Page 1

Smaller industry ‘ not a bad thing’. PAGE 6 SIZE DOES MATTER Smaller cows, lower footprints PAGE 17

NOVEMBER 27, 2018 ISSUE 413 //

ROAD TO RECOVERY Two years on from the Kaikoura earthquake, Graham Collins’ farm is still in repair mode but he has doubled his herd and boasts a new 47-a-side herringbone shed. PAGE 3

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NEWS  // 3

Post-quake Kaikoura offers new landscape NIGEL MALTHUS

Committment to water quality. PG.05

Townies flock to farms. PG.13

Colourful reaction to chemical risks. PG.18

NEWS������������������������������������������������������ 3-12 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������������ 13 OPINION������������������������������������������������14-5 MANAGEMENT��������������������������������16-18 ANIMAL HEALTH���������������������������������� 19 DAIRY GOATS��������������������������������� 20-24 MACHINERY &   PRODUCTS���������������������������������������25-27

TWO YEARS on from the devastating November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, Kaikoura dairy farmer Graham Collins says he is getting used to “the new normal”. “I mean it’s totally different,” he said. The quake has brought huge changes for Collins and his neighbour Grant Wareham, who sold his dairy block to Collins rather than wait for his wrecked rotary shed to be replaced. For Collins that meant doubling his herd at a time when he was still milking in an old condemned shed while its replacement was being built. Collins’ new shed is now into its second season, but repairs to the farm’s drainage, irrigation and accommodation have barely begun. Collins farms on the low-lying flats close to the town of Kaikoura – at the lower, more swampy end of the small plain that slopes up towards the mountains to the west. When the quake struck, it left Collins’ 45-year-old herringbone shed with shattered foundations but still usable. The shed had been built by his father about 1971, on a site right beside a creek where a milking shed had stood for well over a century. In those days, wash-down water was bucketed in and drained straight back to the creek. Collins said he wanted to rebuild on the same site because it was close to other amenities such as his calf

Parting ways: Kaikoura farmers Grant Wareham (left) and Graham Collins pictured a few weeks after the earthquake. Wareham has sold his farm to Collins.

shed, but he found that under MPI rules he couldn’t do a major rebuild within 40m of the creek. The new one is 100m away. “We’ve always been looked at quite sternly by ECan and MPI when they come to do an annual inspection because we are close to a waterway. We’d upgraded over the years so there was no effluent going in there but I suppose that was just one of the rules on their books.” Meanwhile, the deal to buy out Wareham’s dairy block meant Collins’ cow numbers doubled from 350 to 700. To accommodate them the new shed is a 47-a-side herringbone compared with the old 35-a-side. However, delays meant it wasn’t ready until the end of November last year so the larger herd started the season being milked through the

old damaged shed. “So we doubled our problems by upsizing at that time,” admits Collins. “This time last year things were quite stressful, on cows and people. “There’s benefits in the new shed but there’s disadvantages as well. We’re getting to used to it. As I say, it’s the new normal now.” Collins adds that insurance battles with his Farmers Mutual insurer added to the stress. “We eventually got them up over a third in dollars. We got nothing we weren’t owed and to my mind they got away with some things they should have paid for but didn’t,” he says. Collins says there are still ongoing issues with the farm. Drainage is the biggest issue yet to be tackled properly. “That’s a problem because our

farm is quite heavy, and wet areas have sprung up where they weren’t before. And there are paddocks that were drained and the drains have broken up and they’re back to swamp. That’s quite an issue for us.” Replacement of the drains would have to happen at some stage but was not covered by insurance. The open ditches which the drains feed into had also silted up. Collins said they were still being dug out during the week which marked the quake’s second anniversary. “There’s been more important things to get up and running.” Collins has repaired the breaks in one of two irrigation systems but the second, larger one still hasn’t been turned on to see what breaks it may have. • More on page 4


4 //  NEWS

Milk price cut ‘will not surprise’ PAM TIPA


up 6.5% on last year for the peak of the season, a downward adjustment in Fonterra’s milk price will not be surprising, says BNZ senior economic Doug Steel. Another “disappointing” Global Dairy Trade Auction last week saw the overall price index fall 3.5% with the whole milk powder price down 1.8% to US$2599/metric tonne. The WMP price has failed

to rise in nine consecutive GDT auctions and is at a two-year low. Fonterra has already revised the forecast twice for the 2018-19 season from an initial $7/kgMS to a range of $6.25 to $6.50/ kgMS in October. The cooperative is required to revise its milk price forecast for Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) purposes by December 15, 2018. Economists are expecting another revision downwards. Steel says last week’s result dashed hopes of

at least some stability appearing in price. “Prices have yet to register an increase at an auction since the dairy season started in June. The cumulative fall is now a touch over 20%, seeing prices 12.4% lower than at this time last year.” Data showed that New Zealand milk production continued its very strong early season run in October. “Production was up 6.5% year-on-year in the peak month of the season. This reflects generally

ASB’s Nathan Penny says extra milk from NZ is proving too much for global markets to absorb.

helpful grass growing conditions especially compared to recent difficult seasons. This is good for the likes of GDP growth, but comes as a detriment

to prices. Combined with a resolute NZ dollar, this makes Fonterra’s milk price forecast range of $6.25 to $6.50/kgMS more difficult to achieve. We would not be surprised to see some downward adjustment over coming weeks.” ASB has trimmed its 2018-19 forecast by 25 cents to $6/kgMS. Senior rural economist

Nathan Penny says the production season is already one for the record books. October production has set a new record high for any month, building on early strength. ASB is taking its full season production forecast up a notch to a 5% increase, from 4% previously. “At this juncture, the

NZ production strength is proving too much for global markets to absorb,” Penny says. “Fortunately, production is relatively soft in the EU, the US and in Australia. Nonetheless, given NZ’s large share of global dairy exports, particularly of whole milk powder and butter, the mini glut in production is leading prices lower.”

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style change for Kaikoura farmer Grant Wareham: the end of a dairying career. At the time of the quake, Wareham was milking with a water-flotation rotary shed which was left immobilised and useless when the foundations split in two. They tried milking his herd through a neighbour’s herringbone but the animals did not take to it and he was forced to de-stock. Wareham says he then chose to sell up (to his neighbour Graham Collins) because the insurance for the shed was taking too long to settle and he didn’t

have enough business-interruption insurance to see him through. “It’s a good wake-up call for people regarding business-interruption insurance, that’s for sure,” he says. The 65ha sold to Collins was a block Wareham was leasing from his mother. He has retained an adjoining 125ha and has another 165ha on the inland road, which he uses for dairy grazing and beef fattening. For the first time in nearly 30 years, he is not getting up early to milk cows. “It changed my world round, that’s for sure.”


NEWS  // 5

Farm advisors helping improve water quality PAM TIPA

FONTERRA’S DIRECTOR of sustainability

Carolyn Mortland says she is very heartened by the work farmers are putting into the environment. “I think we will see it really turning around in future years,” she told Dairy News. Fonterra recently put out a progress report on its six commitments to improve waterways -- one year on from launching the actions. As part of onfarm action Fonterra now employs 24 sustainable dairy advisors (SDAs)

nationwide and is due to have 28 by the end of 2018, on the way to a target of 30 (double last year). “The SDAs are a core part of the service we provide for farmers. Having one-on-one support where someone can come out and have a look at your milking shed, effluent system and farm system and talk to the farmer specifically about what might work on their farm is hugely helpful. She says it is a specialised ability to understand farming and also the environment. “So it takes a while to recruit and train these people. But we are building to 30; we have

had huge recruitment this year.” Livestock exclusion from waterways has reached 99.6%, a figure Mortland says they were close to at the beginning of the year. “We were at about 97% last year and this year has seen that final push. “Farmers have done a huge effort to fence their waterways and put in bridges or culverts, so now it is really finishing off those final few; or sometimes farmers have had fences washed away or erosion in which a fence has been lost. “So we are really talking about those really final things; we would say

now we are complete.” Tiaka is Fonterra’s support programme for environmental work with farmers; there is a big push is to get every farm to have its own farm environment plan (FEP). “[The plan] will have a prioritised set of actions for the farmer and what they can do to improve environmental impact. It will cover management of effluent, maybe riparian planting, and maybe some steep marginal land the farmer doesn’t really use for production that they might want to plant. It will look at boggy wet areas of the farm at risk of run-off into waterways and how can they repair

Fonterra says sustainable dairy advisors are a core part of service provided to farmers.

that or plant it out or change the way they graze their cows to improve the impact. “It is a tailored plan designed to address water, biodiversity and some environmental issues in the catchment. “Farmers say they really like it because it gives them a prioritised set of actions that they can achieve over the next few years. Farmers, like everyone, can’t do everything at once and they need to prioritise what is most important and what

is going to fit for them and their farm and the financial situation. “We hear from farmers that having that list they have talked through with the SDA means they can just knock it off as they go along and that’s really powerful.” Fonterra has used geospatial mapping to make a digital map of every farm, she says. “When the SDA goes out they can look at the farm on the iPad; they have the boundaries of the farm, they know

where all the waterways are and where the dairy shed is and they can take a picture of what area they are wanting to work on -- before-and-after photos. “So it is there online for the farmers and can also show pictures of what needs to be addressed and why.” There is high demand for SDA services. Some regional councils are requiring FEPs or are requiring some information that the FEP provides.


