Page 1

DIRA changes ‘won’t be radical’. PAGE 4

LEADING FROM THE FRONT Northland’s top manager PAGE 28

BARKING DRONE Mustering from above PAGE 11

APRIL 9, 2019 ISSUE 420

REVAMP ALL ABOUT VALUE Fonterra director Brent Goldsack says the board is focussing on value rather than volume. PAGE 3

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NEWS  // 3

More value, less volume for co-op PAM TIPA

THE FONTERRA board’s thinking is Science-based legislation needed. PG.12

Why boron may be good PG.18

Top innovators get gongs. PG.34

NEWS������������������������������������������������������3-13 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������������ 14 OPINION���������������������������������������������� 16-17 MANAGEMENT��������������������������������������18 ANIMAL HEALTH���������������������������������� 19 MATING���������������������������������������������� 20-24 NZ DAIRY AWARDS��������������������� 25-32 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS�������������������������������������� 33-34

focused on value rather than volume as it has meets regularly to thrash out its new strategy, director Brent Goldsack says. It still hurts to say the co-op lost $200 million last year, he says. “Whatever we do as a board over the next few months will determine the future of our co-op for years and for our children and our children’s children,” he told the Northland Dairy Development Trust’s annual meeting in Whangarei last week. “So we don’t want to be rash on this. Some of us like speed… so we have to slow down, take a breath. “The decisions we make, they won’t be tampering at the edges. The directional thought on where we are heading today is clear but we need to understand why it is.” Goldsack points out that the new board contains none of the directors who years ago decided on various business strategies, e.g. going into Chile and Sri Lanka in the 1970s, with their effects today on the New Zealand ‘bucket of milk’. The board will provide updates on strategy in May and hopefully about September they “can really start to say ‘here are some concrete things we are focused on in strategy’.” “We are a globally competitive NZ co-op. I don’t think we should lose sight of what a co-op means to us. He said it was “incredibly sad” to see what was happening at Westland Milk. “Maybe it is the demise of another

co-op where the profits do not reside in NZ but go offshore. “We all know that in Fonterra about 50% of our milk price gets spent in our local communities. And we should never underestimate that: the profit stays here.” Sustainability is at the heart everything we do, he says. “This is the driver: why are we here, why do we do what we do, and the consumers -- what do they want, what are they demanding, what are they willing to pay for, where is the premium? “Sure we have 30-35% of the traded dairy in the world but we are still relatively niche. People talk about whole milk powder being a commodity but is it, when we have 60-80% of what is traded? Skim is a commodity. “When we talk about proteins and whey protein concentrates – a few years ago we sprayed whey on paddocks, we fed it to pigs. Now we feed it to the Americans and they pay us a lot of money for it. “We convert that into very high quality product. The US is a very important market for us because, again, about 13-15% of our product goes there, but a disproportion of our profit comes out of that market because of the value they are willing to pay for. It’s the same in Japan – value rather than volume.” Volume has been a strategy and meeting that unconstrained demand is sometimes very important. “We have done some things incredibly well when you look at China and other markets and the amount we’ve grown there and the amount of money we bring back to NZ both in profit and in particular in our milk price; we should never underestimate that.” Fonterra will prioritise NZ milk, Gold-

sack says. “NZ milk is valuable and I think you will see it become more and more valuable. The way in which we make our milk, the quality of our milk, the standards for it, are important for us. So the question is, how do we get the value for that? “But we are a globally competitive cooperative. Scale is important to us. We are very good traders.” When Fonterra has taken “whole buckets of milk offshore sometimes we have struggled and had volatility,” Goldsack says. The directors are looking at how to create value and bring it back to NZ from a portion of that bucket of milk -- “maybe in the proteins or fats, and using our expertise and technology, our logistical scale and our ability to trade in 140 countries”. Fonterra director Brent Goldsack.


4 //  NEWS

DIRA changes ‘won’t be radical’ WESTLAND SALE A WORRY FOR O’CONNOR


THE REFORM of the the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) need not be radical but there will be some changes, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has indicated. “Fonterra is the biggest and best company we have in this country and the DIRA review underway is a really important one,” he told the Northland Dairy Development Trust annual general meeting. He spoke via Skype. The previous government had done a review and almost got to the point of passing legislation but “chickened out at the last minute” so the review was left ‘sitting on the table’ during the last election, he said. “I have taken... a fresh look at everything in dairy and how DIRA affects both Fonterra and the wider consumer and international market. “We are [near to] getting feedback and advice from officials [who have]

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says there won’t be a radical reform of DIRA.

listened to people all over the country. I’d say it is balanced feedback and we will be making decisions on what that might mean. “Key issues are open entry, open exit and then the provision of milk for competing companies and how to set the milk price. “I am not convinced there needs to be radical reform but there needs to be change [to protect] Fonterra’s position as the biggest company we have on the international market [and to pro-

tect] farmers’ rights [and ensure] that consumers are getting a fair go. “You will certainly hear about it and have an opportunity to submit on the changes when we decide the direction of travel in that area.” O’Connor spoke by Skype because Parliament was reaching the final stages of the Budget process in which some of his bids for funding were under discussion. He said the result was positive and told farmers “hope-

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farm management plan that would help farmers to meet all the basic requirements imposed by regional councils on nitrate leaching, water quality, water safety and biosecurity. “And there are many other issues -- you would say burdensome or challenging issues -- in being farmers in a new and emerging international environment”. O’Connor says he knows farmers’ concerns about regulation

and pending legislation. “We don’t want to impose anything we don’t think is absolutely necessary. [But] international trends mean consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and the ones who can afford to pay for our high value products want to know that we are doing everything in an ethi-

cal and sustainable way.” Hence the need to prove good environmental management, labour standards, animal welfare and food safety standards, he says. A lot of his efforts as minister are to get enough resources to move farming forward to meet those increasing international requirements.

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fully that will be good news for you on Budget day”. “We are rolling out a real big budget and that will not be just about the social side but the income-generation side as well -- on sustainable use of land.” Issues of water quality, land use, nitrate leaching and sustainable forestry planting are at the forefront of MPs’ thinking. Through MPI O’Connor is aiming to get a template for a

THE GOVERNMENT needs to look at the issue of foreign ownership of businesses, O’Connor says. The likelihood of the sale of New Zealand’s second-biggest dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, is “personally of concern for me coming from the West Coast,” he says. “But it is an indication of the level of interest in our agribusiness sector from offshore investors. “They come from all over the world. There is a large amount of money coming out of Europe that can be and is looking to buy dairy farms. And so from a Government perspective we are taking a cautious approach to ensure we have, hopefully, some control over investment in our primary sectors and the wider economy into the future. “We have made a call on farmland, and it will be very difficult for foreigners to buy that; we have made a call on houses but we have not made a call on businesses and that is one of the areas we need to look at.”

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GROWTH HAS been debated at the Fonterra board table and the directors’ view now is that the co-op will not see the huge growth of the past, says director Brent Goldsack. Environmental constraints could be the limiting factor. “Things around water and nutrients: we will get a very good handle on

that,” he told the Northland Dairy Development Trust’s annual meeting in Whangarei last week. “But as we look at gases – whether methane or nitrous oxide -- that’s much harder.” Methane may be a little easier but generally it gets harder, Goldsack said. Over 35 years production has increased three-

fold but the co-op won’t be getting that growth in the future, he says. With genetics and science he is confident farming will consistently improve. “As a board I think we are saying [growth] is probably going to be relatively flat -- certainly for the foreseeable future.” Goldsack says he is worried at the prospect of a payout of $7/kgMS or

better next year because at that price people start getting ahead of themselves and do things they later regret. “The Europeans, the Americans… they would much rather be where we are today and this is our third year in the mid $6/ kgMS. It’s been a nice spot for the co-op over the last three years.” – Pam Tipa


(WMS) has appointed Jamie Mikkelson as an independent director. Mikkelson was until recently a senior vice-president with GEA in Germany. WMS chair Randal Barrett, representing co-owner Pioneer Capital, said the company’s growth requires a director with international experience and expertise. Mikkelson has spent 30 years in the industry. He was a founder of the milking systems company Milfos International, bought by GEA in 2012.

He shortly afterwards moved with his family to Germany and a global role with GEA but decided to return to New Zealand. Barrett says Mikkelson’s “leadership in the global milking systems market will provide unique and valuable perspectives which will help us achieve our growth targets”. “His skills and competencies will complement and extend the existing strengths of the board.” Mikkelson says he holds a “deep respect for the Waikato brand and what it has achieved”.

Founded in 1967, WMS is fully New Zealand-owned by Pioneer Capital, Tainui Group Holdings and Ngāi Tahu Capital in equal shares. The company exports dairy technology to 30 countries and has offices in Australia, USA and the UK. Exports make up about 50% of its business and it aims to increase this to 70% in three to five years. Other directors are Paul McGilvary (formerly chief executive of Tatua Dairy Co) representing Ngāi Tahu Capital, and Lyndon Settle of Tainui Group.


NEWS  // 5

Fonterra set to get tough on rogue farmers SUDESH KISSUN

FONTERRA IS signalling a tougher stance on farmers who persistently fail to meet minimum standards of sustainability. The co-op last week said it plans to become more sustainable in five key areas: environment, animals, milk, people and communities, and co-op and prosperity. The new approach to

sustainability onfarm is part of a new programme, The Cooperative Difference, unveiled last week. This stems from strategy, now being developed by the board and management, that will put sustainability at the heart of everything the co-op does, empowering it to maximise its New Zealand heritage and uniqueness and remain globally competitive. Full details of The Cooperative Difference programme will be

announced at the MyConnect conference in Dunedin next month. Fonterra cooperative affairs managing director Mike Cronin says sustainability for the co-op is about more than the environment. “It’s about looking after our people, caring for animals, adapting to changing customer and consumer expectations, and respecting the communities and land where we live and work. “We are proud of the

global reputation Fonterra farmers have for producing high quality milk. “Farmers have made tremendous progress onfarm to date and The Co-operative Difference will help us take that good work to the next level so we can continue to create goodness for generations to come.” For milk suppliers, a clearer edition of the co-op’s Terms of Supply and Farmers’ Handbook

MAKING A DIFFERENCE The Cooperative Difference will support Fonterra’s new strategy by: ■■ Recognising farmers who go beyond the minimum requirements to supply high-quality milk, care for their animals, protect the environment, support their people and community, and engage in their co-operative ■■


Helping other farmers follow suit by making existing onfarm requirements easier to understand and by providing tailored, industry-leading support services to those who want to improve

our future aspirations so they can plan and progress towards our shared ambitions ■■


Providing more information and advance notice to farmers about

The focus on sustainability is part of a new strategy being headed by Fonterra chairman John Monaghan (right) and chief executive Miles Hurrell.

will be delivered in time for the 2019-20 season, outlining the minimum requirements onfarm. “We will streamline processes for managing non-compliance and ensure farmers are adequately supported in minor non-compliance issues,” the co-op says. The existing demerit scheme for milk quality issues, the liquidated damages regime and a

number of issue-specific consequences for failing to meet required standards will remain in place. “The co-op will take a firmer line with [farmers who] persistently fail to meet minimum standards, ultimately suspending collection when justified,” it says. Cronin says consumers and customers increasingly want to know that their food choices sup-

port a sustainable future. “How we farm and make our products needs to reflect these aspirations so we can remain a globally competitive NZ cooperative,” he said. “Our cooperative’s strong dairy heritage and pasture-based system seperates us from the pack but we must continue to earn our customers’ and consumers’ trust and loyalty.”


Streamlining reporting and auditing to save farmers time and energy, and help the co-op protect its market position, strengthen its sustainability claims and drive demand for products that customers and consumers value most Supporting farms wanting to improve, while taking a firmer line with those who persistently fail to meet minimum standards, and exercising our rights to suspend collection.

