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TAF flawed from start – O’Connor. PAGE 5

Nimble Kioti PAGE 29


SEPTEMBER 17, 2019 ISSUE 431 //



TAF flawed from start – O’Connor. PAGE 5

Nimble Kioti PAGE 29


SEPTEMBER 17, 2019 ISSUE 431 //


“The MfE briefing was undercooked: they didn’t have any details for farmers.” – Chris Allen, Federated Farmers PAGE 4

TAIL PAINT is how my grandfather improved his heat detection guesswork, and its pretty much how we still do it. Most people who sell tail paint in New Zealand tell us this is OK – and I guess, for them it is. Trev Dugan, who farms out by

Governor’s Road agrees with them and has doubled down on tail paint this season by trading up to some cutting-edge tail paint technology and going fluro - he says that if this pays off for him he may even look at getting one of those new phones you can carry around out of the house that have no wires. The use of tail paint as a way to indicate the possibility a cow has submitted, and is therefore in heat, dates back to Victorian and New Zealand dairy farms in the

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‘Don’t lose hope’ PAM TIPA


Brexit in my face. PG.06

Environmentally friendly cows. PG.18

Award entries open soon. PG.16

NEWS������������������������������������������������������ 3-12 OPINION���������������������������������������������� 14-15 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������ 16-17 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������� 18-21 ANIMAL HEALTH��������������������������������� 22 MILK QUALITY������������������������������� 23-26 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS�������������������������������������� 27-30

munities keen to do the right thing on water should not lose hope and confidence in the consultation process, says a Canterbury dairy farmer and industry leader. The Government’s proposed nitrogen target for mid Canterbury isn’t attainable, says Colin Glass. But that is no reason to give up on the consultation process, he says. “It looks as though there is nothing we could do today that would even come close to achieving that target. It simply means that if that target is not amended, farming as we know it today is not possible. Any form of farming. “The key thing is that farmers are doing the right thing. Everyone is moving in the right direction. Now is not the time for people to lose faith or confidence in the process. “Potentially this is what these new standards [could cause].” Glass’ comments follow a Ministry for the Environment (MfE) meeting at Ashburton last Tuesday to discuss the Government’s new Essential Freshwater proposals. About 400-500 people attended. “We’ve got to be very clear about what is achievable, what can be done so that we still have a vibrant community as well as healthy freshwater,” Glass said. Glass says he is no scientist but the observation he can make is that in mid Canterbury, for example, the Hines plains have a target under the Environment Canterbury (ECan) plan to get to a level of nitrate in

their waterways -- including coastal streams and shallow bores -- of 6.9 parts per million nitrate “To achieve that target in the plan ECan has developed [would see] farming intensity dropping by 36% by 2035 along with managed aquafer recharge and stream augmentation. That is to get to 6.9. “This new NPS (national policy standard) for nitrogen isn’t the same standard which has been there historically. This is a new standard based on dissolved inorganic nitrogen. That includes nitrate, nitrite and ammonia and that needs to be less than 1 part per million. “At a simple level, the plan already in place with ECan and through public consultation -- the one farmers have really stretched and challenged themselves to get to -- is now regarded as not being good enough. It has to get to less than one seventh of that number.” This is not achievable with any kind of farming we know of today, Glass says. What came out clearly in the discussion is that even the freshwater panel members themselves could not agree. “The Government has put this document out for submissions and the panel of experts Colin Glass themselves were

unable to agree on what was appropriate for various parts of New Zealand. “So they have almost gone out inviting feedback from the public to help guide that. That was the piece that was disappointing for me because my expectation is that a panel would have brought in the correct science,

weighed up the various issues and concerns and at least formed their own view. But they didn’t do that.” He urges farmers and rural communities to make submissions on the consultation process which closes on October 17 at 5pm. “People need to talk about what they are doing to do the right thing. We have come a massively long way. Our whole conversation has changed. Farmers are actively engaged. They are doing more than they ever have before in the environmental space. That has got to be recognised and given credit otherwise [we will] lose people on the journey.” What came out loud and clear at the meeting was that this is intergenerational, Glass says. “It will take time to get to any target but the target must be attainable. It is really important that farming families are able to tell their story and say what these numbers mean for them.” He agrees with the Feds that it is “tough” that such a significant package of legislation and regulation is being allowed only six weeks of consultation. And it is coinciding with the run-up to the local body elections.



Policy jabs at MfE water meeting STAFF REPORTER



raised the temperature on freshwater issues at a packed public meeting in Christchurch. Local body elections drew regional and city council candidates to a Ministry for the Environment (MfE) consultation on a proposed National Policy Statement (NPS) for freshwater. The meeting room at the Sudima Hotel was brimming. At one point a speaker paused for a glass of “pure Canterbury water”, to which someone said it probably smelt of chlorine (in Christchurch’s water supply) and another said it was probably nitrate. At question time, Lan Pham, a Canterbury regional councillor and freshwater ecologist, called for the Government to introduce binding national water standards. It takes too long for regional authorities to agree on timeframes for local action and the delay is “crippling” discussion, she said. MfE director water, Martin Workman, said it is harder to set a national standard for freshwater than to track progress against a 2050 zero carbon target. There is a lot of difference between catchments and some regions may find it harder to reach a national target, he said.

Personally, Workman said it is important for communities to work through what makes sense for their local areas. Questions would include, “how do we want to go toward the pristine end of the spectrum and how long are we going to take to get to that?” Workman expects a new NPS for freshwater will change the way local authorities and the Government handle resource management consents. “We’re seeing, with all this national direction, there’s a lot more Government oversight being proposed to ensure this does have teeth and that we achieve the quality of environment we aspire to,”

he said. The Environmental Protection Authority is setting up an enforcement unit to “help councils take enforcement across the country”. Under proposed changes to the Resource Management Act, the authority would have the power, as councils do, to take law breakers to court, Workman said. A North Canterbury farmer, Jamie McFadden, said he has been helping farmers to protect waterways, wetlands and waterways for the last 20 years, but it now appears those landowners would be penalised for being proactive. “We’ve got some farmers who have a lot of wetlands on their property, which we’ve encouraged

them to protect. They’re going to have to incur huge costs under this freshwater legislation.” McFadden questioned how much analysis is done of the impact of regulation on different farming sectors. Farmers around him in hill country Cheviot feel under siege from a raft of demands, eg freshwater improvements and biodiversity programmes. “In our area those traditional sort of hill country farmers are getting out because they’re sick of it – the amount of regulation and constant penalising of good farmers -- and they’re getting out.” McFadden is part of a group -- the Rural Advocacy Network -which walked away from the Hurunui-Waiau water zone committee. The group accused Environment Canterbury of using the province’s zone committees to pursue its own agenda. A Fish and Game officer at the meeting said this is the first time in her nine years with the organisation that she feels hopeful about improvements in freshwater quality. But a Banks Peninsula farmer, Pam Richardson, urged policymakers to be careful what they wish for.


Be active, engaged FARMERS MUST stay active and engaged with the submission process, says Federated Farmers environment and water spokesman Chris Allen. Just over four weeks remain before submissions close on October 17 at 5pm. The Feds have protested the short consultation period given it is the busiest time on farm. But Allen says farmers must stay engaged. There will be a raft of techniques through which they can give submissions, whether individually, through templates or their industry-good bodies. “There’s a lot of stress in the environment. There are some pretty concerned farmers out there.” Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb NZ, DairyNZ and others in the primary sector will be looking at the effects of these proposals. “We want the farmers to come out and support or challenge us if necessary so we have the best submissions we can possibly have -- the most robust. “We need the personal stories. What are the effects of the new rules on farms, communities, local schools and sports clubs? It is really important that farmers get behind this with a united voice and say what is right and appropriate. “We are on a journey. We are going there but is it achievable if the limits are put in the wrong place?” He has never had so many farmers say on any issue “we are up for all this stuff, we want to do the right thing, but the goalposts have to be somewhere we can see, not over the horizon”. Allen says farmers need to know the economic implications. “The audience at the Ashburton meeting was scathing that the Government hadn’t even bothered to do any robust economic analysis of the implications.” Allen thought the Ashburton MfE briefing was “undercooked”. “They didn’t have any detail for farmers. We wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth, the MfE officials, about what it really means. “They brought up a few points then they went right into questions. Given that there was not enough information to digest it was hard to have a broader conversation.” To say there was some concern would be an “absolute understatement”, he says. “We all know there is stuff coming down the track at us.  The Government is saying six weeks is enough time for consultation. There is so much involved in the different topics that to give a coherent response farmers want to be able to understand it. – Pam Tipa

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NEWS  // 5

‘TAF is flawed’ PAM TIPA



Among Farmers (TAF) was a flawed proposition from the outset, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “And it has been proved to be that.” And the cooperative also needs to be “less arrogant,” he told Dairy News. “I am not convinced that the cooperative’s farmer shareholders have to open the door to outside equity but clearly there is a need for more capital. “TAF has been a huge distraction and it has produced no positive results. You had management running around trying to appease

the expectations of unit investors when they should have been focusing on the needs of farmer shareholders.” The co-op is under fire for its $860 million writedown of poorly performing assets. It has signalled a loss of $675m for 2019 and won’t pay any dividend. Last week, the co-op added to the uncertainty and chaos by postponing its annual results announcement to the end of this month. Fonterra is expected to announce a raft of cost cutting measures including job cuts. O’Connor is not reading anything into this delay of the results and strategy outline. “Clearly Fonterra has some huge issues ahead. If delaying

your results delivers a more open and transparent picture for farmer shareholders that should be welcomed. “Clearly they have had quite a messy situation to sort out and we have to trust that the new chief executive and the board, with a new strategic focus, can put the company back on a better footing.” The cutting of bonuses and pay rises is a “fair and sensible move at a time when the performance of the company is under scrutiny, and clearly management have had a role to play in that”. “I think while prices are steady and should be seen in a positive light, the capital structure and operations of Fonterra itself need to be improved. “None of its problems relate

to being a co-op, it is simply the quality of governance and management that have overseen the company for the last 10 years.” O’Connor “absolutely” is watching the situation closely. “Right from its formation I have been very mindful. This is the biggest and most important company in our country. It is essential that governance and management are as good as they can be. “International dairy is a challenging environment. It is full of politics and disruption but it has to be open to all information. The company has to be less arrogant in its dealings with everyone from top to bottom.” In hindsight, he says, the shareholders council has also been “less than effective”.

