Co-op urged to front up to mistakes. PAGE 5 ENERGY BOOSTER Arcing with ease PAGE 32
Fert co-op pays rebate PAGE 9 AUGUST 20, 2019 ISSUE 429
DON’T TALK SHARE TRADING “We’ve had seven years of that already; it’s far better to put that energy into strategy,” – Nicola Shadbolt, former Fonterra director. PAGE 3
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
NEWS // 3
Forget about another share trading review SUDESH KISSUN email@example.com
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NEWS�������������������������������������������������������1-15 OPINION���������������������������������������������� 16-17 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������18-19 MANAGEMENT������������������������������� 20-21 ANIMAL HEALTH���������������������������22-23 MATING MANAGEMENT����������� 24-31 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS�������������������������������������� 32-34
FORMER FONTERRA director Nicola Shadbolt says the recent collapse of a few dairy cooperatives should be blamed on their strategy, not their co-op structure. She says the collapse of Australia’s biggest dairy co-op Murray Goulburn and the demise of Westland Milk co-op on the West Coast is not about their structure. “It is governance, it is strategy. I mean for every two co-ops that fail there are about a thousand corporates… nobody says of the corporates that it’s their business model. But with co-ops it’s always their business model that is blamed.” Shadbolt, a fierce proponent of the cooperative model, is aware of moves by some farmers and a few directors to return capital structure to the table. “I say ‘no more of that please, we’ve had seven years of that already’, it is far better to put that energy into strategy.” “To farmers who want to sell some shares my response is, ‘you can’t be half pregnant’ Being a co-op member means being a co-op member. Liken it to trying to share a golf club membership, who would get to play on the fine days and in which tournaments? “Now the Westland boys have cashed up pretty nicely and there’s a group of Fonterra farmers who are saying ‘we can do the same’.” Shadbolt says Fonterra directors carry the baton for the next generation -- “for the swag of people in front of you”. “You carry the legacy of all the effort that people have put in place before you. It’s never about how to cash out. That would defeat the whole purpose of Fonterra being built.” Shadbolt says good cooperatives, with well devised and implemented strategy, are proven
globally to out pace and out last corporates, so the board should focus on strategy instead of wasting time on the capital structure. “If the capital structure comes high on the agenda I will probably seriously think about getting back on the board to fight it. [Because it would mean] the board’s eye [would be] off the ball for the next five-seven years while they try to rejig the capital structure. “Given the challenging times, the board’s eye should be on strategy, on what’s going on globally.” Another important debate at the board table is retentions, for cooperatives that is a key decision with respect to the health of the business. It is not always in the best interests of the cooperative to pay dividends. “The view that when farmers get a dividend in cash they think they are getting a good return for shares is simplistic. It is the earnings that matter most and our farmers know that. “Look at a2 milk and Synlait, those shareholders have never had any dividend yet their share value has gone up because the earnings have gone up. “We [Fonterra farmers] have received the dividend but our share value has gone down.” So, of course, the flip side to the dividend debate is sensible use of the retentions, and being as brave to go into new ventures, as to back out when investments are not delivering. Shadbolt says the losses Fonterra is suffering are from necessary writedowns. “These are the conversations the board is having: what’s working and what’s fit for strategy.” She notes that all the recent asset sales were already being discussed when she was on the board last year. To determine strategy the board
members need to have “a strong global perspective”, it cannot just be about accountants crunching numbers. That perspective should involve a clear understanding of consumer trends and where science and our farming systems fit into our ability to deliver a point of difference. We are often too introspective in NZ when we look at problems, it is the global issues we should be recognising and responding too Shadbolt, who leads agribusiness strategy and cooperative governance research and teaching at Massey University, believes she brought her global knowledge to the board.
DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
4 // NEWS
Shadbolt eyes return to board SUDESH KISSUN firstname.lastname@example.org
FONTERRA director Nicola Shadbolt is happy with the review of the director election process. Fonterra’s first woman director elected to the board, Shadbolt welcomes the decision to give farmers the ultimate say on whether incumbent directors get re-elected: Shadbolt isn’t ruling out another tilt at directorship. Shadbolt was endorsed by the board for another three-year term on the basis that the board needed to retain some institutional knowledge given that the chair was stepping down. But she was rejected by the independent panel. The rules dictated that a candidate rejected by the panel may not contest the director election that year, so the farmers never had a say. The review of director election rules has now removed this provision, ie the independent panel’s power to remove incumbents re-contesting election. Speaking exclusively to Dairy News, Shadbolt says she was frustrated and angry with the system that sidelined her, but she was powerless under the old rules, so it was time for her to
retire gracefully, Shadbolt was “grumpy” at the co-op’s annual meeting last year as she bowed out of the board. She was required to deliver a valedictory and her speech was gracious. “I thought ‘farmers don’t deserve a grumpy me; let’s just reflect on the last nine years’.” Shadbolt says she let her views on the issue known to other board members at a farewell function a few months later. The old system didn’t give farmers a choice. Basically if there were two board vacancies the board gave farmers two names, saying ‘vote yes or no’. The review was triggered when farmers rejected two of three candidates chosen by the panel -sitting director Ashley Waugh and Jamie Tuuta. Instead, farmers voted in two candidates – Leonie Guiney and John Nicholls – who had selfnominated for the elections. Shadbolt is happy that new rules have tidied up the election process. This is despite her having been on the committee that devised the new system. During that process the argument was put that a better caliber of
Nicola Shadbolt believes she has unfinished business.
directors would come forward through this process. From her observation the new system resulted in the same mix of experienced/inexperienced and effective/ineffective directors as the old system, but with less diversity. The independent panel rejected two female incumbent directors in a row, first Leonie Guiney and then Shadbolt, both diverse thinkers whod challenge the status quo. Under the new rules the farmers would have had the decision on whether to accept them back for another term, not the panel. Shadbolt isn’t ruling out another tilt at the Fonterra board, saying she feels she has unfinished business. She says the board needs experienced directors: noting that apart from chairman John Monaghan, who has served 11 years on the board, there aren’t too many experienced directors. Guiney is the next most experienced farmer director, serving a total of four years on the board so far. Nominations close September 27. Fonterra’s board charter states that a director should serve nine years maximum or a final three year term if approved by the board.
DairyNZ calls for director nominations NOMINATIONS ARE
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in governance and leadership should consider standing. “Farmer elected directors play a key role
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also open for a farmer to join the DairyNZ directors remuneration committee which annually recommends directors’ pay. All farmers paying a levy on milksolids to DairyNZ are eligible for either of the two directorships. Nominations are open until September 5. Voting opens for dairy farmer levy payers on September 23 and election results will be announced at the DairyNZ annual general meeting in Hamilton on October 22.
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
NEWS // 5
Front up about the mistakes- Hoggard PAM TIPA firstname.lastname@example.org
AS WELL as laying out
its new strategy, Fonterra should make clearer how it got into this trouble, says Federated Farmers national vice-president and dairy farmer Andrew Hoggard. “I’d like to see them
be a bit open and upfront about what has gone wrong, how it was wrong and what were the mistakes,” he told Dairy News. He accepts he may be accused of living in the past but “if you don’t learn from history you are bound to repeat its mistakes”. “So let’s make sure we
know what the hell went wrong so we don’t repeat it.” An example is the bonuses to former chief executive Theo Spierings for “f***ing the company up to be honest”. “How the hell you pay someone a bonus for the sort of mess created is beyond me.” He hopes all those
types of things have been tidied up and “we never see something like that again”. “There is definitely a sense of frustration at what has been. At the same time I have picked up a degree of eagerness to move forward. Just as long as the new direction or strategy is clearly articulated to us.”
He has heard it said the focus will be more on New Zealand milk but nothing has yet been put in concrete about what the strategy “is and what it looks like”. Dairy farmers hope that will be clearly articulated in the September update. “I have picked up that people are more positive
Payout unchanged, dividend axed PAM TIPA email@example.com
FARMGATE MILK price forecasts remain unchanged despite Fonterra’s decision to not pay a dividend for the 201819 season, says chief executive Miles Hurrell. The forecast of $6.30-$6.40/ kgMS still stands but will be finalised when books close in September. The $6.25-$7.25/kgMS forecast for the current season remains unchanged. Farmers will rightly be frustrated and disappointed by Fonterra’s writedowns, says Hurrell. These total $820-860 million for the year ending July 31, 2019. “They do not in any way impact on our ability to continue to operate. These are
spend for the important accounting last five years. adjustments that “We have Fonterra needed to announced make. our operating “Our cashflow expenses will has remained strong, be below 2017 our debt has reduced levels in a couple and the underlying of years and we performance of the are on track for business is in range of Marc Rivers that. We are our earnings guidance making good progress on the of 10-15 cents per share. “The business units at the asset sales we have previously heart of our new strategy are announced.” Improved cashflow and delivering for us and we look forward to discussing our reduced debt are stories farmers strategy and performance with will be pleased to hear, he says. The co-op has signalled to its our owners in September.” The fundamentals of the farmer shareholders that it business are still strong, he says. will take some time to get the The co-op’s capital spending business into shape. Chief financial officer Marc plans for this year are well under its original target and will not Rivers says the level of debt will exceed $650m. This is well below be reduced this year but the the billion dollar average capital final number will come with the
final results in September. Hefty reduction in debt levels will result from good progress on asset sales and lower capital and operating expenditure. It will take a couple of seasons to get the balance sheet into the required state, Rivers says. “The core of the business is doing very well and we have pockets that are extremely attractive businesses.” If they keep working on those and delivering they will have good results next year, he says. In its capital structure Hurrell says Fonterra will remain a cooperative and farmer owned. “Outside of that the board has been open to discussing what is right for the ongoing business in the long term. But it hasn’t gone further at this point, and the board has just kicked off that discussion now.”
about the direction but they are still pretty pissed off about what has been.” He doesn’t think Fonterra farmers will jump ship over the lack of dividend. “We still have a good milk price. If you are upset that you are not going to get a dividend and you want to leave and supply someone else,
nobody else will give you a dividend anyway. They will only give you a milk price very similar to Fonterra’s. “There might be a few people who get upset by it and decide that is the way to go but for me the logic train doesn’t quite link up.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
DOMESTIC RETAIL TIGHTENS FONTERRA IS seeing competition rising in the New Zealand domestic retail market, says Miles Hurrell. This applies across the board from liquid milk to high spec cheese. “It is a very competitive market here in NZ as seen in the retail shelves when you visit the supermarkets now.” Future earnings are being reassessed in the NZ consumer business because of the compounding effect of operational challenges, and the slower than expected recovery in market share, Fonterra says. The business is being rebuilt and Tip Top is sold. The combined impact is a writedown of about $200 million. Hurrell refers to supply chain operational issues seen over the last couple of years as new systems have come on stream. Rivers points to good progress on operational systems. “But it is about the trajectory. While we have made progress, the trajectory has not been good enough to sustain the value we had until now so there’s a need to adjust that.”
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
NEWS // 7
Farmers, activists told to tone things down NIGEL MALTHUS
SOUTHLAND FARMING leaders and envi-
ronmental activists have called for a breather in their set-to over winter grazing practices. Their calls follow their recent confrontation, notably one caused by a Waikato environmentalist, Angus Robson, who campaigned against winter break feeding. He released photos showing cattle in mud on Southland farms. It blew up on Friday evening, August 9, when Mossburn farmer Jason
Herrick confronted activists – at first he feared they were rustlers – on the roadside photographing his stock in the dark. Next day the same activists were again seen photographing grazing cows and several farmers followed them back to their base at a Mossburn plant nursery, where the farmers set up “a bit of vigil” -- as one called it. That became a barbecue gathering which went through most of Sunday. There were accusations of intimidation, and of an activist’s vehicle being shunted by another
and having a window smashed. Police were called but no charges seem to have been laid. Herrick later posted a video on social media of himself in the paddock the activists had filmed, showing that the bare ground of the grazed area was not very muddy. “There are a couple of
little muddy spots where the cows were forced into the corner when it was raining and snowing,” Herrick told Dairy News. “We fenced those areas off so they’ve always got good solid dry ground to lie down on and there’s plenty of it.” Herrick emphasised that the photos the activists had released were not of his farm. He said bad apples turn up in every cart and every industry but the activists were trying to make everybody look bad. “We all care about our livestock. They’re
our bread and butter, our future. So we have to look after them. But the way these guys are portraying us is in a different light completely.” Herrick said it would have been fine if the activists said they wanted to talk it over but they “straight-up lied” saying they were photographing the roadside grass. “I told them to piss off. And I used expletives.” The activists are allied with Robson, who in late July launched a well publicised campaign against intensive winter grazing. Several photos were aer-
WORK IT THROUGH SOUTHLAND FEDERATED Farmers president Geoffrey Young wants the warring parties to get their heads together - gently. Young last Wednesday told Dairy News he was trying to pull together meetings with all interested parties - Environment Southland, agricultural sector groups and environmental lobbyists - to “try to work through this collaboratively”. “We want to take a deep breath, stand back and evaluate what’s been happening there. But we don’t
condone vigilantism in dealing with some of these anti winter dairying protestors.” Young conceded that some photos were circulating showing very poor practice “to say the least,” but these may have been out of context if they only showed a corner of an otherwise good paddock. “Whether animals are in good condition is more a concern to me,” said Young. “Most of those images are of well fed stock. I’d be most concerned if they were standing in mud and were in poor condition.”
