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JULY 9, 2019 ISSUE 426 // www.dairynews.co.nz

WESTLAND MILK SALE DESPAIR “We have failed to allow the co-op to continue through the generations.” – Bede O’Connor, former director PAGE 3

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

NEWS  // 3

‘Sad but inevitable’ NIGEL MALTHUS

MILK Products shareholders voted overwhelmingly last Thursday to sell their co-op to Chinese dairy giant Yili. Most shareholders saw the sale, decided at a special shareholder meeting at Greymouth, as sad but inevitable. One described the meeting as a “pre-funeral party”. The decision was 2494 votes in favour, 165 against and 10 abstentions. Buller farmer Bede O’Connor – a former Westland board member and brother of Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor – said it was a disappointing day. “Co-ops are about being intergenerational.” As a director for four years, O’Connor said he was putting his hand up to agree that he should have done better. Directors should feel responsible, he said. “If anyone sitting on that board thinks they couldn’t have done better, well they’re not being truthful to themselves. “At the end of the day we’ve delivered, as directors of a co-op, a failed result because we haven’t allowed the co-op to continue through the generations.” O’Connor said farmers had to vote for the sale because they had “a whole lot of guns at their heads”. The large turnout showed how much financial pressure was on them, with properties losing value and farmers losing equity. But Bede O’Connor said Yili’s promise of 10 years of milk payouts matching Fonterra’s was a positive. Barrytown farmer Richard Reynolds said there was a “strange” mood

WESTLAND

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at the meeting, which he called a “pre-funeral party”. “It wasn’t a mood of celebration or disappointment, it was a mood of job done.” With farmers now due for hefty payouts, for some it means the chance to fight another day, he said. Reynolds said there are lessons in the co-op’s demise for all New Zea-

board performance as ‘average’. The second report had contradicted earlier advice that the plant was in good condition. “There are many lessons out of this that will be wasted and New Zealand will repeat them again and again and again,” Reynolds said. Dave Nolan, who milks 500 cows at Whataroa, was another who voted

Westland shareholders have agreed to sell the co-op.

land and all its cooperatives. But he could see similar mistakes still being made. “I don’t think there’s going to be any lessons learnt from this by the wider industry. They’re all going to say ‘bunch of rough-arse West Coasters -- they were never going to succeed. Move on’.” Reynolds said the share value had been “a complete and utter disaster” but he believed one of the main problems was the conflict of interest between the directors with their own businesses, and their running of the co-op business. “They seem to separate that very poorly.” Reynolds cited two reports on the co-op which offered concrete evidence that it wasn’t being run well. One report, by governance consultant Richard Westland, had rated the

‘yes’ but said the situation was “a bugger”. Oceania Dairy (100% owned by Yili since 2013) was going to advance farmers $5.80 this year while Westland was looking at $3.50, he said. “How can people in their right mind not go with them?” Nolan said there was rancour among many farmers over the decision by big shareholder Southern Pastures to abstain from the vote. Farmers wondered why Southern Pastures had invested in Westland last year when it was “already stuffed”. Southern Pastures had sold Fonterra shares for $23 million, spent $6m buying into Westland and would now pick up $13m from Yili, said Nolan. “If they’re not going

to vote why would they take the money?” Westland board chairman Pete Morrison was upbeat following the decision. The high turnout and support for the sale showed they had run a good process and it was a good day for Westland, he said. “It’s the cooperative gone. But we need, and the West Coast farmers need, a competitive milk price. We couldn’t deliver that and we were going to have retentions on top of that. “There’s no point in maintaining a cooperative if all your farmers are going to go broke underneath it and that’s what would’ve happened.” Morrison said that when the board began the review which led to the Yili offer, they well knew that all Westland farming families needed a competitive milk payout. “We know this has been, and is, a driving need for all shareholders. This proposed transaction will secure a competitive milk payout for at least 10 seasons for all existing shareholders and ensures that all existing shareholders’ milk will be picked up for 10 years. “The offer of $3.41 per share is significantly higher than the independent adviser’s valuation range ($0.88 to $1.38 per share) and the milk supply commitment ensures a minimum price for 10 seasons of at least the Fonterra farm gate milk price. “The board recognises that the vote today is an important milestone in Westland’s history. While Westland will cease to be a cooperative, the board believes the proposed transaction represents the best available outcome for shareholders.”


DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

4 //  WESTLAND MILK SALE

Ex-suppliers seek OIO help NIGEL MALTHUS

A GROUP of former

suppliers of Westland Milk Products has formally asked the Overseas Investment Office to block or delay the sale to Yili until they are paid millions of dollars owed to them for previously surrendering their shares. The group’s spokesman, Pete Williams, said that at the end of the 2018 milking season he ceased supplying Westland and went to Fonterra, surrendering his shares at their nominal price of $1.50 per kgMS. But he was not paid immediately because Westland has a technical right under its constitution to withhold payment for up to five years. The five claimants named in the approach to the OIO are owed a total of $7 million to $8 million. But others are seen to be in the same position, as shown by Westland’s financial statements recording a non-current “share resumption liability” of $11.1 million. Williams said that when the proposed sale to the Chinese was announced, they thought it “natural” that they

would be paid when the sale went through. Only by chance did they discover that neither Westland nor the buyer intended to bring the payments forward. Williams said he raised the issue with Westland chair Pete Morrison whose response was that they had left the co-op, didn’t stay loyal to the co-op and were simply unsecured creditors. The group had approached other board members and Yili, getting the same response.

The deferment clause was put into the co-operative constitution to protect it against a run on capital, but Williams said that wasn’t the current case. With Southern Pastures going in, there was more capital going in than left last year. “In the old days they would have paid that money out immediately,” he said. “Yili will take control of Westland. One would assume the balance sheet will be very strong. There’s no immediate

redemption risk or issue for Yili so they’re essentially using that capital as an interest-free loan to enhance the commercial terms of their purchase. “We just find that reprehensible.” The former shareholders were hard workers who had only left the co-op because of its lack of performance. “We’re essentially being doublepunched through a technicality.” A letter has gone to the OIO on behalf of Williams Holdings Ltd, GSB

Farms Ltd, Stoneridge Holdings Ltd, Tiptree Ltd and Fern Flat Ltd. Among other points, the letter asks the office to consider their claim under the “benefit to New Zealand” test. “The Overseas Investment Act is there to protect the interests of NZers and ‘NZ Inc’. Clearly, providing interest free loans for foreign investment in NZ companies is not really in NZ’s best interests,” said Williams. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

THEY KNEW THE TERMS – CHAIRMAN IN A statement, Westland chair Pete Morrison reiterated the terms under which the protesting former suppliers had surrendered their shares. “It is important to note that the individuals concerned knew of the conditions and terms of payment of their unsecured debt when they surrendered their shares. “If the scheme is approved and the shares in Westland are transferred, Westland remains fully liable for these liabilities (as for all other liabilities) and the timing for payment and all other terms of payment for these individuals’ liabilities remain the same as before.”

Pete Morrison

The farmers making the approach to the OIO are all in Canterbury. The group’s spokesman, Pete Williams, said that “true blue” Westland suppliers on the Coast didn’t have the same op-

tion of swapping supply. “I suspect many of them would have, actually.” “We’ve followed Westland pretty closely for the last few years. You know there was a lot of commercial risk for us to supply Westland. We took a lot of interest in the preceding three years before we made our decision to leave.” Speaking before the shareholders’ vote on whether to accept the Yili offer, Williams predicted the deal would go through. Times were tough, with a lot of financial pressure, pressure from their banks and a milk price that meant they were probably losing money.

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IRONIC END TO CHAMPION CO-OP WESTLAND MILK Products’ sale to Chinese interests is an ironic end to the co-op, which last August was named New Zealand’s 2018 Cooperative Business of the Year. The award is made to a member organisation “that has made a significant and positive impact within the cooperative community during the 201718 year.” At the time, the judges called it a recognition of Westland “successfully re-inventing itself using the enduring cooperative model as a strength, while promoting to its customers the productive relationship it has with its 350 shareholding farmers”. Craig Presland, chief executive of Cooperative Business NZ, had no regrets about the award, decided by experienced judges and based on Westland’s 2017-18 performance, a turnaround from previous years. “Twelve months later... these things are always easier in hindsight, aren’t they, looking back.” Presland said Westland’s woes go way back, such as decisions on A2 milk, the value of their share price for additional milk being too low, and their move into Canterbury. But Westland’s failure was “not at all” a problem in the cooperative model, which Presland said was “all about endurance and sustainability”. Of Cooperative Business NZ members, which include Fonterra, Tatua, LIC, FMG and SBS Bank, two-thirds are over 20 years old and five are over 100 years old. “For Westland I think the disappointment was they couldn’t come to an agreement with Fonterra about ownership and remaining a cooperative wholly owned in NZ with profits retained locally.” He questioned why they hadn’t acted the way Silver Fern Farms did two or three years ago, setting up two entities, one 100% NZ-owned. Presland said Westland profits in the end would go overseas. “Sure there’s talk of matching Fonterra’s price for the next 10 years but what about beyond that? Where’s the long-term thinking for future generations? “I don’t want to comment too much about their performance but it’s certainly not about the cooperative model. It’s a fine balance between putting money into payouts versus holding it back for capital projects for investment. Maybe that’s partly where Westland went wrong.” – Nigel Malthus

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

PRIMARY INDUSTRIES CONFERENCE  // 5

Get the marketers on board PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

THE ONLY way to get the consumer to understand about how food is produced is to bring the marketing and brand people to farms and to show them what happens on the land, says Han Johr, corporate head of agriculture at Nestle. He reminded Federated Farmers annual conference last week that most of the world’s consumers live in urban centres far from where food

is produced. So the people responsible for marketing food must understand about agriculture to be able to frame the correct messages to consumers. He said the true message of agriculture is being lost because the ‘rural/urban gap’ is exploited by activists advising consumers what they should be eating. And consumers in different countries have different concerns about how food is produced. In the US it’s how farm animals are treated, else-

Nestle’s Hans Johr at the conference.

where it may be food safety or biodiversity. Johrs points out that many young consumers, especially in China, use

technology in the supermarket to find out about the provenance of food. “In the supermarket they make a picture of the

Rise and shine - PM PRIME MINISTER Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand’s economy is entering a dramatic new era of change with all the primary sector’s challenges ‘lying on the table’ together. She spoke last week to Federated Farmers’ annual conference, ranging widely over protecting waterways, reducing agricultural emissions, enhancing sustainability, ensuring a workforce to deal with future change, biosecurity, protecting elite food producing soils and securing more free trade agreements (FTA’s). “It’s a lot, and you are out in front tackling these issues,” she told the conference. “I want you to know and feel and experience that [politicians] too are focused on these issues and equally on supporting you as we navigate them. “This transition is not easy but it

will be less jarring if we start early,” she said. Ardern said NZ has traditionally reaped the reward of being a world leader in the primary sector, and we must tackle some of these issues early to ensure NZ stays at the front of the pack. But the changes must be managed well, not done in a way that leaves behind a legacy of hurt. The Prime Minister says high quality trade agreements are a top priority for her Government and for NZ as an export nation. The Government wants quality, modern, enduring and progressive FTAs that adhere to the rules based systems of the WTO and open doors into the best premium markets for food and fibre. “We should settle for no less,” Ardern said, also urging development of new markets, notably the Middle

product that tells them a story about the farmers and products and the emotional benefits. It’s about what the brand offers you.” Johr’s advice to Kiwis is that we tell the story about NZ and what differentiates it from the rest of the world. “That has to do with your good dairy farming practices. “You have to tell openly the things you do well and the things you are still working on. “You have to be open and frank about hotspots

FEDERATED FARMERS conference last week was a great success, says president Katie Milne The federation joined forces with a commercial conference organising company to stage the event at Te Papa Museum in Wellington. Milne says they decided to do something different and bring primary industries into Wellington to connect closer with politicians, academics, government officials and agribusiness people. “It’s gone well and good feedback from everybody showed this format has worked. People made the connections we wanted them to make. “We had great speakers from overseas and New Zealand and the conference had a different buzz.” Milne says the farming sector is pretty flat at present despite prices being good.