$6.58 payout for Synlait farmers SYNLAIT SUPPLIERS received, on average,

$6.58/kgMS for their milk last season. The Canterbury milk processor posted its annual results last week, stating the average payout was made up of a base milk price of $6.40 and an additional $0.18 in incentive payments. For the year ending July 31 the company’s net profit jumped 10% to $82 million. Annual revenue exceeded $1 billion for the first time. Synlait says its financial result was characterised by ongoing growth in infant nutrition vol-

umes, strong efficiency gains and an expansion in lactoferrin capacity and resulting sales. These three factors contribute to an increase in total gross profit of 12%. Financial performance was supported by a sustainability agenda as the company progressed commitments made last year. It switched on New Zealand’s first largescale electrode boiler at its Dunsandel plant in March 2019. “This was a key sustainability milestone for our team as we aim

Leon Clement

to radically reduce our carbon footprint by 2028,” said chief executive

Leon Clement. “Culture and community are also critical to

building a healthier Synlait for our people to work in. We launched Whakapuāwai, our latest sustainability commitment in June, which gives employees an opportunity to engage with their communities, milk suppliers and iwi to make a personal contribution to environmental restoration with native trees. “A record 43 farms were Lead With Pride certified, reaffirming our commitment to healthier farming practices. A new palm kernel expeller (PKE) free incentive was also taken up by 63 milk suppliers.”




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DAIRYNZ ELECTION FORMER FONTERRA shareholders council chairman Simon Couper is making a bid to return to dairy governance. The Waipu farmer is one of eight candidates confirmed for DairyNZ director elections. Two board seats are being contested. Couper resigned from the council in 2012 over concerns about Trading Among Farmers (TAF). He has spent the last seven years in local governance roles and has completed a Master in Business Administration from Massey University. He believes the NZ dairy industry should leverage its grass-fed credentials on the global stage. “It should be our point of difference in the world market,” he told Dairy News. “Our position as a year-round producer of grassfed dairy products is unrivalled.” On Fonterra, Couper says he’s looking forward to the strategy changes the board and management will announce later this month. He agrees with Fonterrra chairman John Monaghan that the co-op’s farmers are grieving. Couper milks 570 grass-fed A2 milking cows on his farm. He doesn’t use palm kernel expeller. Voting in the DairyNZ board elections will start on September 23 when voter packs arrive at farms. Votes will be weighted by annual milksolids production for the 2018-19 season. The DairyNZ board consists of five farmerelected directors and three board-appointed directors. This year, directors Ben Allomes and Elaine Cook are retiring by rotation. Allomes is not standing for re-election.


Tracy Brown, Matamata;


Stu Husband, Morrinsville;


Simon Couper, Waipu;


Elaine Cook, Hamilton;


Conall Buchanan, Paeroa;


Deborah Rhodes, Collingwood;


Hugh le Fleming, South Canterbury;


Adrian Ball, Tirau.



Brexit in my face PETER BURKE in Dublin

FOR THE last three

weeks I have been a passive observer in England and Ireland of the shenanigans of Boris John-

visit to the Disunited Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, Brexit has been front page news. While some commentators see the whole thing as a joke and take delight in poking fun at Johnson – asking, for example “Who needs Netflix

“It is hard to fathom how Britain will actually benefit from leaving the EU.” son and his motley -- dare I say weird or eccentric? -- political mates as they make political headlines for all the wrong reasons. Johnson is being likened to a drunk emerging from a pub and driving home without knowing or caring about the consequences. On every day of my

with Boris and Rees-Mogg centre stage?” -- others point to deep underlying fear among the Irish and the thinking people in the UK that disaster is imminent. British people are concerned about their jobs, their ability to travel freely to Europe and, oh dear, there is a warning

The patch of grass in a stream in the village of Pettigo defines the border between south and north of Ireland.

they won’t be able to take their pet dogs with them to France on holiday without special permits, which could take months to

obtain. Many are still oblivious or simply don’t care about the impact Brexit will have on the hard won

1998 Good Friday peace agreement which ended the killings and bombings. People I sat with at the dinner table and in cafes and shops in both Northern Ireland and Eire (Irish Republic) are deeply fearful of a resumption of violence. They point to a sudden rise in the number of bank robberies as suggesting that the private armies are re-arming for battle. Some people say it may be just a matter of time before bombs start exploding in Ireland and Britain, and they are saying that if this happens Boris and his arrogant followers will be to blame – no buts. The people I met talked about the intimidation they used to suffer pre-1998 when attempting to cross the border to see family in the north or to go shopping or to watch a football match. They were deliberately delayed for hours for no reason. The Irish border is the big issue: there are 300 crossing points on the 310 mile border and those are only the official crossings. Some farms straddle the border, with the farmhouse in the Republic and cows grazing in the north. Baileys Irish Cream crosses the border five times during its manufacture. Milk produced in the north is processed in the south. There are endless examples. The border crossings themselves are invisible. I went through the border town of Pettigo and the

only indication that I had crossed from south to north was when UK Vodafone welcomed me to the UK and the road signs were in miles not kilometres. By and large it seems that bridges across small streams are the most visible signs of a border crossing. There isn’t even a marking on the road. My friends who live in the Republic do their grocery shopping in Northern Ireland because the value of the British pound (sterling) has dropped so goods are much cheaper there. For example they saved 500 euros by buying a computer in the north. It is hard to fathom how Britain will actually benefit from leaving the EU. True the EU is large, costly and all-controlling and there is the vexed issue of immigration. But up against that is the free movement of ordinary people and goods and services -- and there is the matter of jobs. Team Boris seem fixated on the proposition that all Britain will be somehow free and that its problems will be solved when the divorce from the EU is effected. But it’s common knowledge that few divorces are quick, simple and amicable. They tend to be costly, drawn out, unhappy and often bitter. Johnson has just a few weeks to get a ‘nice’ divorce or go back and do more counselling and perhaps not leave. His task of negotiating a deal has been made much harder

by the appointment of Irishman Phil Hogan as the EU’s Commissioner for Trade and the person that Johnson will have to deal with. Hogan is regarded as a tough, nononsense negotiator and a skillful politician and he will now be central to talks on the post-Brexit relationship between the UK and EU. When he visited NZ earlier this year Phil Hogan told Dairy News that the island of Ireland needs to be protected from the worst excesses of Brexit and that the Brexit negotiations are as important to Ireland as the 1921 peace treaty with the UK which set up what is now the Republic of Ireland. Hogan also warned that there is a risk that the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement could be broken by paramilitary groups in both the north and south of Ireland. Johnson may well have met his match in Hogan. In the meantime one detects an eerie sense of fear about what Johnson may deal to the people of the UK and Ireland. I have met no one in England or Ireland who wants to have a hard border between the north and south of Ireland. They want peace and prosperity which fundamentally they now have. Johnson may think he will make Britain great again, but in reality he will likely make Britain hate again. @dairy_news


NEWS  // 7

Export potential for premium milk PAM TPA


potential within the 16-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement, says Agriculture and Trade Minister Damien O’Connor. “This is half the world’s population, so while we may be big exporters we are 2% of global dairy production, so the potential for us to place high value dairy products into at least 15 other countries is huge,” O’Connor told Dairy News. O’Connor was in the Philippines last week for RCEP negotiations and he also attended the East

HONEST, FAIR AND UPFRONT MAINTAINING STRONG relationships with all countries is really important at a time of such uncertainty in Europe, UK and the US, says O’Connor. “We have a reputation for being honest, fair and upfront. It is important that we continue at these forums to do that.” O’Connor also attended the East Asia summit which included representatives from Russia, US and officials and ministers from countries around the world. “Every meeting is valuable and keeps New Zealand front of mind for our trading partners and from a diplomatic perspective as well.”

Asia Summit and the ASEAN Economic Ministers meetings. One of the meetings he held with other government counterparts included “a very positive financial meeting” with Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. “A lot of good work on a financial basis is occurring between New

TAIL PAINT is how my grandfather improved his heat detection guesswork, and its pretty much how we still do it. Most people who sell tail paint in New Zealand tell us this is OK – and I guess, for them it is.

Zealand and India,” O’Connor said. “We are assisting Indian apple growers in the north of India and there are connections with the dairy industry. “But as a country with the biggest dairy industry in the world India is very mindful of our focus on exports of dairy into their market. It is a very sensi-

tive issue for them. “It is very important we emphasise the size of our industry relative to theirs, and that we would only be putting into their market high value products which would assist their dairy industry to innovate.” Dairy related goods and agribusiness services are potential exports,

Trev Dugan, who farms out by Governor’s Road agrees with them and has doubled down on tail paint this season by trading up to some cutting-edge tail paint technology and going fluro - he says that if this pays off for him he may even look at getting one of those new phones you can carry around out of the house that have no wires. The use of tail paint as a way to indicate the possibility a cow has submitted, and is therefore in heat, dates back to Victorian and New Zealand dairy farms in the late 1970’s. Since then, despite pretty much everything else changing, we still are using this basic method on many dairy farms. Tail

Damien O’Connor meets India’s Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal in Philippines last week.

O’Connor says. “A joint venture in dairy processing might have potential. We are committed to investigate many possibilities of cooperation.” In countries with strong growth, RCEP opens the door also to huge opportunities in services and e-commerce. RCEP is building momentum towards an

paint is used to suggest cows that are in heat by indicating those which have been mounted, resulting in the tail paint being rubbed off. Where other parts of the dairy world have seen amazing innovations and improvements using the technology that has been invented or improved since the 1970’s (back before cell phones, the internet, personal computers , tries were still worth 4 points, rugby players were amateurs and there was no lifting in the lineouts) – the improvements to tail paint based heat detection have been limited to the colours they use, the cans and how sticky the paint is.

agreed target of the end of 2019 for conclusion and 2020 for signing, says O’Connor. “All countries are actively engaged and finalising some of the details on the bilateral issues. Obviously there are still some issues to be resolved between some of the major players but everyone is committed to attempting to complete

this deal by the end of the year. “There will be outstanding issues that will be put to one side. But a substantive agreement will be a huge step for international trade if we can do this.” Ministers provide the mandate for negotiators to follow through. @rural_news

Perhaps its time to move on from the old school to the new school of heat detection, especially when you consider how important accurate heat detection is in a seasonal calving system like New Zealand. If you miss a heat you can stretch your calving pattern – missing days in milk, creating

You won’t miss tail paint. (Or heats) HeatGate in action.

