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Tribute to John Wilson. PAGE 3

NETWORK OF PASSION DWN’s new leader PAGE 8

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FEBRUARY 12, 2019 ISSUE 416 // www.dairynews.co.nz

MOOLOO CHEESE GOES GLOBAL Cheesemaker Albert Alferink wins his first medal at the World Cheese Awards. PAGE 7

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

NEWS  // 3

Thanks John, for the milk price! SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

M.bovis levy consultation. PG.06

Reducing heat stress. PG.26

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DAIRY FARMERS have former Fonterra chairman John Wilson to thank for the milk price they enjoy today, says Sir Henry van der Heyden. In a eulogy at Wilson’s funeral in Hamilton early this month, van der Heyden told of Wilson’s relentless push for a fair and transparent milk price. “His relentless questioning and his ability to process and retain vast amounts of information means we have a tremendous legacy from him in the milk price,” he said. “John is the godfather of the milk price… the milk price is all dairy farmers really worry about; it represents security. We should light a candle to John every season.” Wilson succeeded van der Heyden as chairman in 2012. Illness had forced Wilson to step down as chairman last July and he died at his Te Awamutu home on January 28. At least 1000 people attended his funeral. Van der Heyden, who has stayed out of dairy industry affairs since retiring from Fonterra’s board, said he was “more than a little humbled” to be asked to speak at the funeral. He said Wilson had the ability to “rise to the top the way cream does”. “All by itself and what put him there was his ability to bring farmers along with him. He had enormous

ability to absorb, interpret and use information intelligently and persuasively. “He would turn information into visionary concepts that farmers could believe in. “He connected with them in their language and on their terms and they chose him as a director and ultimately as chairman.” Van der Heyden took exception to a newspaper columnist having recently called Wilson his pupil. “He got this totally wrong; John was always his own man and plenty of people can vouch for that.” Van der Heyden explained Wilson’s work on the milk price before and after Fonterra was formed. Before Fonterra the New Zealand Dairy Board handled all dairy exports and the co-ops managed the domestic market. The NZDB paid farmers for their milk using a basic formula of revenue minus costs; co-ops added a margin depending on how good they

were in the local market. Van der Heyden said farmers could see how the co-ops made their money but they could never see what drove the revenue line in the Dairy Board. “This was a multi-million-dollar business but we could never get a handle on their costs: it was all a matter of faith and it drove John mad. He believed to his core that

farmers should be able to see the numbers -- warts and all -and know they were absolutely right. “So, when we introduced Trading Among Farmers, John was like a terrier in getting the milk price right and, above all, truly independent. “He knew it had to stand up to scrutiny from all corners – politicians, competitors, regulators and especially farmers. There could be no possibility of money moving around to benefit investors over farmers or vice versa. “Today we have a model based on revenue less costs which is fully transparent [in both respects] and independently reviewed by the Commerce Commission. So, for example, farmers today know the milk price has benefitted by 40c/kgMS as a result of efficiencies and savings. They also know the days of lagging behind European dairy farmers are long gone. That price parity is one of John’s legacies.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

4 //  NEWS

NELSON FARMS UNTOUCHED BY FIRES NIGEL MALTHUS

FONTERRA SAYS its operations in

Regional NZ fuelling China’s appetite SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

REGIONAL NEW Zealand is punching above its weight in the relationship with its biggest trading partner, China. Fonterra’s chief operating officer global operations, Rob Spurway, says increasing Chinese appetite for NZ dairy is helping drive our region’s economies and now 11% of all dairy in China comes from Fonterra farmers. In a message to mark the Chinese Year of the Pig last week, Spurway noted that last year NZ exports to China were worth at least $16.6 billion, and $3.8b of that was generated by Fonterra in rural and regional NZ. In total, about 25% of Fonterra’s exports go to China and are con-

sumed by about 150 million people. “We’re not just talking about milk powder either,” says Spurway. Fonterra mozzarella tops at least 500 million pizzas and NZ cream goes into 500 million tea macchiatos every year. “A little bit of NZ is ending up on shelves and tables across China and in return that product is helping put food on Kiwi tables,” he adds. China export earnings help generate income for forklift drivers in Darfield, Maungaturoto tanker operators, cheesemakers in Stirling and processors at the co-op’s plant in Te Awamutu, Spurway says. “The benefits of our relationship with China flow into communities as our employees and farmers support businesses, schools and other local organisations across the country.” Waikato is among Fonterra’s big-

gest regions for China exports, totalling $1.2b in cream, cheese and milk powder -- about $2500 per person in the region. Of Fonterra’s 30 NZ sites, Clandeboye in Canterbury was the top producer, exporting about $566m of products to China, Southland’s Edendale exported nearly $560m and Whareroa, Taranaki exported $437m. Chinese consumer demand has a year-long positive effect, says Spurway. “I’m fortunate my job has taken me to China a fair number of times and my sense of pride is as strong as ever when I see our products on shelves, in bakeries and in beverages. “It’s special knowing that a little bit of regional and rural NZ has found its way into the lives of people in Shanghai, Beijing and Dongguan.”

the Nelson area have survived the huge Pigeon Valley fire unscathed. A spokesman said one supply farm was close to the blaze but pickups were not affected. Dry conditions there had already prompted many farmers to start oncea-day milking. Late last week the fire was believed to be contained but a state of emergency was declared on Waitangi Day for the Nelson-Tasman area when the fire covered 1900ha; about 180 homes were evacuated and one was reported destroyed. Federated Farmers urged the region’s farmers to take extreme care to safeguard life and property. Feds board member and fire spokesperson Karen Williams described the situation as fast-moving and advised residents to be prepared to evacuate. “If you are told to evacuate please follow those instructions. It may be heart-breaking to leave your home and property, but you are ultimately what is valuable.” Williams pointed out priorities if fire approached animal-stocked land. “Opening gates can be problematic as loose stock can be another serious hazard to responders. “Herd them into wet areas, swamps,

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etc -- even lucerne or worked (not sprayed paddocks) if practical. Bear in mind each fire is different and this advice may not be practical for your particular situation.” With Scion Rural Fire Research, the Feds have put out a list of fire safety measures farmers NZ-wide should take as summer continues. • Reduce the fire fuels on your property by mowing grass often or removing dead fuel from your farm. • Create a fire break around your property. If possible, maintain green lawns and ensure paddocks around buildings and yards are well grazed and not overgrown. • Have a water source which can easily be accessed or is portable in the event of a fire or emergency and clearly indicated for emergency crews. • Provide clear access for emergency vehicles if needed. Remove overhanging trees and clear driveways if possible. Make sure your RAPID number is displayed in a place clearly visible to emergency vehicles. • Know the fire risk in your area, know what the current fire dangers are and what the restrictions are in your area. Do this by visiting www.checkitsalright.nz • Create a fire plan for your family, livestock and assets, so you know what to do in a fire. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

NEWS  // 5

Prices rise more and sharper KEY RESULTS

PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

■■

AMF index up 5.8%, average price US$5579/t

■■

butter index up 4.2%, average price US$4445/t

■■

BMP index down 3.1%, average price US$3158/t

■■

Ched index up 1.4%, average price US$3565/t

■■

LAC index up 1.3%, average price US$1035/t

■■

RenCas index up 10.9%, average price US$5596/t

■■

SMP index up 3.9%, average price US$2534/t

■■

SWP index not available, average price not available

■■

WMP index up 8.4%, average price US$3027/t.

DAIRY PRICES extended and

quickened their ascent at last week’s GDT auction and were stronger than anticipated, says BNZ senior economist Doug Steel. The GDT Price Index rose a hefty 6.7%, the largest increase of the five consecutive gains. Prices are up a cumulative 18.8% from the late November lows. Steel says BNZ’s $6.25/kgMS forecast may be a bit low and those forecasting $6/kgMS are likely to revise upwards. The result was stronger than expected, Steel told Dairy News. “We wondered if demand may be temporarily disrupted by Chinese new year celebrations bringing some price consolidation; not so. “Indeed demand appears to have strengthened with decent price gains despite more supply. “The bigger than expected price gains might also reflect some concern

about late season NZ milk supply as it becomes drier than usual in some areas. “This is important at the margin even if NZ milk production for the season as a whole will be well up on last

year. More generally, the overarching fundamental of subdued global milk supply continues to underpin price gains, with strong price gains in the major products.” Whole milk powder prices rose 8.4% to an average price of US$3027/ tonne. “We had $3000/t forecast by May so the gains have come a bit earlier than expected but still along the lines of our broader view,” says Steel. “It puts upward pressure on Fonterra’s milk price. Our $6.25/kgMS forecast might be a bit low. Those picking $6 are likely to revise their views higher. “On our calculations, recent auction results support a milk price at least toward the top of Fonterra’s forecast $6 to $6.30 range if not above it.”  Last week’s result at least removes a negative for the Reserve Bank. “Whole milk powder prices are back above the Bank’s medium term view of US$3000/t for the first time since June last year. It is another factor arguing against a rate cut.”

Whole milk powder prices jumped 8.4% last week.

TRIBUTE FOR PASTURE ADVOCATE DAIRY FARMERS are paying

tribute to a South Island farming leader who passed away recently. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says Adrian van Bysterveldt was a passionate advocate and leader for pasture-based farm systems and his work helped shape and influence the direction of dairy farming, partic-

ularly in the South Island. “Adrian was passionate about all things dairy and really believed in pasture-based farm systems; he had an incredible enthusiasm for the sector and the people in it,” Mackle said. He was at the front dairy farming in Canterbury and played a big role in setting up the Lincoln

University Dairy Farm (LUDF), helping found it as a nationally and internationally renowned demonstration farm. “Farmers and sector specialists attended events just to hear him speak. “Adrian was a natural teacher and dedicated to developing a farm’s performance and estab-

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

6 //  NEWS

M.bovis costs to add 3.9c/ kgMS to levy NIGEL MALTHUS

DAIRY FARMERS are being asked to approve a levy of up to 3.9 cents/ kgMS over the next two seasons to pay their share of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication effort. With DairyNZ’s regular levy now 3.6c/kgMS, the proposal is to more than double farmers’ total levy payments. DairyNZ emphasises that 3.9c/kgMS is the proposed maximum, chosen so that the bulk of the M.bovis response can be paid for in the first two years and after that substantially decreased. It represents about $6100 per year, for those two years, for an average farm milking 430 cows. DairyNZ has published the figure at the start of a three-week consultation period, saying farmers are “strongly encouraged” to comment on the proposal. After the decision last May to move to eradication of M.bovis, the Gov-

ernment estimated the total response cost over 10 years to be $870 million. The Government would pay $591m, the dairy sector $262m and the beef sector $17.4m. DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ will each apply their own levying regime after consulting with their sectors. “The consultation on the response levy is now underway and we want to hear from every dairy farmer,” said DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel. “Eradication is looking achievable and this is a great outcome for New Zealand. Partnering with the Government has significantly reduced the costs of managing the M.bovis response, and we are very grateful for the support of the Government and the public.” DairyNZ has posted information packs to all dairy farmers. Nine consultation meetings will be held NZ-wide on February 18-22. The consultation

MORE THAN EXPECTED FEDERATED FARMERS dairy chair Chris Lewis said while farmers generally accept the need for eradication, the proposed levy is a lot higher than some were expecting. “When it came in at 3.9 it made me look again; it is a lot of money.” He said many dairy farmers are still unhappy about the 94:6 split between the dairy and beef sectors, as agreed to by DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ. “What is it paying for, what are we getting for that amount of money?” Lewis encouraged farmers to go to the consultation meetings, ask questions and have their say.

period ends on February 28. DairyNZ must then make a recommendation to MPI. The levy would take effect on June 1, collected and paid in the same way as levies under the Commodity Levies (Milksolids) Order 2014, i.e. dairy processors will pay the levy and recover it from suppliers. Beef farmers will pay their share via a separate levy at slaughter but dairy cull cows will not be subject to that so dairy farm-

ers will not pay twice. “We understand that the financial contribution to the M.bovis response, via the levy, will be challenging for some farmers. However, we believe it was the right decision to eradicate rather than let the disease spread through our stock. “Letting M.bovis spread would have been a more serious challenge and have much higher and longer lasting costs,” said van der Poel.

