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Changes to DIRA announced. PAGE 6 ADDICTED TO TREES Environment stewardship PAGE 25

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Changes to DIRA announced. PAGE 6 ADDICTED TO TREES Environment stewardship PAGE 25

JUNE 11, 2019 ISSUE 424 //


Dairy News_256x70_v5(bleed).pdf












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NEWS  // 3

Dream comes true for the Woodwards NIGEL MALTHUS

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NEWS������������������������������������������������������3-18 AGRIBUSINESS����������������������������� 20-21 OPINION���������������������������������������������22-23 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������24-27 ANIMAL HEALTH�������������������������� 28-29 SOUTH ISLAND DAIRY EVENT����������������������������������30-31 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS���������������������������������������32-35

the realisation of a dream for former Canterbury sharemilkers Michael and Susie Woodward. They are now proud owners of a 170ha farm at Otorohanga, 45 minutes southwest of Hamilton. The change meant a huge logistics exercise for the couple and their four children. It took a large transporter for the tractor and other farm machinery, two SUVs with trailers loaded to the gunwales for the family and relays of trucks for the livestock. The couple have been sharemilking about 1000 cows for Purata Farms just south of Dunsandel, but have pared back for the new farm, choosing to keep only their best A2 tested animals. They took 250 dried off cows, 100 in calf heifers, about 60 empty carryovers, 16 bulls plus 50 Angora goats. The rest of the herd was sold to buyers in Oamaru and Southland. It was nearly a one week journey on trucks backloaded with other cows coming south, the Woodwards’ cows overnighting at Blenheim and the goats overnighting at Foxton on

Truck departs with machinery to the new farm. Left inset: The Woodward family leaving their old farm: John 7, Kylie 9, Jack 5 and Charlie 2 with Michael and Susie Woodward.

the way north. Susie Woodward said the only machinery they took when moving to Dunsandel was motorbikes. The move to Waikato was “not straightforward” but getting their own farm was worth the pain, she said. “There have been a few challenges along the way,” said Michael, “But keep the end goal in mind and

we’re just about there.” His move somewhat returns him to his roots, since he was raised on an Angora goat farm two hours north of the new farm. They recently established their own Angora herd and hope to build that side of their business to complement the cows. Woodward says the new farm consists of three older farms pulled together over time. About a third is flat, a third rolling and a third steep. “It’s definitely got a bit more character than some of the Canterbury farms.” Being fully self contained enables them to winter all stock on farm and to adjust cow numbers to fit the goat side of the business, he says. “Maybe that [Angora] ramps up but we’ve got to make sure we keep

the bank happy,” he says with a grin. The farm has a 27-a-side herringbone shed with inshed feeding and a shearing shed for the goats. They will be supplying Synlait’s new Pokeno plant. Meanwhile, Woodward has resigned as Federated Farmers North Canterbury dairy chair but hopes to get involved again in Waikato once they’re settled in. He remains chair of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and Susie will continue on the Mohair NZ producers board. Although milking a smaller herd than they’re used to, the Woodwards plan to milk only once a day for a “lower input, lower stress” system. On their self contained farm they expect a lot of drystock work and they intend devoting a lot of time to their four children. “We might not be milking in the afternoon but we’ll be busy,” says Michael.


4 //  NEWS

Market watchers split over GDT price drop PAM TIPA

WAS LAST week’s 3.4% drop in the Global Dairy Trade overall price index a warning sign or a temporary dip? Economists are divided. BNZ’s senior economist David Steel says it reflects caution given the global trade outlook. ANZ’s Susan Kilsby sees the drop as an indication that buyers are relatively well stocked after strong sales in recent months. Meanwhile ASB’s Nathan Penny questions whether there is a pullback on milk fat. Whole milk powder (WMP) was down 1.5% to an average price of

US$3138/tonne. Skim milk powder (SMP) was down 4% to an average price of US$2436/t, anhydrous milk fat (AMF) down 5.7%, butter down 10.3% and cheddar down 14%. Kilsby told Dairy News the result was disappointing but not unexpected. “Prices are generally trending down at the moment as buyers are relatively well stocked following strong sales out of NZ in recent months and extra product available from Europe due to milk supply there rising seasonally (peaks in May). “However, milk output is not really expanding in Europe on a year on year basis. Just the seasonality is providing a little boost at the moment. “Demand from China

remains strong which combined with relatively small global growth in milk supply should underpin prices going forward. Hence the current correction is more likely to be short lived than the start of a strong downward trend.” Kilsby says cheese and fats fell the most but these were just corrections from recent strong upward price lifts. BNZ’s Steel says the 3.4% slip added to the sense that prices have peaked following a strong run higher earlier in the year. Price declines were widespread across products at this auction with only casein posting any material increase. “The overall price decline was a touch larger

than we had expected on the day but fits well with our broad view that prices will drift lower over coming months,” he says. “This largely reflects our caution given current trade tensions, related uncertainty and slower global growth outlook. The number of participating bidders has reduced as has the number of unsatisfied bidders, both giving a sense of demand not being as strong as it was previously. The supply side looks less threatening from a price point of view.” Steel says the price decline comes alongside a small bounce in the NZ dollar giving something of a double whammy for milk price calculations at

the margin. “We remain cautious for the season ahead given the global uncertainties prevailing. Our $6.70/kgMS milk price forecast for the 2019-20 season builds in further declines in international prices.” Last week’s auction result doesn’t look out of line with Fonterra’s forecast range of $6.25/ kgMS to $7.25/kgMS, he says. “Not that one auction will ever make a season,” he quips. ASB’s Penny says butter prices surged through the first half of 2019 before the 10.3% drop last week. Still, prices remain about 23% higher than end 2018 levels.

Susan Kilsby, ANZ.

“This may indicate an easing in global milk fat (butter) markets. The sudden slowdown in NZ production given the hot and dry summer weather had previously put the squeeze on milk fat markets.” Last week’s result suggests some pullback, Penny says. WMP prices are treading water, he says. The 1.5%

drop in WMP was neither here nor there for milk price forecasts, given the low volumes on offer. “How prices fare during the spring flush will be the next key test. “We retain our bullish 2019-20 milk price forecast of $7/kgMS. We continue to expect dairy prices to move towards a cyclical peak later in the year.”


$7.15/KGMS PAYOUT STILL ON RABOBANK ALSO says it still anticipates a milk price of $7.15/kgMS for the new season 2019-20. This is based on forecasts for global supply and demand for the next 12 months. Dairy analyst Emma Higgins says in Rabobank’s monthly agribusiness update that New Zealand milk collections trailed off as the season drew to a close. Milk flows for April were 8% behind the same time last year. This pulls season to date milk collections down by 2.3%. Rabobank expects final full season production to land between 1.5% and 2% higher than last year once final tallies are

counted. Markets are now focused on northern hemisphere milk production, she says. EU milk production for March moved into positive territory for the first time since September 2018, lifting 1.1% year on year. US milk production growth has pulled back into modest growth mode, with April 2019 milk flows marginally higher by just 0.1% year on year. This compares to a decline in production for March 2019, the first in six years. “With the northern hemisphere new season well underway, the spring peak has passed and reports are emerging of strong milk flows providing procurement options.”

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WESTPAC’S ANNE Boniface says the bank was a little surprised by the downgrade to the milk price forecast for the season just finished. Fonterra now expects to pay $6.30-6.40/kgMS. “Previously they were forecasting a $6.30-6.60/kgMS range. Given the solid lift we saw in prices over the early part of this year we had expected the 2018-19 final milk price to be closer to $6.50/kgMS. “But with the production season now complete, Fonterra has the information advantage so we will take this on board and pencil in a $6.40/kgMS for the 2018-19 season.”

Fonterra’s opening forecast for the 2019-20 season was $6.25-$7.25/kgMS, with advance payments to farmers to be made at the $6.75 mid point of this range. “We’re happy to retain a slightly more optimistic view than Fonterra on the outlook for now,” she says. However last week’s auction result was a little softer than had been pencilled in. “Markets also seem to be a little more constructive than Fonterra on the outlook for the 2019-20 season, with milk price futures at $6.85/kgMS after earlier briefly trading above $7/ kgMS.

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“Another local dairy company, Synlait, has also got a slightly more optimistic outlook than Fonterra and announced an opening season forecast of $7/ kgMD for the 2019-20 season.” Boniface says underlying the bank’s own forecast for 2019-20 is a view that dairy prices will soften modestly over the second half of this year, as global supply increases a little against a backdrop of relatively firm demand. “Some further weakening in the NZ dollar should also help. However, there is clearly a long way to go yet before milk prices for the new season are finalised in September next year.”


NEWS  // 5

Real money in budget for farmers

REAL MONEY and real commitment in the government’s Budget will help farmers make necessary changes to their farming systems, says the Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor. He told Dairy News the key areas for change are water quality, new expectations in animal welfare and the possibility of agriculture being part of the emissions trading scheme (ETS). Farmers are understandably concerned

HAVE YOUR SAY ON ZCB FARMERS ARE being urged to have their say -via the internet -- on the Government’s proposed Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill. And politicians are being told to get into the countryside to listen to dairy farmers flat out with calving. DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle is welcoming the opportunity to engage constructively and share the industry perspective on the Bill. But he points out that dairy farmers furiously busy with calving cannot get to Wellington to talk to the parliamentary environment select committee hearing submissions on the Bill. DairyNZ is encouraging dairy farmers across New Zealand to tell the politicians what they think, says Mackle. Mackle notes that appearing before the parliamentary select committee in July and August would be difficult for farmers as those months mark the start of calving season. “That’s why I have written to parliament’s environment select committee this week to urge them to travel throughout provincial NZ to hear submissions in the main agricultural centres.

The government has long highlighted the changing expectations of New Zealanders and our overseas customers on the environment, animal welfare and traceability, O’Connor says. “This is about explaining how we produce the finest food for customers and the international obligation we committed to in the 1990s to reduce emissions. Now we need to start assessing that on farm as well. “These are all challenges but NZ farmers have shown they’re the most innovative and adaptive in the world and the

government has in this budget provided a whole lot of money to develop the tools to assist them in that transition.” Dairy payouts haven’t met the expectation of farmers who have borrowed money for production systems, O’Connor says. Profit margins have been too slim to allow farmers to be as resilient as they would like to be. Dairy farmers have been told of market volatility and international pricing for many years “but resilience hasn’t been built into every farm system”. “Farmers are passion-

ate about improving their production and their situation on farm,” O’Connor says. “We need to assist them into a more resilient and sustainable position that allows for fluctuations in international commodity prices and the changing climate.” New rules for dairy farming may be prompting some farmers to either change their systems or use their land for other purposes. So the government, through MPI, is looking at ways it can help them. The ‘Wellbeing Budget’ emphasised health --

Damien O’Connor

especially mental health. Farmers are naturally stressed by many things, notably changing prices and climatic changes. O’Connor says the government will support them. “We have a rural proofing policy in government that obliges us to consider the needs of rural areas.

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and need access to more information and the alternatives that will enable them to farm profitably, O’Connor says. “In the budget $122 million has been apportioned to improve the monitoring and extension systems in MPI, upgrade Overseer to make it a more effective and useful tool and then support them directly by getting that information to them.” O’Connor says no one expects farmers to change overnight -- a radical expectation seen in the 1980s that should never be repeated.