Valley Milk’s nutrition plant near Gore marks another step towards creating the world’s best nutrition business, says MVM general manager Bernard May. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor formally opened the plant last week at a ceremony attended by staff, farmer shareholders, shareholders, suppliers, and central and local government representatives. “The official opening is an opportunity to bring all our stakeholders together to celebrate what has been achieved,” May said.

The nutrition plant started production in August with a more low-key ribbon cutting ceremony. MVM says the plant is part of a strategic plan to invest in the world’s most advanced production technology, people and systems, to deliver a broad range of world-class nutrition including food for babies and toddlers. “Everyone is working together to achieve our vision to create high value nutritonal products and it’s taken a phenomenal effort, in excess of 900,000 hours, by a lot of people across a lot of sectors to get to where we are today,” May said.

MVM’s major shareholder is the China Animal Husbandry Group (CAHG), in partnership with New Zealand shareholders and Southland farmer shareholders. Farmer shareholders are represented on the MVM board. May said MVM is a model of what can be achieved with a clear vision of creating tomorrow’s nutrition for a growing world. “We believe we have struck the right balance to achieve a successful partnership model allowing all shareholders, including farmer shareholders, to invest in the global nutri-

tion market, benefitting everyone involved.” CAHG provided the large capital investment needed and access to key global markets, he said. Feedback from MVM farmer shareholders has shown they are proud to be involved, are feeling engaged in the business, and are highly satisfied with progress as production gets underway, he said. “It’s about delivering on your promises. We’re keeping our milk price above the competition, allowing our farmer shareholders to develop a culture of excellence that our nutri-

tional customers can engage with.” May said the plant is running at capacity, processing about 700,000 litres of milk a day. The first shipment of whole milk powder left in early November. Nutritional product trials will begin in mid December, with the first nutritional products likely to be leaving the plant in April. MVM continued to field a lot of interest from farmers wanting to become farmer shareholders. “Clearly as our nutritional volumes grow, then milk from our farmer shareholders will need to grow during the next two to three years,” May said.

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6 //  NEWS

Smaller industry ‘not a bad thing’ PETER BURKE

A LEADING figure in the NZ dairy sector says in the future the industry will be smaller and less intensive. John Penno, who until recently was chief execu-

tive of Synlait and who remains a director, last week told the Australasian Dairy Science Symposium (ADSS) in Palmerston North that the point has been reached where any more expansion of dairy will harm the environment. He says people say

technology will solve many of the environmental problems facing the dairy industry, but this is some way off and may have a limited impact. Penno says a smaller dairy industry will not be a bad thing. “In fact I am quite excited about it because

it will get people focused on value. For example, in Ireland farmers and processors way back were frustrated about living under quotas and in particular watching the NZ dairy industry growing. But if you add up the total value that’s been created in Irish dairy-

FUTURE FOCUS THE THEME of the ADSS was on looking to the future and the need to create greater resilience in dairy farming. Massey vice-chancellor Jan Thomas, who formally opened the symposium, stressed the importance of dairy science and noted that Massey was producing research of world quality that benefits the industry and

all New Zealand. Massey works with industry partners to drive productivity and innovation, she said. Professor Danny Donaghy, who specialises in dairy production systems at Massey and who helped organise the symposium, said an aim of the event was to encourage greater collaboration between scientists working on

dairy research. The symposium’s scope has widened over the years, he said. It started as an Australian event and quickly grew to include NZ. “Many years ago we looked to get the farm systems teams from both countries together because we are facing the same issues, such as how do we measure profitability.”

John Penno

ing over that time they have done better than us. This is because while they couldn’t invest onfarm they invested in other things, thought smartly and created impressive businesses from which farmers and the whole country benefitted,” he says. Penno points to Irish butter whose brand Kerrygold is now numbertwo in the US. He says if restrictions were put on milk flows in NZ and farmers were encouraged

to produce higher value milk they would also benefit financially. This needs greater focus, as does creating linkages through supply chains to the best consumers in the world. In his experience, NZ farmers are adaptable and resilient and he’s confident about the future. Penno says NZ could capitalise on the trend among high end consumers to buy the products of animals that are grass fed. “But we must have genuine stories about

grass fed. To us grass fed means 365 days out in the air eating forage, no concentrates and minimal use of anti-biotics. You have to use some antibiotics in the systems because it’s cruel not to. The goal is that when the consumers hear our story they will realise it is based on good science, sound systems and integrity, not like others who claim their animals are grass fed when they have only been on grass for a short period,” Penno says.


NEWS  // 7

Concerns over quotas post-Brexit PETER BURKE

UNJUSTIFIABLE AND flawed: that’s

how the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is describing the proposal by Britain and the European Union (EU) to arbitrarily split NZ dairy’s tariff rate quotas when Brexit occurs. At present NZ can export 74,963 tonnes of butter, 7000 tonnes of cheddar cheese and 4000 tonnes for processing at reduced tariff rates to the EU, but when Brexit occurs this will change. The executive director of DCANZ, Kimberly Crewther, who has previously worked in Europe on international trade issues, says the EU and the UK want to split the present quota to the two entities based on the port entry pattern in recent years. The proposed split for NZ butter quota volumes is 63:37%, repespectively. For some of the MFN (any country) quotas it is 100:0%. Under the current arrangement which forms part of the EU and UK’s agreed World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments there is flex-

ibility to best meet the needs of producers and consumers in both the UK and EU. This could mean using the full volume in either the UK or the EU to respond to consumer demand. She says under WTO rules, any changes made to agreements must not disadvantage any party, but she says if the splits proposal goes through, NZ will be disadvantaged in a number of ways. “The loss of flexibility under their proposal means that we will not be able to meet market demands in either the UK or EU and that takes away existing trading opportunities for NZ producers. It’s important to remember that the trading relationship with the EU and UK markets are both important to NZ.” Crewther says that even if the proposal to split quotas was justified, DCANZ would also be concerned about the proposed methodology and it has informed both parties of this and other concerns. She says what the UK and EU have done is split the quota on the basis of where NZ’s dairy exports are first landed in the EU. “This assumes that the goods are consumed in the countries where the

goods landed which is simply wrong. The port is more likely to be an indicator of shipping routes and supply chain logistics than of the point of consumption. Products could have landed in large ports such as Rotterdam in the first instance, but then been transhipped elsewhere in the EU or across to customers in the UK. There is really no way of tracing where that product goes within a geography where there is complete freedom of movement of goods.” The other worry for NZ and other dairy producers is what would happen if there was a hard Brexit? Crewther says in the case of the dairy industry there is a high degree of integration within the EU. A classic case is Ireland where milk harvested in Northern Ireland is processed in the south [the republic] and vice versa. She says the complexity of the situation is giving rise to uncertainty, i.e. that the current free trading of products between the UK and the EU may cease. “The UK is a major dairy importer, with most of the product it imports coming from the EU. If there is a hard Brexit we could expect a level of

Kimberly Crewther.

‘trade diversion’, meaning products that would otherwise have been traded between the EU and UK would instead face high tariffs and possibly instead be traded with other markets. If volumes were sizable this would have flow-on effects and be an added distortion in the global market.” Crewther says such distortions typically have a negative influence on global markets. DCANZ is working with the Min-

istry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ensure that the concerns of the NZ dairy industry are voiced at the highest political level. Crewther says the EU and the UK should honour their WTO commitments and ensure any changes to their own bilaterial relationship does not leave other countries worse off in terms of trade opportunity. @dairy_news







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8 //  NEWS


November 27-28

November 29

November 30 and December 7

December 6



Dairy Womens Network Manawatu; write a business plan for your agribusiness.

Registration and more info at www.dwn.

Smaller Milk and Supply Herds (SMASH) field day, Inglewood.

Dairy Womens Network Taranaki: Business by the numbers.

Smaller Milk and Supply Herds (SMASH) field day, Kowhitirangi, West Coast.

Details - Hear from farmers and experts on the pros and cons of off-paddock shelters. Host farmer Dennis Dravitzki will talk about the off-paddock shelter built last year. Start at 10am, morning tea and lunch provided. Registration and more info at www. Fully subsidised two part short courses. Registration and more info at www.dwn. Getting the best out of pasture can be a challenge, especially during extreme weather. The event will look at strategies to improve pasture production. Registration and more info at www.

Tell the dairy farming community about your event through the Dairy Diary. Email event info to

ANCHOR LIGHT Proof milk bottles will soon appear on farms but you won’t find them in a fridge. Fonterra has teamed up with Kiwi-owned start-up Future Post to turn milk bottles and other soft plastics into farm fence posts -- from 100% recycled material. Fonterra Brands New Zealand’s (FBNZ) sustainability and environment manager, Larisa Thathiah, says the posts are a step forward in farm sustainability. “This provides farmers with an environmentally friendly fencing option made from the packaging of our farmers’ milk,” says Thathiah. “It’s [cutting] waste or at least turning it into something useful.” The posts are expected to last at least 50 years.