“We want to hear from farmers because they will all contribute towards dairy’s share of the eradication. It’s vital that farmers ask the questions they need to and know where to go for more information,” he said. The biosecurity response levy has officially been in place, but at a nominal level (effectively zero) since DairyNZ joined the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA) last year. Ramping it up to tackle M.bovis will be the first time it has been invoked to deal with a specific biosecurity threat. DairyNZ says the rate

will be reviewed annually and will reduce significantly once the costs of the M.bovis response are recovered unless there is another biosecurity response required. DairyNZ says the GIA commits the dairy sector and the Government to

work in partnership to improve readiness for biosecurity events and jointly respond to outbreaks. As a signatory to GIA, DairyNZ has more influence on behalf of farmers in biosecurity readiness and response decisions and activities.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ■■

Visit dairynz.co.nz/GIA

■■

Email info@dairynz.co.nz

■■

Phone 0800 4 324 7969

■■

An information pack has gone to dairy farmers for their feedback on the included freepost form. This can also be completed online at dairynz.co.nz/GIA

■■

For dates and venues of the nine consultation meetings NZ-wide, visit dairynz.co.nz/GIA

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

NEWS  // 7

Cheesemaker on global stage

GETTING EVERYTHING RIGHT ALBERT ALFERINK says the secret to his award-winning vintage gouda is getting everything right. The curd has to be heated long enough to get it dried. “There’s no flavor in the cheese for months; the taste develops over a year,” he says. “There’s very little salt in the Vintage Gouda; young cheese needs salt for flavor but older cheeses develop their own.”

sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

WAIKATO CHEESEMAKER

gouda cheese. He told Dairy News that Thomas, a former employee at Mercer Cheese, decided to enter the World Cheese Awards. “I found out after the judging day that we won a bronze medal,” he says. Alferink says he’s happy to win a global award for his cheese but quickly adds that he doesn’t make cheese to win awards.

He says there are many hard working cheesemakers in NZ and, as in sport, only winners get to share the limelight. Alferink makes 25 tonnes of cheese every year at his small factory. Most cheeses are either sold at his shop or sold to restaurants in Auckland. Since October last year, he has exported to Australia; he hopes

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Albert Alferink is no stranger to specialty cheese awards. Two years ago, he made headlines by scooping the NZ champion of champions with his ‘50/50’ cheese, made from sheep and cows’ milk. And at the NZ Specialty Cheese Awards he has won many other awards for artisan cheeses he makes at his Mercer Cheese factory in Onewhero. Now Alferink’s cheesemaking skills have put him on the global stage. In November, he picked up a bronze medal at the World Cheese Awards in Norway for his Vintage Gouda -- his first gong at the global event. The cheese was Waikato Gouda from Mercer Cheese, entered by James Thomas, owner of online cheese retailer NZ Cheese Ltd. Alferink, who sells the cheese as Mercer Vintage from his shop in Mercer, has always made vintage

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to sell one tonne of cheese in Australia this year through Calendar Cheese, a leading Melbourne distributor. Alferink says the success of his cheeses depends on more than just the skills of his cheesemaking team. He singles out Onewhero dairy farmers Bryce and Rosemarie Costar, who farm 500m down the road and supply fresh milk for his business. “It’s essential to start with good, fresh and top quality milk when making cheese,” he says. “And we get it fresh: when they are milking in the morning our tanker is there ready to pick up the milk.” Alferink also thanks Fonterra; the Costars supply the co-op but are allowed to sell 20% of their milk to their neighbor. He buys cheese cultures from Chr. Hansen, a global bioscience company with an office in Hamilton. “Everyone helps me make top quality cheeses,” he says.

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

8 //  NEWS

Industry’s passion motivates leader PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

BEING IN an industry filled with so much passion is an aspect of dairying which Dairy Womens Network chief executive Jules Benton loves after nine months in the job. “Obviously it’s not without its challenges but I always say ‘if there is a problem what’s the solution?’ ” she told Dairy News. “With every challenge we say ‘okay, what are we going to do for our members around this?’ “We are always thinking what does it mean for our members -- how can we help them?” The focus is making sure they are delivering on that. “And keeping that engagement and having some fun. It is a serious industry but making sure we have some fun, and think about wellness and well-being.” Benton is a newcomer to the industry, having come to the helm of the 10,000 strong network after a recent position as general manager for Wolters Kluwer CCH New Zealand, a research and workflow solutions company. Prior to that she spent ten years consulting to businesses to develop

are absolutely committed to that.” Benton says the focus is on people. “And because we are part of the Dairy Tomorrow strategy everything we do anchors DWN back to that; it’s really important. “We are part of ‘commitment five’ which is building great workplaces for NZ’s most talented workforce.... So it’s challenging to get team members out there. “It’s no secret there is a labour shortage, certainly in the dairy sector, so we want to have great employers and employees and bring learning and education to all parties.

leadership capability, streamline processes and promote professional development and education. “One thing I have realised about the dairy industry is ‘boy, they are passionate’. They do get a little bit down but they bounce back... when organisations such as our partners DairyNZ... are supporting them.” It was “fantastic” to see DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle’s recent NZ Herald article which she read as telling farmers “we have your back”. “There is a lot of negative media on farmers. So if industries and businesses come out and support farmers, if you have support and encouragement around you, it lets you focus on why you went farming. That is because of your love of land, animals and people.” It’s a tough industry, she says, “but, my God, farmers are tough”. “Mycoplasma.bovis has taken a real toll financially and mentally on many of our members; we need to make sure we support them. “Having events and having the network say ‘we hear from you, we support you’... DairyNZ and our other partners

KEEPING MEMBERS healthy

is important to Dairy Womens Network, which led to this year’s conference theme of ‘Invest in You’, on May 1-2 at the Christchurch Town Hall. Changing trends will be one theme of the event. “But also having time to take a breath and spend two days with like-minded people and sharing and connecting,” says Dairy Womens Network chair Jules Benton. “We always listen to members but this year we have asked ‘what do you want at the confer-

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Jules Benton has been chief executive of Dairy Womens Network for nine months and is loving her job.

out at key times.” They will start payroll workshops this month in partnership with payroll provider PaySauce. They will also run workshops on accommodation for employees and their usual calving workshops with partner Seales Winslow. “We try to get in as much learning as possible before members head

ence?’ With member feedback we believe we have delivered a two day event that will hit their hot spots. “It’s about food, nutrition, healthy thinking, innovation, animal welfare, family trusts. How many of our members have family trusts that are pretty scary and they don’t get the right advice? What do family trusts mean and how do you make sure they are administered properly? “We will have Vicki Ammundsen, a leading trust lawyer in New Zealand, is excited about spending time with our members;

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it won’t be technical talk, but down-to-earth advice and knowledge sharing. “We have a fabulous new speaker no one will have heard of in New Zealand -- Sue Stockdale, from UK -- on goal setting. She is a coach and mentor looking at relocating to NZ.” Stockdale was the first UK woman to ski to the North Pole. “She will take members through her journey; we are shaking it up a bit,” says Benton. “The gala event will be the dinner with the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award -- glitz

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off to calving. Then we replan the programme so that during calving we are getting the next modules ready to roll out at the end of October through to early December.” DWN supports all six of the commitments in the Dairy Tomorrow strategy but she says ‘number five’ (talented workforce) and ‘number six’ (growing

vibrant and prosperous communities) have special focus for them. “We love the people one; it fits well with what we are as an organisation and where we see ourselves in connecting people. We are enjoying being part of that wider strategy.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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“DWN is a good vehicle for getting information out. We have close to 10,000 members and they love coming to our events; it gets them offfarm. “Our events and knowledge sharing workshops are all practical, just-in-time learning; we work with our partners on what is happening in industry, what farmers need to know, what is coming up… a bit of thought leadership as well, stretching the imagination and bringing those learnings to them. We want them to have fun learning but we want to get important messages

and glamour and connection. Feedback from members is they want to get off-farm and connect and have a good time. “It’s red carpet and having a lot of fun. We are hosting it in the newly refurbished town hall in Christchurch which is beautiful. “Some people may not have been to Christchurch post-earthquake; some may not have been there at all. It shows when tough times happen there is light at the end of the tunnel and Christchurch is representative of us and there was a strong connection to host the conference there.”

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

NEWS  // 9

Bigger push to tame pest weed Velvetleaf properties as of May 2018

NIGEL MALTHUS

Region

THE MINISTRY for Primary Industries has ramped up its efforts to contain the invasive weed velvetleaf, appointing community outreach officers to work with farmers in the worst affected regions. This comes as Waikato Regional Council reports a big spike in velvetleaf infestations, up from 36 at the start of the 2017-18 season to 53. MPI has also confirmed two more cases in the Auckland region, but does not yet have up-todate figures for the other regions. It now has staff working in Waikato, Canterbury and Southland, advising farmers and rural contractors on how best to tackle velvetleaf, which is among the world’s most invasive pest plants, competing with crops for space, nutrients and water. Waikato’s long-standing infestation is linked to maize, with relatively few properties affected but large numbers of plants. In the South Island, the infestation is mainly linked to six fodder beet seed lines, imported in 2015, found to be con-

Property Count

Northland

1

Auckland

11

Bay of Plenty

1

Waikato

39

Gisborne

1

Hawkes Bay

3

Taranaki

5

Horizons

31

Wellington

2

Tasman

1

Marlborough

1

West Coast

2

Canterbury

357

Otago

272

Southland

405

Total

1132

taminated with small amounts of velvetleaf seed. Hundreds of properties received the seed lines and remain under surveillance but relatively few velvetleaf plants have been discovered. Megan Hands, the community outreach contractor for Canterbury, North Otago and the West Coast, said farmers who received the six fodder beet seed lines were asked to continue checking their paddocks. “Now is a good time to go and check your paddocks for velvetleaf that may have popped up this growing season, particu-

larly if you have put that paddock back in crop. When it goes back into pasture it tends to remain dormant.” Hands said farmers who received the suspect seed would know who they are and should have a management plan. “Part of my role is checking on those people and finding out how they’re getting on with those management plans and making sure they are still being vigilant.” Waikato Regional Council pest plant team leader Darion Embling said the number of infected properties in the

region has jumped to 53, with three discovered so far this season. There are two clear pathways for the spread, he said, the main one being harvesting machinery going from one property to another without being properly cleaned. “Machine hygiene is number one; we’ve been saying this for years, actually.” Second is maize silage. Seeds from undetected velvetleaf plants can survive both the silage-making process and going through a cow’s gut. But Embling said it is good that the Rural Contractors Association and the maize industry are now helping with containment efforts. “Ultimately it is their businesses which are going to get impacted if this truly gets established in Waikato.” Potential losses are estimated at up to 30%, he said. John Sanson, manager recovery and pest management for MPI, said the most up-to-date and complete figures nationally are for the end of last season, when there were about 1100 affected properties -- either confirmed finds or having received

Velvetleaf infestations are on the rise. Inset: Megan Hands.

the contaminated fodder beet seed. Of those, actual velvetleaf plants had been found on 236 properties. “For the current growing season, still underway, in addition to the Waikato figures we have recently

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found velvetleaf on two new properties in Auckland, which were linked to known infested properties. Total known properties in Auckland is now 13,” said Sanson. “We have not had any

reports of new finds so far this season outside these two regions.” He said MPI continues to work with regional councils and other partners to support the rural sector.