6 //  NEWS

Co-op seeking level playing field SUDESH KISSUN

FONTERRA SAYS the Government has missed an opportunity to create a level playing field for competition in the dairy industry. The co-op is willing to continue supplying raw milk to Goodman Fielder for the domestic market but strongly opposes the requirement to supply competitors, who use the subsidised milk to compete with the co-op in global markets. Fonterra chairman John Monaghan says he could not see how changes announced last week to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA) would benefit New Zealand. “We are happy to supply raw milk to Goodman Fielder for domestic consumption. “However, with significant increase in competition I can’t see how supplying our raw milk

effectively at cost price to our competitors will benefit us and NZ.” The Government has agreed to remove the requirement for Fonterra to supply regulated milk to independent processors that have their own supply of 30 million litres or more in a single season. Monaghan says the playing field is still tipped against NZ dairy farmers. “Our farmer owned cooperative wants an industry that promotes investment across regional NZ and where profits are kept in NZ. We stand for an industry where NZ farmers are paid well for their milk and where the unique attributes of our environment are protected and enhanced. “Given the significant increase in competition within the NZ dairy industry, we’re disappointed the Government did not recommend removing altogether the

John Monaghan

requirement for us to supply our farmers’ milk to large, export focused businesses.” The co-op is also disappointed that its third preference on the conten-

tious open entry provisions of the dairy industry regulations was accepted by the Government. Monaghan says Fonterra preferred the open entry provisions were removed

from the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA). However, Monaghan welcomed the decision to give Fonterra the right to refuse membership to non-compliant farmers and new dairy conversions. “These changes will support our co-op’s ability to meet our customers’ demands and continue leading the industry toward a sustainable future for our farmers and the rural communities in which they live and farm.” Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Duncan Coull says farmers were “feeling ignored and frustrated” by the changes. “This was an opportunity to focus on the wider industry, not just Fonterra, and to optimise value creation for NZ from the dairy sector,” he says. “We are concerned that the opportunity to shift DIRA’s purpose to

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the future and to enable the highest value creation from our milk hasn’t been fully taken up. “The proposed changes to open entry and exit, whilst helpful, do little to address the concerns of our farmers.” Federated Farmers described the DIRA changes as “useful changes and a missed opportunity”. “We’re disappointed that open entry provisions won’t be changed, other than relating to new conversions,” Feds dairy

industry group chair Chris Lewis says. “It’s nearly 20 years since this legislation was passed to ensure that with the formation of Fonterra, competition for farmer milk supply and dairy product choice for consumers were preserved. “The market is now mature enough, and competition among a host of processing companies robust enough, for Fonterra to be given some discretion over who it is required to pick up milk from.”

NEED FOR TRANSPARENCY FONTERRA SAYS it will ask the Government to clarify its proposal to appoint a representative on the milk price panel. Fonterra chairman John Monaghan says the milk price panel membership wasn’t part of the DIRA review and he noted the proposal with interest. He says Fonterra encourages the Government to extend this transparency by requiring all processors to publish the average price they pay to farmers, the key parameters of their milk price and examples showing the payout that would be received given different parameters. “All efforts to bring greater pricing transparency into the dairy industry should be encouraged. There’s no downside in farmers having clear, consistent information by which to compare processors.” Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Duncan Coull says changes to the milk price regime are of deep concern. “The Government having the right to nominate a member to the milk price panel is a step too far and gives rise to a direct conflict with the independent oversight of the regime by the Commerce Commission.”


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8 //  NEWS

Buffalo herd milked by NIGEL MALTHUS

NESTLED IN the hills

on the edge of the Canterbury Plains is a small and surprisingly high tech buffalo farm. Wairiri Water Buffalo is believed to be one of only three commercial buffalo herds in the country, and the only one – despite the small size of the herd – running a DeLaval robotic milker. Wairiri is owned by couple Lucy Appleton and Christo Keijzer, who have been farming buffalo since importing a few animals from Melbourne about 2008. They have used pure bred Italian bulls and Italian AI to produce what they believe to be the purest Italian river buffalo herd in New Zealand.

Christo Keizzer, Wairiri Buffalo with some of his herd.

Compared with African and swamp buffalo, riverines are the best milkers, they say. They produce up to 12L/day each of high fat, high protein milk. Their 37 animals include one of only three purebred bulls in NZ, and they milk up to a maxi-

mum of 20. They milk all year round, with 10 now milking and an eleventh due to calve in a couple of weeks. The milk is processed in a new modern cheeseroom with a pasteuriser and mozzarella maker, but pride of place goes to the

deLaval robot in the adjacent milking shed. Keijzer knows of “a few” robotic milkers for buffalo in Italy, and one in the Netherlands. “With buffalo this is definitely very rare, worldwide.” Appleton says the robot is a “lifestyle

choice” because of its ability to work largely unsupervised once all animals are trained to use it. The machine reads RFID ear tags to identify each animal and uses a laser to locate the teats and place the cups. It has to be taught where the teats are on a new animal but updates and re-learns for itself after several milkings. It has four separate cups and hoses, so manages each quarter separately, warning when a quarter gives more or less than expected, diverting the milk if it detects a problem like high cell count, removing the cup when finished and letting the cow out when all are done. Each animal also gets a ration of grain tailored to

her needs. When milking is finished, washing the machine down is a single button push. “It’s very, very smart,” says Keijzer. The robot has been modified for buffalo, being wider than usual

creating avoidable empties – and ultimately sending cows to the works for “pennies on the dollar” compared to the value they would have if they were able to stay in the herd. Once you have applied the tail paint it is essential to be skilled at reading the tail paint – a bit like my great-grand mother used to read the tea leaves, which is how we found out that my great great uncle was actually a wizard called Estus who apparently was shape-shifting late at night and had to be cured with a particularly strange concoction of castor oil, leeches and hot baths. This Tail Paint analysis would be most easily carried out during milking – and if you happen to be 12 feet tall or have a telescopic neck, the height of your cows rump at milking is no obstacle to taking a good look to assess the scrapings. For everyone else it would be terrific to have a way to assess heat indications using oestrogen instead

Trev’s farm

TAIL PAINT is how my grandfather improved his heat detection guesswork, and its pretty much how we still do it. Most people who sell tail paint in New Zealand tell us this is OK – and I guess, for them it is. Trev Dugan, who farms out by Governor’s Road agrees with them and has doubled down on tail paint this season by trading up to some cutting-edge tail paint technology and going fluro - he says that if this pays off for him he may even look at getting one of those new phones you can carry around out of the house that have no wires.

Lucy Appleton runs a regular stand at the Lyttelton Farmers Market.

The use of tail paint as a way to indicate the possibility a cow has submitted, and is therefore in heat, dates back to Victorian and New Zealand dairy farms in the late 1970’s. Since then, despite pretty much everything else changing, we still are using this basic method on many dairy farms. Tail paint is used to suggest cows that are in heat by indicating those which have been mounted, resulting in the tail paint being rubbed off. Where other parts of the dairy world have seen amazing innovations and improvements using the technology that has been invented

or improved since the 1970’s (back before cell phones, the internet, personal computers , tries were still worth 4 points, rugby players were amateurs and there was no lifting in the lineouts) – the improvements to tail paint based heat detection have been limited to the colours they use, the cans and how sticky the paint is. Perhaps its time to move on from the old school to the new school of heat detection, especially when you consider how important accurate heat detection is in a seasonal calving system like New Zealand. If you miss a heat you can stretch your calving pattern – missing days in milk,

and with stainless steel sheet walls and ceiling to protect hoses and other machinery from the horns. An electromagnetic lock is fitted to the exit door as backup for the pneumatic ram. Keijzer

of witnessing a possible symptom of what will happen amongst herd mates if it is acting on her system. And if this could be done automatically and accompanied by automatic drafting you could free up a whole labour unit. Or instead of thinking a better system, you could stay with the “old ways” and just tweak the paint itself, playing at the edges of improvement – maybe you could think of a new brighter colour, stickier paint or larger can for tail paint and just keep hoping your farm hand has improved his or her ability to notice the difference between a cow in heat and a cow. If there was a better way – it would pay for itself in no time at all, by giving you the possibility of lower AI costs, fewer empties, more days in milk, more replacements, fewer culls and just get rid of the hassle and stress that checking for heats creates.

The same since 1974


NEWS  // 9

a robot says regular cows don’t usually try to get out but buffalo would otherwise push it open. Wairiri is now in its low season, making cheese three times a week -- about eight different types, most them of them Italian stretch curd cheeses (with some of the elastic stringyness of a pizza topping). They also produce yoghurt and milk. All product is pasteurised and the operation is MPI certified and audited. “You can’t just do it in your back yard but I think that’s a good thing,” says Appleton. “I trained as a cheesemaker before we started, which helps a lot because you know the dangers of salmonella and listeria and things like that. You definitely have to do training before you

embark on something like this.” Appleton says buffalo naturally produce A2 protein. They sell though farmers’ markets, restaurants and wholefood shops, and by direct order from their website. Most of the cheeses are to be eaten fresh and can sometimes be in a restaurant the day they

are made. Appleton recommends a classic Italian salad of mozzarella, tomato and basil. “People can have really fresh mozzarella that you normally can’t get in New Zealand. In Italy that’s the way they all eat it. So in summer we usually make it on Friday and out to the market on Saturday.”

The modified DeLaval robotic milker for the buffalo herd.

FEW STOCK, NO IRRIGATION WAIRIRI WATER Buffalo is located on about 40ha in the hills just west of Coalgate, near the Selwyn headwaters. Lucy Appleton and Christo Keijzer, say it is one of only three commercial buffalo herds in New Zealand. The other two are in the Auckland region. Farm parks and lifestyle blocks where people raise buffalo for home kill or pets

are “dotted around” the country, creating a market for their steers, says Appleton. She says their strategy is a small and ecological operation with no irrigation and low stock numbers. “It’s a different approach, more like old farming. We will be putting quite a lot of tree lines back in to help give them shade in summer.” Waterways are already

fenced off and a native reserve is planned. About half the farm will be grazing and half will eventually be trees. The farm has a high natural rainfall, two or three times that of the plains, and peat soil that holds the moisture well. Keijzer says it would be too wet for regular dairy cows but the buffalo can handle it with their large

cloven hooves that spread to bear their weight. They get no foot rot or lameness and hardly any mastitis, he says. The farm is also largely self contained with hay or silage only bought in when short, along with a little grain to feed in the milking robot. Keijzer says the powerful animals respect electric fences but have little regard for conventional fences and

can easily destroy a galvanised steel gate. They are also surprisingly good jumpers. Visitors to the farm don’t get to see milking since the cows don’t let down if there are strangers in the shed. They don’t like change and will get spooked by a passing hot air balloon but are otherwise very calm and like to be petted by people they know, he says.

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NEWS  // 11

Falling land values, capital squeeze hurts PAM TIPA

DAIRY FARMERS are facing two big challenges in falling land prices and increasingly restricted access to capital, says the Australasian financial advisor Findex. This means farmers must practise robust budgeting and get on the front foot with their bank manager. Federated Farmers national dairy chair Chris Lewis agrees these fac-

returns and lower risk, he says. “Banks are deleveraging dairy and moving towards horticulture as shown by the recent six monthly RBNZ report on financial stability. This showed dairy experiencing only a 1% increase in lending while horticulture lending growth was running at 19%.” There is also a move away from interest only loans, with banks expecting principal and interest repayments on loans, which will further limit

a farmer can repay each season. Chris Lewis says the Findex summing up of the situation appears correct. Evidence of this is hard to gather, Lewis says, because discussions

around farmers’ kitchen tables are always confidential and they don’t talk directly about their own issues. But Findex has in general inferred that these factors are having an effect.

