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$7.50 opening payout on the cards. PAGE 4 WORK FOR US It’s more than just a job PAGE 10

APRIL 23, 2019 ISSUE 421 //


cgt R.I.P.

The dumping of the Capital Gains Tax is one less worry on the horizon. Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers


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NEWS  // 3

Cheer up already! “It was just positive – there are a few compliance changes which they have signalled which we think will be good. They are not going ahead with the things we didn’t like – so nothing much to complain about.


THE DUMPING of capital gains

Lending a hand in rival’s patch. PG.13

Waterways crying out. PG.16

Old name... new product. PG.25

NEWS������������������������������������������������������3-15 OPINION����������������������������������������������16-19 AGRIBUSINESS����������������������������� 20-21 MANAGEMENT������������������������������������� 22 ANIMAL HEALTH�������������������������� 23-24 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS�������������������������������������� 25-26 FEEDING OUT�����������������������������������27-31

tax initiatives is yet another issue going right for the farming community – and farmers should cheer up, says Federated Farmers economics spokesperson and national vicepresident Andrew Hoggard. The news was greeted with a big sigh of relief – it is one more uncertainty off the table, he told Dairy News. “I always thought they were going to be hard pressed to get New Zealand First over the line on this. From our talks with them they very much weren’t in favour of any taxes that would disproportionately hit the regions – or any taxes actually.” But as an opinion poll published last week showed, the Labour Party and particularly the Prime Minister have a lot of support. “So there was always the potential they could have rolled the dice and tried to push their luck.” It was also always on the cards the idea would be dumped and the decision has gone the right way, he says. It will boost farmer confidence. “A lot of the lack of confidence is about so many of the uncertainties that are out there. “Just having a few of those uncertain things taken off the table – I think it will boost the confidence a bit more. “There’s a lot of things going right at the moment internationally commodity price wise so we should be a hell of a lot happier than what we are!” The dumping of the capital gains

Andrew Hoggard

tax is one less worry on the horizon. There are still issues around the Emissions Trading Scheme and the Zero Carbon Bill and what might happen there, he says. And some of the water regulations that are potentially being drafted up may also cause some challenges. “But the things that are going right are slightly more than the things that are uncertain.” There was nothing in the tax announcements from Government that were of concern. “It was just positive – there are a few compliance changes which they have signalled which we think will be good. They are not going ahead with the things we didn’t like – so nothing much to complain about. “When we did the tax survey it was pretty well damn overwhelm-

ing the number of farmers that were opposed to Capital Gains Tax – 93-94%. There wasn’t any appetite from the rural community for a capital gains tax, so pretty happy with the outcome.” The Feds says the decision is heartening evidence that the Government is willing to put well-reasoned and practical considerations in front of ideology. “It’s clear the coalition partners have listened to widespread concerns that a Capital Gains Tax has too many downsides, including massive administration costs and the potential to put the handbrake on the progress of small and medium businesses vital to our economy,” Hoggard says. “It seems to us that New Zealand First has been pivotal in this deci-

sion, and we appreciate their pragmatism.” He says the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke about new measures to tackle land banking and land speculation, an approach that has a much better chance of tackling our housing affordability issues than a CGT. The Feds are pleased the Government is committing to looking at the compliance cost reduction ideas mentioned in the Tax Working Group’s report. “There were a number of these that are worth looking at, including increasing various thresholds (e.g. for provisional tax) and simplifying depreciation and Fringe Benefit Tax, and removing resident withholding tax on close company-related party interest and dividend payments,” Hoggard says. “We’re also pleased with the assurance that there will be no resource rental for water or fertiliser tax - at least in this term of government,” Hoggard says.




4 //  NEWS

Over-irrigation forced mers back blitzhikes Butter price council to take action could push opening forecast to $7.50 PAM TIPA


prices may see next season’s milk price go beyond $7/kgMS – even as high as the mid sevens. Global Dairy Trade (GDT) butter prices have jumped a whopping 42% since the start of the year, says ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny. With butter up 3.5% at last week’s event, this was its 10th consecutive gain both for butter and the GDT overall, says Penny. Penny says the butter price may push the 2019/20 milk price above the bank’s current forecast of $7/kgMS. That call was also made by BNZ’s rural economist Doug Steel in mid-March. Steel now says if today’s prices and currency levels were to persist over the coming season it would equate to a milk price in the mid-$7 area. BNZ’s current forecast for the new season is $6.70/kg, but that includes a view that international product prices drift lower and the New Zealand dollar remains reasonably steady.

But if prices don’t fall from current levels, Steel says the milk price is likely to be higher. Meanwhile he is predicting $6.50/kgMS for the 2018/19 season – in the top half of Fonterra’s $6.30-$6.60 range. Last week’s overall price index was up 0.5% to an average price of $US3447/t. Anhydrous milk fat (AMF) was up 4.2% and all other categories recoded gains except for whole milk powder (WMP) which was down 0.7% to $US3269. Penny says there has been an abrupt tightening in global milk fat (butter) markets. “NZ is the largest butter exporter and the sudden slowdown in NZ production has put the squeeze on milk fat markets. “Indeed, hot and dry weather over late summer and autumn slammed the brakes on NZ production growth. In addition, global milk fat demand is robust. Over the past few years, demand for butter has lifted as the perception that it is ‘unhealthy’ has changed. “Also, NZ butter has found new markets, with

manner,” says Lynch. THE CASE against Pol“On this particulock Farms was taken by lar farm the storage was Waikato Regional Counonly sufficient for a single cil following inspections day. It should have been over-irrigation increased supply willof put muddy buns one popular where up to 100 times larger waspressure evident. on downward product in the now large effluent than that. With virtually Effluent from diveran prices, however Chinese butter market. no storage, this means an adjoining gence can to persist for an Butter prices have lifted over the last 10 This butter price surge is underpass consecutive GDT auctions. there will have been reguproperty also being extendedwas period.” another indicator of the lar and frequent unlawful pumped to land WMPdirectly eased 0.7% in tightness in global dairy dairy inlast large volumes.  Both demand forofthe fatefflubased second consecutive fall in discharges cits in parts of the counweek’s auction, their markets. ent into the environment pose a real risk dairy products such as this product. try remain worse than second consecutive fall, “Indeed, with NZ pro- practices for years. effluent contaminating butter and anhydrous Prices should be supaverage for this time of Boniface. duction growth now well ofsays “We would have congroundwater. milkfat. This demand ported by lower global “We think this is some the year, they are not as passed its peak and proexpected Pollockby to breaches had tinues to Mr be driven milk supplies so this fall acute as we saw a few of Similar the supply premium duction offshore already have changed pracbeen found council global dietaryhis trend back in WMP price is likely to weeks ago.” coming outby ofthe prices as weak, we expect dairy overflowing on the following his first inconcern 2016 and 2017.the Formal to natural products and be farm. temporary rather than tices ANZ’ssump agriculture about impact Effluent prices to continue to Unforwarnings and infringethe realisation that a little the start of a longer term prosecution. economist Susan Kilsby of dry weather on NZ move towards a cyclical tunately, it has virtually an ongoing to disapthe ment had eases. been fat in your diettaken is not nectrend. doubled their noted that risk WMP milk notices production peak over 2019.” numerous enforcement herd“There size, from to 700 years. breaches essarily a bad thing.” is no380 let-up in pointed againfor with the Whilefor soilthose moisture defi- environment Westpac senior econo- issued actions, including three cows, with no expansion There has been woefully and an abatement notice mist Anne Boniface says prosecutions and finally a of dairy effluent infrainadequate infrastructure had been served on the AMF prices are now up court order, for that farm on this farm since Mr Pol- structure. 19% since the start of the farming company in Septo ultimately get to a good “Every dairy farm lock first appeared before tember 2016 to cease the year and 34% from their place. should have sufficient the courts in the 1990s. illegal practices. November lows. Butter “This is a very sigstorage to be able to safely Quite simply, he has “This farmer is underprices have risen an even store effluent through wet nificant fine. It is a clear ignored all of the actions more impressive 36% this mining all of the posiand busy periods, the idea message to those poor taken by the council to tive work being done by year and are 52% above performers theneedle dairy being said that higher when weather date, asiswellanalyst as all of the Higgins, the wider farming indus- Rabobank their November 2018 two products to shiftinthe Emma RURAL BANKER industry that and circumstances owncommodity try and community to price messaging lows. she they said. need globalhis dairy prices had most significantly,” forecasting a milk of $7.15/ from to change behaviour, this effluent can “We expect improve.” “While prices for both improve thesetheir strong global sustained byallow, below-average kgMSour forenvironthe new season.industry to been as theincourts, the public then befrom irrigated WRC established that ment,” In said councilreleased inves- last are below the record the short term, milk production growth key toprices to hold a report week, and even their an fromcon2010 to 2016 as fertiliser in underpinning tigations manager levels they reached in a rise in own the induscurexporting the bank notesPatrick that a fourth tryforecast has lost and patience with environmentally andseason company a conditions 2017, demand appears to Lynch. rent a strong “Climatic from 2018 safe secutive season of strong milk pric- purchased them,” Lynch prudent, farm and milkeconomically “This has posed be remaining robust even opening forecast for thesaid. 2019/20 plagued supplies in the ing isfarm anticipated for Newneighbouring Zealand have at these levels,” she says. EU, Australia and Argentina, while season.” dairy farmers in 2019-20. “Over time, we would Higgins said while a new season For the current 2018-19 season, MANAGING POO inadequate milk cheques for US expect the relative prices Rabobank says modest upside is producers have kept milk supply forecast with a “seven in front” of milk fat and protein to anticipated to the farmgate milk below historical averages,” she would be warmly welcomed by ALL DAIRY have a effluent non-compliance. effluent requirereturn to average levels, farmers, management they would be wise to says. price, withfarmers this now expected to of responsibility to manage the All farmers toside be aware and how to meet as manufacturers increase factor in some input cost them. inflation “And theseneed supply factors ments lift to $6.65/kgMS. effluent theiroutlook cows and and or adhere to resources available production of whichandDairyNZ budget accordingly. willunderstand either take time significantly In itsfrom seasonal on this New of, is taken seriously by the vast permitted activity rules. to all dairy farmers include a ever products gener“As the milk price lifts so too Zealand dairy, Fourth time lucky: higher prices to turn around.” majority of dairy farmers. For farmers who haven’t yet Dairy Effluent Storage Calculaate better returns (whole Higgins said the slow-down does price inflation for on-farm Back in the black once more, RaboMost dairy farmers are undertaken the work needed to tor, A Farmer’s Guide to Building milk powder or skim milk and expenditure for in global milk supply growth had apurchases bank says stagnant global milk meet investing in reliable, sustainable their obligations, advice is New Effluent Storage Pond powder and fats). That fixed costs such as electricity, feed led to a recent substantial rise in supply and robust global demand farm systems. available from dairy companies and a certification scheme for and wages. Lower freight costs the pricing of Oceania-origin dairy forWell-designed Oceania-originand dairy products conand regional councils. DairyNZ accredited effluent system and weaker global benchmark prices product. is expected to support strong milk structed effluent storage proalso has an environmental designers. Farmers looking forfor fertiliser may help to combat infla“From December 2018 through prices for New Zealand farmers vides a lot of benefits – better extension specialist whose role support in establishing effluflexibility for irrigation, better with commodity farmers, ent infrastructure can visit where the tionary pressure, however, to early working April 2019, over the remainder of the current includes environmental rural and others – www.dairynz. possible, website a focus on cost control is dairyprofessionals prices have jumped 24%, with DairyNZ season and intomanagement, the next. peace of mind and Rabobank reduced risk help and farmers advised.” butter skimunderstand milk powdertheir the Report author, dairy to


