Page 1

M.bovis hits more beef than dairy. PAGE 4 PLANTAIN TO THE RESCUE? Reducing N leaching PAGE 24

LUXURY AT ITS BEST Lexus delivers PAGE 39

JULY 24, 2018 ISSUE 405 //



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WHO WILL PAY WHAT? We are continuing to work closely with Beef + Lamb on it. – DairyNZ. PAGE 3



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NEWS  // 3

Who’s paying what on M.bovis? Celebrating the world’s most dairy farmers. PAGE 3


Keeping milk healthy PAGE 28



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AGREEMENT BETWEEN the dairy and beef sectors on who pays what for the industry share of eradicating Mycoplasma bovis is still a month away, say industry sources. The cost of the eradication programme is reckoned $886 million over 10 years. MPI says $16m of that is loss of production and will be borne by farmers, while $870m is the cost of the response, including compensation. The Government will pay 68% of that and the two levying bodies, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ will pay 32% (about $278m). But exactly how it will be split between them remains under discussion. Dairy industry sources say a 80/20 split between dairy farmers and beef farmers would be fair. However, beef farmers are pushing for a 90/10 split, pointing out that dairy farms are at the centre of the outbreak. “We continue to work closely with Beef + Lamb on it,” said a DairyNZ spokeswoman.



20% BEEF

Discussions are continuing on how dairy and beef sectors will split the M.bovis bill.

“There will however be an 7x7 announcement made DE LAVAL when an agreement is achieved.” The process is being handled under the guid-

MILKING SYSTEM DEBUTS Fonterra gives green light PAGE 10

ance of the GIA (the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response), which is the partnership between primary industry and the Government to manage pest and disease incursions. BLNZ chairman Andrew Morrison said it is crucial to get it right now, because Mycoplasma bovis makes a good test case to produce a formula for any future incursions. Morrison said the determination should be “reasonably formulaic,” taking into account the size of each sector and the impact at the farmgate. However, decisions have to be made on what is in or out of the scope of the agreement, for example, whether the supply of feed should be assessed as part of the dairy sector or a service supplied to the sector. Morrison declined to put a figure on the likely split. At the time the eradication was decided on in May, Morrison said they expected the beef industry’s contribution to be very small “due to the relative value of the industries involved and because the impact on beef production is expected to be limited”.

FEDS WANT A FAIR SPLIT NEWS������������������������������������������������������ 3-17 OPINION����������������������������������������������18-19 AGRIBUSINESS����������������������������������� 22 MANAGEMENT������������������������������ 23-25 ANIMAL HEALTH���������������������������26-27 CALF REARING������������������������������ 28-35 MACHINERY &   PRODUCTS��������������������������������������36-39

FEDERATED FARMERS president Katie Milne says she hopes for a fair split. “[DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb] have the power to strike a levy and we don’t, so it’s up to them to sort that out. But yes, it is interesting being on the sidelines.”

She acknowledges dairy is the biggest earner in agriculture but sees also “massive implications” from Mycoplasma bovis in beef. Milne warned that farmers are heading into a “season of inaction” as farmers who would normally buy dairy calves for

beef rearing hold back. “People are going to sit back and watch. They might leap in a bit later on but I’ve had farmers ringing from certain areas saying ‘people are just not buying these calves; what are we going to do?’ “People have to get over that

and get on with it, because otherwise [these calves] are going to be completely out of the system one way or the other,” said Milne. There could be a spike in unwanted bobbies. Farmers are in effect shunning certain regions. TO PAGE 5


4 //  NEWS

Document Path: \\wdcwfsp756\MapInfo\GIS Data MPI\Response_MBovis2017\MXD\MBovisOperationsMasterReferenceListStaticMaps\MBovisOperationsMasterReferenceList_UnderBiosecurityControls.mxd


M.bovis hits more beef than dairy NIGEL MALTHUS

Restricted Places (includes infected farms) NODs (under testing – 70 to 80% return negative) Land Information New Zealand, Eagle Technology

This map and all information accompanying it is intended to be used as a guide only, in conjunction with other data sources and methods, and should only be used for the purpose for which it was developed. The information shown in this Map is based on a summary of data obtained from various sources. While all reasonable measures have been taken to ensure the accuracy of the Map, MPI: (a) gives no warranty or representation in relation to the accuracy, completeness, reliability or fitness for purpose of the Map; and (b) accepts no liability whatsoever in relation to any loss, damage or other costs relating to any person’s use of the Map, including but not limited to any compilations, derivative works or modifications of the Map. Crown copyright ©. This map is subject to Crown copyright administered by Ministry for Primary Industries.


Under Biosecurity Controls Mycoplasma bovis Response 12/07/2018


160 Km

Created by the Infortamtion & Data Management Team Date: 12/07/2018

MORE BEEF farms than dairy farms are now infected with the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis, according to MPI figures. A recent update showed 40 properties were confirmed as infected -- 35 in the South Island and five in the north; 71 are under Restricted Place Notices. Of the 40, 20 were beef farms and 17 dairy. The remaining three were classed as ‘others’, which covers lifestyle blocks and

calf rearers. While the disease was originally detected in the dairy sector, affected beef farm numbers have been steadily creeping up as animal movements are traced. The development comes as dairy farms prepare for a second round of national bulk milk testing. And MPI says a screening test for beef animals is now in the works. “Surveying dry stock animals is more challenging than surveying milking animals. However, it is necessary to conduct

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a beef survey and this is currently being designed.” MPI said it is important to note that all farms affected by Mycoplasma bovis are subject to the same MPI rules and processes. This includes lifestyle properties. “We encourage all farm owners, including lifestyle block owners, to make themselves aware of the risks and their responsibilities when it comes to Mycoplasma bovis.” More information, including resources, is available on the MPI website. The latest numbers show 28,279 animals have now been culled, from 30 infected farms. 142 properties that were under legal controls have since tested negative and have been released from controls. A total of 142,324 tests – milk, blood, swab, or tonsils – have been carried out. MPI has now received 210 claims for compensation, and has completely or partly paid 74. The

value of claims assessed stands at $17.4 million and claims paid at $13.1m. Two claims were listed as pending payment. Meanwhile, the country’s dairy farmers should all have received an email by now outlining the second round of national milk screening tests for Mycoplasma bovis. The testing round will take place in spring, after each region starts milking, when cows are most likely to be shedding the bacteria in response to the stress of calving and milking. Unlike the first round of nationwide testing in February-March, when farmers themselves must take samples of their discard and mastitic milk; they are not required to take any action this time. Tanker operators will take the samples at the time of collection as part of their routine process. MPI says every dairy farm in the country will be tested. @dairy_news



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NEWS  // 5

First move towards UK/NZ trade deal PETER BURKE

BRITAIN HAS taken its first formal step to negotiate a postBrexit free trade agreement with New Zealand, Australia and the US. Britain’s Minister of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, said late last week that consultation on a proposed FTA will start in Britain in the coming months as a precursor to launching formal negotiations. The consultation will involve all stakeholders in any FTA including farmers, all others in the agri sector and businesses in all sectors of the economy. Dairy News understands that Fox’s announcement is timed to fit with the US’s domestic trade protocols which require that the Congress be notified before they

can start formal negotiations for an FTA with Britain. As a result, New Zealand and Australia have become part of the process. An announcement on when the three countries can begin talks on their respective FTAs is expected later this year, after which formal talks could begin in late March next year. NZ government officials and industry have already begun preparing papers for the FTA with the UK and informal discussions have begun. Britain is believed keen to move quickly to get FTAs underway as soon as it leaves the European Union. NZ officials see the Fox announcement as a positive. It comes just days after our officials had their first formal negotiations in Brussels on an FTA with the EU. News of the UK’s launch of public consultations on an FTA with New Zealand has been wel-

David Parker

comed by Trade Minister David Parker. He says this signals that the UK is prioritising an early agreement with NZ, and wants an FTA as soon as possible after Britain leaves the EU. “There are lots of other countries they could have chosen, but they have chosen us and that’s good. “The UK and the EU, who

have similar thinking on human rights, labour and environmental issues, offer good opportunities to advance our new trade agenda,” he says. Parker says a progressive, high quality and comprehensive FTA would be an important first step. “It would help remove barriers to trade and create world-leading approaches on issues like services and digital trade,” he says. Britain is NZ’s fifth-largest trading partner with two-way trade worth nearly NZ$6 billion annually. Britain has also signalled its interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Parker says growing the CPTPP membership would increase its value and contribute to more alignment of rules and trading standards, important in the current global trade environment.

Fair split FROM PAGE 3

But Milne pointed out that calves would not legally be for sale from any farm under Mycoplasma bovis movement controls. “I’d really like to think that people will lose their fear of that and actually start buying those good animals, those calves, and doing their normal, or as next to normal as they can, farming systems as we’ve known them. “At the moment people are being coy and holding back, and there’s massive Katie Milne disruption there. “Big links in the chain are going to be altered forever. Fewer calves potentially are going to be bought and reared. What that will do to the value of the others, I don’t know.” Milne said there will be flow-on effects from Mycoplasma bovis that won’t necessarily get captured, either in the compensation scheme or the industry contribution. “It worries me that there’s going to be people caught in the middle, through no fault of their own, who possibly sit more on the beef side, but maybe sit in their own place, as maybe a grazier.” She said people are asking themselves whether they want to continue rearing beef or providing winter grazing for dairy cows. A lot of dairy farmers are meanwhile buying up feed blocks and deciding to go self-contained instead of sending out for winter grazing.

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6 //  NEWS

Demand for A2 dairy sires PAM TIPA



for A2 dairy bulls for the upcoming mating season is at record levels, says the marketing arm of World Wide Sires NZ. Craig Roberson, genetics product manager, says until this year – and Fonterra’s announcement encouraging farmers to consider breeding their herds to A2 – they had a moderate and growing demand for elite sires which were A2, in addition to the traits farmers want such as fertility, easy calving, high components and moderate size. “However, after Fonterra’s incentive to change, demand has increased to record levels.” Robertson says the

JAYNE HRDLICKA took the reins as chief executive and managing director of a2 Milk last Monday. Hrdlicka is an outstanding senior executive with strengths relevant to a2MC’s next growth phase, the company says. These include extensive experience in strategy formulation and execution and, importantly, understanding of operating in a disruptive environment.

World Wide Sires’ A2 team is believed among the world’s largest, with 311 A2 sires across all breeds (but mostly Holstein Friesian and Jersey) available to NZ farmers. “It means we can cater to whatever farmers want to focus on – bulls strong across all traits or with emphasis on a few; there are simply no trade-offs for going A2.”

Hrdlicka was most recently employed for five years as chief executive of the Jetstar Group, a subsidiary of Qantas, was a non-executive director of Woolworths, and was a partner at Bain & Company in the US, working on customer-orientated businesses. Geoff Babidge, chief executive since 2010, last year said he planned to retire.

Roberston explains the company markets genetics from US farmer-owned cooperative Select Sires. “Select Sires is, by volume of semen sold, the largest AB company in the world with more than 20 million straws sold each year to every dairy nation around the globe.” Meanwhile The a2 milk Company unaudited group revenue for the year ending June 30

was $922 million, representing an annual sales lift of 68%. This beats the May forecast of $900m to $920m. The company, based in Auckland but headquartered in Sydney, expects an earnings before tax to sales ratio of 30%. It says it has finished planning

for 2018-19 and expects more growth in revenue from nutritional products. For the coming year it plans to spend more on marketing as a percentage of sales, refine its activities in China and spend more to support the US market expansion. Overhead costs are expected to be higher primarily due to increasing staff for China and the corporate office to support growth. The a2 Milk Company recently extended its supply agreement with Synlait, including extending the agreement by two years to five years (to July 31, 2023). It also included an increase in the volume of

Craig Robertson World Wide Sires.

infant formula products over which Synlait already has exclusive supply

rights, and increased committed production capacity from Synlait.