Chris Lewis

“Farmers need independent advice on their budgeting assumptions to make sure they are realistic.” tors appear to be affecting farmers. Findex head of agribusiness Hayden Dillon says “access to funding is becoming more of an issue despite the good payout, and this is putting some farmers under pressure”. There is a concentration of high debt: 35% of dairy sector debt is held by farms with at least $35 of debt per kilogram of milk solids. Dillon points to several factors combining to cause the credit squeeze.  “Firstly, changes in OIO legislation, coupled with uncertainty about the regulatory outlook for the overall sector, has led to a softening of land prices driven by low demand for dairy infrastructure, limiting exit options for both farmers and lenders,” he says. “On top of this, the RBNZ is closely scrutinising the sector as the spectre of new RBNZ regulations on capital requirements to protect the industry from a 1 in 200 year event begin to take effect.” This could increase the cost of capital as banks look to protect their margins. “And it has created an environment of increased scrutiny of farmers by their bankers,” says Dillon. Banks will move to where they see improved

cash availability, Dillon says. To this add farmers’ need to spend more on environmental compliance and the rising cost of labour and fuel, so they now face a balancing act with creditors and cashflow. With options for sale limited in the near future, Dillon is encouraging farmers to be proactive with their lender to develop a sound repayment strategy in order to sustainably service debts, which is possible with a robust business management plan and the help of an adviser. “Farmers can’t afford to take a back seat in this process, otherwise they will just have to take the number the bank gives them.” Dillon says Findex is increasingly finding farmers’ budgets do not have adequate buffers, causing them to run short of working capital. So they must be well prepared and represented in presenting their financials to the bank. “Farmers need independent advice on their budgeting assumptions to make sure they are realistic.” This requires ‘sensitivity testing’ to ensure the business can cope with changes in income and expenses throughout the season, and allowing adequate buffers when calculating how much principal

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12 //  NEWS

Rural women ‘are stepping up to lead’ PAM TIPA


stepped forward to take leadership positions in the last three to four years, says Rebecca Keoghan, 2018 Rural Woman of Influence. “Some industry partners like Dairy Womens Network (DWN) have had a lot to do with that and the industry itself has started to understand what inspiring leadership means,” Keoghan told Dairy News. The industry has encouraged and campaigned for women to take up new opportunities and positions, she says. They have always had many wonderful skills but haven’t necessarily put themselves forward. “It has been fantastic to see. The last three

or four years they have stepped forward massively.” Keoghan was 2016 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year – a DWN award – and was named Rural Woman of Influence in October last year. “The Women of Influence Awards is one of those things that helps -- sharing stories about people able to step outside their comfort zone and inspire other people to do the same.” There has also been a focus on the health and safety arena in the industry and making people aware that leadership is the key. “And often we find in the rural communities and agricultural businesses the females are more focussed on that.” But the whole industry has stepped forward in leadership, not just on the female side, she

Rebecca Keoghan

says. Rural people are being encouraged to share skills within their region and outside the industry. “Taking that step forward… it is a real leadership journey that the industry has been on.” Nominations opened in late May for this year’s Woman of Influence Awards. She encourages

anyone nominated to “go for it”. “You don’t do it for recognition. You do it because you would like to see success in others.” You inspire others, she says. She has enjoyed that side to the award and the opportunity to speak around New Zealand.

‘GRASSROOTS TO GLOBAL’ NOMINATIONS FOR the Women of Influence Awards are open until July 15. A gala awards dinner on October 24 will be preceded by a new Speaker Series of five events held NZ-wide in August. World renowned fashion designer Karen Walker will headline the Auckland event. Other venues will be Tauranga, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch. Westpac NZ chief executive

David McLean says the bank is proud to support the Women of Influence programme, including the Speaker Series aimed at bringing Women of Influence to a wider national audience. “The theme of this year’s series is ‘From Grassroots to Global’, on the stories and ideas of women making their mark nationally and internationally and in their own communities and regions,” McLean says. “From the farm gate to the

fashion houses of Europe, each of us knows women who have inspired us by their words and deeds. These awards are a chance to give them the recognition and accolades they deserve.” The 10 awards categories include arts and culture, board and management, business enterprise, community/not for profit, diversity, global, innovation and science, public policy, rural and young leader.

And it has helped her own career progression -- an unexpected outcome. “Raising the profile of your own involvement by inspiring other people also helps when you are looking for new governance opportunities.” Keoghan says she resigned earlier this as general manager of the Pamu Academy to focus on governance. Trying to do both was becoming too difficult. “I had to stop and think where my actual focus was to be. My long term focus has already been looking to governance only – earning value, risk management and health and safety, leadership and culture as my specialities.” She quit the Pamu executive role and became a director for Invercargill City Forests. She was already a Western Milk Products director, in her own business and managing a local dance studio. On June 3 she was appointed deputy chair of Fire and Emergency NZ, a ministerial appointment. Keoghan said she was able to focus on what she wanted because of the backing and motivation from some colleagues in the Women of Influence Awards and her other networks. www.womenofinfluence.

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SUPPORT VALUED SURVEY A RECENT survey has highlighted the impor-

tant role of the Rural Trust Support during natural disasters. When Bay of Plenty was hammered by storms in 2017, the local trust was a big help to farming families, the 2018 Rural Recovery Survey has found. The survey was commissioned by the Rural Support Trust with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. It looked into farm support after Cyclones Debbie and Cook in April 2017. “Our team were kept busy during the storms and their aftermath as we supported rural people and their families,” says trust chairperson Miles Mander. Their efforts included search and rescue at the height of the storm, visiting homes with the Red Cross to check on affected people, farm cleanups, managing people’s wellbeing and helping rural families get needed resources. “The most common need was helping people work through what they needed to do. The floods were so severe, there was so much work, it was overwhelming for many,” says Mander. “There were the logistics of working around road closures and flood waters, helping people displaced from their homes, then helping them see the massive and lengthy clean up ahead.” The trust was appreciated most for its face to face support. About 96% of respondents said the support was “very likely” or “somewhat likely” of value and they would seek advice or support from the trust in a similar event. Survey results were collected from 25 out of 98 people who were either affected by the weather or were part of a supporting agency.

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14 //  NEWS

New leader for NZ dairy awards THE NEW Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has appointed Robin Congdon general manager, succeeding Chris Keeping who served 18 years in the role. Awards board chair Rachel Baker says the 2019 National Awards evening in Wellington last month was a fitting event to farewell Keeping. “It was special having every executive chairman she had worked with present on the night, and many previous winners and volunteers, to acknowledge her care and contribution over the past 18 years,” Baker says. “We look forward to seeing where Robin will take the role and our organisation into the future.” Congdon is a marketing and events specialist with business management experience. Most recently he was the national events manager for Massey University, managing the NZ Food Awards. Congdon is looking forward to the general manager role and believes his background in business, event programmes and communication and information technology will allow him to see new opportunities and efficiencies.



June 18

The conference theme is ‘New season; fresh ideas’. Speakers include Graeme Doole, DairyNZ; clinical psychologist and Smaller Milk and Supply writer Karen Nimmo; and David Chapman, Herds (SMASH) 2019 DairyNZ. Conference, Don Rowlands Cost: $80 for DairyNZ levy payers, $120 Centre, Karapiro, Cambridge. for non levy payers, including morning tea, lunch and end of day nibbles and drinks. More details at

Robin Congdon

“The NZDIA programme has been built from virtually nothing to a substantial national awards programme over the last 18 years,” he said. “It is important the NZDIA stays relevant and delivers value to the entrants, sponsors and the trust. I am also proud to be part of New Zealand primary industry, dairy.” The awards provide a learning and growth platform for young and emerging farmers as they progress in their careers. The national sponsors are Westpac, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, DairyNZ and PrimaryITO.

June 25 and 26

July 1 and 2

South Island Dairy Event


Run by farmers for farmers, SIDE has industry experts in keynote addresses, networking sessions and practical workshops. Speakers include All Blacks manager Gilbert Enoka and Paralympian Liam Malone. More information:

A summit to advance NZ primary industries. Exciting line-up of speakers Primary Industries NZ includes Nestle’s corporate head of Summit and Awards, Te Papa agriculture Hans Johr and OECD’s Museum, Wellington. director trade and agriculture Ken Ash. More information:

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


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NEWS  // 15

Danone lifts stake in Pokeno plant PAM TIPA

says the land is not considered sensitive under the Overseas Investment Act. “The applicant has satisfied the OIO that the individuals who will control the investment have the relevant business experience and acumen and are of good character,” the OIO says in its decision. “The applicant has also

demonstrated financial commitment to the investment.” Yashili NZ Dairy, a joint venture between Yashili and Mengnui established in 2012, has $220 million invested in its dairy plant in Pokeno. It has capacity to produce 52,000 tonnes a year of infant formula. @dairy_news

Yashili’s Pokeno plant.



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with a four-day social media campaign. World Milk Day was created by the United Nations in 2001 to recognise the importance of milk as a global food. “New Zealand is the eighth largest producer of dairy in the world, and one of the most environmentally sustainable,” says DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle. “This is because our farmers continually look for ways to care for the environment, and because our cows are fed grass grown on farm, unlike many dairy countries where feed needs to be brought in.” Mackle says NZ milk powder is a lifeline in countries with hungry people but no significant dairy farming. “Milk is the fifth largest provider of energy for humans, and the third largest provider of protein and fat. It has many of the key nutrients to support the development of healthy bodies, and helps our brains to function at higher levels.”  Milk powder provides liquid sustenance and is used in confectionery, baking, ice cream and yoghurts. NZ produced butter and cheese are popular internationally and cheese exports alone have 10 times more value than wine. Mindy Wigzell, Fonterra’s head of nutrition, says dairy is an important source of nutrition for people worldwide. One billion people consume Fonterra dairy products. Wigzell says milk contains naturally occurring nutrients including high quality protein, calcium, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B12, potassium and phosphorus. Dairy contributes $12 billion to NZ’s economy each year. It directly employs 40,000 people and plays a big part in rural economies and communities.

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DANONE HAS been cleared by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to take an indirect shareholding of up to 65% in Yashili New Zealand. Danone currently has an indirect shareholding of

about 30% in Yashili NZ. The application was made by Danone Asia Pacific which is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of global food and beverage company Danone SA. The French listed company has a 44% US public shareholding. Yashili NZ operates a dairy production plant in Pokeno, Waikato. The OIO


16 //  NEWS

Aim for better control of mastitis at drying off KATE STEWART

MASTITIS CONTROL must be front of mind for farmers preparing to dry off cows for winter. It’s best practice only to use antibiotic dry cow therapy (DCT) to treat cows that display mastitis symptoms. For other animals, use alternatives such as internal teat sealants to prevent mastitis infection. Interestingly, research has found that internal teat sealants are just as effective as DCT. They reduce rates of new infections over the dry period and reduce rates of clinical mastitis in the subsequent lactation. Here are a few tips when using ITS: ■■ use good hygiene practices to avoid pathogens being introduced into the mammary gland ■■ work with your vet to ensure anyone administering ITS receives thorough training first.

How do you determine which cows need antibiotic DCT versus ITS? The best way to identify which cows need antibiotics is to individually test your herds SCC, which can be done through a herd test or culture test by a vet. A good case study is Manawatu dairy farmer Christine Finnigan who used milk testing to improve her mastitis control. Finnigan two years ago was having to treat up to a quarter of her herd (about 50 cows) with antibiotic DCT, but this year she’s only had to use it to treat five cows. She achieved these results thanks to the support of her local vet who

Kate Stewart, Dairy NZ

recommended she milk test cows with mid-high SCC to identify the type of bacteria causing the infection and develop a tailored treatment plan based on the results. She believes it’s equally important to target cows with a mid SCC, which can sometimes “go under the radar” as they pose just as big a risk to infect other cows with Staph aureus as those with a high SCC. Finnigan used internal teat sealants for her whole herd and followed best management practice in the milking shed to avoid mastitis. She recommends farmers talk to their vet about the benefits of milk testing as part of their strategy to prevent mastitis. “If you don’t know what’s

causing it, it’s difficult to deal with it. Milk sampling has given us a lot of information that’s been really helpful and given us a pathway to reduce our SCC and the use of antibiotics.” She says the milk sampling was relatively inexpensive and saved her money in the long run. “Milk tests (through our vet) cost about $10 a sample, whereas the cost of DCT antibiotics is about $12 a cow. It’s worth doing as you’ll save 30% of your cows needing antibiotics. You’ll be in no worse a position this year and in a better position next year.” “Our average bulk SCC used to be about 150,000 cells/ML, which wasn’t bad. But we’ve managed to drop that even lower, to less than 100,000 cells/ ML.” For more information on drying off and preventing mastitis visit dairynz. • Kate Stewart is a DairyNZ consulting officer in Palmerston North.