A certain amount of mud does not necessarily harm either animal welfare or the environment, he said. “But we certainly don’t want to see... those images we’ve seen recently on social media.” Alan Baird, the immediate past president of Southland Federated Farmers, was at the Sunday barbecue, which he called “fairly light hearted and reasonably low key”. He said farmers are feeling the pressure. “Farmers are starting to say ‘Come on, we are people. We
are humans. We are the fabric of this province and we’re feeling a lot of pressure’.” Baird said farmers don’t condone bad practice and know some have to lift their game. But he pointed out that although winter crop feeding concentrates stock on small areas, it is also good for protecting other parts of a farm. “Each day the cows get shifted, they get fresh break, they get good feed. But if you have rain or snow like happened last week it’s all very difficult.”
ials of wet muddy paddocks and several showed cows standing or lying in mud, one having just calved. Robson said a lot of their video is so bad they haven’t released it because they don’t think
it would be good for New Zealand or the world to see it. However, he said the confrontation was getting out of hand and he had talked with Federated Farmers “to tone all this down”.
MENTAL HEALTH B-B-Q FARMER JOHN Pemberton, also party to the weekend incident, said about 40 farmers discussed it in Winton last Tuesday evening. They decided to follow up with a “mental health day” barbecue on August 16 for farmers and the public in Invercargill. Pemberton said the whole rural sector was being bombarded weekly and farming families feel pressured by banks, regional councils and activists. But they will not apologise for being farmers, he says. “Our message is ‘we’re proud farmers, we’re custodians of the land and we’re feeding the nation’.” He said activists were scaremongering but farmers were open to talk with them if they wanted to. Activist Angus Robson (the photographer) said the confrontation was distracting from the real message, ie NZ must “shift the needle” on the worst practices environmental and animal welfare. “Many good farmers in New Zealand are doing stuff right and they’re just as pissed off about this as we are.” Robson said the problem started with the regional councils - particularly Canterbury, Hawkes Bay and Southland - not enforcing good practice. “Our bitch is with the signalling from the leaders, not the farmers.”
DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
8 // NEWS
Fonterra lifts global ranking PAM TIPA firstname.lastname@example.org
AT LEAST some notbad news for Fonterra: the co-op has climbed to fourth-largest in the world’s dairy company rankings. The 2019 Rabobank Global Dairy Top 20 report says this is one spot up from 2018. The rise results from Fonterra buying the remainder of the Darnum IMF plant in Australia and completing a partnership with Future Consumer in India. Nestle (Switzerland) retains the top spot, followed by Lactalis (France) and Danone (France) with Fonterra and Friesland Campina (Netherlands) rounding out the top five. Lower commodity prices, adverse weather in key export regions, a strong US dollar, and currency shifts have affected the combined
turnover of the top 20 companies. In US dollar terms, the top 20 companies’ combined turnover increased 2.5% for the year versus 7.2% in 2018, but combined 2018 turnover in euro terms dropped by 2% versus an upward trend of 5.1% in 2017. Dairy mergers and acquisitions persisted in 2018, a tried-and-true growth strategy for most of the companies. Despite this, for the third year in a row no newcomers entered the list due to no ‘elephant’ deals (transactions over $40m) occurring in the last 18 months. Mergers and acquisitions are here to stay, and aquisitions will prompt more growth next year, likely a long-awaited shift in the top three of the global rankings, says Rabobank. “However, slower economic growth in China and a looming (US)
Notice of Election - DairyNZ Board of Directors - DairyNZ Directors Remuneration Committee Invitation for 2019 candidate nominations – three positions available
recession will probably hamper organic growth. “At the same time, companies will reconsider their positions in light of future risks caused by US/EU/Mexico/China trade tensions, Brexit and increasing environmental constraints around the globe.” In 2018 there were 111 deals, slightly down on 127 deals in the previous year. But at mid-2019 the number of dairy deals stands already at 85, of which 32 were crosscontinental. In the last 18 months, there were 87 domestic deals, followed by 70 cross-continental deals and 39 regional deals. Europe dominated the cross-continental deals with a 60% share and accounted for 40% of the domestic transactions. But none of the deals was a real game changer. Nestlé was aided by a relatively stable Swiss franc vs the US dollar, to again top this year’s list. This is supported by organic growth by its infant nutrition business rather than by milk and ice cream. But Lactalis is closing in. With 15 deals, a
Fonterra is now the fourth largest dairy company in the world but will this ranking be short-lived given its financial woes?
Lactalis buying spree will extend its global footprint further into the Middle East & Africa, South America and Asia. Danone ranks third, with a buy-up of a 49% stake in Yashili New Zealand pending. Fonterra moves into fourth place. Its joint venture with Future Consumer in India -named Fonterra Future Dairy Partners - will tap into growing demand for quality dairy nutrition with the Dreamery brand. The Tip Top ice cream business will be sold to Nestlé’s ice cream joint venture Froneri, and its
majority stake in the UK Fast Forward joint venture will be acquired by First Milk. Fonterra’s stake in the German firm DFE Pharma, a joint venture with FrieslandCampina, is also up for sale. On the non dairy side, Fonterra invested in the US biotech start-up Motif Ingredients, which plans to develop animal-free protein, and at the same time sold its stake in the German protein start-up foodspring to Mars. FrieslandCampina climbs to the fifth spot, as a result of small investments in cheese in
the Netherlands, the US, and Spain. Dairy Farmers of America slipped to sixth place, with sales dropping by 7.5% following lower milk and commodity prices. The cooperative bought a US dairy plant from Agropur and recently started merger talks with St. Albans Cooperative Creamery. Arla Foods remains in the seventh slot, despite buying the Middle East Kraft brand cheese business from Mondeléz. Yili leapfrogs Saputo and moves into eighth place, with sales up 13.4% year on year in US dollar
terms. Yili also bought a Thai ice cream brand and teamed up with a biotech company to develop new innovative IMF products. Increasingly fierce competition in the domestic market forced Chinese Yili and Mengniu to look overseas for growth. Yili remains the largest Chinese/Asian player in the Global Dairy Top 20, while Mengniu keeps its number ten position. Little movement is seen in the second half of the top 20 list. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
In October, two elections will take place for DairyNZ Incorporated – one election for two farmer-elected directors for the Board of DairyNZ Incorporated and a second election for one member of the Directors Remuneration Committee. Registered levy-paying dairy farmers are invited to nominate candidates to fill these three positions. All farmers paying a levy on milksolids to DairyNZ are eligible to stand for either election. An information pack outlining desired criteria and nomination requirements for the positions can be obtained from the Returning Officer. Nominations must be received by the Returning Officer by 12noon on Thursday 5 September 2019.
Elections If more candidates than the required nominations are received, elections will be carried out by postal and internet voting using the STV (single transferable vote) voting method. Votes will be weighted by annual milksolids production. Voter packs will be posted on 23 September 2019 to all registered DairyNZ levy payers, with voting closing at 12noon on Monday 21 October 2019.
The DairyNZ Annual General Meeting will be held in Hamilton on Tuesday 22 October 2019. Election results will be announced at the meeting.
For further details contact the Returning Officer as below. Anthony Morton Returning Officer – DairyNZ Incorporated 0800 666 045 email@example.com
Rural News & Dairy News 18x2
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
NEWS // 9
$35m rebate for fert co-op owners FERTILISER CO-OP
Ravensdown has posted a pre-tax profit and rebate of $52 million for the year ended May 31, 2019. “Another good financial result”, although down 17.5% from the $63m recorded in 2018, the co-op says. The profit was impacted by several factors. “These included foreign exchange movements and higher world commodity prices leading to higher interest and inventory costs. As part of its all year value commitment, prices charged in New Zealand were held at a level that impacted on margins. “Investment continued in precision mapping and spreading technology, more environmental specialists were recruited and a Holiday Act remediation of $1.3m was set aside.” The co-op is paying $35m ($30/tonne) in rebates to farmers who bought fertiliser during the financial year, half via an interim payment in June and the rest to be paid in August. “After five years of consistently profitable results, our shareholders tell us the rebate in any one year is not the be-all and end-all,” said chairman John Henderson. “What matters to them is a sustainable cooperative that offers great service, quality products, certainty of supply, competitive pricing through the 12 months and ways to help them perform long term.” For governance purposes and balance sheet strength the co-op is retaining $12m for reinvestment. Henderson says Ravensdown is spending on services, products and technologies for its shareholders as they face disrupted times. “We need to invest and innovate to help
shareholders reduce their environmental impacts and achieve their production goals.” Chief executive Greg Campbell said the co-op has to keep a close eye on costs. “Healthy cooperatives maintain their long term ability to support their owners by being able to retain earnings rather than turn to debt or erode equity. “Smarter farming requires environmental performance and nutrient management, not maximum fertiliser tonnages or short-term gain.” Campbell referred to the co-op having this year won awards for “cutting edge effluent technology ClearTech, the progress of our farm environmental consultancy and the HawkEye nutrient mapping tool which puts control in the palm of the farmer’s hands”. Its IntelliSpread precise aerial fertility scanning and application technology resulted in 18% of customers’ farmed areas not getting fertiliser because they are environmentally sensitive or unproductive. “We are well positioned to help farmers with their social licence to operate, but these improvements and innovations need long-term investment,” said Campbell. Fertiliser tonnages were static but sales of the coated urea N-Protect product, which helps reduce the amount of nitrogen lost to the atmosphere, increased by 75%. And 83% of surveyed customers rated fertiliser product quality as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’. Quality rating and sales of animal health, agrichemicals and seeds were positive, with seeds having a record year. “We have already invested over $165m in five years in our physical assets and our stores network is in continued need of
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renewal. This is important if we can improve service efficiency, product quality and safety,” said Campbell. “Dust, noise and stormwater issues can all impact on nearby
communities and of course the staff who work there. We have spent $10.7m on asbestos removal, stormwater improvements and dust management and there’s much still to do.”
Ravensdown chairman John Henderson.
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
10 // NEWS
Great leader retires at 41 Ben Allomes with staff Charlotte Oram tending to calves on the farm.
PETER BURKE firstname.lastname@example.org
THE DAIRY industry
must look forward continually to assess itself as fit for purpose – or not. So says retiring DairyNZ director Ben Allomes. He says the industry has been blindsided by the ‘dirty dairy’ campaign and other ongoing attacks. He told Dairy News that the industry’s greater technical complexity demands more professionalism of its farmers. This is not a bad thing and people will have to adjust. “There is a lot at stake now in getting it wrong: the environment, our animals, people and finances. We are on a knife-edge, one step away from a mistake going public meaning fines, court cases and public ridicule.” Allomes says the dairy industry has rested somewhat on its laurels after 100 years of worldleading innovation, eg herringbone and rotary milking sheds, electric fencing and the early days aerial topdressing. But in 2005 the industry decided it was perfect and set out to defend its achievements. “Innovation had got us to that point and we decided to protect that rather than carrying on
innovating. We had a pioneering mindset of breaking new ground and we should have continued to do that,” he says. The industry was struggling in the early 2000s with the notion that its values were being challenged. Those values – peer reviewed and formerly considered correct – were later proved incorrect. A lot of energy in those early days went into protecting the status quo, says Allomes. “But in the last few years we have formed a new view as to what the future should, could and will look like. The world has changed and we are struggling to adapt. So we feel we have lost our mojo and that the rug has been pulled from under our feet. “Are we better farmers
than we were five years ago? Absolutely. Better than we were 10 years ago? Yes. Are we good enough farmers now to be fit for purpose in future? No.” Allomes says the dairy industry’s discussions now are much more strategic. The last threefour years have heard innovative farming leaders speaking up and setting standards. “My sense now is we have turned the corner and got a good direction of travel. Now its a matter of going from A to B to C to get things exactly right.” Allomes challenges farmers who think the status quo is acceptable. Many issues need sorting, eg animal welfare, climate change, nitrate leaching and attracting the right
people into the industry. “How do we inspire [young people] to see their future in our sector? Every time we moan or create negative publicity it is like a knife to the heart of creating connections. We need to create and promote a positive image of the industry to attract people.”