Chris Lewis says he is looking into transitioning to an A2 herd but he questions whether the premium will stick if everyone switches. “If we are all going to start supplying A2 milk, will there still be a premium when the world is awash with it in five or 10 years time?” he queries. “That is the question mark I have on it. I am looking at doing it… but knowing full well that if lots of other farmers in New Zealand, Australia and worldwide are doing it, will there be a premium for it if it is a common thing?” Plenty of farmers are talking about it and have seen the rise of The a2 Milk Company on the stock exchange, he says. Some worldwide

companies are looking at it. “The only word of caution: is there going to be a flood of A2 milk and will there be a premium after that?” He has had a herd milk sample done and it showed about 65% of his herd’s milk is A2. Even with a big proportion of the herd already A2, for him to get his herd percentage to high 90% would be a big hurdle to pass. He is using A2 bulls across his herd and it would probably take him another generation of breeding to get to high 90%, taking at least five or six years. As an example, Synlait requires you have your herd at 99% A2 milk. Some farmers may have one or two herds of A2 only and the other herd

A1. They milk one herd into an A2 vat and the other into the A1 vat. “They will split their herds up to get a premium,” says Lewis. “We’ve got a large herd but to be worthwhile I will want most of my herd to be A2 if I am going to chase it. “I am looking into it. But breeding to get to where you need to be takes a very long time. It depends where your herd base is to start with.” Lewis’s supply company Open Country Dairy is also looking at A2 milk. “But so is everyone else around the world. With everyone looking at it and looking to breed A2 milk, what is going to happen to the supply and demand graph?” he cites as his main reservation. – Pam Tipa

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NEWS  // 7

Chinese consumers like Fonterra SUDESH KISSUN


says Fonterra is held in very high regard by Chinese consumers. Rollinson, a supplier to Fonterra since its inception, was one of 39 co-op shareholders on a 28-day tour of China in June. It included a day at Fonterra’s China farms and two days at its head office in Shanghai. Rollinson told Dairy News that the days spent at Fonterra China were an eye opener. “I’d suggest Fonterra is held in very high regard overseas, especially in China with our Anchor brand; some improvement of the Fonterra image in New Zealand would be great,” he says. Rollinson also played down concerns that Fonterra was sending too much milk to China. “I don’t agree it is a concern.... No other market generates the same value, because of the tariffs we are forced to pay. And projected volumes for the next five years with added value is huge in China.” Rollinson says Fonterra supplies 34% of all Chinese milk imports; other NZ companies supply 10%. The touring farmers were told that Christina Zhu, the president of Fonterra Greater China, leads a team of about 350 employees. Rollinson was

impressed by the dedication and commitment of Fonterra staff in China. “Those we met were so committed and believed in our cooperative; their work commitment and enthusiasm and long hours of work were something money cannot buy.

Ted Rollinson

“It’s a culture lead by Christina and has to be seen by our Fonterra shareholders to be believed.” The farmers also visited supermarkets to see Fonterra China Farms fresh milk priced 20% higher than other fresh milk. They were also amazed to see different milk powder, cheese and biscuits containing Fonterra ingredients. Rollinson says they visited a Starbucks coffee shop that sells not only coffee but also freshly cooked pizza meals and souvenirs. Fonterra supplies all Starbucks’ dairy products. The farmers also tasted Grace mini flavoured milk and visited Bred Talk, a bakery using Fonterra cheese. “Fonterra ingredients are believed to be used

in about 1000 different food items in China. We also visited a food service development centre where chefs develop new blends for customers and upskill them on Fonterra products.”

Starbucks in China gets all its dairy ingredients from Fonterra.

Rollinson says the shareholders tour was led by Grant and Karo Wills through Ron Mcfail Tours.


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BOTTLING PLANT IN CHINA FARMER TED Rollinson says Fonterra needs a bottling plant for milk produced by its China farms. He says milk produced on Fonterra farms attracts a 20% price premium over local milk because of the high standards of the farms. But the co-op’s China Farms is a high-cost business generating very little income. “Fonterra China Farms needs a bottling plant for all the milk that’s produced... then some good profits would come. There are 10 cities in China with over 10 million people each, so there is huge potential for fresh milk.” He says China Farms maintains the “highest environmental standards”.

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8 //  NEWS

Aussie farmers quietly confident JOHN DROPPERT

THE NEW dairy season

has just begun and there is already plenty to keep track of. The highest opening prices ever announced coincide with farmer confidence hitting a multiyear low; more farmers than ever are changing processor and the prospects of buying feed are increasingly tough. The spending on new

stainless steel, and the ongoing policy and political debates ensure that 2018-19 won’t be boring. Dairy Australia’s recently released Situation and Outlook report on farmer confidence (from the National Dairy Farmer Survey -- NDFS) and recent dairy market developments draw out several key insights. The first is that farmers remain confident in their own business future, whilst overall confidence


in the industry has fallen. As part of a regular gauge of farmer sentiment and priorities, Dairy Australia’s NDFS was run during February and March 2018. Drawing on the views of 800 farmers across all dairy regions, the survey found overall farmer confidence has continued to slide. Only 47% of farmers feel positive or very positive about the future of the industry -- down from 53% last year and a peak of 75% four years ago. As

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in 2017, a higher proportion of farmers were confident in the prospects for their own businesses, suggesting that their general lack of confidence relates to external industry factors. Also, the share of farmers now happy with their own business rose from 23% to 32% over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, in the market conditions have continued to improve in recent months, largely as a result of weather dampening milk production in key dairy exporting countries. In addition to supply moderating, demand has improved, with many events building a far more positive market picture than was so six months ago. In particular, cold weather played havoc with milk production in parts of Europe during the northern spring. The ‘beast from the east’ saw cows housed for longer than usual, and fodder shortages emerge, especially in Ireland. A tight product market (especially for butter) has created some price relief for European farmers, but weather forecasters are in turn predicting a hot, dry summer. New Zealand has also had its share of challenges: eradicating Myco-

Aussie dairy farmers have received the highest opening price ever from processors.

plasma Bovis will only modestly affect the global milk balance, but there’ll be pain. Still in NZ, short-tomedium term challenges and ‘peak cow’ suggest supply growth will require yield improvements. Downside risks remain, but it will be some time before global milk supply once again gets to the point of disrupting markets. For Australian farmers, a better milk price this season is helping income, allowing progress on recovering the losses of recent years. But dry conditions in many regions in late summer/autumn have raised the cost of key inputs. Hay, grain and irrigation water prices are all eroding margins. Late June opening price news and the treatment of sign-on incentives versus base milk prices have curled many farmers’ lips. And Dairy Australia’s forecast approach for 2018-19 season milk production is conservative: growth

about 1% above 2017-18 for a total of 9.4 billion litres. Better operating margins have delivered modest growth in milk production this season, and are expected to do the same in 2018-19, albeit restrained by increasing costs and ongoing farm exits. But the survey shows that many farmers need more than tweaking at the margins to remain con-

fident about the industry. Big company deals and the building of new milk processing capacity will bring more changes to business all along the supply chain. Now that dairy markets are showing better than many had expected this soon, 2018-19 may see farmer confidence up somewhat. • John Droppert is an industry analyst with Dairy Australia

IN BRIEF Feds want more say FEDERATED FARMERS says it is disappointed at not having been greatly involved in setting new guidelines to assist regulators to get more compliance with the Resource Management Act (RMA). Spokesman Richard Gardner says Feds favours ‘best practice’ guidelines for councils on how they exercise their duties under the RMA, provided they bring common sense and consistency to that role. But he says Feds is concerned that the new guidelines miss opportunities for fairer outcomes.


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NEWS  // 9

Farm sales, prices down NIGEL MALTHUS


sales in autumn this year were down on both the number of sales and price per hectare versus the same period last year. Data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) show 427 farm sales for the three months ended June

ing type. REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said, “Accepting the anticipated easing in volumes during the early winter period of June, sales figures for the most recent three-month period indicate an encouraging degree of resilience.” That applied particularly to the drystock sector, with strong per-

“The pervading presence of Mycoplasma bovis remains the dominant biosecurity issue.” 2018 vs 459 in the three months ended June 2017. That’s a drop of 32, or 7%. The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to June 2018 was $21,745 vs $25,993 in the three months to June 2017 (-16.3%). Over the year to June 2018, 1480 farms were sold -- 17.0% fewer than in the year to June 2017. By sector, that is 1.2% fewer dairy farms, 3.2% fewer finishing farms, 25.0% fewer arable and 28.0% fewer grazing farms sold over the period. However, REINZ says the winter market “remains resilient”. It says the REINZ all-farm price index rose 3.7% to June 2018 vs June 2017. Unlike the median price per hectare, that index adjusts for differences in farm size, location and farm-

formances in the finishing and grazing categories, and steadiness in the horticulture industry. “Rural New Zealand has embarked upon the winter in good shape, with solid confidence after a very good autumn, forecasts of a good dairy payout and ongoing optimism about export returns from beef, lamb and horticulture. “On a precautionary note, the pervading presence of Mycoplasma bovis remains the dominant biosecurity issue, with... a devastating impact on those farming and rural businesses affected,” said Peacocke. “Early spring 2018, when dairy and beef animals are likely to be under maximum stress, is anticipated to be the real test for the governmentand industry-backed erad-

ication programme, a period nervously awaited by the farming sector and the wide variety of rural industries providing backup to the primary industries.”

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DAIRY FARMS FOR THE three months ended June 2018, the median sales price per hectare for dairy farms was $31,881 (57 properties) versus $35,901 for the three months ended May 2018 (74 properties) and $34,789 (59 properties) for the three months ended June 2017. The median price per hectare for dairy farms has decreased 8.4% over the past 12 months. The median dairy farm size for the three months ended June 2018 was 122ha. On a price per kgMS basis the median sales price was $33.37/kgMS for the three months ended June 2018 vs $36.45/kgMS for the three months ended May 2018 (-8.4%) and $33.45/ kgMS for the three months ended June 2017 (-0.2%). The REINZ dairy farm price index decreased 3.4% in the three months to June 2018 vs the three months to May 2018. Compared to June 2017, the index fell 11.5%. The index adjusts for differences in farm size and location vs the median price per hectare, which does not adjust for these factors.

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10 //  NEWS




August 1-2

The EDS Conference will put Environmental Defence the new Coalition Government’s Society Conference, environmental reform agenda Grand Millennium Hotel, under the spotlight. Auckland

September 19

Owl Farm Focus Day, St Peter’s School, Cambridge

October 9-10

The new Coalition Government Climate Change and is changing the climate policy. Business Conference, This conference will reveal the Grand Millennium Hotel, implications of these changes. Auckland

November 26-27 (Nth Is) November 29-30 (Sth Is)

Pasture Summit Conference

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N leaching, fert use under probe is not usually encouraged, so often those paddocks have lain fallow until the next sowing of a winter forage crop or pasture in spring.” Carey said rain and leaching from grazed winter feed paddocks can be a major loss of nitrate. “It may be only 10% of their farm area but it may be 40% of their nitrogen loss over that year.” Some farmers are experimenting with winter crops but may get variable results. They want confidence that it will work, and the study is aimed at producing workable guidelines. Carey said contractors involved in the study are also enthusiastic, as winter sowing could potentially bring them work at an otherwise quiet time of year. The study will try out new technology in the form of a power spade plough imported from the Netherlands and designed to manage even wet soils. The spading action helps drive the tractor forward as it works, rather than relying on tyre traction in muddy ground.