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environment and natural resources. They do not want to jeopardise them, but they do it sometimes because they don’t know better or don’t have the money or technology to do better.” Farmers want to be positive stewards of natural resources and “we need to help them do that and not put the squeeze on them”. Sorting out the problems requires open dialogue with many organisations -- consumers, community groups and farmer groups.

PLENTY OF BUZZ

East and China where on her recent visit she found Premier Li Keqiang enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Maori culture. “Our food and fibre are renowned in China as safe, nutritious and clean, but he sees the story and values of indigenous NZers as really setting us apart. “These are the values held by Maori, including the principle of kaitiakitanga -- the idea that we have a guardianship role on behalf of our environment and natural resources. “Unless we protect these we won’t only lose one of our greatest assets, we will also diminish our narrative,” Ardern said. The Prime Minister several times urged that NZers protect the country’s unique elite food producing soils from urban sprawl or any upsurge in tree planting.

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and tell them you are working on these and have a plan to fix them and communicate that well.” Having to compete with fake science is a challenge, but we must realise that the consumer’s perception is for them the reality. Finger-pointing at farmers over environmental issues is unproductive and authorities should work with farmers to overcome problems, Johr says. “It is clear that farmers do not want to spoil the

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The conference was aimed at helping the public and decisionmakers to better understand farming. Attendees aired their concerns, chiefly on government policies. And alternative proteins were also heard as a worry. “Typical concerns were, what effect is the Zero Carbon Bill going to have on farms? and what must farmers do today about water policies? They are uncertain what the impacts will be, Milne said. “We also don’t think the regulatory impact analyses and cost benefit analyses have been properly done on a lot of these things, in particular the flowon effects.” Milne says the challenge is to deal with such issues while simultaneously identifying opportunities for the primary sector and seeing a clear path to achieve goals.


DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

6 //  PRIMARY INDUSTRIES CONFERENCE

Vet scoops award PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

I WAS just doing my job. It’s very humbling and I’m not sure it’s entirely deserved. That’s the reaction from Dr Merlyn Hay, the Oamaru veterinarian who identified the disease Mycoplasma bovis on an Oamaru dairy farm in July 2017. She won the inaugural award for the Outstanding Contribution to Primary Industries in New Zealand. It was presented at Federated Farmers conference in Wellington last week. Hay noticed unusual and distressing symptoms in cows and calves on the farm where she discov-

ered the disease. “I was talking to colleagues about the case and trying to brainstorm and think of ideas and signs that would lead to an unusual diagnosis,” she said. “I was encouraged by associate professor Richard Laven at Massey University that we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of an exotic disease.” Hay’s award nominator said rural vets are always willing to go the extra mile but Hay has “given that a whole new meaning”. “She didn’t have to do what she did but the country is better for it.” The nominator noted that M. bovis had previously not been found in

Merlyn Hay

NZ and was not among the high profile diseases vets are expected to watch out for, such as foot and mouth disease. This makes Dr Hay’s work even more remarkable, the nominator said. “While it was later discovered that M. bovis had

entered NZ as much as 18 months earlier, there is no doubt that Hay’s detection in July 2017 has meant we have a good chance of eradicating the disease. “Had Hay not been so tenuous and vigilant and had it been months or

years later before the disease was first detected, it is highly likely we would have to live with it as in other countries. “Arguably, Dr Hay has saved the NZ primary sector millions of dollars and potentially... to rid itself of this disease.” Hay says working on the M. bovis outbreak was harrowing and involved long hours, especially with the MPI response and the way things unfolded. She still finds it harrowing to think of farmers having to cull their stock, and she hopes for eradication. “Eradicating it will be huge for NZ and NZ farming. I hope it works but it’s hard to watch farmers go through this.”

Good times are coming SEEMINGLY CRAZY “carryings-on” by some world leaders and influencers should not cause Kiwi farmers to sit on their hands worrying, says Malcolm Bailey, the chairman of the Dairy Companies Association (DCANZ). The companies say they don’t like the unease “sitting around the dairy sector at the moment”. They know they can’t have good ongoing sustainable business unless their farmer suppliers are doing well. But farmers may fairly take encouragement from the world markets and trends being basically

in their favour. Malcolm Bailey says the uncertainty faced by farmers is caused by, for example, Government policies on trees, water quality and water access and the response to climate change. The companies want the farmers to meet these challenges and position NZ in a better place because we have a lot of key customers looking for product to buy, Bailey says. “The key thing is to get the balance right in making progress on these big ticket issues which

are global in the case of climate change, and to make sure we have a viable economic pathway forward in NZ.” He says NZ can have little influence in resolving the kind of problems that contribute to global uncertainty, notably the stand-off between China and the US. But NZ would do well to remember that the world’s growing population needs a lot more food, especially the nutritious dairy NZ produces. “Irrespective of what we might think are crazy carryings-on, we

are in a good position to meet that demand,” Bailey says.”Yes, interruptions will cause uncertainty that tends to lead to lower prices. But I don’t see that as a long term outcome.” Bailey says in the future prices will rise because of the various constraints globally in other countries, e.g. the lack of land for food production and a lack of water. In contrast to this, NZ is well placed, he says. “I am very confident about the long term picture.” – Peter Burke

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ing, connecting and understanding Maori, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. He told Federated Farmers annual conference last week that Maori agribusiness will be a big part of New Zealand’s future. Maori have huge land holdings and huge potential, they don’t sell their land and will be here forever, he said. So NZ must do better at connecting with Maori and their aspirations and appreciating and utilising their values such as kaitiakitanga (guardianship, wise utilisation not preservation), and manaakitanga (sharing the goods we have with others). “These are the things that will drive us into the future because the new consumers -- our children -- have values different from those we grew up with. They are not bad, they are just different, and they are looking for different things. “In my view and experience those underlying values of sustainability and sharing and caring are what drive decisionmaking at the consumer level.” O’Connor says more people are looking for sustainability in our products. They want to know we care about our environment and are engaged in climate change initiatives. “This is the new world in which we are selling our products. We have to be the Swiss watch producers of protein products – the very very best, worthy of the highest possible prices and selling to people less concerned about price and more concerned about value.” NZ must ensure all its primary industry is seen in a positive light. The dairy industry has been challenged on this and so has tourism, O’Connor said. This must be worked through. Primary sector growth has been spectacular in the past year -- 7% growth and $45 billion in export earnings. “But we need better health and education. [We struggle] to attract and retain passionate young enthusiastic people to our sector. Every sector is complaining they can’t get enough of these people.”

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

OPINION / NEWS  // 7

Tom Pow, Herd Homes.

NZ’s economic engine needs a rebuild Innovators and inventors NZwide are bursting with ideas, many of which can’t or won’t be trialled because they don’t fit with the current dairy farming ethos. Some have great farming improvements sitting in the wings, just waiting for the right time. Many are frustrated, as their ideas may not suit current farming systems but could easily work in a new farming system.

to graze, walk and choose when to return to shelter and shade TOM POW ■■ Produce more profit per hectare ■■ Reduce greenhouse gases and WHAT’S THE future of dairy farming in New Zealand? possibly be carbon neutral ■■ Protect soils Right now, it’s under threat from ■■ Decrease production costs people and organisations keen to ■■ Ensure staff are happy slash and burn the industry into oblivion. Many of these people have The new system will be very difno connection to dairy farming yet ferent from today’s -- some may say they push their own agenda which disruptive. Scientists who have spent detract from the industry. years studying the current But dairy farming is the NZ farming system, which “Farmers must take the lead engine of NZ’s economy. is no longer profitable and Some detractors think the and refuse to let other people does not meet modern only way to meet environ- dictate how they run their standards, will have to mental targets is to cut cow business.” reassess how their models numbers and farms, waste work. productive land on carbon setI’m calling on all the Current farming practices are country’s inventors, farmers and agriasides and do away with entire rural based on an outdated model. Many cultural companies to come forward communities. Or they may argue that produc- farming practices exist only because with their ideas for future proofing tive land should disappear forever that’s the way things have always our country’s economic backbone. under housing subdivisions or shop- been done and the old methods are I want people to review our current seldom if ever reviewed. ping centres. systems and give their feedback on Throwing more research money at how improvements can be made. This thinking poses a danger not just to dairy farming but to our whole studying a 50-plus year old farming Once solutions are found, all system is unlikely to give the massive this information must be shared country and way of life. Farmers must take the lead and change that is required to face the in a format all farmers can access. refuse to let other people dictate how future of farming. The lack of prog- I envision environmental conferthey run their business. Having regu- ress has frustrated many scientists, ences, events farmers can visit to lators and non-farmers telling them provoking them to make unhelpful hear the latest research and get help what to do has never worked and is comments well outside their field of on how to overhaul their system: how now driving NZ dairy farming to the expertise. to reduce greenhouse gases through We need to break down the cur- feeding, how to improve their soil edge of a cliff. And there is no ambulance wait- rent dairy farming grazing system health, feeding systems to suit difing at the bottom -- only famine, to its core building blocks and iden- ferent farm types and so on. discontent and a growing economic tify which parts are problems now or Drastic changes to our farming wedge between the haves and have could be in the future. system will cost money, as will the These ‘problem blocks’ must be research to determine the best path nots. Future farming must feed the changed or replaced with new ideas or paths forward and ideally this will world’s growing population without and methods. These ideas must be be Government funded rather than negative environmental impacts so trialled, on a variety of farms of dif- yet another drain on farmers. we urgently need to find a solution ferent contours, soil types and cliIt’s in NZ’s best interests to get mates because one size won’t fit all this right. Who’s with me? that allows our farmers to do this. Farmers care passionately about and what works for one farmer won’t • Tom Pow is the founder of Herd the environment and they want to work for another. Homes, Northland. Ideally, a new system will: know what is the best way forward. @dairy_news But how do they decide what that is? ■■ Give milking cows more freedom facebook.com/dairynews

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

8 //  NEWS

How do we manage change? PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

THE DAIRY farming

industry needs to keep thinking about what it can do differently in response to the big change coming at it, says Luke Beehre, project leader of the Northland Extension 350 (E350) programme. How do we support one another and how do we manage change? asks the Northland dairy farmer and former bank manager. “That change could be ensuring profitability, or how we look after each other, our own wellbeing or environmental sustainability. “There are big things coming down the track for us,” he told Dairy News. “We have to think of different ways of managing this stuff. There is a huge resource collectively across our industry. How do we bring people together and use our capability as a region?