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6 //  NEWS

Dairy conversion hits legal wall NIGEL MALTHUS

A NEW decision by the Environment Court on the Simons Pass station in the Mackenzie Basin may effectively prevent more progress by the controversial big dairy conversion. Environmental Defence Society (EDS) chief executive Gary Taylor said the decision means Simons Pass now needs to apply for resource consents from the Mackenzie District Council to irrigate large parts of the property, and under new rules these may be difficult to get. The council, supported by the EDS, had applied to the court for three declarations regarding the legality of land conversions under the district plan. The court declined to make a ruling regarding

Greenpeace is opposed to dairy conversions in the Mackenzie Basin.

conversion by direct drilling before 2017, when provisions of Plan Change 13 became operative, but did make declarations that conversion by direct drilling and conversion by irrigation after that date were discretionary activities

that require consents. The court heard the matter over two days in February and released its decision on April 1. The 9700ha station is already partly irrigated and carrying about 840 dairy cows in its first

season of dairying but is still primarily a beef and sheep farm carrying about 1300 beef cattle and calves and 7000 sheep. Murray Valentine, of Dunedin, who owns part of the property and holds a Crown lease over the

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rest, has been working since 2003 on the dairy conversion through various planning and approvals processes. Valentine told Dairy News he had yet to decide whether to appeal the new ruling and declined

to comment further. Taylor said discretionary consents would need to be publicly notified. “Because of the new rules to protect landscape that apply, it’s my contention that it will be very difficult for such applica-

tions to be approved. “It could well be that Simons Pass Station will decline to go ahead and much of the area will remain in pastoral farming and not be converted to dairying. That will mean most of the valued ecology will remain, so it is a good outcome for the environment.” However, Taylor said the property is still likely to go through tenure review. “The implications of the court decision are that more land should go into DOC control including all the land now protected by Mackenzie council’s new plan provisions. “Overall, the decision probably means the end of dairy expansion in the Mackenzie Country, which is a very good outcome for the environment,” Taylor said.


NEWS  // 7

Flood-affected farmers keen to hold their ground NIGEL MALTHUS


Bruce Smith isn’t buying suggestions that productive farmland at Franz Josef should be abandoned to the flood-prone Waiho River. The river, fed by the Franz Josef Glacier, burst its banks in late March as torrential rain washed away the State Highway 6 bridge just south of the township and damaged downstream stopbanks and farmland on the river’s old floodplain. Army and Downer engineers are urgently replacing it with new Bailey bridge spans and it is expected to be usable again by mid-April. The bridge had been raised to cope with the river bed rising because of accumulating gravel (‘aggradation’) -a phenomenon believed made worse by the stopbanks restricting the river’s flow. The flood highlights a suggestion that for the river’s long-term management the stopbanks should be removed so it can re-occupy its flood plain. Smith said the suggestion was contained in just one of many reports to the West Coast Regional Council. “It’s been driven by the regional council but... a full analysis of the economic cost hasn’t been done.” Smith said the river flats are home to 83 people, four dairy farms with 5000 cows, 15 properties carrying beef, sheep, horses and bees and at least 20 tourism businesses. “We’ve got 18 kids who live on the south side and they’re a significant part of retaining teacher and class numbers in the local school.” It is a bigger community than some other Westland settlements

HELP ON HAND DAIRYNZ WEST Coast consulting officer Angela Leslie said farmers needing help and advice could contact her, DairyNZ or the Rural Support Trust. Leslie said damage to farm infrastructure had, fortunately, been limited -- mostly to fences. “It’s unclear at this stage how much damage has been caused to pasture but we have had reports of loss of topsoil.” No stock had been reported affected. “Fortunately, farmers had time to prepare and many moved cows to higher ground and away from rivers. “Farmers on the coast are a resilient bunch and will get through this but I encourage them to tap into the resources and support available to help,” she said.

such as Bruce Bay and Okarito, he said. “It’s significant, and its contribution to the [economy] of Westland is important. If you abandon it will Westland Dairy continue to collect milk from Fox? Because the volumes would be right down. A whole lot of questions need to be answered.” Meanwhile, getting milk out and supplies in remains a problem for farms cut off by the washed-out bridge. With road access only via Haast Pass, milk tankers from Open Country Dairy in Southland are collecting milk from the four Waiho River flats dairy farms and from Kerry Straight’s farm about 20km further south near Fox Glacier. Straight’s is the only dairy farm – among several beef units – on the Fox River flats. With his phone and internet knocked out for a few days after the rain, Straight was relieved to see the Open Country truck arrive, meaning he did not have to dump milk. “We came very close to it but managed to avoid it,” he said. The farm has frontages on the Fox

Reconstruction work underway on the Waihou River bridge on the West Coast.

River and the smaller Cook River, both of which burst their banks in the storm, washing away a few hectares of land and two or three km of fencing. Straight said “the one thing” farmers in the district need is access to rock for river protection. An engineer had estimated that Straight needs 6000 tonnes of rock to repair one section of his Cook River frontage, but the only approved rock supply was from Whataroa, about 50km to the north and still cut off by the lost bridge. Local people need access to their local resources, said Straight. “There’s any amount of rock in our rivers but they won’t let us touch it.” Straight says all his usual connections are to the north and he is looking forward to getting the Waiho Bridge back. Meanwhile he is getting small amounts of supplies including fencing wire across the Waiho by the shuttle services set up by local helicopter operators. “Fertiliser and lime and stuff like that will become a major issue if [the bridge] stays out too long.”

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8 //  NEWS

Chinese appetite for dairy growing SUDESH KISSUN

SLOWING ECONOMIC Chinese consumers are buying more dairy products despite an economic slowdown in the country.

activity in China isn’t affecting that nation’s appetite for dairy

products. Westpac dairy analyst Anne Boniface says the strength of Chinese demand for dairy in recent months is notable. This will be good news for New Zealand exporters

relying heavily on Chinese consumers. Global dairy prices rose for a ninth consecutive time on Global Dairy Trade (GDT) last week with supply concerns in major milk producing regions. However, Boniface notes in her Dairy Diary report that supply concerns aren’t the only factor supporting the lift in dairy prices in recent months. “The strength of Chinese demand has also been notable,” she says. “Chinese dairy imports were up 14% over January and February combined.” In last week’s auction, buyers from the north Asian region (dominated by China) snapped up over 50% of product on offer, a touch ahead of the same time a year ago. “This demand for dairy stands in stark contrast to concerns about the downside risk to growth in China,” notes Boniface. “Our own view is that while GDP growth in China is set to slow noticeably this year, this slowdown won’t be centred in the household sector. This should be a silver lining for NZ agricultural exporters who are heavily reliant on Chinese consumers.” Last week also saw a slight drop in whole milk

powder prices, down 1.3% to US$3287/tonne. Boniface says the market had been wary of at least some retracement in WMP prices as local weather normalised and concerns about the negative impact of recent dry weather on milk production eased. “With DCANZ data showing NZ milk production in February was broadly flat on a year earlier (much weaker growth than we saw through the first half of the season, but perhaps not as low as some were anticipating) and decent rainfall in parts of the North Island in recent weeks, those supply concerns may have ameliorated somewhat. “While milk collections for the remainder of the season are likely to be well down on the same time last year, we still expect nationwide milk production to end up about 2% higher. That’s stronger growth than the 0.3% lift Fonterra is currently forecasting for its own collections.” Boniface says while last week’s pullback in WMP prices was broadly in line with our expectations, the higher fat prices of late mean the bank sees upside risks to its $6.40/kgMS milk price this season.


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THE MILK production outlook for the rest of the globe is mixed, says Westpac dairy analyst Anne Boniface. Australian milk production was down 11% in January 2019 compared to a year earlier, with national production 5.8% lower for the season to date. Boniface notes that Australian farmers have struggled with a combination of high costs, shrinking herds and reduced supplementary feeding. “That said, export volumes haven’t been as weak with total Australian dairy export volumes down 0.7% for the season to date (led by a 40% fall in WMP export volumes). “While production this season will clearly be well down, looking ahead to the 2019-20 season, improving prices and weather mean Australian milk production is unlikely to continue to contract at the same pace as this year.” In the US, exports have also held up better than milk production, at least until recently. US milk production was up an estimated 0.6% in February on a year earlier. European milk collections were down 1.5% in January.


NEWS  // 9

Compliance costs irk Naki farmers PETER BURKE


being urged to work with and not against farmers. The chair of Federated Farmers dairy in Taranaki, Janet Schultz, says many older dairy farmers

there are struggling with compliance demands by regulators including the regional council and Fonterra. She says morale is fairly low among farmers aged 60 and over; many feel hounded left, right and centre. “We no longer have

dairy assessments, we have dairy compliance: all bought-in feeds must be ‘up to speed’ and you must have all your certificates to prove that. “We have to show them our herd records, show them our waterways are fenced and that we comply with the regional

DRY WEATHER PERSISTS MANY PARTS of Manawatu, Rangitikei and Whanganui remain dry as the season starts to wind down. DairyNZ’s Rob Brazendale says some herds there are drying off and others are moving to once a day or extended milking hours. He says maize crops started off looking good, but many farmers will be disappointed with yields. “What looked promising never materialised.” Brazendale says Hawkes Bay looks good, as does Wairarapa where irrigation has helped. The Tararua district is dry by its stan-

dards. “Central and northern Taranaki has had good rain but the southern and coastal area is a bit drier: it looks green but the grass is growing only slowly. “But compared to last season it is much better: last year was a shocker for them. Overall Taranaki is ok but would like more rain.” Feds’ Janet Schultz says dairy farmers are using supplements to keep milking. But this is costing many: some farmers have spent $20,000 on supplements – double last year.

Taranaki farmers are unhappy about rising compliance costs.

council regulations on effluent disposal and prove that we are compliant in veterinary records. “A lot of farmers struggle with all this and are saying ‘ease up a bit on us’,” she says. Rob Brazendale, DairyNZ

Schultz says over the last four to five years production and/ or payouts have been down and the cost of complying with some new regulations is putting pressure on farmers. In some cases farmers have had to spend upwards of $180,000 to

meet the new rules, she says. “We want to protect our land and be able to move forward into the future but so much has changed. What we are saying is, ‘hey work with us, not against us’.” @dairy_news

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10 //  NEWS

No consensus as politicians mull Brexit PETER BURKE


exporters are holding their breath as UK politicians struggle to reach any sort of consensus on how or when Britain will leave the European Union. Even the most experienced commentators are flummoxed by what is happening in Westminster. Kimberly Crewther of the Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ) says most companies are thinking through what the differ-

Mike Petersen

ent scenarios mean for them. “They are watching the developments to understand them and are looking at information from NZ government agencies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and MPI have on

their websites. They have been putting out a lot of information but at the moment it’s very much a watch and see scenario,” she told Dairy News. Crewther says some arrangements for ongoing trade with the UK have been signed, but what happens in the end depends on what the British MPs decide. There are complications on the horizon such as the European Parliament elections due at the end of May and if Britain doesn’t leave before then it could well be caught up in these. To say the situation is fluid and complicated is an under-

British PM Theresa May is struggling to find a Brexit compromise.

statement, she says. New Zealand’s special trade envoy Mike Petersen describes the situation as terrible mess. He says exporters are getting more and more concerned and all are making contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit which would be disastrous for both the UK and the EU, he says. “While companies are making plans for a nodeal they are still hoping

that a deal will be agreed and that they won’t have to trigger plans for a nodeal scenario.” Petersen is reasonably certain there won’t be another referendum. “No one would want to put the UK through that horrible process -- it’s too divisive,” he says. Petersen believes that Conservative party members will finally fall into line behind Theresa May because they don’t want

an election with the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister. Petersen notes that with the prospect of Brexit some NZ companies are looking at having a stronger presence on continental Europe and moving some staff from London to Brussels and Amsterdam where Fonterra is based. He says he knows of some companies that have registered new offices in Europe.