The managing director of Future Post, Jerome Wenzlick, welcomes the support of Fonterra and he hopes the company will develop other sustainable products for farmers. “We’re using waste that could have gone to landfill,” says Wenzlick. “This gives us access to a steady supply of raw material from the co-op’s own recycling initiatives, and to the network of

nationwide Farm Source stores that can sell the fence posts. “Future Post is a startup, but we have plans for new products in 2019 including for non-farming sectors.” The posts will go on sale in the new year in some Fonterra Farm Source stores in the North Island, and in South Island stores mid2019.


NEWS  // 9

Nitrogen inhibitor to make a comeback NIGEL MALTHUS


hoping its Eco-N product for reducing nitrogen leaching from pastures could soon be back on the shelves following international talks on the allowable residue levels in food of a range of substances, including Eco-N’s active ingredient, DCD. Eco-N is a trademarked nitrification inhibitor developed by Lincoln University in partnership with Ravensdown and launched in New Zealand in 2004. Although DCD (Dicyandiamide) is not regarded as a health risk, Eco-N was voluntarily taken off the market in 2013 after minute amounts were found in exported milk powder. Mike Manning, Ravensdown’s general manager innovation and strategy, said officials now hoped to agree on a codex or MRL (maximum residual level) of DCD in foods, as part of an umbrella codex covering a range of benign compounds. NZ’s part in the process is being run by the Ministry for Primary Industries. “We’re happy to help

in any way we can but as to the progress, it sits entirely with MPI and their counterparts overseas,” said Manning. “MPI has been chipping away at this; these things don’t happen in a minute. MPI is saying if everything continues to go well then maybe midnext year we might have a codex for DCD.” Farmers would then be able to use it again on their pastures for the 2020 autumn and winter season. Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen said Feds supports the effort. The return of Eco-N would be a boon for farmers and their efforts to protect waterways, as well as diminishing the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, he said. Allen said Eco-N had proved effective but it was “a bit of an oversight” that no international codex exists for DCD. Although DCD might only exist in food in tiny amounts, its not being listed at all means the effective limit is zero. Farmers have found Eco-N typically allows them to achieve an extra $600/ha in profit from

Less coal for milk processing FONTERRA’S BRIGHTWATER milk processing

plant near Nelson is now co-firing on wood after the site’s newly converted boiler was formally switched on by the Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. The formerly coal-fired plant now uses a combination of coal and wood chunks, reducing the amount of coal used. Fonterra says it should cut carbon emissions at the site by about 2400 tonnes a year, roughly the same as taking 530 cars off the road. Robert Spurway, Fonterra chief of global operations, said the Brightwater boiler conversion was part of the co-op’s plan to reduce emissions at all sites. “We’ll take what we learn from this conversion and apply it to our longer-term co-firing strategy for other boilers across the country. Brightwater shows what’s possible in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.” Spurway said curtailing emissions required a multifaceted approach. “We’re serious about meeting our targets to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and net zero by 2050 across all New Zealand operations.”

milk production while also substantially reducing nitrate leaching losses and emissions of NO2 into the atmosphere. Overseas, DCD has continued to be used, but as a coating for fertiliser

to slow its release. Eco-N was developed as a pasture treatment rather than fertiliser treatment, because under NZ conditions the main problem is release of nitrogen from concentrated urine

patches. Allen said by spraying Eco-N on pasture, particularly following winter grazing, nitrogen was found to be held in the ground and was then available when the crops were replanted.

Mike Manning, Ravensdown.


10 //  NEWS

US organics pioneer bullish about NZ PAM TIPA

THE POTENTIAL for organics in

New Zealand is huge because of dairy farmer competence and excellent growing and market conditions, says Gary Hirshberg, founder of US organic dairy company Stonyfield Farm in New Hampshire. Hirshberg told Dairy News nonorganic dairy farmers in his region are struggling: 14 - 20% of dairy farms in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont this year 2018 are expected to go out of business, he says. “They will fail because corn prices and energy prices are extremely high and the price for conventional milk is quite low.” But the organic dairy farmers are all making good money. The US overall organic market has reached $60 billion per year and is growing faster than conventional foodstuffs. He is “bullish” about our organic potential, he says. “You have the advantage here [for organics] of so much natural grass. Right away you have a distinctive edge

over the rest of the world with the greater amount of insulation and you are able to be more productive and more diversified.” Stoneyfield Farm started as a seven cow operation in 1983 and now has $400 million annual sales, specialising in organic yoghurt. It is now owned by French dairy giant Lactalis. Hirshberg is involved in companies that produce and export into China. As Fonterra is well aware, he says, because of the pollution in China and one-child families, the Chinese are committed to giving their children the cleanest-possible foods. “So that opens up a huge market particularly in baby food and infant formula.” Pointing to alternative dairy products such as sheep dairy, he says they are on the move as a global market. “My friends in the baby food and infant formula business can’t keep up with demand. “The millennial consumer, young parents, are coming into the marketplace and they want to purchase more conscientiously. They are concerned about pesticides and so on. Emerging millennial consumers the world over

Gary Hirshberg

are more conscious of these things now. They don’t want additives, antibiotics and pesticides. “The combination of New Zealand’s ability to grow extraordinary produce and dairy and so forth with that emerging market makes it an exciting future for organic.” On the wholesale side he thinks NZ companies like Fonterra and Westland

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are well aware of opportunities in milk powder, whey protein, etc. “But where the real opportunities lie is in value added products – cheeses, butter, etc. Better marketing and communication is needed of ‘Brand New Zealand’, he says. “You have this extraordinary growing environment. New Zealand right

away has an image of green. Where you have to be careful is more and more pressure to open up with genetically engineered corn and feedstuffs. That will work against that overall positive image. “The opportunities are on the offensive side to grow more value added and do more communicating but also the defensive side to protect the integrity of clean green New Zealand.” Hirshberg says he has been coming here for 15-16 years and is immensely impressed with the agricultural and technical know-how in a wide range of categories. “The quality of the product is extraordinary here. Americans cannot teach New Zealand much about agriculture.” But our communicating, marketing and promoting has a long way to go, he says. Hirshberg held a ‘boot camp’ with Trade and Enterprise NZ for primary industry entrepreneurs this month in Auckland. He has also invested in a Motueka property where he is working with a number of entrepreneurs to create an onfarm incubator for organics including sheep milking.

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12 //  NEWS

KINGQUAD WINNERS CONGRATULATIONS TO the two winners of our Suzuki Kingquad competition. Craig Whittaker from Waimauku is the winner of the Dairy News competition while Marilyn Redditt from Tapanui is the Rural News winner. Both are eagerly awaiting their brand new Kingquad 500 courtesy of Rural News Group and Suzuki New Zealand. Thanks to everyone that entered.

A2 Milk Co only scratching the surface PAM TIPA

THIS YEAR was pivotal in the “transformative dynamic”

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of A2 Milk Company and it had “really only just scratched the surface” of its potential as a business, chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka says. The company’s revenue of $368.4 million for the first four months of the financial year was a growth of 40.5% on the same period in the previous year. The a2 Milk Company’s financial results for the 2018 full year were also impressive, Hrdlicka told the annual meeting. For 2018 the group revenue of $922.7m was a 68% increase on the previous year; earnings before tax of $283.0m were double the previous year and net profit after tax of $195.7m was up 116% on the previous year. Jayne Hrdlicka With the strong result in the first four months the outlook for 2019 is strong performance in each core market. Australia continues to go from strength to strength and the momentum in China continues to build, Hrdlicka says. “Our multi-channel strategy to serve Chinese consumers continues in its development,” she says. “In addition to strong performance across our well managed and sophisticated daigou network and our cross-border e-commerce platforms, The a2 Milk Company has also added distribution of another 2000 stores in the Mother and Baby channel to a total now of 12,000 stores.” Progress in the US continues to build momentum, she says. “Our unique a2 Milk brand continues to deepen distribution and grow in brand strength. An additional 3000 stores have been added to the network since the end of FY18, taking our store count to 9000. We have made significant investment in national brand advertising and it’s delivering pleasing increases in brand awareness and sales velocity through new and established key accounts.” The company has taken important steps with strategic partners including further investment in Synlait and the launch of its first Fonterra initiative. “The a2 Milk brand under licence to Fonterra New Zealand was launched in early August and now has reached national distribution and is performing well. We have joint teams deployed to work through the next wave of opportunities and we continue to be encouraged by the opportunity to work together more broadly.” The a2 Milk Company partnership with China State Farm continues to strengthen with the re-signing of its agreement with them. “This relationship is strong and enduring and an important part of building our business in China for the long term.” Hrdlicka says they are not concerned about the current regulatory dynamic in China and elsewhere in the world.