Unless you have a telescopic neck, figuring out which cows are in heat using tail paint is frankly, a pain in that neck. With HeatGate we take the pain away, so you can throw the tail paint away. Every cow, every milking – automatically drafted with no complicated computer or technical knowledge required. Call us on 0800 222 228 to make tail paint history on your farm. Happy farmer not in action. | 0800 222 228


8 //  NEWS

No quick change to farm systems PAM TIPA

PEOPLE DON’T appreSteven Carden, Pamu chief executive.




ciate how difficult it is to change farm systems quickly, says Pamu chief executive Steven Carden. “They are difficult biological systems and people who are not in farming expect you to be able to switch on the new system overnight,” he told Dairy News. “It takes a long time to get those changes right, to embed the new technologies in farm systems to make them work effectively. Farmers fundamentally are small business people who can’t risk their entire business with a big shift in how they operate one year to the next. “They need to do it a bit more gradually and so we need realistic timeframes as to how quickly we can move to much more sustainable farm systems.” But he says the sector needs to make sure it is ambitious enough to really change. “I like the role Pamu can play in this sector because we are big enough that across 120 farms we can try things on a few farms that won’t fundamentally change the business. “If they work we can roll that out really quickly across our farms and across the broader industry. That is actually an

PROFIT WITH BALANCE ANY BUSINESS faces the challenge of making money and achieving the best bottom line possible but also investing in the future, says Carden. It is a case of just trying to get that balance right. “Obviously we have been investing in riparian planting as have a lot of farmers, we have been investing in developing new farm systems, and we have put a composting barn in one of our Southland dairy sheds to try to remove some of the winter cropping problems we have there. “We are investing a lot in fertiliser application technologies. This is all in farms systems that will be a lot

important role we can play. Not many farmers can do that when they are operating at a much smaller scale.” But system changes and investment in diversification and environmental sustainability cost a fair bit and take a while, he says. Drought in the central North Island affecting milk production plus writedowns mainly on land values hit Pamu’s bottom line in the year to June 30, 2019. Its latest forecast for last year shows revenue was down 2.4% to $241 million (2017-18: $247m) because of lower milk, livestock and carbon credit revenues. The company will have an after tax loss of $11m largely due to writedowns. About 45% of its milk comes out of the central North Island which

had the lowest rainfall in more than 10 years, says Carden. He says Fonterra shares decreasing and Westland’s problems with its payout last year also contributed. Carden says with climate change they will see more weather extremes with hotter and dryer or wetter and colder weather in different parts of the county. “So we expect our West Coast South Island dairy properties to be receiving more rainfall and East Coast and central North Island properties to be expecting less rainfall and higher temperatures. “Our strategy is trying to find a variety of different land uses which diversify and decrease the overall risk we have as a business with any one land use or commodity type.” Milk is still a major

contributor to their revenue stream. Dairy initiatives include a continued focus on A2 and organic milk production, which receive good premiums. Pamu has a 35% investment in Melody Dairies, which is constructing a milk drying facility near Hamilton on schedule and budget for processing to begin in July 2020. This will see much needed drying capacity added to the specialty milk sector, including for sheep milk. It also has a 50% joint venture in Spring Sheep Dairy, now seeing  growing demand for its products offshore. Carden says sheep and deer milk are growing steadily and Pamu is vigorously pursuing productivity gains through subsidiary companies Focus Genetics and FarmIQ and is doing trials directly on farm.

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more resilient and able to cope with tighter environmental regulations in the future and the shifting and ever changing expectations consumers have of how their food is produced.” While these changes take time and cost, the status quo is not an option he says. The farming community is picking up and responding to that message. “Every industry around the world is having to change with the impacts of climate change and the new dynamics of operating in a lower carbon world.” Nevertheless he is optimistic for this year.

Proud to be here

M 027 434 2545 Hastings McLeod Ltd Licensed REAA 2008


NEWS  // 9

Fonterra’s milk slide worsens in Oz NO CHINA EFFECTS



are also worsening in Australia. The cooperative kicked off the season there with a 28.9% decline in milk production as it continues to lose its collection share. This was the percentage drop for the first month of the season, July, versus the same month last year. It represents a small percentage of the full year’s collection, Fonterra says in its latest Global Dairy Update. However it admits its share of the milk collection continues to decline, impacted by intense competition for milk supply and the continued impact of the poor conditions on farm.

Fonterra’s Australian milk collection in July was down nearly 30%.

“The drought has led to an increase in cow cull rates, a significant number of farm retirements and a continuation of historically high input costs resulting in a material reduction of the Australian milk pool in FY19 (full year) versus FY18.” Australia’s overall milk production is dropping but nothing like as steep as Fonterra is seeing

Australian milk production in the 201819 season (ending June 30, 2019) was 8.8 billion litres, down 5.7% from 9.3b litres the previous year, says Bonlac Suppy Company chairman John Dalton. This production is noticeably greater than Dairy Australia’s previous estimate of a fall of 7-9% to 8.45-8.65b litres. Dairy Australia antic-

ipates a further drop in national milk production of 3-5% to 8.3-8.5b litres during the 2019-20 season, due to continued high input costs and the reduced size of the national herd. In New Zealand Fonterra’s milk collection was up 2.2% in July versus the same month last year and 4.7% for the season to the end of July. Season-

TALK OF economic slowdown in China has not yet affected dairy demand, says Open Country chief executive Steve Koekemoer. “We will deal with it if and when it happens,” he said. Results of the September 3 Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction support a view of price stability within the whole milk powder product range, he says. Participation levels were the highest in at least the last 18 months which is a good sign for demand. “The dairy industry is not an easy industry to be in and volatility has been a constant for many years,” he said. “The food industry, like many, is changing fast and requires businesses to review their investments and strategies regularly. Our strategy and investment decisions remain sound for dairy ingredients for the foreseeable future.” Open Country says it is looking towards another solid year and that its projects are tracking well. It is well positioned with its large customers and multinationals, who now “view us as a long term strategic partner”.

to-date collections represent only about 2% of full season collections.

NZ’s total production was up 4.8% for July. Fonterra’s South Island col-

lection is up 8.6% for the season to date and the North Island is up 4%. The update showed that European Union (EU) and US production is flat. The EU was up just 0.1% for the 12 months to June 2019 and the US was up just 0.3% for the 12 months. Exports for the 12 months to the end of June from NZ grew by 8.4%, from Australia for the same period by 5.1% and the EU by 3.7%, but the US was down by 6.3%. Imports into the Middle East and Africa showed large declines of 24.5% for May versus the same month last year and 11.4% for the year to the end of May. Asia, Latin America and China imports continued to grow, with China up 8.4% for the 12 months to June this year.

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10 //  WORLD

Arla lifts half-year performance EUROPEAN DAIRY

co-op Arla Foods improved its half-year financial results but fullyear results could be facing headwinds. The potential harmful effects of a hard Brexit remain its biggest risk, as does the inherent volatility of the global milk markets. The co-op’s total revenues for six months ending June rose nearly NZ$9 billion, NZ$25 million higher than the same period last year, backed by a 4.6% rise in strategic branded product sales and higher sales prices. With a hard Brexit still a real possibility, Arla’s revenue outlook for full year 2019 is expected to be in the range of NZ$17.5b to $18.2b. Net profit share for 2019 is expected to be in the target range of 2.8-

3.2% of revenue. “A no-deal Brexit could however negatively impact the outlook,” it warns. In Arla’s international business zone branded volume grew an impressive 10.2%. In the first half of 2019, Arla had a net profit share of 2.3%, up from last half year’s profit share of 2.2%. The company expects its full year net profit share to be in the 2.8 to 3.2% target range. Arla’s performance price (the value Arla creates per kg of owner milk) is the highest in three years at 62c versus 59.5c in the first half of 2018, mainly due to its transformation and cost savings programme titled Calcium. “The rare stability in the global dairy market has allowed Arla to build

Arla chief executive Peder Tuborgh.

on the momentum we created in 2018,” said Arla Foods chief executive Peder Tuborgh. “We have strengthened our competitiveness relative to our peers and improved our profitability while launching our ambitious climate goal to become carbon net zero

by 2050. We are focused on achieving our ambitious targets for 2019 while remaining alert and prepared for the continued uncertainties of Brexit,” said Tuborgh. Arla divides its business into two commercial zones -- Europe and international.

Retail and food service sales in Europe declined 1.5% to NZ$5.4b versus NZ$5.5b in the first half of 2018. This was mainly due to the strategic decision to quit selected loss-making private label contracts and the negative currency development of the Swedish krone.

However, the European zone continued fast-scaling successes in Europe and grew branded volume by 2.3% with products Lactofree, Skyr, cheese and milk based beverages under the Arla brand and Starbucks. Arla’s international zone had doubledigit sales and branded growth. Sales increased by 11.9% to NZ$1434m in the first half of 2019 compared to NZ$1282m in the same period last year, with strong development across regions while strategic branded sales volumes grew 10.6%. In Arla’s biggest international market, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Arla increased market share in all key product categories. The formal takeover of the Kraft branded cheese business from Mondeléz

International with a 12 year licence agreement in May will be important for the international zone. China remained a key international market, growing 50% in volume and revenue in the organic early life nutrition (ELN) business and liquid milk, due to the recent approval of Arla’s ELN products. In the first half of 2019, Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI) grew revenue 13.1% to NZ$604m from NZ$533m in the same period last year by moving more volumes into valueadded protein segments. Trading (business to business commodities sales) increased by 8.3% as the value of protein continued to rise, supporting the value of skim milk powder and caseinate products for manufacturing.


expect more Danish cheeses on supermarket shelves in the coming months. European dairy co-op Arla Foods says it has developed a new technology to transfer fresh dairy products to long distance markets. The ‘supercooling tool’ enables fresh products to travel long distances on ships, opening up international export opportunities. Recently, the first shipment of supercooled Castello Decorated Cream Cheeses docked in Australia, having been stored in special containers under super cooled conditions. “We are thrilled by the quality of the product -- a unique and premium

offering of cream cheeses for Aussie consumers,” said brand manager for Castello in Australia, Rucha Sarma. “Supercooling has been instrumental in the launch of Castello Decorated Cream Cheeses, but this is just the beginning” Expanding the range of Castello cheeses in Australia has long been on the company’s wish list. Much of the Castello range is made in Denmark, a challenge in getting short shelf-life products to market in Australia because they can’t be frozen. Arla says the new process can add to sales by bringing a broader range of short shelf-life products to markets.