“Where they register these offices will depend a lot on their customer base and key ports of entry to Europe such as Rotterdam in Holland and Antwerp in Belgium,” he says. But Petersen says the changes brought about by Brexit are unlikely to result in more NZ staff being employed by exporters to Europe. He says most likely some may move from London to Europe.



There’s more to feeding out these days than throwing a couple of small hay bales on the ute. Depending on their farm set up, farmers need to consider feed-out wagons, trailers, bale feeders, mobile feed troughs, cow housing, feedpads, loaders and grabs, plus the supplements and mineral additives available. Dairy News’ special report on Feeding Out will cover the hardware available as well as the best practices for maximising animal nutrition and minimising feed wastage.

To be in this special report contact your advertising representative now to promote your products and/or service to all NZ dairy farmers and sharemilkers. Contact your closest Sales Representative

National Sales Manager Stephen Pollard .... Ph 09-913 9637 Waikato Ted Darley ............ Ph 07-854 6292 Wellington Ron Mackay ......... Ph 04-234 6239 Christchurch Kaye Sutherland ... Ph 03-337 3828


23 April

10 April 16 April


NEWS  // 11

Optimistic on prices, but with a caution PAM TIPA


be “cautiously optimistic” that current forecasts will hold, but it will depend on the global economy, says ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby. She was commenting on ANZ Research’s April Agri Focus report that says the dairy market will support a current season milk price of about $6.40/kgMS and a forecast $7.30/kgMS milk price for next season. However, global economic risks are greater. Kilsby told Dairy News the supply side is reasonably supportive of prices because global milk supply is reducing worldwide. But the demand side is lesser known, she says. “We are starting to see the global economy slow but that has not translated into less dairy demand at the moment. But it is a risk.” Our major market for dairy is the developing nations of Asia, Kilsby says. “Dairy is more discretionary in the developing nations whereas in the developed nations, as in NZ, people consider dairy products a staple and we buy them whatever. In developing nations it is more of a luxury item for a lot of people.

“But it really depends on how the economies go everywhere. We are still seeing pretty good growth in most developing nations, but the growth rates aren’t quite as strong as we’ve seen in previous years.” Much dairy demand these days is from China because it is the world’s biggest dairy importer, she says. “That market is [somewhat] opaque when it comes to trying to figure out what is happening in demand…. “[China has its] own dairy industry which is quite sizeable and they produce more milk than NZers. But it is very expensive to produce milk there, so during periods when commodity prices haven’t been overly high their internal market has struggled to compete with imports and they have been in that position for a few years. We are not seeing the growth in their dairy industry that we thought [possible] four or five years ago so it is reasonable to assume they will continue to import.” The challenge for NZ dairy farmers is that onfarm costs are rising, e.g. labour and compliance with tightening environmental standards, and many farms are carrying a lot of debt, she says. “Even though milk prices are looking quite good there is probably not


Susan Kilsby, ANZ

going to be a whole lot of spare cash around.” The ANZ’s Agri Focus report says they now expect NZ’s milk supply to finish this season 2.75% ahead of last season. All the gain was achieved in the early part of the

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IN 2021

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no more getting on your quad or UTV. The Enterprise also has a dual spotlight giving 2400 lumens for better visibility in low light. DJI Ferntech, a supplier of drones to farmers since 2013, says the Enterprise shows that drones are evolving into serious work tools, not just toys. DJI spokesman Jonathon Kubiak says “we are seeing increased uptake by construction, agriculture, asset inspection and public services, all of them seeing opportunities to use drones as part of their day to day toolbox”.

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ing demand for dairy commodities. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that global growth will decline to 3.5% in 2019, down from an estimated 3.7% in 2018. “Most NZ dairy exports go to developing or emerging nations,” says ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby. “Asia is our largest export region with China alone accounting for about a quarter of our dairy exports. The IMF forecasts growth in Asia will fall from 6.5% in 2018 to 6.3% this year. “Although the slowdown in economic growth in Asia is a concern, the growth rates are still high by global standards, boding well for continued growth in dairy demand. “The risk of uncertainty is however greater than normal therefore milk price forecasts remain volatile.”


1 ⁄3 1 ⁄3 1 ⁄3 DEPOSIT

season. During the final three months, milk volumes are expected to be nearly 5% weaker than last season, the report says. “Milk production volumes are expected to plateau near current levels.”

MILK PRODUCTION remains relatively weak in all big milk-producing regions and Australia has been particularly hard hit by the recent drought. Europe’s milk production in the final quarter of 2018 was marginally lower than last season. January volumes were behind last season in the EU: the larger milk-producing nations Germany, France and Netherlands were all behind last season by at least 2%. The UK was the only relatively large producer to expand production in January. US milk production is still growing, but slowly. Growth rates have averaged just 0.8% over the past year. But as major global economies slow there is an increased risk that dairy consumption will ease, reduc-

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12 //  NEWS

Science-based carbon legislation needed PAM TIPA

NATIONAL HAS five Nathan Guy speaking at Rabobank’s Farm2Fork seminar in Sydney recently.

Lon: -3445699

‘bottom lines’ for the Zero Carbon Bill likely to come before Parliament in the

next month or two, says primary industries spokesman Nathan Guy. “The first one is that the decisions need to be science based,” he told an audience of about 1300 farmers and agribusiness

Lat: 174.750190

professionals at Rabobank’s Farm2Fork seminar in Sydney on March 28. “The second one is we need long-term procedures. The third one is we need to be at pace with our global trading partners. Fourthly, new technologies are going to be vitally important as we try to wrestle these emissions down “And another one is we don’t want to bankrupt

that no one size fits all. “A levy at the processor level will be seen just as crude tax and won’t change behaviour.” One billion trees has been a real focus in New Zealand, Guy says. “Yes we need to plant more trees… but the challenge is, are the trees going to be planted in the right place? This is looking out 30 years and we don’t want to see rural

“We don’t want to bankrupt the sector or the country in the process.”

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the sector or the country in the process.” Guy told Dairy News it will be interesting to see if the Bill gets cross-party support. Meanwhile the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s recently released report ‘Farms, Forests and Fossil Fuels’, concludes that agriculture and farm emissions should be treated separately, Guy told the seminar. “And if biological emissions are going to go into the Emissions Trading Scheme then that funding, tax or levy that could be struck should go back into those communities where it has come from to focus on greenhouse gases, water quality and biodiversity. “I applaud the commissioner [Simon Upton] for his foresight and thinking.” Guy said it would be a crude measure if biological emissions were measured at the processor level such as kilos of milk solids or kilos carcase weight. “It needs to be measured inside the farmgate; that is why I support farm plans. I salute DairyNZ what it has done with 44 pilots; that information is readily available and the research conclusion is

schools’ rolls decline, jobs leave these rural communities and local roads get smashed.” More trees need to be planted but in a way that recognises the importance of infrastructure and jobs. Guy says New Zealand, Australia and some European countries are leading the way on biological emissions research and technology is the way to wrestle these things down -- not more taxes. Biotechnology needs to change in New Zealand, he says. “We have GE ryegrasses that have to go to the US for field trials and the early research has shown that will reduce methane by 23%... We can’t do those trials in New Zealand.” Guy says since the 1980s our farmers have been leading change. “Our subsidies came off, there was huge change and it was really painful. Some people have been saying to me ‘it feels like we are back there again now’. “We have a huge amount of headwind we have to navigate our way through. “Because of the adaption we do inside our farmgate I am positive we can get there with the right signals.”


NEWS  // 13

Northland sharemilker Guy Bakewell (right), wife Jaye and daughter Darnell-Jaye on the farm.

Raw milk sales help cashflow on small farm BRAD MARKHAM

GUY BAKEWELL (31) is a herd owning sharemilker selling raw milk onfarm to help pay off his dairy cows faster. This Kaipara Young Farmers member is in his second season 50:50 sharemilking 150 cows near Wellsford, Northland. Bakewell’s enterprise is small by industry standards -- the region’s average herd size is 300 cows -- so this business studies graduate of Massey University has had to generate extra income.   The farm overlooks State Highway One carrying 15,000 vehicles daily, and he saw this stream as an opportunity to be tapped.  In August 2018 he began selling raw milk from a vending machine on the farm.   “We sold 30L on the first day and we’ve sold milk every day since,” said Bakewell.   “We sell an average of 100 litres a day.”  The machine is one of 15 in New Zealand selling unpasteurised milk, which “baffles” him because, of the 10,000+ dairy farms in NZ, only 26 are registered as raw milk suppliers.  Herd owning sharemilkers only receive half a farm’s monthly milk cheque so Bakewell’s business idea was driven by economics.  “I believe in getting creative and thinking outside the box to make business opportunities work,” he said.   The herd is split in two: about 130 cows are milked once-a-day and their milk is sold to Fonterra; 17 cows in a separate mob supply the vending machine, accessible to customers 24/7.

The raw milk business, known as Bakewell Creamery, is run by Bakewell and his wife Jaye. His parents have also invested in the venture.   “We pay the farm’s owner Duncan Johnson a rate per litre for milk sold through Bakewell Creamery,” said Bakewell.   The milk $100,000 dispensing machine is housed in a small purposebuilt, transportable shop at the front of the farm. The milk is sold for $3/L. Reusable glass bottles can be bought from a second vending machine for $5. Bake well says he wanted a stronger connection with consumers of his milk who are “grateful and appreciative,” he says. He uses social media to market the business and is looking into expanding his customer base, noting that Auckland is not far away.  Current regulations prevent the company from setting up raw milk vending machines in Auckland.   “Until the rules change, our only option to get our fresh milk into Auckland fridges is to bottle it and deliver it. That would be labour intensive,” said Bakewell.  “But we’re talking with other companies that deliver to homes in Auckland.”   “One option could be that a bottle of our raw milk is included in produce boxes,” he said. In their venture the Bakewells have been guided by Richard Houston, who started Village Milk in Golden Bay in 2012 using a vending machine from Italy. • Brad Markham is communications manager for NZ Young Farmers.

MPI-REGISTERED THE BUSINESS is registered with the Ministry of Primary Industries and gets a food safety inspection twice a year. It’s also inspected a third time to ensure it meets Fonterra’s conditions of supply. “It’s completely different from traditional dairy farming, where you just put your milk in the vat and

leave the rest to someone else,” Guy Bakewell said. He reckons supplying raw milk would suit younger farmers who are social media savvy. But it needs a big customer base and lots of extra work.  “We’re only limited by our imagination as to where this goes,” said Guy.