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NEWS  // 5

PM acknowledges lack of mandate PAM TIPA

THE PRIME Minister

Jacinda Ardern wanted an extended capital gains tax and campaigned on it. But she couldn’t get a mandate and has now ruled it out in future under her leadership. She says there was no mandate within the coalition Government – NZ First did not support it - and she acknowledges many New Zealanders also did not. New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has welcomed Cabinet’s decision not to imple-

ment an extension of capital gains taxation. “This decision provides certainty to taxpayers and businesses. We in New Zealand First wanted foremost for New Zealanders to have time to discuss and debate the contents of the report,” says Peters. “During that time we have listened very carefully to the public. “There is already a capital gains tax through the Bright Line test brought in by the last National Government and New Zealand First’s view is that there is neither a compelling rationale nor mandate to institute a

comprehensive capital gains tax regime,” he says. He welcomes exploring options for taxing vacant land held by land bankers and reviewing the current rules for taxing land speculators. Ardern says all parties in the Government entered into the debate with different perspectives and, after significant discussion, ultimately were unable to find a consensus. She says she genuinely believes there are inequities in our tax system that a capital gains tax in some form could have helped to resolve. “However after almost

a decade campaigning on it, and after forming a government that represented the majority of New Zealanders, we have been unable to build a mandate for a capital gains tax. While I have believed in a CGT, it’s clear many New Zealanders do not. That is why I am also ruling out a capital gains tax under my leadership in the future.” She says the Tax Working Group delivered some useful suggestions beyond the debate of CGT. “Work will also continue to cut red tape for business and crack down on multi-nationals avoiding paying their fair share

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern could not secure her deputy, Winston Peter’s support.

of tax in New Zealand.” Finance Minister Grant Robertson says a refreshed tax policy work programme will be released mid-year. It will not introduce resource rentals for water or a fertiliser tax in this term of Parliament. Other priorities for the Government this year include progressing legislation for research and development tax incentives; GST on low-value

goods from offshore suppliers; a discussion document on a digital services tax, and further work to ensure multinationals pay their fair share of tax. “The final report covered all aspects of the tax system, and a number of the recommendations will now be considered for inclusion in the Government’s Tax Policy Work Programme,” Robertson says. “That includes explor-

ing options for targeting land speculation and land banking.” Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says officials have been directed to prioritise work on the TWG’s recommendations on ways to encourage investment in significant infrastructure projects and improve the integrity of the tax system to crack down on tax dodgers. @dairy_news

FARMERS ARE HAPPY – MACKLE FARMERS ARE relieved at the Government’s decision not to introduce a capital gains tax, says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle. “They work extremely hard alongside other New Zealanders to build a strong future for their families, while contributing to the economy and communities,” he says. There would have been wideranging ramifications for farmers if an extended capital gains tax had been introduced, he says. There have been strong concerns

Tim Mackle

for the sector since the Tax Working Group’s report came out in February. It described a system that looked likely to have significant implications for farmers across a broad range of areas from business asset valuations, administrative costs, succession planning and retirement schemes. DairyNZ is also very pleased with the announcement that there will be no water or fertiliser tax. “Farmers are already working throughout the country on continuously improving environmental

sustainability on farms. Initiatives include more than 27,000km of fenced-off and measured waterways, putting in bridges or culverts at regular stock crossing points, and introducing farm environment plans – among just a few of the activities. “This investment in environmental work contributes considerably more to improving water quality and mitigating emissions than an environment tax would. Incentivising behaviour change has more positive impact than penalising farmers.

“We are focused on ensuring the dairy sector achieves a balance between being competitive and profitable, while also meeting the expectations of our customers and communities and our desire to do the right thing.” DairyNZ said at the time that the Tax Working Group’s report came out that any changes to the tax system should better support the productive sector.   Mackle says they are very pleased to have been listened to. @dairy_news

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No ‘major’ changes to DIRA NIGEL MALTHUS

THERE WILL be no major changes

to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA), says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “It’s not broken,” he told a DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum in Timaru last week. “[But] there are some things that

need to be tweaked.” He said that the DIRA review needed to protect the position of dairy farmers. “You have an asset for 48 hours and beyond that it’s a liability. You need to have secure contracts to pick up your milk and process your milk and get you enough from the marketplace to cover costs. That’s my starting point.” O’Connor said he was not an advo-

MIGRANT WORKERS NEED CERTAINTY MIGRANT WORKERS who have been here for five years deserve the right to apply for residency, Damien O’Connor told the forum, in response to questions from the floor. In opening the forum earlier, Dairy NZ director Colin Glass said that the dairy sector had 46,000 people working in it, but with 14% churn, needed 5,000 new entrants every year just to stand still. “We have a massive people shortage in Canterbury and

Southland with up to 24% of staff on farms operating on short-term work visas. “So migrant employees are absolutely valued members of our teams but we need to create certainty for them.” Glass also called for a focus on regional education, employment and welfare. “So that regional approach is absolutely key and we’re really pleased that the Government’s taking up that focus and looking to apply that more regionally,”

cate for competition but there were some “healthy tensions” that a competitive environment in some spaces brought to the industry. “I’m just trying to find the right balance and hopefully we’ll end up in the right spot.” O’Connor said he would soon report back with some ideas around DIRA. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, but we are taking the opportunity to look at the legislation and make sure that – if there are ways that we can improve it to better suit the modern reality that we have, not one that was set down in the early 2000s, around the level of competition for Fonterra, the issues around environment, animal welfare – they will be taken into account.” Milk price-setting arrangements were a core part of the discussion. He said he would come back with a set of proposals that he hoped the industry would see as sensible, but there would be time for feedback from the dairy sector and from dairy farmers themselves. Noting another small increase in

Damien O’Connor

the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) index, O’Connor said dairy should be looking to the future with confidence, although he was not denying the sector faced challenges. O’Connor was speaking to the forum, the first of a series of five around the country, by video link from his office, but is expected to attend the next in person, in his home province of Westland. On the proposed sale of Westland Milk Products to Chinese dairy giant Yili, O’Connor said he was not a share-

holder but has family who are. “As [it is] the second biggest co-op in this country, I am really saddened to see it go through the process of potential sale. “Partnership might have been better,” he said. “I’m not familiar with all the details and all I’ve said is that farmers, if they are shareholders, if they have an interest, they should ask all the questions they think of now, not worry after the deal that they should have asked.” Now was the time for debate.

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‘Improve lives with every drop of milk’ NIGEL MALTHUS

DAIRYNZ HAS affirmed its commitment to the Dairy Tomorrow initiative which outlines six broad goals for the sector. It is the theme of DairyNZ’s Farmers’ Forums which kicked off last week at Timaru. DairyNZ director Colin Glass said Dairy Tomorrow was a sector-wide strategy designed to set our future direction and

- it’s about accepting that we have a valuable role in changing the views of everyone in New Zealand on how we improve our water quality,” he said. Dairying businesses had to accept that they have a footprint, but also that they have a positive future. Glass noted that the world population was expected to grow by another 2.3 billion people by 2050. “It means we need to

the future that no other sectors have.” Glass said DairyNZ was looking for sciencebased solutions to future challenges, an example being the Tararua Plantain project which

started this season in the Manawatu hoping to show how plantain can both reduce nitrate leaching through urine patches and improve the soil. “That region is looking for a 60% reduction to

meet Horizons One Plan targets,” said Glass. However, he said a survey had shown dairy farmers have 69% confidence they would be able to meet climate reduction targets.

Colin Glass

“We’ll be catering to a growing middle class and it’s really important that we are aware of what our customers and consumers demand.” “improve lives with every drop of milk.” It is a joint strategy adopted in conjunction with Federated Farmers, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand and the Dairy Women’s Network. Glass said its six key commitments were developed in conversations with farmers, who made it clear that they wanted to lead on environmental issues including climate change, and wanted sustainable farming solutions supported by research and development, an upskilled workforce and the highest standards of animal welfare. Opening the forum, the first of five throughout the country over the next few weeks, Glass said the industry was going through “a reset and a crisis of confidence” but it was important to remember the future is positive. DairyNZ was about helping farmers’ business to thrive as part of a sustainable sector. Also under the Dairy Tomorrow banner was Dairy NZ’s ‘The Vision is Clear’ initiative on water quality. “It’s about not accepting that stuff is our fault

produce more in the next 50 years than humanity has produced in the last 500.” However, consumers’ needs would be different. “We’ll be catering to a growing middle class and it’s really important that we are aware of what our customers and consumers demand.” New Zealand’s advantages included having some of the world’s best dairy cow genetics, innovative skilled people, fertile soils, a temperate climate and an abundance of water. Glass said dairy exports rose 5% last year. “We are the largest income provider for this economy. Some suggest it’s tourism, but no – dairy has a far greater flow-on and multiplying effect through the wider business economy.” Dairy remained a viable and positive business opportunity. “The recent Dairy Industry Awards highlighted what a bright future there is for our talented pool of people, as the right owners and the right share-farmers and employees come together. It really is inspirational and it’s an opportunity for

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8 //  NEWS

Is reducing cow numbers the answer? PETER BURKE


over whether New Zealand has too many cows is a regional issue, not a national issue, according to Ministry of Primary Industries’ chief science advisor, John Roche. Speaking to Dairy News

at the recent Agricultural Climate Change conference in Palmerston North, Roche stated that it’s too emotive to talk in general terms of there being too many cows in NZ. He says all regions are different and it’s a case of decisions being made at that level rather than taking the blanket view that NZ has more cows than it can

effectively run. But Roche says that he has concern about the cost of marginal milk. “Some of our milk is now produced from imported feeds and analysis done by me and others over recent years suggests that this milk is either unprofitable or poorly profitable. “There are also

externalities that come with it. The more cows we feed or the more the cow eats, the greater their greenhouse gas footprint and so that is one of the externalities we need to take into account,” he says. Roche says the issue of whether lowering cow numbers in NZ would lead to a drop in total

milk production is being looked at by government and industry representatives. But he says other factors must also be taken into account such as any affect this may have on the entire rural fabric of the country. “NZ is built around the primary sector and when you start pulling one lever to make an

John Roche

adjustment in the primary sector this may have an unintended consequence in other parts of the sector. The whole issue of cow numbers is what I call a wicked problem because there isn’t a simple solution. A solution will likely come as a result of further dialogue and good partnerships between industry and government,” he says. One of the factors relating to the ‘too many cows’ issues is land use.



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In the last 15 years, there has almost been a race to convert land to dairying and it is arguable whether many of these conversions have been in the best interests of cow and country. Roche says some land use changes in the past may not have been the best. He says determining the best use for land is a significant part of the discussions taking place between government and industry.

20/06/18 6:21 PM

JOHN ROCHE concedes there is a mish-mash of information available on climate change, some of which originates from people who are not qualified to speak on the subject. This confusion, he says, makes it hard for farmers to get to grips with the issue. Social media he says has both advantages and disadvantages in terms of the climate change debate. He says NZ has a unique greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint because our economy is primarily agriculturally based, with approximately 50% of our GHG’s emissions coming from agriculture. “In most of the developed countries agriculture would be closer to 10% of their emissions. Their major GHG’s tend to be from industry or transport, for which there are solutions - be it alternative sources of power or electric vehicles etc. With our agricultural emissions, especially methane from enteric rumen fermentation, we are dealing with 60 million years of evolution,” he says. Roche says this is a difficult problem because scientists have the near impossible task of trying to fight nature. He says despite all the good work that NZ is doing, it still tends to give itself a bad rap. “I call it self-flagellation or whipping ourselves. We hold ourselves to the highest possible standard and because we live in a lovely peaceful country free from political and social turmoil. But, we often don’t celebrate our successes and tend to be very critical of ourselves. We are not as bad as we think we are and I think we need to celebrate that and continue to good work to improve further” he says.