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

10 //  NEWS

Fertigation saves time, money NIGEL MALTHUS

DARFIELD FARMER

Peter Abrahamson was a fan of fertigation (fertilisation of crops and pasture by liquids fed through irrigation systems) even before he could irrigate. He is now in his first season irrigating, on Stage Two of the Central Plains Water scheme, and is in the process of commissioning his fertigation system. He runs a dairy support farm, with 70ha in kale and 95ha in pasture for grazing heifers. He began researching fertigation some years ago, and the clincher for him was seeing kale grow to 0.5m high, making it impractical to fertilise by vehicle. Fertigation is the new buzzword in the irrigation industry. IrrigationNZ has

just released a guide to its adoption, saying its use is increasing overseas as farmers see it as good environmental practice. It enables irrigators to apply liquid or watersoluble fertiliser little and often, at the same time as water, and should reduce nitrogen leaching and save labour onfarm. “IrrigationNZ in September 2018 ran a study tour to Nebraska, US,” says Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ’s retiring chief executive. “Twenty-five members joined the tour including farmers, irrigation designers, environmental consultants and irrigation scheme representatives. “Farmers in the state were encouraged by authorities to use fertigation as a tool to help reduce fertiliser use and nitrogen leaching and to save costs by reducing the

Darfield farmer Peter Abrahamson.

labour involved in applying fertiliser. Our tour group were excited about the opportunities to adopt fertigation here. “The new guide is being launched to provide farmers and those working in the irrigation sector with advice on how to

correctly use fertigation.” Abrahamson said it is not like the “dump and run” of applying dry fertiliser by truck then worrying whether you will get the right amount of rain to water it in. “It’s the future of farming; I can see it.”

He intends to apply AgriSea seaweed liquid and liquid urea from a trailer carrying a US-made Agri-Inject electric injection pump and computerised controller, with a couple of small tanks to carry the liquid fertiliser from the farm’s stor-

age tank. The trailer can be plugged into his three pivots as needed. The pivots were built from the start to accommodate the system, with a special valve body at the base. He says some farmers wanting to retro-fit fertigation may find they are limited by insufficient electrical supply at their pivots. Pāmu Farms (formerly Landcorp) is working with IrrigationNZ to trial fertigation over two irrigation seasons on its Canterbury dairy farms. Pāmu’s general manager of innovation, environment and technology, Rob Ford, says, “By injecting soluble fertiliser through the pivot irrigation systems little and often we are maintaining farm profitability, productivity and growth of high feed value pasture.

“Pāmu is using this innovation to reduce its environmental footprint.” Ballance Agri-Nutrients is a partner in the planned Pamu trial, and it has a grant from the Sustainable Farming Fund. Said Andrew Curtis, “A few irrigators are already using fertigation successfully in NZ. If the trial shows fertigation to be a better environmental practice and practical to implement on farms we would like to see it more widely adopted.” Fertigation can also be used to apply seaweed and selenium to crops and pasture. Andrew Paterson, Matakanui Station, Otago is another early adopter of fertigation on his sheep and beef farm. He says applying fertiliser via pivots is more convenient and efficient than using trucks.

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

12 //  NEWS

Opening agri sector to senior students A GROUP of high school

students have spent four days on a live-in event at Waikato University to

learn more about career opportunities in agriculture. The Rabobank Agri

Leadership Programme was attended by year 12 and 13 students from 16 high schools in North-

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land, Auckland and Waikato. Students were chosen according to academic performance, leadership attributes and career aspirations. They visited local farms and agribusinesses such as Fonterra, DairyNZ, Silver Fern Farms, Zeelong Tea and Vetora (veterinary services co-operative) and heard from agribusiness leaders such as Julia Jones from KPMG. Participant Grace Moscrip, a year 13 student from Whangarei Girls High School, says she came away with new appreciation of the range of careers available. “I come from a dairy farm in Hukerenui, and I thought I knew lots about the sector, but I’ve learnt a lot in the last few days from the visits and the different people who spoke to us. “At DairyNZ there was a panel discussion with young people who had been on DairyNZ’s scholarship programme and have recently started jobs there. We questioned the panel and they helped open my eyes to how many options there are once you get out of uni.” Moscrip says the “awesome experience” had cemented her desire to study agribusiness after high school. “I’ve always wanted to go to university and do something in agri science. I don’t have any specific agribusiness role in mind at this stage but several were mentioned that sounded cool.” The programme’s focus on self-leadership and resilience had resonated with her, Grace said, especially the speakers on leadership and overcoming adversity. “I’m the head girl at school this year and also play a lot of sport and lots of valuable information in

these presentations will help me at school and with my sports activities.” Another participant, Will Newton, a year 13 student from Mt Albert Grammar, said he’d enjoyed the week, in particular the visits to Silver Fern Farms and the sheepmilking operation Spring Sheep NZ. “The meat works were a highlight; it was incredible to see what goes on there. Spring Sheep was awesome as sheep milking is something new to me.” He says listening to the speakers across the week had highlighted how many roles were available in the agricultural sector and how careers were evolving. “I think one of the key points for me was that new types of jobs are being created in the agricultural sector all the time and I don’t need to get too fixated on any one particular role as there may be all sorts of new jobs available by the time I’ve finished my studies and am looking to enter the workforce,” he said. Now in its fourth year, the Agri-Leadership Programme was developed in 2015 by Rabobank’s Waikato Client Council – a group of Waikato-based Rabobank clients who meet regularly to discuss agricultural industry issues and implement ideas to contribute to the sustainability of rural communities. Council chairperson Pamela Storey says the council developed the initiative as it felt more needed to be done to ensure school leavers were aware of the range of careers available in the sector. The programme is one of several Rabobank runs to help encourage young people into farming. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

NEWS  // 13

Bigger field days on the cards THE SOUTH Island Agricultural Field

Days (SIAFD) will this year be bigger and more diverse than ever, the organisers say. The show trades on demonstrating farm machinery, and this year it will have a bigger lifestyle section and a tractor pull contest. The two-yearly show, started 65 years ago, usually attracts about 30,000 visitors. It will take place on March

27-29 at Kirwee. Committee chairman Rodney Hadfield reports strong interest and a site sell-out. “We’ve worked hard since last time, gravelling all the laneways and improving infrastructure, but the format will be the same as always.” Visitors enjoy networking, meeting customers and seeing new machinery, Hadfield says.

REV IT UP TREV THE SHOW’S first tractor pull since it moved to its new Kirwee site will have Diesel Tune NZ as sponsor. Tractorpull NZ general manager Vaughan Coy says the first two days of the field days will be practice days and day three will be the competition day. “We will have three classes of competitors – standard, modified and pre-1985. Several people plan to bring their modified tractors from different parts of the South Island, so it should be an exciting event.” Coy says tractors in each of the three competition categories pulls a sled that weighs a percentage of its weight, which means tractors of different horsepower ratings can compete against each other. A 15 tonne weight limit applies to all entries. Entry forms are on the Tractorpull NZ website (www.tractorpull. co.nz).

Irrigation system on display at the last South Island field days.

By presenting working machines, SIAFD reinforces the relationship between farmers, manufacturers, retailers and technical experts, he says. “The field days get the people who want to buy to come along and look. It is an event for people ready to make financial decisions and spend their money. We want them to come to our event and get their field days deals.” Power Farming Canterbury dealer principal Geoff McCabe says the company has doubled the size of its site at

this year’s SIAFD. “The field days are very important to us; they’re a great place to show off machinery and showcase new gear that people haven’t seen before. “People come from far and wide to the field days to look at machinery... and get the chance to compare all the brands.” Trevor Goodeve, Taege Engineering Ltd, says SIAFD provides an invaluable opportunity. “Because it is in our own area we

E NT C U NSL G A R T OFIN TRANSLUCENT RO ROOFING

can get feedback from our customers on the machinery we design, build and develop. So we’re able to work directly with farmers and contractors to improve our business.” The late-March timing helps Taege Engineering to show its present products and set up its winter machinery making programme. A lifestyle section trialled at the 2017 show convinced the organisers to enlarge it this year, said spokeswoman Michaela McLeod. “There will be at least 100 lifestyle stalls with a wide variety of products – garden sculptures, outdoor furniture, jewellery, clothing, art, plants and food products. Noteworthy stalls include Vege Pods, Container Pools Canterbury and Mt Hutt Pods. “Local producers including Kirwee Bees will also be there, and next door a food court will feature Funky Monkey Bars showing their jungle gyms and play equipment.” Tickets to SIAFD cost $20 per day (children free) at the gate. www.siafd.co.nz. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

14 //  NEWS

Lakes in for clean-up FONTERRA IS backing a farmerled project to protect water quality in Bay of Plenty lakes. Farmers from the Rerewhakaaitu community haved worked with Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Fonterra, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, AgFirst and PerrinAg to develop a farm-specific nutrient profile and produce 48 tailored farm environment plans (FEP). The FEPs will help farmers minimise nitrogen and phosphorus losses to waterways. This 18-month project involved farmers in the catchments of Lakes Rotomahana, Okareka, Okaro, Rotokakahi, Rerewhakaaitu and Tarawera, plus some adjoining farms in the Rangitaiki and Waikato River catchments.

Project Rerewhakaaitu is the farmer group at the centre of the project. Andrew Kempson from Fonterra’s sustainable dairying programme, says they were keen to trial their new farm plan system -- Tiaki -- in a region with no onfarm nutrient limits to help farmers stay ahead of the game voluntarily. “Tiaki farm plans also consider sediment and bacterial losses and how to reduce them. “Fonterra staff have worked with 32 dairy farmers, covering a bit over 5000 hectares. Collectively there were 1060 onfarm actions identified in the new Tiaki farm plans in the Tarawera lakes catchments. We were also able to compare nutrient losses

between land use, soil types and the different catchments.” Project Rerewhakaaitu chairman Chris Sutton says local farmers have worked together since the early 2000s to lead in protecting local lakes. “This latest project helps us work alongside industry and the regional council so each farmer gets their own customised farm environment plan with an Overseer assessment of their ‘nutrient footprint’,” he says. “We know nutrient rules might affect our farmers one day, so it’s best we understand our footprint and have a set of actions farmers can implement on-farm. We also agreed to share nutrient loss data with the regional council.”

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W227333

DATE

EVENT

DETAILS

February 13

Smaller Milk and Supply Herds seminar, Karamea.

10am to 12pm followed by lunch. Come and hear how to creatively build and diversify your business. Karamea Bowling Club, 36 Waverley St, Karamea. www.smallerherds.co.nz

February 19

Dairy Womens Network payroll workshop, South Canterbury.

Are you ready for April 1? Big changes are coming to PAYE filing obligations, so it’s a good time for a refresher. Also running on February 19, Western Bay of Plenty; and February 21, North Waikato. www.dwn.co.nz/events/payroll/

February 19 & 21

Dairy Womens Network workshop on farm accommodation. Western BoP, North Waikato

A healthy home is vital for better work / life and overall wellness. www.dwn. co.nz/events/farm-accommodation www.dwn.co.nz/farmaccommodation

March 8-9

Wanaka A&P Show, Wanaka Showgrounds

One of New Zealand’s big agricultural and lifestyle events, the Wanaka A&P Show, celebrating its 82nd anniversary this year. www.wanakashow.co.nz

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


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A. 180

160

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100

80

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

16 //  NZ YOUNG FARMERS CONFERENCE

Opportunities in fast changing CHANGES DRIVEN by computer scientists in the agri-food sector are creating new opportunities for New Zealand farmers. This disruption, which is changing what we eat, was the focus of the keynote speech at the recent Agmardt NZ Young Farmers Conference in Christchurch.