A PASSION FOR DAIRYING FARMING HAS always been a part of Ben Allomes’ life. He spent his early days on a 100 cow farm near Palmerston North before his parents took on a sheep and beef property in the Waitotara Valley and then moved back to Palmerston North. Ben graduated in natural resource management at Massey University before exercising his passion – dairying. He married Nicky in 2001 and they have four children. They were first lower order then 50/50 sharemilkers then in 2003 entered an equity partnership with Kay Cassells. The Allomes won Sharemilker of the Year in 2008, the judges describing them as excellent strategic thinkers and an inspiration to colleagues. On their three properties they now run 1300 cows and rear calves and they hold shares in a contracting business. “We have 17 people who work for us throughout the year, not
all full time but working at different seasons depending on what we and they need. Our flexible staff structure enables us to find a whole lot of new people in our community who want some hours at different times of the year and that works well for us.” Every year the farm employs staff from Ireland or the UK. They now have Peter and Ally from Ireland who will work until about November. Allomes says the policy works well, getting up-and-coming, highly skilled young people who want to learn and develop their skills. “They will do a calving here and then go home and do another one there. So they get three years experience in 18 months which cements their skills if they want to be managers. “They holiday here, are full of enthusiasm and its great for the rest of the team who get to interact with other people from different places and make good contacts overseas.”
Ben Allomes will step down after eight years on DairyNZ board.
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
12 // NEWS
Dairy high-flyers switch to green NIGEL MALTHUS
A PROMINENT couple
in New Zealand’s dairy industry are turning to plant-based protein for their next big venture. Synlait co-founder Dr John Penno and former Fonterra executive Maury Leyland – now married and sharing the surname Leyland Penno – have launched a plant protein company called Leaft Foods with the aim of producing protein from leafy green crops. The company says it will combine existing and new technology to produce a range of high value protein concentrates for leading food companies worldwide.
It also seeks to play a role in agricultural sector transformation, partnering with farmers to reduce on farm net emissions of nitrogen and methane. By using leafy crops that remove nitrogen from soils, Leaft expects to produce protein with a lighter environmental footprint than either animal or grain based sources. It will also produce a reduced protein, high carbohydrate, silage-like stock feed – essentially the residue from the protein extraction – which could increase animal performance and reduce nitrogen losses from dairy and beef systems. John Leyland Penno said the venture arose out
of their looking to help Canterbury farms with their environmental challenges in a way that benefits everyone. He said the concept of extracting protein from leafy plants is not new. While working as a scientist at Ruakura (before launching what was to become Synlait in 2000), he saw the end of plant protein research there. But he says the value of plant proteins now differs much from then. They have been working with research institutes, universities, agricultural advisors and farmers to put their system together, and chose to launch the company now as it is time to employ a bigger team and
start moving from feasibility to production. He hopes to be producing the first commercial product in about 18 months. “If we can get the last of the technical problems solved then it will scale as fast as we can build demand for the product.” Leyland Penno said it is too early to identify specific crops but they think their process will work with a range of crop species. “We don’t want to introduce too many things at once. If we can use existing leafy crops that farmers are used to growing, or that there’s good technology for growing, that makes implementation much easier.
Maury Leyland and John Penno.
“There are a few risky steps along the way but if we can hold those away from the growing end, especially in the first few years, that’s the way we want to do this.” The Lincoln company does not yet have premises but some parts of the process would initially use spare capacity at existing facilities. The couple say the global food industry must change in order to responsibly feed a rapidly growing population while protecting the planet, and they want Leaft Foods to be part of the solution.
Maury Leyland Penno said New Zealand’s innovative farmers and business people have used the natural advantages of the climate and environment of Aotearoa New Zealand to create world leading business models, especially in the production, manufacture and export of dairy, beef, lamb and wool commodities. “One of the critical factors behind these strengths has been the ability to grow green leafy crops,” she said. “We have created Leaft Foods to meet
the needs of global customers and provide real options to diversify farming and support the changes needed to reduce the environmental issues caused by excess agricultural nitrogen.” Leaft general manager Ross Milne said the company hopes to be a catalyst for the food and farming industries to innovate and evolve towards a healthier, sustainable future. Leaft is now advertising for a farm systems specialist, a food technologist and a process technologist.
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
14 // INTERNATIONAL CHEESE AND DAIRY AWARDS
Big grins as cheesemaker collect more m PAM TIPA email@example.com
NOT COMPROMISING on
milk quality is the key to good cheesemaking, says the owner of award winning Grinning Gecko, Catherine McNamara The Whangarei artisan cheesemaker has just won another four medals, this time at the International
Cheese and Dairy Awards in Nantwich, UK. She has previously had other successes here and offshore. “We have one supplier farm and quality is everything to us,” McNamara told Dairy News, outlining three principles of their top product. “Firstly, you have probably heard the old saying ‘you can’t make
good cheese out of bad milk, but you can make bad cheese out of good milk’. “You’ve got to have the base ingredient right and ours are very consistent in their milk quality. “We take the milk directly from the milking machine so you can’t get fresher than that. That is straight into our vat at 7.30 in the morning. “We’ve got a pick-up Grinning Gecko team (from left) Clara Autet, Catherine McNamara, Katie Prestidge and Zev Kaka-Holtz.
THE NEW NORMAL GRINNING GECKO wants to champion “the new normal” for the dairy industry, says Catherine McNamara. That is a focus on quality not quantity. “The whole philosophy: sustainability, livestock numbers, pasture and animal health - all those types of things feed into what we believe in.”
The industry needs to focus on high-end products, she says. “Our milk is so precious that we shouldn’t be looking at those mass commodity markets overseas. We should be looking at having half as many farms and doing it 20 times better. “We really need to be looking at better ways of doing it. The old model is on its way out.”
directly from the farm to bring it here, so first and foremost is no compromise on the milk quality and freshness.” Grinning Gecko has one year-round milk supplier but plans to take on more. They only use certified organic milk. Secondly, their success
depends on their recipes. “We have really good robust recipes and we developed them right from the start. You can’t just list a recipe off the shelf. It has to be tailored to the milk you use,” says McNamara. “No cheesemaker in New Zealand could just
pick up a recipe and start working with it unless they had exactly the same milk to start with. It is about developing a recipe for your milk specifically. “We work with culture blends and things like that to get the various flavours and textures we want. But we are constantly
adjusting those recipes throughout the year to deal with all the seasonal fluctuations and the different composition of the milk which is the fun part of cheesemaking. “Unlike most cheesemakers in New Zealand we don’t standardise the milk. We
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
INTERNATIONAL CHEESE AND DAIRY AWARDS // 15
Fonterra nabs 15 awards FONTERRA NZMP has had its most
take what we are given and I guess that gives us that edge. It might be slightly different each batch but it will always be good.” Thirdly, great cheesemaking depends on never underestimating the value of a great team. “You are only as good as your weakest link. If you have one person in the team who doesn’t really care about what they are doing that compromises your whole operation. “We have done well here in developing a fantastic team environment. We are all invested in the success of the business. Every time we make cheese everybody is making sure we are doing the right things at the right times to ensure the product is fantastic.
they do on farm. “When we tell them we have won overseas, they are part of that team, they are part of that equation. Often farmers just see their milk disappear on the truck and they don’t get any feedback on the milk they have put so much passion into creating.” Their Camembert, which has previously netted them a total of six national medals, won gold in the NZ soft cheese class and their Halloumi won silver at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards. Their Kau Piro, which last year earned their cheesemaker, Zev KakaHoltz, a bronze award in the International Novice Cheesemaker class, this year won a silver medal in the open class for soft cheeses – no small feat
successful year at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards held annually in Nantwich, UK. NZMP took home 15 awards for cheese and butter made in NZ and Australia. The awards are the world’s peak contest for cheese and dairy products. Independent judges assess thousands of cheeses. NZMP’s chief operating officer, Kelvin Wickham, says the awards recognise processors’ hard work in turning farmers’ raw milk into quality dairy ingredients. “The awards are seen as Europe centred, and that’s considered the heartland of cheese by many of our customers and regions. “To have won in this context speaks to
the quality of our products. We’re proud to bring the best of NZ to the world stage.” The International Cheese and Dairy Awards feature 300 individual awards for dairy products, including categories open only to certain regions such as UK-only entries. Will Moore, NZMP Dairy Foods sales manager in Amsterdam, attended the awards ceremony for NZMP. “The awards [attract at least] 1200 delegates and 250 judges it felt like attending a cheese version of the Oscars.” NZ’s standout gold winner was the Fonterra Hautapu NZMP Mature Organic Cheddar. Many Australia-only awards were contested and NZMP Australia cheeses won three gold awards.
FRIDAY NIGHT AGRIBUSINESS ON
“We have really good robust recipes and we developed them right from the start… you can’t just lift a recipe off the shelf.” “We pride ourselves on having a real team focus. So it is not just about one person getting things right. It is about everybody getting everything right all the time.” Grinning Gecko is looking at expanding into more stores in the Wellington area and upper North Island as they often have people asking where they can buy the cheese. “We are trying to expand it in a sustainable way. We can’t just turn on and create more cheese instantly.” Plans include bigger premises and bringing on more supplier farms. “We really want to champion our local producers, our local farmers here so they can actually see the end product of what they do.” Their supplier farmers often comment on the pride they have in seeing tangible results from what
given how many soft cheeses the world has. Their Halloumi also won a bronze medal in the non-Cypriot halloumi class. McNamara says the whole competition is like the ‘Olympics of Cheese’. Catherine McNamara founded Grinning Gecko Cheese Co six years ago with her husband James. Each cheesemaker has now had international success. Catherine won bronze for her Grinning Gecko brie in 2016. Then in 2018 Zev KakaHoltz, who was trained by Catherine, won the bronze award for novice cheesemaker, followed by his latest success with Kau Piro and Halloumi. Clara Autet, with the company only nine months and still being trained by Zev, won a gold for a Camembert she made, and she made the base cheese for the Kau Piro.
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
16 // OPINION RUMINATING
Come clean now
MILKING IT... ‘Renewables’ slammed WHAT IF alternative energy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? That’s the basis of the documentary Planet of the Humans, backed and promoted by filmmaker Michael Moore - a critic of capitalism and darling of the political left. Moore at first favoured renewable energy - wind power, solar, biofuel and electric cars - but asked why things weren’t getting better on the climate change front. His movie puts the boot into the whole ‘renewables’ industry - “the false promises of the environmental movement,” he scoffs. “We all want to feel good about the electric car, but in the back of your head somewhere you’ve thought, ‘Yeah but where is the electricity coming from?’,” said Moore. The take home message for NZ? Energydense fossil fuels from Taranaki will be needed for a while yet.
Wild West TWO WEEKS after receiving their handsome payout from Chinese company Yili, it seems not all ex-Westland shareholders are laughing all the way to the bank. Milking It hears that at least two farms there were put into receivership by banks last week. And given the disclosure of Fonterra’s troubles we might see more foreclosures. Farmers already complaining about banks’ heavy-handedness might find things get worse.
Behind the eight ball GLOBAL ANIMAL health company DSM says it has a product that can help reduce emissions from cows by up to 30% but surprisingly the Government is not keen. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the product “needs to be fed with every mouthful of feed so there’s no guarantee we can use it in NZ farming systems”. But DSM says that’s false. It blames MPI for feeding the wrong information to the minister. Milking It also believes DSM had been trying to contact him directly for a year or so to brief him on the product, called 3-NOP. Someone is well behind the eight ball on this.