NEWS  // 9

Sunflower power lighting up farm



DAIRYNZ DIRECTOR, Ben Allomes is never short of a great idea. This year his idea has caught the attention of every motorist on state highway 2 just north of Woodville. Ben and Nicky Allomes dairy farm borders the state highway and this year the couple have put on a head-turning flower show. They planted a three metre wide by 400 metre long strip of huge sunflowers on the boundary of their farm beside SH 2. The spectacle says Ben was for no other reason than to put a smile on the faces of people who drive past their farm. “It’s been a bit of a talking point, has given people something to smile about and show them dairy farmers are not all bad eggs,” he says. This is the second year the couple have planted sunflowers on their farm. They did this last year and their children

Sunflower in bloom at Ben Allomes’ farm in Woodville.

sold them and fund raised about $3000 for Agrikids. “They sold then in a bunch of six for $5 at the farmers market, and they walked the streets of Pahiatua, Dannevirke and Woodville and also sold them at the farm gate,” he says. But this year the family was busy and the blooming of the sunflowers coincided

with the Christchurch massacre and so they didn’t sell flowers this year. But Ben says they gave many of them away including a couple who were getting married and wanted an archway of sunflowers. “This was all pretty cool but now I have to come up with a plan for next year. I will have to work out something that is a little bit different to step it up,” he says.

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards didn’t have long to celebrate their respective regional wins, as they began to prepare for the final round of judging. The winners will be announced at a black-tie awards dinner at TSB Arena in Wellington on May 11. The finalists represent 11 regions and will compete for prizes worth more than $210,000 and the honour of winning either the 2019 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, 2019 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year or the 2019 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the year title. General Manager Chris Keeping says the 33 finalists are the cream of the crop from all the entries received, and it was a hardfought battle. “It was fantastic to attend all 11 regional finals and feel the excite-

ment of the wins and see the journey each finalist has taken, both professionally and personally,” says Chris. Chris says there is a mix of gender, age, farming experience and career backgrounds amongst the finalists. “It is very clear that the New Zealand dairy industry is in good health with passionate farmers, managers and trainees with positive attitudes leading the way.” “Previous Dairy Industry Award winners continue to make an impact within the dairy industry and many are clear leaders.” The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and Westpac along with industry partners DairyNZ and Primary ITO.

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10 //  NEWS

More than just a job PETER BURKE


Ben Allomes is advocating a paradigm shift in the way the primary sector markets and presents itself as a career. He says all the negative talk about the dairy industry damages the whole primary sector brand and has the effect of turning young people away from making agriculture their career choice. He says there is a lot of untrue information floating

around and some is just political point scoring. Rather than stand off and see the problems, Allomes wants emphasis to be placed on encouraging young people to be involved in finding solutions to problems. Based on the experience and knowledge he gained as a Nuffield scholar, Allomes says people who succeed in the industry are leaders, have been through bad times and have an emotional connection to the sector. “We all know that farming is more than a job

- it is part of us and who we are, and that is why we take criticism of our industry in the media and from critics so personally,” he told Dairy News. “That is why we get affected with mental health because these people are making personal attacks on something that is connected to our purpose and values and our whole being. For us being connected to the primary industry in the way we are is special. It’s such a noble industry - we make food we are responsible for animals - it’s not

THE MILLENNIALS FACTOR MILLENNIALS, SAYS Ben Allomes are looking for more than just a job. They want to be a stakeholder in a job and connect this with their purpose in life. He says there are plenty of jobs for young people and the primary sector must tune into the needs of young people and make them welcome and feel they are making a positive contribution to the sector. He says there is a lot of talk about ongoing changes in the primary sector and that jobs will

disappear. Allomes believes jobs may change, but the need for good staff will not. “This means that we have to connect and appeal to those, who for want of a better word, want to invest in the primary sector,” he says. This is no small ask and will require significant investment in getting the Ben Allomes positive and innovative messages out to young people – the future leaders of the primary sector.

just a turn up and knock off sort of thing,” he says. What Allomes is trying to do is influence a review taking place into vocational training for the primary sector – especially in the light of the collapse of Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre. He says the primary sector somehow has to differentiate itself from other career options He says in the past the farming system has provided for needs of the family that owns the farm and their whole life has been built around that and their involvement in a variety of community activities. “But now we have created these semi-professional businesses and have people working for us who have to achieve certain targets and outcomes. But these people are reconnected to primary industry as well. “We have built our industry to work for us and it is our duty to also make it work for our staff otherwise we are just leveraging off their hours

ily embrace that philosotheir labour to make phy. our lives better, whereas we should be working together to make all our lives better. Let’s create a fit-for-purpose employment system on farm that enables everyone in the business to achieve their goals, not just the owners,” he says. According to Allomes, farm owners need to have a better understanding of their staff and not expect them to mirror their goals. He points out that an owner may choose to work 80 hours a week because they have a personal financial stake in the business. But he says they can’t expect staff DairyNZ director Ben Allomes. to necessar-

“What’s right for doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone else in my team. My job as an employer is to talk with my team to make sure I know their choices and reasons so I can build my system to enable them to truly exercise what they want - not what I think they want,” he says.

CHANGES TO FURTHER IMPROVE NAIT SCHEME This follows changes made last ther improve the National Animal year to improve the NAIT scheme, Identification and Tracing (NAIT) including operational changes scheme were unveiled last week by within OSPRI, and some minor Minister for Biosecurity Damien technical changes to the Act. Farmers and industry were O’Connor. widely consulted on The NAIT Review, proposals in late 2018 released in 2018, and and the feedback was the Mycoplasma bovis considerable, and overEradication Programme all positive. highlighted signifi“I have heard the cant flaws in the NAIT calls from industry for scheme. common sense changes “These proposto make NAIT an effecals are the next step tive business and to create the animal Daimien O’Connor biosecurity tool. The tracing scheme New Zealand needs to keep our pri- proposed changes will ensure there mary sectors and economy safe,” is proper oversight of the agency managing the scheme, and give the O’Connor said. Government the ability to deal with The proposed changes will: ■■ tighten rules for handling any performance issues that affect biosecurity or food safety. untagged animals, ■■ improve the use of data, “NAIT compliance has improved ■■ align penalties with other Acts in recent months and that helps in tracking and tracing animals in the to reflect the seriousness of M. bovis eradication programme non-compliance, and ■■ make changes to the perforas we step up our efforts and try to trace every possible infected mance framework for the animal. However, more work is organisation running NAIT required to improve NAIT.” (NAIT Ltd).

PROPOSED LAW changes to fur-

Cabinet has agreed to introduce the legislation in the latter half of this year. “The next step is to draft the new law, which will then go through the Parliamentary select committee process, giving people yet another avenue to express their views on the final proposals,” said O’Connor. “Meanwhile, efforts to get more farmers fulfilling their NAIT obligations have ramped up with NAIT putting a big focus on educating farmers about their obligations and how to use the system. “Compliance is important, but we should also make it easy. This means we need to do more work to ensure we have a world-class traceability system that is future proofed. “When there is wilful non-compliance with the NAIT scheme, the entire sector is put at risk. “This is unacceptable and I know MPI is focusing on holding those people to account. Combined, these steps will see real changes for the industry and improvements to our biosecurity system,” O’Connor said.

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12 //  NEWS

V300 robots debut in Karaka SUDESH KISSUN

A SMALL organic farm

in South Auckland has become the first NZ recipient of DeLavals’ new robotic milking system, the VMSTM V300. Heritage Farm in Karaka milks 165 cows year-round with two new V300 robots, supplying 66,000kgMS annually to Fonterra. The V300 robot was launched globally about a year ago, with key upgrades on the earlier version. Heritage Farm is run by owners David and Cathy Yates and their son Brian. The farm has been in their family for 108 years and was the original Yates seed farm in New Zealand before switching to sheep and beef. In 1977 the farm was converted

to dairy and David built a 28-bail Fletcher Sulzberger rotary shed, then considered to be ahead of its time. By 2009, this rotary had passed its use-by date. In 2010, the Yates’ were the first to install DeLaval robotic milking machines in New Zealand. David recalls that robotic milking wasn’t common back then; only a handful of farms in the South Island were milking with robots. David became interested after a few visits to the DairyNZ Greenfield research farm, Ruakura; set up to investigate the use of robotic milking machines on NZ farms. He says the cows took a while to adapt to robots on the 135ha farm but once trained, they were happy. Brian, who returned to

the farm around the time robots were installed, says changing from rotary to robotic milking was tough, especially on older cows. Last year, the family heard about DeLaval launching the new V300 robots and decided to give them a go. Brian says the major improvements he has seen are a higher teat spray rate and a higher cup attachment rate, resulting in fewer ‘incompletes’- cows leaving the shed having not been milked out completely. “The accuracy of cup attachment and teat spray means we save a minute here and there. They all add up during the day and there’s more milking time and capacity,” he told Dairy News. He says teat spray usage on the farm has

David and Brian Yates.

also dropped. “With the teat spray now right under the udders, a good pulse of spray does the job and we don’t have spray blowing away when there’s a strong breeze.” The VMS V300 is geared toward farmers working in markets with labour uncertainties and shortages, as well as ever

more rigorous animal welfare and food safety requirements. DeLaval says the VMS V300 has a 99% teat spray hit rate, 10% higher capacity meaning more milkings per station, up to 50% faster attachment time, and lower running costs. The system has a 99.8% attachment rate and capacity to milk more

than 3,500kg/day/robot, meaning even less farmer interaction required in the dairy. The system comes with DeLaval InControl, a new user interface allowing access to information and control of the system remotely. DeLaval PureFlow, is a new transparent teat preparation cup, these enhancements pro-

vide even better stimulation to increase milk flows, and DeLaval InSight which provides the latest vision technology for a smooth, fast and accurate attachment. “This is a level of performance increase which we just haven’t seen before” says Justin Thompson, DeLaval’s Vice President of Oceania. “The level of data that can be retrieved for each teat via the individual quarter milking and then automated to ensure complete milking every time is remarkable. The release of the VMS V300 really sets the bar high for robotic milking systems.” The system has been extensively tested on farms in Europe and is also highly adaptable to New Zealand’s grass based system, DeLaval says.


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NEWS  // 13

Co-op lends a hand in rival’s territory NIGEL MALTHUS

THE WEST Coast may be Westland Milk Products territory but that hasn’t prevented Fonterra from stepping in to help with the cleanup following the torrential rain and flooding of late March. Working under the direction of Federated Farmers as the lead agency, a five-man Fonterra Emergency Response Team has been in the district since April

own Emergency Response Teams. Fonterra had 98 ERT members in 11 teams across New Zealand, available both to respond to any emergency on site, or be sent to any national situation. Lockley said that many had come from farming backgrounds or had a variety of life skills from previous employment. “We enhance that within our ERT teams and make sure they have upskilled and have the right train-

– they’ve pretty much worked most days, all day, so it’ll be time for break over Easter then we’ll reevaluate what we do from there. “The farming communities down here have

been very grateful for the help. “We’ve got a good team working with Fed Farms and it’s ticking along really smoothly.” Fonterra’s emergency response team on the West Coast two weeks ago.


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Fonterra is thought to be the only dairy company in the world with its own Emergency Response Teams. 2, mainly replacing fencing flattened by the floods. Fonterra’s National ERT Director, Kevin Lockley, said the team started in the Arahura Valley near Hokitika, where they completed new fencing for five farms. “Mainly boundary fencing to keep the stock contained within the farm, and laneways to get their animals to either the dairy sheds or runoff or whatever they needed to do. “We don’t get too tied up with the internal fencing because that can get done at a later date,” he said. When the Waiho River bridge at Franz Josef was replaced the team was able to move into the area just south of the river. Lockley says there was “a lot of water” through the farms there because the flood blew out a stopbank. “Again, establishing the main boundary fences along the road because they’ve basically got none left along that road any more. There’s pretty extensive damage along there.” The effort was all about helping the community and helping farmers get back on their feet, he said. Fonterra is thought to be the only dairy company in the world with its

ing to do the tasks ahead of them.” Members also had Urban SAR qualifications which meant they could work directly under Civil Defence direction. Fonterra teams were among the first on the ground for both the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes. They have also helped with repairs following the 2016 Edgecumbe flooding, a damaging wind storm in Taranaki, and Australian bushfires. For the West Coast deployment, they chose members skilled at fencing. Lockley, who is from Taranaki, is leading the team himself, and is joined by two from Clandeboye, near Timaru, and one each from Tirau and Waitoa in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty. Team members continue to be paid by Fonterra during the deployment, while the farmers provide material and equipment. Lockley said there were pockets of damaged farms spread right along the coast. As this issue of Dairy News went to press, the team aimed to have a look at the Fox area and possibly as far south as Haast. “We’ll see how we go this week because obviously we’ll have to give the guys a bit of a rest

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14 //  NEWS

Religion no barrier to milking cows NIGEL MALTHUS

A BUDDHIST couple whose personal philosophy forbids them owning cows has taken out the Canterbury/North Otago Share Farmer of the Year title. In a category which no longer requires traditional herd ownership but is instead open to anyone self-employed in a similar role, the title has gone to contract milker Ruwan Wijayasena and his wife and partner Niranjala Gamlath.