LINCOLN UNIVERSITY’S R&D company Lincoln Agritech says dairy farmers can potentially improve their environment and financial results via two research projects now underway. Lincoln Agritech received substantial grants in the latest round of the Ministry of Primary Industry’s Sustainable Farming Fund for two studies: one is using winter catch crops to reduce nitrate leaching loss, and the other is using real-time optical sensors to direct variable-rate fertiliser application in dairy pastures. Both three-year projects began on July 1. Dr Peter Carey, who heads the catch crop study, said research already shows farmers could use nitrogen more efficiently while reducing their environmental footprint, by following grazed winter forage crops with a crop that can be lifted for green chop silage in November. The study is aimed at show-

Peter Carey, Lincoln Agritech

ing how it could be upscaled from research trials to commercial working farms, and done reliably and consistently, using various crops under various conditions. “It can be a win-win situation. But traditionally, trying to sow a crop in the middle of winter -- like now --

OPTICAL SENSORS FOR APPLYING N THE SECOND study is aimed at showing how optical sensors, now widely used overseas for real-time variable fertiliser application in arable farming, can also be used on dairy pastures. Dr Armin Werner, manager of Lincoln Agritech’s precision agriculture group that oversees both projects, said paddocks are not uniform. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)-funded Optimum N project has already shown that dairy farms can reduce nitrogen fertiliser use 30% without yield

loss, and reduce nitrate leaching 13%, just by identifying areas within a paddock that need less nitrogen. However, methods such as plate meters are too timeconsuming to be used to map biomass variability within paddocks. Tractor-mounted optical sensors directly measuring the pasture’s reflectance can “circumvent any guessing”. Some farms would definitely have enough variability on pastures to get benefit from it, others maybe not, he said.

Precision agriculture scientist Dinanjana Ekanayake, who heads the study, said just one company in NZ currently supplies the sensor machinery. They will initially trial it on one dairy farm in Temuka to test different strategies. In the second and third years she hoped to take the study to other commercial farms and also hopes to test other sensors if and when they became available. A major part of both projects will be extension via demonstrations, field days and workshops.

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12 //  NEWS

NZ processor to list after capital raising PAM TIPA

Keytone Dairy’s plant in Christchurch.


ufacturer, packer and exporter of powdered

dairy products Keytone Dairy Corporation Ltd listed on the Australian Stock Exchange last Wednesday. The company exceeded the maximum fund raising of A$12 million with

an oversubscription of A$15m, issuing 75m 20c shares, achieving a market cap on listing of A$30m. The demand for shares has resulted in a scaling back for applicants. Keytone Dairy promoted its share issue in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, attracting institutional investors, some already familiar with the powdered dairy market and others with no prior investments in the sector. The funds raised will be used to expand the company’s manufacturing base beyond its existing plant, expand its product range and distribution, and develop distribution in other countries. Managing director and chief executive James Gong says new plant will enable it to increase capacity and add new products to meet customer demand, including that from high-volume customers in China and other Asian countries. The two new blocks of land are located in Izone, New Zealand’s largest industrial park about 15 minutes drive from the existing facility in Christchurch. The two adjacent blocks will enable Keytone Dairy to maximise economies of scale, a spokesman told Dairy News. Construction has

started at one of the sites. The IPO process now means Keytone Enterprises (NZ) Company Ltd is 100% owned by the ASX-listed company Keytone Dairy Corporation Ltd. Since 2014, Keytone NZ has used the Christchurch plant and has commercialised whole and skim milk powder and other dairy powder blends under its proprietary brands. Keytone NZ also contract-packs powdered dairy products for major supermarkets, retail chains, dairy producers and other customers in New Zealand and China under their private label brands. Keytone NZ’s products are exported globally, including to China, for sale in a variety of channels, including major supermarket chains, premium retail channels and online marketplaces. The facility holds a China Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) import licence. Keytone NZ’s customers and distribution channels include New World, Pak’nSave, Countdown, Dairyworks NZ, Metro, Guangzhou Dept & Friendship Store, HalsoKraft,, Tmall. com and

IN BRIEF Name change PASTURE COMPANY Agriseeds last week changed its name to Barenbrug Agriseeds. Agriseeds, whose products include Trojan, Shogun, Tyson and Rohan, says the new name reflect its global connections. Managing director Michael Hales says it will be business as usual. The Royal Barenbrug Group has been part of Agriseeds since the latter’s founding in 1987. “Barenbrug has given us a technical edge, providing unique access to plant genetics, science and knowledge. “It’s the world’s largest privately owned seed company in the world, and without having been able to share its resources we would not be where we are today.”

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NEWS  // 13

ENGINEER TO OVERSEE PLANTS RAVENSDOWN HAS appointed Stephen Esposito, a professional engineer, as its new general manager operations. A Canadian native and Christchurch resident, Esposito has over 20 years of international experience and was previously general manager export at Solid Energy New Zealand. His experience is in operations, risk management and strategy development, and he has a passion for environmental performance and safety. “Ravensdown is clearly focused on the future of farming in NZ and leading the way in providing innovative solutions. I’m looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead,” says Esposito. He will see to the three manufacturing facilities and nine agri lime quarries. Superphosphate is made at Napier, Dunedin and Christhurch and the operations team employs 176 permanent personnel. Greg Campbell, Ravensdown chief executive, says the quality of candidates was exceptional. “We are helping farmers reduce

Stephen Esposito

their environmental impact and optimise value from the land, so we have to consider and mitigate our own operations’ impacts. “Stephen brings a wealth of experience and a personal commitment to improving our environmental performance.”

China’s ‘muddy bun’ fuels butter demand FONTERRA IS boosting butter output at its Edgecumbe plant to meet a growing demand in China and other countries. In China, butter’s demand is fuelled by craving for ‘muddy buns’ or ‘dirty dirty bread’ (zang zang bao in China). Fonterra general manager marketing, global foodservice, Susan Cassidy describes ‘dirty dirty bread’ as a chocolate croissant. “People love the flaky chocolate pastry coated in rich chocolate ganache and sprinkled with cocoa powder,” Cassidy says. “It makes it impossible to keep your face clean while eating. They are popular with celebrities who have taken to social media to share images of

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their ‘muddy bun face’ experience.” Cassidy says demand for butter is as strong as ever. People want natu-

ral products and they are prepared to pay for them. “Even in temperatures of minus ten degrees, crowds of people are

queuing for hours to get their hands on their ‘muddy bun’.” Fonterra Edgecumbe is commissioning a new butter line to double the factory’s butter sheet production from 4500 tonnes to 7000t. Operations manager Allan Muggeridge says the first butter sheet will roll off the new butter line on September 1. “We’ve been watching demand for butter build for a number of years. The building part of the project started in May so it’s been a quick turnaround to get it up and running,” says Muggeridge. Fifteen local contractors are working on the site expansion. The plant employs 380 people.


14 //  NEWS

Give him a shout o PAM TIPA


AgResearch senior scientist Trevor James.

needs to take a quantum leap forward whether for velvetleaf or any other threat, says AgResearch senior scientist Trevor

James. Farmers need to be aware of weeds, pathogens and diseases and how they move from farm to farm, says James who heads the Velvetleaf Action Group. The group has just been granted $579,000 from the Sustainable

Farming Fund (SFF) for three years research into Management Options for Velvetleaf. “Farmers need to be aware of what problems they might be introducing to their property if they bring dirty equipment, contaminated harvesters etc, onto their property. “Farmers also need to be aware that not all the weeds in the world are already in New Zealand. There are a lot out there which are very bad weeds in other parts of the world which are yet to be introduced into New Zealand. “If they see something which looks unusual and they don’t know, have it identified. Having a weed identified with smartphones and that sort of thing is extremely easy. All you need to do is take a photo of it and send it to somebody, whether it is a chemical rep, or the regional council or directly to me. “That is such an easy step these days. Nearly every farmer has a smartphone, nearly every farmer could take a photo on a smartphone and send it off.” Who they send it to in the first place is secondary to making sure they get an answer, he says. “I get weekly photographs on my phone or computer asking what’s this? It is increasing but it needs to happen a lot more. We are only too happy to provide a reply and it takes five minutes. The technology is such a boon.” James says there is support out there. “If there are any questions get hold of somebody….

from the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) or regional councils etc to channel that help as required.” Although the Velvetleaf Action Group is investigating management options, the Ministry for Primary Industries’ biosecurity response is still long term eradication. But more management tools are needed short term. James is based at Ruakura and says in the initial response regional councils and FAR provided funding for pilot studies and basic research at a site near Matamata. To expand the operation the group applied to the SFF and have been successful in funding for three years’ research. They will replicate some work done in the South Island and if suitable sites can be found in the South Island FAR is keen on helping the Waikato based group to extend its work there. James explains there have been two incursions in the last 15 years. “One of them was into Waikato which got established well before they discovered it and has been spread around a number of other properties with silage and maize harvesting. We are working very closely with a Waikato Regional Council in managing that one. “Most of the large number of sites in the second incursions, where it was introduced as a contaminant in fodder beet seed, are located in the South Island. We don’t know how many of them might have become established. Some councils are relying very much on farmers to report it.


All the latest stories and more at


NEWS  // 15

t on velvetleaf eradication “Unfortunately we think that probably this isn’t the best way to go. We need to have an independent person inspect these farms. Farmers are very busy, they have a lot of workload and they

need assistance in this area.” MPI have just advertised for three contracted positions for three years. These will be dedicated people who will aid farm-

ers and councils, get the message out and coordinate the resources. The Velvetleaf Action Group wants to develop more management tools to back up this work.

They want to determine the effectiveness of a sniffer dog that has been trained by South Island handler John Taylor. “We need some measure of confidence. We

NOT EASILY TERMINATED VELVETLEAF IS a highly competitive weed and not easily controlled by herbicide, says Trevor James. “It is prolific seeder, it grows to 2-3m tall in a maize crop but left to its own in less competitive areas it will grow from 1-1.5m high,” he says. “It has a large seed, it will grow rapidly, it has large leaves and it will shade out other crops. Maize is the crop it will have least impact on, any other crop will be quite damaged by it.” The pest is in the malvaceae family of plants which are notoriously difficult to control with herbicides. “The other members in New Zealand which we have trouble with are the mallows. You talk to any horticulturalist or arable farmer and they have trouble controlling mallows. Velvetleaf really started causing problems in America when Roundupready crops were developed because even Roundup does not control it except when it is a very small seedling.” While it doesn’t appear to do much to pasture, they are still on a learning curve.

know he finds it and he finds it quite readily and seems to be doing a really good job. But we need to work out is he doing 90%, 95% or 100%? So we can have some surety.” Currently it is very difficult to say to a farmer “yes we are confident that you are free of this weed”. “One of the hardest crops to find the velvetleaf in is maize,” James

says. “We are looking at better ways of managing the pest in maize but also whether another crop or crops would suit farming systems and provide similar rewards to maize but which enable velvetleaf to be easier to spot. “The tall growing maize makes it very difficult and it is also difficult for the dog which has to push his way through

maize. We want a crop where it is easier to spot the velvetleaf.” He says they want to get out information about the SFF project and their work as much as possible. “If anyone wants to become involved, that’s fine, give us a yell,” he says. • Contact Trevor James on trevor.james@agresearch.

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Two incursions of velvetleaf have occurred in the past 15 years.

“As we have observed it in pasture it has only been the occasional plant – maybe 100 plants per hectare or similar which sounds like a lot but it will not really impact pasture production. We don’t have huge seed banks under pasture which develop under cropping.

“If we were several years into a crop then went into pasture, we don’t know. We are wary but all can do is base it on overseas information. But not many other countries in the world use developed pastures the way we do. We are trying to predict the future.”

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16 //  NEWS

Gear that gives fast pay-back Waikato farmer Vernon Corbett.

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he says. “Automatic cup removers have an instant payback. They reduce overmilking of cows and so shorten the time you are in the shed, freeing you up to do other things.” Parker says Fieldays showed a trend for farmers to look at “getting more out of what they have by the simple addition of technology”. “We still had farmers coming in to talk to us about new rotaries and herringbones but an increasing number wanted to look at technologies which would help them get more value and profit out of what they have. “Many have sheds that are no longer efficient and which during the industry’s growth years would have been demolished and rebuilt. But now they prefer to optimise what they have and technology is the way to do that.” Auto cup removers speed up milking and cow flow and raise comfort and udder health, says Parker. “Modular components can be retrofitted into any milking system and immediately bring benefits.” For example, Otorohanga farmers Vernon

and Theresa Corbett retrofitted an old shed. They were sharemilking in Matamata when 80ha next to the family drystock farm in Otorohanga came up for lease. “We already [had] 24ha that I’d been leasing off my family so the opportunity to lease the neighbouring 80ha dairy farm with a 10 year option to purchase was the opportunity we’d been waiting for,” Vernon Corbett says. The family moved ‘back home’ in 2007 and he recalled the farm’s 18-year-old 21-aside herringbone shed had grown over the years. “It started life as a 16-aside with room for 21 bails. We were milking 186 cows when we came here and planned to gradually increase numbers to the 380 cows we’ll milk in 2018-2019. “From the start we decided to use the length of the pit by adding cups to make it a 21-aside.” The need for him to milk on his own and drench and apply teat spray prompted their decision to add cup removers. “I’ve been milking in herringbones with cup removers for 15 years and wouldn’t milk without them”.