THE FACTS! ● ● ● ● ● ●

88% of farmers read rural print at least weekly 79% of farmers say print is their preferred format 82% of farmers are influenced by rural print 77% of farmers use rural print for business and research 74% of farmers pay attention to the adverts in rural print 90% of farmers act as a result of reading rural print


The Rural Media Habits Survey 2018 is independent research conducted by Perceptive Research on behalf of the majority of rural publishers. Participants were screened to exclude lifestylers and ensure a robust sample of 820 Commercial Farmers. Results show the majority of farmers read rural print, find it highly relevant to their businesses, and that it influences their purchasing decisions more than all other media.


NEWS  // 17

Why colostrum is like ‘liquid gold’.

Peter Cullinane, Lewis Road Creamery flanked by Alison Gibb, Jersey NZ and Justine Kidd, Theland at the milk launch.

100% Jersey milk and what else? SUDESH KISSUN


ICE CREAM and chocolate milk

made from 100% Jersey milk are on the cards for the boutique dairy company Lewis Road Creamery (LRC). The company this month launched single breed Jersey Milk nationwide and plans to look at other Jersey products, says LRC founder and chief executive Peter Cullinane. He told Dairy News that single breed Jersey milk has the potential to become “New Zealand’s favourite milk”. “NZers want a really good milk at a price that’s affordable,” he says. Cullinane says LRC loves the idea of making Jersey milk ice cream. However, the priority is to get the Jersey fresh milk business right and secure regular supply from Jersey farms. A major hurdle would be finding an ice cream processor set up for Jersey milk only. Right now ice cream makers are only set up to process milk from mixed herds. “But I love the idea of doing Jersey ice cream as soon as we can… and Jersey chocolate milk.” LRC buys its Jersey milk from Theland Farm Group’s farm in Waikato. Processing and packing is done at Green Valley Dairy in South Auckland. The Jersey milk sold by LRC is permeate free, PKE free and bottled in the brand’s award winning recyclable rPET bottles made from recycled plastic. Cullinane says the single breed milk aligns with clear trends among its customers who “want to know the provenance of their dairy”. “They want whole products that haven’t been over processed and they

THE RELEASE of Jersey Milk by Lewis Road Creamery is an exciting opportunity for everyone and a trip down memory lane for some, says Jersey Profit spokeswoman Lyna Beehre. “The special milk qualities of our Jersey cows are well known: richer, creamier milk not only looks great but is made up of a higher percentage fat, and the higher A2A2 components bring real taste and health value to the consumer. “For some the ratios of lactose and A2A2 in Jersey Milk will allow consumption of milk by those who may not usually tolerate dairy products. Selling Jersey milk as a specialty gives our farmers an opportunity to showcase the premium product from our Jersey farms.”

want to be able to taste that difference. “With a single breed standard Jersey milk we can do all those things, and at a more accessible price for consumers.” Relative to other milk, Jersey milk has high butterfat content and contains less water, less lactose and high levels of calcium.   “We’ve gone to huge effort to segregate the supply coming from our Jersey herd and to leave it as untouched as possible from the shed to the shelf.” In standard dairy industry practice, milk producers mix the milk from various breeds of cow, break the combined product apart then reassemble it using permeate to create standardised protein content.  “We’re providing milk the way it

She says consumers may take a trip down memory lane in drinking the pure Jersey milk that was the norm on their grandparents’ farms. “The creaminess and full taste of Jersey milk on your porridge cannot be beaten. For many others, as connections to dairy farms have reduced over generations, this will be a first try of this beautiful product on its own.” Beehre says Jerseys used to dominate our national herd, but time has brought a fashion swing in preferred breed. “This has had a big impact on the makeup of milk in NZ. Jersey farmers are enjoying seeing the positive trend towards our breed, and consumers being able to identify the Jersey influence is only positive.

used to taste, before everyone started chasing cheap and bland volume,” says Cullinane. Jersey NZ president Alison Gibb says the launch validates the belief it has in the power of the Jersey cow. She told Dairy News that the Jersey breed is “riding on a crest of the wave on the back of the high payout”. “This validates the belief we have in the power of the Jersey cow. She is more than a just a pretty face. She has many attributes and this launch could not come at a better time.” Gibb is sure that Jersey milk will feature in other dairy products from LRC. “I know it won’t be just milk,” she says. Jersey cows make up about 15% of the national herd -- the highest percentage in the world.

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US farmers don’t want a repeat run JIM MULHERN

US farmers are in their fifth season of low milk prices.

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‘HISTORY DOESN’T repeat itself, but it often rhymes. I’m reminded of this saying, usually attributed to Mark Twain, as we look at dairy’s price outlook over the next few months. For the first time since before the retaliatory trade tariffs hit last summer and ruined a promising market outlook, real signs of a milk price recovery have again been apparent, just as an improved USDA safety net takes effect to provide at least some relief to struggling producers. But just like a year ago, trade turmoil – in this case, new and higher tariffs against China – now clouds the market outlook. At National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) we are doing what we can to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself, and that even if it rhymes, this time the song needs a better melody. Now in our fifth year of low prices and our third year of trade wounds, we’re hopeful that the market signals — the worst may be over and better days may lie ahead – are not derailed by a trade war train wreck. Some positive, hopeful signs: After years of rising cow numbers dating to 2011, herd sizes have dropped every month since last July, with March’s decline the biggest of the entire period. The steady decline in cow numbers in March finally pushed milk production to levels lower than a year earlier, reducing the supply overhang that has depressed prices. Futures markets have noticed the tightening. Forecasts for milk prices this year as reflected in futures show a rise of US1.80 per hundredweight over last year, stabilising around US$18 and have been rising by the week. The higher milk prices, combined with steady feed costs, have improved producer margins. And finally, sustained improvement in world prices for butter, skim

milk powder and cheese are in turn helping lift domestic prices, showing how global demand can benefit US dairy, despite the trade policy and export challenges we now face. These developments show a sector experiencing an improving outlook, perhaps putting us back on the path we appeared to be on in 2018, when retaliatory tariffs against dairy from Mexico and China disrupted exports to two of our largest markets. The question before us is whether the economic fundamentals today are strong enough to maintain the nascent recovery. Until trade turmoil is resolved, the battle to open and expand new markets — our best hope for real, sustainable recovery — will be fought with one hand tied behind our back. And the previous half decade has taken such a toll on farmer finances that, over the next few months, many dairies will likely continue to struggle. Help from the market is critically important but it’s inevitable that the economic pain caused to the farm won’t end overnight. That’s why there is a lot work to do to help producers weather the dairy crisis over the next few weeks and months. The immediate task is to encourage and guide producers through signup to new dairy programmes, most importantly the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) programme. At a congressional hearing on dairy’s struggles convened on April 30, Minnesota farmer Sadie Frericks told lawmakers she’d be signing up for five years of coverage at the maximum US$9.50 per hundredweight level. “Dairy farming requires smart business decisions. This was an easy one,” she said after the hearing. Many other farmers, especially small and medium size producers, need to make the same choice as Sadie’s family. We will be ready to help producers understand their full options, which include not only DMC but other risk management tools, and

ways to gain premium discounts and allocate refunds for previous Margin Protection Program premiums provided for under the farm bill passed last year. Please watch our website,, in coming weeks for more information and resources as we head toward the DMC signup date in mid-June. At the same time, we can’t accept gridlock in Washington’s ability to improve trade policy. A renewed tariff spat with China cannot be an end in itself, it must lead quickly to a bilateral agreement that lowers tensions and establishes more and better market access. The Trump administration must lift the steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada, and the Congress must ratify the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement this year. We also need quick resolution to trade discussions with Japan so that US dairy interests are not further punished by tariffs much higher than those negotiated by our European and Oceania competitors. These steps are necessary to provide some measure of certainty and new opportunities for dairy producers, something badly needed after the economic turmoil of recent years. These are building blocks for longer term recovery that need to be laid down now, when the urgency of dairy’s hard times is still fresh in the public’s mind and concern about them isn’t limited to the dairy sector itself. If dairy truly is getting back on its feet – we hope this spring’s positive signs show it’s about to happen, despite deeply worrisome trade tensions – then the next step will be to gain traction and move forward, because we don’t want history to repeat itself. A little rhythm would be nice, but we’re ready to be done with the blues. • Jim Mulhern is president and chief executive of National Milk Producers Federation in the US. This article is reproduced from the NMPF website

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“The calves are better conditioned and larger...” JUL I E WRI GHT PARAHI WI FARM, MORRINSVILLE


Then in 2017 with the threat of M. bovis, they decided they needed to control what was coming onto the farm and changed to Ancalf Calf Milk Replacer. Julie, who was a previous vet nurse and takes care of all the calf rearing, noticed a big difference in her calves’ health straight away.


She had a lot of issues with scours before and the pens used to stink, but as soon as she changed over to Ancalf, the scours problems disappeared. Along with the smell.

numbers, they use 4 bags of Ancalf a day and purchased 350 bags in April to lock in the price. While Ancalf may seem more expensive than reject milk at first glance – the health benefits, the time-saving and the ease of the whole operation really pays off as Hugh explains:

As the calves come in, she meticulously writes down their details and tag numbers so she can track their progress. She’s equally careful in the Ancalf milk preparation, mixing the CMR in small batches to ensure consistency and using the ever popular paint stirrer on a drill. She then feeds the calves using a 50 teat calfeteria. Depending on calf

“We have now made the decision to continue with Ancalf for our future rearing. We are more

interested in the weaned results than a few dollars.” For Julie, rearing calves single-handed is challenging enough, but she also has all the sheep and beef cattle to look after, plus her own horse trekking business, Tauhei Horse Trekking, which she operates on the weekends. But with Ancalf now making her job just that little bit easier she’s looking forward to the season ahead. For more Ancalf stories and current offers visit Or talk to your local Farm Source TSR or head in store.


For years, Hugh Vercoe and daughter Julie Wright relied on picking up all the available colostrum and reject milk from neighbouring farms to feed their 250 or so replacements and beefies. While it was financially beneficial, driving around to different farms was time consuming.

“The pens are clean, the calves are better conditioned and larger – so we’re never going back to reject milk. It’s just not worth it.” Says Julie.


ith over 2,500 acres, Parahiwi is one of the largest single farms in the Matamata-Piako area. It has been owned by the Vercoe family since 1986 and today the farm runs a mix of sheep, beef and a 550 milking herd.



Sheep, goat dairy Waikato Milking installed a 100-stall goat rotary milking system on a farm in Ontario, Canada last year.

A FEW years ago Andy Geissmann was invited to speak on a farm in China where a dairy consortium planned to milk 500,000 goats. “I thought they meant 5000 or maybe 50,000, that they had got the number wrong, but then someone wrote it down for me in words: ‘half a

million’. “We went there and it was the first farm of a bigger project, planning to milk 70,000 goats all in one farm, just two years away from milking. “They planned to have half a million goats spread over several farms in one hub, and they planned to have three of those hubs

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in the surrounding area.” Geissmann, who recently joined Waikato Milking Systems, has had 20 years experience in the dairy industry, recently with a focus on small ruminants. He is now the product and project manager at its headquarters in Horotiu, north of Hamilton. Geissmann says the sheer size of the China operation overshadows anything planned in New Zealand, but he says Kiwis should not be discouraged from exporting to China and other countries. “In China, there are basically two market streams. People who can afford the local produce and those with additional disposable incomes.” The latter group of consumers don’t mind paying a “premium price” for dairy products made in a country that has a clean, green image. “And NZ does have the right image.” Those marketing sheep milk dairy products promoted the idea that the customer was not only buying a NZ made product but buying a piece of NZ too, Geissmann said.