Wijayasena explained that it was not because Buddhism actually prohibited them owning or culling cows but that they believed it better not to. “The religion itself doesn’t say ‘don’t go and buy cows’ but we believe we are better not to own cows or make the decisions about culling them,” he said. They acted on behalf of the company that owns the animal, he said. “We’re happy to work with the guidelines they provide us.” If the company sets

a policy around culling empties he was happy to follow it. “We are contract milkers. We don’t own animals but we own the team.” The couple detailed their business model at their recent winners’ field day on Lighthouse Farm, near Hororata. Wijayasena and Gamlath each has a B.Sc. in Agriculture Sciences from Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, where they met, Ruwan majoring in Livestock Production and Niranjala in Agri Business Management.






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They came to New Zealand in 2005 when Wijayasena started work as a farm assistant on a Synlait Farms property, while Gamlath joined Synlait Farms as a farm technician in 2008. By 2009 he was farm manager at Lighthouse. “I have always loved being a farmer, and I was so lucky to join Synlait Farms, now Theland Farm Group, who shared my desire to implement best farm practices towards sustainability of dairy farming,” said Wijayasena. In 2012 the couple formed their own company, DDSM Farms Ltd, to run the 262ha Lighthouse on a contract milking basis. Today they also contract milk the adjacent 275ha Beacon farm. The farms run 950 cows each, providing A2 milk to Synlait, with Lead With Pride accreditation. Each farm runs a 50-bale rotary shed with ECR, Protrack, EZY heat camera and in-shed feeding. The DDSM business now also includes rental properties and a motel in Christchurch, which Gamlath manages. Wijayasena said their Buddhist culture meant self-awareness, self-management and self-disci-

Canterbury/North Otago Share Farmer of the Year Ruwan Wijayasena, his wife Niranjala Gamlath and daughters Methuli and Senuli.

pline was in their nature. “One thing we’ve learned is you can’t control yesterday, that’s already happened. “You can’t control tomorrow, that hasn’t happened yet. You can control right now.” He said it was a simple day-to-day philosophy that allowed a life of less worry. “It’s hard work. You work in the mud and the rain and the cold but that’s why you chose it, yeah?” he said to laughter among the attendees at the field day, held in cold wet weather. Wijayasena listed their company values as Integrity, Positivity, Flexibility, Responsibility, Innovation, Commitment, Quality and Teamwork. They had a focus on learning. He listed a combined total of more than 20 various training courses they have undertaken since coming to New Zealand. Everything they do on farm they do positively, he said. An example was the adoption of heat detection cameras and AI for the whole 11 weeks of

Ruwan Wijayasena addressing farmers at the field day.

mating. “Any new challenges that come to the farm, we take it.” Wijayasena won $10,750 in prizes plus two merit awards - the Federated Farmers Leadership Award and the Honda Health, Farm Safety and Biosecurity Award. Wijayasena said that despite the religious barrier to owning cows or making decisions to kill

them, they had found a way to grow their business without following the traditional footsteps. Their 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.”

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Staff training pays off NIGEL MALTHUS


the Canterbury/North Otago sharemilker of the year title are Shaun and Andrea Wise, who contract milk 590 cows for Dairy Holdings on a 134ha Rangitata Island property. Originally from South Africa, Shaun holds a Bachelor of Accounting Science and Diploma in Agribusiness Management. He is also a qualified LIC AB Technician. Andrea holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Massey University and has worked in various rural professional roles. The couple see their combined qualifications, backgrounds and experiences as a strength for their business. “We are able to draw on them to make good decisions at every level.” “Our business is in a good position for growth, with clear goals and an action plan that allows for the ability to take opportunities as they arise.” Their goals include herd and farm ownership. “We would also like to have a dairy farm that is powered completely by renewable energy from dairy by-products.” Third place went to Elizabeth and Lyndon Grant, 50:50 sharemilkers for Ross and Susan Duncan’s 195ha farm at Ashburton, where they milk 700 cows.

Dairy Manager of the Year is Matt Redmond, the farm manager on Landsend, a 232ha, 830cow property at Culverden owned by Pahau Flats Dairy Ltd. Redmond holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) majoring in Agricultural Management and Rural Valuation from Lincoln University. He entered the dairy industry four years ago and has worked for the past two as a manager. Redmond sees the training and development his employers put into their staff as standing him in good stead for progression within the business. Dairy Trainee of the Year is Nicola Blowey, an Assistant Herd Manager on Kieran and Leonie Guiney’s 600-cow, 175ha property at Fairlie, whose manager, Will Green, won the regional Farm Manager of the Year title last year. “Seeing Will Green do so well last year inspired me to enter and seek out new information and increase and consolidate my knowledge,” said Blowey. “Being part of an industry that fulfils so many key roles for society is very special and it is the relevance of agriculture to every one of us that is so rewarding. “The range of knowledge and skills you build working in the industry, and the variety of jobs we do and situations we face

each season is really exciting.” Blowey is secretary of Mackenzie District Young Farmers Club and is organising a Fairlie Community Ball to raise money for rural mental health. “Being where I am today is something I’m

really proud of. Two and a half years ago I knew next to nothing about strict grass-based systems and now I deal with the day-to-day management of 600 cows on quite a challenging dryland farm. I am really excited to progress further and achieve more.”

Young women dominated the trainee category, the second and third place getters being: Claire Ritchie, 2IC on another Theland Purata Farm Group property near Hororata, and Amy Charman, 2IC on a farm at Westerfield near Ashburton.

Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year Matt Redmond.


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16 //  OPINION

Managing nutrients in waterways GREG CAMPBELL

MOST OF us are under the impression that all of New Zealand has fertile soil that’s great for growing food. It’s more or less

Waterways are crying out for better nutrient management.

a fairy tale. We do have some good soils, but not enough. Only about 5% of our soils are fertile enough to grow food without some sort of human assistance. As a nutrient man-



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agement cooperative, Ravensdown tries to help farmers aim for soil conditions that are ‘just right’ for growing food whether it’s carrots for kids in Pukekohe or clover for cows in Culverden. This Goldilocks approach has started to pay dividends. Over the course of a decade, our laboratory has conducted nearly a million soil tests for farmers which look at things like phosphate levels in the soil or its acidity. In that time, about 25%

smarter farming practice is starting to deliver some progress. The National Science Challenge Our Land and Water has found that phosphorus has decreased at 40% of measured sites in streams and rivers since 1994 and at 65% of sites since 2004. The second national LAWA trend report on river water quality between 2008 and 2017 showed that, at 60% of the sites measured, improvements in the amount of ammonium

New Zealand is mainly served by two local cooperatives who are not here to maximise profits at the expense of the environment. have shown fertility levels below the optimum for growing food and where farm nutrients would have an effect. Twelve per cent of the soil test results have been above the optimum and so don’t need any more fertiliser or nutrients until they drop back to the optimum levels. To successfully grow the grass needed to feed livestock, or the fruit and vegetables we buy from the supermarket, we need to put nutrients used by the growing plants back into the soil, or introduce those which were not there in the soil in the first place. This is true even if, as the recent EAT-Lancet Commission’s global report suggested, the world consumed less meat protein and ate more vegetables. Because fertiliser would still be required to grow all those plants. The UN’s Global Environmental Outlook states that in 30 years, 10 billion people will be wanting to eat and to feed them will require a 50% increase in food productivity. So replenishing what the soil and plants need is vital. But we can all agree that what our waterways are crying out for here in our backyard is better nutrient management. Good advice and

(nitrogen) were being seen. Over the past year 2,110 square kilometres have been assessed by Ravensdown consultants for environmental mitigations. Nobody is getting complacent as there is still a massive task ahead and there are lag effects that mean some data could show things getting worse before they get better. Other countries’ farm nutrient sectors are dominated by global corporations chasing shareholder profits. New Zealand is mainly served by two local cooperatives who are not here to maximise profits at the expense of the environment. The awareness of what constitutes a ‘just right’ approach to fertiliser for the sake of the soil, plants and waterways of New Zealand has come on in leaps and bounds in the past 10 years. Combined with scientific research, smarter technology and a fieldbased team of certified advisors advocating changes in farming practice, this approach is starting to have an effect. There’s no reason why there can’t be a happy ending to this story. • Greg Campbell is Ravensdown chief executive @dairy_news

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Bring on the Bens

MILKING IT... At what cost? PM Jacinda Ardern was adamant that the decision to dump the proposed Capital Gains Tax was made without any sort of a deal with NZ First. Few will fall for that, especially with NZ First bragging to its members, “we listened, we acted”. But as political blogger Richard Harman noted, nothing comes for nothing in politics. NZ First must surely expect there will be a price to pay. Are they going to fold their opposition to Labour’s climate change policies? Harman thinks this is likely. “NZ First has been objecting to the way the Government is proposing to bring the agricultural gas, methane into the Emissions Trading Scheme. “The debate is over what percentage of methane emissions should be reduced by 2050. The Greens want 35%; NZ First wants half that.”

Good day to bury bad news

Cows have 5G, you don’t

THEY SAY all governments and their agencies put out “bad” news stories on days when they are likely to get little publicity. Just prior to public holidays, for instance. Last week was a prime example, with a long Easter break approaching, bad news was unloaded. This included, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accepting defeat and withdrawing her personal crusade, the Capital Gains Tax proposal, the Auckland Council and Government revealing the new City rail project was going to cost an extra $1 billion, with the Government (taxpayers) and the Council (ratepayers) having to carry the burden, each paying 50% of the extra cost.

WHILE NEW Zealand grapples with Chinese spy fears over the 5G rollout, a herd of UK dairy cows have said “pull the udder one” and have moved ahead when it comes to 5G connectivity. The cows sport 5G collars that connect to a robotic milking system. When the cow wants to be milked, it will approach machine gates that will automatically open. The device recognises the individual cow to precisely latch on to its teats for milking, while the cow munches on a food reward. The tech has been installed at the Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-EPI Centre) in Shepton Mallet, in southwest England. At the moment 50 of the 180-strong herd are fitted with the 5G smart collars and health-monitoring ear tags. Cisco has designed the tech as part of its global 5G rollout. It is trying out 5G in three rural locations.

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AI for cows IT HAS been simply described as facial recognition for cows but Irish agtech company, Cainthus says it’s actually much more. Artificial intelligence (AI) — the same technology developed for terrorist detection of humans is now being used to manage cows. The company has developed a smart camera system that collects video data inside the dairy barn and uses artificial intelligence to uniquely identify and track behaviour of all the cows in the barn. Information is used to develop key animal and farm performance indicators, which are delivered in the form of daily notifications and real-time detailed analytics to a dairy farmer’s phone. Cainthus has plans to roll out its technology for other species, including beef cattle, hogs and poultry.