“This may sound simple, but achieving the precise time versus temperature balance which supercooling requires demands unwavering persistence from our innovation team. In collaboration with supply chain, logistics and local markets, they’re making this possible,” said Lars Dalsgaard, product and innovation spokesman. “We’re seeing more markets requesting chilled, fresh tasting and natural products rather than frozen products that require defrosting or products with preservatives. Our new, innovative cooling tool overcomes this challenge, creating possibilities to expand our product portfolio globally.”

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12 //  WORLD

Bega Cheese profit nosedives RECORD REVENUE



dairy processor Bega Cheese is blaming competition for milk for a 59% slump in its net profit. Interim chairman Max Roberts says while the company enjoyed a record milk intake, production, revenue and underlying financial performance, its profit was below the expectations set at the beginning of the year. He says this resulted primarily from milk competition in a declining milk market. Bega Cheese recorded a net profit of A$11.8 million, and gross profit topped A$115.4b -5% higher than the previous year. Total revenues reached a record $1.42b, up by 13%.

THE RECORD revenue was supported by an extension of the company’s product range. With the buyout of the Koroit milk drying factory from Saputo in August 2018, Bega Cheese is now a major supplier of retail and food service butter, child and adult milk powders and other specialist milk powder blends. On global dairy prices, chief executive Paul van Heerwaarden comments that while global dairy commodity prices remain strong, the company will keep watching milk supply expectations in Europe, US and New Zealand which may impact pricing in the second half of FY2020. “We must accelerate growth initiatives, particularly for our branded consumer products. We will [reduce] costs in the supply chain and overheads.”

The company received a record 1.06 billion litres of milk this year, 41% more than in 2018. It says the Bega Supply Premium, launched in 2018, was a major factor in growing its direct milk

intake by 308 million litres at a time when Australian milk production decreased. Roberts says the 2019 FY was among the most difficult dairy farming years ever experienced.

Bega Cheese interim chairman Max Roberts.

“The one-in-100year drought, extremely high grain, hay and water prices and continually suppressed retail selling prices for our dairy

products have tested the strength and resilience of our suppliers, their families and their communities. “It also created intense

competition for the diminishing available milk pool which put pressure on our underlying profit. Our advance of at least A$38m to suppliers via

our Bega Supplier Premium and related supply agreements should buffer some of the intense competition for milk into FY2020.” Chief executive Paul van Heerwaarden says the company persisted in its plans to diversify in the Australian dairy industry, to evolve and grow its product range and to invest in and protect its brands. “We understand the challenging circumstances the Australian dairy industry had to tackle this year. We worked tirelessly to achieve the business’s strategic objectives. “We [spent more on] infrastructure, played a key role in rationalising the Australian dairy industry, expanded our product range and invested in our brands and milk supply relationships.”



While the pasture growth is strongest, hay and silage must be made and collected. Equipment must be reliable and productive. To be in this special report contact your advertising representative now to promote your products and/or service to all NZ dairy farmers and sharemilkers. Contact your closest Sales Representative

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Little time for farmers

MILKING IT... Capital cock-up THE EFFECTS of Labour’s spectacular own-goal in its second major sex scandal are set to drag on. The party president has quit: Prime Minister continues to plead ignorance. The key question is who in the party knew about the complaints of sexual assault and when? Many are skeptical about the PM’s claim she didn’t know. National’s Paula Bennett last week claimed under privilege that the complainants told her the PM’s former chief of staff, her chief press secretary and the director of her leader’s office all knew about the allegations. Will we get any answers any time soon? Veteran political journalist Barry Soper says don’t hold your breath. “Rather than answering the questions, Ardern will be winging her way to the UN Leaders’ Week in New York the week after next, which for her will provide the sort of relief she revels in -- an adoring international media,” Soper writes. “There’ll certainly be no repeat of her slogan from the UN podium a year ago of how Me Too must become We Too.”

Others doing fine

Swinging out the lifeboats?

If it clucks is it vegan?

IT SEEMS other dairy processors in New Zealand and elsewhere are doing fine while Fonterra struggles to keep its head above water. With the co-op’s financial woes well documented everywhere, reports of record results from others mean one thing: Fonterra’s strategy has been wrong all these years. Look at Arla Foods, a European co-op nearly the same size as Fonterra. It’s total revenues for the six months ending June rose nearly NZ$9 billion -- NZ$25 million higher than the same period last year, backed by a 4.6% rise in branded product sales and higher sales prices. Net profit share for 2019 is expected to be in the target range of 2.8-3.2% of revenue. And at home, Synlait reported an increase in profit to $82.2m, plus a total average milk price of $6.58/kgMS off revenue that exceeded $1 billion for the first time.

THE FONTERRA shareholders council announced last week that elections will take place in 10 of its 25 wards. Of the 10 wards, six will have new councillors: six sitting councillors have had enough and are retiring. Only four are recontesting. The council has come under fire for its role over the years. Some farmers accuse it of turning a blind eye to years of bad investment decisions by the directors and management. With the council under the pump are we seeing councillors heading for the lifeboats?

IS FOOD vegan simply because it doesn’t come from a cow? This question has puzzled one in five Britons. More and more people are choosing a vegan lifestyle, but a new survey reveals that the concept is still baffling many meat eaters. So much so, that a surprising number of Brits believe eggs and goat milk are suitable for vegans. The participants in the recent survey were asked which products they believed were vegan and to choose the correct descriptions of certain foods from a list of options. The results showed that one in five (20%) Brits thought eggs were vegan. Similarly, 22% thought the same of goat milk just because it didn’t come from cows.

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IT’S CLEAR that the Ministry for Environment is underestimating the importance of properly consulting farmers on the Essential Freshwater proposals. A total of 38 meetings will take place in the coming weeks: 17 public meetings in towns and cities, 16 for Maori and a miserly five tailored for the primary sector. No wonder farmer leaders and politicians are unhappy. National’s new agriculture spokesman Todd Muller correctly states that the freshwater proposals will materially impact rural NZ. “Consultation of just six weeks with only five farming focused meetings, no economic analysis and arrogantly dismissing any criticism. This Government doesn’t get farming, doesn’t understand the stress that its actions brings,” Muller said in a tweet. Unsurprisingly, the meetings are well attended, in fact so well attended that venues have been overflowing. This prompted a request from Federated Farmers: “asking nicely -- please can the Government immediately extend the timeframe of the Essential Freshwater consultation so we can find a pathway forward that provides for the health of the water, the health of people and the health of communities?” “It’s bloody hard on farmers to be facing such challenges and change and not feel they can have some input,” said Federated Farmers president Katie Milne. Milne says farmers are not stalling for time. The Essential Freshwater proposals could have huge financial consequences for farmers. The consultation document talks about extra costs facing farmers: $600 million over 10 years for extra fencing and $3500 for each farm plan. A Local Government NZ report questions the Government’s economic assessment and predicts that the economic consequences for regional economies will be huge. The LGNZ modelling estimates that in the Waikato-Waipa catchment alone such a land use change would incur annual costs of $100 million or 11% loss of total profits. This does not take into account the 25 years it would take for increased forestry income to begin arriving. Farmers need more time and they must be allowed it, so as to properly understand the proposals and put their views to the Government. The token consultation we now see in this Essential Freshwater round simply confirms that this Government has little time for farmers.

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OPINION  // 15

Backing farmers long term DAMIEN O’CONNOR

I’M EXTREMELY proud of the ongoing high performance of our primary sector, and to be part of a Government that is backing farming for the long term. I regularly meet with people, all over the country, to understand the challenges facing the primary sector and rural New Zealand. Through these hundreds of conversations, I have come to be very sure about a few things. For one, rural New Zealand is thriving. We’re in the second consecutive year of substantial primary sector export growth. Export performance has risen nearly $7.5 billion in the last two years. Primary industry revenue is forecast to reach 7% growth on last year. The slowing global economy makes that all the more impressive. I am also sure that rural New Zealand has broad based values and priorities. Farmers care about their bottom lines, of course. But they also care about the quality of what they produce, the wellbeing of their animals and land and leaving a legacy for the next generation. Rural New Zealand is creative, innovative and forward looking. One thing you can expect in farming is that change will come and we have to adapt. In 2015 a KPMG Agribusiness report said, “The picture confirms there is hard work to do”. Unfortunately the previous Government did very little to tackle these challenges, eg water quality, climate change and animal welfare. This Government refuses to shy away from the fact that change is coming. We could bury our heads in the sand, but that won’t stop it and ultimately it will be farmers who are disproportionately affected by

our warming climate and our increasingly extreme weather patterns. Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option. If we respond in a smart, coordinated way, we can unlock huge opportunities. We in the Government have the responsibility to give farmers the tools and resources to make adaptation a little bit easier. Some would like to paint the values of farming and environmentalism as fundamentally opposed. If you scratch the veneer of that argument it is quickly revealed as nonsense. It’s farmers who rely on the long term sustainability of our land and water. It’s a simple reality that rural people are at the forefront of the fight to protect our productive land for future generations. In my experience, the ultimate environmentalists are the ones who work intimately with our land. It’s true that our farming sector is well ahead of the curve internationally. We always have been and that makes our exporters successful. We turn challenges into opportunities. Our brand is built on environmental best practice and it’s what international consumers expect of us. It’s not enough to just respond to the changing preferences of the market, we need to be ahead of them, showing consumers what is possible. Negativity and naysaying seem to be the new normal from National. By focusing on limitations instead of possibilities, and by burying their heads in the sand, our opponents are not faithfully serving the interests of farmers. I strongly believe that value growth and sustainability are not a trade-off. In fact, increased sustainability is the only pathway to future prosperity. If we are responsive to international consumer preferences, if we collectively

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leverage our premium brand and if we continue to farm smarter, we will make both profitable and environmental gains. I know that all over the country, farmers, as they learn more, are quietly getting on with the job of becoming more efficient with resources

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor

and inputs. This Government is backing them, because we know that our economy, our international reputation and the future of our food production rely on it. Our high quality food and fibre exports are crucial to our economic wellbeing. That’s why the

Government is progressing trade deals to open up the world’s largest economies to our primary exports. Because of the generations of hard work by our farmers and growers, we have a reputation of producing some of the finest food in the world.