Geissman is this week attending Fieldays to hear more from those working in the emerging sheep dairy industry and the niche goat dairy industry. This will help guide the company in developing systems and technology for the sheep and goat dairy industries. Geissmann sees growing awareness of the nutritional benefits of sheep and goat milk products which “has resulted globally in an increased


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ANDY GEISSMANN says NZ has about 100 dairy goat farms with almost 70,000. Sixteen dairy sheep farms NZ-wide are milking about 15,000 ewes. The sheep milking industry is growing by three to four farms a year but many more are needed to satisfy the global demand. Geissmann says some farms are producing for niche market outlets and others produce for the local and export markets. Some farms want to expand commercially by producing their own milk and collecting milk from other farms to process. In the sheep dairy business these include Kingsmeade in Manawatu, Antarag Ag Dairy in Southland, Thorvald in Nelson, and Spring Sheep and Maui Milk in Waikato. The Dairy Goat Co-operative collects milk from its farmers in many North Island regions to process at its plant in Hamilton. The Ministry of Primary Industries does not report separately on the value of the sheep and goat milk industry, but includes it as one report on dairy.  The ministry said there is data showing the global market for goat milk was worth US$330m in 2013 and is now worth US$390m.   Data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation showed the world volume of goat milk increased from 10m tonnes in 1990 to 17.5m tonnes in 2017.  World sheep milk production was 8m tonnes in 1990 and slightly exceeded 10m tonnes in 2013.



farmers must aim to export not just transforming a cow milking system into something smaller,” Geissmann said. “We want to use our knowledge and farmers’ expertise to further develop milking systems specifically suited to small ruminants.” He said it is important to understand that the behaviour and physiology of sheep and goats is different. Goats are “always on

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Goat milk from NZ attracts a premium from overseas.

consumption”. The lower environmental impact of the two industries is a big attraction for consumers, he said. It is opening opportunities for expansion for farmers and manufacturers. That includes Waikato Milking Systems,

and is now working on similar installations in China.

which in 2017 installed a 100 bail, goat rotary milking system in Canada

platform in the market can handle both sheep and goats. “We have worked closely with farmers in the design of our milking platform. The result is a system that is well received for its milking performance and durability.” Geissmann is on the Waikato Milking Systems Fieldays site (F45M12-M14) and the SheepMilkNZ site (J22).

the go”, they are inquisitive animals that like to investigate things. They like being up high, don’t like to lay around much and don’t like getting wet. Sheep are followers, need eye contact with each other and don’t like to be seperated. All of these traits need to be taken into account when building milking systems to handle the animals. The company’s milking

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The company is also aiming to do more in NZ to help the sheep and goat industry meet demand. “We want people to know we’re dedicated to sheep and goat dairying and are

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Moving in the right direction

MILKING IT... Budget blues NOW THAT the circus surrounding the Budget’s release has subsided, Milking It makes the following observations about some of its contents. Like other commentators, we can’t help but notice many of the spending allocations are not accompanied by policy outcome targets. No doubt burned by the Kiwibuild fiasco (‘10,000 houses a year’), the government now seems wary of setting specific targets. This will not help it spend billions wisely. Much moola could end up in the wind. We also note some contradictions: nearly $2 billion for mental health is laudable, but is diametrically opposed to the likely effects of legalising dope. And $8.5 million is earmarked for research into reducing agricultural emissions. This is, at best, a token amount, given the scale of the challenge of meeting the punishing emissions targets suggested by the government. If James Shaw was serious about helping farmers reduce emissions in any way other than wholesale destocking, a bit more coin would have been in order.

‘Please leave a message’

First milk your oat

Cheaper by the billion

IT SEEMS that the integrity of animal tracking system NAIT is under growing attack from farmers. The recent call by the Ministry of Primary Industries for farmers to re-register on NAIT has opened a can of worms. When farmers try to re-register online, they are either told they can’t update details and/or to call the NAIT office -- where no one is picking up the phone. Some are also told their addresses are wrong.

A KIWI start-up’s attempt take on the dairy industry is ruffling a few feathers. Otis Oat Milk, New Zealand’s first oat milk producer, plans to shake up how consumers source their milk by “disrupting a dairy-first generation of Kiwis to try a tasty plant based alternative that is homegrown and sustainable”. The reaction on social media has been brutal and swift. One Facebook user said it should not be called milk but nut juice. Another asked: “how do you milk an oat?” One Twitter user had this to say: “Firstly, oats don’t lactate. That’s the privilege of mammals. This is oat extract, not oat milk.”

EVER WONDERED what would happen if China attempted to become self sufficient in dairy? Aside from the environmental degradation, one of the fears about dairy intensification in China was always, what happens when China can simply reproduce that same basic bargain bin milk powder product even more cheaply than NZ can? Well, we got a glimpse last week. A2 Milk Co, the global champion of A2 infant formula, this month lost $1 billion value of stock after China unveiled a plan to boost local output and reduce reliance on imports. Under the new programme, China aims to exceed 60% self sufficiency in baby formula and improve the quality of domestic brands in its US$27 billion infant formula industry.

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FONTERRA FARMERS won’t be overly happy with changes announced last week to legislation governing the dairy industry. In its submission to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA) review, Fonterra sought the Government’s help in three key areas: removal of open entry provisions, greater certainty in the sunset provisions for the DIRA, and changes to the raw milk regulations so that Fonterra no longer need supply new processors that are primarily focused on export markets. The Government is retaining the open entry and exit provisions but is allowing the co-op some wriggle room. The co-op may still refuse milk supply from farmers “in circumstances where milk is not compliant or unlikely to comply with Fonterra’s terms and standards of supply”. More importantly, Fonterra won’t be obligated to collect milk from newly converted dairy farms. On Fonterra’s concerns about sunset provisions, the Government has decided DIRA will be reviewed “on a four to six yearly basis to provide regulatory certainty”. A major point of discontent among Fonterra farmers has been the requirement that they supply raw milk at a regulated price to independent processors. Fonterra accepts that the raw milk regulations stimulated competition in the domestic retail market which is good for consumers. But it strongly opposes the requirement to provide its farmers’ milk effectively at cost to new processors who are typically backed by foreign capital and existing global businesses. These processors use this subsidised milk to compete with Fonterra and other New Zealand owned dairy businesses in export markets. The Government is proposing to remove the requirement for Fonterra to supply regulated milk to any independent processor that has its own supply of 30 million litres or more in a single season. This will be welcome news for the co-op and its farmers. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the changes will provide certainty for the dairy industry and ensure the sector can pursue sustainable value growth for the benefit of all New Zealanders. He agrees the industry has changed considerably since 2001 when DIRA was introduced. The changes announced last week won’t put all of Fonterra’s concerns to bed. However, they go some way to levelling the playing field in the dairy industry. They are moves in the right direction.

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OPINION  // 23

Reversing the trend of degradation THE PRODUCTIVE

and Sustainable Land Use Package is a key Budget initiative committing $229 million over four years. This will help us tackle the environmental issues New Zealanders in rural and urban areas care about. It will support the primary sector cornerstone of our economy to both transition and increase the value of its exports. It will help us reverse the trend of degradation and manage the transition as efficiently as possible. Our water, land and climate are all under pressure. This year the Government is making significant decisions on the framework for addressing these issues. My ministerial responsibilities include water, and I am personally committed to improving water quality and ecosystem health.   It is more cost effective to stop catchments deteriorating than to restore them once they are degraded.  Many communities are ready to protect waterways but some need help to make this possible. The Wellbeing Budget invests $12m in supporting initiatives in lakes, rivers and wetlands most at risk. This funding is for people on the ground to facilitate, leverage and accelerate community led action. It is not for grants to plant trees. There are other local and central government funds already available for that.  This funding is for trying new approaches and overcoming hurdles preventing action. Improving the way we use land can have significant benefits for the health of our waterways and contribute to our climate change goals while supporting our communities and businesses. Reducing polluting outputs can also reduce the

waste of costly inputs. My colleague Damien O’Connor and I agree that the future for the primary sector in NZ lies in more value rather than more volume. Many in the primary sector are already responding to market signals and meeting consumer and public demand for more sustainable, high value products. For those progressive farmers and growers, the transition to sustainable land use is already underway. The Wellbeing Budget provides more support to make that transition. Managing the environmental impact of agriculture and horticulture requires different actions depending on the type of operation, the location and type of land, the stock and crops being grown and other local circumstances. Many farmers and growers, agribusinesses and primary sector industry organisations have already adopted the concept of farm environment planning as a useful way to decide what practices and changes are required in their particular circumstances. Through the Good Farming Practice Governance Group, primary sector organisations have set their own target of every farmer and grower having a farm environment plan by 2030. To support the farm planning approach, the Government is investing $17m to develop good practice standards. Getting every farmer and grower operating at good practice, which can be demonstrated to customers, is a major and significant step forward. Assistance to farmers will go hand-in-hand with the new rules that will have to be met and will be enforced. As you all know, the Essential Freshwater

package has three objectives at its core: to stop further degradation, to reverse past damage, and to address allocation issues. And we are working on a package

of national direction – updating the National Policy Statement for Freshwater and introducing a new National Environmental Standard. That package will signal

clearly where improvement is needed, and over what time. I anticipate that we will be releasing this package for consultation in the next few months, likely late July or

David Parker

August. The Productive and Sustainable Land Use package will support the

implementation of these stronger new rules for freshwater.

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Environment Minister David Parker recently told a Forest & Bird meeting about the Productive and Sustainable Land Use package unveiled in the Budget. Here are excerpts from his speech.



Feeding the fart tax debate WHETHER YOU agree with the sci-

ence or not, it seems the majority of countries in the western world are on a crusade to mitigate their effect on climate change. For dairy farmers the offending gasses in the spotlight are Methane & Nitrous Oxide and these will become under increasing scrutiny by the regulators. Last week I attended a local DairyNZ field day where the DairyNZ consulting officer (CO) did his utmost to bring his audience up to speed with looming changes. In my view, he did a fantastic job given the forum even managing to get some buy-in and a few key points over the line. Let’s be honest, we are happy to fall in line and do our bit. The last thing any of us want is to leave the next generation in an Apocalyptic wasteland resembling something out of the 1980 movie series ‘Mad Max’. Which seems to be the touted outcome if we don’t make radical changes and fast.