“And we must ensure we partner well.” E350 aims to have 10 clusters each with five target farmers, 5-10 mentors and about five associates. Seven of those clusters are dairy farms. E350 currently has 33 dairy target farmers and 40-50 mentor dairy farmers because some target farmers have two mentors. There are also about 100 associates and more are welcome. Key partners are MPI, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, Northland Regional Council (NRC) and Northland Inc. One aspect of their thinking is how they work with the NRC to deliver truly robust farm environment plans. “And how do we partner with industry -- with, say, Fonterra in Northland -- on supporting and jointly delivering those farm environment plans. “And how do we ensure we are not just complying with what is happening today but have a forward looking mentality and are actually

future proofing our business as best we can. We don’t know what is going to happen in 12, 18 or 36 months or whatever but we can start to take some steps.” DairyNZ’s consulting officers are deeply engaged with E350 in facilitating some of the learning and “helping to challenge us on what we do and how we do things”. While there are separate sheep and beef E350 clusters, there is crossover because Northland has many mixed use farms that have a component of beef. Ensuring the most appropriate land use is part of the conversation, says Beehre. Whole farm assessment helps with business priorities. “It is saying, ‘hey what are some of the opportunities here?’ ” E350 engages with target farmers over 3.5 years which is a long time for such a programme, says Beehre. “We recognise change takes time. A biological

Extension 350 target farmer, Lachie McLean (left) and menor farmer Dave Robinson.

system is not like a factory where you change it from one day to the next. “Farmers are inherently cynical and want to be able to test something before rolling it out. A 3.5 year project per farm enables farmers undergoing change to test it and bed it down in their practice. That’s so we don’t get to the end of E350 and have people go back to doing what they used to do because they haven’t learnt any other way. “So E350 is intentional about that and some of the building blocks in a whole farm assessment, like a set of triage of the business. “Farmers want plans that mark and measure those sorts of things, to help them understand what they want to do and put business plans

together and goals and all that sort of stuff.” Both mentors and target farmers are saying the programme is significant for their business. “Targets are in effect saying it has been an opportunity to benchmark, to analyse where they are going, why they are going there and how they are going to get there. “And, really importantly, to be able to do it together -- mums and dads, husbands and wives or whoever it might be. All of them have their dreams and aspirations on the table.” E350 doesn’t just talk about production but about three planks: profitability, lifting environmental sustainability and improving farmer wellbeing.

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“Those broad themes or pillars or planks -- the expectation is they are part of every kitchen table conversation.” If you are driving profitability but everyone is falling apart you are not achieving what you want, Beehre says. The idea for E350 was conceived and born in Northland. “E350 was built on three pilots studies: the Candys (DairyNZ focus farm) and lower and upper north partner farms. That was all about developing strategy and farmer to farmer learning and how to do that. “I am sure other peer to peer stuff has hap-

pened over time but that is where some of the ideas were honed.” Farmers have come in three groups: one just starting now, one a year ago and the first lot two years ago. With a full season under their belts the figures and financials are coming through and going into DairyBase and AgResearch is working with E350 to do the evaluations. “We will have some hard evaluation of numbers and surveys and some softer analysis which is also a key.” www.northlandnz.com/ northland-inc/regional-initiatives/extension-350/

A TEAM EFFORT THE ATTRIBUTION in E350 has to go to the farmers, says Beehre. “They are the guys making change and we all know change is hard. They are the guys putting in the graft week on week to challenge themselves, think differently and implement change. “The mentors don’t get paid. They are giving back to the industry by being involved in it. They often give significant amounts of time. “But even the level of support we have had from our funding partners… without that funding it wouldn’t happen. You could have all the best ideas in the world but we just wouldn’t be able to get off the ground with it. “It is a team approach that everybody is contributing to and contributing above and beyond.” In all the regions an opportunity still exists to be an associate farmer. “Associate farmers share the journey the target farmers are on and they have the opportunity to share back into what they are doing.” Beehre says all involved in the project are learning all the time. “One of the benefits of having a longer project like this is that we can learn. In a very short project you sort-of ‘build your house’ and that’s it, you can’t learn from it. But if you build four houses one after another you actually learn from each house.”

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

NEWS  // 9

Forecasts steady as demand holds PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

BANKS ARE mainly holding firm on

their forecasts of $7/kgMS despite last week’s flat Global Dairy Trade result – a small decline of 0.4% in the overall price index. However Westpac has gone 30c lower to $6.90/kgMS. Fonterra’s forecast range is $6.25 to $7.25/kgMS. Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins says the GDT results weakened for the fourth time in a row driven by weaker fat prices. “The recalibration of dairy fat prices has continued with butter taking a haircut by almost 5% to land at US$4339/ tonne,” she says. Anhydrous milk fat (AMF) prices softened by almost 2% to US$5433/t.   “Pleasingly for powders – and also, importantly, the bulk of the volume on offer at the GDT Event – whole milk powder (WMP) saw no change in this auction compared to the last (US$2969/t) while skim milk powder (SMP) saw a boost of 3.2% to US$2430/t.” Higgins says the GDT results are

Global demand for milk remains strong.

actually not too bad with the new 2019-20 production season a couple of months away from ramping up. “Chinese import appetite was stronger than expected through the first four months of 2019 and some buyers are likely to have adequate coverage,” she says. But Chinese demand was expected to remain firm. “Importantly, though, our forecasts

suggest less milk volume will be available from the southern hemisphere exporting countries over the second half of 2019,” Higgins says. Oceania dairy prices are expected to rebound off the back of this. Rabobank still sees a possible farmgate milk price forecast of $7.15/kgMS. ANZ rural economist Susan Kilsby says the direction of price movements

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was largely as expected (based on futures going into the event) although the WMP result was a tad stronger than expected. “This result will be welcomed by NZ producers as from now on the volume of product on offer will lift, aligned with the seasonal milk production curve.” Current prices are close to the average level traded attained on GDT in the last few years. ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny is holding the bank’s current 2019-20 forecast at $7/kgMS. But he says forecasts at this time of the season always come with a wide range of error. ASB’s range would be $6.50/kgMS to $7.50/kgMS versus Fonterra’s range of $6.25 to $7.25/kgMS. Penny says global dairy markets are on the whole tight. NZ production growth is past its cyclical peak and production growth in other major dairy exporters is soft. “On this basis we anticipate that dairy prices can push towards cyclical highs later in the season. “Accordingly the NZ spring will be important for setting the direction for prices.”

If domestic production is softer this year than in 2018, dairy buyers are likely to be caught short “given many buyers appear to be currently living hand to mouth”. Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said they were always expecting auction prices to fall during the course of this year. “However, this has come through faster than we anticipated. We are therefore lowering our farmgate milk price forecast for the 2019-2020 season to $6.90/kg (down from $7.20). “Looking ahead, growth in overseas dairy supply is likely to be limited over the remainder of this year. That’s in part related to dry conditions in Australia and the lingering impacts of last summer’s drought conditions in Europe. “In contrast, NZ production is looking firmer: New Zealand milk production was up 2.4% last year and NZX is forecasting milk solid levels to be up 0.4% over the 2019-2020 season. “Demand conditions appear to have remained firm, including demand from key markets like China. That’s despite the broader softness seen in global economic activity in recent months.”


DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

10 //  NEWS

Co-op’s milk production up 2.2% PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

NEW ZEALAND finished the milk

production season slightly up on last year but Australia had a marked decline, says Fonterra’s latest Global Dairy Update. NZ’s overall milk production was up 2.2% for the 12 months to May 2019. The report says a weak production year was due to unfavourable weather. Fonterra’s milk production in both countries declined more than that of the wider industry. Its NZ milk collection for the season ending May 31, 2019 was 1% up on a weak prior season at 1523 million kgMS. Forecast milk collection for the 2019-20 season is 1520 million kgMS. The North Island Fonterra collection was up just 0.1% for the season and declined 10.7% in May. The South Island was up 2.7% for the season and increased 3.5% in May versus the previous year.

Australia’s overall industry milk production was down 6.1% for the 12 months to April and was down 13.7% in April on the same month last year. Fonterra’s Australian milk production was down 19.8% for the season to date, July 1 to May 31, and decreased 31.4% for the month of May. In Australia “Fonterra’s share of monthly collection continues to reduce due to poor seasonal conditions and high input costs, leading to an increase in cow cull rates, farm exits in key regions and declining share in a highly competitive market,” the report says. Europe production was up just 0.4% for the same 12 months with declines in the key export countries Austria, France, Germany and the Netherlands. But Ireland grew 15%. US production was up just 0.5% for the 12 months to May and down 0.4% in May. Regarding the US, “poor profitability is leading to an increase in culling which is likely to continue to impact growth over the next few months,” the report says.

Unfavourable weather impacted milk production last year, with only a 2.2% rise recorded.

EXPORTS CLIMBING DAIRY EXPORTS from New Zealand, Australia and the EU continue to grow. NZ exports for the 12 months to April were up 5.4% or 176,500 tonnes on the previous year driven by whole milk powder, fluid milk products, AMF and infant formula. NZ exports in April increased by 13.6% or 37,100t on the same period last year. In that month

butter had the largest decline. Australian export volumes were up 3.9% in volume for the 12 months to April and EU exports were up 1.9%. In the US exports were down 1.9% or 45,000m t for the year to April and down 21.2% in April on the same month last year. “The US has seen at least a 100,000m t decline in whey products to China in the last 12

months,” the Update says. This was partially offset by increases in exports to Mexico, Canada and Taiwan. Monthly imports into China and Asia show strong growth. China was up 9.8% for the 12 months to April and up 31.5% in April this year versus the same time last year. Asia excluding China was up 6.7% for the 12 months to March.


DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

NEWS  // 11

Govt yet to respond to PCE’s Overseer report THE GOVERNMENT

still has not responded to the 2018 report on Overseer by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton. He says he is still waiting for a response, especially to see whether Overseer is fit for use as a regulatory tool. “I’ve actually had nothing in the way of feedback and for the moment I’ve got no idea of the Government’s response to my recommendations,

so that’s obviously still a work in progress.” Giving the first keynote address at the recent Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) conference in Christchurch, Upton said there had never been a formal policy decision. “Rather it has sort-of muddled along, been used and built on here and there.” His report, released in December 2018, made 10 recommendations: first and foremost that the relevant ministers decide if they want Overseer used in a regulatory context. If so, then Upton’s other

Simon Upton

recommendations would come into play. He said some indications were contained in the 2019 budget with comments from ministers. And the $229 million Sus-

tainable Land Use package mentioned Overseer but he is still waiting for a formal response. Overseer was originally designed to help farmers make more efficient use

NEW VERSION GATHERS 6500 FARM ACCOUNTS THE FAR conference has heard that at least 6500 farm accounts have now been set up in the new version of Overseer, called Overseer FM. Overseer business development manager Alastair Taylor addressed the conference from Hamilton by audio link, just a couple of days before the old Overseer software was due to be retired at the end of June. He said the launch of Overseer FM a year ago marked a significant change for the software and it was important that people got their heads around its new “farm account” model. The new system is cloud based and online only, with each farm having its data held centrally and the account owner, usually the farmer, hav-

ing control over the data and who he shares it with. Taylor said it streamlines data entry, making it faster and easier to capture quality data, and easier to share data with the likes of farm consultants by controlled access, rather than downloading and emailing back and forth. “That central database is really important because it allows us to update every analysis within it when we make a model change. “It means that any change in numbers from year to year are actually due to genuine farm system change, not the modelling version changes we’ve seen in the past.” It is also much easier to include new science as it becomes available.