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NEWS  // 13

Town folks love good farm story PAM TIPA

‘A GOOD story’ was one

of the main motivators for fourth-generation Helensville farmers Scott and

Sue Narbey to open their farm for Fonterra’s Open Gates 2018 day. “We entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and when we started writing down all the good things we were

doing we thought we were doing a pretty good job,” Scott told Dairy News. “And we were sick of hearing all the bad things and how people perceive dairy farms. “We have been tell-

CALVING AND FEED PADS SCOTT SAYS they have done all their calving on a calving p\ad for the last three years. “It is something we think has helped us a lot with metabolics. We don’t have any down cows in the spring calving time because we know exactly what they are eating, how much they are eating and how many minerals they are getting. “It doesn’t make any difference if it is raining. They still get the same amount of feed.” They are on Kaipara clay so they

can get very wet. “So our feed pad and calving pad are very beneficial. We can get them off the pasture when it is wet -- no pugging and we can look after the pasture. “Come spring time, September, we can grow a lot of grass here. If we haven’t pugged it, it sets us up. “We do relatively high supplements. We have a runoff and we bring maize in from another runoff. We grow all the grass silage onfarm here.”

ing Fonterra to put our good story across to the public for a long time and they came up with this concept and we thought, ‘well this something we could help with’. “We did it last year and it worked quite well.” Eight hundred people booked within two days to attend the Narbey farm but heavy clouds deterred some Aucklanders from turning up. Final attendance was was 520 people, with at least 12,000 people registering nationally for Open Gates on November 11 and 500 staff volunteering. One Christchurch farm had a turnout of 780. Scott says the visitors were very respon-

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Helensville farmers Scott and Sue Narbey with Bella and Ollie.

sive and the different levels of people who come was interesting: some had never touched a cow before and never seen a cow being fed or milked. “And they are not very far away from where it is happening so it was surprising for them and they

took a fair bit out of it.” The staff were prepared to give it a go a second time and the farm gets a spring clean preChristmas “which is not a bad thing”. The Narbey’s 155ha milking platform and 410cow system 5 operation

won the Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards in 2017 and Scott says he was proud to open their environmental work to the public. Feedback to Open Gates has been “overwhelmingly positive,” a Fonterra says.




Credit where it’s due

MILKING IT... You must be joking

Co-op’s next chairman?

ATTENDEES AT the inaugural Pasture Summit in Hamilton this week should ask one pointed question to the organisers: which joker thought it a good idea to charge journalists a registration fee? The inaugural summit is being given a miss by most journalists. Coverage will be largely left to a sponsor which can hardly lay claim to have the reach of the whole dairy industry. Is this what the organisers want? Even major sponsors of the event are calling it crazy to charge journalists to attend. Our advice; it’s still not too late. Allow journalists to cover the Ashburton event free of charge, as is the norm for all dairy conferences in this country.

HAS FONTERRA’S new director Peter McBride just strengthened his case to become the co-op’s next chairman? At last week’s Deloitte Top 200 Awards, McBride won the Chairperson of the Year award, and Zespri was crowned Company of the Year. McBride will step down next February as Zespri chairman. Fonterra shareholders are keen to see a seismic shift in Fonterra’s direction and fortunes. McBride was appointed to the board last month -- the only one of the three board-anointed candidates to get through. Is chairman McBride the answer? Only time will tell.

Crook THE WORLD’S biggest producer of milk, India, has a problem: at least 68% of dairy products sold there don’t meet the food standards. Here’s more bad news: according to the World Health Organisation, if such adulteration were not checked immediately, 87% of citizens would be suffering from serious diseases, even cancer, by 2025. So researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, (IIT) Hyderabad, seem to have found a way to help detect adulteration using a smartphone A detector system will measure the acidity of milk through an indicator paper that changes colour depending on the level. The researchers have also developed algorithms that can be incorporated into a mobile phone to accurately detect the colour change. On testing milk spiked with various combinations of contaminants, the team found near-perfect classification with accuracy of 99.71%.

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Chilled even to think about it IS NEW Zealand’s favourite ice cream brand about to change hands? The Australian newspaper reports that Fonterra subsidiary Tip Top could be offloaded as the co-op tries to strengthen its balance sheet. Fonterra is aiming to reduce its debt by $800 million and is mulling the sale of three assets. It has confirmed that its investment in the Chinese infant formula maker Beingmate is under review. And so are two other value added investments. But selling Tip Top may not go down well with everyone. Tip Top is the envy of the marketing world, with high brand awareness among New Zealanders. And given that NZ last week celebrated its inaugural National Ice Cream week, speculation about Tip Top would leave a sour taste among many Kiwi ice cream lovers.

FONTERRA, TAKE a bow. The co-op and its 10,500 farmers have always set the benchmark on environmental sustainability, especially water quality Fonterra will this week release its second sustainability report -- a full picture of its commitments, progress and performance on environmental, social and economic topics in the financial year 2018. And a look at what the co-op and its farmers have achieved in the past 12 months bats all aspects of ‘dirty dairying’ into touch. Fonterra and New Zealand’s dairy farmers get unfairly blamed for degrading the country’s waterways. Environmental lobby groups, especially Greenpeace, claim that too many cows are trashing our rivers and making them unswimmable. The critics also harp on about chemical fertilisers, claiming that their use leads to increasing cow numbers, yet practically all dairy cattle are now excluded from waterways on farms: 99.6% of permanent waterways are now fenced and 99.9% of regular waterway crossings now have bridges or culverts. The co-op now employs 24 sustainable dairy advisors (SDAs) nationwide and it expects to have 28 by the end of 2018, on the way to a target of 30 (double last year). Fonterra’s Tiaki programme, which has SDAs providing advice, tools and services to farmers, has helped see at least 1000 farm environment plans completed. These tailored plans guide the farmer in improving environmental outcomes by the use of digital mapping tools and good management practices. The good work is not confined to farms: the co-op is also tackling water quality issues at its processing sites. A recent water recycling innovation at Fonterra’s Pahiatua manufacturing site will save about half a million litres of water a day. Meanwhile the co-op’s factory at Darfield has new technology which will reduce the amount of groundwater drawn by about 70%. Learnings from Pahiatua and Darfield will be applied elsewhere to help reach the 2020 target of reducing water use at 26 NZ manufacturing sites by 20%. Fonterra is also involved with government agencies and communities to lift water quality. Excellent progress has been noted at the halfway point in Fonterra’s 10-year Living Water partnership with the Department of Conservation, which is focussed on five freshwater catchments to identify game-changing and scaleable solutions that demonstrate that dairying and freshwater can thrive together. No one is promising to clean up the waterways overnight; it’s a long-term approach with results only showing over the long term. But Fonterra farmers aren’t slowing down. The task of reversing the decline seen in water quality over many years is complex and will only be achieved if everybody does their bit.

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OPINION  // 15

Let’s make sure antibiotics continue life-saving work MARK ROSS

RIGHT NOW antibiotics are treating serious diseases worldwide, but resistance threatens the future of this essential form of defence. During the recent World Antibiotic Awareness Week (Nov 12-18) the animal health industry looked at ways to redefine antibiotic use by reducing the need for antibiotics through prevention, innovation and collaboration. Because few new types of antibiotics are being developed, the ones we have must be used carefully so that bacteria are less likely to become resistant to them. Antibiotic use in New Zealand production animals is estimated to be the third-lowest in the world, but industry, farmers and regulators still need to work to preserve this precious resource. Globally, resistance to antibiotics threatens the health of humans and animals. If trends continue, it could cost the lives of 10 million people by 2050.

“Antibiotic use in NZ production animals is estimated to be third-lowest in the world.” The animal health sector is responding by helping prevent disease in the first place and reducing the need for antibiotics. This is done by vaccination, probiotics and targeted viral tools. Vaccinations protect animals from contracting a disease. They are like a boot camp for the body’s immune system – preparing it to create the right defences for when it comes under attack. Often made of a ‘dead’ or weakened version of a disease, vaccines give the body a practice run at producing the right antibodies to fight a particular microbe (infection). They may also be made of antigens -- the proteins on the outside of microbes. While the weakened disease won’t cause an infection, the body will identify it as an enemy it needs to attack. Once the battle is over, the immune system will retain this

knowledge in ‘memory’ cells. This means that if the microbe attacks in the future, the body’s immune system will ‘remember’ how to produce the right antibodies to fight it off. Crucially, it will be able to produce these fast enough to avoid a serious health threat -- avoiding the use of antimicrobials. Today, a variety of vaccines are available for farm animals and pets, helping to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious diseases. Scientists are also looking at developing new vaccines to help overcome the barriers of associated labour costs and potential impacts on the immune system. Probiotics, often referred to as ‘good bacteria’, are increasingly recognised as an effective feed additive to ease the use of antibiotics. This

Mark Ross

benefits gut health and animal wellbeing. The gut is made up of a complex mixture of bacteria, so when the balance is disrupted, the animal can become sick, leading to reduced productivity. Probiotics are live bacteria. They leave fewer resources available to unfriendly bacteria so they cannot cause disease. By helping maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria, probiotics are believed to improve the

animal’s health and performance. Scientists are still investigating their effectiveness. Vaccines, probiotics and other tools are effective at preventing disease. Nevertheless bacterial illness can still occur and antibiotics are usually the only available treatment. Researchers are exploring a ground-breaking treatment called bacteriophages. Sometimes known simply as phages, this is a virus that infects and kills


bacteria. The name ‘bacteriophage’ literally means ‘bacteria eater’. Phages work by recognising and attaching to a bacterial cell then injecting it with their own DNA. Once the DNA is inside, the nutrients and components of the bacteria are used to form new copies of the phage. These hungry offspring then break out by releasing chemicals to destroy the host bacteria and go on to look for other bacteria to infect and feed on. Experimentally, phage therapy shows promise in treating bacterial infection in animals. When used in chickens infected with E.coli, bacteriophages pro-

tect them from respiratory disease. But phages have limitations and their efficacy is uncertain in many situations. Although these alternatives provide an extra lifeline, antibiotics allow us to treat the most serious antimicrobial infections and keep our animals healthy. So it is vital that the animal health industry and regulators keep working together with farmers to make sure that antibiotics continue their lifesaving work. • Mark Ross is chief executive of Agcarm, the industry association for companies that manufacture and distribute crop protection and animal health products.