That’s something every New Zealander should be proud of. It’s fair to say that the only constants for the primary sectors are change and challenges. Our producers should be proud of their resilience and ongoing high performance. I’m certainly very proud of them.



has Evidence is key, say Tru-Test a new name award winners

TRU-TEST DAIRY Solutions has been rebranded

2019 SHARE Farmers of the Year Colin and Isabella Beazley, of Northland, say the benefits to their career and business from entering are worth the effort and time. The Beazleys won 2019 Northland Share Farmers of the Year and went on to win the national title. Entries for the 2020 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards open on Tuesday October 1. “We entered to benchmark ourselves against the best and for the networking opportunities,” they said. “The networking and contact with industry leaders is unparalleled and we have used these relationships to grow our business.” Their advice to wouldbe entrants is to remember ‘evidence is key’. “If you can’t prove it to the judges, they simply cannot mark it, so keeping good records is paramount,” advises Isabella. “Sorting through and collating everything farmers do daily can take time so start now if you’re thinking of entering. “A busy farmer can get caught up in the day-today running of the farm, so to stand back and watch our presentation

Colin and Isabella Beazley.

-- seeing nine plywood boards plastered with our collated evidences and setting up our machinery for display and effect -was eye-opening for us,” said Colin. “It made us proud of how far our industry has allowed us to grow and we’re excited about the prospects and where it can take us.” The Beazleys are active on social media and say it is important for their family, friends and local community to keep up-todate with what is happen-

ing on their farm. “Social media is huge given how our industry has been portrayed in recent times, and our little page quickly grew into something to promote our industry in a positive light.” This year they are regional managers on the Northland regional committee, enjoying being able to encourage the next wave of entrants. “We recommend entering the awards,” they say. “First, the indus-

try networking is invaluable. Second, the judges are industry experts and the constructive feedback you’ll receive is a great way to grow your business and career in the dairy industry. “And third, the time [you get] off farm: being able to flick off the cow poo clothes and don suave suits and flash heels to enjoy time with others in our industry who also get what it’s like to be a farmer is just as rewarding as the event itself. “If you’re striving for

more in our industry, sign up and see where the awards journey takes you.” The awards are sponsored by Westpac, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, DairyNZ and Primary ITO. For more details or to register to enter Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year or Dairy Trainee of the Year go to

Dairy Technology Services (DTS). DTS chief executive Gavin Thwaites says this creates a new, bright look for the company, ushering in a new direction. “DTS has always been synonymous with quality stainless steel milk vats and milk refrigeration systems,” said Thwaites. DTS’ Normanby plant in Taranaki which makes 95% of farm holding tanks in New Zealand has always been known as Dairy Technology Services. “The new brand’s strapline is ‘Growth Through Innovation’… providing effective milk vat and herd monitoring software solutions,” said Thwaites. DTS was bought by Tru-Test Group in 2013 and was branded Tru-Test Dairy Solutions even though its legal trading name remained Dairy Technology Services Ltd. The Tru-Test Group then split the business in 2018 into two separate operating divisions: Retail Solutions and Dairy Solutions so the former could be sold to the Swiss firm Datamars along with the Tru-Test brand. This left Tru-Test Dairy Solutions alone as a provider of farm holding tanks (FHTS), milk cooling and refrigeration, and dairy automation solutions, agreeing to stop using the Tru-Test brand name by September 2020. The buyouts and business renaming created confusion in the marketplace, says Thwaites. “The re-branding back to DTS was logical as many of our customers still refer to us as DTS.” DTS has a contract to supply FHTs to Fonterra farmers NZ-wide and to supply them to other dairy co-ops, eg Synlait, Open Country, Westland and Tatua. DTS Milk Cooling products include pre-cooling of milk before the FHT, FHT refrigeration and FHT insulation wraps. DTS also supplies remote on farm monitoring: measuring and reporting milk temperature as it first enters the FHT and then as it is refrigerated via smart devices with automated alerts. DTS continues to develop on farm services including manual and autodrafting, walkover weighing, feed control, in bail identification and in line milk sensors, all run off smart devices.



SAVING WATER AT DRY SPOTS AT LEAST 3.4 billion litres of water will be saved

Dairy’s spending benefits the entire economy.

Kiwis can thank dairy sector for $17.5b exports earn New Zealand about $17.5 billion in export revenue this year, and likely more next year, says Professor Graeme Doole, DairyNZ principal economist. This is more than earned by forestry, meat and wool combined, he says in a DairyNZ column. “The entire economy benefits from dairy spending, directly, as in what dairy farmers and dairy companies buy from businesses NZ-wide and indirectly. “Dairy significantly helps to fill Government’s tax coffers too, providing more money to pay for the essential services that help to improve people’s quality of life – education, hospitals, social security and welfare, police, etc.” DairyNZ estimates that in the 2018-19 year dairy farmers paid $0.5 billion in taxes. For the 2019-20 year they will likely pay even more. Dairy also pays regional government rates and other charges, helping to pay for local infrastructure and services. Farmers last year alone paid $200 million in rates. The dairy sector employs 46,000 workers, equal to the entire population of Timaru, Canterbury’s second largest city, or of Upper Hutt. On farm there are

34,000 full-time equivalent employees and 12,000 more in 35 dairy processing plants. Dairy sector employment has grown faster (+3.1% per year) since 2000 than the rate of national job creation (+1.8% per year), boosting rural communities. Every New Zealander is better off today thanks to the nation’s dairy cows and will continue to be better off in the future too, he says. “The nutritional benefits of dairy to the human body as part of a balanced diet are factually documented. Dairy is also central to many of our culinary cultures, eg crumbly cheddar, smooth brie, ice cream, yoghurts and butter.” Doole says milk helps improve lives, eg helping to pay for goods and services, and helping to reduce the price of others including imported items. “And dairy farmers, who are innovators and responsive to the signals they receive, are improving their environmental practices, eg fencing and riparian planting to protect waterways, upgrading effluent systems, or working to reduce greenhouse gases. “They are also playing a key role in communities as they work together to address issues of water quality.”


Northland: dairy, either farming or processing, generated $500 million in regional GDP and provided 2800 jobs.


Waikato: $2.2 billion in regional GDP and 13,400 jobs.


Bay of Plenty: $500m in regional GDP and 2800 jobs.


Taranaki: $950m in regional GDP and 5500 jobs.


Lower North Island: $700m in regional GDP and 4400 jobs.


West Coast-Tasman: $260m in regional GDP and 2100 jobs.


Marlborough-Canterbury: $1.5b in regional GDP and 8500 jobs.


Otago-Southland: $1.1b in regional GDP and 6100 jobs. 


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THE DAIRY sector will

every year under new water targets Fonterra launched this month, the co-op says. Six of its factories in water-constrained regions will reduce their water use by 30% by 2030 in a bid to accelerate sustainability, says chief operating officer global operations Robert Spurway. “For some parts of New Zealand, water isn’t always in the right place at the right time,” said Spurway. “This means our water use in these regions can put stress on local water sources and the communities that rely on them. “Reducing our water use at our manufacturing sites is the right thing to do for the environment and for the communities we operate in.” The six sites are Maungatoroto, Lichfield, Brightwater, Darfield, Edendale and Clandeboye. Spurway says the targets will ultimately result in better efficiency and outcomes. “We’ve focused on the six sites where major water savings can have the greatest impact. This means we can target efforts and investment in regions most in need.” All other Fonterra sites will take steps to keep water use to FY18 baselines. “Some initiatives are underway and more are in the pipeline. This target will require clever ideas and creative thinking.” The co-op also has the following plans: ■■ No more coal boilers or increasing capacity to burn coal ■■ Reducing emissions by 30% at all factories by 2030, on the way to net zero by 2050 ■■ Improving the energy intensity of sites by 20% by 2020 ■■ No solid waste to landfills by 2025 ■■ 100% recyclable, reusable and compostable packaging by 2025 ■■ A tailored farm environment plan for every Fonterra farmer by 2025



Environmentally friendly calves NITROGEN LEACHING on many dairy farms

is reducing as the farmers breed from LowN Sires bulls, says the marketer CRV Ambreed. The company says “hundreds of thousands of calves” have been bred from its LowN Sires, launched in 2016. In the 2018 season at least 25% of CRV’s orders were for LowN sires, it says. The LowN progeny excrete less nitrogen (N) in their urine, the company says. Its bulls produce daughters with lower milk urea nitrogen (MUN), and the result is a reduction in N leaching. Farmers who start breeding now for low MUN can expect potential nitrogen leaching reduc-

Steve and Paula Holdem, Mamaku.

tions of 10-12% by 2025, says CRV Ambreed. Steve and Paula Holdem last season inseminated their 700

cows using semen from CRV’s LowN Sires. The Holdems own and farm 300ha in Mamaku, near Rotorua.

“We farm in the Rotorua lake catchment and our regional council requires all dairy farms in the catchment to lower

N leaching by an average of 35% by the year 2032,” said Steve. “We’re trying to build a herd that suits this farm,

and works with the environment and this catchment. “Our approach has always been to look at all the different tools, eg feeding plantain, reducing stock numbers and grazing our cows off, which can help mitigate our farming operation’s effects on the environment. Using LowN Sires is another way we can do this. “There is a reduction in economic farm surplus (EFS) when reducing N leaching, but we could potentially reach our required target and have no effect on EFS simply by using the LowN sires.” Holdem says they don’t expect results overnight.