Taylor said a key point arising during the software’s development, and from farmer feedback over the past few months, was whether farmers may have to share their results with regulators. “We’re very clear that unless you’ve got a constructive relationship with a regulator you do not need to give them access to your farm account. “We’ve built into the software the ability to publish, and that creates a read-only version of an analysis which you can send to somebody like a regional council or a dairy company.” A further recent development was an auditor function by which the council can share that read-only analysis with an auditor, without the auditor needing full access to the account.

Authority to find a framework to evaluate it. Upton called for a comprehensive independent evaluation of Overseer with “at least” the following elements: A whole-model peer review by technical experts independent of the people who did the development work. Improving calibration and corroboration in the model. A formal uncertainty and sensitivity analysis over the whole model, for a better understanding of the sources of uncertainty in the model’s outputs. Transparency and full disclosure of the way the model works. Maximum transparency would come from open sourcing the workings, although Upton said that would raise questions of ownership. For arable systems, calibration for N leaching on cropping blocks is essential, he said.

tion of arable systems in Overseer is much more limited, with many crops unrepresented and practices like double sowing of crops, rotation, regular cultivation and block management changes all running counter to Overseer’s underlying ‘average and constant’ assumptions. “Users of Overseer, whether farmers, farm consultants, researchers or regional councils, need confidence that the outputs of the model are sufficiently reliable for use in a regulatory context where powers of enforcement are being wielded and expectations are for public improvements rather than private gain.” Upton said he would have expected more rigorous formal scrutiny of the model but there exists no New Zealand based guidance on the use of models in regulatory settings, and he had to turn to the US’s Environmental Protection

of nutrients and boost their productivity and profitability. The same model also ‘mechanically’ estimates the loss of nutrient from root zones, Upton said. Overseer’s ability to estimate diffuse loss of nutrients including nitrogen at farm scale has made it attractive to regulators. “It is scarcely surprising that some regional councils have turned to Overseer, because it provides estimates of the very environmental pressures for which regulations need to be designed.” However, Overseer operates on long term averages, assumes average and constant management and site characteristics and relies on calibration. With its focus on experimental measurement and calibration in pastoral systems it models pastoral land uses best. Research and calibra-

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

12 //  NEWS

Long game could see Fonterra succeed SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

A FORMER Fonterra

director says the co-op will do well in India “provided it’s prepared to play the long game”. Earl Rattray says Fonterra must accept that its second foray into India will be an “investment value growth business” -reinvesting its earnings to grow the business. “And if they can roll with the short term punches they may get from time to time, then I think they will do alright there,” he told Dairy News. Rattray, a shareholder in a dairy farm and milk marketing business near the Indian capital New

WORLD’S SHORTEST SUPPLY CHAIN EARL RATTRAY and his family are in a farming and direct milk marketing business with three Indian families.   They produce quality milk, pasteurise it and deliver it as fast as they can to 7000 homes in a few areas of Delhi. “We only use 1L glass bottles, 97% recycled.  We’ve probably got the shortest supply chain in the

Delhi, says there is a lot Fonterra NZ can do to support the dairy industry in India.   “Good trading relationships are not just about what India can do for us, but also what we can do for India,” he says. In June, Fonterra launched its Dreamery brand of dahi (curd),

world. The milk is processed overnight and delivered by 8am next morning.” Rattray says the business is growing and they will soon start processing in a bigger factory. “Quite a few other farmers are lining up to join us, and after a little training on the value of hot water and detergent they can produce good quality milk too.”

UHT toned milk and chocolate and strawberry milkshakes in Mumbai (pop. 8.4m). This is the co-op’s second foray into India since its inception. In 2001, it formed a joint venture with Britannia Industries, Bangalore, but pulled out in 2009, saying it no longer fitted its stra-

tegic priorities. This time Fonterra has teamed up with Future Group (Future Consumer Ltd) which runs 2000 retail stores in at least 400 cities and towns across India. Sunil Sethi, chairman of Fonterra Future Dairy and managing director of Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka

and the Indian Subcontinent, says Dreamery products draw on over a century of dairy expertise to delight a new type of Indian consumer who is young, urban and always on the go. Rattray says Fonterra has the timing right. India is in massive transition, visible in rising consumer aspiration and expectations on what they buy and where they buy it. “The traditional informal loose milk market is huge but slowing, giving ground to branded products offering more choice and convenience. This is the same pattern as everywhere else in the world.  I was impressed that Fonterra has teamed up with Future Group.”

Earl Rattray

Rattray notes that India is “pretty much a closed dairy market, at least for now”. “It’s still [evolving]. The biggest human migration in history is playing out here now as 10-15 million people move every year from rural villages to mega cities. “It’s hard for them to take their buffalo or cow with them when they go.  As urbanisation and incomes increase, more

food items are made in factories and bought at retail rather than manufactured in home kitchens, so demand for dairy ingredients will increase. “India is the world’s biggest dairy producer (180 billion litres) but the growth in demand for fluid milk will not leave much for local ingredient manufacture. “There will be more imports over time for specific uses.”


DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

NEWS  // 13

Future Post makes fence posts from recycled Anchor milk bottles.

Fonterra declares war on waste FONTERRA IS planning a war on waste.

The co-op will stop sending solid waste to landfill by 2025 and will by then have 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging. These are the right things to do and even more important as more consumers choose products that are environmentally friendly, says the co-op’s director of sustainability, Carolyn Mortland. About 90% of Fonterra products sold in New Zealand are already recyclable and this is now the aim worldwide, Mortland says. “We export 95% of our local production to at least 140 countries, so our supply chain is complex, with different infrastructure in each market. “NZ has its own challenges, e.g. Auckland is the only city with the facilities to fill glass bottles. “For glass to be a more sustainable alternative to plastic, bottles must be re-used several times before recycling. Moving heavy glass... back-and-forth to Auckland for cleaning and re-using would cause a lot of emissions. “We’ve looked into it but without a

well developed nationwide system to sterilise and fill bottles for re-use at scale, it’s not viable.” NZ-wide and worldwide, households and businesses are grappling with how to deal with waste. The world daily generates 3.5 million tonnes of plastic and other solid waste – 10 times that of 100 years ago, says the World Bank. And one third of all food produced is lost or wasted. Mortland says the co-op will maintain food safety and quality whatever packaging it uses. Packaging can extend the shelflife of a product and so reduce food waste, so it can be a balancing act. Achieving Fonterra’s new targets will require innovative thinking and collaboration, “building on the work we’re already doing with Future Post to recycle Anchor milk bottles into fence posts, and Sky City to turn bottles into shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles.” Dairy by-products are now diverted from landfill by Fonterra’s subsidiary NZAgbiz and used pallets are turned into woodchips by Timpack and Enviromulch for spreading on playgrounds.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY THE CO-OP is moving towards a circular economy, says Carolyn Mortland. “We’re not the first with these kinds of targets, but we have to be doing our bit, perhaps inspiring other brands and companies to consider the impact of their waste and packaging on the environment.” The targets are among the co-op’s wider efforts to improve and reduce its environmental footprint across its business. “We believe in putting sustainability at the heart of everything we do, being genuine about our approach and playing our part. We care about NZ’s natural environment and its protection and regeneration for generations to come.”


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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

16 //  AGRIBUSINESS

Waikato Milking’s sales pitch in China WAIKATO MILKING

Systems will this month exhibit at China’s biggest rural trade show. This will be WMS’ seventh showing at the annual event on July 12-14. Also exhibiting will be Fonterra and PinacleAg, and the technology data company Datamars which manufactures in and exports from NZ. NZ Trade & Enterprise will guide the three exhibitors at the event -China Dairy Exhibition in Tianjin -- which annually attracts about 500 exhibitors and brands, and 60,000 visitors to the 55,000sq.m site. Dairy Association of China runs the show which bridges government, dairy enterprises, research institutes, farm-

ers and consumers. The association works to develop China’s dairy industry. WMS country manager, China, David Morris has been at all previous showings. “It’s a chance to support our dealers in China and showcase our brand to potential customers,” he says. “We’re well known in NZ and other countries but we still have to work hard in China to show who we are and what we can do. “In China you need to show you’re a serious supplier with a long term commitment to the country. We now have five dealers, our own eight-person installation team and

two service and product support managers in China.” Morris said the China dairy market also wants reliability, after sales service and competitive pricing. “People in China have been traders for thousands of years and are always looking for the best possible outcome.” Milking automation and dairy management systems will be a focus for WMS in China this year. “Times are changing in China and its dairy operators need automation. “They’re not looking for robotic milking systems but they want to reduce labour costs, especially when they’re running a milking operation 20 hours a day,

for example. “That could include six or seven hours of intense milking of 3000 animals three times per day. “It’s pretty tough so they require automation and are more receptive to that type of technology.” WMS was also planning to introduce its Navigate dairy management system at the trade show. Navigate gathers data on the herd at milking time to help the farmer improve the productivity and profitability of the animals. It can measure each cow, detect health problems, measure live weight, manage each cow’s feed and automatically draft cows to the farmer’s rules.

PROBING DAIRY GOAT POTENTIAL WMS SAYS it is also exploring the goat dairy farming market in China. It will display its goat and sheep rotary platform at the show. “We have an 80-bail goat rotary to install in China and several more orders about to be signed. “Interest in milking sheep is also high but that’s still a specialised market. Everyone has been farming goats for a long time but farming sheep for dairy is still new.” Morris has worked for WMS since the mid-1990s and has specialised in the China market for seven years. “Doing business in China requires forming a partnership and relationships, having integrity and under-

standing their culture. We have an office and warehouse in Beijing and we work through a state owned company which gives us a pathway to the market.” Morris said WMS has worked with the Dairy Farming Institute, China, running classroom and on farm training including NZ visits. “One company in that training later expanded its operation to include four new 80-bail rotary platforms.” Morris says he chooses to think WMS became the Chinese company’s preferred supplier via the Dairy Farming Institute training and its visit to NZ.

