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Cash tight, costs rocketing – Feds. PAGE 5 CLEAR AS WATER

Effluent treatment PAGE 26

PASTURE RENEWAL Carbon building in soils PAGE 19

MARCH 12, 2019 ISSUE 418 //

START OF A NEW ERA “We have to move on very quickly, in my mind.”

– Miles Hurrell, Fonterra chief executive PAGE 3

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NEWS  // 3

Giant ship takes time to turn - Hurrell SUDESH KISSUN

Equity flat-to-declining. PG.10

Record them right. PG.20

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NEWS������������������������������������������������������ 3-12 OPINION���������������������������������������������� 14-15 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������ 16-17 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������19-20 ANIMAL HEALTH����������������������������21-22 EFFLUENT & WATER������������������� 23-31 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS�������������������������������������� 32-34

FONTERRA CHIEF executive Miles Hurrell is asking shareholders for time to turn the business around. Hurrell, confirmed last week as chief executive after six months in an interim role, believes his appointment is the start of a new era for the co-op. He acknowledges that farmer shareholders and unitholders are looking for a change in direction: “Something we have to move on very quickly, in my mind,” Hurrell told Dairy News. “We need to do things differently… but it’s a large organisation with businesses and footprints all over the world. Changing direction does take time.” Hurrell says he is humbled by the support from farmer shareholders since his appointment. “I thank farmers for messages of

New leaders at the helm: Fonterra chairman John Monaghan (left) and chief executive Miles Hurrell.

support and I look forward to working with them as we go about getting this business back to where it needs to be.” Fonterra last year posted a historic first annual net loss of $196 million. Last month it said it would pay a higher milk price to its suppliers but revised its forecast earnings down to 15-25c/ share.

Fonterra’s share price slumped to $4.20/share after the announcement; it had been hovering around $6.60/ share at the beginning of last year. Following Hurrell’s confirmation as chief executive last week, the share price rose to $4.41/share. Hurrell says the earnings guidance is disappointing and suggests “we need to do things fundamentally different from way we have”.

Fonterra’s management is working with the board on a new strategic direction. An update is expected when Fonterra announces its interim results next week. “We will give a flavor of those changes on March 20 but it will take time to work through those things,” he says. Fonterra aims to reduce debt by $800m by the end of the financial year; three major assets -- investment in Chinese company Beingmate, the Tip Top Ice Cream business in NZ and a third unnamed business -- form part of this. The co-op has unwound its joint venture in Australia with Beingmate and has taken back control of its Darnum plant in Victoria. Hurrell says it is talking to several parties about Tip Top. He says the co-op will talk about the third business when it presents interim results on March 20. But he says it was important for the co-op to get its strategy right before moving on assets.


ra’s chief executive has been warmly received on social media. Hawke’s Bay farmer and Ballance director Sarah von Dadelszen tweeted that it was “awesome news”. “Great having such an fantastic NZer leading the co-op. Well done Miles,” she says.

NZ Agricultural Trade Envoy Mike Petersen describes the appointment as “inspiring”. “Pleased to see Miles Hurrell secured in this important role.” Former Fonterra communications head Kerry Underhill also congratulated Hurrell. “Fantastic news and a great call by the co-op,” he tweeted.

Hurrell will get a base salary of $1.95 million, lower than that earned by his predecessor Theo Spierings, who got $8m in pay and bonuses during his last year at the co-op. One Facebook user Lance Phillips described the salary as “a bargain… less than half of Theo’s salary”. @dairy_news


4 //  NEWS

$7-plus payout on the cards? PAM TIPA

THE FARMGATE milk price

could possibly rise beyond $7/ kgMS in the 2019-20 season after the seventh consecutive GDT Event price index gain last week, says BNZ senior economist Doug Steel. But he remains wary of demand, given slowing global and Chinese growth indicators. But ASB’s Nathan Penny is sticking with his bullish $7/kgMS forecast for next season after the price index climbed 3.3% last week. Steel told Dairy News last week’s overall gain was underpinned by a chunky 6% lift in whole milk powder (WMP). The price index has made a cumulative 23.8% gain since November last year. “Tight global supply (including slowing late season NZ milk production) is providing support to

prices,” Steel says. “EU milk production has been flat and stockpiles unwound, while Australian milk production is well down on a year ago. Meanwhile, demand looks strong with unsatisfied bidders at this auction well above average at 67.” If prices were to hold their recent gains the 2018-19 milk price would come in close to the midpoint of Fonterra’s newly minted forecast range of $6.30 to $6.60/ kgMS, Steel says. This adds to the upside possibility of BNZ’s $6.25/ kgMS forecast. It is the first auction where WMP prices have pushed materially above the Reserve Bank’s medium view of US$3000/tonne, with last week’s prices reaching US$3186/t, he says. Currently BNZ’s forecast for next season stands at $6.10/kgMS but there is a clear upside possibility. Current market conditions are consistent with a 2019-20 milk price of $6.70/kgMS but it

were less than the could push above $7/ prior auction (-8%) kgMS. But aside from but still significantly slowing demand indihigher than last year cators there is also (+35%). WMP demand a chance that global is robust at presmilk production might ent and this is a very improve as grain prices strong result seeing as weaken, he says. milk continues to flow Rabobank dairy (albeit heat impacted analyst Emma Higgins Doug Steel, BNZ in recent weeks) and says the total SMP volumes on offer for last week’s GDT product volumes are plentiful.  “As we move closer to the Event (6255t) was significantly higher than the prior event in Feb- northern hemisphere spring flush, buyers will be turning their eyes ruary 2019 – over 40% more. “This highlights the extra milk towards how the season is shapNew Zealand farmers have been ing up there,” she says. “More milk will likely be availpumping out this season and is highlighted further when consider- able from Ireland given that last ing the SMP volumes for this event year weather challenges hampered were up 112% on the first March production. “But France and Germany are event last year.” These factors contributed to still lagging behind their prior year the decline in SMP pricing of 4.3% milk collections. Weekly collections through to February 10 suglast week. “On the other hand, the aver- gested Germany was 0.6% lower age WMP leapt 6% to land at and France 3% below the prior US$3186/t. The volumes on offer year.”

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FONTERRA RATING OUTLOOK REVISED FITCH HAS revised its rating outlook for Fonterra

to negative from stable but reaffirmed the long term default rating as ‘A’. The revision follows Fonterra’s reduction of its forecast earnings for the year ending July 2019. “In our view this indicates that the cooperative has structural issues it needs to address to retain the defensive traits that have underscored its historically strong business profile,” Fitch says. The cooperative’s current review will be crucial in this, it says. Fitch says it “is positive for bondholders” that Fonterra has said it will not pay an interim dividend, that any decisions on full year dividend will be made at the end of the financial year and that its dividend policy is under review. This “continues to reinforce Fitch’s expectation that Fonterra will prioritise the strength of its balance sheet over payment to farmer shareholders”. Regarding structural issues, Fitch says “the effect that volatility in the dairy market and other industry issues in specific geographic regions continue to have on Fonterra’s profits indicates there are structural issues within the cooperative, which limit its ability to absorb these effects”. Fitch says the cooperative is committed to reducing leverage and reviewing its portfolio. “We believe asset sales are critical for Fonterra to return its metrics to a level in line with its current rating, given the impact the structural issues continue to have on Fonterra’s ability to organically deleverage.” Any delay in the expected $800 million asset sales will put pressure on Fonterra’s rating. Fitch notes Fonterra is a world leader in dairy exports representing about 15% in the global market including a 42% share in whole milk powder. And it is New Zealand’s largest dairy producer collecting 82% of the country’s milk supply in the 2017-18 season. – Pam Tipa


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NEWS  // 5

Cash tight, costs rocketing - Feds SPIRALLING EXPENSES are the big-

Swales confirmed as COO JUDITH SWALES is confirmed as Fonterra’s chief operating officer, global consumer and foodservice, having been acting in the role since early this year. Swales joined Fonterra in 2013 and is already one of the executive team. She has led in consumer business and transformation roles, including managing director of the co-op’s oceania business and chief operat-

ing officer of its transformation and innovation function. Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says Swales has been a strong leader of the consumer and foodservice business unit. “Judith’s strengths as a leader lie in her ability to quickly understand what needs to be done and her action-orientation; she’s very purposeful in the way she goes about things.”

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“You’ve seen the likes of minimum wages increasing; all these things have a contributing effect on what we pay.” Rates are skyrocketing; a lot of dairy farmers are paying up to $50,000 in rates – in that range

SHARE PRICE DILEMMA ASKED IF Fonterra farmers are fed up with the share price and dividend situation or are prepared to ride it out, Chris Lewis says there are always two schools of thought. One is that they have money invested and may have bought their shares for about $6 and now they are worth about $4; they question whether they should get a dividend off it to help service the debt. Another school of thought is they

are not likely to sell their shares for a long time. They look at the total payout and if it’s greater than $6.30 -$6.40/ kgMS they are “happyish”. “I wouldn’t say they are jumping for the moon but they are happyish.” But farmers this year who are selling their farm and banked on a $6 share and are now looking at $4.20 would not be as happy because land prices are slightly down.

-- when a few years ago they were paying $5000 $15,000. “It all has a contributing effect; money is dashed tight onfarm. “Now to live comfortable you need a $6.50-$7/ kgMS milk price. A few years ago if I had said that in the media I would have been laughed out of the media.” He says people in town are struggling with the cost of living too. It is not just restricted to farmers; everyone is feeling the effect. “Costs are tight. Running a business is hard work. Even in the construction industry, builders are going belly-up. It is not just farmers.”



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Chris Lewis, Federated Farmers.

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6 //  NEWS

Happy to be back in Teapot Valley NIGEL MALTHUS

THE ONLY dairy farmer forced off his

farm by the massive Tasman fire has been able to continue milking despite earlier believing the farm would be too damaged. Sharemilker Michael Shearer runs 360 cows on a property in the Teapot Valley, west of the town of Brightwater. The farm became one of the front lines in the fight against the 2300ha fire, which came up to the boundary and could have continued but for an estimated 25ha of firebreaks cut into the farm. As the previous issue of Dairy News went to press, Shearer was temporarily milking his herd at a property the other side of the Waimea River, but had expected to dry them off when he returned to the farm because be believed there was too much damage to continue milking.