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Farm moves starting to add up Challenges still there but environmental moves by farmers are starting to deliver results. STRONG AND steady progress towards environmental goals is being made by New Zealand dairy farmers, with significant work undertaken on farms over the past 10 years. Dr David Burger, DairyNZ’s strategy and investment leader for responsible dairying, says improvements have come about in a number of ways, including by fencing cows out of waterways and improved effluent management practices. A 2015 DairyNZ and Federated Farmers survey showed an estimated environmental spend by farmers of over $1 billion from 2010. That equated to $18,000 a year per farm, or $90,000 over the five-year period – with 70 per cent of that spending estimated to have been in the area of effluent management. This is notable because effective effluent management is a fun-

damental step to improve water quality. In 2013 the dairy sector launched the Sustainable Dairy Water Accord– a major commitment from the sector to playing our part in helping to improve water quality in New Zealand. Its purpose is to enhance the overall performance of dairy farming’s effect on freshwater. The Accord lists a set of national good management practice benchmarks aimed at lifting environmental performance on all dairy farms. Commitments to planting alongside farm waterways (known as riparian planting) and improving effluent management are included. There are also measures to improve efficiency of water and nutrient use and comprehensive standards for new dairy farms. Through the Accord, which is voluntary, 97 per cent of significant water-

ways on dairy farms (over 26,000 km), are now fenced off to keep cows out, and 99.7 per cent of regular stock crossings now have bridges or culverts to protect water quality. Farmers are also working towards establishing riparian management plans to help manage contaminant runoff from the land. Supporting this is a newly developed tool, the Riparian Planner, which helps farmers set up a plan and advises on suitable species to plant and how this work should be carried out. In 2016, the Riparian Planner tool won an award by the New Zealand Association of Resource Management for Outstanding Contribution. Farmers have improved effluent infrastructure and practices across many regions and, as a result, incidences of significant non-compliance with local council regulations have decreased significantly, to less than 5.2 per cent in

Around 97% of significant waterways on dairy farms are now fenced off. inset: David Burger, DairyNZ.

2016-17. Many dairy farms have also implemented farm environmental plans to help understand environmental risks on their properties and adopt actions to minimise these risks. This may include actions around nutrient management, for example fertiliser application and nutrient budgeting, and actions to reduce the risk of critical source areas around water ways. Critical source areas are small, low-lying parts of farms

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such as gullies and swales where runoff accumulates in high concentration. Over 2500 farmers now have such plans in place, with the intention to roll them out right across the country. The most recent Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) national water quality monitoring report shows that, for the majority of water quality indicators measured, more monitored sites are now showing signs of improving trends than degrading over the past 10 years. LAWA is an independent and robustly operated reporting network, using best statistical and reporting practices across a network of hundreds of water quality monitoring sites. Burger says the results are great news for freshwater management and great news for everyone actively working to improve water quality outcomes, including the many farmers and landowners all around the country who have undertaken a huge amount of work to reduce their environmental footprint over the past decade. The report also shows

that there are still degrading sites for all indicators, and this means that we all need to keep up our efforts and more work is still needed to continue to improve freshwater outcomes throughout the country. The LAWA finding that macroinvertebrates or the diversity of bugs in streams are under pressure is a big concern. The dairy sector is committed to doing everything we can, alongside other land users, to continue to contribute to improving the health of waterways including the health of macroinvertebrates. Much more work is underway, including science into better ways to mitigate contaminant runoff from the land before it leaves the farm gate. There are also whole of catchment projects to adopt improved farming practices at scale, and demonstrate those outcomes through monitoring and modelling. “It’s critical that we have the right solution for the right place and that requires science from us,” Burger says. “Farmers need certainty about where they’re going and

that they will be supported. Without that science, they could be focusing on the wrong issues.” In June this year The Good Farming Practice: Action Plan for Water Quality was launched by Minister for the Environment, David Parker and Minister for Primary Industries, Damien O’Connor, setting goals to be achieved by 2025. This plan sets out agreed principles for good farming practice across the whole country, as well as an action plan to adopt these principles through farm environment plans across all farms over the next five years. It was jointly developed by primary sector groups, including DairyNZ, regional councils and the two ministries. The dairy sector has a strategic vision, Dairy Tomorrow, which sets out the vision of what we want to achieve together as a sector over the coming decade and beyond. The strategy is a joint initiative by DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand and the Dairy Women’s Network, and was launched in 2017. It puts improving dairying’s environmental footprint at the front of six commitments, which also include building a competitive and resilient sector, producing the highest quality dairy nutrition, improving animal welfare, fostering employment and helping grow vibrant and prosperous communities. • Story courtesy of The Vision is Clear; www.

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Smaller cows equal lower footprint SHAREMILKERS LAURA and Zach

Mounsey are doing their bit to rebuild New Zealand’s Jersey herd. The Mounseys sharemilk a mostly Jersey herd in Otorohanga; with other young farmers Michael and Claire Newson and James Courtman they are involved in launching Jersey Profit to connect with the wider farming public. Jersey Profit is expected to appeal to commercial farmers for its focus on economic indices, milk and meat payment equity and

relevant research and promotion. It has secured funding from pioneer Jersey farmers and will be launched early next year. Laura comes from a drystock background in Hawkes Bay and graduated from Massey University. She has worked at Fonterra as an accountant and is now an agribusiness manager with Rabobank. She is also studying for a chartered accountancy qualification. Zach was raised on an Otorohanga dairy farm and studied at Waikato University. After graduating he worked in finance and economics

with Fonterra and DairyNZ. Zach says their Jersey herd was originally a once-a-day herd in Taranaki. They have been breeding for OAD and A2 qualities for six years, eyeing A2 supply premiums and ease of management over summer. “There is no escaping that livestock farming is under the microscope on environmental footprint,” says Zach. The NZ composite herd is roughly 11 parts Holstein Friesian and five parts Jersey with some minor breeds also

Laura and Zach Mounsey.

included, he says. “A shift to a national composite herd of 11 parts Jersey and five parts HF would reduce the environmental footprint per unit of food produced by about 5%. This is a material shift. Any new initiative to get a

5% reduction in carbon emissions would get scientists highly excited ” About 2% of the reduction would come from producing more milksolds per unit of feed, another 2% from reducing sustainable herd replacement rates, and 1%

from more concentrated milk requiring less cartage, evaporating and farm effluent capacity. Zach says more smaller cows in NZ pastures would overall increase cow numbers but with a smaller footprint Mounseys are also

part of a three-year trial with Geenlea Premier Meats to measure the growth rates of Angus/ Jersey beef calves from birth to finished product. Traditionally, in breeding calves for finishing, Jersey farmers have lagged behind Friesian farmers.



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Colourful response to chemical risks on farm DAIRY TECHNOLOGY

company DeLaval has launched a colour coding system to help prevent chemical accidents on farms. This is in response to its staff learning of several incidents that included a farm worker washing his hands in acid. “This was a serious accident, and it happened because the acid was in the same colour drum

“We wanted a simple and highly visual way to keep people and animals safe.” as the detergent,” says DeLaval solution manager for milk quality and animal health in Oceania, Brendon Radford. Radford and colleagues decided a change was needed, hence their colour-code initiative to

ensure DeLaval products would be used correctly and that customers and staff understand the risks in handling chemicals. DeLaval chemicals will now come in a full colourcoded range: red indicates an acid, blue is alkali and

grey represents teat spray. Kim Sowry, marketing director for DeLaval Oceania, says the new coloured drums went on sale in November. “This work has been ongoing for eight months; we’ve also updated and refreshed our safety related support material including colour-coded

locking straps on manual pump drums, and have colourmatched chemical jugs, automated doser units and wall charts.” DeLaval is also introducing QR codes on the drum labels, so that farmers, transport companies, dealers and staff can have rapid access to the safety data sheets pertaining to the individual product by scanning via a mobile

device with a QR reader uploaded. “We wanted a simple and highly visual way to keep people and animals safe and prevent the unnecessary accidents that happen on farms,” Sowry says. “The change to colourcoded drums and the introduction of the QR code, and ongoing education, has been