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AGRIBUSINESS  // 17

Less plastic, more chalk LESS PLASTIC is a notable feature of dairy company Tatua’s new packaging for its specialty creams, now on sale in supermarkets. Up to 35% of each Tatua resealable film pouch now consists of chalk as a filler to displace plastic but strong and durable. The Ecolean film is claimed better than conventional packs: made with less energy, less waste and lower emissions to air and water. Tatua is the first New Zealand user of the film, which is approved for soft plastic recycling. General manager marketing and sales, Susanne Rolfe, says the new packaging is designed for value, convenience and low waste. “Replacing a third of our plastic use with chalk is a 606.426 Chalk heads off plastic in new cream packs LESS PLASTIC is a notable feature of dairy company Tatua’s new packaging for its specialty creams, now on sale in supermarkets. Up to 35% of each Tatua resealable film pouch now consists of chalk as a filler to displace plastic but strong and durable. The Ecolean film is claimed better than conventional packs: made with less energy, less waste and lower emissions to air and water. Tatua is the first New Zealand user of the film, which is approved for soft plastic recycling. General manager marketing and sales, Susanne Rolfe, says the new packaging is designed for value, convenience and low waste. “Replacing a third of our plastic use with chalk is a small yet significant step in the right direction,” says Rolfe. The pouches stand steady on supermarket shelves and all Tatua specialty cream pouches are resealable. “Thin film allows you to squeeze out every last drop and fold the pouch flat for minimal waste,” says Rolfe. “The controlled opening slot and air-filled handle also make the pouch easy to grip, hold and use. “Our packaging artwork’s new photography will, we hope, inspire creativity in the kitchen. “Products like Creme Fraiche may seem gourmet, but they’re easy. Using Tatua Mascarpone instead of cream, for example, is an easy way to enhance flavour and add creaminess to dishes.”

small yet significant step in the right direction,” says Rolfe. The pouches stand steady

on supermarket shelves and all Tatua specialty cream pouches are resealable. “Thin film allows you to squeeze out every last drop and fold the pouch flat for minimal waste,” says Rolfe. “The controlled opening slot and airfilled handle also make the pouch easy to grip, hold and use. “Our packaging artwork’s new photography will, we hope, inspire creativity in the kitchen. “Products like Creme Fraiche may seem gourmet, but they’re easy. “Using Tatua Mascarpone instead of cream, for example, is an easy way to enhance flavour and add creaminess to dishes.”

TECH BUFF JOINS DWN BOARD A TECHNOLOGY and social media enthusiast and former Nuffield farming scholar has joined the board of Dairy Women’s Network (DWN). Sophie Stanley (32) grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Rangitaiki, Bay of Plenty. She graduated from Massey University with a BSc (AgrSc) and BBS (Econ) then spent five years as an agri manager at ANZ Bank with dairy farmers in Morrinsville. In 2013 she won a Nuffield NZ scholarship to research the impact of social media in agriculture. She then spent a year as an associate director on the Rural Leadership Consortium board (Nuffield NZ). “Used well, technology should be leveraged to enhance knowledge, community and connection, but real human interaction remains important,” she says. She joined cloud software firm Figured in 2014, working on cloud based agri accounting software. She worked there four years including moving to Omaha, Nebraska to launch in the US. She ran that for the last two years. She returned to NZ earlier this year, building app partner programmes for the global ecosystem at Xero. “I’ve worked with the Dairy Women’s Net-

Sophie Stanley

work in the past and have always admired their support of women in the dairy industry,” she says. “The agricultural sector has long been a passion of mine, and I believe DWN provides much value to members via its community and access to tools and knowledge to help them thrive.”

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

20 //  OPINION RUMINATING

EDITORIAL

Don’t forget Maori

MILKING IT... Double standards LAKE TAUPO, a supreme natural attraction, was inundated last week with 800,000L of raw sewerage when a water main burst on Lake Terrace. Imagine if a dairy farmer had done this -pushed dairy effluent into a waterway. He would by now have been lynched on social media and by mainstream media by environmentalists. Yet none of these armchair critics have uttered a word against the spillage. Double standards?

Late for class

Fake cows

WHAT DO you do when milk consumption starts dropping? Open coffee carts in schools. The US dairy industry is fighting to slow the persistent decline in US milk consumption as eating habits change and rival drinks keep popping up on supermarket shelves. Coffee bars selling US$3 (NZ$4.50) iced lattes are popping up in US high schools, helped along by dairy groups scrambling for new ways to get people to drink milk. At a high school in North Dakota, US$5000 from a dairy group helped pay for an espresso machine that makes lattes with about 230 millilitres of milk each. The drinks used 2000 litres of milk this year. It’s not known how much coffee drinks in high schools might help boost US milk consumption, or whether this will even get traction nationally. But with US consumption of milk down 40% since 1975, the dairy industry is looking for all the help it can get.

EVEN MORE fibreglass cows may join those seen ‘grazing’ Morrinsville streets for four years. The beautiful bovines have been bringing smiles to people’s faces since 2015 when the idea of the artsy cows first came to fruition. The Herd of Cows project started with 15 life size cows and has now grown to 51 with nine more due in late July. What the nine new cows look like has been kept under wraps, but the project coordinator says they are “more bright and clever than ever”.

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No tea, we’re vegan UK VEGANS are demanding a law change to ban discrimination against plant-based eaters in workplaces. They want to be exempt from work tea rounds because it’s discriminatory to make them handle milk, a senior UK lawyer has claimed. Alex Monaco, from law firm Monaco Solicitors, said: “If you were Jewish or Muslim and told to get a round of bacon sandwiches, no one would bat an eyelid if you refused. “But if you were vegan and refused to buy a pint of milk to make tea because you believed the dairy industry was torturing cows, then you would be laughed out of the kitchen.”

DAMIEN O’CONNOR is never one to shy away from speaking his mind and ruffling a few feathers, and in a nice way he did this at Federated Farmers’ conference last week. This is not to criticise the conference, which was the best for many years, with good speakers and panels ably facilitated by president Katie Milne and Steve Maharey. The awards presented were good, especially to Dr Merlyn Hay for her dedication to discovering Mycoplasma bovis near Oamaru in 2017. Although a few Maori addressed the conference, they were distinctly absent from the ranks of Feds delegates. This is not new, but while Maori agribusiness has grown, for some reason Maori farmers have chosen not to engage in the activites of the Federation. O’Connor observed in his keynote address that Maori are now large players in the primary sector, producing 10% of dairy and kiwifruit products and 15% of meat and wool. They are major landholders and many of their farms -- as illustrated by this and others years’ finalists in the Ahuwhenua competition -- are top class by national and international standards. And what Maori have to offer the primary sector is huge -- their values of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and manaakitanga (sharing). Jacinda Ardern told the conference that the Chinese Premier had told her how much he appreciated Maori values and how these set NZ apart from other nations. Their story has authenticity that resonates with the modern consumer. So why are Maori not engaging with or being engaged by Federated Farmers? Do Maori not see the federation as relevant to their needs or interests? Is there a way Maori could raise their profile within the Feds or is it better for them to remain outside the group? It is important that Federated Farmers ensures the Maori voice is heard by its members, as happened to some degree at the conference. At our peril do Kiwis underestimate Maori values and their contribution to NZ Inc. Maori need to know that their values are not just respected but are critical to the story about the provenance and authenticity of our food and fibre products.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

OPINION  // 21

Pasture key tool in fighting emissions SARAH GARD

IT CAN only get harder to farm during the next 10 to 20 years. Climate change will directly impact all New Zealand farmers – rising temperatures, more frequent weather extremes and/or increasing regulation. A recent survey for the Ministry for Primary Industries shows 92% of farmers are addressing environmental sustainability, up from 79% in 2009. But only 23% are intent on reducing greenhouse gases, down from 30%. Nearly half of NZ’s greenhouse emissions are

from agriculture. So it is part of every farmer’s social licence and responsibility as caretakers of the land to do their bit towards addressing environmental issues. Many farmers are quick to turn to livestock solutions that have immediate effects on farm emissions, such as reducing stocking rates. But innovative pasture and plant breeding technology also has an important role to play. When used alongside livestock techniques, pasture management can help farmers take a farreaching approach to climate change mitigation. New Zealand Geographic recently quoted a Hawke’s Bay farmer

saying: “People think we farm animals but we don’t, we farm soil.”

mitigation techniques can be adopted now. For example, the use of alter-

Science is the key to ensuring NZ’s primary sector stays viable in a low-carbon world. As technology develops, more strategies and techniques will be available to farmers. But the science must be practical and applicable. I agree. Knowing what pastures to plant and where, buying new seed varieties and improving soil fertility can help develop a sustainable farming system for the long term. Many pasture based

native forages proven to reduce nitrogen and methane is a cost effective way to improve production. High sugar grasses are particularly important in this. Grass that improves the performance of live-

stock while reducing their carbon footprint offers NZ farmers a win-win. And it requires no notable change of system. Also, farmers can make daily simple management decisions that reduce on farm emissions, e.g. managing dry matter intake and feed type, paddock selection and grazing time, and using catch crops after winter crops. New agricultural technologies are rapidly being developed, e.g. smart crop forecasting by artificial intelligence, rural robotics, methane inhibitors and electromagnetic soil mapping. Science is the key to ensuring NZ’s primary sector stays viable

Sarah Gard, Germinal NZ.

in a low-carbon world. As technology develops, more strategies and techniques will be available to farmers. But the science must be practical and applicable. There is no use in researching things that farmers can’t easily take up and get behind. And while a ‘quick fix’ may be tempting, the bigger picture demands more forward thinking and proactivity. Although a focus on the land might not give an

instant result, do it alongside your livestock and see a longer term sustainable solution. Farmers today need a ‘social licence’ to farm, despite not always enjoying a direct cost benefit from it. But they have little choice if they want to be farming in 20 or 100 years. • Sarah Gard is general manager for seed company Germinal New Zealand. She also manages a North Canterbury dairy farm with her husband.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

22 //  MANAGMENT

Cows in calf top priority CRV AMBREED has a new national artificial breeding manager, Craig Scott. He was formerly national franchise manager at pregnancy tester Ultrascan Ltd. Scott says delivering ‘gold standard’ service to farmer customers is a core focus of the CRV AB delivery business. “CRV is continually investing in new technologies and genetic innovations to help farmers breed healthy and efficient cows with great temperaments and smaller environmental footprints. “But getting cows in calf is our number one priority. The AB technician team [must] do a good job of delivering these products and services to farmers.” Scott grew up on a Taumarunui sheep and beef block and experi-

Craig Scott, CRV Ambreed.

enced family dairying in Waikato. He has been in operations management, customer support and relationship management, working in the agriculture, sports and information technology sectors,

including 10 years managing Verusco Technologies, supplying video analysis software and statistics to rugby union teams. CRV Ambreed’s operations manager Andrew Medley says Scott “brings leadership and manage-

ment experience with the necessary planning and organisational skills to add value to our AB service”. Scott looks after about 200 AB technicians NZwide, contracted to CRV during the mating

season. Next month he will attend the ‘pre-mating’ seminars CRV holds each year for its AB technicians. team. A key part of their role is using CRV’s PortaBULL app, which links the mating to the cow to update herd records. The data can be viewed on the spot. CRV technicians also use an inbreeding alert provided to farmers who are also using the company’s SireMatch service, yielding a report specifically tailored to a farmer’s herd. It helps prevent inbreeding and genetic defects using the cow’s pedigree information, and recommends the ideal sire to match with each cow. This year CRV technicians will have some added fun -- looking out for five golden straws hidden inside farmers’ CRV AI units, worth $2000 each.