However, Shearer says while it looked like that at the time, he has “managed to make things work”. “We got on and discovered the water was salvageable to half the farm, which was the main concern. “The laneways were fine and we could patch up a few fences to get the cows to and from the shed. Then we figured that if we could milk them out of one paddock at Ealams we should be able to milk them out of about 15 at home.” The herd’s temporary home was a paddock on Bruce and Cameron Ealam’s property at Brightwater. This recent conversion to hops from dairy boasted a still-workable milking shed. Shearer said things had worked out better than expected. “Everything lined up nicely. We were to get out the day after Ealams started the hops [harvest], and got out of their way. “We had a couple of MPI guys who really helped put an emergency plan in

place for getting the cows back; that got us over the line to being able to get back on the farm.” Meanwhile, the state of emergency has been lifted but Shearer is still working off only about a third of the farm, not grazing the hills and keeping behind certain firebreaks. The fire has only worsened the effects of the continuing drought. “We kind of forgot about [the drought] when the fire kicked in but now it’s getting back to fighting on both fronts again,” said Shearer. “We’ve got our silage stack there which will last another two to three weeks and then I’ve got some baleage we’re going to get off my brotherin-law. After that it’ll be making more decisions so, yeah, we are kind of a bit reliant on altruism.” But he believes his cows were happy to be home. “I think they got back on the laneway and thought ‘yeah that’s right, that’s back to normal’. I know we sure

Tasman sharemilker Michael Shearer.

appreciate it. It’s certainly nice being back on your own place and in your own shed. That’s where you feel comfortable.” Meanwhile, the drought appears to be starting to affect production across the region. A Fonterra spokesperson says that while the company does not publish regional data, collections in the Tasman Marlborough region are tracking down on what would normally be expected at this time of year.

Fonterra has lowered its forecast national milk collection for the full season, to 1530 million kgMS, down 1% from the previous forecast of 1550 million kgMS (although still up 2% on last season). “To help farmers deal with dry conditions, we delivered 7000 bales of hay from our Darfield farm to about 10 farmers in the Nelson area,” the co-op said. “We were also able to provide drinking water with our tankers to some farms.”

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NEWS  // 7

Euro auction platform no price risk – GDT PAM TIPA

ADDING AN auction in

Europe should have no price impact overall on dairy prices as it would not be adding quantity to the global supply pool, says Global Dairy Trade director Eric Hansen. “The products offered on the European platform are already produced and sold today into local and global markets,” he told Dairy News.  “The introduction of a new online trading platform for European supply merely provides a more efficient channel to sell these products. Therefore, we expect a new European platform will attract more buyers to online trading, increasing the total number and diversity of potential buyers for all sellers.” GDT is in the phase of validating the commercial viability of providing a new European dairy trading platform, Hansen said at the release of annual results last week. It is working with the European Energy Exchange (EEX) on the possibility of developing the new platform for auctioning European sourced supply to domestic and international buyers. Details of the service are being put in front of prospective sellers, commitments to participate

in the platform are being sought and the nature of the arrangements between EEX and GDT finalised, says Hansen. A final decision on whether to proceed is expected mid-year. If the decision were positive the first auction would be likely in the first half of 2020. “While dairy is a globally traded product the reality is each major market has its own needs and to remain relevant we have to directly look at ways of innovating our auction design and our offering model. “We believe partnering with an entity such as the EEX will add credibility and relevance to the European market, will attract more suppliers and will ensure the platform remains focused on European needs.” GDT Events had a good year in the financial year to December 31, 2018 with annual trading volume up 7.5% and a 5% increase in the average number of participating bidders per quarter, Hansen says. “The clearance rate remained high at 94%. Whole milk powder (WMP) remained the largest product at about half of total volume. Skim milk powder (SMP) continues to attract the most bidders with nearly 200 buyers participating during the year.”

The trading tensions between the US and China highlights the diversity of GDT’s bidding pool, he says. “For example during 2018 more than 70% of WMP and SMP buyers

were based outside of North Asia yet at the same time we also offer access to a large number of buyers [in] China.” This year they are working on several key activities including a

GDT director Eric Hansen.

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NEWS  // 9

Outlook better than what farmers feel PAM TIPA

THE DAIRY outlook is

more rosy and positive than New Zealand producers may have been feeling about it, says US Rabobank global dairy strategist Mary Ledman. Producers here are fairly cautious, she said during a visit this month. Her message of a growing world market and a slowdown in production growth in other world regions should give Kiwi farmers an element of optimism, she says. “The outlook for milk prices for the next season are for another good solid season of milk prices

here,” she told Dairy News. “In contrast US milk prices were down in 2018 and the margins of milk price minus feed costs were down at least 15 % -maybe closer to 20% for some farmers – and that is a downturn that the NZ farmers have not faced.” She sees more opportunities than threats. Rabobank’s five year outlook sees the growth in demand from China, South East Asia, South America and African countries in a sense outpacing the growth in milk production. “We are not predicting any long term deficit in milk production. If market prices prevail

BUTTERFAT IS KING A BIG trend in the US over the last five years has been dairy farmers breeding for butterfat. Historically the average butterfat content in producer milk was about 3.68%. But with strong butterfat prices over the last five years – at least US$5000 per tonne -- that is signaling dairy farmers to produce more fat. “We have seen breeding changes that result in the average butterfat content in US milk being close to 3.9%,” says Ledman. And increasingly the US milk production is going to exports – up from 2% of total production in 2000 to 16% in 2018. About half the average annual increase in production of 1.5% goes to exports. “Mexico to the US is like China is to New Zealand. Mexico is by far the largest market for dairy products: about a third of the milk equivalent of dairy exports from the US go to Mexico. That is driven by skim milk powder exports to Mexico.”

“We are not predicting any long term deficit in milk production. If market prices prevail dairy farmers around the world will respond and increase milk production to feed these growing markets. But the outlook is really quite bright.”

dairy farmers around the world will respond and increase milk production to feed these growing markets. But the outlook is really quite bright,” she says. “Even China in January this year had record whole milk powder imports and the recent GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) auction has been positive. An almost 8% increase in NZ milk production in January and the following day the GDT auction still positive... is a sign. January was a good export month and I think February will be as well.” The global market is becoming well balanced largely due to the slowdown in global milk production in key producing regions. The fourth quarter of the 2018 season in the key milk producing regions of Europe, US and Oceania saw the smallest year-onyear growth in milk production probably since

2012. “The other good news for the industry is that even a year ago – January 1, 2018 – Europe had nearly 400,000 tonnes of skim milk powder in their government stocks. Through some aggressive selling primarily in December 2018 and January 2019 they currently have less than 5000t of stock so the combination of no large overhanging stocks in the market and the slowdown in growth poises the market for recovery. “That recovery means stronger milk prices than the global market has seen in the last couple of years, although we don’t see the market being so strong that we get the prices we experienced in 2013-14. The key reason we don’t see the industry returning to those price levels is that the European community, which is the largest milk producing bloc in the world,

no longer is impeded by a quota system. “Their quotas were eliminated in the spring of 2015 and since that time they have added more processing capacity particularly in milk powders. They will be in a position to produce more skim milk powder or whole milk powder if market conditions warrant it.” Europe’s production has been hit by weather. In the US the challenge has been more on the margins – milk price minus feed costs. “The margins in 2018 were about 15% or more lower than the prior year. This has had a negative impact particularly on smaller farms with fewer than 150 cows: we have seen an increase in exits by farms of that size. “Year-on-year milk production in the US in

Mary Ledman, Rabobank US.

the fourth quarter of 2018 was only up a 0.5%. Typically US milk production increases 1.5% so only being up a 0.5% is like being down 1%. “We also see negative profitability in the US affecting the US dairy herd which has dropped about 60,000 head since mid 2018. So the dairy herd in the first half of 2019 versus the prior year will be down about 0.5%. Even if cow production is up 1.5% a good case scenario would be milk production would only be up 1%.” Ledman says this isn’t necessarily a long term

trend. “The historical growth rate is much closer to 1.5% and the US will over time return to that growth rate. “In Europe the Netherlands, which is one of eight top milk producing countries within the EU, has environmental constraints they must adhere to. They overpopulated their country with dairy cows post quota and they have to redo some cow numbers to bring their herd in line with environmental numbers. We see some of the growth in the EU tempered by some of those conditions.”

FAKE MILK NOT SCARY PLANT BASED alternatives to milk are a growing competitor for share of consumer choice, but they aren’t a big threat at this time, says Ledman. But they’re doing a great job in marketing and packaging, she says. “So there is probably some learnings the dairy industry could take from the plant based beverages,” she says. “But the fluid milk business in the US is still about 20% of total US milk production -- at least 90 million tonnes going into the fluid bottle.” It has been declining by about 2% annually and the plant based beverage category has been growing by about 8% a year but from a small base. That category includes soya and almond milk but in the US almond milk is the number-one growing alternative ‘milk’. “But if we said it continued to grow by 8%, those lines would cross... between 2035 and 2040. That illustrates how small the plant based beverages are at this time.”

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10 //  NEWS

Equity flat-to-declining NIGEL MALTHUS


equity in their farms looks like staying flat or even declining slightly on average over the next ten years, says DairyNZ farm systems specialist Paul Bird, Hamilton. Bird spoke at a recent SMASH (Smaller Milk and Supply Herds) open day at Takaka, presenting a graph showing the top 25% of farms in the northern South Island could expect equity growth of $1.3 million over 10 years. However, he forecast a slight drop in equity – about $134,000 – on average, which meant the poor performers would be struggling. Bird said the numbers were based on three years average cost structure, on current debt levels and an estimate of a $6/kgMS

milk price -- the last 10 years average. “But whenever you forecast out, there are always big errors in reality so even though it looks like it’s declining by $100,000 over 10 years, it’s kind of a break-even. So half are doing better, but half are really struggling.” Bird said farm working expenses are the overriding factor in equity growth so the question for farmers is how to change their cost structure. There is no simple answer but the biggest driver is pasture management and the next-biggest is controlling personal expenses. “You see people who have good farm cost structure and tight farm management; they have a clear focus on just a few targets on the farm and they are good at monitor-

Paul Bird, DairyNZ.

ing those targets. It’s just basic farm management. “They home in on those few key things and they monitor them and they hit the targets -- like grass cover and cow condition -- and then they hit pasture-eaten targets and it allows them to have a lower cost structure.” Bird was speaking at a meeting organised by SMASH, which addresses

the concerns and challenges of dairy farmers with smaller herds. The theme of the open day was diversification as a way for small herd farmers to get to where they want to be in 10 years. But he said the lessons are applicable “absolutely across the board”. “There’s a surprisingly small amount of economies of scale in dairy

farming.” He said aiming for as much pasture-eaten as possible is important, as is low stock wastage and stock replacement rates. “Farms with low cost structure tend to have very good reproduction; they require fewer replacements and have higher stock income.” Bird said DairyNZ’s message is for everyone to be clear about where they want to be in 10 years. “If it’s your passion and interest to try different things then we would strongly support you to go down that track. But I think the key thing with the numbers is if you’re going to do some different things do them from a strong financial base. “If you do it from a base where you’re going backwards and under financial pressure.”

