrict utilisation to about Weighing about 9.5 tonnes fully laden, the outfit is 60%, many said to require dairy farmers “Cows will typically eat a tractor of are switching their fill in about an hour about 120hp to zero-grazing, giving then ruminate, where the depending on terrain. utilisation of process will normally Up front, fresh grass up take fivehours out in the a Kuhn/PZto 95%; and paddock.” sourced, twin followers cite drum mower other advantages such as reduced pugging and offers a 2.4m cutting width and is compaction, lower fertiliser usage and favoured for its clean cut and minithe ability to feed more cows off fewer mal sward damage; it is offset to the right with a hydraulic drawbar and hectares. At the Fieldays, Irish manufacturer suspended ahead of the main body on Grass Technology Ltd showed its Gra- 60mm pivots that operate with a spring zier GT 120S alongside its NZ distrib- suspension system to promote good ground following and a minimum cututor Toplink Machinery. The six-year-old business has so far ting height of 35mm. Cut grass is channelled to a crop made about 1000 machines, with 500 MARK DANIEL

Dennis Madigan, Toplink Machineryt and Brian McArdle, Grantech Ireland at Fieldays.

conveyor that rotates at a slow 70rpm to lift grass into the body, in such a way as to avoid damaging the grass and maintain maximum nutritional value. The trailer body, in a robust frame, has double-lined construction that gives long service life, and has a chainand-slat system in the floor to transport the cut grass rearwards as the body fills. Filling to capacity is con-

Buy a Kubota M Series or Excavator before December 31st and you could win an action-packed trip for two to Tokyo 2019. Contact your Kubota dealer to find out more. Visit your local Kubota dealer or Kubota.co.nz for full Tokyo 2019 terms and conditions. The promoter is C B Norwood Distributors Limited (NZBN 9429039257772) of 888 Tremaine Avenue, Palmerston North, New Zealand 4414, telephone 06 356 4920.

trolled by the variable rate floor speed, with load sensors at the rear to prevent overload. The unit on display has the optional rear cross conveyor attachment that is fed by a three-beater discharge system; this enables feeding out to either side of the machine. The running gear has segmented double-bogie axles fitted with grease-

able bronze bushes for a long life, and the option of a wetland set-up allows offsetting of the wheels on the GT 120. Standard equipment includes flotation tyres, hydraulic brakes and twin rear-view cameras. It is powered by the tractor PTO and two double-acting rear remotes. Controls will be updated for the 2019 season.

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Spikey takes the p**s out of pasture MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

SOMETIMES A product name might be descriptive, but it might obscure the science within. So it is with Spikey from Pastoral Robotics Ltd, Auckland. The machine works on the effects of urine patches left by dairy cows while grazing. Cows

stand still to pee, and the deposit has high concentrations that ultimately turn to ammonia and eventually nitrates that end up in watercourses. Spikey, the winner of the 2017 Arthur Mead Environmental award from the Auckland branch of Engineering NZ, is available as a 2.8m trailed or 8m tractor mounted unit, designed to operate at 8 - 15km/h depending

on terrain. Ideally used within 48 hours of cows leaving the paddock, the unit’s spiked rotating discs act as sensors to detect urine patches left by the cows while they grazed. An onboard spray system sprays the urine concentrations with NitroStop to slow the conversion into nitrate, allowing more time to convert nitrate into dry matter.

NitroStop works by modifying the processes in the soil that transform the urea in the urine to nitrates; it slows the conversion of soil-bound ammonium into soluble nitrate while at the same time increasing the rate of pasture growth, so nitrogen uptake is increased. Applying the product to urine patches makes for less leaching in prone soils.

NitroStop in action at Fieldays.

Additionally, and at the same time as pasture treatment, an optional precision fertiliser spreader can be used to accurately spread urea prills or granules to rates as low as 10kg/ha, allowing farmers to move away from the more traditional method of high rate applications for maintenance in favour of much lower

rates that will result in lower costs and reduced leaching. Geoff Bates, managing director of Pastoral Robotics, says the Spikey machine fills a hole left by the withdrawal of the nitrification inhibitor DCD that was being detected in milk samples. “Nitrate leaching is [among] the biggest envi-

ronmental challenges facing the dairy industry in NZ. Spikey and NitroStop can now fill that gap,” says Bates. Trials suggest that a farmer using the machine with NitroStop could raise yield by 15%, and that combining the operation with low-dose precision urea prills could push that increase to 23%, he says.

Easy feeding MODERN CAB tractors don’t always lend themselves to the ageold method of pulling ropes to release transport or folding functions on mounted or trailed implements. Otorohanga’s Giltrap Engineering has addressed this problem on its linkage-mounted G2 bale

G2 bale feeder

feeders, with the option of a new hydraulic headstock release system. Using a single-acting hydraulic cylinder, the bale feeder can be quickly detached from the fork cradle, allowing bales to be loaded quickly and safely from the tractor seat. This speeds up cycle times.