Colour-coded drums from DeLaval to reduce risk of on-farm accidents.

praised widely by farmers.” DeLaval recently did more training to educate its sales people and dealers on chemical handling and responses. @dairy_news

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Time to change milking liners? FILLING THE vat with

the best milk you can produce is a financial advantage, says milking liner maker Skellerup. Studies have shown hefty production gains from maintaining good milk quality, the company says. For example, halving bulk milk somatic cell counts (BMSCC) from 300,000 to 150,000 is estimated to increase total season milksolids by 2.1% In general, the lower your somatic cell count (SCC) and the fewer grades incurred during lactation, the more efficient and thorough is your milking process. Attention to detail and a preventative approach go a long way towards improving milk quality, and this is the ideal time of year to review your system, says Skellerup. A key question to ask is:

when did we last replace the liners? Milking liners are the one item in direct contact with the cow. During each lactation she typically spends 50-100 hours attached to the machine, via those liners. “Milking liners are hidden inside the shells, so you can’t see what happens to them when they wear out,” says Skellerup national manager Perry Davis. “The first thing you might see instead is a cow kicking the cluster off, damaged teat ends or a surprisingly high BSCC on the milk docket.” Worn, poor-fitting liners can leave milk in the udder, slip off the teat and/or leave permanent rings at the top of the teat. And any internal cracks in the rubber are an ideal environment for

Don’t treat pests as a problem FARMERS SHOULD stop treating agricultural

pests as a problem, and instead realise they are a symptom of an unsustainable farming method, says a visiting expert in ‘regenerative’ agriculture. Dr Jonathan Lundgren, founder of Ecdysis Foundation and Blue Dasher Farm, visited New Zealand for an international workshop on conservation biological control of invertebrate pests, hosted by the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University.  He told workshop participants that healthy ecosystems do not have the pest problems that are present in ‘monoculture’ agriculture.  “If you have a pest problem in your field, that’s your field telling you that something is out of whack. If all you are doing is reacting to a pest problem, then you are never going to get ahead; you’ve got to solve the underlying problem, not just the symptoms.”  The underlying problem is lack of biodiversity, Lundgren said. “The way we approach our food production is much too simplified.”  Instead, he said, regenerative agriculture solves pest problems and is more profitable.  Regenerative agriculture goes beyond sustainable agriculture by trying to regenerate degraded land and ecosystems rather than simply sustaining what is left. Farmers who follow regenerative methods use few if any pesticides, don’t till the land, practise crop and stock rotation that mimic natural processes, and encourage biodiversity. Lundgren said one study found more diverse and more populous insect communities in cow dung from regenerative farms, including more predators of pest species (mostly flies).

bacteria. Skellerup offers an easy way to check if milking liners are due for replacement: go to and fill in the required

fields or use a calculator to work out how many times they’ve been used since they were installed. If it’s 2500 or more, it’s time to change, Davis says.

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Time to put Johne’s on the m RORY O’BRIEN & DEBBIE CRUMP


(JD) is a major production-limiting disease of farmed ruminants worldwide and, after CAE, it is the biggest animal health concern for goat farmers. Sometimes called paratuberculosis, this bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (MAP) leads to inflammation and thickening of the intestines, resulting in reduced uptake of nutrients, progressive weight loss and death. It is chronic, progressive, contagious and widespread, with no treat-

ment and no cure. Young kids are highly susceptible to MAP infection through ingestion of MAP bacteria in milk or from contact with teats or other surfaces contaminated with dung; dirty drinking troughs are another potential infection risk. Once introduced, the MAP bacteria become established in the small intestine, causing it to become thickened and reducing the uptake of nutrients across the gut lining and causing the animals to slowly waste away. All the while, huge numbers of MAP bacteria are shed in the faeces into the surrounding envi-

ronment to continue the infection cycle. While there are no JD prevalence data for dairy goats in New Zealand, estimates from other industries collated from farmer surveys suggest that JD is common and widespread: 60% of deer herds, 68% of sheep flocks, 31% of beef herds and 60% of dairy cow herds harbour some Johne’s infection. Johne’s is often described as an iceberg disease: for every clinically affected animal showing symptoms of disease, many more infected animals will be lurking just beneath the surface. Goats are notably less

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likely than other species to scour (have diarrhoea) from JD so this shouldn’t be considered a reliable diagnostic indicator. More often, affected goats will exhibit weight loss and poor body con-

dition scoring but maintain a normal appetite and faecal appearance until the disease is in the very end stages and the animal is near death. Unfortunately, these signs are common to other condi-

THE TESTING LABORATORY TWO DIFFERENT types of Johne’s test are available: a blood/milk test and a faecal test. The blood/milk test is the cheaper and measures antibodies in the blood produced by the animal’s immune system following exposure or infection. If blood samples have been taken for CAE testing, a Johne’s test can also be performed on the same sample. The faecal test (sometimes called a PCR test) works quite differently and directly measures MAP bacteria being shed; it confirms that disease is actually happening and also quantifies the shedding level. The specificity of the faecal test is considered to be 100% (this means little chance of a false positive), so when you need to be certain before culling, as is often the case for goat farmers, this can be your best option. Faecal testing can also be done on pooled samples which saves a lot of cost, and on vaccinated animals which would otherwise test positive using blood or milk. Talk to your vet about the best testing approach for your own situation as it can change depending on whether you are testing for freedom from disease or for management and control. Neither test will work perfectly in the very early stages of infection, before antibodies are produced or bacteria shed consistently, but as the disease progresses the test performances improve greatly. Infected kids typically won’t test positive until the infection has begun to take hold so it is not recommended to test very young animals; the best age to test is about 2-4 years of age. There is no treatment for JD and there is no cure, but the ongoing removal of high shedders can quickly mitigate its effects on farm. We don’t talk about eradicating JD, we talk about managing it out of the herd until it’s no longer a problem.



e map erable to control in the tions also so the only way faeces/milk/colostrum/ long run. Keep a closed to know for sure is to test. feed/water and becomherd. Failing that, test For dairy goats a drop-off ing infected when they each and every replacein milk production should are at their most vulnerment (but if considering able. Management pracalso be considered an animals under one year tices can include paying early warning sign. old, better to test mum) careful attention to saniInfected goats can while ideally also considtation, keeping feed up appear healthy and live ering whole herd test data off the ground where it for years without any from the originatobvious outing herd if available. ward indicaIt’s not all bad news Johne’s disease is tions whilst bought and paid continuing to though; for farmers for: don’t invite it shed bactewith JD confirmed home by purchasing ria and conon the farm there is a live animals from taminate their wealth of management a herd of unknown surroundJohne’s status as, ings. Once information available once introduced, JD shed onto pasand while it is mostly spreads quickly and ture, the MAP directed towards dairy is extremely tough bacteria are cows most of it is equally -- financially and resilient and emotionally -- to be survive very applicable to goat rid of again. well in damp, farmers. MAP bacteria shaded areas also survive well on for at least muddy boots and tyres; could become contamia year or even longer if there’s anything good nated with dung, keep(although they can only ing kidding areas as clean to be said about the curmultiply inside a host). rent M.bovis saga it’s that and dung free as possiExposure to sunlight and it has made farmers take ble, removing test-posidry conditions helps to tive does from colostrum kill them off. biosecurity more seripools (pooled or shared It’s not all bad news ously. There is much to colostrum is a big risk though; for farmers with be learned that applies JD confirmed on the farm factor as MAP bacteria are equally to other infectious shed in milk/colostrum), there is a wealth of mandiseases especially in keeping water sources agement information cleaning, disinfection and clean (particularly those available and while it is sanitation. used by kids), and using mostly directed towards Although a direct and waterers designed to min- causal link between MAP dairy cows most of it is imise faecal contaminaequally applicable to goat bacteria in dairy derived tion. farmers. foodstuffs and Crohn’s Johne’s disease preManagement revolves disease remains unproven, vention requires good around identifying shedongoing debate in the scibiosecurity; if you are ders for culling and preentific, medical and public lucky enough to be JDventing newborns from arenas suggests it may be free keep it that way as coming into contact timely and prudent for prevention is far prefwith MAP contaminated a burgeoning dairy goat

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Johne’s disease is the biggest animal health concern for goat farmers.

industry to take early steps to reduce the incidence of JD on farm and to qualify absence of MAP infection in herds contrib-

uting to the production of infant milk formula where competing industries may have missed the boat. Now is the time to

put Johne’s firmly on the MAP. • Dr Rory O’Brien is research manager at Disease Research Ltd, Dunedin.

Debbie Crump is the manager of Demore Sables Dairy Goats. @dairy_news



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the health risks and animal welfare issues are in that production. As an industry, whether a commercial producer or a supplier of genetics to commercial producers, we each have a responsibility to ensure best practice for the ongoing health of our animals and our industry. We must be proactive, not reactive, in the recognition, testing and management/elimination of disease in our herds. A recent study in Italy assessed the economic impact of MAP infection onfarm, and the profit efficiency on semi-extensive dairy sheep and goat farms; the study found significant profit inefficiencies on farms with MAP infection with feed, veterinary interventions and labour costs having the biggest impacts along with significant loss of production. What can we do? We can apply a best-practice protocol industry-wide, including commercial herds, hobby and stud herds, and donors for sales of semen and embryos. Test all animals over one year of age every year prior to mating; transmission may also be spread via semen and placenta.