However, information being provided by ‘quoted experts’ just feels a bit one sided and lacking. For instance, we often see presented the methane contribution from cows undergoing rumen fermentation. But, what would be the fate of the vegetation if not eaten by a cow and left to go through its normal lifecycle decomposing in landfill or in wetlands (where the cousins of microbes living in the rumen would be involved in this decomposition process with similar ‘offensive’ by-products resulting). I suspect the difference between ruminal fermentation (where a large proportion of fermentation by products are converted to milk) and non-digestive decomposition to be minimal if not, possibly even in favour of ruminal fermentation. Regardless of this discussion on the source of methane in the atmosphere, let’s focus on some of the industry strategies and focus aimed at reducing

the methane ‘footprint’ associated with milk production. Firstly, all those pointers making cows more efficient (see my previous article on feed conversion efficiency) hold true to minimising methane gas production attributed to milk production. Also, there is some pretty cool science being looked at right now such as vaccine development (aimed at knocking out ‘methogenic’ bacteria) and

genetic gains in productivity driving lower Methane production. It appears there is much alignment with adoption of better farming practices and environmental benefits. This is good news, it seems as per cow production improves the greenhouse footprint on milk produced declines. A win – win it would seem. Lastly, pastures like most plants, possess the most abundant plant carbohydrate biopolymer called cellulose on

earth. This is indigestible to humans basically bypassing our digestive tract entirely. To harness the energy from the molecule from digestive processes it must be fermented in the rumen and caecum of herbivores. Ruminants have gone through millions of years of genetic selection to do precisely that. Until science catches up, mankind is reliant on our ruminant ‘friends’ to ‘mine’ the stored energy in these carbohydrate biopolymer molecules to convert them to food fit for the growing population. Basically, until the boys in the white coats invent a super enzyme capable of being delivered to all available pastures globally that can then be utilised as human food, there will still be a place for modern farming. So farmers remain vigilant looking for disruptors and challenges but in the meantime, keep up your good work. • Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services. This article is brought to you by



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Dairy farmers dig in for the environment DAIRY FARMERS

Mark and Jennifer McDonald began beautifying their 138ha Methven dairy farm a decade ago. For the first two years, the McDonalds got funding from ECan which helped to get the project on its feet. They started in 2009, planting New Zealand natives along 300m of road boundary to quell the dust from a shingle road. The following season, they planted the margins of a 1km spring fed stream crossing their farm on its way to the Ashburton River. They first planted Kiwi standards toetoe, flax, carex, pittosporum and coprosma. They’ve since added kaikomako, pokaka, kahikatea and pseudopanax. And kowhai, totara and beech have been planted for their wide ground cover and

WORK GOES ON THE MCDONALDS have completed planting along most of the farm’s waterways and are now set on developing two other wetland areas close to the northern branch of the Ashburton River. “One is covered in willows, and we’re using the existing cover the willows provide to plant kahikatea, matai, totara and beech. Once these trees get established we will poison the willows and cut them out,” says Mark. “The other area is a low lying one better suited to flaxes, grasses and sedges. We are also in the early stages of restoring a support block near Mayfield which has a significant stream dissecting it.”

low maintenance. Mark McDonald says he’s now somewhat addicted to tree planting and has begun to propagate plants. “It all helps to keep the cost down, and it’s rewarding to collect seeds from the foothills and grow them into trees. And there’s always friends donating seedlings that

have popped up in their gardens. “We also got involved in the Carex Project, a collaboration between ECan and the University of Canterbury, who came to sample water quality each month. The project was to create a set of tools for farmers to use to improve water quality and eco systems in freshwa-

Mark and Jennifer McDonald.

ter streams across Canterbury. It was an excellent project to be part of.” Restoring a wetland Six years ago the McDonalds decided to develop a small wetland area that had been unsuccessfully tiled some years before. A digger removed drainage pipes and

McDonald. They are now seeing a lot of self seeding which provides a source of young plants that can be transferred to other areas. McDonald says it’s good to see all their hard work starting to pay off. “We’re starting to see better shading of the

exposed the springs prevalent in the area. A lot of hard work followed. “We shaped up a pond in one section and contoured the rest. The area was fenced and with help from Ashburton College students on work experience we planted the same basic species,” says

stream which has reduced the number of weeds. The stream is home to eels, trout and bird life, and while they’re still mostly introduced species, I’m sure before long we’ll hear bellbirds and tuis on the farm.” @dairy_news

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Human bone science taken to cows A NEW approach to calcium nutrition in livestock, now used overseas in poultry and pig farming, is being introduced to dairy farmers in New Zealand. It stems from human health research. BEC Feed Solutions’ launch of its product PIDOLin PCa is timed for calving 2019. It will offer “the latest calcium related science to dairy cows in the first few days after calving,” the company says. BEC country manager NZ, Trina Parker, says the product has been used in bone strength in poultry and post partum nutrition in swine overseas, and its use is coupled with new research on dairy cows. Parker says farmers must aim to set up the cow for a long, productive and healthy lactation. Calcium pidolate is

recognised in human health as a treatment for preventing osteoporosis. PIDOLin PCa has been developed as a feed material in France and has demonstrated that it improves calcium absorption. In freshly calved cows, building and maintaining the amount of calcium in blood is a big challenge to prevent metabolic disease such as milk fever, ketosis, metritis, retained placenta, says BEC. These conditions affect a cow’s ability to conceive promptly and to produce milk to her genetic capacity. Appropriate post calving nutrition can significantly reduce the clinical cases of milk fever on farm, but subclinical hypocalcemia can remain and can affect up to 50% of dairy cows in the first weeks after calving.

Farmers must aim to set up the cow for a long and productive lactation, says BEC Feeds.

Cows with subclinical hypocalcemia can show a lack of muscle tonicity, decreased chewing activity, reduced rumen motility and 70% lower abomasum motility. That leads to a high risk of metabolic disorders at calving and a decline in milk production. The mechanism by

which PIDOLin PCa increases the bioavailability of calcium is its action as a precursor of proline which is involved in the synthesis of the proteins transporting calcium from rumen/intestine to blood. This ingredient is supplied in the feed of the fresh cows from calving and ideally 20 days later.

This ingredient is water soluble so it can be drenched or trough treated in the colostrum mob or included in feed rations. Even if sufficient calcium is supplied -- usually in NZ in the form of lime flour -- the correct environment needs to be created for it to pass from

the diet to the blood, Parker says. Lime flour is an inexpensive source of calcium and generally of good quality in NZ and its use should be encouraged. PIDOLin PCa allows for the maximum absorption of this important and vital nutrient in those crucial first days of lactation. PIDOLinCa facilitates the absorption of its calcium fraction (13,5%) and calcium from all the other sources from the diet (Tormo., 2013). Calcium supplementation is well recognized in NZ, but varying farming practice, don’t always allow for freshly calves cows to be supplied with sufficient amounts. Different studies over the world confirm its efficiency to restore a higher blood calcemia, provoking a better muscle tonicity after calv-

ing. Better mobility leads to a higher feed intake. Better chewing activity leads to less risk of acidosis (+30% saliva production = +500g sodium bicarbonate supply/day). Better rumen fulfilment and motility leads to less risk of abomasum displacement. Better uterine motility leads to prevention of placenta retention. These benefits allow cows to have a better health and a higher capacity of production (up to 220 liters of milk /cow during 110 days, experimental trial, France). By activating global muscles activity for dairy cows from calving, the incorporation of PIDOLin PCa (Calcium Pidolate) in the feed is a real lever of welfare for the dairy industry generating extra kgMS in the vat, says Parker.



Advice for farmers in lake catchment HELP IS on hand for farmers in the Lake Rotorua catchment who are required to cut their farms’ nitrogent leaching. Ravensdown Environmental says its Waikato five member consultancy team can advise and support farmers in this work. It arises as part of the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes advice and support programme, a Bay of Plenty Regional Council initiative for landowners in the Lake Rotorua catchment affected by Plan Change 10 (PC10): Lake Rotorua nutrient management. This has independent land use advisors, such as the Ravensdown Environmental team, working with landowners and farm businesses to assess a property’s nutrient discharge levels. They can discuss opportunities for mitigation and possible land use change options, and create farm environment plans for resource consenting.  Ravensdown Environmental principle consultant Adrian Brocksopp says this is “a great start-

ing point for landowners in the catchment to receive the appropriate support to enable them to make the right decisions”. “We recognise there is limited advice and support available, particularly for smaller landowners with 10-40ha blocks. We can help them reduce their farm environmental footprints and... reach their compliance targets in a timely manner”.   Landowners with more than 10ha that do not qualify as low intensity operations (defined by nitrogen leaching of less than 19.6 kg/ha) will need to apply for resource consents in 2022. The first step towards compliance due diligence is to create an Overseer file based on plans for the property to ensure the proposed land use is allowed under PC10. Those larger than 40ha are required to apply for resource consents immediately. Ravensdown Environmental is a national environmental adviser skilled in resource consenting and planning,

Brocksopp says. “We have been supporting farmers in the region for many years as a co-operative. Now comes this expansion of our support. By working with Ravensdown Environmen-

tal, farmers benefit from scale and longevity.” Brocksopp refers to the company’s recruitment and training programmes, third-party relationships and willingness to provide new services.

Farmers in Lake Rotorua catchment have to reduce their farms nitrogen leaching.

Scholar joins advisory team RAVENSDOWN HAS appointed Nuffield scholar

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Rebecca Hyde to its environmental team. In the new role of technical discipline lead, farm environmental consulting, she will add to the co-op’s smarter farming solutions for shareholders nationwide. She will lead’s the co-op’s farm environmental consulting service, initially on the OverseerFM software programme. “With on farm regulations tightening, and as we begin the migration to OverseerFM, it is vital Ravensdown stays ahead,” says Hyde. “Building our own capability is key to meeting the needs of our shareholders and enabling our farmers to farm in ways that are smarter and more productive.” Hyde was born and raised on a sheep and beef farm in North Canterbury. She was a Nuffield scholar in 2017, researching how collaboration in the sector can be improved to achieve better environmental outcomes, an interest gained while working on the Hurunui-Waiau Regional River Plan. Mark Fitzpatrick, Ravensdown environmental business manager, says Hyde has a mix of technical and leadership skills that will “help farmers get ahead of regulation”. “We need more resource across the sector in assisting farmers do their environmental assessments and create plans for impact reduction.



Good stock handling averts mud hazard WET AND muddy winter

conditions increase the risks to the welfare of livestock,” says Kate Littin, Ministry for Primary Industries manager animal welfare. “Many farmers, par-

A Fish and Game-released photo of cows in deep mud. DairyNZ says such situations are unacceptable.

ticularly in Southland and Otago, choose to break feed stock on crop over the winter months,” she says. “It’s a great way to provide food for animals and protect pastures, but




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Ref. Milk solids/cow/lactation. McPherson, W.B., Gogolewski, R.P., Slaeck, B., Familton, A.S., Gross, S.J., Maciel, A.E., Ryanh, W.G. 2001. Effect of peri-parturient eprinomectin treatment of dairy cows on milk production. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 49(3): 106-110. Murphy, A. 1998. The effect of treatment with moxidectin, a long-acting endectocide, on milk production in lactating dairy cows. In: Fort Dodge Satellite Symposium, XXII World Buiatrics Congress, Hannover, pp. 1-4.


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it requires careful planning and good stockmanship to avoid welfare risks that wet weather can bring. “New Zealand’s codes of animal welfare require livestock to have access to areas free of surface water and mud, and appropriate shelter from adverse weather. “Animals will refuse to lie down on wet ground and can then become stressed, stop eating and

cows in good condition. “The challenge is that grazing crops in wet weather produces mud. If not managed carefully, the exposed soil is at risk of nutrient and top soil run-off into waterways,” he says. While good management practices can help minimise mud, preventing it completely isn’t possible. If there’s heavy rain, or a period of consistent rain, there will be some

“Animals will refuse to lie down on wet ground and can then become stressed, stop eating and are more susceptible to lameness.” are more susceptible to lameness.” Farmers can mitigate risks to animal welfare in winter in various ways. “If there is a spell of extreme weather or prolonged wet conditions, you may need to move your stock off the crop to drier land, and you should plan for this possibility. Having a ‘plan B’ is the key. “Clean drinking water must be available for animals at all times. Owners are still responsible for the welfare of their stock while they are off farm for winter grazing and should check on the conditions, including their access to shelter and water. “When transitioning from pasture to crop and back again, stock can be negatively affected. Following a gradual transition plan when moving animals will prevent issues.” MPI recommends talking to your vet for help with planning and any animal health concerns. Resources to help farmers with their winter grazing management are available online from DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ. Tony Finch, DairyNZ’s head of South Island farm performance, says many dairy farmers in cooler regions feed cows crop over winter, such as fodder beet, kale or swede, when grass growth is very slow. These energy dense feeds help keep

mud on farm. “But careful management can make a huge difference in limiting the amount of mud to ensure cows have a dry surface to lie down and move freely, and to reduce the impact on the environment. “The pictures and video of cows in deep mud that appeared in news media last year were unacceptable. “That isn’t the norm on dairy farms and I hope we don’t see any incidents like that again this year. But those farmers are the exception, and most are doing a great job wintering their cows on crop.” Finch says DairyNZ widely promotes good management practices, particularly in Southland and South Otago, where soil type and weather conditions can make wintering cows on crop more challenging. “We’re reminding farmers this winter to reduce the impact of a wet spell by using portable troughs, back fencing and keeping cows out of critical source areas (lowlying areas where water can pool or flow after heavy rain). “Farmers must adjust their herd size, graze paddocks that are prone to be wetter or have heavier soils earlier in the season, and have a Plan B. These are just a few of the many things farmers do to mitigate the risk of mud.