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE! MIND YOUR language: that’s the message to rural professionals dealing with dairy farmers in the lower North Island. But this is not a complaint about rural professionals swearing or using abusive language; rather it is about the words they use when talking to farmers about the state of the industry and related issues. Rural professionals met recently to discuss low morale among dairy farmers in the lower North Island. Rob Brazendale, of DairyNZ, says they were trying to determine the causes of low morale. “We identified things such as the increasing compliance costs, uncertainty about milk companies, negative rhetoric coming from central government about the industry and the land market being pretty flat; all these are impacting on low farmer morale. A lot of farmers are feeling quite despondent,” he says. Brazendale says the group asked themselves whether they were adding to the low morale or countering it by their interactions with farmers. They concluded that they should be positive about the future and not put negative connotations on issues. The group, which includes bankers, retailers, accountants, farm advisors, vets and others, are regularly in touch with farmers and often they pick up things farmers say and this can be negative. “We have to look at our language and how we use it and how we frame questions. We have to put things in perspective and try to talk about the good things in the industry.” – Peter Burke

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Saputo pays $1.9b for Dairy Crest SUDESH KISSUN

CANADIAN DAIRY giant Saputo is continuing its global buying spree, stitching up a deal to buy the listed UK company Dairy Crest. Saputo, which recently became the largest milk processor in Australia, will pay $1.9 billion for Dairy Crest. Australian dairy analyst Steve Spencer, FreshAgenda isn’t surprised that Saputo keeps expanding in its core

business -- cheese. “The only surprise is buying a UK cheese company in a market that is about two-thirds private label, on the eve of an extremely uncertain Brexit… but I am sure they have done their homework,” Spencer told Dairy News. He notes that Saputo has a strong balance sheet and can afford to pay for companies that might be underperforming. “Dairy Crest, however, is a growing business and Saputo has paid a full price for the company. It gets them

back into the European scene in a large consumer market,” Spencer says. Saputo’s recent acquisitions include Australia’s Warrnambool Cheese and Butter in 2014 and Murray Goulburn last year. In 2015 Saputo bought Lion’s ‘everyday’ cheese business for A$137.5m, taking control of the Coon, Cracker Barrel, Mil Lel and Fred Walker brands. Lion retained the ‘specialty’ cheese brands South Cape and King Island Dairy Commenting on the acquisition, Saputo chairman Lino Saputo Jr says

MOVE ON LION NOT LIKELY AUSTRALIAN DAIRY analyst Steve Spencer doesn’t expect Saputo to bid for Lion’s Australian dairy which is for sale. Spencer says he would be very surprised if Saputo were involved. “Lino Saputo has expressed his concerns on the structure of the fresh milk market which is also not growing. Lion has a specialty cheese business of which Warrnambool

Cheese and Butter had already purchased the most relevant, and there would be far better opportunities to get a decent return on Saputo’s invested capital,” he says. Lion’s white milk, yoghurt and plant-based beverage assets could be worth up to $800m. Japanese brewer Kirin, which owns 100% of Lion, began the sale process late last year.

Spencer says he cannot speculate on possible winners as it would take a joint approach to break up the assets of Lion Dairy. “But I’d rule out Parmalat (for competition issues), Bega (they are already busy making recent large acquisitions work) and Fonterra (who surely would not put more capital into this market given current challenges).”

Dairy Crest is an attractive platform for Saputo and fits well within its growth strategy. “We believe that under Saputo ownership, Dairy Crest will be able to accelerate its long-term growth and business development potential and provide benefits to Dairy Crest’s employees and stakeholders.” Dairy Crest is listed on the London Stock Exchange; it’s brands include Cathedral City Cheddar cheese and Country Life and Clover Butter. Until December 2015, the com-

pany used to process and sell milk and owned the Frijj milkshake brand; it was sold to Germany’s Müller for $154m. Dairy Crest chairman Stephen Alexander says the board is unanimously recommending Saputo’s all-cash offer. He notes that both companies have built strong positions in the cheese sectors in their respective home markets. “The acquisition should enable Dairy Crest to benefit from Saputo’s global expertise and strong financial position to fulfil and accelerate its growth ambitions.”

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MILKING IT... Capital pains

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NATIONAL’S CONSTANT prodding in Parliament recently about capital gains tax (CGT) has caused the Prime Minister to drop her veil of kindness and reveal anger and petulance instead. The Tax Working Group’s fulsome push for a CGT has Labour on the back foot for now, as shown by the PM’s temper flashes, question dodging and strange desire to explain her ‘small business experience’. And it has revealed a hard truth for Labour, as noted by political journalist Richard Harman on his website Politik. That is, “the future of any CGT depends on NZ First”. Harman writes that while the party publicly says it isn’t conducting any formal process to decide its policy position on CGT, its supporters are making their thoughts known loud and clear, at public meetings and on the party’s Facebook page, “mostly opposing a capital gains tax”. “This may explain what is fast becoming obvious -- that Peters is carefully avoiding any suggestion he might support the tax.”

GREEN PARTY MP Golriz Gharaman is pushing a Members Bill that would give prisoners the right to vote and ban overseas donations to political parties. Oh, and change the 5% party vote MMP threshold to 4% without a public referendum -- just a simple majority in Parliament will do (we nearly forgot about that bit buried in the fine print). With the Greens clinging to 5% in recent polls and being the third leg of the coalition, and NZ First at about 3%, it’s no surprise the Greens want to move the goalposts before the next election. Gharaman has been called out on this undemocratic move by political commentators such as PR man Matthew Hooton, and others, but her response has been flippant, to say the least. She says her real target is overseas donations, and anyway the Electoral Commission said dropping the MMP threshold to 4% was worth doing. As Hooton rightly says, “parliamentarians with integrity should only change how Parliament is elected by a 75% supermajority or referendum”.

Moo love on the Toxic loan? net MORE QUESTIONS are COWS AND bulls searching for ‘moo love’ now have a mobile app to help their breeders. A UK farming start-up introduced a Tinder-style app, called Tudder, that lets farmers find breeding matches by viewing pictures of cattle with details of their age, location and owner. Users hear a mooing sound as they swipe right to show they’re interested or left to reject possible matches. Hectare, which designed the app, says it “seeks to unite sheepish farm animals with their soulmates”. Selling animals using social media can speed up a process that often involves transporting animals long distances for breeding. Farmers who swipe right on an image of a particular cow -- or group of cows -- are directed to Hectare’s livestock-buying website, with a chance to contact the owner or make an offer. The listing website includes information on the animal’s character and any health issues.

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being asked about the Government’s contentious $10 million loan to Westland Milk. It was revealed this month that Treasury argued against the Government lending Westland Milk Products $9.9 million but its advice was ignored. One reason the Treasury was against the loan was because Westland was having problems obtaining a loan from its bank on acceptable terms and the Government would then be acting as a lender of last resort. The money had not been handed over as contract negotiations were continuing.

FONTERRA CHIEF executive Miles Hurrell’s open and accessible approach has brought a refreshing change at the co-op. Any farmer shareholder can these days pose any question to Hurrell via Twitter. A lot of farmers were unhappy when Fonterra two weeks ago slashed its dividend forecast by 10c/share, with a consequent drop in the share price. Many asked tough questions of the co-op. For example, Waikato farmer Megan Webster took to Twitter to vent her frustration. In a tweet to Hurrell (the first Fonterra chief executive on Twitter!) she bluntly asked “are you just trying to make your job/s hard? I thought one of the prerogatives of Fonterra was to reduce the gearing ratio? Selling off assets and eroding shareholder wealth simultaneously may not be the way to do it? Just saying....” Hurrell replied, “Hi Meagan, you’re right... reducing our debt by $800 million is one of my priorities and, yes, the potential sale of Tip Top and B’mate will help us achieve it. Very mindful of the impact yesterday’s announcements had on share price. Working hard to deliver for farmers and unit holders.” One year ago, the idea of Fonterra’s chief executive communicating directly and publicly with farmer shareholders did not exist. Hurrell’s predecessor Theo Spierings preferred to let the former chairman, the late John Wilson, front up to shareholders most of the time. To his credit, Spierings did front up to shareholders during the routine round of farmer meetings but always with the chairman at his side. The new chairman John Monaghan prefers to take a back seat and let Hurrell deal with farmers. Fonterra’s communications strategy with shareholders has raised eyebrows in the past. Now Hurrell ushers in a new era where getting a response from the chief executive is a mouse click away. But for farmers, open communications is just the beginning. They want to see the co-op return to profitability and start paying a decent dividend on the millions they borrowed from banks to buy shares. Hurrell is promising change but wants shareholders to give him time. Farmers seem to ready to do this. There’s a positive vibe among farmers with Hurrell confirmed as the co-op’s chief executive. Now they will be watching with interest when Hurrell outlines some of his plans next week. A positive interim result and tangible moves to reduce debt and improve returns to unit holders will go a long way to cementing the warm relationship Hurrell is developing with farmer shareholders.

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OPINION  // 15

US dairy eyes trade JIM MULHERN


of international trade to the US dairy economy is almost impossible to overstate. So is the current uncertainty surrounding trade relationships. Chinese and US negotiators are grappling with how to reset the world’s biggest bilateral trading relationship, with hopes of an agreement later this month. The US-MexicoCanada Agreement, the signature US trade achievement of 2018, has yet to be ratified by Congress. And the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel that have invited retaliation against dairy from crucial trade partners China, Mexico and Canada remain in place. Each discussion is crucial for dairy, which is ever-more-dependent on global markets to support prices as US production rises to meet global demand growth: for the past 15 years 50% of US production growth has gone to exports, and the percentage of the US milk supply sent abroad has steadily increased. The outcome of each debate, in turn, will shape the direction of other negotiations important to the sector, including potential bilateral talks with Japan, the European Union and post-Brexit UK, and potential negotiations with the Philippines and Vietnam. But as discussions grow more complex and headlines swing wildly from hopeful to gloomy and back again, it becomes only more important to be mindful of two things: first, that in our own advocacy as NMPF and the work we support with the US Dairy Export Council, we advance dairy’s interests at all times; second, regarding improving market access, dairy is in it for the long haul and we will settle for nothing less than the best possible

trade terms for our producers. To ensure prosperous dairy trade over the long term, an overarching need is that agriculture, in the current environment, be excluded from trade disputes that may or may not be justified. Because agriculture is a rare part of the US economy with a trade surplus, it’s a tempting target for trade partners looking to retaliate against actions against them – and that’s a recipe to make US farmers collateral damage in any trade war. While trade agreements that may be past their prime can be legitimately ripe for renegotiation, we then need to strengthen and renew those ties, not limit them in ways that harm US dairy producers. Meanwhile, competitors continue to conclude new agreements. The Trans-Pacific Partnership sailed without the US last year, as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership completed its journey. And the EU jumps from accord to accord, most recently with Japan.   Finally, we need to ensure that negotiators focus on key sectors important to agriculture and not accept any drive for freer trade that puts farmers in the back seat. For example, NMPF supports breaking down trade barriers as a matter of principle, but we can’t simply allow the EU to get away with preserving a status quo that unfairly protects its farmers and hampers US agricultural competitiveness. Especially that applies to irritants such as the EU’s use of geographical indications to pursue protectionist policies, when it insists on excluding agriculture from any US trade talks. We want trade deals – but not simply for the sake of having them. We will always represent our cooperatives’ interests -and be patient. Our patient, consis-

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tent and effective work in these areas persists. Such patience is vital as trade developments twist, turn and frustrate. The fact is, dairy needs greater market access. Increased dairy shipments abroad are the central reason behind the USDA’s forecast of a mild milk-price

recovery as published in its Agriculture Outlook in February. Greater access would provide an even greater recovery, one that’s been hampered so long as tariffs continue to bite. When dairy’s prosperity returns, exports will be a big reason behind it.