Ensure your farm and housing are free of dirt and hoarded rubbish, because rubbish tips and ‘Old MacDonalds farm’ set-ups are a likely potential source of disease. Ensure good farm hygiene and bio-security; talk to your vet about putting in place top-notch bio-security to protect your herd. If purchasing animals from outside your own herd or semen/embryos insist on viewing the current MAP status of the herd of origin; do not take someone’s word for it; ask to sight the lab report. Remove and isolate any positive animals before they can infect others. Identify offspring of infected/positive animals and cull. Do not dam rear kids. Remove kids from does at birth and feed only colostrum/milk from tested negative animals or milk replacer. Lobby for a national MAP programme so clean-testing herds can gain a national accreditation. Let’s do this once and do it right. • Debbie Crump is manager of Demore Sables Dairy Goats.

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Green pasture supplies high levels of potassium and vitamin E to goats.

Dairy goats: the high performance ruminants CHRIS BALEMI

IT IS tempting, given the limited research on goat nutrition, to assume a goat’s nutritional requirements fit somewhere between that of sheep and cattle. This assumption would be a mistake: in mineral nutrition goats have very different requirements. Based on a goat’s production level when related to body weight and feed intake, these small ruminants are probably better compared to the ruminant equivalent of an F1 racing car. Just as you wouldn’t run a high performance car on low octane fuel, you shouldn’t feed your goat the same way as you would cattle and sheep. Goats have different and very specific nutritional requirements. If these requirements are not met, the animal will not perform to its full potential, and worse still will be subject to a higher level of disease. The interesting thing about goats is that their requirement is both higher and lower depending on the element in question. While their milk is in many ways more nutritious than that of a dairy cow, nature has at the same time designed the

animal to survive under very different conditions, and on a very different diet from that of a cow. So what are the mineral requirements of dairy goats? Let’s start with one of the key macro elements: phosphorous. Goats typically have a lower requirement for phosphorous from that of dairy cattle. They seem to be better at recycling it and while they have higher levels in their saliva, losses during rumination are lower than that of a cow. In contrast to this, their calcium requirements are quite high and should be set at about half the total phosphorous level in the diet based on the feed ingredients. We consider it is always a good idea to supplement some vitamin D in the diet to ensure dietary uptake of calcium is maximised, particularly if your goats are housed in sheds. Where we as humans are relatively hairless and can therefore very efficiently synthesise vitamin D from sunlight, animals with fur coats, such as goats, are up to 80% less efficient at synthesising the active form of this element. Recently we have implemented some anionic salt blends into goat feeds during TO PAGE 24

SELENIUM LEVELS PROVIDED THE dam has received good selenium nutrition during gestation, the calves and goat kids will be born with very high levels of selenium stored in the liver and kidneys. This is a reserve adequate to tide them over until they start replacing milk with an all-plant diet. Typically, an all milk diet is very low in selenium and drinking milk quickly depletes these reserves. Feeding selenomethionine during early lactation doesn’t just ensure better health in the early lactation animal, it also covers the selenium requirements of the young through the milk they will consume containing a much higher amino acid bound selenium level.



Dairy goats: the high performance ruminants FROM PAGE 23

Goats have specific nutritional requirements.

late gestation to maximise calcium uptake at kidding and early lactation. This is based on research that proves this approach works equally well for goats as for dairy cattle.

The use of anionic salts in the transition period also stimulates rumen recovery earlier and allows higher energy absorption in the early lactation. Dairy goats have similar macro mineral and

vitamin requirements to dairy cattle For example, if a reasonable level of grass makes up a portion of the diet, then potassium levels are normally well covered. Green pasture


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also supplies high levels of vitamin E, (180 – 350 mg per kg/DM, silage 80 – 150mg) and this is usually more than enough to cover requirements. Likewise for vitamin A, ruminants are normally very efficient at synthesising good levels from the high natural carotene levels supplied in green grass. Goats are generally slightly more efficient at absorbing magnesium than dairy cattle, however we normally suggest similar levels are fed, 0.22 – 0.28% Mg on a per

increased risk of toxicity. Chelated minerals that are bound to natural amino acids are much better absorbed and translocated, and are more efficiently stored throughout the body. The same principle applies to the mineral zinc, which is second only in importance to copper in goats. By utilising chelated forms of the mineral that work well with copper, we can ensure adequate levels of bioavailable zinc are efficiently translocated to

Copper requirements for a goat are many times higher than that required by sheep, and are thought to be much higher than the requirement in cattle. kg of dry matter basis, on the higher end during the transition and early lactation period. Sodium and chloride requirements are also similar, if a little lower than those required by cattle. However, dairy goat trace element requirements are very different from those required by other stock. Goats have much more specific requirements here. Copper requirements for a goat are many times higher than that required by sheep, and are thought to be much higher than the requirement in cattle. Where a goat differs from cattle is in the liver storage department. It has been shown that a goat has less than 1/10th of the copper liver storage capacity of that of cattle on a liveweight basis. While goats have this very poor ability to store copper they at the same time have a very high requirement for copper and suffer much worse when copper-deficient. We have found the best way to deal with these relatively high demands is by the use of the highly efficient chelated forms of the mineral. In this way we can better utilise the natural storage capacity within every cell of the body without the

every cell in the body. Good levels of bioavailable zinc raise the body’s level of immunity, improving reproductive performance and hoof integrity. The other all-important mineral for goats is selenium; being a highperformance animal with a high metabolic rate, goats have a high requirement for this element. For our goat supplements we tend to favour the form of the element that is naturally synthesised by plants, that form being selenomethionine. This natural selenium protein is formed during plant growth when some of the sulphur is displaced from the amino acid ‘methionine’ and replaced with selenium. This same product can also be synthesised by using a yeast culture, bringing about the same process under very controlled conditions. This is the form of selenium we favour as a selenium source in all our goat blends. Selenomethionine yeast is guaranteed to deliver high levels of very bio-available selenium in a form that can be more efficiently utilised and stored by the body. • Chris Balemi is the managing director of Agvance Nutrition



Case IH bags two awards THE CASE IH Maxxum 145 Multicontroller has won Tractor of the Year 2019 and Best Design 2019 at the EIMA International farm equipment show in Bologna, Italy. Launched last year alongside three smaller 116-135hp (rated) models, the highlights of the 4-cylinder 145hp Maxxum 145 Multicontroller include its ActiveDrive 8 eight-step semi-powershift transmission and the Multicontroller armrest and joystick -- attributes recognised by TOTY judges as helping ease of operation and enhancing efficiency. The TOTY award builds on the tractor’s

previous achievements, including the lowest average specific fuel consumption recorded in the field work section of the PowerMix test by Germany’s

DLG testing station. Complementing the existing ActiveDrive 4 four-step semi-powershift and CVXDrive continuously variable

transmissions, the key development on the new Maxxum Multicontroller range is the ActiveDrive 8 three-range/eight-step semi-powershift transmission. The transmission and many other operating functions can be controlled via the Multicontroller armrest and joystick. Recent revisions to the Maxxum range have given the line a fresh new look, and in a double recognition the same model has also won the Best Design category, recognising the importance to functionality and form of a modern tractor’s styling. Following its intro-


this year extended its Forage Cruiser range with the flagship model, the FR920, having a new engine, improved feeding and a choice of three ranges of crop processors. The FR920 uses an all-new FPT industrial V20 engine delivering 911hp maximum power at 1600 to 1800 rpm, 4095 Nm maximum torque and a productivity-boosting 44% torque rise at 2100-1600rpm. The power curve is said to be specifically mapped to match the precise requirements of foraging applications, ensuring the best transient response, so that the FR reacts fast to changing load; the most fuel-efficient performance is in the 1600 to 1900 rpm working range. Overall, the feeding system has been improved and now has a 12.5% bigger intake channel thanks to greater lift of the intake rolls. The direct-driveline logic of the FR Forage Cruiser is said to ensure that power from the new V20 engine

is efficiently transmitted to the driven parts and, ultimately, to the ground, with the driveline and components reinforced to manage the increased engine output of the new model. A newly designed heavy-duty 4WD system increases the maximum torque transferred to the wheels by 60% versus the standard system. New heavy-duty axles are guidance-ready, have a reinforced steering axle support and can allow the fitment of larger footprint steering tyres. NH is also introducing the new DuraCracker and DuraShredder heavy-duty crop processing systems in addition to the standard crop processing rolls. The DuraCracker system uses reinforced frames and drives to deliver uniform kernel cracking to match the high outputs of the new model. The DuraShredder uses rolls with additional spiral cuts to shred the crop and more intensively process both kernel and stover,

particularly in situations with mid-tolong cutting lengths. These processing systems combine with the patented HydroLoc technology to ensure consistent chop length independent of throughput and crop type, and the ActiveLoc system that automatically adapts chop lengths to moisture content. New Holland will also offer NIR On Board as an option on the FR Forage Cruiser, meaning customers will be able to measure and monitor the crop’s moisture and nutrient parameters with +/-2% accuracy and in real time as they harvest. With NIR On Board, the harvester will measure main crop parameters such as dry matter, crude protein, crude fat, starch, neutral detergent fibre (NDF), acid detergent fibre (ADF) and ash. The data collected by the system can be transferred to the farm’s PC with a USB key or it can be transmitted through wi-fi or GPS.

duction last summer, the new Case IH Maxxum range, in its Multicon-

troller guise with the new ActiveDrive 8 semi-powershift transmission, also

won Machine of the Year 2018 at Agritechnica in Hanover, Germany.