HERD GROWTH CORBETTS’ HERD grew steadily from 180 to 260, prompting Vernon to employ an assistant. “I’d milk the first herd and the worker would bring in the second herd and milk while I did other things. That worked really well. “We then added in-shed feeding so we didn’t have to drench and that worked even better; it became a one man shed from then.” At the end of 10 years the Corbetts exercised their right to purchase and bought the farm. Achieving their goal of milking 380 cows in a 21-aside was always going to a stretch, he says. “It needed to be about 32 aside to minimise rows and milking efficiency, so we compared the financial and operational benefits of a new build versus extending and retrofitting the existing shed. “We looked at possible sites for a new shed but the cost of rebuilding didn’t stack up. The current shed was sound and well-located so it was relatively simple to extend the pit from 21 to 32 aside. “Rebuilding was the right thing to do. We’d been milking cows for 25 years and done it on our own; we didn’t have a big chequebook and so we had to create a dairy which fitted our budget and achieved our production goals.”


NEWS  // 17

Key step in GM ryegrass trial STATE-OWNED AGRESEARCH

says it has passed an important milestone in developing a new-generation grass that could be a game-changer for farming. The work is funded by the Government and industry partners including DairyNZ. The genetically modified High Metabolisable Energy (HME) ryegrass was seen in AgResearch laboratories to grow up to 50% faster than conventional ryegrass, to be able to store more energy for better animal growth, to be more resistant to drought and to produce up to 23% less methane. Modelling also predicts less nitrogen excreted into the environment by animals feeding on the ryegrass, and so less nitrate leaching and lower emissions of another greenhouse gas -nitrous oxide. Development of the HME ryegrass began last month in the US Midwest. A preliminary growing trial last year had confirmed the conditions were suitable. The current trial will last five months, says AgResearch principal scientist Dr Greg Bryan. “The preliminary trial was only two months, so it’s not over a timeframe

The ryegrass trial in the US.

that has any statistical merit, however we did see the increased photosynthesis that we saw with the plants in the greenhouses in NZ,” Bryan says. “In this full trial now underway, we will be measuring the photosynthesis, plant growth and the markers that lead to increased growth rates. While the growth has previously been stud-

ied in glasshouses in pots and as plants spaced out in the field, this will be the first opportunity to assess the growth in a pasture-like situation where plants compete with each other. “The five-month timeframe will allow us to determine if increased growth is consistent across the summer and autumn, and we will simulate graz-

ing by cutting plants back every threefour weeks. “Animal feeding trials are planned to take place in two years, which we will need regulatory approvals for, and the information we get over the next two years will help us with our application for those feeding trials.” DairyNZ spokesman Dr Bruce Thor-

rold says the HME ryegrass is a science breakthrough and holds great potential for NZ farmers. “HME ryegrass could help us achieve less nitrogen leaching and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as improving pasture quality and productivity,” says Thorrold. “This research could be transformational in future and so it is important we explore all promising avenues which could help dairy farmers respond to the challenges we face.” While NZ has not yet approved the release of genetically modified crops, Bryan says it is important that the science keeps our options open, and there is strong scientific evidence on any benefits or risks that policy makers can draw on. “As the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification found, ‘it would be unwise to turn our backs on the potential advantages on offer’. We think the advantages here could be very significant; modelling to date has shown that the HME ryegrass could boost farm revenues by as much as $900/ ha, while providing a tool for farmers to manage nitrogen run-off and greenhouse gas emissions.


A tough, reliable solar fence unit delivers the ability to manage winter feeding and maximise the potential of your crop, ensuring animals reach peak condition over winter and maintain good health. Care needs to be taken when transitioning cattle on to fodder beet and winter crops, slowly building intake levels, to avoid animal health issues like rumen acidosis or nitrate poisoning. Despite the fact that beet is an excellent source of metabolisable energy, too much of the high sugar crop in a cow’s daily feed intake or insufficient time to adapt to fodder beet being part of their winter diet can cause issues. The transitioning stage for fodder beet becoming part of the cows' winter diet is critical to ensuring that cow health and the nutritional value of fodder beet are optimised – that’s where a quality solar powered fencing solution comes in. Once transitioned onto the crop, break fencing cattle onto crops is the perfect way to ensure cattle are well contained and fed the exact quantity of dry matter you decide they need each day – no more, no less. Good practice in managing a herd on fodder beet also means that farmers need to accurately measure the crop yield.

This includes knowing the percentage dry matter offered in each break, and remembering that this can vary within and between paddocks. Good management during the feeding of the crop is also a major driver for maintaining and reaching target Body Condition Score for dairy cattle, impacting on the herds’ subsequent productive and reproductive performance. A portable solar powered electric fence system from Stafix by Tru-Test gives you the confidence you need to successfully transition and feed cattle on winter crops. Our flexible system makes it easy to reduce trampling wastage if you want to move the fence once or twice a day, rather than offering a few days feed at a time. Easily manage your herd’s feed intake with a simple, durable, maximum power unit. These self-contained energizers feature an integrated solar panel and a sophisticated battery management system that means your battery will last all year round, all in a rugged carry case. It’s easy to keep the unit out of reach of curious stock, with a range of flexible mounting options, and it comes to several different sizes. Whether you want to power 2km or 150km, we’ve got a solar energizer for you. The Stafix SXJ is a great option for dairy farmers, while the SXS would work well for beef farmers.







MILKING IT... Lining up to supply THE COUNTRY’S secondlargest processor, Open Country Dairy, is quietly readying its newest milk plant for action. While the company is tightlipped about the opening date, OCD supplier farmers have been told the first milk will go through the Horotiu plant on August 28. The company, majority-owned by the Talleys Group, keeps a low profile. But behind the scenes it has been pursuing milk suppliers and has a waiting list.

Missed out FONTERRA HAS missed another opportunity to boost its footprint across the Tasman. Murray Goulburn’s much sought-after Koroit plant has been sold to Bega Cheese for A$250m. The milk dryer is one of the largest in Australia. MG is now owned by Canadian giant Saputo, now the largest milk processor in Australia since swallowing MG this year and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (WCB) in 2014.

Time’s up for fake milk SOY AND almond drinks billed as ‘milk’ may need may alternative labelling now that the top US regulator has mooted a crack-down. The Food and Drug Administration plans to start enforcing a federal standard that defines milk as coming from the “milking of one or more healthy cows”. That’s a change by the FDA, which has not previously pursued plantbased drinks labeled as ‘milk’. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb referred last week to hundreds of federal ‘standards of identity’ spelling out how foods with various names need to be manufactured. “Have we been enforcing our own standard of identity?” Gottlieb asked about milk at a Politico event. “The answer is probably not.”

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IN SUN-STRUCK Britain, sunscreen and waiter service for cows, and a new appreciation of stone barns and hedgerows, are among farmers’ ways farmers of coping with heat. Ancient stone barns stay cool in hot weather, with their design circulating air and the stones moderating inside temperatures. The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) advises moving affected animals to a shaded building, but in some cases – only on a vet’s advice – cattle can be given suncream if they have become sunburned. And cows suffering appetite loss are getting feed put right in front of them. Waiter!


Amicable deal wanted WHILE THE country presses on eradicating Mycoplasma bovis, dairy and beef sector leaders are talking money behind the scenes. The equation is simple: the total cost of eradication will be $870 million over 10 years; the Government is stumping up most of the money but $278m must be paid by DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ (BLNZ). M.bovis was first discovered affecting mostly dairy farms; with cattle movements scarcely recorded the disease ran rampant in rural regions. A recent Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) update showed 40 properties confirmed as infected: 35 in the South Island and five in the North, 71 under Restricted Place Notices. Of the 40, 20 were beef farms and 17 dairy. The remaining three were classed as ‘others’ -- lifestyle blocks and calf rearers. While the disease was first detected in the dairy sector, affected beef farm numbers have been steadily creeping up as animal movements are traced. Does this mean beef farmers will have to contribute more towards eradication? Negotiations are being handled delicately; neither dairy nor beef farmers want to pay a cent more. The initial feedback we are getting from the dairy sector is that an 80:20 split will be acceptable to most farmers. For dairy farmers this would mean about 1.5c/kgMS towards eradication. For a farm producing 200000kgMS this would amount to $3000 -- not much considering it could help eradicate the disease. DairyNZ says it is working on it with BLNZ. “An announcement will be made when an agreement is achieved,” it says. The process is being handled under the guidance of the GIA (the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response), the partnership between primary industry and government to manage pest and disease incursions. BLNZ chairman Andrew Morrison says it is crucial to get it right now, because M.bovis made a good test case to produce a formula for any future incursions. Morrison says the determination should be “reasonably formulaic,” taking into account the size of each sector and the impact at the farmgate. He says BLNZ expects the beef industry’s contribution to be very small “due to the relative value of the industries involved and because the impact on beef production is expected to be limited”. Dairy and beef farmers can expect an update next month. An amicable deal will be a win-win for everyone.

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OPINION  // 19

Co-ops serve food around one in six humans around the world.

Do more to conserve, use food well CRAIG PRESLAND

MY ROLE as head of Cooperatives Busi-

ness NZ gives me insight into the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals and, more importantly, the part that cooperatives and the co-op movement globally will play in achieving these by 2030. In NZ, cooperatives, mutuals and societies together generate almost one-fifth of our GDP and serve one in three Kiwis as members. Co-ops worldwide now employ 250 million people, and one in six people belong to at least one. On July 7, in Port Vila, Vanuatu, I attended a celebration of the International Day of Cooperatives; this was the 96th consecutive year of this celebration globally and this year’s theme was ‘Sustainable Consumption and Production of Goods and Services’. Clearly the consumption and production of food dominates this subject, and cooperatives sit at the interface of agricultural producers and consumers globally, with an opportunity to influence the right behaviour by both. Of the food produced on Earth, the UN estimates that one-third is wasted globally (over 1.3 billion tonnes pa) while 800 million humans are under-fed and starving each day. In NZ, our household and commercial food wastage is no better than other OECD countries: only a small portion of our ‘date-expired’ food is going to people in poverty; most is dumped. The UN predicts that given the planet’s current levels of food consumption and production, and given global population growth forecasts, we would need three planet Earths to survive when the world’s population reaches 9.5 billion by 2045. Clearly we must change our consumption and production behaviour significantly and quickly. This includes less food wastage, alternative (and more affordable) foods, sustainable farming and food manufacturing practices, and the efficient use of our natural resources.