There’s a restaurant in Boston with a robotic kitchen,” Julia Jones, KPMG, said. Called Spyce, this world-first was created by four robotics engineers who wanted “healthy food at a reasonable price”.  Customers order using a touchscreen then robots do the rest. Ingre-

dients are dropped into a row of rotating woks, which cook meals in three minutes or less. “Disruption in the agri-food sector is coming from computer scientists,” said Jones.  It’s likely to be “another three to five years” before lab-grown meat is available in super-

Julia Jones

markets in the US. “The only thing they haven’t quite worked out is how to grow the fat and muscle that gives meat its taste,” she says. World food production is a US$8 trillion industry. New Zealand earns $40 billion annually from the food it exports.  “We have a big advan-

tage because we can produce artisan, niche products and demand a higher price,” said Jones. The audience heard that deer milk produced by Pāmu Farms (formerly Landcorp) is being made into ice creams and other desserts by chefs in restaurants in Auckland and Wellington.

Jones sees immense opportunities to expand New Zealand’s ocean farmed salmon industry.  “I recently visited one of NZ King Salmon’s farms in the Marlborough Sounds. There were 33,000 fish in one pen -amazing,” she said.  NZYF members were encouraged to understand

Craig Piggot

COW COLLAR FIRM ON THE MOVE KIWI AGRITECH start-up Halter, in Auckland, expects to commercially launch its GPS-enabled cow collars in April. Chief executive and founder Craig Piggott this month told the Agmardt NZ Young Farmers Conference in Christchurch that the firm had just finished setting up its production line in China. “We have received our first collars off the line, and we’re targeting April as our commercial launch. It’s all happening very quickly.”  Halter’s GPS-enabled collar enables cows to be guided around a farm by a smartphone app, Piggott said. It has had 18 months testing on a Waikato farm.  “The system uses audio and vibration to train a cow; the smartest cows only take two hours to train.”  The solar-powered collars reduce farm labour and infrastructure costs.  “The collars can be programmed to bring the cows to the milking shed at certain times and identify cows on heat,” Piggott said.  “The collar has huge animal welfare benefits, especially on larger farms. If a cow stops eating because she’s sick or lame, she can be identified sooner.”  Virtual fences save time can eliminate temporary electric fences.  “We have built the system to work around existing permanent fences. In the long term, a farmer could pull out all fences and run a completely fenceless farm. There are big gains to be made with improved pasture utilisation.”  Farmers will pay nothing upfront to use the collars but will pay a monthly fee to use the software.  Halter’s team has doubled in the last six months and it now has a dozen jobs listed on its website.


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

NZ YOUNG FARMERS CONFERENCE  // 17

agri-food year and they had a crazy big fridge with a sign on it that said ‘grass fed milk’.” The world’s population is projected to reach about 10 billion people by 2050.  “That’s a huge jump in calories needed to feed all those people,” Sarah Hindle, from Tech

consumers and find out what they are willing to pay a premium for. “If you travel overseas, go into an expensive-looking supermarket and see what sort of food is on the shelves,” said Jones.  “I went to a supermarket in California last

Futures Lab, told the conference. Devising ways to sustainably feed everyone poses a challenge for scientists and food producers, and it opens new career opportunities.  “We see growth in the rise of the agricultural technologist,” she

said. “They’ll have ability to manage technological systems and have expertise in robotics, automation, drones and data electronics.” • Stories supplied by Brad Markham, NZ Young Farmers communications manager

Participants at the Young Farmer Conference.

Clubs help wellbeing - survey SOCIAL ACTIVITIES run

by NZ Young Farmers clubs are said to be improving members’ mental wellbeing. NZYF’s 80 clubs are a “source of friendship” and a supportive environment for people to talk, according to a survey of 985 farmers under 35. These results were presented recently at the Agmardt NZYF conference in Christchurch. About 25% of the 616 women surveyed and 50%

of the 279 men were NZYF members. The findings showed 64% of men and 77% of women are seriously affected by at least one wellbeing issue. These included workload, lack of sleep and time offfarm, and managing relationships.  “When we analysed the findings we found NZYF members reported much lower levels of ‘large’ or greater negative impact than

non-members on a number of items,” Farmstrong’s Gerard Vaughan told the conference. “NZYF clubs help people be socially connected. The research shows being actively involved in NZYF is good for your wellbeing.”  “NZYF was frequently mentioned as a source of friendship and an opportunity to talk with people going through similar issues,” he said.  Nearly 40% of women

and 25% of men said “challenges developing new relationships in the community” were having a “moderate” or greater impact on their wellbeing. One survey respondent described NZYF as “a really good support network”. She said organised events made socialising with a whole lot of people easy.  “Joining the local NZYF club has been the most beneficial thing I have done

since moving to a new part of the country,” one man wrote. “It’s helped me make friends and enjoy life even when work is a battle.”  NZYF clubs hold skills days, social outings, pub nights, dances and organise pot luck dinners to help people new to an area make friends. The research shows a strong link between younger farmer injuries and wellbeing issues.

Nearly 25% of women and 285 of men reported having an injury onfarm in the last 12 months.  “Of those who reported an injury, 33% of men and 69% of women said wellbeing issues had been a contributing factor,” said Vaughan.  Farmstrong’s tips to improve wellness and resilience include staying connected, eating well, getting enough sleep, being active and ‘giving back’.

UP TO

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

18 //  NEWS

Shoppers strip Oz shelves of NZ formula PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

NEW ZEALAND brands

are at the centre of infant formula shortages in Australia supermarkets. They are among popular formula bought by daigou (‘dye-go’ = over-

Jan Carey says Australian news media do not adequately report that parents can still buy the formula they want though the various manufacturers’ ‘carelines’ (websites). “The first priority for a company is to make sure there is supply for the people who need it and

seas shopper buying on behalf) and sent to China via ‘grey channels’. Australia restricts the export of Australian-made products but not imported products, making NZ products a particular target. But Infant Nutritrion Council chief executive

for local families to get first priority,” Carey says. “The product is made for the Australian market, and whether it is made in NZ, Australia or overseas, it is [intended to meet] the demands of the Australian market.” Carey says the problem of supermarket short-

NO PLANS TO CURB TRADE THE AUSTRALIAN Department of Agriculture and Australian agriculture ministers, despite the media coverage, do not see daigou trade as a big problem, says Carey. No plan exists to tighten the regulation. “There is always some formula on the shelves; it is not completely wiped out, but [it’s not] easy for a baby to tolerate switching formulas. “If your brand of formula is not on the shelves you can’t just say ‘I will get another brand’. “Not all formulas are the same: they must meet compositional requirements but they are formulated differently. New Zea-

land milk tastes different from Australian milk and European milk. So it isn’t easy for a baby to transfer between brands. If they are on a brand and are settled with that brand and it is working for them the best thing is to keep them on that brand. “You don’t want babies to be switching brands and getting upset tummies. It is important they can get the formulas their little bodies are used to but [it’s not being reported] that the products are available [online].” Infant formula is highly regulated and is made under pharmaceutical conditions, says Carey. It is the source of nutrition for babies who don’t

receive breast milk and they are vulnerable. “So it is not easy to suddenly increase supply. But companies are working hard to maintain the supply and increase the availability for Australian parents. I know that all the companies being targeted have increased their supply. “Importantly, what we are talking about is supply for formula fed babies. The normal and natural way to feed a baby is breast-feeding. Our organisation always supports breast feeding as the first option. What we are talking about are those babies who rely on infant formula products.”

ages pertains to Australia, not NZ. “There was a problem in NZ a few years ago and the NZ Government regulated the amount of formula people could purchase and export. Immediately that daigou trade moved to Australia.” A daigou surrogate shopper buys commodities -- mostly luxury goods, but also groceries, notably infant formula -for a customer in mainland China.  Carey says this trade has increased since 201415 and Australian news media have constantly run stories about infant formula shortages in supermarkets. “It has been ongoing for a while and I don’t think it has been out of the media since then,” says Carey.

“There is a perception that there is not enough formula for the local market -- that it’s all being bought up by daigou and shipped through the grey channel via cross border e-commerce in China. “It is true: any supermarket in Australia has gaps on the formula shelves. But look at it closely and you see only some brands are popular with Chinese consumers. “Even though all Australian and NZ milkproduced formula are meeting NZ and Australian standards and are high quality, [the daigou] are targeting only specific products, so other formula brands are available. “The other thing -which the news media here don’t seem to want to report -- is that all the companies affected

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by these shortages have online sales via ‘carelines’ [that enable] consumers to [buy direct] the formula brand they want Also, supermarkets will keep products aside for families who need them.” An export shipment of Australian-made product is limited by law to 10kg, but no limit applies to the size of an export shipment of imported -- i.e. NZ-made -- product. The A2 product is made in NZ; the S26 product available in Australia is made in NZ by NZ New Milk (a brand owned by Aspen in Australia); and Nan – a wellknown Nestle product -- is imported but not from NZ. “Australians, like many people in the world, rely on very good NZ product,” Carey says.


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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

20 //  OPINION RUMINATING

EDITORIAL

May the good times continue

MILKING IT... Still no apology

Lick this up

A NEWSPAPER columnist who last year raised the ire of social media users by suggesting that former Fonterra chairman John Wilson was faking illness still hasn’t apologised. Wilson passed away last month. Rachel Stewart says on Twitter she has apologised but after reading her post, you ask, where’s the apology? Instead Stewart has criticised the rural media outlets that brought her old tweet out into the open. Come on Rachel Stewart, you got it wrong, just apologise.

UNILEVER WILL this month launch its first vegan ice cream, in New Zealand, the Magnum Dairy Free. It launched recently in Australia. The product is a “velvety plant-based product” that gives “a creamy experience without the need for dairy”. Australian Dairy Farmers described the ice cream as a “problem for the dairy industry”. It is made from vanillaflavoured pea protein and chocolate made from coconut oil and butter. A Dairy Australia spokesman said the new Magnum and other nondairy ice cream alternatives signal a serious issue for the dairy industry.

Dairy is good for you

It doesn’t have teats

EATING YOGHURT, cheese, butter and milk could stave off a heart attack, researchers say. Scientists analysed the diets of 75,000 people in the UK and Denmark, 3500 of whom suffered a heart attack during the 18-year study. Those who ate more full-fat dairy products containing a particular type of saturated fat were less likely to suffer from a major cardiovascular event. Lead investigator Dr Ivonne Sluijs, a nutritional epidemiologist at Utrecht University, Netherlands, said: “Our analysis shows that the type of saturated fats we consume could affect our cardiovascular health.” The study was published in the International Journal of Cardiology. The findings fly in the face of previous research and government guidelines demonising full-fat dairy products.

A BATTLE is brewing in the US over naming milk. The Food and Drug Administration recently ended a period of public comment on whether it should continue to allow the labels of plant-based products to say  ‘milk’ or ‘cheese’. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb had last year quipped that almond ‘milk’ should not be so named because “an almond doesn’t lactate”. The FDA would pit the powerful dairy industry against the makers of up-and-coming alternative ‘milks’ such as almond, coconut, soy, and oat. Sales of non-dairy milks grew from 2010-17 by at least 60%, with almond milk taking a 64% market share, while dairy milk sales dropped by 15%, says Mintel. The Institute for Justice last week entered the fray, warning that a labeling ban “would confuse consumers, harm small businesses US-wide and raise serious First Amendment concerns”.