Biotech firm again wins top award HAMILTON DAIRY

biotech company Quantec has won the top award at the annual Natural Health Products NZ awards for the second year running. The company, based at Waikato Innovation Park, won the Supreme Award and the Cawthron Institute Innovation Award at the awards night recently in Hamilton. The awards recognise the success of NZ companies developing, manufacturing and exporting natural products, functional foods, complementary medicines, cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals. Quantec chief executive Raewyn McPhillips says the company “has experienced steady growth over the past nine years, with pronounced growth over the past 12 months in particular”. The award reflects hard

IDP Flaxseed Oil product from Quantum.

work and the vision of the founders and board. “We grow and succeed because we are determined to push boundaries and continually improve our science and consumer interactions. This means we don’t always take a well-worn path,

and we’ve become used to continually finding solutions and adapting as we go. Earning the respect of our industry peers in this way assures us we are on the right trajectory,” says McPhillips. Quantec innovation director Rod Claycomb

said the innovation award recognised a challenging product development for the gut health and immune health sector in China. “We worked with our key customer in China to identify a nutraceutical product concept never done before: the combination of an omega-3 oil with an aqueous milk protein powder. “We drew on the expertise of seven other NZ companies also working in the natural products industry. Six months after our launch in China last year we’ve started our second manufacturing run.” Set up in 2009, Quantec extracts high-value bioactives from natural ingredients to make ingredient formulations for use in human and animal products. @dairy_news

PREMIUM MUST COVER RISING FARMING COSTS NEW ZEALAND dairying has for years seen environmental regulation tightening and that is forcing higher cost of production onto farmers, says Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins. “The real key issue here is trying to obtain a premium for our products now that will pay for those higher costs of production,” Higgins told the Rabobank Farm2Fork seminar in Sydney on March 28. She took part in a panel discussion on whether farmers are Emma Higgins ready for change, particularly over sustainability issues. NZ dairy farmers are very conscious of animal welfare and environmental sustainability issues and adopt many technologies, she says. But taking sustainability to another level and thinking about true business sustainability is the next challenge facing NZ farmers, Higgins says. No amount of money will solve some of NZ’s environmental challenges, par-

ticularly in parts of Waikato and Canterbury. “We are ‘tapped out’ in terms of resources… NZ is on the precipice of transformational change in agriculture.” Farmers are considering what alternative land use is available to them -- perhaps diversification into some sort of cropping arrangement. “Or it could be getting [totally] out of dairy and moving into something a bit more innovative, e.g. sheep milking with its lighter environmental footprint and perhaps less onerous social licence to operate. In dairy that pressure is there and we have seen that play out in a number of ways.” Dairy companies are trying to lead in managing some of the issues on social licence to operate, she says. Farmers seeking to act on sustainability must ‘walk the talk’ on value adding and brand development. And NZ must adhere to its provenance story.

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New edge to sustainability

MILKING IT... Fake protein spreading

Not happy with Westland

FONTERRA WON’T be the only dairy company investing in alternative protein: Nestle says it will launch plant-based burgers in Europe and the US this year. Nestle’s meatless Incredible Burger will go on sale this month in supermarkets in Europe under the Garden Gourmet brand. First it will be in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Then in late 2019 the Awesome Burger, designed for American palates, will go on sale where Sweet Earth brand products are sold.

WESTLAND MILK’S decision to sell to Chinese company Yili may get the nod of farmer shareholders but politicians aren’t happy. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, the West Coast-Tasman MP, says the impending sale is “personally of concern for me coming from the West Coast”. NZ First MP Mark Patterson expresses similar sentiment: “Let’s hope Westland Milk shareholders think long and hard before selling the family silver”. NZ First was highly critical of the sale of agribusinesses to Chinese interests before the election. However, the party has toned down its criticism since stepping into coalition Government with Labour and the Greens.

Cow toilet A FARM equipment manufacturer is developing a toilet for cattle and has revealed that cows can be trained to use it. The Dutch company Hanskamp developed the CowToilet as a way to reduce ammonia spills. It collects urine before it hits the floor in feed sheds, keeping it separate from the solids. Cows have a nerve reflex that causes them to immediately urinate. The CowToilet is Hanskamp’s means of automating a long-known technique to make a cow urinate. The CowToilet is placed against the cow’s suspensory ligament and moves in unison with the cow. This locates the nerve that triggers the urinary reflex, stimulates the nerve and the cow starts urinating. The urine goes to a built-in container then is sucked to a separate storage tank.

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Find me on Tudder A TINDER-INSPIRED app called Tudder is helping farmers to match their cattle with suitable mates — by swiping right on cows they like the look of. Farmers are then forwarded to a page on the UK website SellMyLivestock, where they can browse more data and photos pending a choice to buy. They can see protein content, milk yield or calving prospects, said Doug Bairner, chief of Hectare Agritech which runs Graindex and SellMyLivestock. “Matching livestock online is even easier than matching humans because of the mass of data on these wonderful animals that predicts what their offspring will be.”

A PREVIEW last week of Fonterra’s new strategy showed how the co-op intends to focus on sustainability on all levels and prioritise the value of milk, rather than the volume, into the future. The co-op last week launched a programme entitled The Cooperative Difference, focussed on five key areas: environment, animals, milk, people and communities, and co-operative and prosperity. The firm intention is to make clearer to farmers what their co-op expects of them today and in the future, and to duly recognise the many farmers who conscientiously produce high quality milk in a more sustainable way. Those who produce will be rewarded, but those who persist with continuously poor milk grades will face the consequences. The co-op is also assuring farmers there will be no nasty surprises. The Cooperative Difference will enable farmers to better understand the changing expectations of global markets, customers, consumers, communities and regulators so they can plan and prepare for what they must do. New sustainability regulations won’t be dumped on farmers overnight, and the co-op acknowledges that change cannot happen overnight; it is committed to providing farmers with more advance notice of new requirements and changing expectations. Fonterra will next month release more details on The Cooperative Difference, and in the coming season it will outline the immediate steps a farmer can take to improve sustainability onfarm and within the co-op. The co-op says it will recognise farmers who go beyond the minimum requirements to produce high quality, safe, sustainable dairy, according to key needs outlined in The Cooperative Difference for delivering top-shelf milk. Top farmers will get grade free certificates, plaques and awards, and they could get a digital dashboard and annual scorecard and be recognised at local events. Their stories will be told in Fonterra publications and Farm Source reward dollars may come their way. With farmers facing more compliance costs and pressures in their quest to farm sustainably farming, The Cooperative Difference is a huge step in the right direction. Fonterra and its 10,000 farmers shareholders are already doing a great deal of work on sustainability. They are confident The Cooperative Difference will help take that good work to the next level.

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OPINION  // 17

Tenure review of land to end missions should be made by 5pm on Friday 12 April 2019. There are 171 remaining Crown pastoral lease properties covering about 1.2 million ha of Crown pastoral land. The leases are perpetually renewable on 33-year terms that give the leaseholder rights akin to ownership, i.e. provided they comply with the terms of the lease they are entitled to exclusive possession of the land in perpetuity. There are some limitations on the use or activities to which the leaseholder can put the pastoral land: the land can only be used for pastoral farming; and consent is needed to, amongst other things, disturb the soil, which limits development of the land. Why tenure review? The rationale behind


THE MINISTER for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced on February 17 that the ‘tenure review’ of Crown pastoral land under the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998 (CPLA) would end. She introduced a discussion document -‘Enduring Stewardship of Crown Pastoral Land’ -that sets out proposals in relation to Crown pastoral land. Public feedback is sought on: ■■ The implications of ending the tenure review ■■ The outcomes the Crown is seeking for Crown pastoral land ■■ What changes should be made to the Crown pastoral land regulatory system to achieve those outcomes? Sub-

tenure review is that it enables the Crown to negotiate with a leaseholder a surrender of some of their leasehold rights in return for an option for the leaseholder to purchase the freehold of some of the land. This means that areas of significant ecological or conservation value are returned to full Crown ownership and control, in exchange for the leaseholder gaining full legal ownership and control of the remainder of the land. From the Crown’s point of view, because the leaseholder paid for their freehold land, which was set off against what the leaseholder was paid by the Crown for selling part of the pastoral lease, tenure review didn’t require the amount of government funding that would be required if the


Neil Dent

government was simply purchasing the leaseholder’s interest outright. Tenure review came in for some criticism, partly because having obtained the full freehold ownership of land the freeholder was free to do with it what they wished which led to claims of profiteering at the Crown’s expense. The fact that significant areas of conservation land reverted to full Crown (public) control was often overlooked. The discussion docu-

ment, however, focuses more on the fact that tenure review hadn’t worked out as well as the government hoped. One of the objectives of tenure review was that the Crown’s role as lessor of Crown pastoral land would end. Yet the tenure review process has been underway for at least 20 years and there are still many pastoral leases. Looking ahead Tenure review will, however, now definitely end. Given the government’s desire generally to maintain control and use of important conservation and ecological areas now subject to leases, what does the discussion document propose in place of the current regime? Three basic methods are suggested: ■■ Protective mechanisms, such as cov-

enants, to protect inherent values or easements to secure access ■■ More effective management of the Crown’s interest as lessor ■■ Purchasing the leaseholder’s interest in the land so that it can be protected within the conservation estate. The discussion document proposes tightening up this process and requiring consents to focus on broader environmental impacts rather than farming activity alone and also to look at the cumulative impacts of discretionary consent proposals across a number of pastoral leases. Whether or not the end of tenure review will enhance the Crown’s ability to manage sensitive ecological and conservation areas that are subject

to pastoral leases remains to be seen. There doesn’t seem to be anything in the proposals that limit a leaseholder’s rights to exclusive possession. Rather leaseholders are likely to face a more rigorous oversight regime by their landlord. It is interesting to see the proposal for the Crown wanting to purchase the leaseholder’s interest in these properties. The Crown may face the same criticism it is trying to avoid if it uses public funds to purchase leaseholders’ perpetual rights. • Neil Dent is a partner in Hastings law firm Gifford Devine. The article was first published in Rural eSpeaking (Autumn 2019), the client e-newsletter of NZ Law Limited member firms. Gifford Devine is a member of NZ Law.

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Foliar-applied boron can reduce milk urea BRIAN L. McLEOD

BORON IS a fascinating element in that its presence affects many other elements and functions in a plant. Importantly it helps a plant deal with and effectively process nitrogen into desirable amino acids and in doing so lowers protein and nitrate levels in pasture. Milk urea (MU) levels are directly related to blood urea and the level of both is directly related to cow diet which in New Zealand is basically pasture. As pasture nitrogen increases so does MU, especially when pasture is stimulated with high levels of applied urea. NZ’s basic pasture species (ryegrass) can accumulate very high levels of N, e.g. 5.5%+ and high levels of NO3 at certain times of the year. It is important to understand that protein is total N multiplied by 6.25; protein contains 16%

N. So flush ryegrass pasture at 5.5% N = 34.37% crude protein; this surplus protein (N) is degraded by rumen organisms to ammonia which goes to the blood giving us high blood N. What if we could

with MU levels following, showing significant decreases. On clients’ properties I have seen MU levels decrease from about 35 down to 25 and in one case down to 18, which is significant and although not measured it

“Foliar-applied boron deserves a special place in our pastoral systems.” change the way pastures handle this N? That’s where boron comes in, helping a plant deal with N. If we add high energy supplements (maize silage) or change our pasture species (to plantain) we lower the amount of degradable protein in the rumen and so lower blood N and MU and, most importantly, urea discharge. I have discovered that the application of foliar boron at 100 - 200mg of B/ha quickly reduces pasture protein% from, e.g. 35% down to 25%

would mean a significant decrease in discharged urine urea. Importantly, note that the boron needs to be applied as a foliar to fresh lush pasture; soil boron may be OK but one still needs to make the foliar application to get this effect and this would need to be done at least every six weeks or sooner. It also means that high urea users may be able to maintain their applications, still achieving significant reductions in nitrate leaching, helping to protect the environment in the process.

These cases are antidotes only and more research is needed to confirm responses. We may tend to think of boron as only being essential for brassicas, not for our general pasture species. But boron has interesting functions in all plants: 1. In pastures, boron helps to balance nitrogen levels and prevents excess accumulation of nitrate nitrogen, thus reducing excess protein in spring and autumn pasture. This is the key to reducing MU and urea discharge in cow urine. 2. It increases plant sugars (energy) 3. It is essential for photosynthesis and energy production in plants. This is critical in helping to increase energy production 4. It reduces energy (ME) loss in the degradation of nitrogen by rumen organisms 5. It increases plant quality and density – critical for DM intake

Bryan McLeod

6. It increases calcium absorption in plants and animals 7. Boron deficiency often gives plants a bushy appearance: we see this in lucerne crops 8. It increases seed set and oil percentage in oil crops, e.g. canola and olives. The secret lies in point no 1 (above): boron helps a plant deal with and process nitrogen and helps

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prevent the accumulation of NO3 which can be a serious problem in ryegrass. When we look at the known effects boron has on plants we can see why it can effectively reduce MU. If the foliar application of boron can effectively reduce pasture protein to an acceptable level, finally resulting in a lower percentage of nitrates being leached from our dairy pasture into our waterways, we see how it would have a significant effect on our environment without reducing our cow numbers. My consultancy has taken me to many countries where it is common to see boron deficiency in many plant species including pasture. In NZ I have identified boron and copper deficiency in ryegrass pastures, which




raises the question why are we not addressing these deficiencies? Boron, worldwide, is generally only believed to be essential in horticulture, e.g. brassicas, yet it is essential for all plant species. Foliar applied boron deserves a special place in our pastoral systems. Extensive research is needed to confirm that nitrate leaching could be achieved by foliar application of boron. Farmers would need to monitor pasture N levels and apply foliar boron when and as required. Farms with large irrigators could simply inject boron into their irrigation water on application. • Bryan L. McLeod, a former dairy farmer, has consulted on soil, plant and animal nutrition for 36 years.