What can we do here in NZ as members of the public, workers in businesses and organisations, and members of cooperatives? 1. Burn less fossil fuel, and use more hydro, solar, wind and geo-thermal power. What about tidal power? 2. Educate our homeowners, businesses and manufacturers to use energy more efficiently. 3. Adopt and use electric vehicles. 4. Recycle packaging materials (households and businesses). 5. Reduce food waste in our homes: provide food in realistic and healthy volumes without over-supply. 6. Give food to the poor instead of dumping it. 7. Use less packaging. 8. Plant the one billion trees that our new government has pledged to over the next 10 years. 9. Penalise litterers and waste dumpers. 10. Apply the right volumes of fertiliser onto the right pastures at the right time (no excess). 11. Insist that our town and city councils spend enough on stormwater and sewage and drainage and systems. 12. Achieve 90% swimmable rivers by 2040. What role can cooperatives play? Apart from representing a large portion of the world’s agri-producers, co-operatives serve around 1 in 6 humans on our planet as members while employing over 250 million people. Co-ops are therefore in a prime position to drive change within the consumption and production of food, including the treatment and disposal of food waste. In NZ 6 of our 7 largest co-ops are involved in the production and / or retail distribution of food – Fonterra, Foodstuffs North Island, Foodstuffs South Island, Silver Fern Farms, Alliance and Zespri, between them turning over NZ$30 billion annually (14% of NZ’s GDP). • Craig Presland is chief executive of Cooperatives Business NZ. This article (edited here) first appeared on

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In praise of top employers THE GOVERNMENT is backing

moves to recognise and celebrate outstanding employers in the primary sector. Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri, who recently launched the new Good Employer Awards, says New Zealand needs to attract, develop and keep people in our primary industries. “An important part of this is providing great work environments where employees feel supported, safe and have the opportunity to develop and grow. “In our forestry workforce, we need employees and employers to develop new skills that focus on sustainability, resilience and accountability,” Whaitiri says. The new awards are sponsored by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Agricultural and Marketing Research Development Trust, recognising good employers in the following categories: ■■ innovative employment practices ■■ employee development ■■ safe and healthy work environments

Sarah Gard, Germinal


Meka Whaitiri

Māori agribusiness minister’s award. “The primary industries employs about one in seven New Zealanders and as many as one in three in some regions. That’s a lot of people and it’s time we started celebrating those employers who are doing an outstanding ■■ ■■

job,” says Whaitiri. “I’m also very pleased to include my own award for a regional employer that has shown a commitment to improving employment practices in their region.” Nomination entries close on August 10, 2018; winners will be announced in November.

SCOPE FOR MANY ENTRIES THE INAUGURAL MPI/AGMARDT Primary Industries Good Employer Awards is looking for primary sector employers or businesses who are: ■■ providing great working conditions ■■ giving their staff opportunities for upskilling and promotion ■■ demonstrating exceptionally good employment practice. Nominees may be individuals, businesses, or

organisations that are actively involved in the primary industries or provide support services to the primary industries. Examples of support services are: ■■ fertiliser and pesticide manufacturers ■■ equipment manufacturers and repairers ■■ transport services ■■ professional services like rural consultants.

UK SEED company Germinal’s plant breeding programme in New Zealand is progressing well, says general manager Sarah Gard. Notably, this is the first time any material has been taken outside of Germinal’s R&D partner, the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) in Wales, a known centre of excellence in plant breeding. “Using IBERS material we are selecting for the traits we want in a NZ environment, such as increasing the early spring growth in our perennial ryegrass.” Gard joined Germinal in 2014, managing trials and product development before becoming general manager earlier this year. “Our R&D in NZ involves plot trials where we test our current commercial varieties, and new breeding lines, against other commercial varieties. I’m also running a new plant breeding pro-

gramme where we are breeding new Germinal varieties for NZ in NZ,” says Gard. Existing Germinal products are already performing well in NZ conditions, she says. Germinal has a small team – Gard and sales manager Andrew Miller, with a new research technician starting soon. Gard says Germinal NZ has the global company’s backing to offer a range of well-researched and proven products to NZ farmers, plus her and Miller’s ‘Kiwi know-how’. “Andrew and I are both farmers,” Gard says. “This means we understand what farmers need and those needs are always at the front of our minds in all the decisions we make. “We’ve a full range of proven Germinal products available this spring that we know will perform well for farmers in NZ conditions.”

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Make an ‘island’ of your farm LAST MONTH I compared farms in

the DairyNZ Economic Farm Survey of the 2016-17 season. The data, over time, has shown that high input farms have, on average, made more profit, had greater equity growth, had a higher return on assets and had lower term liabilities/kgMS. While financial performance is important for business sustainability, the recent outbreak of M.bovis has highlighted the impact that a biosecurity breach can have on business sustainability. Farmers have moved swiftly to attend meetings and upskill themselves to deal with potential biosecurity outbreaks on their properties. M.bovis, due to the efforts of MPI and other industry organisations, is unlikely to directly affect most of us. The actual effect of M.bovis is a huge wake-up call to farmers about biosecurity. Most of us had become very slack at averting the risk that bio-hazards (i.e. weeds, pests and diseases) could have on our systems. Because of M.bovis that has now changed. Farmers face many biosecurity threats: cropping farmers face threats from, e.g. velvet leaf, alligator weed,

Chilean needle grass or broom corn millet. All these weeds (esp. velvet leaf ) have enormous potential to undermine the sustainability of cropping. Here are some tips to reduce the chance of your farm becoming infected: 1. Make a ‘biosecurity island’ of your property. At a joint DairyNZ/MPI seminar on the M.bovis outbreak, farmers were advised to think of their farms as ‘islands’, and their staff as the customs control officers at ‘border control’. The more the farmer can control what happens on the farm, the greater the reduction in risk of negative outside influences. We have noticed that many famers are moving to be completely self-contained feedwise by growing all their feed on land they control. This enables them to keep their cows at home over winter, so reducing the risk of cross infection. The approach by dairy farmers in preventing new incursions of M.bovis is exactly the same as cropping farmers need to take, i.e. consider your farm an ‘island’ with you as the custom control officers. 2. Adopt a ‘clean on, clean off’

Inspect the feed before buying it.

policy on farm equipment. Any piece of machinery coming on to the property needs to be inspected to make sure it is clean of soil or plant material. Likewise, the farm needs to provide washdown facilities for cleaning any gear leaving the property. If you do that, you are not liable for transferring any pest or weed from your property onto another property. Under the Biosecurity Act, a person can be prosecuted who knowingly moves infected plant

or soil material from one property to the next. 3. Check purchased feed (maize silage, grass silage, hay) before harvest. None of us would buy a car without first going to the dealers and fully checking the car. However, I know many farmers who buy in feed without making the effort to inspect the crop they are buying. If you are buying feed in, it pays to call your feed seller and ask to see the crop before harvest. In

so doing, you can check to see what, if any, problems you may be importing. Lastly, my heart goes out to all those farmers who have become innocent victims of the reckless behaviour of one individual. Hopefully, if we all remain vigilant, the chance of any further incursions of harmful substances will be greatly reduced. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact him at iwilliams@

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Can plantain be t A major initiative launched in the Tararua district seeks to reduce nitrate leaching on 135 dairy farms which can’t get consent for their operations. The hope is to achieve this with a single forage – plantain. Peter Burke was at the launch. AT LEAST 100 people turned out for the launch held at the Woodville farm of DairyNZ director Ben Allomes. The day was organised by DairyNZ with input from Massey University, Horizons Regional Council (HRC) and Agricom. N leaching is a huge problem for dairy farmers in the Tararua district since HRC introduced its controversial One Plan which requires all dairy farms to limit N loss. The problem in Tararua is high rainfall that makes dealing with leaching difficult.

Laura Keenan, DairyNZ says plantain is not new to dairy cows.


In the HRC region about 40% of the dairy farms are unconsented, most of them in the Tararua district. Many attempts to solve the problem have been tried, but recent research at Massey and Lincoln universities, AgResearch and DairyNZ in Waikato and Canterbury has shown plantain offering unique possibilities to solve the problem on farms and at catchment level. The research thus far has shown than plantain dilutes N in the urine,

dilutes the N urine concentration in the paddock and secondary compounds in the plant that are thought to act as nitrification inhibitors and therefore more N is taken up by the plant and less is leached. While there are still some unanswered scientific questions about why plantain is such an effective tool to mitigate N loss, a decision has been made to see if the results from the research plots can be successfully applied on a larger farm and catchment scale. The ambitious target is to get 30% of plantain into the diet of cows in Tararua between January and May – vulnerable months in terms of N leaching on farms. One of those lead-

ing this project is Adam Duker, DairyNZ’s catchment engagement leader for the lower North Island. “We are committed to reducing the environmental footprint and specifically the nitrogen in Tararua district. We see plantain as a key mitigation option, certainly not the only one. But we see plantain as something that in a research sense has been proven to reduce the N loss on farm and… preserve the profitable, pasture system NZ farming is renowned for.” Duker says ultimately they want all dairy farmers in the Tararua district to look at their farming systems to implement efficiencies to reduce their footprint while retain-

Farmers at the field day to discuss plantain’s impact on N leaching.

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Council gives the green light THE INITIATIVE has the strong support of the Horizons Regional Council whose strategy and regulation manager, Dr Nic Peet, spoke at the event. Peet says the council is always looking for new ways to reduce N leaching and is pleased to see farmers, industry and scientists collaborating. Everyone is well aware of the trials and tribulations of the One Plan and

9/07/18 9:48 AM

so finding a way or mitigating N loss is great, he says. “There are encouraging results coming out of Massey and Lincoln which are showing a consistent trend in reducing N leaching so the real test now will be its practical application and how it works at a catchment level rather than just at a farm scale,” he says. Peet says when One Plan was first mooted,

DCD’s were seen as one of the answers to N leaching, but with these no longer acceptable the search has been on for other alternatives and plantain may well be the answer. The pressure is on to find new innovative ways and he says NZ farmers have always been early adopters of new technology. Peet says the council will take an active interest in the trial and working

with DairyNZ and others to evaluate the results. “We’ll be looking at the uptake by farmers and results of the trials onfarm. We will also be working with Overseer to understand when it’ll get recognised in the Overseer programme. That is critical because the challenge is to get the latest innovations into Overseer given that so many councils are using it as a regulatory tool,” he says.



e the saviour? ing the economic viability of their business. He says they want farmers to consider integrating plantain into their farm system. “We want to work with farmers in Tararua who

are already adopting plantain and who are already seeing the productivity and environmental benefits. We are pulling in resources from all around the country to assist in

this project and also use the local knowledge of farmers to get the best possible outcome. The aim is to hold meetings with farmers and work towards developing farm

systems that are workable and practical,” he says. Duker says they want to show the regional council that they are committed to finding a solution.

Saved his bacon PLANTAIN IS not new, says Laura Keenan, Agricom. It’s been used for 20 years but mainly for its benefits as a high quality forage. But she says with the intensification of farming, the other quality of plantain – as an answer to N leaching -- has added to its value to farmers. Now they’re keen to get into it. Ben Allomes, on whose dairy farm the project was launched, has used plantain for five years, at first on rolling hill country but now as part of his normal farm system. One reason for it was to raise the farm’s self-sufficiency in feed. He also feeds PKE and maize and grows oats and fodder beet. Allomes says the system he’s developing isn’t perfect, but adding plantain has had benefits. “The good thing about plantain was in the December dry we used it as a rotation crop. We split a 20ha paddock up like you might do with a chicory crop and the cows came on for two or

three hours and were then taken off it. “In January when we got all that rain we just turned it into a normal paddock so ever since then it’s been used as a paddock. It bought us a bit of time in

December when PKE couldn’t arrive fast enough and when nothing else was growing; the turnips weren’t quite ready so it saved our bacon,” he says.

Adam Duker, DairyNZ says plantain is a key mitigation option.


Ben Allomes

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THE TASK of working with farmers such as Ben Allomes to get the anticipated results falls to Phillipa Hedley, a DairyNZ farm systems developer. She aims to work with farmers to try to get them to integrate plantain into their farm systems and to get hard data from what they are doing, which can give farmers the confidence on how plantain is working on farms in Tararua.

They will take photographs, measure yield and work with the scientists developing a visual scoring method to enable farm audits of what percentage of the cows’ diet is plantain. “We plan to set up monitor farms then meet four times a year so scientists, rural professionals and farmers can discuss the ongoing work and the latest research.” Hedley says plantain pro-

vides an opportunity for farmers to retain their profitability and make an impact on the nitrogen going into the water. Her role is to bring the experts, including farmers, together to find how to get the maximum benefit from plantain. The aim is to have farmers in Tararua to integrate plantain into their farm system to achieve 30% of plantain in the cows’ diet late summer/autumn.

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1. Effects of Injectable Trace-Mineral Supplementation on Reproductive Performance of Beef Cows and Developing Beef Bulls. K. C. Olson 1,*R. L. Weaber 1S. L. Hill 1L. R. Mundell 1J. S. Stevenson 1E. Havenga 2L. J. Havenga. ACVM No. A9374.

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9/07/18 9:48 AM



Best-ever mating with NZ-developed heat detector AN AUTOMATED RFID

heat detection system developed in New Zealand has delivered the bestever mating result for a Waikato farmer. The system, called EstroScan, is the work of three Waikato entrepreneurs (see below). It is being developed in a joint venture with the US company MAI Animal Health.