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VOLATILTY? WHAT volatility? farmers are asking as global dairy prices rose for the fifth consecutive Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction last week. Since November 20, 2018, dairy prices have risen; more importantly whole milk powder prices, used by Fonterra as a benchmark to set the milk price, rose a whopping 8.4% to exceed US$3000/tonne. The GDT price index rallied 6.7% from the previous auction three weeks ago. The average price was US$3265/t versus US$3057/t three weeks ago. Some 23,326t of product was sold, down from 27,909t three weeks ago. What’s behind this golden mini-run? Firm demand from Asian countries is likely to have helped to support prices. And they are boosted by the EU starting to sell warehouseloads of skim milk powder amassed in the last few years. The EU had subsidised its farmers by paying them above market prices for their milk, but then storing it as skim milk powder until conditions improve. The lift in the GDT price index and WMP prices has prompted banks to lift their forecast price predictions for the season. They now predict $6/kgMS to $6.50/kgMS, close to the revised $6-$6.30 range Fonterra forecast in December. Farmers will be pleased with the recent spate of price hikes, given that prices dropped last year over seven auctions before recording a lift. Economists had long been expecting the price decline to reverse but the pace and extent of this improvement is a grand surprise. Why shouldn’t they rise more if the recent lift in demand persists? However, some economists are cautious. There’s a risk that the pace of growth in Chinese demand for dairy products could slow as China’s growth cools generally; and if New Zealand milk production kept growing strongly it would keep a lid on prices. NZ is set for a 2018-19 season production growth forecast of 5%, meaning the season is comfortably on track to set a record. For farmers, there is now hardly any bad news on the horizon: production is booming and recent GDT results have overshadowed most downside risks to the forecast payout. Everyone is confident the industry will see the milk price well exceed $6/kgMS this season. May the good times continue.

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

OPINION  // 21

Using fert wisely GREG CAMPBELL

WE ALL know that overuse of fertiliser harms the environment, but that shouldn’t mean fertiliser becomes a dirty word. As one of the farmer cooperatives supplying much of New Zealand’s fertilisers, Ravensdown expects and welcomes scrutiny on how fertiliser is used. But we want to set the record straight about the importance of fertiliser to our food, economy, people and country. Some recent claims blame fertiliser entirely for the destruction of waterways and soils and say the nation could farm without it. It makes for a good yarn, or even a simple billboard, but it’s not true. Fertiliser is simply food for plants. Plants take nutrients from the soil to grow; fertiliser puts more nutrients back into the soil so more plants can grow again. New Zealanders like to think we have great farms partly because of great soil. But in fact much NZ land is geologically new and naturally lacks the nutrients needed by the many plants we eat and use. The soil can particularly lack phosphorus, nitrogen, sulphur and potassium. Phosphorus, for example, is used by plants to store and transfer energy. It aids root and flower development and increases growth rates. Virtually everything you will buy this summer from a store will have been grown or fed using fertiliser. Farmers and growers use fertiliser to create the affordable quality food we eat or export and grow nutritious crops for animals. It powers our beef, sheep and dairy farms and the fast-growing horticulture sectors now taking the world’s chefs by storm. Each year, fertiliser used by all these sectors contributes billions of dollars to our economy and helps to employ tens of thousands of Kiwis. Fertiliser is simply a

tool in a toolbox. Underuse it and you see real impacts on what can be created and consumed. Overuse it and you risk losing nutrients into the waterways or atmosphere. As a tool, fertiliser can be used smartly or not so smartly. Unlike a corporate listed company, Ravensdown is a cooperative owned by its farmers; it’s not here to maximise profit but to help with the responsible use of its products. Nutrients need to be applied responsibly. As one of the biggest investments in a farm operation they need to be managed and wastage minimised. Too much of the wrong fertiliser in the wrong place at the wrong time can cause environmental problems. Whether from city living or fertiliser use, nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can be washed by rain into other parts of the ecosystem, especially waterways. In waterways, nitrogen and phosphorus act as food for waterborne plants, including algae. Those plants can choke waterway habitats and they reduce oxygen available for other water dwellers. Hence the rules in many regions, limiting the amount of nitrogen that can be lost from farms. Most of the total nitrogen that fuels NZ’s grassbased farming comes from legumes (cloverlike plants) that can capture nitrogen from the air. These little plants are worth billions of dollars to the economy, but they only grow at certain times of the year. Plants often need additional support at strategic times and places and that’s why farmers use mineral fertiliser selectively. Ravensdown has a range of services and products to help farmers use fertiliser responsibly. These include precision testing, mapping and spreading, so farmers know exactly what to use where. We produce products that reduce nitrous oxide emissions. We have the country’s biggest network of farm environmen-

tal consultants who help farmers come up with ideas to reduce impacts. Whether it’s from too many plants like clover or peas, too much fertiliser or too much extra feed, if the animal or plants can’t use all the nitrogen from those sources, then nitro-

gen may be lost from the soil. Our certified advisors guide customers on their inputs and outputs so that they can achieve their goals and farm smarter. At times this has meant advice resulting in less fertiliser applied. This is fine for us. We

1673 NAIT Advert Jan19_280x187_FA.indd 1

don’t incentivise our team based on how much they can sell. Representing a cooperative, they are there to help the customer owner buy the right amount not the highest amount. • Greg Campbell is Ravensdown’s chief executive

Greg Campbell

8/01/19 1:17 PM


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

22 //  AGRIBUSINESS

Lifeline for agri training school NIGEL MALTHUS

BALCLUTHA’S TROUBLED Telford agricultural

training institution has been thrown a one-year lifeline by the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), Invercargill. Its future had been in doubt with the liquidation of Wairarapa’s Taratahi Agricultural Centre which took over running Telford when it was sold by Lincoln University in July 2017. Education Minister Chris Hipkins has now agreed to SIT running Telford this year. The Government will contribute $1.8 million to support SIT’s Telford programmes, enough to teach about 200 students on-campus or by distance learning New Zealandwide. “This is a great outcome for Telford students who want to continue their studies and com-

plete their qualifications, and for the students who were looking forward to starting at Telford this year. It also keeps investment and jobs in the local community,” Hipkins said. Some staff will lose their jobs, but Hipkins said he was pleased that most Telford staff – about 20 fulltime equivalents – will be employed by SIT, with their existing rights and benefits maintained. Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said he was thrilled that Telford would continue in 2019, but revealed that a proposal to secure its future longer term was rejected by the Government. “Working with the Southern Institute of Technology and other stakeholders to develop a solution, I’m glad the gates of this fine institute will remain open,” Walker said. “Together, we had worked incredibly hard to offer a long-term solution.

“However, the Government turned down the long-term proposal last week and asked us to go back with a plan to keep it open for one year.” Walker said the oneyear agreement was only a starting point. “It’s incredibly disappointing the long-term proposal was turned down. Telford’s staff and students, and the wider farming community, deserve long-term security and certainty. “Even more disappointing is this Government’s willingness to spend $80m creating a new skills and employment initiative announced in Northland this week, yet won’t spend money down south retaining long-standing services. “This Government

Government funding has been allocated to keep Telford running. Inset: Chris Hipkins.

does not have a plan for agriculture training... as evident in this process as no direction has been given,” said

Walker. Hipkins said the primary industries are a vital contributor to the NZ economy and top-class training and education in the sector is essential.

“The Government will be working... to reform vocational education and training so that it meets NZ’s future needs.” Hipkins said that on top of the $1.8m, SIT will

get more Crown money for expenses if Telford closes at the end of 2019. “I appreciate SIT’s willingness to step in and its speedy and pragmatic response,” Hipkins said.

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

AGRIBUSINESS  // 23

Hotspots increase, soil moisture dips PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

SOIL MOISTURE is now decreasing nationwide but Fonterra’s latest Global Dairy Update shows milk collection was up 4% to December 31. For the seven months to December 31 collection reached 914 million kgMS. North Island milk collection for the 2018-19 season to that date was up 4% and South Island milk collection up 5%. NZ collections in December were 185m kgMS, 5% up on the same month last season. North Island milk collection in December was 7% higher than December last season and the South Island 2% higher.

NIWA last week said many more ‘hotspots’ – with soil moisture deficits – were seen during the previous week in the North Island. A large hotspot now encompasses all of Northland and northern Auckland. Another large hotspot covers much of northern Waikato and Coromandel Peninsula. Additional hotspots are in central Manawatu-Whanganui and a small part of Tararua District. Across the South Island, soil moisture levels generally decreased in northern areas, although small improvements were seen in inland Otago and Southland. A couple of new, small hotspots have begun to emerge in northern Hurunui District and inland South Canterbury.

OZ COLLECTION DOWN FONTERRA’S NEW ZEALAND result contrasts with the cooperative’s milk collection in Australia for the six months to December 31, which was down 14% on the same period last season. Australia collections in December reached 13 million kgMS, down 18% on the same month last season. High input costs and poor seasonal conditions continued, resulting in increased cow cull rates, decreasing the season’s milk production.

IN BRIEF Nominations open NOMINATIONS ARE open for a national award that recognises dairy farmers who farm sustainably. The Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award, launched last year in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, honours farmers respected by their peers and community. Entry is by nomination only. The winner could be a supplier to any of NZ’s processors and come from any farm or farming partnership displaying performance and leadership in caring for

people, animals, ecosystems and communities. Rachel Baker, the awards executive chair, says farmers are encouraged to tell how they are farming responsibly -environmentally and socially -- and to showcase excellence. “Many of our winners and entrants from our Dairy Trainee, Dairy Manager and Share Farmer awards programmes do this and progress to leadership roles in the industry and their communities.


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

24 //  MANAGEMENT

Plaintain research can save farmers PLANTAIN COULD ‘save’ some

Manawatu dairy farmers faced with cutting nitrogen losses from pasture by 60%, comments DairyNZ. Tararua farmers now face having to cut N loss by an average of 60% to meet the council’s One Plan targets. To achieve the cuts farmers must adopt a range of onfarm changes, and the region’s new plantain research could be a key component, says DairyNZ. The Tararua Plantain Project,

funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund, is a new approach by DairyNZ to reduce farm N loss using plantain and good Adam Duker management. “Plantain provides us with an excellent low-cost opportunity to meet this challenge,” says DairyNZ catchment

engagement leader Adam Duker. “It can be used as a pasture mix for dairy cattle feed, but its properties have also been proven to reduce nitrogen loss. “Farmers in the catchment have already been making onfarm changes to reduce nutrients and sediment affecting the Manawatū River. “The river water quality is improving as a result and, by adopting plantain as a fodder crop on their farms, we expect to see further improvements

HARD TO BEAT PLANTAIN IS highly palatable to animals, establishes rapidly, is pest-tolerant and is high in minerals. This herb with a fibrous, coarse root system grows NZ-wide. It tolerates summer heat and in warmer regions grows well in summer. It best suits dairy farms

where the amount and quality of summer feed limits milk production. There are two ways to grow plantain: as a pasture mix or as a special purpose crop. It will remain productive for two-three years but will decline at a rate depending on weed control, nitrogen

fertiliser application and grazing management. Key management principles for longevity and yield include managing overgrazing and treading damage, frequent grazing at 25cm height, residual height, and first grazed no earlier than the sixleaf stage.

Plantain has proven to reduce nitrogen loss.

over time.” The project involves paddock-scale research on six farms where plantain crops are expected to reduce nitrogen from cow urine. Plantain roots also lock more nitrate into soil, preventing run-off into waterways. “The project is farmer-led... testing the feasibility of plantain at the farm and catchment scale. “We’d like to see plantain as a staple part of the dairy cow’s diet in this area

by 2025,” says Duker. “It will allow our farmers to maintain similar levels of milk production.” DairyNZ is working with Horizons Regional Council, Massey University, agronomists and a project team of six on the project, which began this season and will run for seven years. Its aim is to use plantain on 125 dairy farms to increase farm business and community resilience and achieve quantified gains in water quality.