IF THE farming sector took on board DairyNZ director, Ben Allomes’ employment model there probably wouldn’t be a shortage of people wanting to make agriculture their career choice. The chances are there would be a waiting list of people eager to train and become shareholders in the primary sector. His model as outlined in this week’s Dairy News is both innovative and practical and costs nothing more than a little bit of time and effort and some rejigging of work practices. What he is saying is that the old employment model in NZ is outdated and failing and, unless there is a paradigm shift, the primary sector will never attract the people it wants. Allomes’ ideas are a combination of good modern management practice and common sense. We all want to be respected in our jobs and our ideas listened to, and as employees we want the boss to understand our aspirations and goals. Too often goal setting is a one sided affair – it’s the goals of the employer that dominate an employment contract. But as Allomes suggests, shouldn’t the employee’s goals and aspirations sit there too. So often we hear speeches about how important people are to the primary sector, but one could be forgiven for feeling that on too many occasions these words are hollow window dressing and the actions don’t match the words. The Ben Allomes model is about fully involving employees in the farming business and mentoring them to be a part of the solution and giving them the responsibility to act. It’s about knowing what spins the wheels of staff and directing them into roles where they can live their passion. It’s more than just about money, although having said that, the primary sector has to compete with other sectors. But good pastoral care of staff means a lot to people. It’s about making sure that partners and children are being cared for. There are a number of farmers such as Allomes who already have new and innovative employment systems in place and others also look after staff well. But too often in the media we find negative stories about farmer employers and until the Allomes or similar model is widely embraced, farmers will never get good staff. Moaning about the problem will change nothing – actions might! – Peter Burke

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OPINION  // 19

What is the best way to apply fertiliser?

Spread your own fertiliser and save BERT QUIN


are increasingly pressured by combinations of low rainfall, disappointing payouts, bank lending determined by cashflow, and increasing environmental rules and restrictions. So why talk about potassium (potash) in this context? Because a key fertiliser cost difference for dairy versus sheep and beef farming has been the amount of potash dairy farmers are told they need to apply. A typical recommendation is 80 - 100kg K/ha (160 - 200 kg/ha) annually split into two applications (applied with superphosphate). This would typically keep potassium levels in grass and clover higher than 3.5%. Farmers are recommended these quantities because clover needs it and grass responds to it, despite the complications this causes with milk fever. They are told they should have potash ‘Quicktest’ soil K levels of 8 - 10. But should pasture and soil levels be this high or is the problem somewhere else? I have reviewed the results of many field trials of potassium done during

the last 60 years. The vast majority compared applying zero K with applying large single doses. I found no trial in which small amounts of K were applied frequently. Everyone, it seems, missed the following vital point: just because pasture K level goes from a deficient 1.5 - 2% K level to 3.5 - 4% -- and much better production with a 50kg K/ha application -this does not mean this amount was necessary to get the full response. No trial data I looked at showed a pasture response to K when the level in the pasture was above 2.3 - 2.5%, and this can easily be maintained with Quicktest K levels of 5 - 6, not 8 - 10. But here is a proviso: the potash needs to be applied in small, regular intervals -about 10kg K every two months, but skipping late autumn and winter so, say, four applications per year. The current practice of two applications a year has come about largely to suit the spreading industry. Farmers have long been encouraged to cut spreading costs by reducing frequency. This wasteful practice is encouraged by most of the fertiliser industry because it enables the companies to

Bert Quin

sell more potash. Unfortunately, K is like N. When you apply a lot of K in one application, pasture -- particularly clover -- takes up much more than it needs for growth, and vastly more than the 1.0 - 1.2% K a cow needs in its diet. This leads to well known metabolic problems. Farmers try to avoid these problems by not applying K too late in autumn, but metabolic problems can occur regardless if soil tests are in the industry’s ‘recommended’ range of 8 - 10 and above. Much of the excess K taken up by pasture is excreted in urine patches. Much of this can be leached depending on the time of year, rainfall and/or irrigation and the type of clays in the soil (not just the CEC, but also how their K sorption and desorption behaviour is affected by drying and wetting cycles). This

may not happen as predictably as excess nitrate does from the N in urine, but it is a big loss factor nevertheless. And leaching of K (a cation takes with it nitrate and sulphate anions. The reverse is also true, of course. So what would I do if I were a dairy farmer? I would apply the potash myself, at 10kg K/ha four times per year from a tractor-mounted spreader, so saving myself about 40kg K/ha (about $70/ha delivered) and lots more in lower vet bills, plus the environmental advantage of reduced nitrate leaching. The need for extra labour and time for spreading can be avoided by adding the K to planned N applications. And I would definitely use urease-inhibitor-treated prilled urea -- not granular -- to hugely reduce the quantity of N needing to be applied. I think ‘precision farming’ is an over-hyped and vague expression, but we certainly need to be more thoughtful about fertiliser -- the form in which the nutrients are used and how we apply them. • Bert Quin is managing director of Quin Environmentals (NZ) Ltd, owner of the fertiliser company Quinfert

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Ex-All Black enthralls with rags-to-riches tale FORMER ALL Black Eric Rush recently inspired Northland farmers with an account of his rags-to-riches life. Rush told of his journey from humble beginnings as a Kaeo lad hand-milking eight cows to meeting Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana, and South Africa’s leader Nelson Mandela. Speaking last week to 200 people involved in Northland’s Extension 350 project, Rush, who holds a law degree, captivated his audience with his message “success breeds success”. He was the keynote speaker at two events aimed at recognising the hard work of the target farmers, mentor farm-

ers, consultants and partners in the Extension 350 farmer-to-farmer learning project. E350 is part of the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan and is supported by Northland Inc, Ministry for Primary Industries, Northland Regional Council, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ. Set up in 2016, it is aimed at getting 350 farmers involved across Northland -- ideally 50 target farmers working with 50 mentors, and 250 associate farmers learning from the target farmers’ experiences. Rush spoke to both groups about his life, including an All Black

tour when he met Mandela. The politician told him he had been inspired, while in prison decades before Rush’s All Black tour, when he watched the NZers play the Springboks. “Mandela told us that the Springboks were a symbol of apartheid so when the All Blacks scored, all the Robben Island prisoners rose to their feet.” Rush and the All Blacks had tea with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace and met Princess Diana. “The trumpets of the palace… the fanfare… I’ll tell ya, it was a million miles from where I was brought up.”

He said Kaeo was typical small-town NZ with little money and few jobs. “We didn’t have material stuff.” The playfully-spoken sportsman said he and his four brothers, as young Kaeo lads, hand-milked their eight cows. “We didn’t have iPhones but we learned heaps about life. If I had my time as a kid again, I wouldn’t change anything. “We had no running water and just one bath a week. We got electricity when I was 11 or 12. There are a lot of things I take for granted now – opening the fridge, turning on the TV or flushing the toilet.” Rush played rugby as a kid but didn’t know of the All

Blacks. “We played rugby so we could go to the shops at the weekend. We lived 20km out of town and if you didn’t play rugby you stayed home and did jobs with your father. “I had a tough dad. He pushed us hard but only wanted us to do our best,” he said of his Irish father. “I once told him about my scoring four tries against Hawkes Bay. Dad told me off for being greedy,” he laughed. “We would fundraise in Kaeo for the five-hour bus trip to Whangarei to watch the games and eat KFC. Fast food in Kaeo was hitting a sheep at 100km/h.

Eric Rush speaking at the Extension 350 event.

“Those trips were where my dreams started.” He soon discovered that the amount of practice set apart the winners. “And sometimes you learn more when you’re going through the tough stuff,” he advised the audience. “Talent only gets you

so far. To get the rest of the way you need hard work. “Success breeds success. If you want to be a successful person, hang around with successful people. That’s what E350 is all about.” Luke Beehre, the E350 Project leader, thanked Rush for attending.


environment planning tool MitAgator last month won the Smart Farming Award at the South Island Agricultural Field Days at Kirwee. Developed jointly by Ballance and AgResearch, MitAgator helps farmers to navigate issues in water quality and to comply with councils’ tighter rules on environmental planning and costing of planned changes. The developers say the tool enables farmers to put theory into practice while retaining focus on productivity and profit. It is based on a detailed farm map, and has software that gives an overview of the four main contributors to poor water quality: nitrogen and phosphorous leaching, sediments and increasing E-coli contamination.

It integrates data from the farm’s OverSeer nutrient budget, then creates a ‘view from space’ showing where these problems are occurring, so identifying critical source areas (CSAs) around the farm. These are superimposed on the farm map using a colour legend to indicate risk areas. With the CSAs identified, the MitAgator system can compare the effectiveness and costs of various mitigation options, allowing the landowner to confidently choose the best option for the farm budget. The programme is prepopulated with 24 different scenarios designed and peer reviewed by industry specialists. These include stream fencing, riparian planting, manufactured wetlands, grass buffer strips or feed pads. Some scenarios are tailored to dairy,

drystock or deer but most suit a wide range of farming systems. After identifying and validating a farm’s best possible mitigation scenario, Ballance’s farm sustainability service will integrate the risk maps and mitigation scenarios with a farm environmental plan so that the farm complies as necessary. Ballance’s South Island regional manager sustainability, Erica Leadley, says the system “clearly identifies the costs and outcomes of developing a farm environmental plan, while also highlighting good practices already in place”. “By removing the guesswork, MitAgator allows farmers to take more control, have greater certainty about their actions and farm within environmental guidelines for many years to come.”– Mark Daniel

Erica Leadley, South Island regional manager of the Ballance Farm Sustainability Team, displays the award at SIAFD.

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Leading the way in sustainable farming Alex Turnbull, director NZMP marketing, Fonterra, outlines the co-op’s ongoing commitment to adding value to New Zealand’s economy and the global dairy industry, in relation to a recent Situation and Outlook report from New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industry. MPI’S HEALTHY out-

look of a 5.5% rise in dairy export revenue to the end of June 2019 is based on factors that are both within and beyond the control of our farmers, Fonterra or the Government. Factors beyond control are typical for the agricul-

internationally, and the origin, premium qualities, and reputation of our milk provides a foundation for success. It’s a point of difference that perhaps has been taken for granted in the past and one that we are now amplifying in the global marketplace.

New Zealand farmers are used to juggling these types of variables, and have done it well for a long time, to the benefit of the country. tural sector; the sustained good weather and pasture growth over spring and summer in New Zealand, Australia’s extreme climate creating a difficult season there, consecutive monthly declines in EU dairy output, and expected production declines in the USA over the next quarter.  New Zealand farmers are used to juggling these types of variables, and have done it well for a long time, to the benefit of the country.  The agriculture sector delivered about $43 billion of the country’s total export earnings of $82.3 billion (including tourism) last year. Of that figure, dairy accounted for just over $14 billion, or 17% of the country’s earnings in the year to January 2019, a level of contribution it has delivered for much of the last 15 years. One aspect that is under our control is how and where we focus our products on the value chain. We believe there’s a premium to be earned internationally from products backed by our New Zealand heritage and provenance. The quality of our milk comes from grass-fed, free-roaming cows reared on land that is looked after and cared for. It is rare and sets New Zealand apart on the world stage.  Dairy products like cheese and yoghurt are experiencing significant market share growth

That dovetails into on-farm sustainability and reducing emissions. Many want to see quicker actions delivered by the agriculture sector. Count us and farmers among them. New Zealand farmers have among the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per litre of milk collected in the world. We can produce a litre of milk for about half the emissions of the world average. Of course, we’re not stopping there. Racing the clock is the challenge scientists are grappling with. In February, an independent review of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC), found New Zealand is a world leader in all fields of agricultural greenhouse gas research and endorsed the programme’s performance to date. Our focus will be on putting this research into practise. Our dairy farmers have already spent over $1 billion on environmental improvements and we continue to work with them, local communities and councils to deliver water quality improvement at a catchment-wide scale. We’re focussed on building strong relationships and utilising the latest technology to accelerate progress and ensure our farmers continue to lead the way in sustainable farming practices.  Our future is in protecting and enhancing

New Zealand’s unique provenance proposition. It’s one of the keys to pushing New Zealand

products up the value chain. @dairy_news

Alex Turnbull, Fonterra.