Carl Steiner, who milks 900 cows in Ngarua through a 70-bail DeLaval rotary, has been trialling EstroScan for two seasons. He installed it in late 2016. He told visitors at a field day on his farm this month that EstroScan has been catching more cows in heat. “The reader picked up



cows of all ages, including what we thought were [cows on] silent heat and cows which didn’t bull strongly,” he told Dairy News. “For us the system has been a breakthrough; we are very pleased with our investment and are looking forward to the next mating season.” EstroScan’s RFID tech-

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nology is applied to the tailhead of cows prior to the onset of oestrus; the RFID chip is activated once a circuit is broken following mounting events. Cows follow daily milking routine and while exiting the milking shed the EstroScan scanner reads the activated tags. Cows with activated tags can be drafted into the breeding pan while those with inactivated tags continue in their normal routine. Steiner discovered that in 2016-17 season submission rates jumped -- from the 69% seen in the previous season to 73% for the whole herd. For two-year-

Waikato farmer Carl Steiner tries out the new EstroScan hand-held reader.

old cows the submission rate jumped from 61% in 2015-16 to 74% in 2016-17. Last season saw further improvement: submission rate for the herd jumped to 81% and for two-yearolds to 84%. Six-week in-calf rates also improved, from 60% in 2015 to 63% in 2016, improving again last season to 65%. Steiner says there was a 5% gain in six-week incalf rates and a four-day gain in mean calving date this year. “We produce about

2000kgMS per day; four days of extra production at the current payout is worth over $50,000.” Steiner decided to try out EstroScan two years ago, when the payout was down. “I was thinking ‘why the hell are we buying this when there is a downturn? But I was sold on the idea.’ “I reckon EstroScan paid itself off in the first three weeks by just picking out the silent heats and improving our days in milk.”

He says EstroScan has also reduced the farm’s number of late calvers (only 40 September calvers). He used to induce at least 100 cows. The AI period has been reduced from six to four weeks and there is less stress on staff. Steiner, who also has a 200-cow farm nearby, plans to use EstroScan there this mating season. He will also use a newly launched EstroScan hand-held reader developed for use in herringbone sheds.

EstroScan developers John Harrison (left), John Dawson (right) and Mark Anderson MAI Animal Health (centre)

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18 TRIALS, 5000 TAG TESTS ESTROSCAN HAS been in development since 2010 by three Waikato entrepreneurs: John Dawson, John Harrison and Chris Folkers. Dawson, a farm consultant, says EstroScan is intended to improve reproductive performance in New Zealand dairy herds. The technology uses an RFID chip which is activated by the mounting of bulling cows. After mountings the chip starts transmitting data -- detected using a reader board -- resulting in automatic drafting.

“In the eight years of development 18 trials have been conducted and over 5000 tags tested,” says Dawson. “Only now are we fully confident in the reliability of both the tags and readers. “And we now have a commercial farmer who has used it successfully for the last two seasons.” Dawson says a major innovation this year is the development of a hand-held reader. “This reader can be used in herringbone sheds from the pit; it is accurate and provides a

lower entry cost. “Our experience on the Carl Steiner farm has proved that these tags are very sensitive and are able to pick up young cows in particular, which may be mounted less frequently.” EstroScan has been developed as a joint venture with USbased MAI Animal Health. Dawson says the three developers were fortunate in finding a partner experienced in tag manufacturing and design. MAI Animal Health founder Mark Anderson attended the field day.



Campaign sets sights on BVD control more information the project has the better it can support farmers in managing the disease. “Every farmer in NZ has different management styles, risk factors and priorities that will influence what the optimal strategy would look like for their herd. “We want to create a new system that empowers farmers to shape the future of managing animal health issues that impact their business in a way that will have the biggest impact for industry at the lowest cost to individual farms. “BVD has been costing the NZ cattle industry far too much for far too long,” he says. Farmers of the first 500 eligible herds registered will receive a free herd BVD screening test and the website will provide up-to-date information on regional risks of BVD. The project is supported by the veterinary diagnostic laboratories Gribbles Veterinary, IDEXX Laboratories, LIC, and SVS Laboratories. The project manager, Massey University’s Dr Carolyn Gates, says BVD control is a challenge but is achievable with farmer help.

“Unlike many other infectious cattle diseases such as Johne’s disease and bovine tuberculosis, we have effective tools available right now to clear BVD from infected herds, and we know based on the experiences of European countries with

national BVD control programmes that this can substantially improve herd health and performance,” she says. “But we also know NZ pastoral farming systems are very diverse and different from the intensive production systems in

the northern hemisphere, and so the one-size-fitsall BVD control frameworks that have worked in Europe may not be the most cost-effective or practical here. “That’s why we’re asking as many farmers as possible to tell us how

BVD currently impacts their business and what control measures would be practical for them to implement so that we can build a better picture of the BVD situation in NZ and make more intelligent decisions on disease control,” Gates says.


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DAIRY AND beef farmers are being asked to help develop frameworks to control the disease bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD). The infectious cattle disease costs New Zealand farmers about $150 million per year in reproductive problems and lower growth rates and milk production. Infected animals are also more likely to fall ill from other diseases and spread these within and between herds. A national campaign led by Massey University and the National BVD Steering Committee will run until May 15 next year. Cattle farmers can register on the project’s interactive website to confidentially share how they now manage BVD in their herds, or they may work with their veterinarian to develop a new BVD management plan tailored to their herd. The researchers will then use this information to predict what the future of BVD in NZ might look like if the current voluntary approach was continued, versus adopting more coordinated national efforts. The National BVD Steering Committee chair Roger Ellison says the

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Benefits of preferrential treatment IN SEASONALLY calving herds all heifers are expected to be fertile and mated at the same time, but their birth dates typically span four-six weeks. This means that laterborn calves need to grow faster than older calves to meet the minimum weight required for puberty so as to be ready for the mating start date (MSD). To achieve this their weight-for-age targets should be based on their MSD, and they may end up being younger than 15 months at MSD. An Irish study investigated the relationship between age and body weight at the planned start of mating (PSM) on puberty and lifetime productivity. Although there was a relationship between age and puberty, age didn’t affect lifetime productivity.

Heifers’ body weight at PSM had a far greater influence. The study also indicated that the heifers’ farm of origin had a larger effect than their birth date on lifetime productivity. This indicates that while birth dates have an influence on animal performance, how heifers are managed onfarm can compensate for late calving. Farmer experience suggests that the range of weights in a heifer mob remains similar, or widens, as heifers age. Lighter animals will not catch up unless they are treated preferentially to increase their growth rate. The percentage difference in animal weights may remain the same but the difference in weight will become more obvious as animals age. For example, if a mob has an average weight of 100kg, a 10


% difference of 10kg will not be so obvious as a 10% difference in a mob with a 400kg average weight where there will be a 40kg difference. Early intervention is the most effective strategy. • Article sourced from DairyNZ

Key points ❱❱ Later-born and lighter heifers can struggle to meet liveweight targets. Appropriate management can help to compensate. ❱❱ Any of several management strategies can be used to accelerate growth. Early intervention will give the best results. ❱❱ Individuals much behind the mob average liveweight need closer scrutiny to identify the cause and initiate prompt action.

OPTIONS TO BOOST GROWTH Increase milk intakes ■■ Calves more efficiently put on weight by using the energy obtained from milk than from pasture or concentrates. They can use about 86% of the energy in milk to meet their maintenance requirements and 69% for growth. In contrast, they can use about 75% of the energy in a good calf meal to meet their maintenance requirements and 57% for growth. ■■ The feed required for growth increases with age. ■■ A 100kg heifer requires 22 MJ ME for 1kg of liveweight gain while a 200kg heifer requires 27 MJ ME. Increasing the rate of gain early is the most efficient strategy. ■■ Wean later-born animals off milk at a heavier weight. ■■ Feeding milk for longer, and weaning calves at a heavier weight, gives

them the opportunity to use the extra energy they can gain from milk to catch up with older calves. Add an extra 4-5kg to the minimum weaning weight for every extra week later a calf is born so they reach similar weights as the older animals. Feed meal for longer post-weaning and/or increase the protein content of feed. ■■ Animals will eat more if a feed has a higher crude protein content. ■■ Young animals have a small rumen. Grass is a bulky feed and fills the rumen quickly. This is an issue when pasture has a very low dry matter or is otherwise of poor quality at weaning. Concentrates are less likely to limit intakes in younger animals because they are less bulky. Improve feed quality post-weaning ■■ Delay relocation and keep weaned calves on the milking

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platform for longer. Run younger and lighter animals separately and feed them preferentially. ■■ Use leader/follower grazing. Allow calves to graze selectively before a less sensitive stock class follows to graze out the paddock. Preferential management when contract grazing ■■ Any specialised care for light heifers should be planned and negotiated before stock are relocated. A grazier may not be able to provide preferential care, or wish to supply the extra labour and supplements. If the grazier is willing to manage light animals preferentially then the stock owner’s requirements and expectations, and any extra payment for supplements and the labour associated with feeding out, will need to be discussed. ■■



Right trace element will boost growth deficiencies can reduce growth rates in both R1 and R2 cattle, delaying time to service and extending age at calving, says Annie Williams, an Agrimin animal scientist. “Growing heifers consistently and at a high growth rate is essential if performance targets are to be maintained,” she says. “Anything that delays achieving target service weight potentially extends age at calving and can increase the proportion of barren heifers, all of which increase rearing costs. “The skill is to achieve good growth rates, ensure growth is maintained every day of the rearing period and consistently meet the animals’ requirements for all nutrients, including the essential trace elements which are often overlooked.” She explains that while trace elements are only required in minute amounts in the diets of growing heifers -- usually less than 20mg/kg dry matter per day -- they are essential for maintaining heath and immunity as well as maximising growth. By getting the correct trace element balance and avoiding deficiencies, improvements will be seen in feed intake, digestibility and feed conversion leading to improved growth. “Cobalt, selenium and iodine are the most important trace elements in growing cattle. Both selenium and vitamin E play a key role in promoting a healthy immune system and preventing cell damage. Skeletal, cardiac and respiratory muscles are susceptible to damage and can result in significant growth checks.” She says trace elements have an impact on growth rates by improving efficiency of digestion. An adequate supply of cobalt is required in the rumen to allow the micro-organisms to synthesis vitamin B12 which is important for breaking down feed, maintaining appetite and ensuring efficient live

weight gain. Trials in 2008 clearly showed that feeding suboptimal levels of cobalt can reduce growth rates by about 0.25kg/day when the rest of the diet is balanced. “Iodine has a direct impact on growth rates as it is incorporated into the thyroid hormones which control metabolism, promoting efficient live weight gain. The primary cause of Iodine deficiencies is low levels in the forage.” Williams says it is important to ensure animals get an adequate daily supply and suggests Agrimin 24·7 Smartrace eroding boluses as an effective way to supplement cattle. Agrimin 24·7 Smartrace Growing Cattle suits cattle from 200-400kg; 24·7 Smartrace Adult Cattle is a balanced trace element supply for older cattle over 400kg. Both are registered as veterinary medicine products with ACVM. The eroding technology means they provide a guaranteed intake of all the key trace elements for the full grazing season, the company says. Administered via a single application, the trace elements in the bolus are released by a process of erosion. This means the bolus retains its density and stays settled at the bottom of the rumen, meaning they are 100% retained by the animal. Research trials and onfarm studies by Agrimin globally and at Te Kauwhata show that the use of trace-element boluses boosts liveweight gain in growing animals. In six individual trials, bolused heifers put on more liveweight per day than unsupplemented control animals. In many cases the control group did not achieve the daily liveweight gain necessary for target age at first service. “Bolusing is a guaranteed way to be sure that every animal will have an adequate intake and the Smartrace boluses have features that deliver

exceptional trace element supply. “The combination of accurate daily delivery and 100% retention in the rumen means animals are getting a measured trace element supply. This

ensures the risk of deficiency is minimised allowing animals to perform to their potential. Our trial data show a sustained improvement in liveweight where animals are bolused,” Williams says.