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

MANAGEMENT  // 25

Cutting nutrient loss poses big challenge for farmers WORK BY farmers on a Hawke’s Bay project aimed at cutting their nitrogen losses has taught them lessons and shown them challenges. Two dairy and two drystock farmers in the Tukituki catchment took part in ‘Greening Tukituki’ -- a project now closing -- to help them meet nutrient loss obligations under the Hawkes Bay Regional Council (HBRC) plan change 6. The project closes amid growing disquiet about shortcomings in the nutrient software system Overseer as a regulatory tool. A recent report by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton found gaps and shortcomings in Overseer that undermine confidence in its suitability as a regulatory tool to

“While the cashflow is definitely reduced by not having the dairy grazers, financially it is still profitable running the bulls instead.” be used on farms. The Hawke’s Bay plan change requires farmers to match their nitrogen losses to their land use capability (LUC) classification, spanning eight different classes based on a property’s physical characteristics. The results from two farms shows what many farmers face in the catchment and in New Zealand as every region starts to grapple with plan changes managing nutrient losses. Takapau feedlot farmer Rob Foley found the project invaluable in presenting him with options

when the data gathered showed that his 1100 dairy cows grazed over winter were a key source of nitrogen losses. His options were to either do expensive bore testing to determine how much nitrogen was being leached from cow urine, or consider a lower nitrogen-loss type of farming. He opted for the latter, dropping the cows for half the number of bulls, reducing his LUC loss from 41kg/ha/year to 36kg. “While the cashflow is definitely reduced by not having the dairy grazers, financially it is still prof-

Hawke’s Bay farmer Andy Hunt and MyFarm consultant Rachel Baker.

itable running the bulls instead,” he says. Other things examined during the project have included losses from winter wheat and examining different grass spe-

PICTURE-PERFECT FARMS STILL UNSURE PROJECT MANAGER and MyFarm agribusiness consultant Rachel Baker said there is much uncertainty about how farms in the catchment will meet the plan change standards. “And this is from farms that at face value are picture-perfect – well run, with healthy stock and owners who care about the environment. “Plantain looks like it could be a game changer in helping reduce nitrogen losses, and that

is supported by peer reviewed science. It’s something many farmers including Andy Hunt have also been sowing in their swards for a few years now. “And in the case of Rob, he moved quickly by stopping dairy cow grazing and replacing them with bulls, and immediately reducing the magnitude of nutrient loss. However this in turn presents a challenge for where dairy cows will be wintered in future.”

She said the project had also put the practical realities of the council plan change in front of those who implement it, and had helped council staff and farmers better understand the plan’s impact. The Greening Tukituki project was sponsored by Agmardt, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Beef + Lamb NZ, Ballance Agri Nutrients, DairyNZ and ANZ. The full report can be viewed at www.myfarm.co.nz/tukituki

cies including plantain to absorb nitrogen. “For us the project was definitely worthwhile... in showing us how to become more compliant, and to demonstrate to council how hard it is to do these things and still make a profit.” Ashley Clinton dairy farmer Andy Hunt has not had all his nitrogen issues solved by the project, but it has lifted the hood on some of his options, and highlighted to the regional council how challenging meeting nitrogen loss targets can be. Hawkes Bay Regional Council was a supporter of the Tukituki project. Much time and energy has gone into working out options for the 360-cow

operation to get it within 30% of its LUC nitrogen leaching rate limit of 21kg N/ha/year; at present it is about 40% over its LUC allocation. The Hunts accept there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to getting the farm within that limit, but planting more plantain in the farm pasture mix may help; this has been shown to help reduce nitrogen losses. “But the project has also highlighted that plantain is not included in the Overseer model, and until it is this possible tool is out of our hands to some extent,” says Hunt. But he was encouraged by the regional council’s positive attitude to using plantain.

Another option for Hunt could be to build a composting barn, but the $500,000 cost would require that he got more assurance from the regional council that the operation would be compliant if he went ahead with it. An alternative is to further reduce the stocking rate of the already low-stocked farm but this impacts on profitability and long-term viability. “You could say the project has not solved our problems, but it has certainly raised the profile of them and has highlighted these challenges to the council that we face to meet these standards.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

26 //  MANAGEMENT

Reducing heat stress on cows Cows crowd together and seek shade when the temperature soars.

DAIRY COWS in all regions are affected by heat stress during summer. The comfort zone of a cow is 4-20°C, about 10-15° lower than

the comfort zone of a human. According to DairyNZ, heat stress occurs when an animal’s heat load is greater than its capac-

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MANAGEMENT STORIES COMPETITIONS AND MUCH MORE...

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ity to lose heat; cows feel hot 10-15°C sooner than humans. High air temperature, humidity, solar radiation and low air movement contribute to increased risk. High relative humidity decreases evaporation and reduces the cow’s ability to lose heat by sweating and breathing. When air temperature

100L/cow/day and will drink two to six times per day. Ensure flow rates to troughs are high enough that the trough never runs dry. Most cows drink soon after milking, so install water troughs in races to meet that need. Feed Ensure summer pasture is of high quality. Feed with high fibre content can increase the heat

When air temperature exceeds about 21ºC and relative humidity exceeds 70% cows begin to reduce their feed intake and milk production falls. Jerseys tolerate heat better, with production losses insignificant until 25ºC. exceeds about 21ºC and relative humidity exceeds 70% cows begin to reduce their feed intake and milk production falls. Jerseys tolerate heat better, with production losses insignificant until 25ºC. Cows radiate heat during the night to the cooler surroundings. Warm cloudy nights can reduce cooling, increasing the risk of heat stress. As in humans, cows likely experience headaches, irritability and lethargy when they are too hot and have insufficient water. To cope with heat, cows use a variety of strategies including: ■■ increased breathing rate and sweating ■■ increased water intake ■■ decreased feed intake and decreased milk production ■■ change in milk composition, e.g. fat % and protein % declines ■■ change in blood hormone concentration, e.g. increased prolactin. Their behaviour also changes: cows seek shade, crowd together to shade each other, refuse to lie down and stand in water or next to water troughs. To minimise impacts on productivity and protect cow comfort consider the following: Water Lactating cows will typically need at least

of fermentation in the rumen, increasing the heat load on the cow (e.g. non-irrigated summer pasture). Provide supplementary feed at night when it is cooler. Shade Use paddocks with shade trees during periods of heat stress – ideally 5m2 of shade per cow, to minimise competition. Provide shade at the shed if possible. Install shade cloth in off-paddock facilities. Management Reduce the walking distance and speed to the dairy. Reduce the time spent in unshaded yards. Minimise handling stress. Isolate cows most severely affected by heat stress and provide shade and cooling. Milk earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon, or consider once-a-day milking. Cooling Sprinklers can be used over the dairy yard to wet the cows’ coats and aid evaporative cooling for two to six hours after milking. However, sprinkling can increase the humidity around the cows, especially when they are held close together. The effectiveness of sprinkling depends on the removal of water vapour by air movement, ideally by using a fan.


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

MANAGEMENT  // 27

Dung beetles ‘last piece of a big puzzle’ PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

A GREATER Welling-

ton council officer says he is “really proud” of dairy farmers in the region who have backed a scheme to release dung beetles. Forty nine farmers have said yes to the partnership scheme with Greater Wellington Regional council (GWRC), and 200 dung beetle colonies are now active. Of those, 28 are dairy farms with the equivalent of 112 dung beetle colonies. Partnership schemes are also running in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. Greater Wellington land management advisor

Kolja Schaller told Dairy News the dairy community has taken about 60% of the dung beetle packages. “It will be good and exciting to see how they go.” Plenty of science is backing the benefits of dung beetles, but it will take 10 years before the results of the Wellington release are fully known. Schaller says he is “really happy and proud” the farmers were willing to put money into such a long-term project. “We partnered with Dung Beetle Innovations, invested some money and secured about 30 whole farm releases which we could offer to farmers in

the Wellington region at a discounted rate.” The council decided to home in on one catchment, aiming for as much uptake there as possible. GWRC’s offer of discounted beetle packages is focussed on properties along the eastern shore of super-trophic Lake Wairarapa, where the lake contains high levels of nitrates and other pollutants, some of which leach into the water from dung. The result is very low water quality in the lake and its surrounding wetlands, conditions Greater Wellington wants to reverse. Schaller says using a catchment was seen as the best method of seeing

what the beetles were capable of doing in burying dung, building soils and improving water quality. “We had a lot of interest specifically from dairy farms in the Lake Wairarapa area…. Around that area we have a lot of dairy farms so we thought it would be a good area to do the catchment scale release.” They started gauging farmers’ interest, going to discussion groups and talking to farmers and “before we knew it we had about 30 farms around the lake receiving dung beetles. Not all of those farms were dairy farms but the majority were”.

Dung beetles digging deep.

Four different species will be released in the region. The small ones have been ready for release from December until now, but from now on the bigger ones are emerging and will be sent for release. “Dung Beetle Innovations [says] it takes the dung beetles about 10 years to reach capacity on a standard size farm such as 150ha with 300-350 cows or 2000 stock units equivalent. We are still in the early stages of setting up a monitoring programme. “We want to look at

whether these beetles are establishing and spreading and [how much] dung is left on a paddock, say, 24-48 hours after grazing. If that is all working well, all the other environmental and farm economic improvements should be happening as well. “We saw it as something to improve the region’s water quality and soil health and benefit both the environment and the farmers,” says Schaller. “Because if you a pulling all that nutrient in those dung pats down into the soil profile you will get healthier, more

active soils. This means you will also be able to grow more grass; they go hand in hand. “In any ecosystem in the world where you had large mammals that evolved as part of that eco system you also had dung beetles. “In New Zealand we have brought in all the large mammals and all the grasses to have an agricultural system but we didn’t bring in the dung beetles. So it is like the last piece of the puzzle to complete the cycle.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

FLYING FROM POO TO POO DUNG BEETLES are amazing and the benefits are not only environmental but include improved production and reduced parasite loading, says Andrew Barber, Dung Beetle Innovations managing director. Benefits will be more concentrated in whole catchments and in this way Greater Wellington is leading the way, Barber told Dairy News. “The first question we always get is ‘because these beetles fly, what is stopping them flying to my neighbours place?’ Our answer is ‘while beetles fly they don’t fly over poo to

get to poo’. Biologically they want to travel the shortest distance possible to the next feed source. “But still… beetles don’t respect property boundaries. So of course if you get a whole catchment doing it together it is a nicer feeling; everyone is in it together. “People do get it, that these things take a while to establish. It is a bit like planting a tree: it takes a while for the roots to get in the ground and for everything to take off. It takes two to three years until you start to see signs of beetles and

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it takes nine to ten years once they are fully established. “So our monitoring includes how far the beetles have gone in different time periods. Hawkes Bay and Wellington are involving their science people monitoring water quality and things like that.” He says they thought the uptake would be mainly dairy because it has the biggest concentration of dung, the smallest area and the quickest establishment. But interest has actually been a mix of sheep and beef and dairy.