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Building pasture cover levels THE LONG summer dry has meant many farmers are now focused on how they can increase pasture cover levels while still meeting cow condition score targets. Maize silage is an ideal supplement to use because when cows eat maize silage they leave more pasture in the paddock. This article provides a few tips on feeding higher rates of maize silage. 1. Test your maize silage. It is always a good idea to test your maize silage to determine the drymatter content and feed value. It’s even more important this year as it has been a far-from-normal growing season and plant drymatter levels varied greatly even within paddocks. Knowing maize silage drymatter content and nutritive value will enable you to feed budget

and plan feed-out rates more effectively. The best way to sample is to take handfuls from across an open stack face. Alternatively a closed stack can be cored, but make sure you plug the holes with salt and seal the cover. Samples should be submitted to a laboratory as soon after collection as possible. Place them in a plastic bag, burp the air out and store them in a cool place. Avoid couriering samples at the end of the week. 2. Introduce maize silage slowly. While animals whose rumens have had time to acclimatise to maize silage can be fed high rates, it is never a good

idea to feed too much too quickly. Start at 1-2 kgDM/cow and gradually increase the feeding rate over time. Take care when moving from one stack to another, especially if they contain different hybrids or have different starch levels. 3. Watch maize silage wastage. Good feed-out management is important. Keep the silage face tight and remove all loose silage on a daily basis. If you have used Pioneer brand 11C33 or 11CFT and your maize silage has fermented for a minimum of 30 days, you can feed out maize silage up to one day in advance. In all other situations feed out as close as possible to when the cows will eat

the silage. Remember there is a feed energy loss associated with any silage heating. 4. Watch calcium intake. Especially if you are milking or wintering cows which are in the early dry period on lower calcium feedstuffs such as palm kernel, maize silage, grains or straws. Calcium is the major mineral in the body with 98% of it contained in the bones and teeth. It is essential for muscle activity, blood clotting, nerve transmission and enzyme function. Low calcium status increases the inci-

dence of milk fever and calving difficulties. Ideally the diet should contain 0.6% calcium. If your diet contains less consider supplementing with limestone (calcium carbonate). Your veterinarian, nutritionist or local Pioneer brand products representative can help determine appropriate feeding rates. Limestone supplementation in the late dry period is not generally recommended. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact him at iwilliams@ genetic.conz


helped improve kiwifruit health and productivity for ten years is now being used in a new pasture spray for pastoral farmers. The products are made by Zest Biotech, of Pukekohe. Its product Agrizest

is used on kiwifruit and the new product, certified organic Biozest, is for pasture. The company says it helps pastoral farmers mitigate environmental impacts onfarm and increases pasture yield for milk and meat production.

The maker says it has been scientifically proven in research trials to improve the productivity, resilience and quality of pasture. Zest Biotech says its parent company Indigo has spent 20 years researching and develop-

ing the two products. The company says Stan Matenga, an organic dairy farmer at Mata, near Whangarei, used Biozest in 12-month paddock trials on his farm. Pasture production was measured and compared between several Biozest-treated

paddocks and untreated paddocks. The treated paddocks are said to have achieved higher pasture productivity and a doubling of pasture consumption by stock. Matenga says he also saw a change in the

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behaviour of his stock. “I’d put a mob of calves into the paddock and they’d immediately head over to the side treated with Biozest,” he says. “The grass looked healthier and the calves seemed to be saying they enjoyed eating it more than the untreated areas.” He says Biozest is a great addition to his onfarm environmental measures. “It’s something else I’ve been able to add to my bag of tricks, alongside other organic sprays, seaweed and longer-rooting plants in pasture.” Matenga also believes his pasture has recovered better from this year’s summer dry period than in previous years.

“Compared to the years we haven’t used Biozest, I’ve noticed this year our pasture had more resilience to dry periods, and I don’t think we’d be in as good a place as we are now if we had not used it.” The company says paddock and farm-scale trials over the last decade have shown Biozest-treated pasture can increase milk and meat production by up to 30% while simultaneously reducing urea excretion by at least 20%. Indigo founder and scientist Nathan Balasingham says with farmers under increasing pressure Biozest is a way to make a positive environmental impact.



Managing the herd for dry-off DAVID DYMOCK

IN OUR previous arti-

cle (Dairy News April 9) I discussed how to get the most out of a milk quality consultation and dry-cow therapy. Hopefully many of you will have already started those discussions with your veterinarian. This month we are discussing how best to manage your herd at dryoff. As a reminder, the goals of dry-off are to cure existing subclinical mastitis infections and prevent new infections through the dry period and early lactation. To achieve this, not only do we need to select the right cows and product, but we need to adequately prepare cows to successfully dry them off. Before we go into the

specifics, it is critically important to remember to take your time, and to best achieve this aim select a smaller number of cows to dry-off each day, i.e. in batches, rather than the whole herd. This will reduce fatigue and lessen the chance of making a mistake or getting sloppy with your hygiene. Prior to dry-off ■■ Sort tags and decide on a marking and recording system. ■■ Identify which cows you are drying off/ treating using your herd test data or RMT (rapid mastitis test) results. Discuss with your vet how to decide which cows to treat and what with. ■■ Cows should be dried off when milking 5-20L/day. If less than 5L then you risk get-



■■ ■■

Cows must be adequately prepared for a successful dry-off. Inset: David Dymock


ting an inhibitory substance grade at first collection and >20L/ day you risk milk leaking from the teats after dry-off.


Changing the herd’s diet can help ‘shut down’ cows that are heavy milkers. Consult your vet to determine how best to do this for your farming system. Consider training your staff in best practice administration of DCT and teat sealants. Your


veterinarian can assist with this and you can watch our Insert Dry Cow Therapy video to recap on the basics. At dry-off: ■■ Dry off during fine weather ■■ Keep teat ends clean at drying off time ■■ Dry off before cows go



onto wet / muddy paddocks Avoid hosing sheds / yards with cows nearby Check for clinical mastitis; don’t dry off cows if they have clinical mastitis, but instead keep milking them and use a lactating cow therapy (antibiotic) according to your veterinarian’s advice. Manage workload Antibiotic or sealant (1 tube): 25 cows/person/ hour Antibiotic and sealant (2 tubes): 15 cows/ person/hour Stand cows on clean paddock with feed for 30 mins after dry-off Don’t bring cows back into the shed for at least 10 days, ideally longer; this will help prevent leakage of milk. Following drying off

you should monitor the herd daily, especially for the first week after drying off; a walk through the herd and visual inspection is usually adequate. Early identification of sick cows with black mastitis will give you the best chance to save the cow’s life. Always treat cows with mastitis with a lactating cow therapy according to your veterinarian’s advice; never ever use dry cow therapy to treat clinical cases of mastitis. For helpful videos and fact sheets which expand on the information in this article visit , a reference library of industry best practice in some key animal health management areas. • David Dymock is a livestock technical advisor with MSD Animal Health.




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Genetic solutions key to increasing cow fertility PAM TIPA


ing value is a genetic assessment of future cow fertility and it works, says DairyNZ senior scientist Dr Chris Burke. But faster genetic gain is possible if it was more accurate, so new measures are being tested to achieve greater fertility, he says. Timing of puberty is emerging as one particularly important measure. “A faster rate of gain is possible – that is the aim here. We are trying to increase the gain that is possible through fertility and to do that it has to be more accurate,” he told the Northland Dairy Development Trust (NDDT) annual general meeting. Burke heads a programme with fellow DairyNZ scientists

Susanne Meier and Claire Phyn. Its aim is to provide management and genetic solutions to improve cow fertility and lifetime productivity. They are also working with dozens of scientists, technicians and other experts from research agencies with support from commercial companies, MBIE and more than 2,000 farmers. Burke told the NDDT meeting that objectives include developing a management technique related to the transition period for the cow which will likely get about 10-15% adoption in the industry – providing fertility benefits for minimal input. On average the industry is at about 68% of cows getting in calf within the first six weeks of mating. The target is about 75%, so there is room for improvement. The six week in-calf rate is made up of two

key drivers. The first one is cows getting submitted in the first three weeks and the second one is the cows holding onto those inseminations. “The interesting thing for me is they run parallel – they are both simultaneously affected. At our level we are trying to work on these key drivers to get the result.” Burke says if they do nothing, fertility genetics would decrease by default, but a big gain will come if they can accelerate genetic improvement. A flagship of the programme was to build a cow herd – they call it the fertility research herd or model herd. In 2013 they contract mated 2,500 Holstein Friesian cows to selected sires aiming to create a future herd with extreme differences in the fertility breeding values. In 2016 about 600 calves were born and they have reared

ANOGENITAL DISTANCE A RELATIVELY new possible measure for fertility is anogenital distance, says Burke. A Canadian study of Friesian cows showed that distance, which is highly variable and moderately heritable, is associated with cow fertility. But an Irish Holstein Friesian population study did not find a correlation between that measure and cow fertility. But Burke says their study is showing there is certain point where

the distance seems to be associated with cow fertility regardless of whether in the low or high fertility line. With below 105mm in anogenital measure at heifer age, reproductive performance was better than those that had lengths above 105mm. “This is evidence that supports the Canadian study that there is a correlation. Whether that is the same if you go out to the industry – we will have a look at that.”

550 heifers, half with low fertility (Low Fert BV) and half with very high fertility (High Fert BV). They have been raised in the same environment with the same management policies to take out environmental effects. “We are purely studying for genetic fertility.” In 2017 these animals calved for the first time and have now just finished the second lactation. About 481 were reared in first lactation and 345 in the second. They had activity monitors on the animals from a very young age. “This was probably one of the first cases when this had been done. It is very hard to do that because they are out grazing and not coming into the dairy shed to download the data. So they had the farm set up with receivers all over the place.” Some of the technicians were virtually camped there. Liveweight gains were the same in both BV groups. However, timing of puberty was 21 days earlier in the High Fert BV despite being 25kg lighter. Age of puberty in the high line was 358 versus 379 in the low. Burke says the high fertility animals must have a physiological trigger for puberty which wasn’t necessarily related to liveweight.

Timing of puberty is emerging as one important measure in a DairyNZ trial.

Puberty measure could be one key to accelerating genetic gain for fertility. “That might allow us to predict future cow fertility more accurately at an earlier age.” They used Jersey bulls with AB across the Holstein Friesian heifers. There was a huge difference in the submission rates – at three weeks, 87% for High Fert BV versus 48% for the low. By six weeks, 95% of high had been inseminated while only 55% of low had been – a difference of 40%. “The low rate was not because staff were missing heats – these cows had not started ovulating after six weeks of mating.” Fifty five percent of the highs were pregnant in the first three weeks. That was on track for a 78% six week calf rate. Only 33% of the lows were pregnant within six weeks. The empty rate was 42% because they didn’t get pregnant over a 12 week mating. In second lactation, 74% of the High Fert BV were in calf by six weeks. The Low Fert BVs were pretty bad - 39% six week in-calf rate, a difference

of 29%. And again they lost 44% because they did not get pregnant. They started with 320 Low-Fert – they only have about 68 left. He says that shows how important fertility is to the farm businesses in terms of having cows staying in the herd and being productive for a least three or four seasons. “The fertility breeding value is certainly work-

ing. With the low line, there are two populations. About half of them will cycle in the first three to six weeks by themselves and the other half won’t. It costs money in your herd through dealing with those sorts of genetics.” A 34% six week in-calf rate gap and a 25% no-incalf rate gap with low fertility cows compared to high, will cost an average herd of 432 cows $166,752.

HEIFERS MONITORED THE PROGRAMME is now targeting some measures that might help improve the accuracy of the fertility to get some gains. About 5,000 dairy heifers in 60 commercial farms are lined up for study. They will measure progesterone in blood to determine the time of puberty. They put activity monitors on 2,000 heifers. They will follow those through the first lactation so they can correlate the puberty trait or the anogenital trait with how they perform in lactation. Monitoring has to be accurate, safe, practical and affordable and they will improve on methods for use in the industry, says Burke. That may be activity monitoring. “If you think about the environment where every cow counts, there might be a time where cows are activity monitored all the time.” The take home, he says, is that fertility breeding value does work if you pay attention to it. “Faster genetic gain is possible and we need to measure it more accurately and we are trying to find more ways to measure.”