Trace elements play a crucial role in the diets of growing heifers.



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Benefits of acidifying milk RAW MILK (unpasteurised or not acidified) is a major risk of transmission of disease within a farm.  Control-

ling this risk, whilst maintaining the ability to feed milk on farm is vital. Pasteurisation is one way to kill pathogen transmission. But without the infrastructure to undertake this, farmers are only left with acidification as an option. Benefits Acidifying milk is a practical insurance step to stop the spread of disease to the next generation. ■■ Acidifying milk is relatively easy and effective when done correctly. ■■ It allows the farmer to use on farm milk, without buying calf milk replacer. ■■

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BIOSECURITY IS front of mind in all New Zealand cattle operations. With calving 2018 here, farmers must consider the risk that feeding raw milk (unpasteurised or not acidified) may transfer disease within a dairy farm and/ or between farms, says Trina Parker, of BEC Feed Solutions. She says the biggest risk is posed by feeding raw waste milk or colostrum bought in by beef calf or replacement heifer calf rearers to feed their young animals. This has been identified as a highrisk practice, as raw milk or colostrum is likely to come from various farms, is untraceable and is likely to be from mastitis/unwell cows. Onfarm feeding of colostrum and raw milk from farmers’ own cows to their young stock and replacements is also a biosecurity ‘weak link’ practice, because the disease can be difficult to detect in the early stages so it may spread to the next generation unknowingly. Good biosecurity requires that each farm sticks to best practice. Acidifying milk is relatively easy and effective when done correctly, she says. It allows farmers to use their own milk to feed calves. The company has launched a calf-rearer’s product called PKA -- an acidifier for

treating milk. In recent years, supply pressure has limited the availability of powdered CMR later in the season. PKA provides another option, sold by vet practices -- a simple, safe, accurate and effective way to treat raw milk for calves this spring, says Parker. “PKA has been laboratory tested in New Zealand to determine the dose rate requirements for acidifying raw milk to meet industry recommendations of less than pH5. “It’s easy to use, has no acid taste and comes with accurate dose instructions to enable farmers to maintain pH lower than 5 (ideally 4.5) in their raw milk for at least eight hours.” Parker says milk acidified with PKA is suitable for feeding to calves. It helps prevent disease transmission and can improve milk curdling and overall digestion. DairyNZ has suggested the use of citric acid to reduce the pH of raw milk to the required 4.5 - 5.0 for a least eight hours. But the high dose of citric acid required suggests the milk will be sour and potentially unpalatable to calves if over-dosed and the pH reduces any further; PKA offers an alternative. Parker says treatment options should be discussed with a veterinarian.


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BUSTING CALF FEEDING MYTHS Dr. Bas Schouten is regarded as one of New Zealand’s leading calf-rearing specialists, so his considered opinion carries immense weight within the calf rearing community. He clears up some of the myths about calf feeding: MYTH: Bucket feeding calves causes lower growth rate, diarrhoea and affects digestion of milk. FACT:

Over the last 50 years, worldwide research has not proven any difference to growth, digestion or diarrhoea between bucket and teat feeding systems. (Source: Davis & Drackley)

MYTH: The amount of saliva a calf produces is due to the teats used on the calf feeder. FACT:

MYTH: Nutritional scours are caused by teat quality on the calf feeder. FACT:

MYTH: There are differences in calves reared with fast feeding and slower feeding teats. FACT:

There is no credible, independent clinical trial data to support the indication of any differences between fast and slow teat feeding.

MYTH: The speed calves feed at causes nutritional scours. FACT:

Nutritional scours are caused by low immunity, feeding cold milk, contaminated milk, environmental factors and over-feeding. (Source: Roy, Davis & Drackley)

The amount of saliva is influenced by physiological factors, such as seeing the milk feeder and the calf-rearer, as well as the smell of the milk.

Nutritional scours arise because of an overflow of undigested Casein proteins from the calf’s abomasum into the small intestine, not the digestion of lactose in the milk. Digestion of lactose occurs naturally in the calf’s small intestine. (Source: Woodford et al; Tomkins & Jaster 1991)

MYTH: The presence and volume of Ecoli in a calf’s small intestine is enhanced by raw, undigested milk entering the small intestine too quickly. FACT:

Ecoli is a bacteria caused by environmental (faecal) contamination and is not related to the type of calf teat used.

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Weight, meal intake key to weaning WEANING BASED

Preparing a heifer well for weaning reduces the likelihood of preferential treatment postweaning.

on calf weight and meal intake will help calves develop into healthy heifers, says DairyNZ. Preparing a heifer well for weaning reduces the likelihood she will need

preferential treatment post-weaning. Preferentially managing small groups of animals to try to ‘catch them up’ to the group is timeconsuming and can be difficult to manage, so it is

best avoided by good and early management. Factors to consider before weaning Is the calf: ■■ Consuming the desired amount of feed? Is its rumen sufficiently developed? ■■ Meeting its weight-forage target, based on its breed and/or the rearing system? ■■ At the minimum age for the rearing system? ■■ Able to compete within a group? A calf’s rumen development is the key to deciding when to wean. The only way this can be assessed is by measuring the amount of concentrate or pasture they are readily eating, which should be at least 1kg/day of meal or 2kg/day of pasture. Calves need clean water and feed for rumen development. Calf meal and high quality herbage together provide the energy, protein and volatile fatty acids necessary for rumen development and animal growth. Grains have different fatty acid profiles and higher levels of butyrate which stimulates papillae growth; papillae increase the surface area of the rumen and aids in digestion.

Good quality hay can be used as a roughage if a grain-based meal is also being used, and should be offered from birth. Calves given large quantities of milk will have slower rumen development because the milk satisfies their appetite so they eat less forage and concentrates, which decreases their need for digestion in the rumen. Any change to the quantity or type of feed needs to be measured. Just as it takes time to develop the rumen, time is key in transitioning from calf meal to a full pasture diet. Farmer experience indicates that a twoweek gap between each diet change (e.g. weaning off milk with meal concentrate to full pasture diet) will help transition heifers to a full pasture diet. New-born calves need a lot of dietary protein; the need diminishes as they age. A higher crude protein intake should lead to higher growth rates. If using calf meal, look for products that contain 20% crude protein for calves on milk and 17% crude protein for weaned calves to meet total dietary requirements.

RELOCATING NEWLYWEANED CALVES RELOCATION CAN hinder growth checks or trigger animal health issues including pneumonia, scouring and parasites. Recently weaned calves are at particular risk as they will be undergoing changes in diet and rumen development, and they will be moving from individual or small group care to larger mob management. Relocation adds to the risk; the younger the animal, and the more recently they have been weaned, the higher the risk.


1. TAG 6


Calves must be tagged with a NAIT RFID tag before moving off farm, or within 6 months if they are staying on farm. Exceptions: Calves less than 30 days old going directly to slaughter do not require a NAIT tag.



Register in the NAIT online system within 7 days of tagging or before moving off-farm. Registration activates the tags in the NAIT online system to distinguish them from those left sitting in the shed. This enables lifetime traceability of each animal.

3. RECORD When sending or receiving calves, create and confirm the ‘movement‘ and ensure it is recorded in the NAIT online system – with an accompanying paper based ASD form – to physically move with the animals.

NAIT is an OSPRI programme

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Fill your calving paperwork – OSPRI When sending or receiving calves, farmers involved should record it online in the NAIT system.

DAIRY FARMERS and lifestyle farmers rearing calves must do all their paperwork, says OSPRI. The agency says calf rearers should be mindful of their NAIT obligations and must complete and retain an Animal Status Declaration (ASD) form.

This means calves intended for rearing or selling need to be NAIT tagged and registered in the NAIT system prior to their first movement offfarm or within six months of birth whichever comes first. When sending or

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receiving calves, the farmers involved should create and confirm the ‘movement‘ and record it online in the NAIT system, and send with the animals a paper ASD form. Bobby calves less than 30 days of age and consigned directly to slaughter are the exception as they are managed through meat processor regulations.

ability with rapid tracing of movements and from what locations. Then, after the initial response, further biosecurity risks can be swiftly identified and diagnosed through the ongoing animal surveillance and monitoring that is required. Johnston also recognises the value of an ASD form as part of enhancing the current livestock

“It’s critical for your business to know you aren’t inheriting a problem which could morph into a disease or biosecurity risk on your farm.” Managing and moving calves in line with NAIT rules is especially important because about 1.5 million calves are reared annually. An animal’s lifetime traceability requires that its point of origin be known; this requires that farmers meet their NAIT obligations including an ASD for each group of animals leaving the farm. Southland dairy farmer Nigel Johnston says farmers should be aware of the different requirements if selling calves to a rearer or putting them on a bobby truck. “Perhaps some farmers have overlooked this or weren’t sure, but there are no excuses and we all have a role to play in ensuring everyone is doing their NAIT, and doing it properly. “It’s a no-brainer, especially in the instance of a disease outbreak as it will ensure effective trace-

traceability system and says it gave farmers a “peace of mind” at the saleyard when looking to buy calves or livestock. “It’s critical for your business to know you aren’t inheriting a problem which could morph into a disease or biosecurity risk on your farm. “The beauty of an ASD is you can find out about the calves’ health status and how long they’ve been at their previous locations before buying.” In the event of a disease outbreak, the effectiveness of a government and industry response relies on farmers entering accurate and up-to-date information about calves or livestock into the NAIT online system. OSPRI says farmers who flout the rules will be subject to compliance monitoring, and if necessary onsite inspections and enforcement will be done by MPI.



Safety around cows COWS CAN be very protective of their calves and see people as a threat. Cows that are usually calm can become unpredictable after calving; always keep an eye on the cow and keep the calf between you and its mother. Plan an escape route in case you need to get out of the way of a protective mother. A well-stocked calving kit is essential and will save you making trips between the paddock and the shed. Mothers and calves often get separated in the calving paddock and calves can hide in drains, hollows, hedges, and long grass, or they may walk under break fences, so it is important to take your time checking the paddock. In cold, wet and windy

weather calves will tend to walk in the direction of the wind. Check a calf to see if it is alive and breathing, then check to see if it’s fit and healthy. Spray the calf’s navel in the paddock to help prevent it from getting sick. Recording information about the cow and calf is important for farm records. Identifying calves in the paddock prevents confusion at the calf shed and helps track the age of calves. Newborn calves can be heavy, wet and awkward to hold; handle and lift calves correctly to help prevent injuries to you and the calves. Calves can be injured easily so take care when placing them on a trailer. A calf trailer should have enough room for all calves to lie down com-

fortably. Overloading the trailer can lead to injuries and swollen navels; driving slowly helps keep you and the calves safe. Take care when driving on slopes because the trailer can become unstable. Slow driving also allows any newly calved cows to follow the trailer.

Applying an easy-clean, non-slip material to the floor of the trailer can help make transportation safer and more comfortable for calves; regular cleaning and disinfection of the trailer reduces the risk of infections. Allowing the trailer to dry in the sun also helps kill bacteria.

Cows can be protective of their calves.

EAR TAGGING EAR TAGS allow us to identify and track calves. By understanding how to correctly tag calves, we can keep calves calm and do the job well. Before starting, check to make sure the tagging equipment is working. Once the tagger is loaded, make sure the male and female parts of the tag line up correctly. To reduce the risk of infection, dunk the tag and end of the tagger in antiseptic, and remove any hay or shavings from the ear. Hold the calf between your legs with its back end in a solid corner of the calf pen to maintain good control. Place the tag as shown in the diagram, between the two thickened lines of cartilage. Once in place, squeeze the tagger quickly and firmly. You should feel a strong click when the tag snaps together. Remove the tagger and check to make sure the tag is closed and will hold.

WITH FIBERGAIN® CALVES GET TO THE FUTURE FASTER. At seven weeks they’re ready to leave your milk in the vat and start on pasture. With the perfect blend of fresh cut lucerne, freshly kibbled barley and minerals, FiberGain® naturally builds healthy rumen development, gut function and provides high digestible energy. So, calves make healthy weight gains and reach their full potential. Order yours now from your local rural supplier or Fiber Fresh consultant.