But easing the path for exports must be done right. That’s what we will stand for, and always will, no matter how much the momentary shifts in trade winds may try to blow us off that path. • Jim Mulhern is chief executive of National Milk Producers Federation in the US.

Jim Mulhern, NMPF chief executive.


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Winners proactive, not reactive TARANAKI SHARE

Farmer of the Year winners Jacob and Leah Prankerd say entering the dairy industry awards gave them deeper understand-

ing of their business and taught them to be proactive not reactive. “It also enabled us to strengthen our industry network by getting to

know others in the industry and our rural professionals,” they say. They won the award at the region’s annual awards dinner held at the

TSB Hub in Hawera last week, scooping $12,750 in prizes and one merit award. The other major winners were the 2019 Taranaki Dairy Man-

ager of the Year Kenneth Harrison, and the 2019 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Marshall Jane. Jacob and Leah believe their ability to overcome Taranaki 2019 SFOTY Leah and Jacob Prankerd.

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69ha Stratford property. Jacob (27) grew up on a dairy farm and holds a Modern Apprenticeship Level 4 ITO; Leah (26) is studying for the Diploma of Agribusiness ITO. “Our short-term goal is to move onto a largerscale farm of 500 cows as 50/50 sharemilkers,” Jacob says. “Dairy farming is a great career, letting you push yourself to see what you can create and produce from different farms. “Being challenged in this industry keeps it exciting and we are forever learning and evolving.” Farming goals include farm ownership, and the couple acknowledge that everything they do now is because they have learnt from past experiences. “We have become more adaptable to our environment, proactive not reactive, and we can still see a lot of learning and experiences to come.”


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challenges such as the low payout -- which coincided with a new farm, increased cow numbers and a high empty rate -has strengthened them in every aspect of their business. “That was a year when our health and wellbeing got pushed aside just so we could get through. The repercussions of that year followed through into the following years, however we are now back on our feet. If we hadn’t worked together as a strong team it would have been a completely different outcome.” Teamwork and the ability to work towards a common goal are the strengths of their business, “also extended to others involved in our operation such as farm owners and professionals,” says Leah. They are in their first season as 50/50 sharemilkers on Jill and Andrew Adlam’s 195-cow,

RUNNERS-UP IN the Taranaki Share Farmer of the Year competition are Sophie Parker and Matt Thomas who won $7355 in prizes and four merit awards. The Oakura 50/50 Sharemilkers work on Norton and Coral Moller’s Oakura Farms Ltd 84ha property milking 280 cows. The first-time awards entrants entered to challenge themselves. “The awards were recommended by a lot of people as a way to analyse all the parts of our business and take stock,” they say. Matt is B.VetSc and was a large animal veterinarian; Sophie is B.Sc, M.AgSc and was a private consultant and DairyNZ consulting officer. After working as rural professionals they both (age 31) decided to try their hand at running a farm. “We enjoyed the challenge of bringing all parts of a farming operation and business together to achieve a good result and see animals healthy and performing well.” The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards sponsors are DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, Westpac, Dairy NZ and Primary ITO.



Awards help search every nook, cranny of farm business THE FIRST regional

winners of the 2019 Dairy Industry Awards have been announced. Ohakune sharemilkers Jemima and Thomas Bebbington are the 2019 Manawatu Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmers of the Year. Thomas (36) and Jemima (33) now 50:50 share-milk 425 cows on a 160ha Ohakune property owned by Andrew Wightman. This is the couple’s sixth season share-milking. They also won three merit awards. The Bebbingtons say the strength of their farming business lies in the teams they have created to support their goal of growing their business. Entering the dairy industry awards has given

them a better understanding of their business. “The awards gave us the opportunity to look into every nook and cranny of our farming business, and receive feedback from farming professionals,” say the couple, who have entered the awards twice previously. They won $9560 in prizes at the awards dinner night held at the Awapuni Race Course in Palmerston North. The other major winners were the 2019 Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year Renee Howard and the 2019 Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year Nick Besinga. The Bebbingtons work together onfarm and are a cohesive unit. “Tom and I

are a strong team, encouraging each other and bringing out each other’s strengths,” says Jemima. “We have a strong financial team also, with our bank manager and accountant working with us and creating positive conversations around growing our business together.” When not working on the farm, the Bebbingtons are active in their local community, enjoying family time at the lake and are involved in motocross with their three children Violet (6), Jack (4) and Charlotte (2). Their dairying careers have not been without challenges. “There was a lot of pressure with the low payouts of 2015-16,”

remembers Tom. “We feel that the ability to move farms to a bigger position despite that low payout was because of great investments and management. The bank saw that we were capable of servicing the debt and would make the most of the opportunity.” The couple aim to excel in the dairy industry by being profitable and sustainable while enjoying a healthy work/ life balance. “We want to [own a farm] and provide a sound financial and environmental business to support the growth of our family and all others involved.” Runners-up in the Manawatu Share Farmer of the Year competition are Raetihi contract milk-

she can influence onfarm. “It has also given me a great opportunity to analyse my current position with regards to my employment and personal goals, which has reassured me that I’m on the right path for the future,” says Howard. “I’m proud that I had multiple job offers after completing the industry awards last year.” Howard is the farm manager for Andy Short’s 150ha, 420 cow property in Palmerston North and holds a B.Agri.Sc (Ag)


ers Alyssa and David Rae who won $5700 in prizes and two merit awards. The Raes are first-time entrants and are passionate about the dairy industry. “We saw the awards as a great opportunity to see where we are currently and what we can

do to further improve and grow as dairy farmers,” they say. “We love the lifestyle and enjoy working as a team through the challenging times and learning better ways of doing things,” says Alyssa (28). “We love animals and find

it rewarding watching the new-born calves develop into healthy replacements then come into the herd.” David and Alyssa contract milk 630 cows on a 275ha Raetihi property owned by Ron Frew. @dairy_news


SHE PLAYS SPORT, BAKES CAKES THE 2019 Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year is Renee Howard. She won $6596 in prizes and two merit awards. Howard has entered the awards three times before and was third placegetter in the 2018 Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year category. She says there are many benefits to entering, including increasing her self-confidence and benchmarking key performance indicators (KPIs)

Manawatu SFOTY Jemima and Thomas Bebbington.

from Massey University. She achieves a work/life balance by playing sport and cake making and decorating. “The biggest challenges I have faced is not having the confidence to put myself out there in the dairy industry and not understanding my worth. “The Awards have helped me overcome these challenges and helped me with my career progression – they have got me to where I am today.”

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How farmers can build up carbon in soils Research to help dairy farmers build up carbon in their soils to offset their farms’ greenhouse gas emissions is underway, run by Massey University and Plant & Food Research using full inversion tillage to renew pasture. The results so far are promising. Peter Burke reports on a field day at Massey attended by 50 farmers, scientists and rural professionals. PROFESSOR MIKE

Hedley of Massey University says the research was prompted by a national survey that showed New Zealand pasture soils are nearing the limit of their capacity to store more carbon. The survey showed topsoils rich in carbon, but subsoils devoid of carbon, challenging the researchers to find a way to use subsoil to store more carbon. Hedley says there are caveats on the research: it is aimed at low to rolling country which can be easily ploughed and which

a farmer would normally re-grass over time to improve pasture quality. Hedley and Dr Mike Beare propose full inversion tillage (ploughing) as a solution. This involves ploughing deeper than normal, bringing the subsoil to the surface and simultaneously burying the topsoil. “We wanted to see if we could put that topsoil with the carbon deeper where it might decompose slower and create a new opportunity for carbon to be stored in the topsoil,” says Hedley. Finding a suitable

ploughing method led the team to the UK where full inversion tillage has been used to regenerate the growth of heather. Hedley says the equipment used overseas was a bit over-the-top for what they had in mind so in typical Kiwi style he made his own. “We looked at a much simpler design that could just be clipped on any of our ploughs: a disc cultivator and a skimmer that would lift the topsoil layer and drop it in the furrow, then the mouldboard would bring the subsoil up.

Professor Mike Hedley with the plough that creates full inversion tillage.

“The first thing we did was modify an old mouldboard plough that I had at home; it worked. “Then we imported a new German plough which is what we have today and which is specifically designed to do the job we wanted done.” The important message to farmers about this project is its direct link to pasture renovation, Hedley says. The researchers expect a farmer would renovate or re-grass about 10% of their farm each year using full inversion tillage.

DEVELOPING NEW TOPSOIL FULL INVERSION tillage is ‘a means of buying time’, came a comment at the field day. Mike Beare says this means buried organic matter is expected to decompose with time. “The question is will it decompose right back down to background levels in the subsoil? Evidence from some previous studies suggests that it won’t and that we will retain some of that carbon we bury. “The next question

ALLOWING ORGANIC MATTER TIME TO DECOMPOSE DR MIKE Beare, a principal scientist at Plant & Food Research, says allowing more carbon to accumulate in the soils is a key means of offsetting some of the greenhouse gas emissions from pastoral farming. “If we can accumulate carbon in the soils we can offset some of the carbon losses from other parts of the pastoral farming systems. By burying the carbon from the

topsoil at depth, and bringing up subsoil material which is under-saturated with carbon, we can grow new grass on it and accumulate carbon on the new surface and create a new topsoil.” Referring to full inversion tillage, Beare points out that farmers have been ploughing paddocks for centuries. The researchers have slightly modified their plough to bury organic topsoil deep down.

“We are the soil and that will ploughing to a be a trade-off for slightly greater the carbon you acdepth than most cumulate.” farmers do now, Beare says while but not that pasture renewal much. with full inversion “There may be tillage is suitable for benefits in going dairy farms, it would deeper in some work equally well cases but the for intensive sheep Dr Mike Beare deeper you go the and beef farms and more energy you will consume possibly deer on flat or gently in pulling the plough through rolling land.

is how rapidly will the new topsoil accumulate carbon under the new pasture? What we know is that we are buying ourselves time because we are slowing that decomposition and accumulating new carbon at the surface.” The research involves field trials in the North and South Islands. In the case of the latter, the soils tend to be freer draining which can give slightly different results. Trials are also running in glasshouses to simulate what happens when soil is inverted by the ploughing process. “We have built a chamber where we can label the plants with carbon 13 -- a heavy isotope of carbon that allows us to trace the movement of the carbon into the plant and into the soil. By doing these experiments under controlled conditions we can better estimate how much

carbon we are accumulating in the soil at depth or in the profile,” Beare says. The research has been funded for three years by MPI and other partners and is now about half finished. Beare says there would be merit in going further with the work and this will be discussed with the funders. He says the results so far show that full inversion tillage results in an increase in the production of new pasture and forage crops compared to other conventional pasture renewal practices or nonrenewed pasture. Other research partners are monitoring the work, including Teagasc, in Ireland, responsible for R&D, training and advisory services in the agrifood sector. Beare says Ireland has farming systems similar to ours and the research in NZ may benefit them also.