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WiderRAV4 swathtops with moderate tractor 2019 25-year legacy This is said to allow ing widths of 2.6m, 3.1m powertrain in options, a 2.5L safe,including comfortable trans-electric motor, and driving the rear and 3.6m, respectively, hybrid-electric petrol engine model port between jobs, andwheels alone, the E-Four smoothly 5-, 6- and 7-disc of 131kW and mated to an electronioverhang switches the RAV4 Hybrid AWD to all rations, each carrying two it minimises cally controlled continuously variable beyond the rear fenderswheel-drive on slippery road surfaces quick-attach blades. (A AGCO’S GREEN Hartransmission (E-CVT). TOYOTA’S RECENTLY launched, of theThis tractor. KC-designation indicates vest range has evolved increases to 163kW2 fifth generation RAV4 is said to build The layout sees a a rear conditioning eleas tedders, rakes, loader when increascombined on its 25-year legacy with itsment charisheavy-duty headstock, for rapidly wagons and baler/wrapper with the hybrid with the cutter mounted matic design, improved performance, ing dry matter content.) combinations. system. TL-V advanced effi-designation at a centralised pivot Now fortechnology 2019 comesand a fuelThe addiciency. position, allowing ground is new range of disc mowers shows that theInmower tion,the Turbo the First unveiledseries in 1989 at the Tokyo with adaptation up to 28 equipped – the DM-TL-V RAV4 hybrid degrees above horizontal Motorshow, RAV4fachas become Lift New hydro-pneumatic made at thethe Feucht includes Zealand’s biggestofselling with -lift system with verti-an and 20 degrees below. tory in Germany, inter- SUV E-Four AWD 398,551 sold and a following among A hydro-pneumatic cal folding for transport -est to operators wanting system drivers of all ages. circuit can be steplessly that allows the mower that to greater mowing widths uses a dedicated a first for NZ’s SUV fold lineto 30 degrees past the adjusted to ground presbutInpowered byToyota tractors electric motor sure, depending on terup, a hybrid powertrain will debut in vertical, centring its mass of ‘reasonable’ size. to power the Available 2019 RAV4 and will be available in over the three-point link- therain and forward speed in three wheels three grades -GX, GXL and Limited, and to minimise damage age and therear centre line of when models, the DM 265, 316 needed. The system all in all-wheel drive. Two all wheelto the turf. the tractor. and 367 TL-V offer workdrive petrol grades (GXL and Adven- sends up to 50% of the torque to the and from stationary starts. Three town-oriented front-wheel ture) and three front-wheel drive petrol rear axle and the differential can then grades (GX, GXL and Limited) will send it in varying amounts to the indi- drive petrol variants (GX, GXL and vidual wheels. Operating indepen- Limited) all have a newly designed complete the line-up. The 2019 RAV4 comes in three dently from the hybrid system’s front 127kW/203Nm 2.0L direct injection

petrol engine coupled with a direct- form. It has a low centre of gravity, shift CVT combination. The new much increased body rigidity and is Dynamic Force 152kW/243Nm 2.5L in- wider, higher and longer (2690mm) line four-cylinder engine is paired with than the current model. This allows an 8-speed direct shift automatic trans- more cabin space, particularly in the mission in the all wheel-drive petrol back seat, better access to the rear and a larger rear door opening angle. GXL and Adventure models. The E-Four system’s extra traction The Adventure also has a Toyota first gives the hybrid AWD a 1500kg towing – a dynamic capacity, said by the maker to be among torque vec- the highest achieved by a hybrid vehitoring AWD cle. This is matched by the 2.5L petrol model. The 2WD 2.0L petrol model system. can tow 800kg, and all models include Petrol all wheel- trailer sway control which integrates braking of individual wheels and engine drive models also torque control to help quickly bring a offer a multi- swaying trailer back under control. The eight-variant range all includes terrain option allowing the driver all-speed dynamic radar cruise conto select from mud and sand mode trol, a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking (including for beach driving or rock and forof the lines. Reset is achieved by Thedirt heart detection of pedestrians and daylight off-road trails. gravity, without the opermachine -- the cutter-bar cyclists), sign assist, The 2019 RAV4 is -made ator having to lane leavetracing the has aon flatthe profile pro- road assist and automatic high beam. Toyota New Global Architecture plattractor seat. tected by large hardened Set-up is said to be steel wear plates and a particularly easy, only sealed-for-life oil bath The latest ActiveMow from Krone needing little or no main- needing setting of the includes a host of innovative ideas tractor’s lower links, from tenance. Large, hardened spur gears work with where the TL system is a n d r e f i n e m e n t s , g i v e s r e l i a b i l i t y, tractor flow mower, easydisc to set up gears required Niaux discs, so to focus A VETERAN of New used for liftingoiland lowoversized drive e f f i c i e n c y, c l e a n c u t s a n d e v e n would be about 40L/ and simple to operate. more on the blades Zealand’s farm machinering via a single-acting with always three teeth saves space in storage! Agronic resulting also manuand to launch Ground ery industry has set hydraulic connection. engaged, in min- minute. TheThe rotor fingers posiare factures a wider trailGear, Raikes has bought up his own business operating imal gear backlash and New heavy duty headstock. * Te r m s , c o n d i t i o n s made of nylon/polyamide ing windrower with a 4AG’s stock of Niaux to sell selected lines tion is set by centralising quiet running. & lending criteria Wo r k i n g w i d t h f r o m 2 m t o 3 . 6 m . a p p l y. with baffleon the hydraulically adjustable discs and will distribof imported machintwo rods marker arrows A heavy-duty drive- plastic plates fitted at the working width of 8.2 ute them. ery and to source or mower frames; arear compenline takes power to the to help transfer crop 9.55m that should appeal “We still stay close develop innovative new sation cylinder setstoup the first disc assembly, with Low maintenance, high quality centre offor thecontours wind- of toprotection operators looking for a themachine to 4AG as they sell a lot machines. from overload rower. high-capacity windrower of disc machines. Given Brent Raikes has and dependable. and a free-wheeling clutch +/- 13 degrees and locks In operation, the for tofor runcontrolled ahead of balers, the volume they sell moved on from the the cutter-bar wind down out rotor speed is adjusted to loader wagons and chopand refurbish they are family business 4AG headland turns. after the PTO is disenmatch the forward speed pers in a range of crop a good customer,” said and has set up Ground Standard equipment gaged. A separate, prois typically - 12 types. Raikes Gear, supplying Frenchincludes quick 8attach tected drive-line is used which km/h depending on conThe machine has a Agronic’s innovative made Forges de Niaux blades, a rear-mounted for powering the condiSwadro Rake K W S e r i e s Te d d e r ditions or crop -much box section centre frame front-mounted winddisc blades through toolbox, safety lock and tioner. than parking traditional that carries a pair of the faster rowers are said to have autumn and winter and integral stand. In the paddock, twin rotor, steel tine conadjusted, swath passes underneath contractors because they hydraulically WR 600), the windrowturned all knowledge of Finnish-made Agronic Optional conditioner integral Safety Swing figurations. sliding rotorallows sleeves the tractor for harvesting can remove a tractor front-mounted windrow- rotary windrowers on its ers are front-mounted units are available with function the Working height beneath. and labour unit out of by a baler or self-loading and use two swathhead with a concept that ersFo during spring and spring steel tinesisor roller mower bed to move r more information contact easily adjustable via Each rotor is driven the silage or hay-making wagon. ing rotors to merge two is deceptively simple. summer. elements for general or up and over obstacles, triple support wheels. its ownuse hydrauoperation, being no more bymaking Raikes says Agronic mower-conditioned rows Offered as two 4AG was the NZ disdelicate crop types. of a patented – Mark Daniel licpivoting motor. Minimum obtrusive than a front are ideal for into one. The single models (WR06 500370 and 0390 tributor of Forges de gearbox to pre@dairy_news DEALERSmachines NATIONWIDE vent damage to the




Produce exceptional results with the Krone r a n g e o f m a c h i n e r y.


As its name suggests the Sumo Trio consists of 3 parts to help develop and create an ideal seed bed in all soil conditions. First stage: Staggered row of subsoiler legs with a maximum working depth of 400mm. (both hydraulic and shear pin protection systems available)



Secondary stage: Two rows of 500mm concave discs equipped with triple sealed bearings and Sumo’s famous double drive system giving unrivalled performance when working in adverse conditions. Third stage: Sumo’s 760mm multipacker roller with replaceable shoulders leaves a weatherproof level finish in the most challenging soil conditions.




The Sumo Grassland subsoiler improves and revitalises compacted grassland that is suffering from the effects of continual livestock, rainfall and heavy machinery. • •

Leading row of adjustable individually suspended discs allow minimum disturbance on the pasture surface. Hydraulic Subsoiler legs with working depths from 100-350mm to suit all types of compaction layer depths with quick change points. Rear flat packer roller with scrapers to leave an aerated consolidated level finish across the full working width. SOUTH ISLAND Call Alastair Robertson | 027 435 2642 AMBERLEY | LEESTON | ASHBURTON TIMARU | OAMARU



HEADS-UP FOR WINTER LIGHTING WITH DAYLIGHT hours diminishing, the new ALS head torch from Narva might be just the job in the paddock when bringing in the ‘girls’ or lighting the way in gloomy conditions. The two rechargeable models (71424 or 71462) are worn with an adjustable head strap, allowing the wearer to use both hands and see in brilliant white light. The smaller 71424 model has a high efficiency LED lamp with 120 lumens light. At full output, one charge will allow 2.5 hours operating time or up to five hours at 50% output. The 3.7V 800mAh Li-poly battery in this model can be recharged to full power in two-three hours with a USB lead or 240V adaptor, both part of the package. The light has a 120-degree beam angle and weighs only 163g. The larger 71462 has two LEDs giving 250 lumens in a 120-degree angle flood beam, and a high-power LED spotlight that delivers 150 lumens and 60m range. A third option is an arc beam, courtesy of another LED, providing 120 lumens. Depending on settings, the 71426 will run for 2.5 - 3 hours. The 3.8V, 1600mAh Li-poly battery recharges in two-three hours via a USB lead or 240V adaptor in the pack. For added convenience, the 71462 has a motionactivated sensor: wave your hand in front of the light and it turns on. This larger unit weighs only 200g and, like the smaller one has a magnetized base for sticking to metal surfaces.

Sumo GLS grassland subsoiler in action at Mystery Creek. Right: Legs are manufactured from 20mm Hardox steel.

Sumo GLS wrestles compaction MARK DANIEL

A RECENT demonstration of a grassland subsoiler in the heav-

ily compacted car park at Mystery Creek grabbed visiting dairy farmers with its ability to improve drainage, aerate the upper profile of soil and allow nutrients to get to plant

roots. Giltrap Agrizone, importer and distributor of the UK-made Sumo range, showed its GLS Grassland subsoiler, described by factory spe-


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cialists in attendance as the ideal tool to revitalise compacted grassland, including land that is waterlogged, badly pugged or compacted by heavy machinery during, for example, harvesting. Offered in three-, four- or five-leg versions, the GLS series is available in two frame sizes with working widths of 2.3 or 2.8m, equating to transport widths of 2.5 or 2.9m, respectively, and with frame configurations and leg numbers resulting in spacings of 830 or 580mm. Legs are manufactured from 20mm Hardox steel fitted with narrow points and wings designed to create lift and fracturing but with minimal surface disturbance. The legs are carried on a heavy- gauge box section frame offered in operating weights of 1490, 1625 and 1875kg, respectively, in the three-, four- and five-leg configurations referred to above. To help penetration while protecting the surface sward, the front rail of the frame carries serrated opening discs mounted on individually suspended arms; these

allow the subsoiler to enter the soil with tearing the sward. The discs are adjusted by a single bolt fixing for each unit. The low draught subsoiler legs are protected against trash/junk damage by a hydraulic non-stop auto reset function that operates at pressures of up to 150bar. Working depths are 100 - 350mm. The manufacturer recommends the operator uses a spade to dig around and examine the soil profile, before setting the machine to work about 50mm below any plough ‘pan’ (compacted ground). At the rear of the machine, a 508mm flat packer roller is configured with a helically mounted shark-fin design to aerate the upper level of the profile as it rotates. The roller also carries a row of paddle teeth behind each subsoiler leg to close the ‘cut’, while also imparting a positive driving effect to the roller assembly. An optional following harrow can also be fitted to spread loose grass and create a ‘de-thatching’ effect.