Making the most of milk quality consultation and dry cow therapy DAVID DYMOCK

DRYING OFF is the single most

important event of the year for managing mastitis in your herd. There are two major goals at drying off: to cure existing subclinical mastitis infections and prevent new infections during the dry period and at calving. To achieve this and do it well requires having a well thought out plan and selecting the right products and protocols that best suit your specific goals for mastitis management. When consulting with your veterinarian on milk quality prior to drying off it is important to be prepared and, like most things in life, the more effort you put in the more you will get out of it. As dry cow therapy is a major financial investment, you want to be sure that you are using the most appropriate product for your system. What things should you bring to your milk quality consultation? ■■ Clinical case records: know-




ing which cows are getting clinical mastitis and when and what treatments have or haven’t been working helps develop a plan for reducing the number of mastitis cases and subsequent treatment next season. Bulk milk somatic cell count (BMSCC): a lot of information can be gained by looking at BMSCC trends. Ideally bring several seasons BMSCC records to the consultation as these can show the prevalence of subclinical cases and even some of the possible sources of mastitis on your farm. Herd testing data: if you herd test bring these records. Even if you only herd test once a year prior to dry off, this information can help enormously in making treatment and culling decisions prior to dry off. Your goals: prior to your consultation, think about what your short and long-term goals are. If you are unsure what goals are achiev-

able, talk to your veterinarian prior to your milk quality consultation and check out the Dairy NZ Smart SAMM guidelines about the industry benchmarks e.g. 150,000 cells/ ml BMSCC average, 8-10% clinical cases per season and 1-2% mastitis culls a year. Dry cow therapy In light of antimicrobial resistance, as an industry we are in the process of reducing antibiotic usage onfarm. It is important however to remember that only dry cow antibiotics can cure infections (teat sealants alone do not cure). Therefore, when you need to treat a cow with a dry cow antibiotic you want to be sure you are picking the most appropriate and effective product available. So, what should you look for in a dry cow antibiotic? On the most basic level, effective dry cow antibiotics should have a high cure rate (>70%), be easy to administer and have a milk withholding period shorter than the expected dry period.

Not only do dry cow therapy products cure existing infections; some can help prevent new infections by making partial insertion easier, speed up teat end closure (Cepravin Dry Cow is the only antibiotic DCT product David Dymock that speeds up teat end closure) and they also should keep working well into the next lactation. Dry cow antibiotics come in two major categories: short acting and long acting antibiotics. Most short acting products cure and protect against new infections for four-eight weeks whereas long acting products such as Cepravin will cure and prevent new infections for up to 10 weeks. With a selective dry cow therapy approach, uninfected cows do not need antibiotic dry cow therapy so a teat sealant alone is appropriate to pre-

vent new infections over the dry period, as they form a physical barrier against the entry of bacteria. It can be confusing which product or product combination to choose; this is where your veterinarian can assist in selecting what is right for you and your herd. Whether it be a teat sealant only, a short acting antibiotic or a long acting antibiotic, by the end of your milk quality consultation you will hopefully have the answer to this and many other aspects of mastitis management. For helpful videos and fact sheets which expand on the information in this article visit, a reference library of industry best practice for some key animal health management areas. • David Dymock is a livestock technical advisor with MSD Animal Health.

Fieldays Special

Kelvin and Gillian Brock.

TB-RIDDEN POSSUMS SEEN NO MORE THE HOKONUI Hills are a showcase for the success of TB eradication, says Ospri, the government agency responsible for this. In this region, TB testing requirements changed on March 1: TB testing frequency has been reduced in line with a lessening risk of infection. Test reductions on 27,000ha of the Hokonui Hills affect 40 herds and mean that 2800 fewer tests are needed. The change in frequency from annual testing to once every two years reflects falling risk, says Ospri, but it has maintained “adequate” surveillance since the area was declared free of TB-infected possums in June 2017.

Kelvin and Gillian Brock, who farm 630 Jersey-cross cows on 270ha (230ha eff ) in Dunsdale Valley, say their farm would not have been so productive 30 years ago. “Those Hokonuis were riddled with TB-infected possums, stumbling out of the bush like a bunch of drunks.” An occasional possum is still seen “but they’re TB-free ones, we hope,” Brock says. He ran Romney-Coopworth sheep for the first years of farming here, then 20 years later, when TB infections were brought under control, he converted to dairy. As a lifelong Southland shearer, Brock had made three shearing-

gang trips to Sardinia to make more money to buy the farm. They have since built a 54-bail rotary milking shed and extended lanes. They graze 160 R2s and 140 R1s at a nearby run-off. “TB testing has always been manageable for us; we get the whole herd through the shed every day so it’s seamless during the dayto-day running of the farm. “And the reassurance that the herd is clear is well worth the trouble. But being able to shift stock off the farm without having to test, as we did when this was a movement control area, saves a lot of time.” To find out about changes to your disease control area’s status see

“Supporting farmers to become the best they can be by raising the standard of hoof care in New Zealand”

Freephone 0800 833 463 Email


20 //  MATING

Keeping the BCS spread at calving within target RANGE IN body con-

dition score (BCS) is as important as average BCS at calving on New Zealand dairy farms, according to DairyNZ The ideal BCS of 5.0 for mixed age cows and 5.5 for first and second calvers is optimal for each individual animal, as well as a herd target. The cows most at risk of poor reproductive performance are the first and second calvers. BCS will always differ across all the animals in a herd as each will have a slightly different metabolism, intake, milk production, etc. The challenge is to get the spread in BCS at calving as small as possible as targeted. Various strategies exist by which managers can

PART-SEASON OAD COWS THAT are milked OAD are less likely to ‘milk off their back’ than cows milked twice-a-day, and when well fed they will put more weight on during lactation. Groups of cows that are unlikely to reach BCS targets, such as first calvers and early calving cows, are ideal candidates for part-season OAD milking. The key is to go on OAD early enough to have an impact

get every cow close to her ideal BCS at calving: ■■ Dry-off low producing, fat cows early. These cows put fat on their back instead of milk in the vat. When feed is short, a farm may raise milk production by drying-off the low-producing fat cows as the other more productive cows are fed better.


on BCS, as milking OAD for a couple of weeks or a month before dryingoff has little impact. The reduction in daily milksolids production can largely be made up by milking on for longer, as cows do not have to be dried-off as early due to BCS. OAD milking is unwise where the herd already has a high SCC, as it will increase when starting OAD.

And there is often an area of low quality feed on a farm where these cows can be put to maintain themselves, such as steep sidelings or gullies. Ensure heifers are on track for weight and BCS. Check every four to six weeks that replacements are gaining enough weight and

remedy any shortcomings. Aim to have these at BCS 5.5 when they return from grazing, as they will put little weight on (and often lose weight) while they adapt to being in the herd. Well grown heifers introduced to the mixed age cows during the dry period will compete well as milk-



ers. Give the first and second calvers more time dry than older cows. Young cows are still growing to reach their mature weight and often have lower intakes. So they are only able to put weight on slowly, and need more time to get to target condition. Split dry herds on BCS and time until calving. If you dry-off all at once then it is necessary to split the dry cows into mobs based on condition and


expected calving date. This allows for preferential feeding to get all cows to target BCS. Even if not enough feed is available to put on extra condition, creating mobs is still a good idea, as it protects the younger cows from competition from the older more dominant cows. If supplement is going to be fed then feed it to the mob you want to gain the most condition or that needs to put it on fastest. Staggered dry-off based

on BCS and time to calving. The principle here is that every dry cow can be fed the same but the difference is how long she is dry for. In low input systems, the dry-off decision rules work well. In higher input systems, where dry cows are well fed on a mixture of pasture and supplement, cows at BCS 4.5 or better only require 50-60 days dry; cows at BCS 4.0 or worse need about 80-90 days dry. @dairy_news


accessible to dairy farmers thanks to the launch last month of CRV Ambreed’s revitalised DNA parentage testing service. The gene mapping service uses progressive technology to identify the ancestry of individual stock. The company collects DNA samples by taking small pieces of tissue from animals’ ears. Allflex tissue sampling ear tags are applied either to calves at birth or to mature animals as buttons. The samples are then sent to

CRV’s approved affiliated DNA genotyping laboratory GenomNZ where DNA is extracted for parentage and single gene analysis. CRV Ambreed product development team leader Erin OConnor says the industry will applaud the service because DNA verification raises no risk of error in a farmer’s decision on the best direction for a herd. She says herd records will show exactly who an animal’s sire and dam are through specific genetic markers. “The farmer will then understand which cows in the herd are the best

and which sires they can be mated to,” she says. Samples analysed also identify the A2/A2 beta casein status of the individual animal and other defect genes. A CRV Ambreed trial last year DNA-tested 4991 animals on nine farms; only 41% of the animals tested were recorded as having had the correct sire. “The animals with incorrect parentage information also had inaccurate BW, PW and BV information,” OConnor said. “This information is vital when making onfarm decisions

and it would have resulted in misguided mating and culling decisions. “We updated the sire information for 46% of the animals tested, which completely changed the rankings for BW and PW across the herd. Those farmers can now use that information when making decisions on mating and culling.” Parentage results are sent by CRV Ambreed to New Zealand Animal Evaluation which uses the data to identify NZ’s most efficient feed convertors to milk. “Inaccurate parental data is not

just an issue dealt with onfarm; it impacts the wider industry too because accurate ancestry information substantiates breeding values and breeding indexes,” OConnor said. “Future animal evaluation runs that estimate genetic breeding values and indices used in NZ will be a lot more accurate.” OConnor says DNA verified animals may in future sell for more at saleyards and could influence farmers’ buying and selling decisions. @dairy_news


MATING  // 21

Opportunities to lift herd health LAST MONTH I

attended an informative talk put on by industry suppliers of a new product aimed at reducing milk fever in cows. What interested me more than the product itself was the fact that there are still large opportunities to make significant improvements to farm performance and animal health in New Zealand herds. Data presented showed that even in spring calving herds with no obvious signs of Metabolic disease there could be between 30% - 40% of cows suffering from Subclinical Milk Fever (SMF). This figure in cows aged 3 years and above could be as high as 50%. Cows need calcium for many reasons but the two most important reasons from an animal health perspective are: ■■ Calcium is critical to maintain proper function of white blood cells (cells that fight infection). These cells have lower ability to ‘kill bacteria’ when calcium levels are suboptimal ■■ Calcium is required for muscle contraction. Before a cow ‘goes down’ muscle around the cows’ gut and uterus stops moving Because of these reasons SMF is associated with a slower calving process, higher calf mortality, more RFM’s, more uterine infection, more mastitis, lower dry matter intakes and ultimately lower milk production as much as 7% with SMF! (see diagram). For this reason, SMF is now considered one of the most important ‘gateway diseases’ in dairy production systems, increasing the risk and incidence of many other expensive animal health problems in NZ herds over spring calving, thus making the transition of dry cows to milkers a crucial focus for managers. Applying this to everyday management, we need to start thinking about setting the girls up for the following season now.

and key mineral stores. In some cases, blood samples in late lactation may help identify specific issues. If unsure of your situation seek advice from your veterinarian or nutritional advisor.