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

28 //  ANIMAL HEALTH

Comparing apples with oranges in insemination

1 14-20 hrs

A.I. with sexed semen 14-20 hours after first signs of standing heat

3 Change thawing unit water daily

VISH VISHWANATH

IT IS true that the cur-

rent frozen sexed semen product SexedULTRA 4M is the result of almost three decades of research and development.   The results have progressively improved and today almost 50% of the heifer population in the US -- the genetically superior animals in the herd -- are inseminated with SexedULTRA sex sorted semen.  Monitoring the fertility of sex-sorted semen in these populations shows that the fertility is greater

than 90% of that of conventional semen in heifers and greater than 95% of that of conventional in cows. In a recent trial (Rural News January 15), LIC saw an average drop of 13.3% in NRR between conventional and sex-sorted SexedULTRA 4M semen. Why the difference in New Zealand? For a start, the trial was blind, so the technicians did not know whether the semen they were using was sex-sorted or conventional semen. Here lies the major flaw in this trial.  A blind trial is scientifically the correct way to do an evaluation

when you are comparing apples with apples. Sex-sorted semen for all intents and purposes is completely ‘different’ from conventional semen.  The processing methodology and the physiology of how it works in the female reproductive tract is very different from conventional semen, and sexsorted semen straws are packed with a lower dose of sperm. Hence, it is imperative that sex-sorted SexedULTRA 4M semen is used differently from conventional semen.  Here are a couple of reasons why the LIC trial has shown results differ-

ent from those obtained in the US or Europe. All LIC conventional semen is thawed at farm temperature (water from the tap in a farm) whereas sexsorted semen has to be thawed at 37 degrees C. In a blind trial this is not possible. The recommendation for thawing sexsorted semen has been tried and tested extensively and a warm thaw is consistently better than a cold thaw.  This is flaw number 1 in this comparison.  The second and perhaps more important difference between conventional semen and sex-sorted semen is the timing of insemination.  Many trials have demonstrated that a later insemination (14 to 20hrs) after standing heat is better for sex-sorted semen while conventional is usually used between 2 and 12hrs after standing heat.  In a blind trial the timing of insemination cannot be modified for the appropriate type of

2

Use temperature regulated thawing units

5

Daily

4 Clean thawing unit weekly

Weekly

95° to 98°F

Monitor water temperature with thermometer: 95° to 98°F (35° to 37°C)

95° to 98°F

Regulate

7

Keep semen temperature regulated at 95° to 98°F (35° to 37°C) with A.I. gun warmer

A.I Recomendations for

semen. Perhaps more than half the inseminations would have been done much too early and this has adversely affected the outcome of this trial. There are clear recommendations on how to use this semen in the STgenetics catalogue and website and attached is the flyer from those recommendations. So, in effect, comparing apples with oranges and expecting it all to

Thaw for approximately 45 seconds

6 45 sec 15 min 8 Use thawed semen within 15 minutes of initial thaw

be the same is the problem with the LIC frozen semen trial. On the other hand, LIC has had very good results with fresh sex sorted SexedULTRA semen and consistently obtains comparable results to conventional semen. Fresh semen has different properties than frozen semen and sex-sorted fresh semen is perhaps more similar to conventional semen.

Fresh sex-sorted semen does not have the same stresses imposed on it, such as lower dose rates and the freezing process. Used correctly as per the recommendations from Sexing Technologies, both fresh sexed semen and frozen sexed semen should give good results in a well-organised AI programme. • Dr Vish Vishwanath is director research & development at ST Genetics.

UPDATE NAIT DETAILS ALL NAIT users are

being urged to re-register all their locations and ensure their NAIT accounts are up to date following a key system upgrade. The upgrade will assist farmers and the industry when using the national animal traceability system, and they are required to update their details before the deadline March 31. The upgrade centres on development of an interactive map which uses Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) parcel data to accurately define a NAIT location. “This is a progressive step for the NAIT system. The new interactive map tool makes it more straightforward for NAIT users when they go online to regis-

ter their properties,” says Kevin Forward, head of NAIT. “Reselecting the land parcels that make up your NAIT location will help us build more effective traceability by precisely identifying the locations where NAIT animals are kept.” Existing and new NAIT users will be required to update their contact details, declare their herd enterprise type and the number of other species they manage at their properties by March 31. “Updating your NAIT account details is para-

mount. This is not only mandatory, it has also proved beneficial for the Government and industry’s Mycoplasma bovis response. “We know that where accurate records have been maintained for registered NAIT locations and the animals kept there, the tracing of animals and their movements has been faster and easier.” The system upgrade was made in response to the recent NAIT review recommendations and feedback from NAIT users. “We have listened to

farmers, industry and our stakeholders. Our long-term goal is to build trust and confidence in the NAIT system. To improve NAIT’s capability, users need to ensure they have updated their accounts and registered all the locations and animals they have there before March 31.” OSPRI meanwhile has informed stakeholders, farmers and the wider industry of the changes and the necessary actions all NAIT users are required to do. A guide is also available on the OSPRI website. Farmers unsure about what is required or unable to navigate the NAIT online system should call the OSPRI contact centre on 0800 482 463.


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

ANIMAL HEALTH  // 29

Healthy livers, happy cows FOR MOST of us now-

adays, the thought of lambs’ fry for dinner is most unappetizing. However, while not everybody’s favourite from a culinary perspective, the importance of this organ found in vertebrates cannot be overstated. The liver performs a vast of number important functions vital to the very existence of production animals and dairy cows are no exception. Every day, it removes high concentrations of toxic ammonia gas (an end product of rumen

tion plan in place. If in doubt, check your plan with your Veterinarian. • Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata

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susceptible farms of varying severity. To add insult to injury, the visual signs of FE were not always obvious to the herd managers. So what does this mean for you? Here we

“If you are farming in an FE area, it is crucial to both animal welfare and productivity to make sure you have a robust protection plan in place.” fermentation) from the blood draining the gut. In addition to this, it manufactures large quantities of glucose (in excess of 2 Kgs daily in high producing cows) needed for lactose and milk production. It is therefore no surprise that liver damage caused by Facial Eczema (FE) severely impacts both animal welfare and productivity. Unfortunately, while most farmers in high risk areas provide oral supplementation with zinc salts to mitigate the effects of FE, research conducted several years ago on over 100 dairy farms concluded less than 30% of cows being supplemented with zinc had levels within the ‘protective range’. Furthermore, 32% of all farms where cows were tested had evidence of liver damage attributed to FE even if visible signs weren’t obvious. This highlighted a widespread breakdown in FE protection on many

have a disease that has been estimated to cost the industry up to $100 million per annum if allowed to inflict maximum damage and as outlined above, we still don’t seem to have it controlled properly. Thankfully, this year the FE season has not yet ‘ramped up’ and the majority of milking cows at this stage will not be ingesting excessively high levels of toxic spores. So, there is still time to undertake a review of your farm protection policy and ensure you’ve got sufficient protection in the system. For those farmers not confident there is sufficient zinc being delivered, further assurance can be provided by blood sampling 10 – 15 cows in the herd to verify serum zinc blood levels. If you are farming in an FE area, it is crucial to both animal welfare and productivity to make sure you have a robust protec-

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

30 //  CULTIVATION & CROPPING

Sub-soiling has proven benefits MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

THE PRACTICE of subsoiling

is acknowledged by farmers and contractors as helping improve drainage and creating healthier soil conditions with increased worm activity that ultimately results in higher yields. Many subsoilers tend to leave an uneven surface and are often unable to go deep enough to penetrate the compacted pan layer to achieve the required results. Alpego claims its Super Craker overcomes this problem with specially designed legs that enter the ground surface at an optimal angle, allowing the

machine to penetrate through the compacted pan layer to depths of up to 600mm, while breaking the pan with minimal mixing of the subsoil into the upper soil profile. Alpego says the profile of the soil is left in a way that in a dry season the moisture stored deep down can move freely up the soil profile to the plant, and yet in a wet season the opposite occurs with the excess moisture freely draining away, resulting in higher cropping yields in all seasons. The machine should prove to be popular with contractors and maize growers looking to improve crops suffering from soil compaction. Made from Swedish high ten-

sile rated steel in the construction and cast-iron clamps to fix the legs to the frame, three models are offered from 3 to 5m working width, suitable for tractors 100 to 500hp. A choice of shear-bolt or hydraulic auto-reset systems protect the rig from stones and trash. The 500mm or 600mm legs allow the user to work at different compaction depths, and a Franter double-spike rear roller crushes clods left on the surface, leaving a level and semicultivated finish ready for the next pass before final planting, while also helping to conserve moisture. www.originagroup.co.nz

Craker subsoiler.

MOVING THE EARTH FOR GOOD REASONS THE BENEFITS of sub-soiling and soil aeration are well known, not least their ability to create vertical fissures that help water and nutrients penetrate to plants roots, so helping increase production. And it can be remedial in pugged paddocks or gateways by removing standing water and bringing ground back into production more quickly. The Aitchison Earthquaker, marketed by Power Farming, has a 2.44m wide double-bar high-tensile steel frame with cast clamping components that secure legs or tines to the frame. Straight legs or parabolic tines are made from bis-alloy steels, with dimensions of 500 x 16mm thick, to allow operating depths of 300400mm. The straight leg is useful

Depth is controlled by a fullwidth flat roller.

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

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Straight legs or parabolic tines are made from bis-alloy steels.

for causing ‘shatter’ and minimising inversion of the soil profile, so it should suit farmers not wanting to bring clay sub-soils into the surface layer. The curved parabolic tine option causes some inversion, but offers key benefits in draught reduction by making the units 30% easier to pull. Legs or tines each carry a knockon/off point and wing assembly to ensure penetration and sub-soil or pan shatter. Overload protection from stones or trash is by a 20mm transverse shear bolt, pre-stressed to ensure a clean break. A range of two to seven legs can be mounted to the frame, the former ideal for ‘loosening’ tramlines, all easily adjusted to create the desired effect and typically needing 60 to

150hp for effective use. In operation, depth control is by a full-width flat roller assembly fitted with a scraper that also levels and firms the surface after use. For those operating in grasslands, optional 350mm diameter disc coulters cut a path through the sward to allow the tine a clean entry and work in with the rear roller to ensure a prompt return to grazing or harvesting. Product manager for Power Farming, JP Chapman, says “the Earthquaker is a versatile tool for removing pans and improving vertical drainage, and it lends itself to soil loosening in cultivation work, perhaps ahead of discs, tines or power harrows in primary cultivation or remediation.” –Mark Daniel


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

CULTIVATION & CROPPING  // 31

Cultivator on road to success MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

THE NEW Kuhn Performer 3000, with a 3m working width, extends the existing Performer 4, 5, 6 and 7m tine/disc deep cultivator range that will cut, mix, loosen soil and consolidation it in one pass. The Performer 3000 is among the first farm

against immovable obstacles; slippage is avoided even under the most difficult conditions. At the rear, a choice of two roller assemblies sees the HD-Liner 700 roller designed for firm consolidation deeper into the soil profile, or a new U-double roller that has a lighter firming effect but still maintains a high degree of soil crumbling.

Available in 3m, 3.5m and 4m mounted and 4m and 5m trailed versions, the new Optimer XL range adapts well to tractors from 100hp to 300hp.

Kuhn Performer 3000.

Give seed the best possible start.

The Performer 3000 is among the first farm machines to get the new European road certification that guarantees a road speed of up to 40km/hr. machines to get the new European road certification that guarantees a road speed of up to 40km/h. The Performer can, when an ‘opportunity window’ is short, deal with all types of crop residues thanks to its ability to use individual or the combined elements of discs, tines or roller assembly (the latter is removeable for autumn cultivation). As part of the standard equipment, a new hydraulic non-stop safety tine adjustable up to 900kg helps penetration in tough conditions, with the benefit of overload protection

A wide range of rollers, including the new U double roller, allows adaptation to all types of terrain, with hydraulic adjustment from the cab.

Elsewhere in its range, Kuhn has added to the 3m to 7.5m wide Optimer+ range with 510mm diameter discs; it has introduced the Optimer XL 100 and 1000 series, with larger 620mm diameter discs, said to provide a 5cm to 15cm deeper working capacity. It achieves excellent penetration via its independent Elastomer safety device and wide flange; soil slippage is avoided, making this a machine for all soil conditions. A single disc on each support arm gives greater underframe clearance that in turn helps to reduce blockages.