FERT CO-OP CHIEF WINS AWARD RAVENSDOWN CHIEF executive Greg Campbell

was last week named the 2019 primary industries chief executive of the year at the inaugural Primary Industries Awards. The award recognises and honours leadership that has made positive change in the primary sector and promoted excellence in an organisation. Campbell says the personal honour also recognises Ravensdown’s shareholder owners and farmers. “In my six years at Ravensdown I’ve seen an impressive shift toward sustainable practices in our cooperative and NZ’s valuable and important primary sector. “Farmers’ are developing and adopting new and innovative technologies to tackle tough environmental issues we’re facing. The leadership and excellence in our primary sector every day often goes overlooked so it’s tremendous to see more attention being given to innovations.” Campbell is determined to shift perceptions of Ravensdown towards it being seen as a farm nutrient and environmental expert rather than simply a fertiliser seller. “Leadership is about listening, fronting up to challenges and welcoming scrutiny,” he says.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

MANAGEMENT  // 23

Kiwi farmers tuned in to their local environment – scholar KIWI FARMERS are more engaged practically in their local environmental issues, compared to some farmers visited recently by a Nuffield farming scholar. Dairy farmer Cam Henderson, of North Canterbury, spent eight weeks looking at farming practices in the US, Mexico, Brazil, the Netherlands and NZ. Henderson owns and runs a 750 cow dairy farm near Oxford, is on the Waimakariri zone committee which sets local environmental limits, and is Federated Farmers’ North Canterbury provincial president.   “In New Zealand, regulation encourages farmers to get actively involved and focus on the environmental outcomes of their farm system,” Henderson said. “But in Europe, where regulation controls farm inputs, farmers must comply with a set list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ and are less concerned about whether that has a positive environmental effect.”

Cam Henderson visiting a dairy farm in Brazil.

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spread on frozen waterlogged ground -- unacceptable in NZ. “But their university system is excellent with plenty of practical research and world class extension services to get knowledge out into the community.” The Netherlands was a surprise: instead of leading NZ in environmen-

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tal protection it was lagging. “Their reputation is clean and green, but I felt it was quite the opposite when I was there. Their input controls [method] ended up a box ticking exercise with farmers disengaged about what comes out the other end. “I saw drains running to rivers with cropping right to the edge -- no setbacks or sediment traps.” The NZ part of Henderson’s trip focused on Nelson and Marlborough farmers diversifying to add value by growing hops and branded fruit and making ice-cream. His scholarship now requires a project, in his case investigating growing biofuel crops to offset carbon emissions in NZ. This is common overseas but not in NZ, he says. “I’m looking at how we could grow our way to carbon neutrality by turning sugar beet into ethanol as a more environmentally friendly fuel. This could be an answer to environmental issues.” He hopes to partner with a fuel company in a trial.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

24 //  MANAGEMENT

Udders ‘not holding up’ are trouble in NZ herds – expert POOR UDDER quality in many New Zealand cows contributes to them being culled in their first and second lactations, imposing an unsustainable cost, said Rebekah Mast, the genetic director for World Wide Sires, on a recent visit to NZ. She has worked with dairy producers in 40 countries. Mast said NZ farmers told her that udder quality is their “number one issue”. “Their investment in genetics isn’t playing out because the cows aren’t lasting in the herd. If that is widespread, it’s an issue for the NZ dairy industry, now poised to decrease numbers.” Mast said the US cow herd had shrunk in the last 70 years from 25m cows to 9m today “yet in that time we’ve increased production”. “That is being asked of the NZ farmer: reduce numbers while maintaining or increasing total production. “The production capacity and earnings of the dairy industry cannot

MUCH BETTER TRAITS IN US HOLSTEINS

A visiting expert says udder quality is the number one issue in NZ.

decrease but each cow has to be more efficient to reduce the industry’s environmental impact. The US has modelled that well but the NZ system is different. “You need cows that can do that in a grazing situation. Farmers must ask ‘what is limiting us in achieving that goal?’ “ Mast said the NZ dairy industry of the future will need cows with udders capable of carrying a higher volume of milk, and this requires a greater focus on productive life and udder quality in the

breed. “North American breeding has basically spent the last 30 years identifying bulls that augment yield and udder quality. We have tried to identify sires with both traits.” Farmers wanting to increase production or improve udders “cannot select a random bull but must instead make sire selections based on genetics which will improve your herd”. Udder improvements are very heritable and reliable, Mast said.

“Right after the first generation you will see some impact: in improved fore-udder attachment and udder height and width. “Many traits factor into longevity and profitability. You cannot say a shorter cow will be more profitable, because if her udder or feet do not hold up she won’t have longevity. “The more similar the parents are the better we can predict what the next generation will be. We predict it a lot in our families, i.e. two parents who

look very different will see a lot of diversity in their children versus parents who look very similar. “And it’s the same in cattle. We cannot leave it to chance and crossbreeding. Simply putting a Jersey over a Holstein Friesian and vice versa is leaving it to chance. “To be effective, cross breeding needs elite pure breeds. The genetic progress being made with Holsteins and Jerseys is better than it has ever been.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

REBEKAH MAST (above) says udder traits “have made significant genetic progress in US Holsteins”. “So that tells us that if you are looking for a population that can improve udders, Holsteins are the ones that will do that,” she said. “World Wide Sires selects bulls specifically to resolve the issues being faced by NZ farmers, i.e. bulls with moderate stature siring daughters which are extremely fertile, have strength, strong functional traits, great udders and feet and very high production. These traits enable them to last multiple lactations. “In reviewing cows to reduce numbers yet maintain or improve production you need to retain cows with the attributes which correlate to that outcome. “Look at where the cow generates profit from. You want udders carried above the hock -- even as later lactation cows; high and wide rear udders; correct teat placement and length; rear legs well aligned and tracking straight from the rear; a wide rump for easy calving; and enough space to support a high producing udder. “You need to select for all these things. And in NZ, where production is relatively low versus the rest of the world, you don’t need to go for extreme US bulls. “Select sires that will resolve any conformation and production weaknesses, and generate a herd which will sustain and grow your business into the future,” Mast said.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

MANAGEMENT  // 25

Forage herb to reduce leaching THE NEW Zealand

seed company Agricom last week won a major national prize for its Ecotain environmental plantain. This was the Primary Industries New Zealand, Innovation and Collaboration Award. The plant also won second place in the Primary Industries Science and Research Award contest. The company’s sales and marketing manager, Mark Brown, applauded the recognition of the collaboration in developing Ecotain, a forage herb able to reduce nitrogen leaching on livestock farms by up to 89%. Agricom says its discovered specific lines of plantain (a common roadside weed) which reduced nitrogen leaching from the urine patch of cattle. After ten years of R&D, with funding from Callaghan Innovation, the company set up the

Greener Pastures Project, joining its expertise to that of Massey and Lincoln universities and NZ Plant & Food Research to support the results scientifically. “We acknowledge Plant & Food Research and Massey and Lincoln universities,” said Brown. “NZ has at least 6.5 million dairy cows, so managing nitrogen leaching and the flow-on effect on waterways is a big challenge.” Ecotain enables farmers to reduce nitrogen leaching while maintaining productivity, he said. “It allows them to simply make a change to the composition of their pastures.” To help farmers to prepare farm environmental plans, Agricom intends to get Ecotain recognised in the Overseer farm nutrient measuring tool. The plant can be used in a pasture as a spe-

cial purpose crop with clover, or in a grass/ clover/Ecotain mixed pasture system. It can also be oversown into existing pasture. Including 20% to 30%

Ecotain in a pasture can reduce nitrogen leaching by up to 74%, Agricom says. Pastures containing 42% Ecotain are said to have shown leaching reductions of 89%.

Mark Brown, Ecotain (left) with Norwood CEO, Tim Myers.

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into clarified water and treated effluent has won an award. Ravensdown’s product ClearTech, developed with Lincoln University, last week won the Science & Research Award at the Primary Industries Awards in Wellington. The product uses a coagulant to bind effluent colloidal particles to separate the solid material from water. It cuts farm fresh water use and allows the clarified water to be recycled as yard wash. Recent Lincoln University studies showed E. coli in ClearTech clarified water was cut by 99.9%. It also increases effluent storage capacity and reduces environmental and safety risks linked with effluent. The product won the Agri Innovation Award at the South Island Agricultural Field Days and a highly commended in the National Fieldays Innovation Awards in June. Product manager Carl Ahlfeld said the product has been through its paces at the Lincoln University pilot plant and is now launched commercially. “It’s great to be in talks with farmers who want to make a difference to their environmental impact and who are keen to do so with ClearTech.” He said the company is now building three commercial units for Canterbury farms and is talking with other farms for four or more units in the near future.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

26 //  ANIMAL HEALTH

Keeping calves clean and free of scours A CALF gets scours

when it accidentally ingests more scourscausing pathogens than its immune system can handle. Unfortunately, the pathogens that cause scours can be found in the faecal material of healthy animals, and they can stay in the environment for days or even months, so all calves will have some exposure. But, you can reduce the risk of calves getting sick by keeping colostrum, calf milk and the calves’ environment as clean as possible. Tips to reduce risk: ■■ Dump colostrum and milk from scouring cows ■■ If cows in the colostrum mob have dirty udders, clean their teats with dry paper towels or alcohol teat wipes before cupping. ■■ Keep colostrum and transition milk in covered containers after

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collection. Use it asap. Clean & disinfect all calf feeding equipment and test buckets every day. At each feeding, begin with the new-born calves first. Then, feed all the healthy animals, moving from youngest to oldest. Feed sick pens last, ideally with dedicated equipment. Divide calf pens from one another with solid, easy-to-clean plastic or metal partitions or at least isolate sick pens with solid partitions, so sick calves don’t have direct contact with healthy calves.

■■

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Keep enough fresh bedding in each pen so that calves are always dry. Spraying pens with disinfectant will only work if no organic matter is present. As calves come in, fill the shed pen-by-pen, so they’re with other calves their age. Leave them in the same pen until they go outside. This is sometimes called “all-in, all-out” management. Remove an individual sick calf from a pen of healthy calves as soon as you see that it’s scouring. Ideally, after they’ve recovered, these sick calves should go into another “recovered calf pen” instead of back with healthy calves. If more than a third of the animals in a pen are scouring, leave all the calves together and make that a sick pen. Clean and disinfect

Keep calves safe by ensuring their environment is as clean as possible.

your boots, waterproofs, and change your gloves whenever you move from a sick pen to a healthy pen. Change foot baths daily. ■■ After calves are in the calf shed, ensure that you follow the 3 Q’s (Quickly, Quantity, Quality) and that you’re feeding the cleanest possible colostrum (“gold” from the first milking), and transition milk (from the second and subsequent milkings). Here is a summary of what to do if you have scouring calves: ■■ Isolate individual scouring calves or pens of scouring calves as early as possible. ■■ Check your hygiene

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and colostrum management practices. Watch our other Top Farmers’ videos for more information about these topics. Get your vet involved right away to help you contain the current outbreak and prevent an outbreak from happening again. Alternate milk and electrolyte feeds to scouring calves, providing 6-8 L of total fluids each day. Tube calves if they won’t drink. Provide free choice electrolytes overnight in pens of scouring calves, and ensure clean water is always available to all calves. Treat scouring calves with any other medications prescribed by

your vet. Check with your vet that you’re using them correctly. ■■ Lastly, consider vaccinating the herd with Rotavec Corona. Calves fed colostrum from cows vaccinated with Rotavec Corona shed a lot less rotavirus & coronavirus in their faeces, therefore there is less likelihood of disease spread to other calves due to environmental contamination. Remember to also be careful about your own hygiene around scouring calves so that you and your family don’t get sick. Always wear gloves in the calf shed and wash your hands and change clothes before eating and before interacting with young children, the elderly, preg-

nant women, or anyone else with a fragile immune system. Consistently doing these things requires constant attention-todetail, but, if you’re able to get the whole team on board before calving season begins, then, in the long-run, you’ll save time, money, stress, and, most importantly, calves. For helpful videos and fact sheets which expand on the information in this article visit www.topfarmers. co.nz , a reference library of industry best practice for some key animal health management areas. • Kim Kelly is MSD Animal Health’s regional technical advisor/vet. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