Recent drought conditions have meant higher levels of supplements are fed late season, many of these supplements (Maize Silage for example) are relatively low in calcium. Without adequate balancing of this mineral in the ration cows will fail to get sufficient calcium to replenish her reserves. Basic maths: If we take a cow producing 500 Kg MS or 4500 – 5500 litres of milk per season (depending on breed), calcium (0.013% of milk) partitioned to milk equals approximately 8000g per lactation not to mention calcium lost through urine and faeces. Over a 310 day lactation this would require > 25g of calcium to be replaced daily. Unfortunately, only about 40% of calcium is absorbed from dietary sources so in order to replenish > 25g, a minimum of > 65g needs to be available in her daily intake to meet milk production alone. This is why it is so important to supply additional calcium supplements in the later stages of lactation especially if reliant on supplements such as Maize Silage. While I have only referred to calcium in this article, there are many other important minerals and nutrients that can become depleted through daily milk output. Phosphorus being another important mineral emerging as a significant cause of late season down cows in New Zealand herds. So as we head into winter, we need to be thinking well ahead in terms of ensuring the cows in the herd are being provided with the right nutrients to replenish both body condition

LOW CALCIUM Reduced smooth muscle contraction

Reduced gut movement

Reduced uterine movements

Reduced feed intake

Lower energy intake

• Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services.

Reduced immune function

Increased RFM

Increased calving problems

Less rumen fill

Less milk

More Metritis

More displaced abomasum

More ketosis

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22 //  MATING

Breed decisions crucially affect mating results NON-PREGNANT COWS make up the

greatest numbers on dairy farm cull lists and are the

main driver of the status quo replacement rates. Also, the advantage New Zealand dairy farmers have over their overseas competitors is our farming system which matches cow feed demands with cyclical weather patterns and grass growth in what we call the ‘pastoral dairy season’. Over the last 100 years, by a process of culling non-pregnant animals, NZ has bred a strain of cattle that is highly fertile by world standards. Non Pregnancy Rates

What drives the Jersey fertility advantage? Pregnancy is determined by two contributors in tandem: cow submission rate and cow conception rate. The Jersey advantage appears to come from higher submission rate rather than higher conception rate. Listed below are the reasons: ■■ Shorter interval between calving and first heat (is this explained by genetics or by Jerseys having smaller calves relative to their own live-

Farm System 2

Farm System 4







Holstein Friesian



In few other countries are cows required to calve, lactate and then calve down 12 months later. Over recent years NZ non-pregnancy rates have increased because: 1. Higher producing cattle are harder to get incalf because they are partitioning more feed to milk production 2. Increased use of overseas genetics has imposed less pressure on fertility 3. Of the removal of cow inductions to keep calving patterns compact. Increasing data is showing that Jersey cows have a 4-5% higher pregnancy rate than the larger Holstein Friesians. Crossbred pregnancy rates sit mid-point between the parent breeds or possibly just on the higher side of the mid-point through some small heterosis impact. There also seems to be a link between a higher feeding level in a farming system and a higher non-pregnancy rate. But although initial instincts are that better feeding should improve fertility rate, globally the reverse occurs. The higher the feeding level/ milk production, the poorer the fertility result.

weight?) Jerseys will proportionately produce less of their annual production in the peak spring period and more in the summer/autumn period ■■ There is a link between high lactose production in spring and poorer submission rates. Jerseys produce more fat and protein from a finite feed source, and less lactose. Even within individual breeds, strains of higher lactose/milk production cows have lower submission rates. Mainly from the impact of higher incalf rates -- but also as a result of less lameness and feet damage, less calving difficulty, and fewer collapsed udders -- year-on-year sustainable required replacement rate is about 17% for Jerseys and 22% for Holstein Friesians. The economic benefits are clear to calculate. Also, there are animal welfare benefits of cows enjoying a longer life, and environmental benefits of lower carbon emissions from lower required replacement rates. • Article provided by Crescent Genetics ■■




“Longevity is what makes money because a cow produces most of its milk between four and nine years of age. By then, you also know what types of daughters she produces.” Don Shaw, Retired Field Consultant, Ohaupo


Don has always had a real passion and interest in breeding. His focus when he was a consultant wasn’t on just selling semen or getting a cow in calf; it was always about helping farmers achieve success through high performing, productive and long-lasting cows. That’s what we mean by ‘Better cows, better life’.



24 //  MATING

Pasture road map boosts feed goals SUDESH KISSUN

NOW IS the time for dairy farmers to develop

a pasture ‘road map’ to ensure they have enough feed to take their farms through calving to the balance date in mid-September.

That’s the message DairyNZ farm systems specialist Chris Glassey gave at a recent smaller milk and supply herds (SMASH) field day on the

Rogers Charitable Trust Farm in Te Awamutu. Balance day is the time in spring when pasture growth exceeds feed demand or the rate at

which cows eat grass; the animals are no longer able to keep up with pasture growth. If average pasture cover is too low cows will



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Chris Glassey, DairyNZ speaking at the SMASH field day.

be underfed and pasture growth reduced; if average pasture cover is too high its quality will decline later in spring and production will suffer when cows are forced to graze to a lower residual than a previous grazing. Glassey told about 70 farmers at the field day that feed plans implemented now will determine whether spring pasture targets are achieved. He advised working back from spring requirements to what is on hand now, making the dryingoff decision, selecting economically viable options to fill a feed deficit and setting the farm up to hit spring performance targets. Glassey says as farms start planning to dry-off cows and set themselves up for calving, three factors are critical: body condition score at calving, average pasture cover at start of calving and average pasture cover at balance date. Every farm will use a different formula to work out the average pasture cover depending on stocking rate and rotation lengths. For the Rogers Charitable Trust Farm the balance date is September 14 and average pasture cover at balance date must be 2000kg dm/ha. The farm milks 190 cows and is targeting 74,000kgMS this season; calving will start on July 14. Glassey noted that while the balance date is a long way away feed planning must start now. He urges farmers to break their pasture road map into three parts: from now to June 1, June to July when cows are dried off and from the planned start of calving to balance date. “If we talk about the plan in those three time-

frames it will help us,” he says. “The pasture road map must have these three signposts along the way; at each changeover point see how you may be going.” He recommends working backwards from the balance date. From balance date to start of calving is about 65 days; feed demand increases as dry cows become lactating cows. Later in the calving period, cows need more feed. Glassey says farmers must calculate what the feed demand will be postcalving and what would be the average pasture cover on the farm then. “How much supplement have we got? If we get 50 tonnes now and by June 1 it is all fed out what does that leave for winter and calving period?” For the Rogers farm it was worked out that average feed demand from start of calving to balance date would be 40kg/day. Average pasture growth in Te Awamutu is 28kg/day from mid-July to mid-September. Glassey says this shows feed demand is greater than pasture growth for the farm. “We are going backwards at 12kg/day; at balance date, on a pasture-only farm we would be 780kg less than where we were at start of calving.” Glassey says a pasture road map is useful for farmers who identify pasture management as a way to boost profit. “By working backwards from balance date, when pasture supply is equal to demand to autumn you can create a more effective management plan for the year. “If you act now you will be in a good position when pasture growth peaks in spring [after balance date].”



Farm ownership postponed SUDESH KISSUN

THE 2018 Share Farmers of the Year, Dan and Gina Duncan, have postponed buying their own farm. The Duncans, 50:50 sharemilkers at a Northland property, will move in June to a different farm in a similar role. Speaking at a recent field day hosted by the 2019 Northland Share Farmers of the Year Colin and Isabella Beazely, the Duncans stressed that dairying will remain the core of their business. And they have decided to continue sharemilking because the potential returns from farm ownership do not appeal to them right now. Gina Duncan says 12 months ago farm ownership was a priority for

them but they have since reassessed their goals. “We currently get a 10%-plus return as 50:50 sharemilkers; if we go and buy a farm with a 4-5% return is that really the best move? “At the end of the

in the industry; it is seen as being out of reach for many. “You have to start thinking outside the box to get ahead, not limit yourself to the dairy industry. There are a lot of

“We will let the money do our work while we focus on dairy farming.” day, we farmers are business people assessing why we’re doing what we’re doing.” The Duncans are looking at investments outside dairying -- passive investment, adds Gina. “We will let the money do our work while we focus on dairy farming.” Gina pointed out that farm ownership is getting harder and harder for new and young entrants

other opportunities out there and we are very hungry for progression and success. There are other opportunities that can help us to farm ownership, if that really is the goal.” Dan Duncan says their core business will always be dairying and buying a farm had been the next logical step for them but they have decided against that for the time being.

Gina and Dan Duncan speaking at a field day in Wellsford.

Many things are happening, he said: changes

in environmental issues and the possibility of a

capital gains tax. “Right now we are

happy not to be aggressively looking to buy a farm; we’ll diversify a bit and try to create good returns elsewhere, whether in horticulture or other bits and pieces.” He says their presentations over the last 12 months were all about achieving farm ownership. “That was the main goal; we still have the same goal but we’ve changed the timeline and it’s now a little further down the track.” The Duncans are 50:50 sharemilkers for the Pouto Topu A Trust milking 1020 cows on the 460ha Pouto property near Dargaville. Both hold Bachelor of Applied Sciences degrees with majors in rural valuation and management; Dan has a double major including agriculture.


geting, interviews, farm finances and explaining goals are among the many things entrants in the NZ Dairy Industry Awards learn, says the awards executive chair Rachel Baker. “Building people capability is the core purpose of the awards,” she says. “By providing a platform for entrants to learn about farming and themselves, connect with others and

achieve their goals we are helping to fast-track the development of many farmers each year. “Many of our past and current entrants are in leadership roles in dairy and their communities.” Volunteer farmers and national sponsors ensure this opportunity is available year after year. The awards were created by farmers 30 years ago, starting with the NZ

Rachel Baker

We'll be here for tomorrow’s rising stars.


Boots and all. There's always room for improvement

Sharemilker of the Year (now Share Farmer of the Year), then two more categories -- Dairy Manager of the Year (formerly Farm Manager of the Year) and Dairy Trainee of the Year -- have since been added. People on work visas were this year allowed to enter the dairy manager and dairy trainee categories. Regional winners for 2019 will be judged again soon in the NZ share

farmer, dairy manager and dairy trainee categories to be announced at the National Awards in Wellington on the May 11. Regional results and national awards tickets are available at The awards are sponsored by Westpac, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, DairyNZ and Primary ITO.