Next generation oral calcium for cows

Ensuring calves get enough colostrum early in life helps their health and productivity.

Follow the 3Q’s for colostrum management KIM KELLY

A NEW-BORN calf’s immune

system is immature, so calves rely on antibodies in colostrum for protection while their own immune system matures. bout two thirds of calves in New Zealand don’t get enough good quality colostrum as newborns1 (including calves left with their mothers for the first 24 hours of life), and this is an underlying cause of most scours outbreaks. You can figure out how well your farm is doing at managing colostrum by asking your vet to blood test around 10 healthy 2-7 day old calves. After drinking colostrum, a new-born calf can absorb the antibodies directly from its gut into its bloodstream. The antibodies circulate in the calf for weeks to months while its own immune system matures. A good way to remember these colostrum management guidelines is to think of the 3 Q’s: Quickly, Quantity, Quality. Here’s some more information about each. Quickly A new-born calf’s gut allows the antibodies in colostrum to pass into the calf’s bloodstream; but by 12-24 hours old, it can’t absorb any at all. This change is called “gut closure”. So, enough colostrum

must be fed quickly: in the first 12 hours of life. You can make sure calves get colostrum quickly by picking them up from the paddock twice a day, or more during bad weather. Bottle feed or tube every calf as soon as possible after pick-up, or in the paddock if you only pick up once a day. Quantity To get enough antibodies into its blood, a calf needs to drink 10-15% of its body weight in decent quality colostrum before its gut closes. For most calves, that means 4-6 litres. Ideally, this should be delivered in two feeds a few hours apart, but if necessary, most calves can safely be tubed 3-4 litres of clean colostrum at once. Ensuring calves get enough colostrum early in life also influences their health and productivity all the way into their adult life! In a 2005 case study calves which received 4 litres of colostrum at birth gained 230g/day more liveweight, had 40% fewer veterinary costs, and yielded 9-13% more milk in their first lactation than calves which received 2 litres2 Quality Two factors determine colostrum quality: how clean it is, and how many antibodies it contains. The cleanliness of colostrum is important because bacteria can interfere with the calf’s ability to

absorb antibodies, and they might make the calf sick before the antibodies have had a chance to work. To get the most antibodies as possible into calves before their gut closes, only feed new-borns the highest antibody colostrum you’ve got. This will be from the first milking—the “gold” colostrum, since antibody levels drop at each milking after calving. Kim Kelly But, since even “gold colostrum” varies in quality, it can be helpful to use a Brix refractometer to measure antibodies. “Good” colostrum measures 22% or more on Brix and contains the most antibodies. Fair colostrum measures 19-22%, and poor colostrum measures <19%. The amount of antibodies in colostrum is influenced by the way cows are managed before and after calving. Milking a cow right after calving will give you better colostrum than milking her 12 hours later. Cows which are wellfed before and after calving make better colostrum than poorly-fed animals. Lastly, the colostrum from animals vaccinated with scours vaccines, such as Rotavec®

Corona, contain more antibodies than colostrum from unvaccinated cows3 (ref: Recca et al 2003). If you have enough “good” gold colostrum for new-borns, feed your poorer quality gold colostrum and all your transition milk to older calves. It’s still a great source of nutrition and it provides some short-term protection against scours-causing pathogens at the gut level. The logistics of colostrum management can be difficult when you have dozens of cows calving every day. But, keeping the 3 Q’s of colostrum management in mind, and spending extra time and effort on new-borns will help prevent headaches in the calf shed this season, and will pay you dividends in the long-run. • Kim Kelly is a regional technical advisor and vet with MSD Animal Health. For helpful videos and fact sheets which expand on the information in this article visit www.topfarmers. , a reference library of industry best practice for some key animal health management areas.

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Drive change rather than waiting for regulations to force us The South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) is among the big dairy events of the year. Chairman Simon Topham talks about what farmers can expect at the event. What inspired the theme ‘Creating Our Tomorrow’ for this year’s SIDE? There are challenges facing the sector and at times it can be hard for some farmers to see a future in dairy. But the future is bright, hence

our theme ‘Creating Our Tomorrow’. There is an opportunity for us to shape the future of dairy and to drive change rather than wait for regulations to force us to evolve. Many farmers have been doing this for a long time, but some need help.

We also want to remind farmers to reflect on what they’ve achieved over the last decade and be proud of how far we’ve come. We’ve hugely improved the way we farm and while continuing our journey to be more sustainable we should


SIDE chairman Simon Topham on his farm.

pause to celebrate that. What can farmers expect at this year’s event? Inspiring and thought provoking speakers and workshops on topics identified as cutting edge and relevant by other farmers. That’s the beauty of SIDE, it’s an event run by farmers for farmers so there is something of interest for everyone. There’s also the chance to rub shoulders with passionate likeminded farmers and rural professionals you may not normally get a chance to catch up with. What excites you most about this year’s SIDE? Taking my team to BrightSIDE, an afternoon taster session for new entrants to the sector to show them what SIDE is all about without having to commit to the event’s two days. We’re also using

of her journey is truly inspiring. I don’t want to give too much away but I can guarantee she will push farmers to think outside the box. Tell us a bit about the workshops and your top picks. This year we took a less-is-more approach with the workshops. In previous years we’ve run up to 30 workshops but we decided to focus on 19 this time to do each one justice. We’ve tried to include something for everyone, and this applies to the workshops as well. Notable topics are reducing greenhouse gases, inspiring your team and improving herd fertility. I’m a cows and grass type person, so I’m interested in hearing the ‘Future Herd’ session by Waikato farmer Ben

SIDE as a team building opportunity and will have a staff do at the dinner. SIDE provides an opportunity for farmers to let their hair down and connect with others off farm. And we’ve got the Jordan Luck Band performing at the dinner. That’s epic! Who are the keynote speakers? We have an amazing line-up of keynote speakers including All Blacks mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka, former Paralympian blade runner Liam Malone, business leader Sue Lindsay and Golden Bay YOLO (you only live once) farmer and blogger Wayne Langford. Business leader Sue Lindsay is the dark horse. While she goes under the radar compared to some of the other speakers, she is renowned in business circles and the story

Watson talking about breeding healthier, more productive cows, and the workshops ‘Connect locally and sell globally’, ‘Who’s the boss?’ and ‘Nuffield scholars present’. What’s different from last year’s event? We’re holding it in a new region, there’s a new lineup of speakers and workshops, BrightSIDE initiative and entertainment. But the event will build on discussion from last year’s theme ‘It starts with us’, so there is a connection. Why should farmers get along to SIDE? It’s a great excuse to get off farm, connect with others and learn with your team. We want everyone to leave feeling proud, inspired and in the right mindset to take on future challenges.

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The South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) is among the big dairy events of the year.


It will have four keynote speakers, 19 workshops and opportunities for dairy farmers and their team to learn and network.


This year’s theme is ‘Creating our Tomorrow’ and will focus on sector positivity, celebrating

dairy’s successes and overcoming challenges. ■■

The keynote speakers include:

• Former Paralympic blade runner Liam Malone • All Blacks mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka • Business leader Sue Lindsay • Golden Bay YOLO (you only live once) farmer and blogger Wayne Langford.



Paralympian to inspire farmers FORMER PARALYMPIC blade

runner Liam Malone expects to inspire dairy farmers attending the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) in late June. He will encourage them to stay strong and continue rising above the challenges facing the industry. The two-day SIDE, run by farmers for farmers, with support from DairyNZ, will be held at the ILT Stadium in Invercargill on June 25 and 26. The event, themed ‘Creating Our Tomorrow’, will also include All Blacks mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka. Malone is a double amputee who was born with fibular hemimelia. He is no stranger to overcoming adversity. In his teens he suffered anxiety and depression and admits he made some bad choices. But when his mother died he decided to take control of his life, and three years later won two gold medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. “I realised you can’t outrun your problems. You need to face them,” he says.

Gilbert Enoka

“While the dairy sector has done a good job facing its challenges for a decade, these keep coming. And understandably this has taken a toll on some farmers. I hope to provide them with tools to help them be more resilient.” Malone likens dairy farmers challenges to a marathon, not a sprint. And while the changes are coming fast they are constant and farmers need to be prepared to stay the distance. “At times farmers feel as though they’re in a race to meet all the new regulations and consumer expectations coming at them thick and fast.

The finish line seems a long way off. “While I’ve never worked in the dairy sector, I can relate to what farmers are going through. But they’ve put in the training and they’re off the starting blocks and that’s half the battle.” SIDE event chairman Simon Topham says the first day of the event will focus on ‘Celebrating Today’ and the second day will look at ‘Investing in Tomorrow’. “SIDE will celebrate farmers’ sheer grit and drive to constantly do better by their people, cows and environment. The sector has come a long way in a rel-

Liam Malone

atively short time and farmers have a lot to be proud of. “SIDE is an opportunity for farmers

to get together, celebrate their wins and discuss the future of dairy.”


FROM THE inception of SIDE in 1999, the event has always been led by farmers for farmers. Key objectives are to enable South Island dairy sector participants to evaluate and apply knowledge, skills and technology to their businesses, and to provide the knowledge base, capabilities and encouragement to empower participants to effect and manage change. SIDE gives farmers the opportunity to hear and see cutting edge research, technologies and farming systems from lead-


ing farmers and business people from around the South Island, New Zealand and the world. It brings together a large group of enthusiastic people who share their experiences one on one, learning from each other to build a successful future and help drive progression. Crucial to any business is to look to the future. We must ask what does it look like for us, where do we fit, how can we be sustainable long term and meet all our goals at a personal, business, social and community level? SIDE’s event committee recognised this through farmers’ voices,

FOR FARMERS, BY FARMERS RUN BY farmers for farmers, SIDE lines up industry experts to deliver keynote addresses, networking sessions and practical workshops. The SIDE event committee includes seven elected dairy farmers from throughout the South Island who represent the views of the people in their region during the planning of the event format and programme content.

challenging us to reach higher and set higher standards. The Southland event committee continues to raise the bar with this year’s two-day event ‘Creating Our Tomorrow’. Although SIDE is by farmers for farmers, it

could not function without the valued partnership of DairyNZ and ongoing support from gold sponsors ASB, Ravensdown, Rabobank and Fonterra and all the silver sponsors. • Terry Kilday is chairman of SIDE governance group.



Sir Graham Henry speaking at last year’s event.




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More grunt, more fuel efficient


McDonald were searching for a reliable, straightforward tractor for their specialist farm at Bell Block, New Plymouth. They looked at several brands and models then test drove a Valtra and loved it, they say. The McDonalds milk 700 Saanen goats and run a Simmental and Charolais beef stud. A lot of harvesting is required for the dairy goats. So on their 90ha they regularly sow 50ha of pasture and lucerne from August to May to feed them. The goats prefer shorter grass so the lucerne is cut every month. Grass silage is cut more often and shorter. Their new Valtra T194 Versu, rated at 190hp and boosting to 210hp, with front linkage now allows the McDonalds to run a front mower/conditioner with a similar rear unit. A stand-out feature for Shane is the tractor’s 7.4L AGCO Power engine that appears extremely fuel efficient. “We filled it up when it arrived then our son Jacan used it for 10 days. I got in and asked him when he’d filled it and he hadn’t. The cost of running it is minimal.” Fitted with a loader,

“We filled it up when it arrived then our son Jacan used it for 10 days. I got in and asked him when he’d filled it and he hadn’t. The cost of running it is minimal.” the Valtra is also used to load or shift bales, often on a trailer to the farm’s various platforms and lease blocks. They make the most of the machine’s 50km/h road speed on the 11km journey, and the transmission with four ranges, five speeds and a five-step powershift system that can be operated manually or auto. They ordered the tractor with larger tyres – 710s on the rear and 600s up front. Their

larger footprint suits Taranaki’s wet weather and McDonald finds they have more pulling power in difficult conditions. He also applauds the touchscreen monitor. “It’s easier to use than an I-phone,” he says. It can store settings such as engine and transport speed, linkage settings for the mowers and shift positions for automated gear changes. Specified with a 15L/ min hydraulic system, the Valtra has six hydraulic valves. Dependent on

Shane and Kylie McDonald.

the task at hand it can be configured to operate through the tractor’s joystick or the conventional levers, while also offering different

flow rates or timers. The cab has a good stereo, air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity and is comfortable and quiet.