Better feed uptake, minimises wastage CLEAR ROOFED dairy

housing manufacturer, Redpath says each farm operates different feedout regimes. It says each feed system has their strengths and weaknesses; some systems will cost less/ more than others and some will suit farms with limited staff numbers as they are more time efficient to operate. “It may also depend on the frequency of feeding that you are planning and the type of feed that you are feeding as to what system best suits your needs. “Many farmers have advised us that the shelter feed-out system has a very large effect on feed uptake and minimises wastage. This becomes especially important when feeding out the more expensive supplements and minerals,” the com-

pany says. Here are some ways to feed cows in Redpath’s dairy housing; Feed alongside outer walls: Placing feed onto a concrete pathway or trough that runs the full length of the buildings outer walls is a popular method of feeding out.  The path will typically be up to 1.8m wide in allowance for the cows flicking out of reach some of the feed, which then the farmer can simply go along and sweep or scrape it back into reach afterwards. The company says the use of troughs is becoming less popular for the indoor feed systems as they can increase maintenance work with respect to cleaning out left over tainted feed or foreign debris. Feed along outer walls

- with 2.5m “standing pathway” full length on inside: This set up is essentially the same as above except that there is a 2.5m pathway wide along the full length of the building inside the outer pole lines.  This pathway is for the cows to fully stand on while feeding and any effluent dropped whilst feeding may then be scraped clean to the effluent pond. A shallow nib is usually incorporated into the edge of the pathway to prevent the litter being dragged onto it and effluent draining back onto the litter.  The balance of the shelter is kept as a deep litter loafing area. Central service lane feed out cover: Redpath says its central service lane system is becoming more and more popular with many farmers as it offers a fully

enclosed feed out shelter without the need to work around the perimeter of the building or drop feed outside of the shelters protection. Typically the central service lane is a 6m or arch span that connects the main loafing areas together so that the barn appears as “one unit”. The cows in the loafing area all reach through to feed from the centre service lanes feed troughs or pathways. Cows exit to a ‘selffeed” system: With this system the cows will actually leave the shelter to walk out onto a concrete pad located at either the end or the sides of the shelter.  The cows may then feed at their leisure and are left to return to the

loafing area on the deep litter when they want. This system has the cows self-managing themselves to some extent and requires the farmer to scrape clear the effluent that is dropped on the

exposed feedpad portion of this system. The company also offers differing length header or neck rails for the cows to reach through. The rail ‘offset’ from the building

has quite an effect on the amount of reach the cows have when feeding. The shape of the neck rail is also important to help prevent any injury from rubbing of the cows coat on the rails.




FORAGE WAGONS You expect your farm machinery to go the distance, and McIntosh delivers with Forage Wagons built to the highest quality standards. We’ve thought about the rugged and unpredictable conditions on so many New Zealand farms and engineered a range of Forage Wagons that won’t let you down when the going gets tough. McIntosh offered one of the first Forage Wagons on the New Zealand market, and we continue to have a proven track record for strength and reliability. Ask about our Titan Series Wagon with 13mm floor and elevator chains, along with many other great features to give trouble free option and extended service life.

Phone 0800 625 826

STANDARD FEEDER (C6 Pinned) • 1 x 6 foot bale • 2m diameter • 15 feed positions • 15 - 30 animals

OVAL FEEDER (S2 Pinned) • 3 x 4 foot bales • 2 x 6 foot bales • 24 feed positions • 24 - 48 animals • 4m long

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Limiting losses while feeding cows grass silage GRASS SILAGE begins to break down once exposed to air. Losses occur as sugars and protein in the grass are broken down by enzymes and bacteria. This process starts as soon as the grass is cut. Losses decrease quality as well as quantity because

it is the highly digestible components which are most rapidly broken down. According to DairyNZ, silage will begin to heat up as micro-organisms turn the remaining sugars and protein into heat and energy. When feeding out, aim for as little time as possible between exposing the silage to air, and the cow eating it. There are several ways to limit losses from silage while feeding out: ■■ Remove at least 20cm off the whole stack face each day, so silage at the face is not exposed to air for a more than one day. ■■ Cut silage off the face,





rather than pulling it off. This keeps a smooth surface at the stack face, which reduces air penetration into the stack. Leave the stack face open on dry days to avoid heat build-up under the polythene. Do not feed out more than one day in advance, especially in summer. Cows will be able to eat more of the silage they are offered if it is fed out on dry paddocks or feed out areas, along fence lines, or in feed bins or troughs. Do not allow cows access to spoiled silage.


The VM mixer range with new Feed Manager puts you in total feed and cost control with in-cab wireless weigh monitoring, you know exactly what is being fed. • •

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Low power requirements Numerous discharge options

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Models from 6.5m3 to 45m3 Simple adjustment of mix

VM20-2L with LOW LOADING HEIGHT FROM ONLY 2.67M Volume, level load: 20m3 Effective load: 8,000kg

For more information contact your local Kongskilde mixer wagon dealer today! Norwood 0800 NORWOOD | Johnson Gluyas Tractors 0800 582 828 | Agricentre South 03 208 8333 | R & R Tractors 07 573 9107


IF YOU don’t have a feed analysis for your silage, you can estimate quality from its appearance. Feed quality: High quality silage has lots of leaf, and very little stem in it. The more stem in silage, the poorer its quality. Colour: Well-preserved silages are green, yellow, or pale brown. Dark brown silage is generally poorly preserved. Smell: Well preserved silage has a sweet, tobacco smell. Foul, rancid smells indicate the presence of butyric acid from poor preservation. Moulds: Moulds grow where silage has been exposed to air. Some fungi can produce toxins.

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Wagon delivers more options MARK DANIEL

GILTRAP ENGINEERING has unveiled a new

Multi-Feeder feed wagon, adding to its range of side and centre-delivery models. The Multi-Plus range, with models numbered 4B, 5B and 6B (the numbers tell the capacity in 1.8m diameter rounds or 2.1m square bales) have capacities of 13, 15.5 and 18 cubic metres, or 8700, 10,400 or 12,000kg. This new multi-purpose machine handles chopped silage, square bales, roto-cut bales and beet. It will interest farmers with a diverse feed source or looking to diversify their feed. Its one-piece tub is made from Hardox steel for strength with reduced weight. The tub sides are

1m high, allowing square bales to be stacked twodeep without the need for ‘greedy boards’, so reducing the number of trips or loads. In their base, the larger units are fitted with four 10-tonne capacity floor chains (two on the 4B model) operating in a recessed channel, allowing the RHS bolted slats to sit flat on the floor and resist bending. The rear tailgate has an auto-release system allowing it to open if a load is reversed too far. Up front, the feed-out chamber takes material from the main tub, then moves it to the unloading elevator using RHS bars carried on a 3-inch pitch chain. The latter’s 6800kg rating is said to be the heaviest in the industry. A load-sensing valve automates feed rate control to the hydraulically

adjustable, tilting elevator on the right side of the machine. This extends under the floor to minimise spillage. On the left side of the feed-out

chamber, a deflector plate allows feeding to the left for forage or beet, and has the option of a shredder unit. The driveline of the

feeder uses hydraulics throughout. Three double acting remotes in turn power the main bin floor, the feed chamber conveyor and the unloading

elevator. The drive to the motors is direct, removing the need for more typical intermediate chain drives -- a potential wear point. At the front, a perfo-

rated bulkhead gives the operator good visibility of the load, while a drawbar-mounted bin is an ideal receptacle for waste twine, net and bale wrap. Full length handrails and tread plates make access easy on each side, and daily maintenance is helped by the grouping of grease nipples into easily accessed banks. Keeping things mobile falls to an oscillatingbeam tandem axle layout that uses up to 90mm section steel dependent on models, in turn carrying 8-stud wheel equipment with wide flotation tyres. Standard equipment includes LED lighting. An extensive list of options includes hydraulic braking, multi-point electronic weighing with digital display, joystick controls and remote axle greasing.

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Feeding out maize silage MAIZE SILAGE is

a maize crop cut and ensiled in a stack or bunker; commonly used as a supplement to pasture in situations where cows would otherwise be underfed.

Maize silage is a high quality forage supplement, according to DairyNZ. Maize silage is a useful supplement for filling genuine feed deficits, but needs to be well managed

to reduce costs and wastage, it says. Why is maize ensiled? Maize silage is full of soluble carbohydrates which while being a great food for cows, is also loved by spoilage bugs,

such as yeasts and mould. The aim of the ensiling process is to get air out of the stack and keep it out until maize silage is ready to be fed. Storing maize silage To minimise losses:

Consider stack location and prepare site in advance of harvest. Consider environmental implications, e.g. risk of runoff, distance to waterways, drains and other sensitive areas. Consider whether to use a bun (stack) or a bunker. Buns can be located around the farm and therefore more flex-

ible, whereas bunkers are initially more expensive but have higher compaction rate and therefore less wastage. Stack dimensions, the aim is to build a stack so that when being fed out, as little maize as possible is exposed to air. Consider quantity of maize, how many animals you are feeding and what

inoculant you are using. Ideally it should take no more than three days to feed across the stack face, taking about half a metre each feed. Cover immediately after the contractor has finished rolling the maize. Seal around the base of the stack with soil, sand or lime and place tyres to completely cover stack.


“Designed by a Farmer for Farmers”

PHONE 0800 4 AGBITS | 0800 4 242 487 WEBSITE

WHEN YOU start feeding maize open the stack at the opposite end of the prevailing wind to prevent air getting pushed under the cover. Use a front end loader to create a face. Once the face has been created, chip away from the top to the bottom of the stack, rather than lifting from the bottom of the stack face. Don’t ram bucket or silage forks into the face of the stack as this creates shatter and may allow air to penetrate the maize stack. Face management Ensure the face is left tight daily, with no loose material at the base of the stack. A wide mouth shovel and a broom will help prevent this. You

do not need to drop the cover down over the face each day. If birds are a problem can use bird netting or shade cloth. Closing a stack down Use the front end loader to remove any loose material from the front of the stack, trim up the face using an old chainsaw and spray a saturated salt solution over the stack face, drop the silage cover back down the face, reseal the base with soil and place tyres against the covered face. Replenish bait stations and leave stack until you need to feed out again. When you roll back the cover to feed out again, remove any material that may have become mouldy.

Beat the seasons!




“Protection for your valuable pasture and stock - until the cows come home”

FREE PH 0508 733 728 Email:








Strong demand for New Zealand’s biggest feed range means you’re going to have to get in quick for guaranteed delivery. Order today.





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We like seeing kiwi farmers benefit from the latest advances in technology. Our state-of-the-art Protrack® products are making dairy farming easier and driving productivity forward. By making our systems modular, we’re bringing the benefits of LIC Automation within everyone’s reach. You can start with a Protrack SCC sensor, one of our must haves for any dairy shed or our popular Protrack Draft gate. Then add Protrack Heat to improve efficiency or make the move to Protrack Milk for real time results on milk quality. With modules connecting to each other seamlessly, as well as to MINDA®, our in-shed automation grows as your needs grow.

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Dairy News 23 April 2019  

Dairy News 23 April 2019

Dairy News 23 April 2019  

Dairy News 23 April 2019