Owning a farm on their agenda SUDESH KISSUN


remains the top priority for Colin and Isabella Beazley, the Share Farmer of the Year winners in the 2019 Northland Dairy Industry Awards. They hope to remain sharemilking on their current farm for the next five

years and build equity, then progress to an equity partnership or sole ownership of a small farm. The Beazleys outlined their vision at a field day on the farm where they sharemilk, owned by Neil Jones and Wendy CrowJones. “We hope to build up enough equity within five years to buy a small farm,” Colin Beazley told

GOOD LIFE BALANCE COLIN AND Isabella Beazley believe in a good life balance for them and their staff. The Beazleys employ three staff; production manager Gareth Davidson, tractor driver David Beazley and mechanic Dan Reihana. Isabella says staff only work between 5am to 5pm, allowing them to spend time with family. Splt herds mean over 40% of the year only 165 cows are milked on the farm. Staff work on 12 days on, two days off roster; staff are incorporated into decision making as much as possible.

about 70 farmers at the event. The Beazleys milk 330 cows on a 143ha milking platform, producing 125,000kgMS, a record for the farm. The farm owners recently bought an adjacent 100ha property; next season the farm will have 243ha eff and could milk 530 cows. Beazley says he is happy to run a low input, low cost system. About 80 tonnes of PKE are fed out annually and 15-20ha of summer crops and 7ha of maize are grown on the farm. Pasture is mostly ryegrass. The Beazleys milk year-round; 165 cows are calved August 1 and 165 on March 10. The couple believe their strengths lie in the flexibility of a split-calving system that “allows us to keep more control of our costs and ensure

Colin and Isabella Beazley.

workload stability,” said Colin. “Another strength is our family support,” said Isabella. “They are always there to help us out if and when we need it.” Proud to have overcome challenges, the Beazleys take most pride

in raising their children Erin (7) and Dayton (2) in a rural lifestyle. “They absolutely love it and they don’t miss out on time with us.” Time off-farm and a balanced lifestyle is important for the family, who play tag rugby and

hockey and enjoy the lifestyle of living near a beach. “We just try to be a happy-go-lucky couple who always see the positives in everything.” The Beazleys were third-time-lucky at this year’s Dairy Industry Awards; they were third

placegetters last year in the same category. They see the awards as a learning platform to network, benchmark themselves against others in the industry and learn more about themselves personally and their business.

Moving farm?

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Co-op farms a challenge for winning manager SUDESH KISSUN


Dairy Manager of the Year Lorraine Ferreira has a unique job. She manages three Fonterra properties in Northland, irrigated mostly with wastewater from the co-op’s Kauri

plant. Her team numbers six full-time staff. The farms’ primary objective is to support the Kauri manufacturing site through sustainable land application of the wastewater. The three farms produce about 100,000kgMS, peak milking 400 cows. Ferreira says the key challenges for the farms

are managing pasture and controlling weeds. “The strong focus on irrigation and soil moisture levels limit the ability to harvest high quality pasture,” she says. The farms use a lot of homegrown feed -- pasture, maize and turnips -and import brewers’ grain and some PKE. The feed strategy is to

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID LORRAINE FERREIRA won four merit awards, on her way to winning the regional title. The judges said she displayed leadership qualities on and off farm. “Lorraine recognised that there was a shortage of volunteer firefighters in their area so joined the service. She runs discussion groups onfarm in an attempt to change

the public’s perception of the dairy industry. “She recognises the importance that a mentor had in her development and has taken the role of mentoring trainees in the industry.” Ferreira also won the dairy management award, livestock management award and personal planning and financial management award.

reduce PKE, using feeds that contribute less to fat evaluation index (FEI) levels and don’t cause problems during milk manufacturing processes. Surplus pasture from irrigated areas is sold as balage/silage; harvesting the silage removes nutrients applied to the farm in the wastewater. The farms are 343ha eff and include two herd shelters and a covered feed pad. Effluent is applied to 60ha not irrigated by wastewater from Kauri. She says the ownership structure of the properties require her to be “comfortable operating in the spotlight and managing the farms to a high standard”. Originally from Zim-

babwe, she moved to NZ aged 15 and while at high school began relief milking jobs. After spending most of her time in Canterbury, Ferreira, her wife Lisa and daughter Piper moved to Northland in June 2017. In Canterbury she went sharemilking in 2015-16 and was hit hard by the $3.90/kgMS payout. “It resulted in high debt level for me and I’m still paying off the debt today,” she says. While paying off debt Ferreira is saving money for a house. Her short term goals also include completing an agribusiness diploma and qualifying as a firefighter; she is a volunteer with the Hikurangi Volun-

Lorraine Ferreira at the Northland Dairy Awards field day.

teer Fire Brigade. Her long-term goals are to run a large agribusiness, own a beef farm and retire in comfort. She was inspired to enter the awards by

women winning the three regional awards in Canterbury. “My focus is now on winning the national DIA competition; I will give it a bloody good nudge.”


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LIC strengthens its commitment to our dairy industry As the dairy industry evolves to meet new challenges head-on, strong partnerships will become more valuable than ever. That’s why LIC is in the process of committing to another three year sponsorship to support the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, and to celebrate the success of up-and-coming farmers nationwide, explains Mike Wilson, head of Marketing and Products at LIC. “LIC has been helping New Zealand farmers improve their productivity for over 100 years. “We’re passionate about supporting the industry, and these awards in particular, because they celebrate our collective desire to improve, to

try new things, and to look for any incremental gains which will make an enormous difference in the long run.” LIC’s sponsorship of the Dairy Industry Awards now stretches back 15 years, and Wilson says it provides a great opportunity to forge new relationships with farmers as well as strengthen existing ones. “It’s important to celebrate the success and achievements of our regional winners but we really value the opportunity to talk with all entrants about how they can improve their herd management and see what they can do better,” Mike says. LIC’s philosophy is ‘there’s always room for improvement’ and the agri-tech cooperative

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in 2002 so we now have A2/A2 bulls across all breeds who are ready to go. Being in a position to help our industry change and evolve is what we’re here to do, and that requires an ongoing commitment to innovation.” Mike says the regional winners of this year’s Dairy Industry Awards will be of the same mind – always searching for ways to improve with one eye on the future. LIC is continuing to sponsor the Recording and Productivity Award and the Manager Interview Award at the national finals to be held in Wellington this May. “It’s testimony to the important role data plays in the farming industry today. Recording accurate data is the key to achieving those ‘light bulb’ moments and improving your productivity. LIC is proud to help Kiwi farmers and we’re looking forward to celebrating in their success at this year’s national awards ceremony.” LIC customers Deb & Rueben Connolly

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Enjoyable workplace builds team relationships A HOKITIKA couple

have won Share Farmer of the Year in the 2019 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards. Thomas Oats and Hannah Oats are 50/50 sharemilkers on Stuart and Adrienne Coleman’s 83.5ha farm in Hokitika. They won $6500 in prizes and three merit awards. They were the region’s Farm Managers of the Year in 2015. It was their third entry in the awards. “We love what we do and work well together,” he said. “Entering the awards gives us the opportunity to meet like-minded people.” They aim to own a farm and are proud of owning well looked-after stock. “One strength of our business is our low breakeven point due to low costs and a good income from relief milking, Air

WORKING TWO FARMS RUNNERS-UP IN the Share Farmer of the Year were Jamie and Felicity Thomas, aged 37 and 40 respectively. The couple are 50/50 sharemilkers for Mark and Julie Freeman on two properties -- a 140ha, 380-cow farm and a 112ha, 300-cow farm, both at Atapo. Dairy Manager of the Year category winner was George King who is the farm manager for Alex and Julie King’s 103ha Westport property, milking 274 cows. The Dairy Trainee of the Year, Jeffrey Hawes (23), is a first-time entrant and a farm assistant on the 449ha, 860-cow Landcorp property in Moana. The West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards winners field day will be held on April 15 at 10.30am at 1462 Kaniere Kowhitirangi Road, Hokitika.

BnB and Hannah’s extra work as an AI technician,” said Thomas. “Our enjoyable work environment is good for building our team and business. The cows’ wellbeing always comes first.”

The awards are sponsored by DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian, Ravensdown, Westpac, DairyNZ and Primary ITO.

West Coast/Top of the South winners: from left, Jeffery Hawes, Thomas and Hannah Oats, and George King.

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THE SHARE Farmer of the Year in the 2019 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Industry Awards says he aims to look after his people, pasture, cows and environment. Ruwan Wijayasena (43) is now in his 14th year dairy farming, promoting sustainable best practices and increasing profit by innovating. He says the past few years have shown the business is achieving consistent results. “I wanted to share this with the wider industry and discover other opportunities for the business to grow.” Ruwan is contract milking 1840 cows for Theland Farm Group Ltd on a 537ha Darfield farm. He won $10,750 in prizes plus two merit awards. He holds a BSc Agri Sciences degree from TO PAGE 31

CLEAN SWEEP BY WOMEN RUNNERS-UP SHARE Farmer of the Year, Shaun and Andrea Wise, aged 37 and 36 years, contract milk for Dairy Holdings Ltd on a 134ha Rangitata Island property, milking 590 cows. The winner of the Dairy Manager of the Year category is Matt Redmond, the farm manager on Craigmore’s Pahau Flats Dairy Ltd – Landsend 232ha, 830-cow property at Culverden. Women were represented strongly in the 2019 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year category, achieving a clean sweep of first, second and third places with Nicola Blowey (25) named the winner. She is an assistant herd manager on Kieran and Leonie Guiney’s 600-cow, 175ha Fairlie farm. The Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards winners field day will be held on April 11 at 912 Te Pirita Road, RD2, Darfield.



Great staff, good networks pay off THE WINNERS of the

2019 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year competition believe strong relationships and networks are the key to their successful business. Cameron and Nicola van Dorsten, aged 33 and 31 respectively, are 50/50 sharemilking 575 cows on Ray Parker and Sharon Corcoran’s 204ha farm in Outram. Cameron and Nicola both come from dairy farming backgrounds and enjoy the different challenges the industry offers. “There are always new advances in research and technology. The dairy industry has a good career path which allows for equity growth and the chance for us to progress

young people through.” The 2009 economic downturn challenged them. “We lost our equity and had to build it back up to where we are now.” The van Dorstens say they have learnt the importance of working with people with similar values and goals. “Our staff and network all work together. “We continually analyse facets of our business to maximise profit and production for ourselves and our farm owners.” Cameron and Nicola are first-time entrants to the awards and say they wanted to fine-tune their business and to lead by example for their staff. “We’ve stepped outside our comfort zone and would like to begin to give back to the industry.”

The couple forsee farm ownership or an equity partnership in their future, with people who share the same values and

aspirations as themselves. “We’re proud of our outright herd ownership and seeing our staff go on to management roles.”

Southland/Otago winners, from left: Caycee Cormack, Cameron and Nicola van Dorsten and James Matheson.

FIRST TIME UP RUNNER-UP in the Southland-Otago competition went to Miguel Ortiz (34), a first-time entrant who is a contract milker for Gerald and Mark Spain on their 268ha, 800-cow property in Invercargill. James Matheson (25) was named the winner of the Dairy Manager of the Year category. He is farm manager for Chris Lawlor on his 290ha, 700-cow Gore property. The Dairy Trainee of the Year, Caycee Cormack (25) is 2IC for Stefan and Holly Roulston on their 220ha Heriot property, milking 600 cows.

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Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, majoring in livestock production. “I have always loved being a farmer, and I was lucky to join Synlait Farms, now Theland Farm Group, who shared my desire to implement best farm practices for sustainability.” Ruwan sees his consistent results as a strength of the sustainable dairy business. “They are a result of lean implementation and LWP implementation under a strong leadership.” “My wife and I are Buddhist and have a religious barrier of not being able to own cows and make decisions to kill them. We have found a way to grow our business without following the traditional footsteps.” Farming goals include expanding the contract milking business. “I am not planning to become 50/50 sharemilker and then a farm owner. I can prove that there are other ways to grow than the traditional ladder and wish to share my knowledge with the industry.”



Keep the family legacy alive BAY OF Plenty Share Farmers of the Year Matt Barr and Genna Maxwell believe a strength of their business lies in being fourth-generation custodians of a family legacy, with opportunities for diversification. The couple won $9,050 in prizes and three merit awards. The other big winners were Janamjot Singh Ghuman, who was named the 2019 Bay of Plenty Dairy Manager of the Year, and Alex Sainty, the 2019 Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year. Matt and Genna, are lease farmers for Viv Barr, on her 110ha, 410-cow Awakeri property. “Viv is an actively supportive

Janamjot Singh Ghuman

land owner,” they say. The couple count one of their greatest challenges as one of their biggest achievements also. “Losing Dad in 2014 was one of the toughest things we’ve had to live through,” says Matt. “Mum and I were thrown in the deep end to fill Dad’s boots and steer the

farming operation.” Matt holds a Diploma of Farm Management from Lincoln University and Genna a Bachelor of Law from University of Otago. “Genna works offfarm as a lawyer and works on-farm in her spare time. Entering as a couple made sense as it was another great way for Genna to integrate her skill-set into the business and gain a wider understanding of the farm business operation,” explains Matt. Runners-up in the Bay of Plenty Share Farmer of the Year competition were contract milkers Jeremy and Melissa Shove.