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Record them right in autumn rush AUTUMN IS a busy time for sharemilkers with calving and weaning the focus on farms. Manawatu 50/50 sharemilker Richard McIntyre manages a dairy and drystock block and he says

whether buying or selling calves it is important to know who you are trading with and to ensure the movement is recorded and confirmed in NAIT to ensure effective livestock traceability.

Sharemilkers are the minority among dairy and beef farmers, but in respect of NAIT they have a big role. “We definitely hold the key and set the benchmark for best practice

traceability as we are obviously involved with animals from birth,” says McIntyre. The Horowhenua farmer manages at least 1000 animals: 450 dairy and 600 beef stock on his

Manawatu farmer Richard McIntyre.


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main farm with a supporting drystock block under one NAIT location. Sharemilkers generally move calves on a few days after birth, but McIntyre chooses to rear his for beef. He is preparing for about 150 calves this autumn. “We have them for three months, then we tag and register them in NAIT at the point of sale. I like to scan them as they’re going on the truck and we complete an animal status declaration form (ASD) with every transaction.” He tags calves himself to see it is done correctly because he knows from experience that it is not. “It’s disappointing to see calves coming onfarm that aren’t tagged properly; this can create issues with tags falling out and undermines lifetime traceability. NAIT tags go in the right ear and in the central-inner part between the two veins; the female portion is always outward.” McIntyre uses an RFID scanner to tag his

animals. “Every farmer should have a scanner. The newer wands are especially good: they connect directly to your smartphone and you can virtually scan all your animals and have them in NAIT before they go out the farm gate.” Scanners also add value as an onfarm management tool for accurate weighing of calves and for reducing duplication, meaning less time spent in the office manually going through records. Recording and confirming movements in NAIT is fundamental to the integrity of the NAIT online system and this should be done ideally within 48 hours of any animal transaction. “I don’t believe animals going to the works are the biggest issue for NAIT. It’s more private sales and bull movements that need attention.” Stock agents too are responsible to provide the NAIT numbers at the time animals move offfarm.

NAIT EDUCATION RICHARD MCINTYRE believes education is the best way to get farmers NAIT-compliant. “Most farmers want to do the right thing, and they might feel worried that they haven’t got all their records up to date. These same people have probably never committed a crime or missed a bill in their lives. “But if farmers are deliberately avoiding NAIT and defying notices and warnings, I would support the introduction of heavy fines.” For sharemilkers, McIntyre says they should “just stick to what works for you”. “I advise getting a wand and don’t assume that recording movements in your herd management system will show up in NAIT; so if you’re recording or confirming movements make sure it is compatible with NAIT.” He notes that NAIT helped during the Mycoplasma bovis response. “Without it we would have been in a worse situation. It goes without saying that consumers nowadays want to know what they are eating and the story behind it and traceability is the key for doing that. “In the future NAIT also can help showcase our products as uniquely New Zealand in overseas markets.”



No-bull mating a lot of bull NIGEL MALTHUS

A LINCOLN University Dairy Farm (LUDF) decision to use all AI and no bulls for mating has given “mixed” results and looks like being a short-lived experiment. Farm manager Peter Hancox told a recent February Focus Day that the farm decided a year ago to use no bulls anywhere in the herd for the coming season. Hancox said using no bulls in the yearling heifers was “quite a challenge,” as they were on a property some distance away at Ashburton. Travelling every day wasn’t an option, so they did four

rounds of CIDRs (controlled internal drug release) to co-ordinate oestrus. “It wasn’t overly successful. We ended up ended up with 28% of them empty at the end of doing it. It was really labour-intensive as well.” Wet weather was also “quite challenging” because they often found themselves trying to put kamars and tail paint on wet heifers. “It didn’t go well. They had chewed most of the kamars off by the time we went to mate them, as they do.” Hancox said they switched from kamars to scratchies, which worked a lot better.

“That was a lesson learnt. We will definitely be using scratchies in the heifers in the future; not that we’ll be doing another SIDR programme.” As in the previous season, main herd mating started one week early with a week of sexed semen. That was followed by three weeks of premier sires then 6.5 weeks of short gestation semen. That regime will mean that every single cow will calve by the end of September “which will be a bonus going forward,” said Hancox. However, it was a challenge for staff to pick up heats every day for 10.5 weeks.

Hancox said he is happy with a 71% sixweek in-calf rate, which compared with 63% three seasons ago and 66% last season. The farm ended up with 16% empty. “We would’ve liked it to have been better but probably it was not too bad given some of the results we’ve been hearing.” However, of 35 carryovers only 14 got in calf. Hancox said carry-overs generally did well if a bull was run with them, so that result was disappointing. Asked how many bulls LUDF would use next year in its carry-overs and heifers, Hancox replied, to

Cows at Lincoln University Dairy Farm.

FEWER TB TESTS FOR SOME NEW ZEALAND’S TBfree manager is now able to cut the number of cattle and deer herds needing testing in a few regions from this month onwards. The TBfree programme, run by animal health and traceability organisation OSPRI, manages cattle and deer TB testing in disease control areas (DCAs) NZ-wide. These focus on areas at varying risk of livestock TB infection from the main wildlife vector of disease -possums. TBfree’s strategy combines tar-

geted possum killing, TB testing and stock movement controls to help control the spread of bovine TB beyond these boundaries. DCA changes show the progress of TB control towards the ultimate eradication of the disease from cattle and deer herds. So far OSPRI’s TBfree has eradicated TB from 2.02 million ha, leaving about 7.9 m ha of vector risk area to be eradicated. Each year, DCA boundaries and the TB testing regime within them are assessed and adjusted accord-

ing to progress in the TBfree programme. From March 1, reductions to DCAs will affect 350,000ha and 600 herds, resulting in 33,000 fewer TB tests for cattle and deer herds. “The progress of the TBfree programme is a credit to farmers, the dairy and meat industries and the Government organisations that invest in the TBfree programme,” says OSPRI acting chief executive Pim Borren, “and in the ultimate goal of making NZ TB-free.”

Lincoln University Dairy Farm mnager Peter Hancox (left) addresses a recent field day with farming consultant Jeremy Savage.

some laughter from focus day attendees, “Definitely some.” There was “quite a good possibility” that they would also go back to using bulls in the milking herd, he said. “Being able to use that short gestation is quite powerful, but that’s one of the discussions we’ll

have to have going forward.” Meanwhile, Hancox said in a review of the season that the winter grass had been of very high quality and enabled the cows to go though spring and calving extremely well. There had been only four losses since June.

A wet spring and early summer meant very good moisture levels. The farm irrigated only four days before Christmas and only 35 days for the whole season so far, making for “quite a good saving”. With 542 cows now in milk he expects to end the season with about 500kgMS/cow.



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broke. So where do you start looking if milk production is not where you expect it for the feed provided? There is no simple answer, but paying attention to the following areas provides a good start. Feed inputs – Are you actually providing what you think you are? Pasture harvest is key and frequently overestimated, especially following conditions that lead to pasture damage such as heavy pugging or droughts. Often the most economical way to increase feed supply to cows is to focus on pasture management. Feed wastage is also seldom properly estimated meaning the cows are receiving far less than budgeted for. CSR (Comparative Stocking Rate) - represented in kg live weight per tonne feed supplied. It never ceases to amaze me when stocking rates in terms of cows per hectare are quoted. Given today’s large variations in inputs from farm to farm, this figure is about as useful as the proverbial on a bull. In terms of CSR, there is a bit of a ‘sweet spot’ around 80 kg live weight per tonne feed supplied. Higher CSR’s indicate the farm is over stocked and a greater proportion of feed supplied to animals is partitioned towards maintenance of more animals resulting in less partitioning towards production. Lower CSR’s are also an issue as there is a limit to the amount of feed any cow can ingest. BCS (Body Condition Score) – Cows that strip and gain excessive amounts of weight in a season are inefficient. In rough numbers cows short of feed 3 kgDM in a day will lose 1 kg live weight. To replace this weight approximately 5 kgDM will be required. How many farmers in their right mind would borrow $3 to pay back $5 a few months down the track? Not many that want to remain in business anyway! Compensatory growth

– poor doing heifers aim to convert feed into body mass over milk production (compensatory growth). Animal Health – as a Veterinarian, our cost to our clients is always topical. Unfortunately, while the cost of writing out a cheque on the 20th of each month is at the forefront of minds, what often gets lost is the unseen and unaccounted for losses that are incurred when ‘profit robbing’ diseases are rife within a herd. For example, Mastitis in terms of cost of treatments may incur a Vet bill of $30 – $50, but milk down the drain over 6 – 10 days of the treatment period may equate to 10 – 20 Kgs MS (depending on the stage of lactation). Using the FCE figures above this could be responsible for up to 400 kgDM (20 kgMS, requiring 20 kgDM per MS) ‘disappearing’ from the operation. Worse still, this loss cannot be measured or reported by any accountant or banker – regardless of how ‘good’ they may be. This does not account for increased likelihood of lower production through season or increased chance of culling! In summary, while it is widely accepted there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ operators within the dairy industry, the crucial KPI’s such as FCE are often misunderstood and overlooked. Making sure your ‘farm advisory team’ understands this ‘bigger picture’ and the drivers of farm profitability is a very important step. • Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services. This article is brought to you buy



Cows now thrive on crystal-clear trough water SUDESH KISSUN

WATER TESTS on Tatuanui farmer Johan Van Ras’ farm confirmed his worst fears: quality wasn’t up to scratch. The results showed water sourced from three boreholes on the 76ha farm had unacceptable levels of minerals, nitrates and even E coli.

Van Ras had already installed a slow sand filter to produce high-quality water for stock and an ultraviolet water (UV) purification system for household water on the farm; the sand filter wasn’t 100% foolproof and the UV system wasn’t powerful enough to service the whole farm. Van Ras, who milks 215 cows and supplies Tatua, says he was on the

lookout for a water filtration system to cover the whole farm. A neighbour recommended Davey Water Products. In June 2017, Davey technicians arrived on the farm; water samples were taken over the next month and analysed. Johan’s father Richard recalls being slightly sceptical when the team arrived. “We were a test site for

Cows drinking clean water on the farm.

Richard Van Ras (left) and son Johan.

a month; they were taking samples away almost daily for lab tests,” he says. “They didn’t stop until they got it right.” For the Van Ras farm, Davey designed a threestage filtration system in which a cylinder filled with metal is squirted with cholrine which mixes with water arriving by pipe connected to the boreholes. The water then passes through a cylinder which takes out iron, through another cylinder that removes magnesium and finally through a third cylinder mixed with pool salt to soften the water. Richard Van Ras says each farm will require a different system, depending on the quality of aquifers from where water is sourced. His message to farmers is to identify and correct water quality problems.