“But it’s important for the future of our business to be proactive and take a long term view.” Steve says that as sharemilkers they were chasing breeding worth (BW) for many years. “[But] times are changing and there is more to consider now than just BW. The longevity of our herd is just as important and focusing on maximizing each cow’s days in milk. “Dairy farming today means achieving these goals while also making sure we tick all the boxes on the environment and animal welfare front. Genetics play a big part in that.” @dairy_news

GETTING SPRING PASTURE COVERS RIGHT MANAGING PASTURE surpluses or deficits in spring is the key to maintaining quality and persistence going into summer, says Ravensdown agronomist Tim Russell. The trick is to get pre-grazing and post-grazing covers right, he says. “Don’t let your pre-graze covers get above 3200kgDM/ha and aim to leave consistent post-grazing residuals of 1500kgDM/ha. “For perennial ryegrass pastures, it’s important to understand what’s happening and how the individual plants are reacting to grazing management.” Perennial ryegrass plants are made up of individual tillers of which each tiller can only have three leaves at any one time. Once a tiller starts producing a fourth leaf, the first leaf starts to die away – sacrificing both pasture

yield and quality. The value of 3000-3200kgDM/ ha is used because it typically represents the 2.5 to 3-leaf stage for ryegrass and is optimum for maximising quality and yield, with the oldest leaf providing 50% of the total tiller yield. “Ryegrass tillers only have a life expectancy of one year, so establishing strong new tillers in the spring is essential for ryegrass survival through the summer. “This ensures the plant is set up to successfully re-establish itself come autumn.” During spring and autumn, perennial ryegrass plants produce daughter tillers which need to be looked after and provided with enough light and nutrients to strongly establish. During late winter and early spring, you may run into a pasture deficit.

Tim Russell, Ravensdown.

“Depending on your situation, strategic nitrogen applications -- with gibberellic acid -- can be a great way to turn a deficit around. Several fac-

tors are important to ensure the best pasture response to gibberellic acid, so follow the label instructions and/ or discuss with your agri manager.”

On the other hand, Russell says, it’s equally important to identify and manage pasture surpluses early. “If pasture covers are too high, subsequent growth rates can be significantly reduced. If covers do get away, consider topping to reset, grazing with dry cows or closing the paddock for silage.   “Spring pasture covers exceeding 3200kgDM/ha can mean that daughter tillers are starved of light, causing them to die out. This can lead to poorer persistence of the ryegrass plant. “So, if faced with a surplus, only select established paddocks with good plant numbers to shut up. If young or open pastures are selected, this will inevitably mean these pastures may be up for renewal sooner than expected.”

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Getting ready for maize planting A PROVERB writ-

ten 3000 years ago says something like ‘He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap’. In other words, if you are the kind of person who always looks for the perfect scenario before you act then you will likely never get anything done. This is especially true of farming. It is very rare, given our variable climate, to get the timing perfect to do a particular task perfectly. What makes the chance of getting things most right, more often, is planning. And part of

planning is communicating. As I have written before, my wife and I grow maize silage each year which we sell to a local dairy farmer. Our soil type can be challenging. It is wet in winter and dry in summer. Our

planting window is relatively short and so we need to be well planned. We also need to communicate with everyone else in the process to make sure they do their bit when they need to do it. Here are the steps we take now to ensure we plan for planting as well as we can: Step 1. Decide the area to be planted. Ideally this will already have been done, but if not work it out now. If you have hard-to-kill weeds, get your merchant out and talk to him about what spray to use. If the ground still

needs to be drained, perhaps choose another area to plant your maize and do the drainage next autumn to get the area ready for planting next spring. Also, get the maize contractor to come and look at the area you want to plant. He will tell you whether he can plant it and whether he can get through gates, cart material down races, stack it where you want it, etc. Step 2. Have a realistic expectation of yields. This is important because it drives things like what hybrid you use, what seeding rate you plant at


THE REFRESHED National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management increases the pressure on farmers to improve their nutrient management. As the soil starts warming over the next few weeks, farmers will be preparing to fertilise their paddocks. Balancing the best bang-forbuck with protecting economic and environmental bottom lines is critical for farmers and requires advice from fertiliser reps and consultants.   That’s because healthy soils are a balance of biological, physical and chemical properties, and are a dynamic mixture of minerals, organic residues and living micro and macro organisms, all of which support farm production and provide various ecosystem services.  As there are risks when applying fertiliser, and strategies to help you avoid them, it’s recommended all farmers have a nutrient budget and a nutrient management plan for their properties and discuss their situation with their fertiliser rep.  A range of tools will help practice sustainable nutrient management.   Nutrient budgeting is widely accepted as the appropriate first step in managing nutrient use and it’s also the preferred tool for evaluating the environmental impact of farm management practices.  Overseer, a computer decision support model, is being used to

advise on nutrient management and greenhouse gas emissions. It predicts what happens to the nutrients brought onto the farm in the form of fertilisers and supplementary feed in the same way that a financial budget can track money. When doing nutrient budgets in Waikato, bear in mind recent soil quality monitoring results that reveal high fertility and compaction remain problems on dairy and some drystock sites.   Another issue to consider is nitrate leaching. Plants need nitrogen (N) for healthy leaf growth. But N is an extremely mobile nutrient. If more nitrogenous fertiliser is applied than plants can take up, most of the unused nitrogen ends up leaching down through the soil into groundwater. Sometimes N will also be lost to waterways as run-off and some is always released back into the air as gas.  The amount of N leaching from pastures can be reduced by: Timing fertiliser application to avoid periods when plant uptake of N will be low, such as when soils are saturated, during heavy rain, colder periods and times of low soil temperatures Applying N fertiliser in split dressings (as many split doses as possible) Irrigating farm dairy effluent to a large enough area Adjusting fertiliser policy for effluent irrigated areas to account for the nutrient value of effluent Using fenced wetlands and well-managed open drains as nutrient traps.

The nutrient phosphorus behaves very differently from N because it binds with the soil and only dissolves slowly in water over time. This means it doesn’t readily leach to groundwater. But it can damage the health of waterways by soil erosion and surface run-off into water.  Farmers can reduce the amount of phosphorus run-off by keeping Olsen P to optimum agronomic levels.  Other tips include: ■■ Following the codes of practice for FertMark and SpreadMark ■■ Applying fertiliser when the grass is actively growing ■■ Leaving a grassed buffer strip between paddock and waterway. The strip filters the phosphorus before the run-off reaches the water ■■ Controlling run-off from tracks, races, feed and standoff pads.   A clear assessment of fertiliser needs will improve economic returns from pasture and help avoid contamination of ground and surface water with nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus.  In New Zealand, the common nitrogenous fertilisers are urea (46% N), ammonium sulphate (21% N), DAP (18% N) and calcium ammonium nitrate (27% N). The form of nitrogenous fertiliser best used depends on the cost per unit N and the overall efficiency of the fertiliser N. • Bala Tikkisetty is a sustainable agriculture advisor at Waikato Regional Council. bala.tikkisetty@

and how much fertiliser you use. If you are unsure of what your area is likely to yield, contact your local merchant. If he is experienced he will have a good idea. If he is inexperienced he will be able to get someone who is to come and have a look for you. Seeding rate and fertiliser rate are very dependent on soil and environment. Generally, the lower the yield potential of your soil, the less seed and less fertiliser you want to use. Step 4. Order the seed. We have already done this as part of Pioneer’s early order programme, but if you haven’t, call your seed seller now and get your

order in to ensure you get your seed on time. Step 5. Communicate with your contractors and let them know when you want your cultivation, spraying and fertiliser spreading done. We are talking to our contractor now to make sure we are in the queue and they can put our farm into their work programme. Step 6. Do a soil test to make sure you apply the right amount of fertiliser to your crop. Regulations on nutrient loss from farms are tightening. Applying the right amount of fertiliser to get a good crop of maize silage, while at the same time reducing the risk of nutrient loss, is a no brainer. Wasted nutrients mean lost

income and a damaged environment -- something no-one wants. Step 7. Organise the stock rotation to ensure that any feed is removed with enough time left for the paddock to freshen up before it is sprayed out. While it is true that life happens, we have found scheduling and communicating our plans with all affected parties ensure that despite the weather we tend to get our crop in the ground within our desired planting window. This gives us the best opportunity to ensure we optimise our yields. Happy planting. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage and farm system specialist. iwilliams@genetic.

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Great farming systems will surely save the planet TOM POW

SINCE THE dawn of civilisation, farmers have cultivated land to produce food for their fellow humans. Without farmers, people would still live in roaming tribes, gathering food across the landscape. But in the millennia since the first tribe settled in one place and began growing crops and grazing animals, farmers have perfected the art of nurturing the land for high productivity. Farmers are rightly proud of their heritage as the backbone of civilisation and their ability to produce real food with maximum efficiency for a growing world population, adapting to change and using science and innovation to become ever more effective. But it increasingly appears that farmers are no longer considered the good guys. Somehow, they now seem the scapegoats for all that is wrong with the world -- despite scientific evidence to the contrary. And the doom and gloom merchants pointing their fingers have very strong opinions on the future of farming. Farmers are sceptical of being

led up the garden path by these pessimists but want guidance to choose the best course of action. Thank you all for your support, ideas and thoughtful responses to my last opinion piece on the need to drive farming systems forward. I say farming systems because there are as many different systems as there are farmers. It’s not what is right or wrong for your land, but what is better. What we can do to appease the gloomy brigade’s chorus is demonstrate that we as farmers can do better -- if we are provided with outcomes which suit all, and which are founded on science or are a naturally good fit with our resources. The answer is growing right under our feet: the pasture we grow on the soil we tend. Real farmers will not sacrifice good land for trees which, in fact, often cause the loss of mountains of soil and tree debris after harvest or during wildfires. When comparing ways to sequester carbon, ie via trees or pasture, the debate is flawed because trees take more time -about 40 years. The increased soil fertility and other ben-

Trees are not a permanent carbon risk and should only be used on poor class land. Inset: Tom Pow.

efits is the exact case with many of our farmed soils: Waikato sands, central North Island pumice lands and riverlands in the North and South Islands. Where once these lands had little topsoil, they are now rich soil -- growing in depth and laying down carbon. Farming should not be done on a cliff edge but it must be done in such a way as to avoid processes or systems that possibly lead to less desirable outcomes. Before farmers are asked to change their systems, they need definitive proof that such change

will be better in all ways, while being more profitable. The great upside of getting soils to hold more carbon is that it requires farmers to continue farming at a high level of stocking, feeding and production. This will also drive profit and sustainability. But while farmers can increase soil carbon through long-term high stocking and highly productive grazing farms, it must be continuous. Carbon stored in trees and timber is many times more likely to be burnt



and released through wildfires, than through a top farmer losing his or her will to farm. Or trees blow over, as in the picture below -- a waste of hard work, lots of carbon used, then burnt and released. Give me grass any day. For many reasons, trees are not a permanent carbon sink and should only be used on poor class land. To farm better means looking at 100 aspects of farming and doing all better: 100 small gains will equate to massive overall improvements.

duction won’t do it any favours. Plant trees, they cry. But trees will destroy otherwise productive land, mining the topsoil of minerals and turning soil acidic. Grow crops, they cry. But hoeing and ripping also damages the precious soil essential for life on earth. And certainly there are poor animal grazing systems that will damage soil too. Small changes to farming systems will be easily implemented with advances in knowledge, but will this be enough to keep up with the gloomy brigades’ ever-changing desires? What is the New Zealand farmers’ preferred system? There is no single answer. Our farmers have always and will always adapt their systems to what is available to them and what works best for them. Farmers need to be offered outcomes and stimulus with many options for improvements. But in the meantime, consider this: could it be that dairy grazing done well is the best option for the growth of topsoil and storing carbon? • Tom Pow is the founder of Herd Homes.