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Goals set SHARE FARMER of the Year Tom Bridgen’s farming goals include sharemilking by 2020 and farm ownership within 10 years. He was a first-time entrant; with a passion for dairy farming, the environment and animals. Bridgens won $15,480

in prizes and four merit awards. The other big winners were Laurence Walden, who was named the 2019 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year, and Harry Phipps, the 2019 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year. Bridgens (22) is contract milking 300 cows

FROM UNI TO FARMING HAWKES BAY Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners are now in their second season contract milking, have found a challenge in their transition from university studies to full-time farming. Hamish Hammond (28) and Rachel Gardner (24) won $7320 Nicholas Verhoek in prizes and won four merit awards. The other major winners were Nicholas Verhoek, the 2019 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, and Matthew McDougall, the 2019 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year. Hamish and Rachel entered the dairy industry as contract milkers in June 2017, after five years study at Massey University. “The transition into full-time farming was a challenge: the change in hours, and the physical and mental strain.” The couple contract milk 630 cows for Stephen and Marie Hammond and Irene Hammond, on their 173ha property at Greytown.


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on Rex and Loris Bates’ Tokoroa 80ha property. Tom grew up in a dairy farming family. He spent his spare time on the farm and began relief milking at age 13. Leaving school at 16, he began work as a farm assistant before travelling in Europe, Asia and Australia; he return to New Zealand in 2018 to contract milk. Tom’s farming goals include sharemilking by 2020 and farm ownership within 10 years. Runners-up in the

Central Plateau Share Farmer of the Year competition were Anthony and Danelle Kiff, who won $6880 in prizes and two merit awards. The couple are contract milkers on the Tauhara North No 2 Trust 230ha property at Tokoroa, milking 600 cows. Anthony has entered the awards five times and was the 2017 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year. The couple see strengths in the people in their team and being able to break down big problems into little pieces. “Our support network is high calibre and we are able to bounce ideas off them and talk about any issues that arise.” Their goals include opening a dairy academy on their farm for the trust, to train 18-25 yearolds.

AWARD WAS EYED FROM WALES FIRST-TIME ENTRANTS Marc and Nia Jones, set their hearts on the awards in 2012 when they read about the national winners while living in Wales. They won $13,750 in prizes and three merit awards in the Share Farmer of the Year category. The other big winners were Joe Kehely, who became the 2019 Waikato Dairy Manager of the Year, and Matt Dawson, the 2019 Waikato Dairy Trainee of the Year. “This is the first year we Joe Kehely have been eligible to enter as we are now residents,” Nia said. They are in their first year contract milking for Margaret and the late Ian Elliott, on their 270ha, 970-cow Tokoroa property. “We thought this was the right time to explore, learn and understand our business better, to see how we benchmark against the rest of the region and nation.” Marc fell in love with the dairy industry on his OE in 2010, when he worked for Ian and Margaret. “Ian has been a mentor to me since then,” he says. Returning to the UK, the couple worked in dairy in Scotland and Wales. “We both had a burning desire to come back to New Zealand, so in 2016 we decided to return,” said Nia. Farming goals include sharemilking on a 450-cow farm and investing in an off-farm business. Waitoa 50/50 sharemilkers Aidan and Sarah Stevenson (both 30) are runners-up in the share farmer competition, winning $5675 in prizes. They work on Sue Williams 100ha, 340-cow farm. The former builder and chartered accountant entered the dairy industry in 2011; they love working outdoors with animals and the lifestyle.



‘Kiwi spec’ tractor for small paddocks MARK DANIEL


land in New Zealand, has launched a new tractor series -- T4-S -- designed for livestock and smaller mixed farms. The series has three models of 55, 65 and 75hp. Norwood says its recognises that many smaller farms prefer mechanical simplicity, good specifications as standard, and above all versatility. This ‘Kiwi spec’ model mates a 2.9L 3-cylinder S8000 Tier III engine with high power and torque to a 12x12 transmission, enhanced with a hydraulic shuttle operated by a steering column

mounted paddle. This makes the T4-S particularly suitable for loader work, while an optional creep set can offer speeds from 100m/h for, say, vegetable planting. A new four-post cabin is said to offer roominess and visibility, and the opening roof panel gives an extra sightline to a frontloader. The flat cab

floor provides easy access and plenty of space, while a powerful heating and air conditioning package increases operator comfort and helps reduce fatigue. Rear lift capacity is rated at 3000kg with two external assist rams, up to three hydraulic remotes are available and the standard flow rate is up to

48L/min. All models have a two-speed 540/540E PTO engaged by a servo assisted lever, while a soft-start function modulates engagement to protect the tractor and implements. The wheelbase is compact at 2130mm, overall height is 2520mm, and operating widths, dependent on tyre widths and track settings, are 1440 - 1950mm, all making the T4-S a versatile small tractor. It has a FL 3.15 Master, factory-fitted loader made in Turkey. This uses an integrated joystick, has a lift height of 3.0m and capacity of 1720kg. It comes as standard with a 1.8m re-handling bucket.

‘ONE-STOP-SHOP’ FOR FARM WASTE A NEW project enabling farmers to get rid of waste without burning or burying it was flagged by the Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage at the South Island Agricultural Fieldays in Kirwee The New Zealand Rural Waste Minimisation Project will be run NZ-wide by Agrecovery to enable farmers to dispose of agrichemical and oil containers, unwanted or expired agrichemicals, waste oil, fertiliser bags and silage wrap at one location. “The ‘one-stop-shop’ approach will remove barriers to recycling and encourage rural dwellers in sustainable disposal of a variety of waste,” says Agrecovery board chair Adrienne Wilcock. The project builds upon two trials last year which collected almost 20 tonnes of rural waste, Wilcock says. “Solving waste issues all in one go was supported by farmers who took part. We must take responsibility for all plastics used on farms -- long a problem.” The Agrecovery Foundation started

in 2007, clearing plastic agrichemical containers and drums from farms and orchards. The agrichemical industry funded the programme so its waste could be made into useful products in New Zealand. The programme also sustainably disposes of unwanted agrichemicals. Minister Eugenie Sage said businesses must take responsibility for their products across their whole life cycle. “Voluntary and mandatory product stewardship is essential to resources being managed sensibly.” Agrecovery early-on started its voluntary product stewardship schemes, with many taking part. But government intervention may be necessary, said Sage, “so I instructed officials to investigate mandatory product stewardship of four waste streams”. The government’s waste minimisation fund will pay $381,000 towards the project; China no longer accepts this kind of waste from other countries. Sage said a discussion document later this year will look at waste disposal levies at landfill sites.




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Awards for top innovations NIGEL MALTHUS

RAVENSDOWN’S CLEAR Tech dairy efflu-

ent treatment system has won first prize in the South Island Agricultural Field Days’ Agri-Innovation Awards. ClearTech uses a coagulant to bind effluent solids together to settle them out from water. Effluent is then separated into clear water that can be used for yard washing or irrigation, and a more concentrated sediment-laden stream which

goes to the effluent pond for eventual spreading on pasture. It reduces freshwater use, helps existing effluent storage to go further and reduces environmental and safety risks. Research has shown that the process kills almost all harmful bacteria in both the clear and concentrated sediment streams. It also changes phosphorus content in the sediment stream into a less reactive form, with environmental benefits when spread on pasture. The system is the work

Ballance Farm Sustainability regional leader Erica Leadley (centre) holds the award certificate flanked by SIAFD chair Rodney Hadfield and local MP Amy Adams.

of Ravensdown staff and Lincoln University professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di. A pilot plant is operating at the Lincoln University Dairy Farm and other pilots are now being set up. “Farm dairy effluent is 99% water,” said Ravensdown’s product manager Carl Ahlfeld. “When the particles can be separated, this means cleaner water to wash down the dairy yard or irrigate onto paddocks and less volume of effluent that has to be stored and used safely.”

Ahlfeld said the dairy sector’s nutrient and bacterial impacts on waterways are causing it to “cry out for workable solutions that help reduce risk, improve reputation and be cost effective”. The judges commented on the calibre of entrants and were impressed with the joint development of ClearTech. Meanwhile, this year’s field days also introduced a new Smart Farming Award, won by Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ for its environmental planning tool MitAgator. Chief executive Mark Wynne said MitAgator would change New Zealand farming for the better. “It gives farmers a speedo on their dashboard that takes the guesswork out of ‘farming within limits’ by mapping hotspots of the four key water contaminants nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and E.coli pathogens. “This tool is tailored for today’s farming because it shows where to spend to achieve the greatest environmental gain. Farmers know where the real risks are and where they can make

Greg Lovett with a display of his i-Wing device at the South Island Agricultural Field Days at Kirwee.

the biggest impact for every dollar they spend, whether by fencing a stream or building a wetland.” The judges also awarded an Emerging Technology award to Halter, an Auckland and Morrinsville firm that was a finalist in the Agri-Innovations and Smart Farming awards. Halter, which has close links with Rocket Lab, is developing a system of solar-powered and GPSenabled cow collars to monitor and remotely control dairy herds. The company’s chief, Mark MacLeod-Smith, remarked that farmers now use motorbikes, fences, dogs, etc – all


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audible and visual cues that tell a cow where she can and can’t go. “We use a combina-

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IRRIGATOR WING MIGHT EVEN FLY SOUTH CANTERBURY farmer Greg Lovett admits with a wry smile that he doesn’t yet know if his iWing device, designed to stabilise and hold down irrigators at risk of toppling in high winds, actually works. The iWing (Irrigator Wing) was runner-up in this year’s South Island Agricultural Field Days Agri-Innovation Awards. Lovett developed it after a huge wind storm in 2012, when irrigators on his and many other farms on the Canterbury Plains were bowled over and destroyed. “We don’t know for sure because while we’ve had strong winds, those that took out all our irrigators went up to 127km/h; we have not a had a wind [like that] since then,” says Lovett. “It’s insurance.” The device consists of a galvanised steel wing shaped like an inverted hang-glider and mounted on a frame bolted to each set of an irrigator’s wheels. On a lateral irrigator, the wings would be mounted on the side facing the prevailing winds; a pivot would have wings on each side to account for its rotation. Lovett’s idea came after he considered other ways of holding down an irrigator including ballasts and anchors, which would be costly, labour-intensive and require taking the irrigator out of use. Ashburton engineer and renowned kite designer Peter Lynn was instrumental in the design. “Some things about the wing I thought were not right, but he knows more about wind than I do,” said Lovett. Lovett has now installed iWings on the 100 irrigator spans on his 1000ha farm at Wakanui, near Ashburton, where he grows carrots, onions and potatoes. They are manufactured in China. Lovett says the hardest part was finding someone willing to do the galvanising, because that process tends to buckle the thin and subtly shaped wings. “If someone rings up and wants 100 wings I can make ’em.” The price is yet to be determined.

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IT HAPPENS MORE OFTEN THAN YOU’D THINK. All kinds of things can affect your business when you run a dairy farm. And we’re familiar with most of them. Which is why we recommend cover like Business Interruption* insurance so if your dairy shed suffers damage, you’re covered for your financial loss. It’s the kind of advice that really makes a difference in the country. If you’d like to know more, go to Or better still, call us directly on 0800 366 466. *See for product terms & conditions

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Profile for Rural News Group

Dairy News 09 April 2019  

Dairy News 09 April 2019

Dairy News 09 April 2019  

Dairy News 09 April 2019