“If you have any doubt about the quality of water you intend to use for irrigation or stock get it tested by an accredited laboratory; it pays to have your water tested before and sometimes during use.” Richard says water is still tested on the farm regularly and is found to be less polluted than drinking water available in most regions. “Only after you have put this system in do you realise the difference.” The Van Ras put magnesium and zinc in water troughs for stock. Now these minerals don’t compete with unnecessary minerals and bacteria and do their job more effectively. Water in troughs is now “crystal clear” and even the cows recognise this, Van Ras says. “When the thirsty cows turn up at the

troughs, if the water isn’t nice they will sniff and lick and then hang around; eventually they will come back and drink. “The water is crystal clear so they come, have a drink and then off they go; there’s no congregating around the troughs. That’s a big difference we have noticed.” Richard says a confidentiality agreement signed with Davey during the trial prevents them disclosing the cost of the system. He spends about $1500 a year on pool salt and

chlorine. The Van Ras have bought a Halo system which is also linked to water filtration system. While on a family holiday in Netherlands last year, Van Ras was able to monitor salt and chlorine levels and water usage on the farm. “Water metering is coming and regional councils want to know how much water we use on our farms; we have that covered on our farm.” @dairy_news

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try is supporting councils in their efforts to get all farmers to meet their effluent obligations. DairyNZ and Waikato Dairy Leaders Group chair Jim van der Poel says everyone is disappointed that a few individuals continue to let the sector down by not complying with effluent management rules. “There is no excuse for repeated [preventable] offences,” says van der Poel. He was responding to news that a Cambridge farming company and one of its directors were each convicted of eight charges under the Resource Management Act last week in Hamilton District Court and fined a total of $131,840. This is the largest total fine imposed for illegal dairy effluent discharges into the environment in the Waikato region since the RMA came into force in 1991.

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A Waikato Regional Council officer taking a sample of ponded effluent.

The company, Pollock Farms (2011) Ltd, runs a dairy farm on Victoria Road near Cambridge. One of its directors, Dawson Craig Pollock, was prosecuted for similar breaches of the RMA in 1993 and 2001. Van der Poel says the total fine in this prosecution is significant and sends a strong message to farmers. “We support the Waikato Regional Council and other regional councils in monitoring and prosecuting farmers for serious infringements of the rules. “From our point of view, any breach is one too many. Managing effluent is a necessary part of running an efficient dairy system. “The sector needs

those farmers who aren’t doing the right thing with their effluent management to step up, take responsibility and make the necessary changes.” DairyNZ supports farmers in making such changes: resources are available to help all dairy farmers -- a Dairy Effluent Storage Calculator, A Farmer’s Guide to Building a New Effluent Storage Pond and access to accredited effluent system designers. “Most dairy farmers are doing their utmost to… protect the environment and the waterways that run on and near their farms every day,” says van der Poel. “Significant non-compliance for dairy effluent discharges nationally in 2016-17 was 5.2%, the

lowest on record, but we realise there is still a way to go.” The dairy sector is helping farmers to operate more sustainably, overseeing huge improvements during the last decade, including fencing off 99.4% of significant waterways. The sector strategy document Dairy Tomorrow says, firstly, ‘We will protect and nurture the environment for future generations’ “and we intend to get all our farmers on track to achieving that goal,” says van der Poel. “Our vision is clear: we want healthy waterways, and we will help farmers achieve it, just as the vast majority of farmers are committed to doing their bit.”



QUALITY WATER Over-irrigation forced IS IMPORTANT

council to take action THE CASE against Pollock Farms was taken by Waikato Regional Council following inspections where over-irrigation of effluent was evident. Effluent from an underpass to an adjoining property was also being pumped directly to land in large volumes.  Both practices pose a real risk of effluent contaminating groundwater. Similar breaches had been found by the council in 2016 and 2017. Formal warnings and infringement notices had been issued for those breaches and an abatement notice had been served on the farming company in September 2016 to cease the illegal practices. “This farmer is undermining all of the positive work being done by the wider farming industry and community to improve our environment,” said council investigations manager Patrick Lynch. “This farm has posed

Effluent sump overflowing on the farm.

an ongoing risk to the environment for years. There has been woefully inadequate infrastructure on this farm since Mr Pollock first appeared before the courts in the 1990s. Quite simply, he has ignored all of the actions taken by the council to date, as well as all of the messaging from his own industry to improve.” WRC established that from 2010 to 2016 the company purchased a neighbouring farm and

virtually doubled their herd size, from 380 to 700 cows, with no expansion of dairy effluent infrastructure. “Every dairy farm should have sufficient storage to be able to safely store effluent through wet and busy periods, the idea being that when weather and circumstances allow, this effluent can then be irrigated to land as fertiliser in an environmentally safe and economically prudent,

manner,” says Lynch. “On this particular farm the storage was only sufficient for a single day. It should have been up to 100 times larger than that. With virtually no storage, this means there will have been regular and frequent unlawful discharges of dairy effluent into the environment for years. “We would have expected Mr Pollock to have changed his practices following his first prosecution. Unfortunately, it has taken numerous enforcement actions, including three prosecutions and finally a court order, for that farm to ultimately get to a good place. “This is a very significant fine. It is a clear message to those poor performers in the dairy industry that they need to change their behaviour, as the courts, the public and even their own industry has lost patience with them,” Lynch said.

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of effluent non-compliance. All farmers need to be aware of, understand and adhere to permitted activity rules. For farmers who haven’t yet undertaken the work needed to meet their obligations, advice is available from dairy companies and regional councils. DairyNZ also has an environmental extension specialist whose role includes working with farmers, rural professionals and others to help farmers understand their

effluent management requirements and how to meet them. DairyNZ resources available to all dairy farmers include a Dairy Effluent Storage Calculator, A Farmer’s Guide to Building a New Effluent Storage Pond and a certification scheme for accredited effluent system designers. Farmers looking for support in establishing effluent infrastructure can visit the DairyNZ website – www.dairynz.

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ClearTech shows NIGEL MALTHUS


points to more advantages to the ClearTech dairy effluent treatment system being developed by Lincoln University and Ravensdown. The system, unveiled in May last year, is designed to be installed between the dairy shed and effluent pond, intercepting and treating farm dairy effluent (FDE) with a coagulant to remove the

Lincoln University Professors Hong Di (left) and Keith Cameron show bottles of effluent, one raw and one cleared by the coagulant used in ClearTech system.

solids. With the solids removed, the result is clear water said to be of swimming water quality and at least clean enough to go round again as yard washdown water or be used for irrigation. Ravensdown, Lincoln’s primary commercial partner in the venture, says that if every farm used the system it would save 42 billion litres of fresh water each year. But the system also changes the concentrated

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residue which goes to the effluent pond to be eventually spread on pasture in the usual way, reducing its bacterial loading and changing its phosphorus content into a less reactive form. Research has now shown that could benefit river, lake and groundwater quality. ClearTech is the brainchild of professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di, of Lincoln University’s Centre for Soil and Environmental Research. They say lysimeter trials have shown significant reductions in leaching losses of total phosphorus (TP), dissolved reactive phosphate (DRP) and E. Coli from ClearTech-treated FDE applied to pasture soil when compared with losses from untreated FDE. “The reductions in DRP and E. Coli indicated that land application of the treated FDE would be less likely to cause adverse environmental impacts on water qual-

ity than the current practice of land application of untreated FDE, and this has now been confirmed by the lysimeter study,” said Cameron. He said the research was not able to be disclosed at ClearTech’s original launch because the results had then to be formally published in a scientific journal, which has now happened. The system is still in a pilot stage at the Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF), and more pilots are being planned or installed in Southland and Waikato. The LUDF pilot consists of a large settling tank which receives the raw effluent. Ferric sulphate is mixed in as a coagulant which causes the solids to clump together in a ‘flock and sink to the bottom of the tank. Computerised pumps and valves then siphon off the clarified water to another tank for use in yard washing or

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great promise irrigation while sending the thicker residue to the effluent pond. Being acidic, the coagulant has a bactericidal effect and the clumping of the solids also physically smothers bacteria, significantly reducing the number of E. Coli in both the clarified and residue streams. Di said the process also changed phosphorus into a stable slow-release form, less water-soluble and less reactive. “We’re not only recycling water, increasing the storage pond essentially so it can last longer, but also after the application to the land you have much less environmental impact from E. Coli leaching and phosphorus leaching,” he said. “It’s not increasing other greenhouse gases and it’s not affecting other microbes in the soil.” A pasture field trial tested whether ClearTech-treated and untreated effluents applied to pasture affected plant production or plant chemical composition. “We found there was no significant difference between pasture dry matter yield following land application of treated effluent compared to the untreated FDE, which indicates that these environmental benefits can be achieved without sacrificing current pasture production potential,” said Di. “We also found no significant difference in plant P concentration or

Being acidic, the coagulant has a bactericidal effect. P uptake by pasture plants grown on the treated effluent plots compared to the untreated FDE plots. This indicates that using ClearTech to treat FDE did not cause a reduction in the amount of P available to plants, despite reducing the DRP concentration in the treated effluent.” There was a 99% reduction in the average DRP concentration of the ClearTech-treated effluent compared to untreated. The ferric sulphate used as the coagulant is considered safe. Cameron points out that it is the same substance as given to people to treat iron deficiency, and both iron and sulphur are already common in soil. “We’re not adding anything new to the system.” The greatly reduced volume going into the effluent pond also meant the pond was much less likely to fill up and force a farmer to spread it at unsuitable times, such as when rainfall would wash it into groundwater. Cameron said they were often asked whether there were problems from the thicker slurry but it contains only 3% solids (compared with 1% solids in untreated FDE) so standard irrigation pumps and systems can still handle it. Cameron said MPI regulations allow green water to be used to wash the yard but that carries bac-

teria and is smelly to use. The Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF) has been given an A-grade in a Farm Environment Plan audit, partly because of the ClearTech system doubling its effective usable effluent pond volume. Auditor David Ashby told the recent LUDF February Focus Day that without addressing its effluent storage and some irrigation improvements, the farm would otherwise have a B-grade. The A-grading is

believed to put it in the top 10% of dairy farms in Canterbury and means it should not need another audit for three years. Carl Ahlfeld, Ravensdown’s ClearTech Product Manager, says that effective increase in effluent pond volume is one of the potential bottom-line benefits available to any farmer who installs the system. Ahlfeld, who was appointed in December to manage ClearTech’s commercial introduction, said there were five farms in Canterbury now ready to go with installation in the near future.