28 //  CALVING

Plan, prepare well for calving THE BEST calving season is one

that’s been planned and prepared for really well, says DairyNZ. Help your farm team set up early for a smoother calving season. Best to have a pre-calving checklist of supplies of metabolics, electrolytes, navel spray, etc on hand or ordered. Update new staff on farm policies and what to expect during calving. Clean and disinfect calf trailers, calf sheds and feeding gear. All sheds must have a designated sick calf area. A well-stocked calving kit will save lots of trudging between the paddock and the shed. Keep your calving kit at the gate of the springer paddock. Have it restocked regularly by an agreed person. As calves are born, record the date, cow number, sex of the calf, calf number, if the birth was assisted and if the calf is at risk. Seperate the calf and mother from the mob, keeping the calf between you and its mother. Treat

the navel with iodine, making sure the entire navel is covered. Keep people safe during calving. And look after yourself, DairyNZ says. “When lifting a calf, bend your knees and keep your back straight. If it is too heavy, get help. “Be careful of cows after they have calved. Cows can be very protective of their calves and unpredictable. “Always keep the calf between you and its mother. Don’t turn your back on a freshly calved cow. Don’t take children or dogs with you when picking up calves.” When bringing calves from the paddock to the shed, handle them gently: “They are babies.” “Don’t overload the transport. All calves must be able to stand up and lie down easily. “Be careful on slopes. Calves move around easily: go slow, no faster than walking pace to keep cow/calf contact.” When you get to the shed, treat the calf’s navel with iodine again.

FEEDING COLOSTRUM ■■

Calves should drink 4-6L of fresh colostrum during the first 12 hours of life to get protective antibodies. To achieve this, pick up calves twice a day and give them gold colostrum as soon as possible.

■■

You can test the level of antibodies in a batch of colostrum using a Brix refractometer, available from your vet, farm supply store or a home brew shop. Brix higher than 22% is best for newborns.

■■

Gold colostrum is best fed fresh but may be frozen for up to six months. Thaw/heat in warm water, do not microwave.

■■

Store colostrum in a lidded drum or vat and stir regularly. Colostrum should be refrigerated (at 4°C) or preserved using a chemical preservative such as potassium sorbate.

HEALTH, HYGIENE

“Designed by a Farmer for Farmers”

■■

Scrub all feeding gear well with hot water and detergent

■■

Remove sick calves promptly to a designated sick pen

■■

Frequently clean and disinfect pens where sick calves are treated

■■

Disinfect hard surfaces

■■

Regularly refresh all bedding

■■

Prevent disease from spreading by minimising movement between pens. Calves of the same age should stay in the same pen. However, small or unthrifty calves may be better off with a healthy younger group.

■■

Vaccinate, treat for parasites and provide access to shelter.

MAKE REGULAR CHECKS Calves must be checked twice daily for signs of ill-health and treatment given when needed. Check that: ■■ Noses are clear of discharge and are moist and cool

PHONE 0800 4 AGBITS | 0800 4 242 487 WEBSITE www.agbits.co.nz

■■

Calves are alert and have responsive ears with no infection around the ear tag

■■

Navels are clear of infection

■■

Mouths are clear of ulcers

■■

Calves can stand and walk normally, i.e. no joint illness

■■

All calves are feeding

■■

Calves have shiny, supple coats.

■■

If you lightly pinch a calf’s skin and it is slow to return to normal it may be dehydrated and need electrolytes immediately.


DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

CALVING  // 29

Good ways to get ready for calving family you will be busy for six to eight weeks, and do a budget and automate any bill payments you can. It’s also crucial that you look after yourself during calving. Eight hours sleep each night should be a priority. A lack of sleep causes problems. Eat healthy, balanced meals often each day: keep snacks in the shed or on the bike so you can snack as you go. Drink about eight cups of water a day. Lack of water can sap your energy. “Tell someone if you’re struggling because it’s a team effort. “Communicate regu-

THREE WAYS you can

prepare for the onrush of the calving season will shore up your abilities, says DairyNZ. First, prepare what you can beforehand. Second, look after yourself during calving. Third, work on open and clear communication with everyone around you. It’s important to prepare beforehand: think about what you can do now to ensure you don’t have to think about it through calving. Stock up on nutritious food to last six weeks: before calving prepare extra food and freeze it. Tell your friends and

larly and honestly,” says DairyNZ. “Know how your team communicates on your farm -- phones, radios, team meetings or a combination. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

when considering how to bring up an issue. “Remember you can control how you react to situations. Try to keep control of your emotions. Getting angry will not help anyone.”

“I SUPPORT LIVESTOCK TRACEABILITY AND BIOSECURITY BY TAGGING AND REGISTERING MY CALVES IN NAIT”

RICHARD MCINTYRE, SHAREMILKER, HOROWHENUA

CHECKING SPRINGERS QUIETLY WALK through the springer mob. When cows are feeding is best, not when cows are hungry and are looking to be moved. Look for cows showing signs of labour. Regularly start before calving so cows get used to you walking around them. Check with your manager for the farm policy on checking springers. It should be at least four times per day. Thoroughly check all areas of the paddock and, depending how good the fencing is, also check the neighbouring paddocks. Check drains, hollows, long grass, hedges – anywhere a calf could be hiding. Observe closely and identify any issues. Check with your manager on how to intervene if you must. Record the number of any cow or heifer starting to show signs of calving, already calved or behaving differently from other cows. Report this.

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Lifetime traceability starts at the farmgate. All calves being reared or sold, must be registered in NAIT within 7 days or before moving off-farm. NAIT is an OSPRI programme

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

30 //  CALVING

Livestock scanner worth every cent WAIKATO GRAZIER

James Reeves is an advocate for electronically tagged animals and keeping NAIT account up to date, says OSPRI. OSPRI runs NAIT and TBfree in a primary industries/government agencies partnership. Reeves grazes 120 dairy heifers at any one time for two dairy farmers, one

for about 10 years. He has one NAIT-registered location and manages two properties. “On the main farm we have a mix of R1s and R2s and rear calves. The leased grazing block is 2km away as the crow flies.” Other animals graze a leased block belonging to the landowner. He has

a separate NAIT number for his herd. Reeves’ NAIT number is registered to the main farm. “It’s essential you keep your herds separate at all times,” he says. “This is a NAIT requirement and supports disease management.” Reeves uses a livestock scanner for registering

NAIT RE-REGISTRATION ESSENTIAL JAMES REEVES says NAIT re-registration is “incredibly important”. His advises farmers to do it online or get help to do it if they cannot do it themselves. “Mycoplasma bovis has brought it home to the wider pastoral sector,” he says. “When NAIT was introduced,

unfortunately the regulators didn’t do enough to oversee and enforce RFID tagging. “They’ve gone too easy on farmers. The system isn’t perfect, but if everyone had been doing their NAIT in the first place we might sooner have been able to fence off M. bovis to prevent it from spreading.”

winter grazing. “In the past, we would normally receive an email from NAIT asking us to confirm that we have received animals from the farmer. “Now, as the animals arrive on farm, we intend scanning them as they come off the truck and with the Bluetooth connection to the phone app we will be able to register a receiving movement directly into NAIT. “And we can now scan animals going off our block and confirm a sending movement in NAIT.” Reeves says some farmers might query the wisdom of buying a livestock reader for a small operation. “But try reading a NAIT tag without a tag

James Reeves, Waikato grazier.

reader in a race -- it’s very difficult. ‘We probably use the tag reader three times a year for tagging and scanning. But we can also use it for weighing stock, which we do every six weeks. “I’ve always been an advocate for RFID tags from back in the day.

All stock, in my opinion, should be electronically tagged, and not just for animal health. “Consumers nowadays are very particular about the source of the food they’re eating. So the idea of ‘farmgate to plate’ is not just a slogan to me, it is tangible and real.” Animals reared by

Reeves go direct to slaughter or the saleyard. “We’ve locked in that the saleyard acts on our behalf for recording and confirming required livestock movements. We just have to confirm the movements when we get the email.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

CALVING  // 31

PKE-free calf feed contains milk protein A NEW calf cereal with no palm kernel expeller (PKE) is on sale for the calving season, says developer Agrifeeds. The cereal (Grower 16 and Grower 20) is designed to help farmers and calf rearers reach targeted calf growth and profit and “to bring calves to peak condition sooner,” the company says. “Customers said they wanted a nutritious calf feed with no PKE and at an affordable price,” says Agrifeeds general manager Braden Waite. Working with farmers and a ruminant nutritionist, Dr Bryan McKay, the company devised “the best value-for-money calf feed in the New Zealand market,” Waite says. Grower 20 is now “the only calf feed in NZ with dairy as its protein source”.  “We worked hard to understand what farmers and rearers wanted in calf feed. We went on farms, asked lots of questions and mostly just listened.”  Farmers wanted fresh, PKE-free calf feed delivered on time every time and reasonably priced,

Waite says. Cambridge calf rearer Hamish Macdonald uses 30 tonnes of Grower 16 and one tonne of Grower 20 per year, says Agrifeeds. He likes the two sources of starch in Grower and the milk protein. His 750 calves a year do well on Grower 20 and he may switch to an “affordable” PKE-free version. Some demand for a PKE-free product is due to young animals coping with it better, and its lower pressure on the environment, Waite says. Grower 20 is a 20% protein calf starter feed suitable for calves on milk to stimulate their rumen development. It will support early feed intake and can be offered from four days old. Once calves have been weaned off milk they can be switched to Grower 16 which suits weaned calves weighing 70 to 80kg reared on a quality calf starter. Grower 16 contains safe starch levels so suits ad lib feeding. Molasses, sweeteners and flavours enhance

BE READY FOR NAIT IF YOU sell calves this winter, they must be reg-

istered in the NAIT online system, says Southland dairy farmer Nigel Johnston.  The law requires calves be tagged and registered in NAIT before their first movement off farm.  “Remember too, if you’re rearing calves, any future movements they make off farm must be recorded in NAIT and confirmed by the farmer at the other end,” says Johnston. “This builds animal traceability and supports disease management.”  Saleyards  may record movements onto their premises  on behalf of farmers, but calves must be tagged and registered before they go off farm.     Farmers buying calves should request an animal status declaration form (ASD) from the seller. This provides the calves’ health status and confirms where the animal originated from.    If you use an information provider such as LIC (Minda), CRV Ambreed or Farm IQ to register your tagged calves, you must ensure the registration has synchronised through to your NAIT account before the animals move off farm.  OSPRI (which runs NAIT) advises farmers to contact their information provider to check they are meeting their NAIT obligations.  www.ospri.co.nz/tagandregisteryouranimals 

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

32 //  MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Taking the guesswork out of pasture monitoring A CHRISTCHURCH

agritech start-up is set to launch an ‘intelligent’ pasture monitoring system aimed at addressing farmers’ profit shortfall. The new Farmote System combines satellite technology with remote monitoring to address a dad shortfall responsible for incorrect pasture management, says founder and managing director Richard Barton. He says the farming industry has so far been relying on dated information and guesswork. He quotes DairyNZ as saying farmers suffer a profit shortfall of up to $385/ ha annually due to incorrect pasture management caused by insufficient information. “Although there are measurement systems they’re cumbersome and time consuming,” Barton says. “Up-to-date, precise data that helps farmers improve grazing or silage production hasn’t been available. So farmers are missing out on significant revenue.”