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Milk on tap
THE DAYS of cafes getting milk in plastic bottles may be numbered if two young Dunedin entrepreneurs have their way. Their start-up business Spout Alternatives aims to supply milk in reusable 10L kegs piped to dispensers like your draught beer. They partnered with Dunedin cafe The Corner Store to pilot the idea and are now ready to go public. They suppled Holy Cow milk from Port Chalmers dairy farmer Merrall MacNeille. The 10L stainless steel kegs suppled the cafe’s dispensing system. One keg displaces five 2L plastic containers.
OVER THE past week Fonterra has been maligned by various commentators. Some call it the end of the dream. Others are writing off Fonterra’s chances of a return to the black and are even hinting at a white (Chinese) knight in armour galloping towards a buy-out of the co-op. Yes, Fonterra is in dire straits. Its share price is hovering around $3.50/share - a far cry from its heyday of $6.60/share as enjoyed by farmers in January 2018. But the doomsayers writing off Fonterra must think again. The co-op is facing a storm - no ordinary storm one could say. But no one should write off the co-op yet. Fonterra’s financial woes have arisen from bad decisions. They were not made by its 10,000 hardworking farmer owners but by a management and board that had lost sight of key principles of governance. Fonterra is still earning billions of dollars by selling top quality dairy products worldwide. But it is also bleeding money via bad investments, mostly overseas. These investments - in China, Australia and South America - did not turn to custard overnight. The news media, commentators and some smaller players in these markets could see the problems growing on the horizon, yet the directors lacked the courage to admit they had it wrong. This raises serious questions about the culture inside the Fonterra board. Who set the strategy? How often were strategy sessions held? Did the key leaders spend too much time in power play to maintain proper oversight and direction of the board? It turns out that, despite their being 11 directors, the power has been concentrated in the hands of just one or two men. Fonterra farmers should demand all 11 directors front up to farmer meetings to explain what each did to control or end the disastrous investment that have bled money over the years. Some commentators say boardroom power at Fonterra is concentrated in the hands of two people -- the chairman and the chief executive. A chairman behaving as if he were an executive chairman saps morale among other directors and managers. Discussions, questions and comments on strategy can only come to nought when the chairman’s less-powerful colleagues know ‘the boss’ has already decided strategy. It’s too late to haul back former chief executive Theo Spierings from Europe to answer questions, and former chairman, the late John Wilson, has made his last exit. Fonterra farmers must now take their losses on the chin as they determine to move on. But in one other thing they may also act powerfully in demanding that the directors come clean immediately on the state of poor investments that need to be written off.
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
OPINION // 17
Farm levy/rebates way to go An emissions trading scheme would not address the problem of agricultural emissions, said DairyNZ last week in its submission to the Government on its proposals. Here are excerpts from the submission. DAIRYNZ WILL
respond to the challenge posed by climate change and will contribute to global efforts to limit additional warming while maintaining food production. We agree that our
industry needs to stabilise absolute net emissions at a reduced level, and to promote emissions efficiency. New Zealand is the first country to come up with a meaningful approach to reducing agri-
cultural emissions. It is an incredibly complicated issue and it’s important we get it right the first time. We acknowledge that the Government has considered the recommendations of the Interim
Climate Change Committee (ICCC), and conversations with leaders in the agriculture sector, to put together several proposals on how best to manage reducing emissions from agriculture. DairyNZ supports:
Pricing emissions: farm vs processor LIVESTOCK EMISSIONS should be priced at farm level on the basis that farmers have the most direct influence over the management decisions that affect emissions and offsets within their farm systems. A price on emissions at processor level would be ineffective at sending any price signal to incentivise on farm emissions reductions or sequestration because the signal would be too diffuse, and all farmers would be taxed the same regardless of their emissions efficiency. The ICCC recommends a levy/rebate scheme as the most effective and cost effective way to manage agricultural emissions and support New Zealand’s ability to manage the transition toward long term targets. Depending on how any free allocation was distributed, some farmers would pay for their emissions while others would receive a rebate. Relative prices could be adjusted over time to ensure they reflected the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) price and different targets for different gases. DairyNZ agrees with the analysis of the ICCC which concludes that the implementation of a farm level emissions levy and rebate scheme, including the use of FEPs, would be less complex and less costly for farmers to comply with than if they faced surrender obligations under the NZ ETS. Revenue collected on emissions above allocation (or carbon removals) could be recycled into an Agricultural Emissions Fund. This was also the favoured price based option of attendees (many of whom were farmers) at the ICCC regional rural meetings, as it is simple and effective, enables individuality, is a good mix of incentives and penalties, avoids grandparenting, allows new entrants, supports a split gas approach and re-invests in the sector. Because a farmer-level system would require threefive years to set up, this policy likely could not be implemented until 2025. Farmers may also choose to pay only the levy if the cost of compliance was higher. A levy in general has negative connotations, and adding
an unnecessary bureaucratic layer to revenue recycling should also be avoided. DairyNZ supports a price signal at the farm level being implemented in 2025 as part of a wider behaviour change framework. We want to work with the Government to determine the best way to price biological emissions in a way which drives behaviour change and rewards actions by farmers. Should fertiliser emissions be priced at processor level? DairyNZ believes that nitrous oxide emissions from farm use of fertilisers should also be priced at farm level from 2025 as the best way to incentivise emissions reductions across the sector. Farmers are able to manage nitrous oxide emissions from fertiliser by adjusting fertiliser quantity and type, and incorporating the use of urease and nitrification inhibitors. In addition, managing nitrous oxide emissions from livestock and other practices includes making decisions about liming, imported feeds, stocking rates, stand off platforms, effluent and manure management. Applying a single price based mechanism at farm level would avoid misalignment and confusion, and enable costs to be more directly factored into a range of these management options to reduce emissions overall for an efficient production system. This approach requires transparency in prices and flexibility for options at farm level. Pricing fertiliser emissions at processor level based on a national average, as proposed, risks missing out on regional and climatic differences and does not affect farmer choice, and therefore does not incentivise increased GHG-efficient production on farm. Rather, it will simply result in farmers paying a levy to ultimately produce milk and/or meat. As an analogy, the impacts may be similar to a levy on petrol. An additional levy included in the price of petrol has limited transparency, there are limited options and thus limited effect on behaviour.
A priced based mechanism to be introduced at farm level from 2025, and the ICCC’s analysis which says a levy/ rebate scheme would be a better option than the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS). ■■ A solid five-year interim work programme with clear actions, outcomes, targets and timeframes, including implementing the industry’s commitments as outlined in the Dairy Tomorrow Strategy and the ‘Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment -- He Waka Eke Noa’. This work programme will ensure: 1. All dairy farmers will know their farm emissions profile and associated emission numbers by 2022 2. All dairy farms will develop and implement Farm Environment Plans by 2025. The plans will assist farms in becoming more environmentally sustainable. The plans will state measurable actions ■■
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve water quality, biodiversity and biosecurity outcomes 3. The completion of a pilot programme on emissions reporting and benchmarking by 2025 4. The implementation of a farm level agricultural emissions accounting and reporting system by 2025. DairyNZ does not support: ■■ A price based mechanism in the interim period over the next five years. Implementing a processor levy or NZ ETS could lead to revenue recycling of money that would be better spent on farm to prepare for and start the process of managing emissions. ■■ Farmers or processors facing surrender obligations under the NZ ETS. In addition, DairyNZ proposes: ■■ Farmers are not precluded from being able to offset a portion of their total emissions at the farm level. ■■ Continued co-invest-
ment in developing incremental and breakthrough technologies to support the agricultural sector to remain competitive, profitable and sustainable as it goes through these changes -- not just on climate change but for other regulations such as water quality and biodiversity. ■■ The Government continues to work with the dairy sector and other stakeholders on the science of methane and its impact on global warming, through national and international frameworks. ■■ The Government acknowledges the importance of approaching carbon pricing as part of a broader range of policy measures that address price and non-price barriers to mitigation. The point is that carbon pricing will not, on its own, induce a significant uptake of abatement opportunities, nor will it generate mitigation options.
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
18 // AGRIBUSINESS
Climate report gives much needed detail PAM TIPA firstname.lastname@example.org
THE LATEST IPCC Special Report
has the potential to turn the way we look at climate change on its head, says DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle. It highlights the challenges of providing sustainable food for a growing population and says animal sourced food from sustainable systems has a role to play. The IPCC Special Report, released this month, is a “welcome contribution” to the developing debate on climate, says Mackle. New Zealand in 2015 co-sponsored a proposal for a Special Report on Climate Change, Food and Agriculture. “The 2019 report has arrived at an opportune time as NZ works out
how to play its part in tackling climate change and what it might mean for our agricultural sector and our economy,” Mackle says. “In October 2018, the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming by 1.5°C turned on its head the way policymakers viewed climate change. “This new report has the potential to do the same as it highlights some of the challenges and opportunities of providing sustainable food for a growing global population,” says Mackle. The world’s population is forecast by the United Nations to grow from 7.7 billion now to 9.7b by 2050. “As world leaders in the efficient production of high quality, nutritious, pasture based, low emissions milk, NZ has a huge role to play in showing what a sustainable system can deliver.
“The report highlights how much the science is still developing, especially in agricultural emissions, which again demonstrates that a prudent approach for NZ is needed. “DairyNZ is fully behind playing our part on climate change and supporting our farmers to take action. We need to take some time, however, to fully digest this report and how it might be applied in a NZ context.” The report recommends ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change, many already happening, eg planting trees, maintaining good soil carbon and low input, well managed grazing. Agriculture and livestock farming have a role to play in addressing climate change, the report says. It identifies sustainably produced livestock products from sustainable, low greenhouse gas emission farming systems as helping solve the problem.
DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle.
“Balanced diets [could contain] plant based foods such as those based on coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal sourced food produced in resilient, sustainable and low-GHG emission systems.” The deputy director of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, Dr Andy Reisinger, says the report shows NZ is not alone in the challenges it faces. “Many of the issues, eg how to reduce emissions, make our land more resilient to climate change and how to achieve the best outcomes across the
landscape are shared by governments worldwide. That’s why they asked the IPCC to prepare this report. “A key message from the report for me is the need for integrated responses that comprise not just how we produce food but stretch across the food and energy system. This is critical to improve resilience globally and to ensure we use land in a way that can feed people and reduce net emissions.” The report doesn’t tell us what NZ’s role should be globally but it tells us what to keep an eye on in the bigger picture, he says.
Emissions trading tops farmers’ concerns CLIMATE CHANGE
policy and the emissions trading scheme (ETS) are farmers’ biggest concerns. These show as top for the first time since 2010, according to Federated Farmers’ latest Farm Confidence Survey. Nearly a quarter of the 1432 farmers who responded to the July survey said it is their No 1 worry. The secondgreatest concern is regulation and compliance costs (19%) followed by debt, interest and banks
(10%). The result is hardly surprising, Federated Farmers economics spokesman Andrew Hoggard says. Analysis shows many dairy and sheep and beef farms will be uneconomic if the Government pursues methane reduction targets far more stringent than necessary to try to restrict global warming. “That’s coupled with concern that the targets, and Government
incentives for forestry, are driving blanket planting of pines on productive farmland, pointing to huge long term detriment to rural communities.” Related to concerns about more production losses and costs to meet climate change targets, is that only 55% of farmers say their businesses are profitable (similar to the January survey, 56%). Farms losing money increased by two points to 11.3%. And slightly more
farmers expect their profitability to worsen than improve. The July survey, by Research First, found that the proportion of farmers who think the economy is generally good (24.9%)
R 202 A D N E L A C A N ED
has decreased slightly over the last six months. Those seeing the economy as bad are fewer but not by much (21.3%). The survey discovered that farmers’ confidence in the economy is the lowest it’s been since July 2009, after the Global Financial Crisis. “On that front, we’re no different from the wider business community in expressing
and Taranaki-Manawatu. Slightly more farmers expect to increase their spending rather than reduce it over the coming 12 months but this is also down on January’s survey. And farmers continue to find it hard, if not harder than ever, to find skilled and motivated staff. To read the full report visit http://www.fedfarm. org.nz/FFPublic/Policy2/ National/2019/2019_New_ Season_Farm_Confidence_ Survey.aspx
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gloom,” Hoggard says. “We have particular concern about global uncertainty and instability [possible] from fallout from Brexit and US-China tensions and how that will impact on our key markets and export returns.” Farmers in all regions expect production to increase over the coming 12 months but they are mostly less optimistic than six months ago, with large falls in expectations in Auckland-Northland
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
AGRIBUSINESS // 19
Easier milking, less labour costs EASIER MILKING and
lower labour input appeal to the owners of a new rotary milking platform recently installed in Waipa district. The Waikato Milking Systems 80-bail Centrus composite rotary platform was completed in July on John and Debbie Moorby’s farm near Te Awamutu. They milk 1150 cows on 350ha. “For the size of the herd, we were always going to need
a big rotary,” Moorby said. “We’ll get more throughput and be able to cut back on time in the parlour.” He reckons it’ll take about four people to manage cows through the rotary, versus six on their old system with its two herringbone sheds. “We’ll have two people putting on cups, one person keeping an eye on things and one person getting the herds in.” The technology fitted
to the Centrus will make milking easier for the Moorbys, says Waikato Milking Systems. It includes the company’s ECR Plus system -- a cup remover which also collects milking data from other gear installed on the platform. One of these is
SmartD-Tect, which simulates pre-milking so cows let their milk down faster. It also warns early of possible udder health problems, reducing treatment time and cost. Another is the BailGate control system which manages cows on the platform. The straps
John and Debbie Moorby in their new dairy plant.