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28 //  EFFLUENT & WATER ❱❱ Water troughs ❱❱ Feed troughs ❱❱ Precast panels ❱❱ Silage pits ❱❱ Weeping walls ❱❱ Effluent tanks ❱❱ Concrete bunkers ❱❱ Cattle stops ❱❱ Effluent sumps Ph 03-308 4816

Right quantities at the right time GOOD EFFLUENT management

combines a well-designed effluent system with processes for collecting effluent and applying it to pasture in the right quantities at the right time. Onfarm benefits of good management include: ■■ Fertiliser savings ■■ Improved soil condition ■■ Prevention of animal health issues ■■ Compliance with council rules or resource consent. The key to good decisionmaking is understanding the soil water deficit as essential to prevent ponding and

run-off and to avoid applying effluent to saturated soils. Soil water deficit is the amount of effluent which can be applied to the soil before it reaches field capacity (the amount of water held in the soil after excess water has drained away). If effluent is added at field capacity it will likely result in ponding, runoff or leaching. The average dairy cow produces about $25 worth of nutrients annually as farm dairy effluent (FDE), according to DairyNZ. For a 400 cow dairy herd this represents about $10,000 of nutrients

annually. Using these FDE nutrients effectively will greatly reduce the fertiliser bill. Spreading effluent solids requires specialist machinery suited to the type of effluent being spread. Using a local contractor to spread the effluent solids may be an option. Alternatively, you can hire or buy machinery to do it yourself. Vehicle spreading provides the flexibility to apply effluent in areas where the effluent irrigation system cannot reach. It can also be used for a nutrient boost prior to sowing a crop or applied on silage and hay paddocks.



Screw separator keeps costs down REID AND Harrison,

Matamata, expert in dealing with effluent for 50 years, gained a lot of traction in the early 1980s by developing and launching its Yardmaster pump. At the 2018 Effluent Expo the company showed its latest horizontal screw separator that embodies things learned in previous models but is, in fact, a clean sheet design that started two years ago. Led by product specialist Shane Omundsen, the company set out to avoid designs that suffer high wear rates, lack of access and damage caused by foreign objects. Now a new design addresses wear rates by cleverly ‘capping’ the machine’s auger flights

with 5mm urethane covers; these protect the flights’ leading and trailing edges. The resultant ‘squeegee’ effect keeps the screen surface clean -- fewer blockages -- and achieves 35% greater output and three times longer component life. Combining the capped auger design with a new split-screen layout is said

to make maintenance easier, and a removeable shim system allows adjustment as wear occurs. Other detail changes are a new centralised bearing support in the driveline between the motor and the auger screw, said to reduce direct loading on the gearbox, and easily remove-

FEATURES • High Flow • Detachable for Break feeding with ‘Connect’ quick coupling. • Compact Robust construction • New Pilot Flow Filter • Side & Bottom Mounting

able covers that allow quick access to key areas. Keith Cooke, chief executive at Reid and Harrison, says “the latest version of our HSS can deal with up to 70cu.m per hour of effluent”. “Using mechanical separation for feed-pad or dairy shed effluent means less downtime unblocking irrigators or pivot systems, while the ‘dry’ material offers benefits to reduce fertiliser use or for soil conditioning. “Capital costs of separation technology, when compared to more traditional weeping wall systems of similar output, also show substantial savings, typically costing up to 30% less.” @dairy_news

PICHON PLOUGHS ON WELL KNOWN in livestock circles,

the French effluent machinery manufacturer Pichon has been in business since 1970. Based at Landivisiau near Brest in NW France, it makes products easily recognised by the use of galvanised steel -- a nod to the corrosive environment in which they operate. The product range, sold in 45 countries, covers all aspects of effluent handling with tankers, stirrers, injectors, dribble bars and, since 2011, manure spreaders. November 2018 was a tough time for the business – it went into receivership.

But 2019 brought news that Samson Group, Denmark, also a big player in the sector, had taken over the business of Pichon Industries. Samson’s owner, the Glerup family, obviously sees a future for the industry, saying “the increased focus on utilisation of natural fertiliser in Europe and beyond makes us want to be the leading European player”. Samson Argo chief executive Lars Henriksen says its takeover of Pichon makes it the largest European producer of slurry tankers: it now has complementary product ranges, production facilities and geographical distribution.


FEATURES • High Flow • Fully Adjustable Mounting • Detachable for Break feeding with ‘Connect’ quick coupling. • Compact Robust construction

INLET SIZES 20/25mm 20mm 25mm 32mm

Ideal for Dairy Farming



TPV20D 20mm TPV25D 25mm TPV32D 32mm

Ideal for Dairy Farming

FEATURES • Adjustable Mounting positions • Built in check valve • Flow stops when unscrewed for servicing • Low Flow applications


FEATURES • High Flow • Keeps pump operation to a minimum • Adjustable levels from 50mm-2.5M • Detachable • 15mm-50mm Inlet sizes available

FEATURES • Tough stainless steel bracket • Fits all models of tanks • Highly Visible Yellow Indicator • Proven design

Compact Float design also available Ideal for Sheep and Beef

Jobe Valves Ltd

PO Box 17, Matamata P 07 880 9090




Stirrer keeps crusts away MARK DANIEL

Enviro Solutions effluent stirrer.

A NEW heavy-duty, shore-based stirrer from

MAKING EVERY DROP COUNT Growsmart® Precision VRI is the world’s most environmentally savvy precision irrigation system. It’s an efficient method for saving water because you apply exactly the right amount of water needed to specific areas of your land. You can target irrigation for certain soil types, avoid watering unproductive land such as waterways and wetlands, and water around obstacles underneath your pivot like buildings, tracks, drains and roads. With Growsmart® Precision VRI, you will make a positive contribution to the world’s food bowl, while saving New Zealand’s vital natural resources. Find your Zimmatic® dealer at your regional Field Days and find out how Growsmart® Precision VRI can work for you or visit


effluent handling specialist Hi Tech Enviro Solutions can help eliminate the problem of crusts forming on effluent pond or storage towers.

The machine is designed to deal with a pond of 3.5 million litres. The stirrer, made extensively from highgrade galvanised steel, has a triangular pedestal designed to be bolted to a concrete pad at the edge of the pond. A deep, square-section support tube, in this case 8m long, can be tailored to individual situations; it has a large propeller surrounded by a shroud not unlike an empty oil drum. The interaction between the propeller and the shroud is designed to increase the velocity of the liquid and to create a vortex that keeps solids

in suspension and helps reduce the build-up of silted areas in a pond. Depth control is achieved by a heavy-duty chain arrangement at the pedestal end, with an integral foot at the business end designed to protect the liner from damage. Also at this end of the unit, a mechanical linkage can be adjusted to alter the angle of the propeller/ shroud to mix thoroughly. Power comes from a shore-mounted electricity supply from 4 to 7.5kW; gearbox reductions at the propeller end can be tweaked to a range of speeds and power requirements.

PUMPS UNFAZED BY SOLIDS WHILE MOVING effluent with a pump is the eas-

iest method, the presence of compressible solids, straw and other waste materials can cause problems. This requires a pump with enough flow and pressure for washing down and sending the stuff where it needs to go. Australian Pump Industries, whose products are distributed by Pump and Machinery in Auckland and Wellington, has developed a range of 75mm high pressure, semi-trash pumps that handle large volumes of contaminated water – at pressure. The model G3TMK achieves flows up to 1100L/ min, head as high as 54m and self-priming from a depth of 6m. Power comes from a 4kW motor. The pumps are made from heavy-duty cast iron and have large, open impellers that allow compressible solids to pass through the body. In the event of a blockage, a front mounted clean-out port allows access for clearing without uncoupling pipes or hoses. The pumps have silicone carbide mechanical seals with alumina counter-face and nitrile rubber seals as standard. An optional tungsten carbide Viton seal system can be specified, as can a pump body in 316 grade stainless steel. A 316 stainless steel motor shaft and a stainlesssteel wear plate protect from erosion or body wear. – Mark Daniel



Bacteria turns crusty pond into fert – whatever! SUDESH KISSUN


Marcel Korsten operates a closed farm system: what doesn’t get out the front gate as milk has to go back onto the farm. On his 260ha farm, Korsten hasn’t used nitrogen to fertilise paddocks for seven years; instead the whole farm is fertilised with effluent. Milking about 670 Friesian cows and having a feedpad means a lot of nutrients are added to their diet. About 45% of feed is imported -- mostly soyabean, tapioca, straw, maize sileage and some PKE. Korten says minerals added to the cows’ diet are very valuable. “What doesn’t go out the gate as milk is put on pastures as effluent,” he told Dairy News.

Marcel Korsten

“We haven’t used fertiliser for seven years; to me, coming from the Netherlands, effluent is a real valuable resource -it’s much better than any chemical fertiliser.” But seven years ago, Korsten’s closed farm system hit a snag; his 50m x 50m effluent pond developed a crust so bad that Korsten and his staff “could walk on it”. Two staff had to dig for two hours just to get a pipe into the pond to suck

10L/MONTH MARCEL KORSTEN uses a dosing pump to apply BioMagic Impact to effluent. The company helped him set up a pump, which mixes the liquid with water before the shed wash. Wash water from the milk shed and feed pad gets nicely mixed with BioMagic Imapct before entering the effluent pond. Korsten uses about 10L of the product a month.

effluent out. “It was really bad and we had to do something,” he says. He hired a digger to remove the crust, costing $18,000; two months later the crust reappeared. So he turned to BioMagic, having read newspaper articles about the product. He was offered Biomagic’s Impact, an organic liquid. Korsten says he was told that typical effluent ponds are dominated by anaerobic bacteria. “BioMagic treatment converts the pond into an aerobic state, dominated by aerobic bacteria; these bacteria digest effluent up to 12 times faster. “For $270/month I would get microbes that actually eat crust and make the pond live; I thought ‘I haven’t got much to lose for a couple of hundred dollars’.” But the first six months were anxious

The effluent pond on the farm is no longer crusty.

moments for Korsten. “I nearly gave up; for six months nothing happened, then all of a sudden through the crust I could see bubbles coming. “I was told that the bacteria were working underneath and I just couldn’t see it; I thought ‘whatever!’ ” Korsten says the effluent pond soon turned into mudpools. “And another six months later the crust was gone and I ended up with a liquid pond.” Korsten hires a team to spray effluent around his farm every three months. He says there are no issues now with pumping effluent to paddocks a kilometer away in each direction; the pipes are no longer getting blocked by crusty particles. Odour is not longer a problem and even the cows notice the difference. Normally after crusty effluent was applied on paddocks, the cows did not eat the grass for about two weeks; now they happily graze within five days of BioMagic-treated effluent being applied to pasture. He applies about 15ml of effluent during winter and 20ml in summer. @dairy_news


PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT WORTH TAKING A LOOK AT A key to any effluent system is to ensure your green water from storage has any potential y solids suspended to allow for effective spreading ading and avoiding any po blockages to your preferred method of irrigation. T The Yardmaster® Submersible Stirrer is proven to provide powerful agitation, n, is reliable, and can be ea easily serviced. PRODUCT DEMO

Featuring a Yardmaster 3KW KW Submersible Stirrer with an Over the Wall Frame in a crusted above ground tank. k. Within 3 hours the issue was ressolved. VIEW VIDEO ONLINE

S b ibl S ii range iis Submersible Stiirer from 1.5kW to 12kW.