Make mine large WHILE NEW Zealand plays catch-up and Europe leads in using farm effluent, it was always going to fall to the North American continent to go large -- very large. At the recent Euro Tier 18 event in Hanover, Germany, the Canadian company Cadman showed off its self-propelled slurry pump and reeler system called the Continuous Manure Applicator (CMA). Offered in three versions, all powered by a DPS (John Deere), 9.0L, 375hp engine, the CMA 5500 carries a whopping 853m of 139mm diameter delivery hose. The applicator unit, carried by a tractor in the paddock, has a swivelling connector arm to keep the supply hose in the same position when the tractor makes a headland turn to begin a return

run. The CMA is synched to the spreading tractor by GPS, with the system paying out or re-winding the delivery hose at the same rate as the tractor’s travel speed. At the headland, when the tractor makes a turn to set up for the next run, the CMS automatically moves forward to keep the hose in alignment for a straight pull. The unit is said to achieve outputs of up to 200 cubic metres depending on material consistency and ground topography. The manufacturer says the key benefit of the system is its use in rowcrops such as maize -- even crops 1m tall -- with no physical damage to the plants. The machines are designed to be moved between jobs by a tractor about 350hp.



New mower turns on a dime MARK DANIEL

KUBOTA HAS unveiled

three new models that will replace its previous T series mower line-up. The new T series comprises the T2090 with 42-inch deck and the T2290 with 42- and 48-inch deck options. Both deck options use a new fabricated design offering rigidity, strength and reduced maintenance. Kubota has improved the previous models with features such as an ultrasharp turning radius, so operators can now turn the mower 360 degrees on only a 14-inch turning radius. A foot-operated hydrostatic transmission pedal simplifies control of speed and direction, leaving hands free at all

WOPA TrimMaster on track.

Right on track MARK DANIEL

Kubota T series tractor.

models have a high-back seat that adjusts up to four inches fore and aft, and the T2290 models include a parallel link seat suspension system. The T2090 and the

times for precise steering in confined spaces. A flat foot pan provides a clearer operating space and ample room for the operator to enter and exit the mower. All

T2290 are powered V-twin engines that produce 20hp and 21.5hp respectively; both models come with a 4-year/300hour warranty.

TRACTORS, HARVESTERS and even trailers might run on rubber tracks, but it’s not something you’d expect to see under cattle crushes or hoof trimmers. Dutch firm WOPA, whose products are distributed in New Zealand by Veehoof, Canterbury, has developed such a machine: the TrimMaster is said to be ideal for tracking over uneven

surfaces or working on soft or unstable ground. In operation, power from a lead-acid battery runs an electric motor for up to about 30 minutes, and this powers a hydraulic pump that feeds oil to trackdrive motors in the track unit under each side of the machine. Although built the same as the standard wheeled unit that rides on its own wheels, the tracked version needs a flat-bed trailer to make the move between jobs and it costs more.

Environment, animal welfare and profit...have it all! performance ✓Environmental Utilising on/off grazing can lead to reduced soil pugging and compaction, decreased N leaching and a reduction in overgrazing

Animal welfare

animals with a shelter choice limits the impact of heat, cold and ✓Providing rain & improves calving survival rates.


✓ See the new and improved design. More loafing space, increased effluent storage and a stronger roof. Ask the farmer why they picked HerdHomes® shelters and see for yourself how it is working out.   

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Farmers are growing more grass and utilising supplementary feeds far more efficiently when fully using a HerdHomes Shelter—this is leading to higher productivity and profit.

Autumn / Winter HerdHomes® shelters users throughout New Zealand continue to talk to us about the benefits they get throughout the autumn and winter. It allows for users to manage pasture residuals and round lengths with ease. Drying off is based on calving date as all stock are wintered at home where putting on a condition score is simple 

NZ Patent Numbers: 521150, 544190, 550635, 545042. Further patents pending. International Patent Numbers: 2003267874, 03748807.9. Further patents pending



Tried and tested Triton MARK DANIEL



upgrades and a new look for the 2019 Mitsubishi Triton have the manufacturer suggesting it expects its sales to increase by 25% for the already popular model launched 40 years ago. The new 1-tonne ute was recently unveiled at a global launch in Bangkok, Thailand, with first examples due to arrive in New Zealand in late December. “The Triton is the fastest-growing mainstream 4WD ute in New Zealand and the third highest-selling, with a 12.2%* market share,” said Reece Congdon, MMNZ head of marketing and corporate affairs. It is said to combine powerful styling with a robust profile, increased ground clearance and an enhanced

2019 Mitsubishi Triton

4WD system, which together deliver rugged good looks, greater rigidity and improved off-road performance. Machine-finished 18” alloys on GLX-R and VRX models add an extra touch of quality. The Triton’s Super Select II 4WD system is available in top-of-the-range 4WD models and is now equipped with a new off-road mode including gravel, mud/snow, sand and rock settings. When engaged, off-road mode controls engine power, transmission and braking to regulate the amount of wheel slip and so maximise all-terrain performance. The addition of hill descent control further assists in challenging situations, maintaining a constant vehicle speed during descents by regulating braking force to each wheel, allowing the driver to concentrate on steering. A new six-speed automatic transmission is said to enable smoother,

more powerful acceleration overall and less engine noise at high speeds. The current range’s ladder-type frame and high impact-protection cabin structure is retained, backed by Mitsubishi’s latest active safety and driver assistance systems. These are new to the Triton, with forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning also available down the range on GLX and GLX-R models. Top-of-the-range VRX models benefit from blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, multi around view monitor and front and rear parking sensors. VRX and GLX-R models also have larger front brake discs and two pistons in each caliper for improved braking performance and greater safety overall. When the full range is announced in the coming weeks, Kiwis will be be offered a choice of four 2WD and ten 4WD models, in seven colours, four of

‘S’ effect hits MF tractors MARK DANIEL

MASSEY FERGUSON has announced the

S Effect across its entire range of Beauvais-built tractors. The new Massey Ferguson S series line-up (MF 5700 S, MF 6700 S, MF 7700 S and MF 8700 S) ranging from 100 to 370hp, have a distinctive new style with a new bonnet design, decals, bar lights and headlights to create an up-to-the-minute look. Inside, the tractors get a new darker seat cover and black armrest frame, and the Datatronic 4 console becomes silver, grey and black. A key highlight of the S series is the option of the advanced Fieldstar 5 touch-screen ISOBUS terminal on all models in all ranges. This stand-alone 9-inch terminal combines the ease of use and touchscreen convenience of a tablet with powerful precision farming features. The Fieldstar 5 builds into a complete precision farming package with products that provide mapping, automatic section control, variable rate applications, record keeping and comprehensive machinery monitoring

with telemetry. Complementing the existing Datatronic 4 screen with integral AutoGuide and automatic steering operation, it also links to the Multipad joystick when fitted, enabling operators to assign ISOBUS control to individual buttons. For operators using machine guidance, MF is offering the choice of two different GNSS receiver suppliers, either NovAtel or Trimble, who can offer a range of GPS receivers from basic free-toair to more precise RTK systems, to select steering accuracy that best suit individual operations. ‘S’ tractors are also fitted with a raft of features to improve operator safety and comfort, including improved handrails and guards, clear safety decals and changes to the cab interior. The Multifunction joystick offers a new switch layout for front loading, front linkage or hydraulic operations, using the joystick for shuttle control, gear ratio changes and 3rd/4th hydraulic functions. To further enlarge payloads, some models have greater gross vehicle weight (GVW): for example, the GVW on the MF 6715 S Dyna-4 is now

11,000kg and the MF 6718 S -- with its outstanding power-to-weight ratio -- is now 12,500kg for the Dyna-VT model. The MF7722 has the option of 650/85 R38 or 710/70 R42 tyres. Active mechanical suspension is introduced for the MF 8700 S, offering

continuous damping control for ultimate comfort in the field and on the road. Already known on the MF 6700 S and MF 7700, the system provides optimum damping forces for all driving situations, reducing heave/pitch and roll movements and reacts according to vehi-

cle behavior. Dyna-6 and Dyna-VT models from MF 6700 S and above ranges are available with either 40 or 50km/h maximum speed. Braking improvements see speed automatically limited to 40km/h if the pedals are not linked for road driving.

Massey Ferguson 6716S tractor.

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Dairy News 27 November 2018  

Dairy News 27 November 2018

Dairy News 27 November 2018  

Dairy News 27 November 2018