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Just by checking on one aspect of farming it clearly shows that there are scientific solutions which are not being used in New Zealand or indeed even being suggested to farmers as a part answer for green house gas emissions and carbon sinks. Carbon sinks using highly productive grazing land are a great possibility which will have huge positive impact with little inconvenience to farmers, while increasing their profitability. This should lead to interesting debates. For example, a farm system expert may reject a new solution as unworkable because it either doesn’t fit his/her view of a farming system. Or the area may not continue to be farmed and all that stored carbon will be released when farming ceases. It will still release less carbon than a forest on fire. People need to get their knives out of farmers’ backs and look at the science. We need a coordinated approach based on science rather than politics, ideas with a longer-term view on land use rather than what is trending. Closing off areas of land to pro-

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The true cost of lameness LAMENESS IS classified as a ‘Production Limiting Disease’ (PLD) along with Mastitis, Metabolic disease and Dietary disease (Ruminal acidosis). More often than not, farmers underestimate the true cost of these PLD’s and tend to focus on the expense of treating individual cases rather than the overall negative impact they have on the farm system. This is because initially there are no obvious financial warnings which ring alarm bells when PLD’s first appear. However, as cases build over time farmers may start to notice a decline in their farms effi-

ciency resulting in diminishing productivity and profitability. In the case of lame cows, it becomes obvious where the costs are incurred by looking at the impact of disease on the cow itself. Once becoming lame, production drops immediately and for the remain-

der of the lactation after she becomes lame, she will conceive as much as 21 days later than her non-lame herd mates and

she will be at greater risk of being culled due to reproductive failure, or the severity of lameness itself.


DAIRY FARMERS are pleased the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord shows them doing their bit to improve water quality. But now it’s time the cities and towns did something too, they say. Farmers are often blamed for poor water quality, yet five years of the water accord shows farmers have been fencing off waterways and building bridges and culverts across them. They also have nutrient budgets. Farmers’ achievements have been lauded by the industry. The Sustainable Dairy: Water Accord, now in its fifth year, shows 24,000 km of significant waterways have been protected, culverts and bridges are on all dairy farms, and the industry’s 10,396 nutrient budgets are up from 6400 in the first year of the accord. Through the Dairy Tomorrow Strategy, which the accord will transition into, the dairy sector is pressing on to work with communities, councils and the Government to lead work to improve waterways, says the chair of the Dairy Environment Leader Group, Alister Body. The group includes Fonterra, DairyNZ, Open Country, Synlait, Tatua, Miraka and DCANZ. “The water accord is one of the factors contributing to the measurable improvements in many waterways,” Body said. At least 11,000 dairy farmers are part of the accord. “They pulled on their gumboots and put in many thousands of hours of time and made significant investments to help improve water qual-

VOLUNTARY ACCORD WORKING LAND, AIR and Water Aotearoa’s most recent analysis of national river quality trends from 2008 to 2017 shows a marked improvement, says Alister Body. Of eight out of nine water quality indicators reported on, more monitored sites are improving than degrading, he says. Damian Roper, a farmer in Taranaki with a passion for the environment, says all farmers are doing their bit to improve water quality. “98% of waterways are fenced and over half (54%) have environmental plans. It shows that in five years this voluntary water accord has done what it set out to do.” He says water quality has not deteriorated on any sites and that is good for farmers and cities. “This dairy water accord lines up well with the freshwater announcement by the Government recently.” Roper says farmers, often blamed for poor water quality, have been doing their bit and now it’s time cities and towns were held more accountable. A Federated Farmers spokesman says farmers generally know what happens to their and their cows’ effluent, but the same cannot be said of most city and town dwellers. They flush the toilet and have no idea what happens after that. Farming and farmers have changed, Roper says.

ity,” Body said. Galatea, BoP, dairy farmer Cathy Brown says nothing stays still and the accord is a living document. “It is like farming. Today it is fast moving and farmers have to reinvent and adapt to meet environmental deadlines. We are used to it.” She says this is the nature of how farmers work, but it is hard when it is above and beyond ‘business as usual’ for people on the land. “We are often time constrained and such things take time.” But she says while water quality is improving in most places, there are a few “laggers”. “We have to know whether the laggers are not up with environmen-

tal play because they can’t or won’t. If it’s because they can’t meet environmental issues, then the industry needs to get alongside them. If it’s because they won’t then they need not the carrot but the stick.” But environmental improvement can’t happen overnight, Brown warns, though she is pleased. “Water quality in parts of New Zealand are fine and we are happy to hold that line. But there are places where improvement is needed definitely. “As ecosystems take time to respond to changes on the ground, we can expect to see further improvements to water quality as a result of changes made on farms over the past five years,” said Body.

The cost of this amounts to $500 - $1000 per case! The difference in this figure is explained in the differences in payout, cow value, farm set up (average feed cost) and stage of lactation when the cow became lame. Regardless of where your farm may sit within

this range, the important point to note is this cost represents a 5 to 10 – fold increase over the typical expense treating a cow for lameness. Unfortunately, lameness is not a disease where there is a simple solution or a ‘quick fix’ as there are multiple factors contributing to hoof disease in lactating cows. Working out the causes can be a big challenge for even the most experienced investigators and requires a lot of patience and persistence. A very good starting point is for farmers to gain as much information about the hoof lesion itself as lesions can provide strong clues as to likely causes. For example, White line disease in mature cows arises from different factors to those causing sole bruising in early

lactation heifers. This is yet another very good reason why just treating lame cows with antibiotics without examining the hoof properly is poor practice. Your veterinarian is a good sounding board if you are having issues. They can organise onfarm training for staff on the correct examination technique and advise appropriate treatment options. They will also be able to assist in identifying all contributing factors leading to lameness and help you plan to reduce the problem. • Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services. This article is brought to you by



Knowing how to give calves the needle PAM TIPA


well prepared for the new disbudding and dehorning regulations which will take effect on October 1. But they should be aware of key points required for both procedures, says New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) large animal veterinary manager Ash Keown. “The anaesthetic needs to be working throughout the procedure. It is not good enough to have anaesthetic just at the beginning or end,” he told Dairy News. “It has to be appropriately placed and it has to be effective. You need to be able to work out if it is effective, and if it’s not do something about that.” The local anaesthetic has to be authorised by a vet for that specific procedure. “Farmers need to talk with their vets about a specific procedure. If they get a local anaesthetic for disbudding that doesn’t mean they can use that local anaesthetic for other stuff. It is for one specific purpose.” The owner and persons in charge are all responsible, not just any one person. Anyone who cares for animals has an obligation to make their lives comfortable. They have to be experienced or have received training in the correct

method being used for the job. “It does not specify what methods can and can’t be used,” said Keown. “People just have to be proficient and competent to use whatever the selected procedure is. Their vet can talk them through that.” Generally that will be hot iron cautery as it causes the least pain according to current veterinary knowledge. Farmers and staff need to be able to recognise the early signs of distress, injury and ill health and how to do something about it. “That is pretty important and includes the recovery phase. So it is not just while they are doing it. They need to think about how they will manage those calves afterwards. That will be days and weeks as the little wounds heal up.” A number of farmers are already using anaesthetic and use their vet’s services. “Certainly in my practice area when I was working up in Waikato most of the farmers just used our services because we could do additional things like sedate them. “That was really useful because you can do other procedures such as DNA, ear tagging, extra teat removal and vaccination. There is a whole bunch of stuff you can do while they are sleeping.” Some farmers have already been trained by vets to use anaesthetic for

THE AGE OF ANIMALS IS IMPORTANT THE AGE of the calves is important in disbudding, says Keown. “If you do them too early you can have trouble finding the little horn bud. They can be quite small. But over eight weeks of age the horn starts attaching to the skull and that makes a more significant procedure to get all the horn tissue off.” NZVA recommends two-six weeks of age as the correct time. “It may be better to do them in a couple of batches rather than leave those early calves to have big horns.” Storage of products is important as for all drugs on farm. A secure storage cupboard is required. All on farm treatments should be recorded. “Just like if you were treating a cow with mastitis you would write that in your dairy diary. That is still a drug that is going into them so we should still keep a drugs record.” Biosecurity is important. If a farmer is disbudding their own calves it is unlikely they will leave the farm in the middle of the job.