Do your cows need a big hit of Phosphorus?
IDEAS FROM ELSEWHERE IDEAS FROM other dairy sheds have found places in Moorbys new dairy. These include a carpeted staff room with kitchen table and chairs, which opens to a viewing platform where visitors can watch cows being milked. “We wanted to provide a good environment for our staff where we could all meet together, interview new staff if needed or just come and have a cup of coffee,” Moorby said. “The viewing platform is for anyone who wants to come and look at how things work at milking time.” The Moorbys progressed through the industry as 50/50 sharemilkers for 15 years. Then they bought a 130ha farm in 2001 near Te Awamutu. “Then we sold that and bought a 130ha property to start out on our own. Over the years the property size and our herd have grown.” John runs the milking and manages the staff and herd, and Debbie manages the business office, calf rearing and relief milking when needed. They are proud of how they’ve developed their dairy business together while also raising a family. They have three adult children all working off farm. One is a teacher, one a journalist on her OE and one is playing rugby for Southland. Moorby says the new plant will allow him to increase the herd size if needed. “But also at 53, I don’t want to be milking fulltime much longer. The technology we’ve got on the platform will help me keep an eye on how well things are going.”
of the BailGate can be lowered or raised automatically when the cup removers are activated. The Moorbys also have SmartSpray teat spraying in each stall.
The most effective way is with an oral phosphate supplement. 1
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Times of increased demand: Typically around calving and early lactation. Magnesium is vital for: Calcium absorption, the nervous system. Times of increased demand: During extended yarding, bad weather, or when feeding on well fertilised or rapidly growing pasture. Phosphorus is vital for: Strong bones, energy production, growth, cell repair Times of increased demand: When feeding fodder beets. At calving and early lactation. Phosphorus levels can be impacted by low calcium.
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All the latest stories and more at www.dairynews.co.nz
References: 1. Grunberg W., Treatment of Phosphorus Balance Disorders, Vet Clin Food Anim 30 (2014) 383–40
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
20 // MANAGEMENT
Data makes farming easier GINA MCKENZIE
TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES are making for better farming and social connections for farmers, says Federated Farmers’ North Canterbury president. Cameron Henderson, at Oxford,
milks 720 cows on 240ha and he leases an extra 200ha to support his and neighbouring dairy farms. Growing up in farming, Henderson has seen huge changes in technology, including soil moisture monitoring which enables accurate irrigation management. “It adds a lot of value economically
and environmentally,” Henderson said. Digital systems across a farm monitor its soil moisture, water use and weather patterns, and they store data online. Similar data collection gear enables farmers to look up a cow’s health and ancestry records, and monitor milk quality and pasture production.
STAYING IN TOUCH STAYING IN-TOUCH online reduces isolation for rural dwellers, says Cameron Henderson. He sees technology helping his staff stay in touch with family and friends. Henderson provides free internet to help his staff feel connected, especially in busy seasons when it’s harder for people to connect face to face. The farm uses a satellite internet wireless link which bounces a signal off a nearby hill. “We wouldn’t have staff if there was no broadband. They would feel shut off from the rest of the world. It helps keep people engaged with their wider social network. “Young people living and working rurally may not get to interact with many people in their working day, so it’s helping them feel connected to their
community and the world around them.” Henderson’s Feds role and his work on the Waimakariri water zone committee mean he must have reliable internet so he can communicate easily and plan events. “It’s vital for keeping up to date with reports and also socially as most things are organised online too - local sports, parties and community events.” He welcomes advances in wireless technology and is keen to see better 4G and 5G coverage in his area. “Satellite internet is about three times more expensive than other forms of technology so we’re excited about advances in wireless technology.” Henderson understands the reluctance of some farmers to move on from tried and tested manual systems, but he knows technology is a must
Oxford dairy farmer Cameron Henderson says technology helps farmers run successful businesses.
“Having all our records in one database helps us easily access and manage information in areas such as calving and productivity.” Reliable data systems are vital, he says. “Technology has developed rapidly over the last few years and we’ve taken on as much as possible since we began farming,” he said. “Over the last 10 years, nearly all the technology we’ve added to farms has an online component. This helps
us manage the masses of data generated and makes it easier to monitor and make good decisions.” More regulation and compliance are making it vital for farmers to accurately monitor and record environmental data to prove they’re working to the rules. “You need the facts to show you are doing the right thing and this isn’t possible without technology.” Gina McKenzie writes articles for the Canterbury Mayoral Forum.
TO ALL FARMERS. FOR ALL FARMERS.
RURAL NEWS TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS
DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
MANAGEMENT // 21
Farmers reject poor grazing practices DAIRY FARMERS
support extra efforts to improve winter grazing practices, and especially animal welfare, says DairyNZ. It says farmers do not condone poor winter grazing. “No-one accepts poor winter grazing practices. Our organisations are firm on this,” said DairyNZ strategy and investment leader Dr Jenny Jago. “Dairy and beef
WINTER CROPPING What does good management involve? There are three components to successful wintering – selecting the right paddocks, establishing crops and implementing the grazing management
sectors have a role to play in protecting waterways. So ensuring goodpractice winter grazing
plan. There is a range of good practice tools farmers must adopt – including gradually break feeding the crop to manage animal intake, using portable water troughs and back fences to
is crucial to support the environment and keep our animals healthy.” Jago said a lot work is
prevent cows going back into already grazed areas, and managing grazing to prevent nutrient runoff into the environment through gullies and critical source areas.
being done and progress made, but there is more to do. “The vast majority of
farmers take great pride in caring for their animals and the environment.” Many on farm initiatives are underway to protect the environment and animal welfare. “We have been
working together, and with central and regional government, to review and improve resources available for farmers, we’re supporting improved crop grazing practices and we’re
reinforcing compliance.” DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ are working towards having all farms report under assurance or sustainability schemes. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
Organic milk firm helps clean river LEWIS ROAD Creamery is moving
to help a South Auckland community in its work to improve the health of a river. The Wairoa River flows from the Hunua Ranges, through Clevedon and out to the Hauraki Gulf. Land clearance and urban development have affected it for decades. Loss of native forest has cut into the habitat for wildlife, river banks have eroded and sediment and other pollutants have entered the water. Damming has changed the rivers natural flow. Lewis Road Creamery, notable for organic milk, will match the public’s
first $10,000 in donations to the project. Georgina Hart, who leads Million Metres at the Sustainable Business Network, says the Wairoa River project is an example of how everyone can act to restore New Zealand’s waterways. “Businesses that get behind waterway restoration are a help. We can’t leave it to someone else to clean up our rivers.” Hart says more businesses are giving cash via the Million Metres platform. Peter Cullinane, the founder of Lewis Road Creamery, says “we want to play our part”.
Along with the money the firm is encouraging its 200,000 followers support the crowdfunding goal and then join in on planting day to dig and plant trees. The plants and trees will come from Te Whangai Trust, which assists long term unemployed and prisoners to gain work skills at its four nurseries in Auckland.
Million Metres hosts a crowdfunding website for local projects. It has worked with 45 community groups and landowners and has raised $1.4m to help restore 52km of waterways with 300,000 trees.
Wairoa River, South Auckland.
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
22 // ANIMAL HEALTH
Feed stock properly JULIE WAGNER
NAIT to monitor tag makers in new tracing push PAM TIPA firstname.lastname@example.org
IT WILL be up to farmers to report prob-
lems with tags as a push begins to improve livestock ID and tracing standards, says OSPRI. OSPRI’s subsidiary NAIT Ltd administers the National Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme. OSPRI says it will scrutinise the tag manufacturers and will demand better tag retention under three new standards for NAIT. And a new tag reporting process will include more education for farmers on how best to apply and replace tags. This development will help OSPRI to improve the integrity of NAIT data alongside the key traceability aspects of tag retention and readability, says the head of NAIT, Kevin Forward. “We’ve listened to farmers, and its apparent there are issues with tag retention. “The new Animal Identification Device Standard will ensure tag manufacturers are held accountable for their products and that they meet international standards. “It’s up to farmers now to report issues with tags. OSPRI will manage this process with NAIT reporting annually on complaints received and any emerging trends. “While these changes may in the short term impact on tag manufacturers, accredited entities and information providers, it will encourage them to improve their services and products and this will lead
to better outcomes for farmers and the industry.” The new NAIT standards and guidelines will bring added value for farmers and NAIT users, says Forward, and the tag manufacturers, accredited entities and information providers will be more closely watched. These changes follow the recent NAIT standards consultation. “We thank everyone who participated in OSPRI’s consultation,” says Forward. “This helped guide our final recommendations and ensured that farmers and industry all had a voice. “The three new standards will mean more targeted performance and monitoring of third party information providers to NAIT. They will also provide more accountability on livestock data transfer and privacy with formal contracts, regular audits and renewal of accreditation every three years. “The NAIT system can no longer operate in isolation. Improving how the NAIT system works with third party providers is vital for supporting biosecurity preparedness or a response in the event of a future incursion.” OSPRI will tell accredited entities about the re-accreditation process. Many of the changes to the standards result from the NAIT review and recommendations noted during the response to Mycoplasma bovis. In November and December 2018, MPI consulted its public on recommendations for improving NAIT via legislation or changes to the rules. Three proposed standards then went to further consultation in early 2019.
IN THIS season we are again asking a lot of our stock. If we don’t look after them they may suffer flow on effects to their health, wellbeing and performance. Cows too fat or too thin are at increased risk of metabolic disease and should be managed as higher risk animals. Feeding stock is a large part of your job. Dry matter intake and quality feed are the most important aspect of stock management. Often metabolic disease outbreaks can be addressed by increasing the amount of good quality feed which raises the intake of energy, calcium and magnesium. But taking a holistic approach via general good husbandry and good feed and supplementation is shown by research to be more important than ever before. Intricate links between a cow’s homeostatic processes (the regulation of the cow’s internal environment) and metabolic processes are being continually uncovered. Homeostasis arises from a natural resistance to change in optimal conditions and acts as an internal regulator to maintain equilibrium (wellbeing) despite changes in an animal’s environment, diet or level of activity. For a cows’ metabolism to work at maximum efficiency it needs
Julie Wagner, Ravensdown.
effective homeostatic control to keep things balanced. Without it, a failure of one metabolic process impacts on the efficiency of others and the cow becomes vulnerable to external
strategies based on an understanding of the homoeostatic process will greatly benefit a cow’s wellbeing preand post-calving. In that brief, important transition period a careful
Cows too fat or too thin are at increased risk of metabolic disease and should be managed as higher risk animals. threats and stresses. Because of the influence of the homeostatic system, the concept of transition feeding prior to calving has evolved. Rather than focusing on the control of milk fever alone, the process requires the farmer to take an integrated nutritional approach. This will optimise: ■■ rumen function ■■ calcium and bone metabolism ■■ energy metabolism ■■ protein metabolism ■■ immune function. Developing integrated
manipulation of a cow’s diet can help her health and productivity. Managing other factors will also affect a cow’s homeostatic system and consequent ability to absorb and retain nutrients at critical periods. The farmer must manage the stresses caused by: ■■ Lack of shelter in bad weather ■■ Deep pugged soils which make it hard for cows to get to feed, shelter and water ■■ Trucking (do this well before calving). For example, while
cows cannot store magnesium, and so need a daily adequate intake, the efficiency with which they absorb magnesium is strongly influenced by the concentration of potassium (K) in the diet. Getting optimal absorption requires a well functioning homeostatic system. Calcium levels are also controlled by a very complex hormone system. Simply put, milk fever occurs when this hormone system doesn’t work properly or fast enough. It affects on average 5-10% of New Zealand dairy cows annually, with most cases occurring within 24-48 hours of calving (DairyNZ). Like everything, the balance of the hormone system and calcium levels is controlled by the homeostatic system. So optimal conditions and diet are critical to give your cows the best start to the season. Julie Wagner is Ravensdown animal health product manager.