Barton says many plate meter users will typically only measure pasture growth weekly, so could be relying on information five or six days old or even older if paddocks are wet or inaccessible. And he says satellite-only systems sometimes might be unable to deliver data for extended times, e.g. during long times of cloud cover. The Farmote system combines technologies to create a comprehensive ‘picture’ of farm-wide pasture performance. Remote electronic devices (Motes) are installed across the farm to measure pasture height and soil conditions out to a 3.6m radius of each unit. This data is then cross-referenced with images taken on cloud-free days by satellites to calculate how much feed is available daily in every paddock. Farmers can then get the available data via a cellphone friendly website. They can view the data as a feed wedge,

5R SERIES ARRIVES JOHN DEERE’S latest 5R series trac-

table, or graph, on a website, cell phone app or via a daily or weekly email. The number of Motes required for complete farm coverage depends on area. Typically 100ha will require 10 motes or 200ha will need 15 units. Each Mote costs $750, then the farmer pays a subscription of $5/ha per month.

Investors are said to have put $700,000 into the new venture. Barton says that the design of the system also allows relevant information to be shared with partner companies to enable farmers to receive targeted and timely advice about farm inputs such as fertilisers or irrigation.

tors offer a choice of four units in the all-important 90-125hp sector. The 5090R, 5100R, 5115R and 5125R tractors are equipped with Stage IIIB compliant, 4.5L John Deere PWX engines, delivering 90, 100, 115 and 125 hp respectively. They offer an extra 10hp for transport tasks via their transport power management (TPM) system. The manufacturer says the engines deliver up to 8% power bulge to respond to tough conditions, while a torque rise of up to 38% enables lugging as the engine drops below rated speed. Transmissions start with the entrylevel 16F 16R CommandQuad Manual with four ranges and four powershiftable gears in each range. Then follows the 16F 16R CommandQuad, then the 32F 16R Command8 transmission. The latter has eight powershiftable gears and an ECO mode that enables a top speed of 40km/h at only 1759rpm. All three transmissions have a fully automatic clutch, individual start-up gears and an electric park. Auto shifting is standard on the Command8 and

optional on the 16F 16R CommandQuad. With the AutoClutch function, the operator does not use a traditional clutch to stop or control tractor takeoff, although a clutch pedal is there for operators to use if they prefer it. AutoClutch enables easy stopping, starting and take-off modulation using only the brake pedal. It enables the operator to stop without clutching but it does not overload the engine. It also enables ‘inching’ (‘creeping’) in forward or reverse on a level surface or an incline. And it enables acceleration back to normal speed when releasing the brake. Optional mechanical cab suspension system is available for more comfort. An air suspended Grammer seat is fitted, as found on the 6R Series. It has up to 15° of swivel, lumbar adjustment and optional heating. Other new features include variableratio steering, and buyers may order tractors as AutoTrac Ready, allowing the future use of the latest guidance and steering technologies as they evolve. – Mark Daniel

www.farmote.co.nz

AG R A R AG R I C U LT U R A L S W E E P E R Clear the way for your herd. The tractor mounted bema Agrar provides a clean sweep with its hydraulic drive and power ful maintenance -free g e r o t o r m o t o r. It has a waste collection container with cable pull emptying and features a height adjustment of the wheels and the c o l l e c t i o n c o n t a i n e r. Brush diameter 520mm. Requires minimum 15 litres per m i n u t e o i l f l o w. Wo r k i n g w i d t h 2 . 3 m .

Are you hitting your target market? Contact your local sales representative for more information National Sales Manager Stephen Pollard ....... Ph 09-913 9637 Waikato Ted Darley ................ Ph 07-854 6292 Wellington Ron Mackay ............ Ph 04-234 6239 Christchurch Kaye Sutherland ...... Ph 03-337 3828 ■ BREAKING NEWS ■ MACHINERY REVIEWS ■ MANAGEMENT STORIES

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS  // 33

Feisty Vitara right on the mark MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

MY DAILY drive is a seven-seat SUV so I’m always prepared for disappointment when reviewing a small SUV or crossover vehicle. But I was unconcerned when Suzuki called about its Vitara 2WD turbo, the most popular small SUV sold in New Zealand. The review vehicle was decked out in optional two-tone metallic paintwork -- solar yellow with a black pearl roof. The Vitara sits on 17-inch black alloys and, in the words of Madonna, it “strikes a pose”. Like any SUV it looks a little boxy but not so as to

offend the eye. The 2019 model gets a revised front grille with vertical spars, a resculpted rear skid plate and LED rear light clusters. Power comes from a 1.4L, 4-cylinder turbo developing 103kW and 220Nm torque at a lowly 1500 rpm, mated to a sixspeed auto transmission. The Suzuki Booster jet technology gives a great feel to the way this little vehicle picks up its skirts, described nicely in the company’s marketing blurb as “feisty”. With a wastegate, on the open road the Vitara can pick up its heels and equally around town it can potter along, in both cases consuming about

Vitara 2WD Turbo. Left: The cabin is roomy despite the vehicle’s small size.

6L/100km. Much of its ‘zip’ stems from it weighing only 1120kg -- only about 100kg more, say, than the Mazda MX5 sports car. But this lack of deadweight makes the Suzuki easy to point in the right direction and gives it poise even on

gravel roads or poorly surfaced black top. Travelling out west in rural Waikato, the Vitara gave a comfortable ride, unlike some of the portlier in its genre: no alarming body roll and it reacted well to sudden correction coming into

tight bends too fast. A 5-star ANCAP safety rating should give peace of mind. Standard features include adaptive cruise control, a collision detection/avoidance function, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alerts. As in all SUVs, the Suzuki’s access is easy,

and easily adjusted and supportive seats allow drivers to get into the right position. The overall feel of the cabin is roomy despite the vehicle’s small size: it has a useful 375L storage in the rear, and 710L with the rear seats folded. Living with the car day to day is made easier by its 7-inch colour touchscreen with audio, satnav, smartphone connectivity and a rear view reversing camera, plus plenty of

stowage for the ephemera of everyday life. Fit and finish is passable with the use of some soft-feel trimmings although in general the plastics used are perhaps a little harsh. The Vitara does what is said on the ‘can’: function, straightforward controls and a decent level of comfort for a small vehicle, making it the ideal choice for a dash into town or a 200km jaunt on the weekend.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 9, 2019

34 //  MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Kymco side-by-side clocks up positives MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

THE UXV 700i from Kymco NZ presents a decent set of specifications for a side by side. And as discovered during 10 days on farm, the machine was very capable without being too complicated. At the heart of the UXV, a 695cc SOHC, 4-stroke with four valves per cylinder pushes out a usable 45hp. Electronic injection enables immediate starting and smooth tickover and acceleration through the rev range. The transmission is a quality CVT with high, low, neutral, reverse and park positions. And a big plus goes to the selection action that is slick, trouble free, positive and achievable even on slopes that impose a load on the transmission. This is much better than many of its classier contemporaries.

Further down the drive line, a rotary dial to the left of the steering wheel allows on-the-fly selection of 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with diff lock. Out on the farm, the suspension deserves special mention for its independent double A-arm layout in each corner with 7.5 inches of travel. It uses Kaifa long travel gas shocks with adjustable pre-load, compression and rebound settings normally only found on sports machines. All this combined gives a very supple ride over all types of terrain. Wheel equipment is 12-inch steels shod with 25-inch Maxxis off road tyres that plugged through mud. Two people get a good ride in high back bucket seats, and safety is provided by a substantial ROPS frame, door opening nets and inertia reel seat belts with speed inhibitors. A comprehensive digi-

tal display offers information on all key features. Rated top speed is a capable 87km/h and safe stopping is by dual discs up front and a single disc at the rear. Living with the machine is easy, given the slick gear selection

The facts ❱❱ Kymco set up in 1964 ❱❱ 3000 employees ❱❱ R&D spending 7% of sales revenue ❱❱ Output 570,000 vehicles each year ❱❱ Presence in 102 countries ❱❱ Working alliances with BMW, Kawasaki and Arctic Cat

and well weighted electric power steering. Add to that a centre binnacle that prevents the occupants sliding together, good handgrips for the passenger and the customary cup holders then you get the picture.

I don’t need a Milking Machine Check

Yeah Right!

Storage in the operator/passenger area is a glovebox to the right, a centre cubby hole and a lidded bin under the driver’s seat, plus a useful bin under the front hood, although it is a little awkward to get to.

Vents at the middle of the centre binnacle release hot air from the engine bay -- ideal for warming hands. The Kymco easily climbs inclines and safely tackles declines using its excellent engine braking achieved in the low range selection. The load tray holds 250kg and while it looks a little smaller than its competitors it worked

well. It has recessed release levers on each side and gas strut assistance for easy tipping. Towing capacity is rated at 550kg with a heavy duty 50mm receiver carrying the towbar. Underneath, robust bash plates protect the underside and a well designed driveline helps cleaning with a hose or pressure washer.

The compact dimensions deserve a mention as they make manoeuvring easy in tights spots. Negatives include a badly positioned park brake under the centre of the dashboard, and the lack of a turf setting resulted in marks on the writer’s lawn. Certainly worth a closer look but make sure you negotiate a windscreen in the deal.

Smart bearing prevents nasty hold-ups A GERMAN bearing

Your Milking Machinery is one of the most expensive and by far the most vital piece of equipment on your farm, which is why it is crucial to ensure it is always working at its best.

Milking machines that perform at full capacity maximize profitability and minimize risks for your herd Book your test now with a Registered Milking Machine Tester listed at www.nzmpta.co.nz

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maker claims to have developed the world’s first ‘intelligent plain bearing’, called iglide. Igus GmBH says its bearings, made from high performance plastics, can warn of imminent failures, so allowing operators or users to plan or do maintenance and repairs before failure wreaks havoc. It says this capability is particularly useful where plain bearings are pounded by abrasive dust, chemicals, moisture and high rotational speeds. The bearing suits difficult access locations where it often may get little or no attention. The iglide bearing consists of two main components: an inner section made from

A German bearing maker says its product warns of imminent failtures.

lubrication free material and a hard polymer outer shell designed to protect the internal component. To measure bearing wear rates, an intelligent sensor is fitted between the two components

to alert operators via a warning light, or at the other end of the sphere it can be linked to an automatic cut off device. In factories that depend crucially on particular plant or machinery, data on bearing wear

can be sent to a control system for analysis, and the data can then be passed to a web interface for planned maintenance schedules, so eliminating costly breakdowns or stoppages. – Mark Daniel


Ambreed

lownsires.co.nz Phil Beatson CRV Ambreed Head Geneticist


Profile for Rural News Group

Dairy News 9 July 2019  

Dairy News 9 July 2019

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Dairy News 9 July 2019