< Over the Wall Frame

Time lapse 0.5hr to 3.5hr


BY REID & HARRISON (1980) Ltd. Waihou St, Matamata. Ph: 07 888 8224



Electric robotic tractor MARK DANIEL

ELECTRIC DRIVE systems seem paused at the concept stage in farm machinery. John Deere reportedly has several ‘electric’ projects on the go, already seen in the SESAM tractor, but their latest development seems to indicate a whole new type of agricultural machine. The German GridCOM research project takes a major divergence from the norm with what appears to be an auton-

An automated routing system ensures the tractor and the rear mounted implement don’t get tangled in the cable, using a

omous electric tractor using a hefty extension lead to deliver power rather than on-board batteries.

front-mounted reeler said to be able to carry up to 1km of cable, allowing it to service a large working area.

Power comes from the grid, with 100kW available for the drive train and 200kW for the implement drive system. Operators or technicians can use a wireless remote terminal to control the ‘tractor’, presumably when they move working areas or load the unit onto a transporter, given that the machine does not have a traditional cab. Meanwhile, in Switzerland the niche manufacturer Rigitrac has launched an all-electric tractor dubbed the SKE 50.


Supreme quality stainless steel feed trays / Exceptional back-up support / Easy to use and maintain First class installations / Robust construction / Skiold Disc Mills Grain Holding Silos / Utility Augers / Mobile Auger

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* Te r m s , c o n d i t i o n s & l e n d i n g c r i t e r i a a p p l y.

ITALIAN TRACTOR maker New Holland, best known for its blue hue, recently exhibited a concept tractor to give everyone a look at what a Fiat tractor might look like if made for the modern era. The Fiat brand disappeared after 1999 when CNH Global was formed, but still gave us the roots of today’s New Holland brand when its engineering was combined with that of the Ford marque. The concept on display -- ‘The Fiat Centenario’ -- also commemorates the 100th anniversary of Fiat Tractors, noting the first Fiat Trattori was the Model 702 built in 1908. Dreamt up by CNH industrial’s design centre, the Centenario was inspired by the Fiatagri Series 90 “to revisit an iconic tractor range and update it with the flowing lines of a modern tractor,” said New Holland. Those with a keen eye will see similarities with NH’s methane tractor seen last year, with decal detailing pulled from the Series 90. To further celebrate the centenary the company will also make the Fiat Centenario Limited Edition versions from current production tractors, with specially designed liveries to reflect the Fiat heritage. These tractors will sport the famous terracotta colour scheme, with the colour updated to include a metallic finish, and the hood emblem will link the New Holland leaf to the Fiat heritage. Each tractor will carry a numbered plate to identify it as a Limited Edition machine within one of six ranges. The tractors will be T5.120EC, T5.115 T4.110FCab, T4.110 LP-ROPS, T4.110FB-ROPS and TK4.110-ROPS models. – Mark Daniel







OR FROM 2 % INTEREST The 2% interest rate is based on a term of 12 equal monthly payments with 25% deposit. Alternate rates and terms are available. I n c l u s i v e o f G S T. Va l i d u n t i l 3 1 s t D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 9 f o r d e l i v e r y p r i o r t o * .

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Hisun set to hit NZ farms NEW ZEALAND buyers

of quads and side x sides now have a wider choice with the arrival of the Chinese brand Hisun. Set up about a year ago, Hisun Motors NZ has organised its distribution and support and is now recruiting dealers in 15 regions. Hisun Industries, based in Chongqing, China was formed about 30 years ago. Beyond its home base it has a large presence in the US where much of its R&D and engineering is done. Interestingly, the company will soon release an all-electric machine with a typical range of 80km. The company makes about 40,000 petrol-pow-

ered units each year, some of them known to Kiwis as Massey Ferguson and Cub Cadet. Under its own banner, Hisun markets 4WD quads and side x sides from 400 to 1000cc. Predictably the prices

are attractive, particularly so given the high levels of equipment offered as standard. For example, the Vector 500cc four-wheel drive quad is priced at $12,500, powered by Hisun’s own single cylin-

der engine with Delphi fuel injection and mated to a Canadian CV Tech transmission with good downhill braking. Standard equipment includes on-demand 4WD, a front locking diff, 26-inch rubber on alloy wheels and air-assisted shock absorbers, the latter giving a very comfortable ride even on tough terrain. Towing capacity is 580kg and carrying capacity 250kg. The machine comes fitted with a 3500lb, frontmounted winch, a mix of LED and halogen lighting, roof, windscreen, toolbox and 2-person seating in a bench-style layout. – Mark Daniel

Toyota Rav 4

2019 Rav 4 unwrapped TOYOTA NZ has unwrapped the 2019

RAV 4, the SUV first seen in boxy guise 30 years ago at the Tokyo Motor Show. Now it’s in its fifth generation, and the designers and engineers have been busy: there’s a new 2.0L petrol, a new 2.5L four-pot delivering 152kW, and a first for the RAV 4 -- a 155kW 2.5L petrol/ hybrid mated to a CVT powertrain. This latter option underscores Toyota’s stated aim of electric in all its ranges by about 2025. All new for the RAV is an all-wheel drive system that sends 50% of available torque to the rear axle, from where the differential distributes varying amounts to individual wheels as required.

For urban warriors, the company will also offer a 2WD-only range of three specifications, fitted with the 127kW, 2.0L petrol engine. All models in all specifications will have Toyota’s Safety Sense driving aids with dynamic radar cruise control, a precollision system with autonomous emergency braking (including pedestrian and cyclist detection), road sign assist, lane tracing assist and automated high-beam switching. Other clever features include blindspot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors and seven airbags. – Mark Daniel





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• Deutz TCD Tier 3A engine • No AdBlue required • Stop and Go function maximises control and minimises clutch usage • 6 speed Powershift ZF transmission gearbox gives a smoother ride • Carraro axle with all new front suspension ensures a great driving experience • Cabin suspension standard on all models • Available with 120 litre CCLS hydraulic pump • Demonstrators available throughout New Zealand Talk to your local dealer to discuss what the Deutz-Fahr 6G will do for your business.






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40,000th Jaguar stalks the paddocks MARK DANIEL

CLAAS HAS made its 40,000th Jaguar forage harvester at the Harsewinkel, Germany plant and company headquarters. And the renowned manufacturer won a Gold Innovation Award for a Jaguar Terra Trac at the recent Sima agribusiness show in Paris.

Since the first Jaguar series in 1973, Claas has become the world market leader in self-propelled forage harvesters. Innovation and efficiency have defined the Jaguar success story for 40 years. The rapid increase in maize cultivation beginning in the late 1960s called for greater harvesting outputs as mounted and trailed units hit their performance limits. Claas quickly recognised the

potential of this segment and in June 1973 launched a high-performance selfpropelled forage harvester, the Jaguar 60 SF. In 1976 there came the Jaguar 80 SF that could seperate the chopping cylinder and the intake roller, running a discharge blower and an automatic guidance system. Another generation of four models was introduced in 1983, selling at least 7000 units, making

the Jaguar 690, 680, 685 and 675 models the market leaders in Europe. The Jaguar 800 arrived in 1993, with engine outputs from 228kW (310 hp) to 354kW (481 hp), fitted transversely behind the steering axle; this enabled simple, direct drive systems, an optimal supply of cooling air and access to the interior of the machine. Thanks to favourable drive axle loading it

became possible for the first time to fit eight-row maize front attachments. A power milestone was passed in 2001, with 445kW (605 hp) under the hood of the Jaguar 900, and from the 2003 season, customers could opt for the high-speed Speed Star version with a top speed of 40km/h. The Jaguar 900 series, introduced in the 2008 season, came with intelligent engine control,

continuous moisture measurement, the convenience of the CEBIS system and a new V-Max chopping cylinder. The Auto-Fill automatic filling system was awarded a gold medal at Agritechnica 2009. The Claas Jaguar won Machine of the Year at Agritechnica 2011, notably for its Dynamic Power control system which matches power output

to demand. In the 2017 year Claas introduced a steplessly variable front attachment drive and an enhanced crop flow system, In 2018, Claas introduced the Jaguar 960 Terra Trac, the first forage harvester with a factoryintegrated crawler track system; this protects soil in all conditions and is narrow enough for road travel.

Case Versum



Visit for your nearest store or for more information. *Buy a pair of Bridgestone radial tractor tyres get a pair of Bridgestone 4x4 tyres. Buy a pair of Firestone radial tractor tyres get a pair of Firestone 4x4 tyres. Promotional products include: TRACTOR: Bridgestone VT Tractor, Firestone Maxi Traction and Firestone Performer 70 and Performer 85. 4x4: Bridgestone Dueler All Terrain 697 and Firestone Destination All Terrain. Promotion available from 1 February to 30 March 2019. Terms and conditions apply. See website for details.

THERE’S A new name to remember in the Case IH tractor universe: the Versum was recently unveiled at Sima 19, the big Paris exhibition, joining the brand’s familiar Quadtrac, Magnum, Puma, Maxxum and lately the Optum. It’s yet to be decided whether the new model will be offered in New Zealand. The Versum follows the trend in CVT style transmissions, rather than conventional semi-powershift set-ups: this tractor is the first Case-IH in the 100hp category to have the company’s CVXDrive transmission. Offered as four models between 100 and 130hp (100,110, 120 and 130), the series uses a 4-cylinder FPT engine of 4.5L, meets Stage 5 emission rules using SCR and has up to 10hp boost and 600-hour service intervals. The transmission has stepless speed control from 0-40km/h with seamless range changes, active hold control for stop and restarts on hills and a road speed of 40km/h at a fuel saving speed of only 1700rpm. At the rear a 110L/min CCLS hydraulic system can lift up to 5600kg and an integrated front linkage set-up has 2300kg capacity. A four-pillar cab has plenty of room and good visibility and a control layout that mirrors its larger siblings, with the familiar MultiController armrest and joystick control. The tractor has a reasonable payload, with a front axle rated to 3500kg, making it a great mount for loader operations. Typical shipping weight is 5500kg and maximum operating weight 8800kg. Its compact dimensions and tight turning radius -- with power up to 140hp maximum -- should prove popular with those looking for the proverbial pocket rocket. Options include front axle and cab suspension, front linkage and PTO, up to seven remote hydraulic outlets and multiple PTO combinations including ground speed drive.

Q. How can we help you be in two places at once?


Protrack® Draft lets you control drafting from practically anywhere. From the pit, from the yards or way out in the back blocks. Wherever there’s a mobile signal, you can access the Protrack app on your hand-held device. Easy, hassle-free drafting and reports all synced up to MINDA® LIVE. It’s no surprise farm owners, contractors and share-milkers alike are now investing in our robust gate.

Talk to an LIC Automation rep today to discuss customised shed automation solutions for you.



Protect your investment Phosphate and sulphur

Maintain pasture productivity and performance. An early application now of nutrients P&S will set plant growth up for the season ahead. When the rain arrives, your plants will be good to grow.

Smarter farming for a better New ZealandÂŽ Safeguard your assets with an early application of nutrients. Talk to your agri manager today or call the Customer Centre.

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Profile for Rural News Group

Dairy News 12 March 2019  

Dairy News 12 March 2019

Dairy News 12 March 2019  

Dairy News 12 March 2019