Fieldays doesn’t get it on safety MARK DANIEL


to inaccessible parts of a property has always been a challenge, but it must be done safely and by the rules. National Fieldays’ understanding of safety was seen lacking in its

Innovations exhibit by Blinkhorne and Carroll, Wanganui, of a modified Honda quad said to be “certified to carry seven passengers”. Quad makers are careful to urge ‘one rider only’ -- in safety stickers and in the first pages operator manuals. So your reviewer wonders at the modifica-

tions made to enable the Blinkhorne and Carroll machine to carry eight people or a ‘certified’ payload of 800kg. The main modification was a third axle added to the rear of the machine; this might explain the increased load capacity. But fitting seven sets of rubber hand-grips can’t make the machine


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This photograph was displayed at the Fieldays to promote a modified quad that can carry up to seven passengers.

‘certified’ to carry seven passengers. The engineering appeared well done, but it beggars belief that the business would court disaster by saying it is safe to carry so many extra passengers on the machine’s original load racks, even if only on level ground. The company also said riders need only wear protective headgear at speeds over 30km/h. Patrick Carroll, for the exhibitor, described

thorough pre-ride assessment. Likewise, the company’s statement that on a slope the top-side riders should “step off” in the event of instability shows it doesn’t understand how these machines should be operated, given that such action could cause the machine to tip more quickly. This shows up in its YouTube video of a rider climbing a near-vertical terrace without shifting


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his bodyweight forward, and the traverse of a narrow track with a steep drop-off while passengers sit casually on the machine’s racks. Both scenarios show an accident waiting to happen, given that quads require ‘active riding’ and the operator has no control over the shifting body-mass of his passengers. Entry criteria for the Fieldays Innovation Awards show a built-in weakness in the acceptance of this entry that ignores best practice as advised by the machine’s manufacturer and by Worksafe. Fieldays said it had received a mechanical engineer’s report on the machine’s suitability to carry seven passengers, but as Dairy News went to press it had not named the engineer, instead preferring to say it was comfortable with the decision on the entry.

CALL FOR TIGHTER RULES THE MOTOR Industry Association of New Zealand

The hydraulic headboard pivots to various positions to support the filling and unloading process.

Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n c o n t a c t

06 370 0390

The motor industry wants tighter safety rules on farm vehicle use.


M X 3 7 0 LO A D E R WAG O N

to Dairy News how the machine – one of three – is used to take staff into remote central North Island country for forest maintenance. He said the driver has the say on passenger numbers should the machine start to feel unstable. But Carroll is missing the point about safety because if “the machine feels unstable or the terrain changes” then the driver has not done a


wants the Government to impose tighter safety rules on people operating farm utility vehicles. It has asked the Minister for Work Place Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway, to mandate the compulsory wearing of helmets by riders of quads and side-by-sides, to ban the riding of full-size quads by people aged under 16 and to ban passengers from single-seat quads. NZ and Australian coroners’ inquests have underlined these safety needs. The MIA also wants seat belt wearing compulsory on side-by-sides if they are fitted by the maker. David Crawford, chief executive of the Motor Industry Association, says “safe use of onfarm small vehicles such as motorcycles, quads and side-by-sides is of paramount importance to manufacturers, distributors, dealerships and their customers”. Says Crawford, “Other important safety messages are for users to keep their vehicles well maintained, ensure users are trained in how to properly use them, never exceed the manufacturers’ guidelines for loading and towing, and selecting the right vehicle for the job.” @dairy_news



Revamped Jimny takes on UTVs MARK DANIEL

THE UTV is a workhorse on many rural properties, but the asking prices -- $15,000 to $30,000 -- cause some farmers to baulk. So imported Japanese micro-trucks or conversions of more mainstream vehicles are gaining ground. Recently spotted in the UK, the Terramax is built by TP4x4 using the venerable Suzuki Jimny as the donor vehicle; it came about from a request from a fencing contractor wanting to carry materials over soggy ground. Donor vehicles are prepared by stripping to bare chassis, then sanding and treating with anti-corrosion materials to prolong the vehicle life. The rear half of the cabin gets chopped to make way for the load

bed and a new twin-skinned rear bulkhead with a fullwidth window. Steel is the preferred choice in this area, mainly for strength, but also as it allows seat belt mounts to be retained and strengthened for warrant purposes. The running gear also gets an overall, with bearings, kingpins and seals being replaced, and the Jimny Convert option to upgrade to an all-round disc brake conversion for increased stopping power. As reassembly begins, customers get the choice of a 50 or 75mm sus-

pension lift, while front wheel arches are remodelled to take flotation tyres and each corner gets pro-comp shocks and hefty 400kg rated springs.

Bale wrapping hits the gas

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


the factory-authorised importer of McHale grassland machinery, has introduced a highspeed version of the 998 Square Bale Wrapper for the 2018-19 season. It is designed for high capacity wrapping of all sizes of square bales from 80 x 60cm to 160 x 120cm, including double bales up to 2.1m long; the machine can also wrap round bales. The 998, wellknown as reliable and robust, now has 2-D laser sensors that allow it to operate at up to 35rpm; that has the effect of increasing output by 35% over the standard 998 units. The wrapping process is fully automated and controlled via the Expert Control Console, enabling adjust-

During the rebuild, electrics are given a good going over, with surplus items removed, while remaining items get routed through chassis rails

for increased durability. At the same time, the rear end gets LED lighting and dedicated accessory feeds are fitted for spots, winches and slug pelleter. The rear load bed has a dropdown tailgate, cushioning for the locking-pins and a good coat of anti-corrosion paint. For those looking to tackle the tougher stuff, there are options for winches HD transfer cases and air-locking 4x4 systems. While normally focusing on conversion of the petrol engine 1.3L VVTI models, the business has converted some diesels sourced from France in lefthand drive but is now looking at fitting another French-sourced diesel, and is looking at mating this to the Jimny’s running gear.

P&Pd worked in conjunction with dairy farmers to develop a portable, long lasting and strong platform to meet the needs of the New Zealand farmer. The platforms features are:




+ GST + Freight

❱❱ Five level options from folded (220mm) to full height (850mm) ❱❱ A strong, grippy self draining deck

ments for bale sizes and the number of film layers applied. Self-contained, with an independent PTOdriven hydraulic system, the unit can be operated with a small tractor in the paddock or as a static unit if required. In operation, the front mounted conveyor lifts and positions the bale ready for wrapping, in

a layout that sees patented high-speed oscillating rollers and two 750mm dispensers combining to provide an even film overlap and an airtight seal. Film break sensors monitor the wrapping cycle, cleverly adjusting rotational speed if one roll breaks, or runs out, to provide the correct overlap and continuous

wrapping. After wrapping, a hydraulic cut-and-hold system gathers and cuts the film, before the conveyor returns the bale to the ground. The machine has a 10-roll storage system, and film can now be loaded from one side, with reloading helped by a loading platform and index button.

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

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

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Baler mobile app for data transfer MARK DANIEL

JOHN DEERE has introduced its Bale Mobile app, allowing forage producers to get information,

John Deere bailer mobile app.

improve efficiency, identify bale characteristics and track yields. When used with a John Deere 1 Series large square baler (L331 or L341 model) equipped with the optional moisture

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and weight sensors, the new app converts moisture and weight data into useable information for baling, loading and overall farm management. Information is displayed in near real time, while the app also documents the baling process, with individual bale moisture readings and weights being tagged to each specific bale (geo-referenced within the app) for improved traceability. Operators can also digitally tag specific bales with additional notes in the app that are useful for sorting and enables them to make better informed on-the-go decisions.

After an operator finishes baling the paddock, a summary provides crop tonnage, bale numbers and average moisture readings. The information is said to make it easier for bales to be sorted by moisture, weight and whether preservative was applied. Interestingly, problem bales that might be wet or weedy can be stored separately from the bulk of the stack. For commercial operators, the app also makes it possible to remotely view real-time bale weight and moisture readings from an individual baler simply by using an iPad or tablet computer.

END OF LINE FOR LELY WAGONS, BALERS AGCO SAYS it will quit making Lely-branded round

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balers and loader wagons at the German factories in March 2020. It ceased making Lely mowers, tedders and hay rakes last April. It says orders and demand for Fendt and MFbranded machinery have sped up since its new round baler and loader wagon ranges appeared at Agritechnica 2017. The factories making the balers (Wolfenbüttel) and loader wagons (Waldstetten) are now running at full stretch for the company’s three brands. “The decision to end production of green harvest machinery from Lely gives clarity to the market in good time,” said Rob Smith, senior vice president and general manager for AGCO Europe and Middle East. In New Zealand, Peter Viz, senior manager green harvest for AGCO, says “2019 will be a year with business as usual as much as possible”. “Looking forwards we anticipate that Massey Ferguson will be the main brand carried in NZ, but some machines will also be available under the Fendt banner, with the latter requiring additional local and factory training to meet the strict quality and support requirements of the brand.” Dairy News also understands that a large R&D effort has gone into a new mower range scheduled for a launch starting in 2019, and new fixed-chamber balers and baler-wrapper combinations at about the same time. Both ranges will be designed to suit NZ conditions, and machines will be tested here before production begins.



Lexus leaves little wanting 2018 Lexus NX300F


LEXUS, THE luxury-vehicle division of Toyota, in 1989 launched the Lexus LS and for 29 years has offered sedans, coupes and SUVs with petrol or petrol/hybrid engines. Dairy News recently spent a week driving a 2018 Lexus NX300F, the medium size SUV that accounts for about 25% of Lexus NZ sales each year. It’s easy to understand why. The vehicle has underpinnings from the everlasting Toyota RAV4, but that’s about where the similarity ends; the NX300F’s modern, dynamic look makes the RAV look frumpy and dated. Sharp angles that combine to create subtle shadow inducing zones are fronted up by a linear, matte black front grill framed by three, low-beam LEDs at the periphery, alongside single globe LEDs for the adaptive main beam function. At night, a neat touch sees the handles of the NX illuminate to guide your approach. Inside, Lexus ‘Imagination and Innovation’ -- its mantra -- comes

to the fore. Lexus quality is announced with high quality materials and fit and finish up there with the best. Lots of red/black leather, draped over welldimensioned seats, with firmness and lateral support, is highlighted with bold red stitching, while a swath of chrome accents point the way to key controls or displays in the cabin. Up high, above the centre console close to the windscreen, a 10.3-inch wide-screen infotainment display delivers clear vehicle information, audio con-

trol and an easy to follow navigation system. Control of all the functions is either by steering wheel mounted switches or quirky flat touchpad next to the driver’s left thigh. This was difficult to use, extremely sensitive and bore no correlation between its movement and the cursor on the screen; it was distracting

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in taking the driver’s eyes off the road. Power for this compact 4WD SUV is from a four-cylinder 2.0L turbo-petrol delivering

175kW and 350nm torque, through a 6-speed auto transmission. A choice of modes offers ECO through to Sport to Sport+; these change throttle response and shift points, and the Sport+ also tweaks the suspension settings. A further custom mode allows the driver to choose settings for powertrain, steering responsiveness, air-con and suspension, in

theory to get the best from the vehicle. Though the Sport+ mode proved addictive, the increase in performance came with dismaying fuel-consumption figures (from 7.9L/100km out to 11L/100km), but it was fun and showed the potential of the NX. Out on the road, the 300F was responsive, dealt easily with the twisty stuff, turned in nicely and gobbled up the kilometres. The suspension, a variable adaptive set-up, with a claimed 650 levels, kept things neutral, although in Sport+ mode it tended to make things a little twitchy and uncomfortable at slow speeds in urban conditions. So, given that the NX300F combines a host of safety features including pre-crash/autonomous braking for vehicle and pedestrians, lane departure and steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control, blind spot and rear cross traffic alert, and much more, would you buy one? The answer is simple: if you want luxury, superb fit and finish, cutting edge technology, all underpinned by legendary reliability imparted by the mothership, then why not?

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Dairy News 24 July 2018  

Dairy News 24 July 2018

Dairy News 24 July 2018  

Dairy News 24 July 2018