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
ANIMAL HEALTH // 23
Trace mineral products – spoilt for choice? SINCE AS early as the 1940’s and 1950’s NZ agricultural research scientists were looking into the common causes of ill thrift in NZ commonly described as ‘peat scours, white muscle disease and bush sickness’. At the time these diseases were found to be linked to widespread deficiency in NZ soils of important trace minerals such as copper, selenium and cobalt. Besides identifying these links there was also development of ‘reference ranges’ for animal tissue sampling (Blood & Liver) that paved the way for accurate diagnosis and treatment of the trace mineral deficiencies. From this work Veterinarians then used these new reference ranges in routine screening of trace element deficiency, and industry responded by developing multiple commercially available treatment options for NZ producers. These options ranged from application of supplementary fertilisers delivering trace elements to deficient soils through to direct treatment of livestock with boluses, injections and daily supplementation via water supply. More recently, there has been an ‘explosion’ in number of the water soluble options available to farmers with companies attempting to establish their place in the market, leading to confusion as to which is the best value option. Water soluble products can range from as little as 1 – 2 cents per cow per
some very good science supporting claims specific to improving animal health. Therefore, by ensuring either trace element monitoring or supplementation (or both!) is in place should
day through to more than 10 cents per cow per day. Often the more expensive options are accompanied with specific claims and anecdotal evidence supporting their efficacy. However, disappointingly this information is seldom based on good robust scientific trial work making it difficult to be able to compare one from the other. Amongst all this confusion, it is important to keep things simple by remembering: The majority of NZ soils are deficient in Trace minerals Failure to either monitor animals or provide additional Trace minerals increases your animals chance of suffering ‘ill thrift’ The majority of commercially available products are sufficient to bolster levels in most situations to a point where ill thrift is no longer obvious As production levels increase the requirement for supplementation increases More expensive products claiming additional health benefits require closer scrutiny of the data supplied to ensure you are receiving value for money There are a small number of products with
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
24 // MATING
Selecting the right bull GOOD BULL
management means running adequate numbers of bulls with the herd, reducing their stress, and handling bulls to minimise the risk of injury to people and animals, says DairyNZ. Having enough bulls when cows are likely to be on heat is important for good reproductive performance. The number of bulls needed will depend on how many cows or yearling heifers are likely to come on heat while the bulls are with the group. DairyNZ recommends farmers run one yearling bull per 20 yearling heifers at all times to cover the poorer performance of yearling bulls. Ensure there are always at least two sexually active bulls running with each mob
throughout the mating period. Bulls are typically run with yearling heifers on an all-in basis. You may want a few extra bulls around in case any need to be replaced. The ratio should be about one bull to 15-20 heifers. “If you are using heat
synchrony, and returns will occur when bulls are running, you need to estimate the minimum number of bulls running with cattle during this period (using one bull per 10 non-pregnant cows). “Alternatively, resume heat detection and AB for three-four days,
BEFORE BULLS ARRIVE BULLS NEED to be kept in good body condition, particularly in the three months prior to their mating start date. Several weeks before the bulls will be used, make any required diet changes to ensure bulls are not too fat or too thin. They should be in body condition score 4.5 to 5.5 prior to mating. Score them well before mating to give you time to make diet changes. Consider getting your vet to examine the bulls at least one month before the bulls start work. Examinations range from a simple physical exam, to a serving ability test, or a full assessment of semen quality.
starting 19 days after the previously synchronised inseminations.” To make sure bulls are sexually mature and able to serve, bulls need to be well grown. By the time a bull reaches 14–15 months, it should have achieved 50% of its mature weight. This should increase to 85% by two years of age. To maintain the health of bulls and all other animals, ensure bulls get the same vaccination as the heifers and cows. Develop a drenching programme with your vet as well. Select bulls from a bull rearer or leasing service with a reputation for growing and delivering healthy bulls. Ask what disease exposure bulls may have had, such as Thieleria or BVD. Insist on bulls certified free of TB, BVD, IBR and EBL,
What’s a better in-calf rate worth to you?
Have enough bulls when cows are likely to be on heat.
and blood tested negative for Johne’s disease. If unsure about Johne’s, discuss it with your vet. Insist on bulls certified fully vaccinated for leptospirosis and BVD. They must have been
penis, back or legs. They increase the risk of injury to the cattle and to the farm workers. Choose virgin bulls whenever possible as they are less likely to introduce venereal diseases to the
Select bulls from a bull rearer or leasing service with a reputation for growing and delivering healthy bulls. vaccinated twice initially, four weeks apart and then boosted with a single shot annually for each of these diseases. Use bulls no older than three years. Older bulls can be temperamental and difficult to manage, and are more likely to have injuries to the
herd, but avoid using bulls younger than 15 months old. If using non-virgin bulls, discuss with your vet a test for the venereal diseases Trichomoniasis and Campylobacter. Use bulls that are likely to minimise the number of calvings requiring assistance, especially with
the heifers. Select bulls ideally from the same mob. This will reduce fighting when they are with the herd. Otherwise the bulls need to arrive earlier to establish their social order well before mating start date. Exclude fully horned bulls and those with deformed feet. Select bulls of similar size to the cows or heifers to be mated. If bulls are substantially heavier than the cows or heifers (e.g. >100kg heavier) then injuries to both bulls and cows are more likely. Watch bulls serving tall cows, to ensure they are able to serve correctly. Also observe larger bulls serving cows. If the cows collapse under the weight, find lighter bulls.
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WHEN BULLS ARRIVE GOOD BULL management will ensure bulls are well adjusted to their environment before mating and have been through a biosecurity quarantine. Bulls should be moved to the farm two-three months to ten days before they are required for work.
Split the bulls into teams for rotating (half resting, half working) to reduce fighting. On arrival: ■■ check for injuries possible during transport ■■
quarantine for 10 days and watch for disease or walking defects
trim hooves if necessary
walk among them, watching for any bulls that show aggression or ‘stalking’ behaviour, especially Jersey bulls – they may not be suitable to run with the milking herd.
DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
MATING // 25
What are your heat detection options? VARIOUS TOOLS
and technologies are now available to help dairy farmers optimise heat detection, says CRV Ambreed. Boyd Dingus, general manager of Estrotect, distributed by CRV Ambreed, says deciding on a combination of heat detection aids requires weighing up each tool’s effectiveness, its cost versus its benefit, and its ease of use. Tail Paint Tail paint is inexpensive and has been used as a heat detection aid for decades. The effectiveness of tail paint can be hit and miss because it is never applied in a consistent way. “Two people could go out and apply tail paint, and you’d likely get two completely different results,” he said. “One person could apply a short strip, the other long one. One person could do a very thick strip, while the other does skinny. Cow to cow and person to person, every strip will look different.” This inconsistency can become a big problem when the person reading the tail paint must make a breeding decision, says Dingus. Especially this will be so if they weren’t the person who applied the paint. How much paint was there initially? How much has been rubbed off? Should the cow be bred or not? “Some cows will be bred that shouldn’t be, causing you to overspend on semen,” he says. “And some cows that should be bred won’t be, causing a missed pregnancy opportunity.” Electronic heat detectors The electronic heat detectors available are either cameras or meters that measure activity. The cameras or RFID (radio frequency identification) pick up heat from heat mount detectors and work together with a drafting system in the cow shed to draft out cows for insemination.
Activity monitors attach to the cow’s neck or leg where they detect movement. Cows on heat tend to walk more because they are restless, are mounting other cows or are themselves being mounted. Day-to-day comparisons of cows’ activity can be made to detect any significant increases and therefore heat. “Before investing in this type of technology, do your research and talk to other farmers about the pros and cons,” said Dingus. “It would be sensible to use another form of heat detection as a back-up in case of a system failure.” Heat mount detectors Heat mount detectors are either pouches activated by the pressure of the cow riding, or scratch off pads. Dingus says using a heat detector, which measures the intensity of the cow’s estrus (heat) activity, is essential. “The higher the estrus activity the higher are your chances of a successful pregnancy. “Without a measure of estrus activity it’s like blindly throwing darts at a dartboard. Sure, some ‘darts will hit the board’, ie cows will get pregnant, but many won’t. Using a tool that measures estrus activity will increase your chances of pregnancy success.” There are proven tools on the market to increase pregnancy rates. Use of simple technology, like a breeding indicator, helps overcome some of the key pitfalls of heat detection aids like tail paint. A breeding indicator is a self adhesive patch that you apply halfway between the hip and tailhead of a cow’s back. As mounting activity occurs, the indicator’s surface ink is rubbed off by the friction of the mounting and will reveal the indicator colour. “There’s no inconsistency,” said Dingus.” The sticker is always the same size and shape, so there’s no guessing what was there
to start with. There’s no variation by cow or person applying. “Importantly, do your homework and find a combination of heat detection aids that allows you and your farm staff
to make a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision quickly.” CRV was the first to distribute Estrotect in New Zealand. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
Farmers have various tools available to optimise heat detection in herds.
DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
26 // MATING
Jersey genetics Higher margin, Top boosts NZYF farm more efficiency THE AVERAGE Jersey herd will make 67 cents more this season than a Holstein Friesian herd, claims Jersey Advantage spokesman James Courtman. “Some farmers are making significant changes to their business, eg for A2 milk, all to get a small premium of 10-20 cents,” he said. “But for herds with a high percentage of Friesian or crossbred animals they could achieve similar or better increases by increasing their Jersey content at mating time.” Courtman says the 67 cent margin is a combination of higher milk price, lower replacement costs and more milk solids per unit of feed. “The average Jersey herd supplying Fonterra will earn 24 cents more than a Holstein Friesian herd due to the higher fat content and lower volume charges
associated with Jerseys.” Another 16 cents comes from lower replacement rates, he says. “Jersey herds, on average, have a 4-5% lower empty rate and this allows farmers to rear fewer young stock or sell more surplus stock. “About 20% of the 16 cent advantage comes from fewer discretionary culls or losses from collapsed udders, feet and leg problems, calving
difficulties and less mastitis. “And 27 cents comes from Jerseys’ ability to produce 8% more milk solids per unit of feed. At 8% on a $6.75 payout that’s an extra 54 cents.” The efficiency benefits of Jerseys makes them ideal for the future, says Courtman. The best way to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint is to improve the efficiency of the animals.
CALVING IS in full swing at an Auckland dairy farm owned by NZ Young Farmers (NZYF). About 135 cows have wintered on the 74ha farm, up from 115 cows last season. “We are well over halfway through calving,” said the chair of the Donald Pearson Farm board, Julie Pirie, in early August. Forty-three in-calf Jersey heifers arrived on the farm in late May. They were bought from the estate of the late Bobbie Backhouse. The heifers are in the top 5% for breeding worth (BW) and are said to be among New Zealand’s best Jersey genetics. “Most of the heifers were in calf to an AB (artificial breeding) mating. Many have had heifers, which is excellent,” said Pirie. “We already have more than 30 replacement heifer calves.” The calves are being reared in an old wintering barn on the farm. It was converted into calf pens in June. “Donald used to calve a couple of times a year, so his pens were perfectly adequate for his needs,” said Pirie. “But we calve the entire herd in the spring, which means we needed more space to cope with the larger volume of calves.” Students from nearby Manurewa High School helped construct the new rearing pens. The herd produced 26,370 kgMS in the 2018-19 season. Production was hampered by a wet winter and a dry summer. This season is off to a promising start. “Milk production is up 50% on the same time last season,” said Pirie.