Re-attachment requires the bale forks to be reversed under the feeder body, where a springloaded locking system ensures the unit is locked

in place. The unit is available for retro-fitment to existing Giltrap bale feeders. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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award for its tractor SmartTouch armrest and interface between operator and machine. The company had already scooped Tractor of the Year and Machine of the Year 2018 awards. Now the SmartTouch has been singled out on its own merits, winning the IF Design Award that drew 6400 entries from 54 countries for judging by 63 experts. Designed and manufactured in Finland and launched in 2017, the SmartTouch is said to break new ground in operator ease-of-use; all controls on the armrest are logically positioned and within easy reach. Also noted were the product’s ergonomics, clarity of the display and the choice of materials to ensure operator comfort and durability. The layout has a nine-inch touch screen at the front of the armrest, an integrated drive lever and a dedicated hydraulic control joystick.



High-end hoof health care MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

GOOD HOOF health in dairy herds can raise yield by $500 per animal per lactation but an appropriate cattle crush is required to keep the animal and the technician safe. Ashburton handling specialist Veehof used Fieldays to show its latest heavy-duty crush, the WOPA SA61 RS, already sold to Waikato trimming specialist The Hoofman, aka Johan Buys. The RS (Rapid Set-up) unit has a hydraulic drawbar that, unlike on previous machines, remains attached to the unit but swings out of the work zone laterally. Likewise, the crush has steel ‘drive wheels’ in its

lower chassis that allow sole operators to manoeuvre it into tight spaces, especially in older, less open-plan yard layouts. An integral battery system offers up to 20 minutes run time in which one-off or minor jobs can be done without the need for connection to mains power. Liftable floor panels in the base of the crush allow thorough cleaning before it is to a new property, and side access gates on both sides of the rear pen hurdles allow easy, safe access to the rear of the unit. Larger pumps help reduce cycle times, and a remote-control function allows the operator to activate the crush from up to 20m away -- ideal for technicians operating alone.

Already commissioned by The Hoofman prior to the event, the unit is confirmed as lighter, stronger, quicker to set-up and, importantly in the current climate, much easier to clean.

The Hoofman aka Johan Buys (left) and Fred Hoekstra, Veehof Ltd

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fence, and with the cost of wood battens, Emile van der Merwe looked for a better way. He discovered there was during a ‘eureka moment’ while sitting at his desk in early 2018, fiddling with a piece of high tensile wire. That moment evolved into the CoffeeKlip, the winner of the Locus Research Innovation Award at Fieldays; and it led to the founding of TC Fence Systems. Used with a twisted, high tensile wire ‘dropper’ instead of the more familiar wooden batten, the clips can be used vertically and horizontally with standard wire or fibreglass poly-rods. They hold firmly in place due to being tensioned. There’s a safety angle during fence erection or maintenance: no need for hammers, nail guns or staples; and in a nod to the environment they contain no chemicals to leach out. The high-tensile steel wire clips are easily fitted without specialist training or tools. They are expected to have a long service life subject to the constraints of temperature, humidity and, of course, rust. In the pipeline is a clip-on insulated stand-off named the Shocker, for an electric hot wire.

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Farmall shines light on fire safety MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

SPOTTED AT Fieldays, and following a theme first seen in the New Holland ‘police’ tractor, Case IH New Zealand has unveiled a special edition ‘fire’ tractor as part of a partnership with Fire and Emergency NZ. The Case IH Farmall tractor has flashing lights and a siren and is finished in livery typical of fire trucks everywhere. Although it won’t be used to fight fires, the Case IH fire tractor will assist Fire and Emergency NZ to spread the message about fire safety in rural regions. Case IH operations manager Tim Fanning

Drive-over rubber mats.

says “Fire and Emergency NZ plays a vital role in helping keep our communities safe, so we are delighted to partner with them to help them engage with the public in

a fun and unique way”. Fire and Emergency’s national advisor fire risk management, Rob Goldring says the partnership and tractor will enable them to “talk

with rural communities about developing greater resilience, especially in fire prevention and volunteer sustainability”. www.caseih.co.nz

WEIGH AND GO WITHOUT WOE THE HIGH cost of fertiliser makes it important to understand how well a spreader performs – in the quantity applied and the spread pattern. Quantity is taken care of by calibration, to compare set rates with actual weights, and spread pattern is usually done by driving over test trays to get a result known as the co-efficient of variation. German spreading and seeding specialist Amazone looks to have made the task a little easier with its recently launched EasyCheck system that combines the power of a mobile phone app with a set of drive-over rubber mats, rather than the more traditional tray system. In use, 16 purple rubber mats are placed in four rows across the paddock at pre-determined distances from the tramlines. Passing down the

tramline the operator spreads over the mats then photographs each mat with a smartphone; from there the app calculates the amount of fertiliser and analyses the spread pattern. Where the spread pattern is incorrect or uneven the app will suggest areas to look at such as disc speed, shutter opening, drop point or spreading vane positions, dependent on machine. The mats are light enough to be carried by one person; placement takes a few minutes and should provide a more workable option than the more typical bulky plastic or cardboard trays. The purple colour of the mats is said to allow easier testing of light or dark coloured products, although the manufacturer says the smartphone will need a camera with good resolution. – Mark Daniel

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Dairy News 26 June 2018