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

32 //  MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Twist-n-go bike all this farmer needs MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

CRAIG BROWN is

a fourth-generation dairy farmer at Ngarua, Waikato. His company Farmer Brown Ltd operates on 69.5ha effective, carrying 180 dairy cows and 25 followers on a closed-herd basis, relying on pasture. For reliable farm transport the Brown family has over the years been through two-wheelers, quads and lately side by side machines. Always interested in emerging technologies, Brown first saw an Ubco 2 x 2 at Fieldays 2015,

and taken with its ‘green’ credentials he set about researching the idea. Hence the first Ubco allelectric farm bike arrived in February 2016 and he hasn’t looked back. The latest Ubco has a light, strong aluminium frame weighing 65kg -about half that of a typical petrol-engine equivalent. The frame cradles a 48 Ah lithium-ion battery that typically has a 120km range; it has a recharge time of six hours from flat to 90%. Running cost is estimated at $1/120km. Electric wheel motors are contained in the front and rear hubs, making the machine two-wheel drive

with a top speed of 50kph. To ride it you turn the twist-grip, and braking is via brake levers to both wheels; these when activated create a regenerative effect to put power back into the battery. The Ubco 2x2 dimensions -- very similar to those of a well-known Japanese step-though machine of the 1980s -- initially appealed to Brown, but the stand-out function for him is the drive layout. “In wet or muddy conditions, the Ubco just keeps travelling in the direction you point it. Compared to a conventional two-wheeler -- whose front wheel

Craig Brown with his electric bike.

‘washes-out’ in mud and the bike ends up laying on its side -- the driven front wheel on this machine just keeps things moving and on track.” This makes it safer for farm staff to ride, Brown says.

Of course, the machine suffers none of the issues inherent in using petrol -storage, safety when refilling and the risk of theft. And you never need go looking for a fuel can. The Ubco, priced at

$7995, of course costs much more than a petrol machine, but Brown says the savings on fuel and reduced maintenance soon outweigh the initial outlay. “Our first machine has

been here for just three years and has cost just $700 in repairs and maintenence -- a pittance compared to petrol bikes we have run in the past.” Brown bought a second in 2018.

Lightweight rubber collection mats works with a free app to evaluate results.

FERT CHECKS MADE EASY AMAZONE HAS updated its EasyCheck calibration system to allow the lateral spreading pattern of fertiliser to be quickly and easily checked in the paddock. First released in 2015, the system uses 16 lightweight rubber collection mats that work with a free app to automatically evaluate the results. Testing in 2016-16 discovered that the black mats were unsuitable for dark-coloured fertilisers, so Amazone has changed the colour of the mats to purple to provide the best contrast. To use EasyCheck, the user places the mats across four rows at specific distances from the tramline, before making a test pass with the spreader. The fertiliser deposited on the trays is photographed by cellphone then the picture is uploaded to the app. The app automatically compares the volume of fertiliser collected

on each row and the ratio between Easycheck App. them to calculate a co-efficient of variation; from here the app suggests adjustments to the spreading disc speed, the delivery system on ZA-TS trailed spreaders or the spreading vane position on its ZA-V or ZA-M mounted spreaders. Blair McElwee, Claas Harvest Centres product manager for Amazone, says the process is much

quicker than the conventional system of hard plastic trays and then weighing the contents. “It takes only a few minutes to lay out the mats, do the test spreading, photograph the mats and then calibrate the spreader,” he says. “The mats take up little space, can be easily transported on the spreader or tractor and all 16 items can be easily carried by one person.”


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS  // 33

Selective seeder giant celebrates 25 years

TRAILER LIGHTING NEVER SEEN

Connix wireless lighting system.

MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

WITH 25 years experience of electrical seed metering, Kverneland claims it knows more about electric drive systems than any other precision seeding company. Early designs appeared while the company developed the Unicorn Synchro Drive first seen in 1993; over the years this has evolved into the Kverneland e-drive II seen today. During that process, other introductions have been section control and greater computing power, ultimately leading to the company’s Geoseed technology. Geoseed is a patented control system that allows seeds to be placed either in parallel rows or alternately spaced between the rows. In the latter format, a diamond pattern is created, said to offer better uptake of nutrients,

Kverneland has 25 years of electrical seed metering experience under its belt.

light and water. When used with the company’s Geocontrol software, the precisely planted regime can also help reduce seed rates and eliminate overlaps that lead to densely planted areas. Electric drive remains prom-

inent in Kverneland’s precision seeder machines, used in the Optima and Monopill ranges aimed at maize and beet growers. Interestingly, this precision seeding is the means by which farmers and growers plant ‘amazing mazes’ to add to their income streams.

All KV precision seeders can work with the ISOBUS compatible iXtra LiFe front tanks and liquid fertiliser applications, and the company also offers two of its own universal ISOBUS terminals for use with its own or any other ISOBUS compatible machinery.

SPAREX, A wellknown supplier of farm machine parts and accessories, is offering a useful solution for those towing trailers or implements, whose lighting systems are non-existent or seen better days. The Connix LED magnetic wireless lighting actuates indicators, and brake, hazard and number plate lights. Its battery lasts ten hours and recharges in four. The units are held by magnetic mounts, then are matched with the plug/transmitter unit inserted into the standard seven-pin socket at the rear of the towing vehicle. The product was developed to fill a perceived gap in the market for bright, visible lighting with the convenience of wireless connectivity. This won its developer an innovation award at the recent Lamma 19 machinery show in the UK, where judges commended the company for offering necessary safety gear with potential in farming and other industries.

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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

34 //  MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Manufacturers kept honest MARK DANIEL mark@ruralnews.co.nz

IT”S GOOD to know that independent testing organisations such as the University of Nebraska Test Centre and the DLG in Germany are capable of keeping machine manufacturers honest about their products’ performance.

was recorded at the 12mm setting, averaging 328 tonnes/hour of fresh matter. Surprisingly, at the other end of the scale, set to 4mm the harvester still managed to push through an impressive 304 tonnes per hour. Fuel consumption, usually the largest operating cost of such a machine, averaged 150L/

for its ability to grow consistently high yielding crops, so ideal for testing throughput and fuel consumption. In Germany it was tested for consistency of chop length. The harvester, fitted with 64 knives, had its outputs measured at theoretical chop length settings of 4mm, 7mm and 12mm. As expected, the greatest output

DLG got early access to John Deere’s new 9000 series forage harvester -- a pre-production 9800 unit -- during the last European maize harvest. The harvester has a 24L, V-12 Liebherr engine rated at 870hp, and is mated to a Kemper 490, 12-row header with a working width of 9m. The trials began in northern Italy, favoured

John Deere’s SPFH range.

hour or 0.47L/tonne of fresh matter, with little difference irrespective of chop length.

Chop length consistency varied more: the 4mm setting showed that 60% of material was 3 to

5mm, while at the 7mm intended length, 70% of the product measured 5 to 8mm.

Argo Tractors eye targets ARGO TRACTORS,

the Italian maker of Landini, McCormick and Valpadana brands, has big aspirations for the next five years. “For the next five years, our objectives are to expand our product range, both downwards and upwards,” spokesman Alberto Morra said recently in Bologna, Italy. “We will reach the parts of the world where we are not yet present. We will compete more broadly with an expanded range while remembering

Argo Tractors target 1 billion euros turnover within five years.

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40

our primary focus – the tractor.” Simeone Morra, corporate business director, said the company’s next objectives “focus on the conquest of eastern markets from Russia to India and China”. “We will create new commercial partnerships based on the example of what was done with Anadolu in Turkey, open new branches and identify new importers and distributors in strategic areas.” Argo Tractors made

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at least 22,000 tractors in 2017, earning €500 million, and says it will increase turnover to €1 billion over the next five years; at least 5.5% of its annual turnover is now spent on R&D. Argo has entered a partnership with International Tractors Ltd, the

Indian manufacturer of Solis and Sonalika tractors, and the sixth-largest manufacturer of tractors in the world, by volume. ITL will supply six tractor models, from 45 to 90hp, that will be branded McCormick or Landini, for sale in “low regulation” countries.

CARTRIDGE DESIGN A WINNER NEW MILKING cluster technology that won its maker a Silver Award for Innovation at EuroTier 2018 in Holland will arrive in New Zealand later this year. The De Laval Evanza milking cluster is said to be the world’s first to use a cartridge design instead of a traditional liner. The unit also has a newly engineered clawpiece using the maker’s TopFlow technology, with an easy, quick-connect system between the claw and the teat cup. Testing of the new units shows 9.3% greater milk flow, and improved attachment can reduce milking time by about 7.0% per session. Also, teat condition scoring is improved and service times are reduced by 50%, largely because the cartridge can be changed three times faster than conventional liners. The ‘liner’ is self-contained and sealed in a hard-plastic cartridge that slots into each cluster shell where it makes an air-tight seal with the milk line. Each cartridge assembly is said to last 5000 milkings -- double the 2500 milkings achieved by normal liners. – Mark Daniel


DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS  // 35

Young fencing champ urges others to get wired TWO WEST Otago Young Farmers members have won a national fencing contest in Christchurch. Luke Kane (30) and Isaac Johnston (25) won the PGG Wrightson Fencing Competition held during the Agmardt NZ Young Farmers Conference. Johnston, a fencer since 2014, started fencing with Geoff Rogers’ firm High Country Fencing, Kirwee. “I was wary of being asked to dig holes in that area because although the ground isn’t stony, it’s very hard.” The pair faced tough competition, with Lachlan Fee and Sean Taylor from

Taranaki/Manawatū first to finish. “Looking across to see them gave us the kick up the bum we needed to work a bit faster,” Johnston said. “But it always pays to take a few extra minutes to check your fence is perfect before calling time; every point counts.” It was Johnston’s second time competing in the national final. “I love getting out there and competing with mates. It’s great fun and an excellent way to improve my fencing skills,” he said. Johnston moved to Tapanui in June last year, taking over the lease on his grandfather’s 80ha

farm. “It’s a glorified lifestyle block,” he said. “But I’ve always had a pas❱❱ 1st Luke Kane and Isaac sion for the farm Johnston (Otago/Southland) and the area.” He ❱❱ 2nd Peter O’ Connor and runs 600 breeding Philippa Mee (Tasman) ewes, 350 replace❱❱ 3rd Lachlan Fee and Sean ment ewe lambs Taylor (Taranaki/Manawatu) and a few cattle. Johnston “It doesn’t help that recently completed an fencing is not considered agribusiness diploma a professional industry in through PrimaryITO and runs his own fencing con- the same way as building or electrical.” tracting business. The Fencing ConHe voiced a couple of where in Northland.  It tractors’ Association theories about New Zealaunched in Hamilton land’s shortage of fencers. NZ is trying to address last year and will open in the problem with a new “There’s a lot of presChristchurch in April. national qualification sure on young people to  “I’ve been a fencer for -- the NZ Certificate in go to university and get five years and I’m eager to Fencing run by NorthTec degrees; the schooling obtain the qualification,” system ignores the trades. in Whangarei and else-

PGG Wrightson fencing competition

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NZ Young Farmers fencing competition held in Christchurch.

he said. “But I can’t work and travel all the way to Christchurch half a dozen times to attend my nearest course. “It’s hard for NorthTec to justify holding

courses in more regions because so few young people are entering the industry.” Johnston urges other young people to consider it as a career option.

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Profile for Rural NewsGroup

Dairy News 12 February 2019  

Dairy News 12 February 2019

Dairy News 12 February 2019  

Dairy News 12 February 2019