Warning Empty rates are still alarming! Nutrimol 4n1 users have reversed the trend. Visit www.bell-booth.co.nz or 0800 80 90 92 or scan the QR code below for a fertility assessment of your herd.
Answer six short questions and we will assess the information using the COWCULATOR™ to industry-accepted formulae.
The new Jersey replacement heifers before they returned from grazing.
“The new heifers are settling in well. The herd is being fed a blend of pellets with added minerals through the in-shed feed system.” The farm’s manager Tom Ruki is using the covered stand-off pad to feed grass silage to the cows and protect pastures from damage. “Tom’s using that facility well. The cows are in good condition and things are looking a lot better than they were at this time last year,” said Pirie. “Our focus now is on getting as much milk in the vat as possible before the farm dries out in the summer.” A major upgrade to the farm’s effluent system is complete -- a lined pond to handle effluent from the 11-aside herringbone milking shed. It’s connected to pods and a travelling irrigator will spread the effluent. “We now have a lot of effluent storage. The cost of the upgrade... looks to be about $150,000,” said Pirie. Graduates working at Fonterra have been assisting the Donald Pearson Farm board with long term planning for the farm.
FACTOR Quiet and easy to handle. Instant white face recognition. Lower birth weights. These are just some of the traits that define the HerefordX advantage. Registered Herefords have an incredibly quiet nature. We know a large number of dairy farmers allow their Hereford bulls on and off the milking platform and are confident their staff will be comfortable working with these docile animals. Whatâ€™s more the highly sought after HerefordX commands a premium at all weight ranges, with 4 day old calves making up to $400. Use our Dairy Beef Selection Index to calculate all pedigree information, and put it into a dollar value for you. Because the more dollars, the better. Right? You canâ€™t argue with genetics when it comes to maximising the value of your herd. To find out more about buying a registered Hereford bull, visit herefords.co.nz/bullsales or talk to your stock agent.
BUYING CALVES? Record and confirm the movement on-farm within 48 hours Check the calves are correctly tagged
Ensure the calves are registered online in NAIT
Expect an animal status declaration (ASD) form from the seller or sender.
Support disease management and help build lifetime animal traceability NAIT is an OSPRI programme
Need help? 0800 482 463 7amâ€“6pm (Mon-Fri)
DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
MATING // 29
Bulls with the X factor WHY PAY more for a
registered Hereford sire? The NZ Hereford Association says that by buying a registered bull and referring to the estimated breeding values (EBVs), and by talking to the vendor, a farmer may have some assurance of good calving ease and lower birthweights. The association’s general manager, Posy Moody, says that’s what the registered breeders excel at. “They have spent years performance recording their herd to genetically select for specific traits.”
are estimates of genetic differences in the ability of a sires’ calves to be born unassisted from 2-year-old heifers. The EBVs are reported as differences in the percentage of unassisted calvings. “Higher, more positive, calving ease EBVs are more favourable. For example, a bull with an EBV of +5.0% would be expected, on average, to produce 3% more unassisted calvings from 2-year-old heifers than a bull with an EBV of –1.0% (6% difference between the sires, then halved as
breeders, but it is not as well recorded as it is in the dairy industry, due to the trait only being calculated from either AI
or hand mating.” Moody refers farmers to the NZHA website herefords.co.nz/bull-salecalendar
“You can’t argue with data from CowScout. It’s been key to better efficiency and more days in milk.” Brad Payne, Waikato, New Zealand
Hereford calves: PHOTO; KANE FARMS.
“We‘ve reduced milking time by nearly two hours a day since installing the iFLOW rotary.“ Mark Hutchins, Canterbury, New Zealand
“With the iXPRESS, one person can comfortably milk 250 cows.“ Graeme Edwards, Northland, New Zealand
Estimated breeding values (EBVs) produce a range of economically important traits for the dairy market chiefly calving ease, gestation length, and birth weights. Five years of Beef + Lamb Genetics progeny test results show that EBVs work, the association says. “The March 2019 Dairy Beef Progeny Test Interim Sire Report, says most sires’ EBVs (across the traits) lined up well and predicted the performance of their calves. On average they did a good job of improving actual performance - the calving ease traits more so than the early growth traits.” EBVs produce a range of economically important traits, for the dairy market chiefly calving ease, gestation length, and birth weights. “Calving ease EBVs
the bull only contributes half the genetics). “Birth weight EBVs are estimates of genetic differences between animals in calf birth weight. Birth weight EBVs are expressed in kg. Small, or moderate, birth weight EBVs are more favourable. For example, a bull with a birth weight EBV of +2 kg would be expected to produce lighter calves at birth than a bull with a birth weight EBV of +6 kg, with a lower risk of a difficult birth. “Gestation length EBVs are estimates of genetic differences between animals, displayed in days. A lower, more negative GL is a shorter gestation. It is recorded by some
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DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
30 // MATING
Tags deliver more days in milk MORE DAYS in milk,
says Cambridge dairy farmer Brad Payne. The dairy technology maker GEA says Payne had used its CowScout tags for five years and seen more days in milk as a key benefit. Also, the system is more efficient at heat detection, helps get cows in calf earlier, lowers the empties rate and enables better herd management, GEA says. Payne in 2014 was milking 500 cows with two fulltime staff. He was planning to grow his herd to 800 cows over three years (he achieved that goal) and he was working as an AB technician. He had upgraded to a GEA iFlow 50 bail rotary platform with automatic
cup removers and iPud automatic teat sprayers. GEA says Payne told them it made good sense to add the CowScout technology. “As AB technician, I
had to be with the cows daily for nine weeks, checking and reapplying tail paint. But it was too time consuming,” Payne said. “CowScout tags
DATA IS A BONUS AN UNEXPECTED bonus was the eating and rumination data, Payne says. “With CowScout, we can afford to tag every cow and we pick up mastitis and metabolic disorders before cows go down because we know how much they’re eating. “When a cow isn’t eating as much as she should - for example she might go from eating 11 hours per day to just three - we receive an alert. “These cows are drafted out automatically, enabling us to check them and treat them a day or two earlier than we might have done before. You wouldn’t get this sort of information by simply looking at the cows.”
offered a simple, reliable and accurate solution and it fitted easily into our existing system.” The tags monitor every cow in Payne’s herd 24 hours daily, providing highly accurate data on heat detection and eating and rumination activity. The data is available to Payne on any internet device. Cows on heat are predrafted automatically at their optimal insemination time, GEA says. Payne gets a notification and turns up to do the insemination. “It’s highly cost effective,” Payne said. “Firstly, one person now handles milking morning and evening. Without CowScout we’d need a
Cambridge farmer Brad Payne.
second person for heat detection. “We also gained insight
into optimal insemination times. We quickly realised we’d been inseminating
too early. And we hadn’t known there was an optimal time of day.” In the first year, GEA says, data indicated that the afternoons were the optimal insemination time for 80% of the herd. The following year, it was found to be mornings and last year it was evenings. Another benefit is that they spend a lot less time on AB - they don’t use bulls - and still get good results. “We used to sit at about 8-9% empties with 11 weeks AB. Last season, we did eight weeks AB and had 4.5% empties.”
Empty rates down HEAT DETECTION technology has helped two Taranaki farmers to cut their herd’s empty rate from 16% to 11% in its first season, says the supplier, Gallagher Group. Becky Corlett and David Knowles sharemilk 600 cows on his parents’ 230ha farm (DAK Dairying Ltd) at Stratford. The farm uses Gallagher’s FlashMate electronic heat detector pads to monitor cows’ behaviour when on heat – and to signal what’s going on by the pads’ flashing lights. Corlett says the pads cost more than their usual scratch pads or tail paint, but it has paid for itself with better in-calf rates and a shorter calving season. “It was worth it,” Corlett said. “We had a 5% decrease in our empty rate -down to just below 11%. That means fewer cull cows, hopefully more replacement calves and a shorter calving period, as we have a lot of cows due within the first six weeks.” Before using the pads their empty rate had climbed to a record 16%. “We were all upset with that result,”
Corlett said. “It was a tough season bad weather-wise and it seemed our cows weren’t coming onto heat or we were missing them.” A neighbour had been using the pads so they decided to try them. “Just the drop in the empty rate is enough to pay for it,” Corlett said. “At 4am, even when you’re tired, it’s hard to miss a red flashing light. You don’t have to read a scratch pad. You still need a level of skill in reading a cow, but 90% of the job is done for you.” The staff use a curry comb two days before applying the pads, removing excess hair from the cow’s rump, and so allowing the pads to stick close to the skin.
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Accurate calving records, made easy. Now gene mapping’s as simple as applying an eartag.
The Gene Mapping service uses a new Allflex Birth Tag which takes the sample at the same time as applying the ear tag. Also available in a button tag format for the herd. This provides many wins – it’s less invasive for the animal, faster for the farmer with only one action required, and provides a visual marker to confirm BETTER COWS | BETTER LIFE
the animal has a DNA profile. Most importantly, the Allflex tag system leaves no room for error. You’ll have 100% confidence that the results correctly link the sample to each animal. If you are thinking of DNA profiling your calves or herd, give CRV Ambreed a call. Phone 0800 262 733
Creating calving records with ease is one benefit of DNA testing. Gene Mapping identifies the sire and dam as well as the A2 type beta casein status.