A practical feature is the windscreen wipers that keep the whole window clean, making operation easier particularly with lateral visibility.

The cab is very comfortable and quiet, with lots of user friendly functions like the seat automatically calibrating for the operator’s weight.


factured its three-millionth tractor. It claims to be the world’s largest tractor maker by volume, but global giant John Deere is challenging that in court. Mahindra also claims to have been India’s leading manufacturer for the last 30 years. Its three-millionth tractor appeared in March 2019. Mahindra rolled out its first tractor in 1963 in a joint venture with International Harvester. It reached the one million tractor mark in 2004 and two million in 2013.

The company has always dominated its home market and it sells to at least 40 other countries. The US is its single biggest market, to the chagrin of JD, but it also has tractor manufacturing plants in 14 other countries. The wider Mahindra Group, founded in 1945 to build the famous Willys Jeep under licence, now turns over US$20.7 billion annually. Beyond tractors and machinery its interests include automotive, aerospace, financial services, IT, hospitality, real estate and motorcycles. It employs 240,000 people in at least 100 countries.



Hard working engineering. Buckton engineers equipment for grass roots farming. It’s solid machinery, to help convert your blood, sweat and tears into a thriving business.

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Treating effluent as a resource MARK DANIEL

FORWARD THINKING dairy farmers are

realising the fertiliser value of effluent, treating it as a resource rather than something to be disposed of. Pichon slurry tankers, distributed by Norwood in New Zealand since 2013, enable liquid effluent transport and, more importantly, an effective method of application to make the most of its nutrient value Pichon tankers are

constructed using an integrated frame, with the tank forming part of the chassis, making for a lighter machine with a lower centre of gravity. The tank is galvanised inside and out, while the BP2 auto filler arm can be used on either side of the machine with the tanker suction line connected to the filling cone positioned adjacent to either a pit or tank. Tank capacities are 2600 to 30,000L, with hydraulic sequenced controls for filling and spreading phases. There is a choice of

discharge systems. The traditional spreader plate and nozzle is the most common and cost-effective, or operators looking for better utilisation can choose a hydraulically actuated dribble bar mounted on the rear

of the tanker, offering spreading widths to 28m. For utilisation that ensures optimal plant take-up and minimal evaporation a disc injection system can be specified to deliver effluent directly into the ground.

Compact driving lamp A COMPACT driving lamp for SUV, 4WD or truck

-- the Narva Ultima 180 LED model – is new in New Zealand. “The Ultima 180 meets the trend towards more compact driving lamps… but drivers still want top performance. The Ultima 180 delivers both,” says Tim Paterson, Griffiths Equipment Ltd. The lamps’ hybrid beam pattern makes them ideal for off-road driving and on-road applications because they produce a white light output (5700°K) that closely resembles natural light, so minimising night-time fatigue. The lamps produce 22,000 raw lumens, said to be capable of shining a penetrating light down a road or bush track up to 600 metres at 1 Lux (as a pair). Each has 25 x 5W (165W) XP-G2 Cree LEDs and highly polished aluminium metalised reflectors with precisely scalloped parabolas for control and performance. Other benefits of the new lamps include an LED front position light to improve driving visibility in poor daylight conditions, for improved safety. They have a tough, die-cast aluminium housing and an ‘active thermal management system’ allowing the lights to run harder for longer, a Nitto breather vent and integrated DT connector. The lamps are sealed against water and dust to IP66 and IP67 standards and have a virtually unbreakable polycarbonate lens and lens protector. Installation kits have four interchangeable coloured trim pieces in blue, black, yellow and red, allowing buyers to customise the appearance of the light on their vehicle.


Gypsum application is a standard practice worldwide for addressing the build up of sodium in soils, including soils receiving waste waters.

Gypsum is one of those rare materials that performs in all categories of soil treatment: an amendment, conditioner and fertiliser.

How Does Gypsum Work?

It is useful in the transition period in dairy cows 2 – 4 weeks pre & post calving, and can be used as an anionic salt to counteract the effects that high potassium & sodium concentrations have on increasing hypocalcemia.

Gypsum is hydrated calcium sulphate. Calcium from gypsum replaces sodium in the soil. The sulphate allows the sodium to be effectively leached out of the soil. The soil then has more ability to flocculate and form stable aggregates to improve drainage and soil quality.

Gypsum, a readily available form of calcium, is 100 times more soluble than lime and is more suitable for the digestive system during this period.

Gypsum in fertilising Soil tests throughout New Zealand shows sulphur deficiency is wide spread. Although often overlooked, sulphur is needed in at least equal quantities to phosphorus. Many responses in crops are sulphur due to the sulphate radical (SO4‑‑). • Readily dissociates into free calcium ions (Ca++) and sulphate ions (SO4‑‑), major elements in plant nutrition • Has an approximately neutral pH and can be used in heavy applications without causing undue alkalinity in soils

Gypsum in water savings • Promotes water infiltration, retention and conservation • Allows water to penetrate the soil without forming puddles or water logging • Conserves water by stretching intervals between irrigations • Tests show that farmland treated with gypsum requires up to 33% less water than soils without recent gypsum application

Na+ Na+ Ca++ leached CaSO4 + Soil Cation Exchange  Soil Cation Exchange + Na2SO4

Gypsum in soil conditioning • Breaks up soils compacted by sodium and clay, and compounded by farm animals and machinery • Reduces cracking and compaction following irrigation and retards soil crusting • Allows soil to dry more quickly after rain or irrigation so that it may be worked sooner • Decreases energy requirements for tillage • Binds organic matter to soil and checks soil erosion • Enhances friendly bacterial action and discourages plant diseases related to poor soil aeration • Conditioned soil allows for deeper, healthier root development and water penetration

Gypsum in amendment • Displaces sodium binding clay soils • Reduces high soil aluminium levels • Suppresses the soil acidification effects of growing crops and the prolonged use of acidifying fertilisers

For more about Natural Gypsum and soil stabilisation visit 00527 - Gyspum - DairyNews June 02.indd 1

20/06/18 6:21 PM



You can’t get better bang out of your buck MARK DANIEL

ALWAYS VERY capable, the Mitsubishi Triton has had a loyal following in New Zealand, even with its slightly off target looks. The latest 2019 model takes things to a higher

level, confirmed the buyers opening their wallets, resulting in the Mitsi rocketing up the ute league tables and giving Toyota a nudge downwards. We take a closer look of the range topping VRX model. First, notice the frontal aspect, much squared

up compared to the old model and now looking more macho. And under the skin there’s an even wider range of changes and upgrades. Up front, the tried and tested 4-cylinder 2.4L motor churns out an adequate 135kW and 437 Nm. But moving rearwards we see a few changes.

The Mitsubishi Triton has had a loyal following in NZ.

The transmission is now a 6-speed auto, replacing the previous 5-speeder, and it has

The cabin exudes a level of class.



Based on term of 36 monthly payments with 4.85% interest rate. Inclusive of GST. Valid until 31st December 2019 for delivery prior to*.

Sports Mode selection. The drivetrain sees Mitsi’s Super Select 4WD system that allows the stand-out 4WD high selection on road at up to 100km/h, ideal for HD high speed towing. Transmission choices are 2H, 4H, 4HLC and 4LLC. The LC designation gives a locked centre differential that splits the drive 50:50 to the front and rear axles. Also added is the new 4WD off road mode that uses a rotary dial to choose gravel, sand, mud/snow or rock, with the system configuring power, transmission and braking to best suit each


OR FROM 2 % INTEREST The 2% interest rate is based on a term of 12 equal monthly payments with 25% deposit. Alternate rates and terms are available. Inclusive of GST. Valid until 31st December 2019 for delivery prior to*.

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

See us at F ie ld a y s ® ! S it e # L 8 -L 1 0

scenario. And there’s hill descent control, forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning for all models. For the range topping VRX Triton model we tested it’s worth noting the retail price of $49,900, making it a wise choice as its right up there with the best. Here’s why. In that price, it comes standard with 18-inch alloys, side steps, a chrome sports bar, daytime running lights and an electrical mirror package. Add to that auto headlights, rainsensing wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirrors and a clever ultrasonic mis-acceleration function that stops inadvertent fender-benders. The safety gear includes as standard blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, multi around vehicle monitor and front and rear parking sensors, making the value proposition very attractive. From a practical standpoint, keyless entry and push-button start make life easy. The cabin, with leather-faced seats, exudes a level of class not indicated by the price,

including lots of information from the clear dashboard and the full clout 7-inch touch screen in the centre console. As you’d expect the console has a decent audio system, USB and HDMI ports, an excellent vehicle camera system and, of course, Apple Car Play and Android Auto connectivity. On the road, engine noise is subdued, building up revs smoothly and working well with the six ratios of the auto box, whose changes are barely perceptible. Steering offers good feedback and the driver isn’t bombarded with too many warnings -- a problem with some other contenders. As with many of its contemporaries, Triton’s lane departure function can be a little hit and miss and a bit too sensitive for rural roads. The mass of buttons on the steering wheel can at first sight be overwhelming but you’d get over it in time. At $49,900 the Triton VRX for 2019 is bang up to date and will undoubtably sell well, as it represents some of the best buying out there.

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Veloce – Italian for fast MARK DANIEL

FARMERS WHO have yet to update their NAIT


a medium duty disc harrow, the Maschio Veloce is ideal for seed bed preparation or for incorporating residues from previous crops. It can operate at up to 15km/h, a speed that makes for high outputs and the added benefits of low fuel consumption and maintenance. The machine is offered in 2.5m and 3.0m models, on a heavily built frame with two gangs of scalloped 510mm discs set to oppose each other at an 18-degree angle. Their cutting action helps stimulate rapid decomposition. The gangs are mounted in maintenance-free, Silent-Bloc units using

Help to update NAIT

four rubber dampers to reduce vibration. To help crop flow through the machine, the gangs are set at 800mm centres. The axle hubs, sup-

plied by specialist SKF, use double ball races with heavy duty seals to prevent water, mud and crop residue ingress. At the sides of the machine, easily adjusted

lateral retaining shields help keep soil and residue within the working area for maximum effect, and they eliminate ridges between working bouts. Depth control is via

a simple pin design or an optional hydraulic cylinder with a lock out valve. This has a useful depth control indicator. Power requirement is 90-100hp.

accounts will have an opportunity to do so at National Fieldays at Mystery Creek. “We’ll have a big presence this year for all the event days,” says the head of NAIT, Kevin Forward. “Our focus is NAIT re-registration and we want farmers to come forward and get help or advice on what to do with their NAIT accounts.” OSPRI, which manages NAIT, expects 4000 visitors to their stand and plans to double staff to meet demand. “If you are a livestock farmer and your business depends on it, you need to update your NAIT account. This improves animal traceability and supports disease management, which is what OSPRI specialises in.” Farmers will also have a chance to go into a prize draw to win a livestock scanner. “This is always popular and a scanner is a great addition to the farm shed especially for doing NAIT. You can win a different brand on the day between Wednesday and Friday,” says Forward. Visitors to the OSPRI stand will also be able to trial a new NAIT online system prototype. The OSPRI team will be in the Agriculture Pavilion at site PE40-PE42 and be available to discuss TBfree management of livestock and the progress of TB eradication in your region.

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Dairy News 11 June 2019  

Dairy News 11 June 2019

Dairy News 11 June 2019  

Dairy News 11 June 2019