DAIRY 20,2019 2019 DAIRY NEWS NEWS AUGUST MARCH 26,
32 24 // // MACHINERY & PRODUCTS
Wider swath with moderate tractor Arcing no problem on
This is said to allow ing widths of 2.6m, 3.1m safe, comfortable transand 3.6m, respectively, in email@example.com port between jobs, and 5-, 6- and 7-disc configurations, each carrying two it minimises overhang beyond the rear fenders quick-attach blades. (A AGCO’S GREEN Harof the tractor. KC-designation indicates vest range has evolved The layout sees a a rear conditioning eleas tedders, rakes, loader The new energisers also have heavy-duty headstock, increaswagons and baler/wrapper ment for rapidly adaptive power technology (APT), a MARK DANIEL with the cutter mounted ing dry matter content.) combinations. firstname.lastname@example.org concept TL-V developedatina South Africapivot and centralised The designation Now for 2019 comes a patented. position, allowing ground the mower is new range of disc mowers shows that widely to a conventional FENCING SPECIALIST Strainrite adaptation up to 28 equipped with In the contrast Turbo – the DM-TL-V series energiser which will push above all available has its range electric degrees horizontal hydro-pneumatic madeexpanded at the Feucht fac- of Lift energy through arcing a fence fence and 20along degrees below. with vertitory inenergisers. Germany, of inter- lift system -(sotransport reducing the and the markets six new solar for A hydro-pneumatic cal folding -- effectiveness estItto now operators wanting units will powered units widths that can that also allows be integrity), circuit can be detect steplessly the mower the to APT greater mowing arcing and reduce voltage to aprespowered frombya tractors mains supply. to ground fold to 30 degrees past try the to adjusted but powered point just below where arcing occurs. Some models a longcentring sure, depending on terits mass of ‘reasonable’ size.also havevertical, This linkhelps rain maintain higher life,Available lithium-ion phosphate over battery and forward speed the three-point in three line,damage so that outperforms standard chemical andthe to fence minimise age and theenergy centre levels line ofalong models, the DM 265, 316 batteries. Theoffer battery has athe reliable to the turf. tractor. improving its effectiveness. and 367 TL-V workIn practice, the system maintains life cycle, no memory fade and a long voltage at higher levels when, say, shelf life. MARK DANIEL
damaged or wet insulators, coastline salt build-up, long grass or stuck animals cause lengthy earthing. The units also foils thieves with a user-chosen a PIN. Entered and stored via a key chain remote, when the function is enabled the energiser cannot be operated until a remote with the correct PIN is presented. Each time power is removed or restored to the energiser, the remote must be used to activate the unit. @dairy_news
lines. Reset is achieved by The heart of the facebook.com/dairynews gravity, without the opermachine -- the cutter-bar ator having to leave the -- has a flat profile protractor seat. tected by large hardened Set-up is said to be steel wear plates and a particularly easy, only sealed-for-life oil bath needing little or no main- needing setting of the tractor’s lower links, from tenance. Large, hardened spur gears work with where the TL system is oversized disc drive gears used for lifting and lowMilktech having ering via says a single-acting with always three teeth automatic cup removers connection. engaged, resulting in min- hydraulic make life easy in the shed. The operating posiimal gear backlash and tion is set by centralising quiet running. two marker arrows on the A heavy-duty drivemower frames; a compenline takes power to the sation cylinder sets up the first disc assembly, with machine for contours of protection from overload and a free-wheeling clutch +/- 13 degrees and locks for controlled wind down out the cutter-bar for headland turns. after the PTO is disenStandard equipment gaged. A separate, proincludes quick attach tected drive-line is used blades, a rear-mounted for powering the conditoolbox, safety lock and tioner. integral parking stand. In the paddock, the Optional conditioner integral Safety Swing Theare units are available The unitsallows have adjustable units available with function the from NZ-wide. cluster and lift springdealers steel tines or roller mowerdrop bed to move Export for efforts haveor functions, LED status elements general up and over obstacles, in crop Australia, indicators and delicate types.Brazil, making use of a manual patented begun Argentina and Chile. mode for gearbox dealing with pivoting to pre@dairy_news cows with blind vent damage to quarters. the drive- www.milktech.com facebook.com/dairynews
A c t i v e Mlift o w yield, Retro-fitted cup removers save labour costs The latest ActiveMow from Krone includes a host of innovative ideas a n d r e f i n e m e n t s , g i v e s r e l i a b i l i t y, e f f i c i e n c y, c l e a n c u t s a n d e v e n simultaneous adjustment stainless steel ram, an s a v e s sof p aallcunits, e i nrather storage! illuminated switch and
much easier. They can be retro-fitted to existing email@example.com a free-flow sensor.N Itse w h ethan systems.” a v ythedtypical u t y huse e aofd s t o c k . * Te r m s , c o n d i t i o n s individual control screens electronics are mounted Milktech, formed & lending criteria Wo r k i n g w i d t h f r o m 2 m t o 3 . 6 m . a p p l y. for each unit. high and safe in the last year, markets AT LEAST 50% of In-built diagnostics milking plant, clear of its NZ-designed and milking plants in New can alert operators to any moisture and muck. manufactured cup Zealand do not have L o w m issues a i n tduring e n a nthe c emilking , high quality In operation, a ‘lift removers, plus accessories automatic cup removers, a nthe d d ecycle. pendable. and go’ process starts for herringbone and says Milktech NZ. “There are huge cycle, and rapid venting That’s a surprise given rotary milking sheds. opportunities for NZ at the end of the milking Garza and colleagues that cup removers have operators to reduce cycle causes a soft pullJeff Sharp and Alan been available since the labour and increase down. Speed-adjustable Morris have expertise 1970s. productivity by upgrading retraction quickly pulls in dairy technology “There are huge Swadro Rake K W S e r i e s Te d d e r plant to automated cup the cluster out of the design, plastic design opportunities for NZ removers. Our CR-1 working area. and moulding, dairy farmers to reduce labour The farmer can choose removers offer a host of farming and business and increase productivity cost,” says Garza. features to make life in milking parameters development. by upgrading to At the end of cycle the milking shed so much controlled by software. automated Fo r cup m oremovers,” r e i n f o r m aThe t i o company’s n c o n t a CR-1 ct the CR-1 can trigger teat easier and can also be The system is wi-fi electronic cup remover Garza said. spraying, bail gate control retro-fitted to existing connected and software suits one-worker dairies “Our CR-1 cup in rotary sheds and a as plant fails, upgrades are made and is robust,06 simple and0390 removers have features DEALERSsystems NATIONWIDE www.tulloch.nz 370 milk sweep to clear lines. usually at much lower in real time, enabling reliable. It has a 3-inch to make milking shed life MARK DANIEL
Produce exceptional results with the Krone r a n g e o f m a c h i n e r y.
CHOOSE A SOLUTION. CHOOSE SUMO. MOUNTED TRIO
As its name suggests the Sumo Trio consists of 3 parts to help develop and create an ideal seed bed in all soil conditions. First stage: Staggered row of subsoiler legs with a maximum working depth of 400mm. (both hydraulic and shear pin protection systems available)
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Secondary stage: Two rows of 500mm concave discs equipped with triple sealed bearings and Sumo’s famous double drive system giving unrivalled performance when working in adverse conditions. Third stage: Sumo’s 760mm multipacker roller with replaceable shoulders leaves a weatherproof level finish in the most challenging soil conditions.
NORTH ISLAND www.gaz.co.nz Call Jarred L’Amie | 027 203 5022 CAMBRIDGE | OTOROHANGA ROTORUA
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The Sumo Grassland subsoiler improves and revitalises compacted grassland that is suffering from the effects of continual livestock, rainfall and heavy machinery. • •
Leading row of adjustable individually suspended discs allow minimum disturbance on the pasture surface. Hydraulic Subsoiler legs with working depths from 100-350mm to suit all types of compaction layer depths with quick change points. Rear flat packer roller with scrapers to leave an aerated consolidated level finish across the full working width. SOUTH ISLAND www.cochranes.co.nz Call Alastair Robertson | 027 435 2642 AMBERLEY | LEESTON | ASHBURTON TIMARU | OAMARU
DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
MACHINERY & PRODUCTS // 33
A CAMBRIDGE couple drove away from Fieldays 2019 in a new Isuzu D-Max Ute. Jane McLaren and her son John were among the 115,000 people who picked up a free Fieldays Explorer wristband at the gates. Then during their visit they entered their details and scan their band at participating sites be in the ute draw. Using RFID technology, the wristbands recorded 129,573 connections including exhibitor check-ins, leads, competition entries and coffee orders. Visitors returned their bands which will be cleaned and reused next year. The McLarens got their ute keys from Isuzu New Zealand’s marketing manager Kathryn Hayward. They then tackled the Isuzu site test track. Isuzu NZ will repeat the promotion at 2020 Fieldays.
Wacky Y post.
Wack Y post system is a very clever insulator MARK DANIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
FOUR YEARS after he quit farming,
Tim Deans, an engineering-savvy guy, has emerged from his Rangiora workshop with a new electric fence add-on. His creativity was spurred by poor fencing on his property. A need for temporary fencing and gates prompted a design that uses existing hot wires and pig-tail standards, but adds an element of greater security and versatility in awkward shaped areas. Hence his patented Wack Y Post, with a central insulated sleeve that slides over then pins to conventional Y-section steel posts. This in turn carries a stainless steel plate with wire guides and hook points for reels and gate fasteners. The layout of the plate allows ‘hot’ wires to be run in any direction and if required be run 360 degrees without intersecting. The insulators are made of recycled plastic and the carrier plate is made from 304 grade stainless steel.
Deans says using the Wack Y posts for temporary fencing can increase overall strength and security. He says Y-posts driven to about 400mm gives a fence line more stability than a run of pigtail standards. “This means that using the Wack Y Post system for key locations or direction changes, with pigtails for the straight runs, makes for a very secure fence,” he said. The posts have been tested holding dairy heifers, horses and ponies and “always maintained their integrity”. The fitment also allows units to be ‘stacked’ one on another to create a multistrand fence if required, limited only by the length of Y-post. Orange insulators make the fence easy to see in long grass and gateways. The four guideposts and ring connector on each assembly make direction changes easy, eg around awkwardly shaped areas such as paddock corners or ponds or watercourses. Used for feed breaks, Wack Y Posts can be run in lengths with intermediate breaks or to suit smaller mobs. www.wack.nz
SV Group retains brand names
NEW GEN 60 SERIES SUPER 8860 QUALITY EUROPEAN LOADER, WITH FREE 3RD SERVICE & JOYSTICK FOLDING ROPS
4.4L PERKINS HYDRALOCK
manufacturers Schuitemaker and Veenhuis have completed their proposed merger. Their new entity, called SV Group, will retain both brands in the market. Schuitemaker is best known for self-loading silage and feed wagons, and Veenhuis is known for slurry tankers and other effluent gear. Gerrit de Graat, managing director of
The Landini 60 Series has been a true performer for many years. With modern styling and improved ergonomics and controls this Italian-built work horse dynamo is unmatched in $ per HP, and is great value for money. Two year warranty. Finance available to approved purchasers. *For a limited time receive a FREE Factory Sun Canopy when you order a new Super 8860 with loader.
Schuitemaker, said they see “great added value in the key areas of sales, marketing, innovation and production - all key areas in the combined
business”. The companies’ combined 150 employees will work at the existing Schuitemaker site at Rijssea.
Contact us for more information and your nearest dealer.
p: +64 7 573 8132 www.agtek.co.nz *Terms & conditions apply. Photos may show optional extras.
DAIRY NEWS AUGUST 20, 2019
34 // MACHINERY & PRODUCTS
Spring loaded fence component keeps cattle in their place MARK DANIEL email@example.com
fence components build on creativity that won its creator TC Fence Systems an Innovation Award at Fieldays 2018. The company was formed that year by Emile van der Merve, its CoffeeKlip winning an award for simplicity in the fitting of vertical wire battens on fences. SmartRigger components reflect this ethos, says van der Merve, who designed the product. “The insulator design is robust and will stay on the fencepost for many years. “And the spring loaded design of the SmartRigger will allow it to deflect in horizontal and vertical
planes when rubbed against by cattle.” The spring-loaded outriggers are attached to wooden or concrete posts by a single screw or masonry anchor. The base of the unit is a heavy duty plastic boss with an integral chamber that takes the screw or anchor fixing (included with the outrigger and fitted to the post with an 8mm screw setter). After securing to the post, the chamber is capped with a sealing plug to keep out dust and insects, and moisture so as to minimise corrosion. Available in 15cmm, 23cm and 30cm lengths the outriggers vary in stiffness. The shorter units best suit tough conditions and sloping ground, while 30cm SmartRiggers are
preferred for easier, more level terrain. A 50cm unit is being trialled for use with electrical tapes. They can be mounted on the side or top of a post to increase the overall fence height. Installation of the hot wire is simple: feed the hot wire through the end hoop, then push and twist the coil spring assembly onto the insulator boss. Prices range from $2.50 to $3.50, depending on the length. The range is complemented by a 100cm SmartWand designed to prevent stock from pacing along boundaries and damaging fence lines. A five-year warranty applies.
Spring loaded design allows it to deflect in all directions.
Subsoiler busts yield robbing compaction MARK DANIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
DESIGNED FOR deep vertical till-
age, the Great Plains inline subsoiler shatters yield-robbing compaction layers. These layers are a known effect of horizontal tillage tools such as ploughs and discs, and of tractors or continuous repeated traffic. The subsoilers have a working depth of 30-40cm with easily
adjusted depth wheels. They are designed for use in autumn to help loosen the soil profile and restore uniform density but with minimal topsoil disturbance. The subsoiler’s frame is made of high tensile, 9.5mm walled tubing for strength and durability. They come with 70cm (6 shank) or 75cm (5 shank) spacings. A no-till, 25cm wide, winged point is used with the 19mm no-till leg to minimise surface disturbance yet maximise the soil shattering effect
below the surface. At the rear of the machine, individual 41cm diameter roller assemblies, made from 2.5cm solid bars, level the treated surface, enabling single pass seedbed preparation. The shanks are protected against stones, rocks or timber by a horizontally mounted coil spring protection system with a trip force of 1360kg. Subsoilers busts yield robbing compaction
INCREASE PRODUCTION AND PERFORMANCE Hundreds of users of HerdHomes® shelters agree, an investment in HerdHomes® Shelters is an investment in the on going productivity of your farm The future of productive farming www.herdhomes.co.nz M + 64 27 499 0123 P + 64 7 857 0528
NZ Patent Numbers: 521150, 544190, 550635, 545042. Further patents pending. International Patent Numbers: 2003267874, 03748807.9. Further patents pending
“IT’S A VITAL COG”
“PIONEERS” “DEDICATED” “ WE ALL BENEFIT FROM THIS INDUSTRY ”
Behind New Zealand Dairy See the video at JohnDeere.co.nz
Dairy News 20 August 2019