NZVA large animal veterinary manager Ash Keown.

calf disbudding and once they have done it they usually say they don’t know how they did it without. “They say it is so much easier, the calves aren’t struggling and they aren’t bellowing. You can definitely notice calves behave differently when they have local on board, so there is a bunch of farmers already going down this track.” The regulations allow farmers and staff to administer anaesthetic and do disbudding and

dehorning procedures “and the pain relief makes it better for the calves”. The training required depends on circumstance. Competence is the key point. “A farm owner who has disbudded calves every year for the last 20 years will need less training than perhaps a new manager who comes onto a farm whose experience may have only ever been that the vet has come to do it. They may have been out doing a farm walk or feeding and never actually

watched the disbudding procedure. That person will need a lot more training to become competent.” So there is no “cookie cutter” training standard. Some will have competence already and others will take longer to bring up to speed. However under these regulations there is no specific qualification required. “Before the vet can authorise the local anaesthetic they have to assess whether that person is competent or not. If

they aren’t competent, we can’t authorise the drugs.” It is best to talk early to the vet if interested in training. “There needs to be enough time for the vet to come out and train all the staff. That may vary. “Sometimes it’s not the right thing for a specific farm to carry out the procedure themselves. You need enough time and you have to do it properly so if you have staffing particularly tight in one season or you are too busy, that might not be the right decision.” Contractors and vets can provide these services. Another consideration in engaging a vet

is that sedation is also available for other procedures such as extra teats, tagging, vaccination and DNA. A good level of detail on aftercare is essential. “It is an extremely painful procedure for calves and they show a lot of pain afterwards once the local wears off. Local is only effective for 40-60 minutes. So consider how to manage that pain longer term.” Some good products are now available for that. “Good management after the procedure keeps calves happy, bouncy and gaining weight. If you can control their pain better they will keep eating and thriving.”

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Keep your dairy spotless DAIRYNZ EMPHASISES that the clean-

liness of the milking system and the dairy is critical. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority has strict guidelines about cleaning to maintain milk quality standards. Correct cleaning maintains milk quality. So devise a process to ensure cleaning is done properly to remove all residues and destroy all bacteria. Safety issues must also be considered. Cleaning must be done properly as bacteria can build up in the plant and contaminate milk. The bacteria affect milk quality by breaking down the

components in milk. This reduces the shelf life of milk and milk products, and produces ‘off’ flavours in cheeses and milk powders. Bacteria can enter the plant from cows (teat skin and infected udders) and the environment (drawn into the cluster). The milking environment is ideal for bacterial growth. Effective machine cleaning will control the presence of bacteria in the plant. The quality of the water used is very important in achieving a successful clean. There are four key elements of the cleaning process: thermal, time,

AN IDEAL CLEANING SEQUENCE Cold water rinse The post-milking rinse needs to be done immediately after milking or milk collection. It rinses most of the residual milk from the milking system and bulk milk tank. Hot water alkaline / acid wash The milking system should be hot washed at least once a day and twice a day during high risk periods (eg when grading, calving). The bulk milk tank should be hot washed after every collection. The purpose of the hot detergent wash is to remove any adhered non-rinsing milk residue. This process should alternate between acid and alkaline in some systematic way to ensure all residues are removed on a routine basis. Alkaline detergent wash A hot water alkaline wash should be done at least twice weekly on the milking system and bulk milk tank. The wash water should be recycled for five-seven minutes once water discharging the plant/tank is hot. Cold water acid wash The cold water acid wash is normally done at night and hot alkaline washes done after the morning milking. Acid sanitiser detergent wash This should always be the final wash through the milking system and bulk milk tank. Acid sanitiser washes can be used hot or cold.

kinetic energy and chemical energy. Thermal Water which is not hot enough leads to redepositing of the milk residues removed, and water which is too hot denatures protein, breaks down detergents and damages seals and rubberware. ■■ Aim for a temperature of 80-85°C as water exits the hot water storage cylinder. ■■ Hot water washes should be dumped when wash water temperature falls below 55°C. Time ■■ Hot water must con-



tact the surface for a minimum of four minutes; this should be extended to seven minutes by re-circulating during an alkali wash. Pre-heating the plant will help achieve at least five minutes of contact time at the recommended temperature. For the milking plant, 10 litres of hot water per cluster is recommended to achieve sufficient contact time. For the bulk milk tank, hot water should be a minimum of 2% of the bulk milk capacity or 120 litres for 5700 litre

tanks or smaller. Kinetic energy ■■ Air injectors and a reservoir of water at the end of the milk line can create a slug formation for cleaning the top of the milk line. ■■ Small flushing pulsators used to induce turbulence are largely ineffective. Instead you may need to do regular brushing or use a large flushing pulsator/air injector. ■■ Milk lines generally require turbulence created via an effective flushing pulsator to fill the line and clean the milk line or some alter-

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nate effective cleaning system. Chemical energy ■■ Acid detergents remove mineral deposits. They can be used in hot or cold water but are more effective in hot water. Acid sanitisers commonly incorporate chemicals which also kill bacteria. These sanitisers are intended to stay in the plant after washing to provide extended protection. Acid sanitisers should always be added to the final wash. ■■ Alkaline detergents remove fat and protein. If left in the plant,

they can cause damage to rubberware so they must be followed with an acid wash to neutralise the alkali and leave the plant sanitised. The alkaline detergent is almost always chlorinated, or chlorine added. Plant cleaning routines As a minimum the following steps are necessary: ■■ Cold water rinse after every milking ■■ An acid wash after every milking ■■ An alkali wash at least twice weekly ■■ An acid rinse after every alkali wash.



Three-in-two milking aimed at farmer, cow health A DAIRYNZ-LED project launched in July is looking into the benefits to farmers of 3-in-2 milking (three milkings in two days). It will run for three years. Flexible Milking for Healthier People and Cows is funded jointly by the Sustainable Farming Fund ($500,000) and DairyNZ ($306,000) from farmers’ levies. The project goals are that farmers and advisers will have the confidence to adopt, optimise and support the use of 3-in-2 milking, enhanced wellbeing (fewer hours spent working on farm and greater flexibility) and increased economic sustainability of farming businesses using 3-in-2 milking (through people and cow health). The first year of the study will focus on learning from farmers already using 3-in-2 strategically. This will help guide development of resources and information. A farmlet trial will also be set up at Lincoln University Research Farm. Four milking frequency scenarios will be tested: ■■ Full season twice-a-day (TAD) (the baseline for comparison, i.e. ‘control’ scenario). ■■ 3-in-2 from March. ■■ 3-in-2 from December. ■■ Full season 3-in-2. The impact on milk production, body condition, animal behaviour, pasture production and grazing management will be measured. The project will expand to piloting 3-in-2 on commercial farms, including measures to evaluate the effects on people of moving to a 3-in-2 system. A second trial will investigate the effect of different intervals used with

TRIAL FARMLETS Farmlet set-up Each farmlet will be managed independently using the same set of decision rules. Each farmlet consists of 11 paddocks of 0.75 ha and 29 cows, resulting in a stocking rate of 3.5 cows/ha (estimated comparative stocking rate of 81). Each farmlet will receive 150-180 kg N/ha, applied over seven applications. Grazing management Between planned start of calving and balance date the rotation length will be determined by the spring rotation planner. After balance date a 22 day rotation will be targeted until midFeb, meaning each herd grazes a paddock every two days. Herds will be allocated a fresh break after each milking, so for herds milking TAD there will be four beaks per paddock, and for herds milking 3-in-2 there will be three breaks per paddock. Paddocks will considered for silage if forecast residuals are above target for more than three days or if pre-grazing cover is above 3100 kg DM/ha (and feed wedge allows). A 28-29 day rotation will be targeted mid-February to midApril, and 44 days from mid-April to the end of May. Milking times After calving, cows are milked once-a-day for the colostrum period and then enter their allocated herd. Milking intervals are 12-18-18 for 3-in-2 and 10-14 for TAD. For 3-in-2 this means milking times of 5am, 5pm and then 11am the following day. For TAD this means milking times of 5am and 3pm.

3-in-2, (as well as TAD and OAD) on milk production. Originally, 3-in-2 started as milking every 16 hours (16-16-16), but this has a night milking associated with it. It was then adapted to 14-16-18 and now to 12-18-18 (which will be tested in the farmlets) to suit staff. This second trial will also look at whether milking intervals could be extended to 21-hour intervals once a week. This would enable two milkings, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with one milking each on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

The focus in year three of the project will be on modelling to predict outcomes in different flexible milking scenarios. For example, if a farmer wanted, he could go to once-a-day (OAD) milking during calving (to reduce work at a busy time), then go TAD through peak lactation, then 3-in-2 through mid-lactation, and to OAD near dry-off. Dairy farmers will be given results from the project regularly and resources will be developed to help farmers make informed decisions regarding the use of 3-in-2 milking.

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Recycled milk liners prevent waste THE WALSHE family, of Putaruru, are contract milkers, sending 470 cows through a 40 bail herringbone shed. According to DairyFlo, they take extra care when making purchases for the farm. Seamus Walshe installed Quthane milking liners from DairyFlo at the start of the 2019 season. DairyFlo says the product is made from 20% recycled raw materials and at the end of its useful life it can be crushed down and reprocessed. Industry best practice requires milking liners to be changed every 2500 milking cycles which would amount to over 400 tons of rubber being dumped in New Zealand per annum. Seamus has used DairyFlo previously at another farm, and after seeing the product again at National Fieldays, with the added benefit of the company offering to recall and re-use all used product at the change of the season, he decided to fully equip his shed.

DairyFlo says all his decisions are made considering these important issues of sustainability and industry responsibilities. “The product is slightly lighter weight than rubber but not quite as soft, but the staff have adapted to the change and we’ve had no issues,” said Walshe. “Our milk quality is excellent and we’re maintaining a low cell count. The machinery was tested straight after the first week of installation and everything is perfect. “I see this as a great step forward for dairy, and it’s great to see NZ manufacturers taking recycling seriously and closing the loop of continuous land fill disposals.” DairyFlo says its liners are sent back to the manufacturing plant in Napier, returning the product back into the production stream. “Other products include soft clip-together work mats which are great for use in calf trailers or at the base of the pit. Any small innovation to reduce waste and improve workflow is a benefit to

TEAT CUP LINERS THE TEAT cup liner is the only component of the milking machine that comes into contact with the cow’s teat. It has a large influence on milking performance, udder and teat health. Benefits of the right selection and maintenance of teat cup liners include: ■■ Improved animal health: ensures teats are not damaged leading to issues with mastitis. ■■ Increased milking efficiency: the right liners will help to ensure clusters stay on and cows are not slow to milk. ■■ Reduced stress on animals: ensure the liners are not causing pain which will lead to cow discomfort and animal handling issues. A good teat cup liner will: ■■ Provide an airtight seal at both ends of the shell ■■ Provide a mouthpiece and barrel of a size that will fit a range of teat shapes and sizes, minimising liner slips and cluster falls and damage which can lead to mastitis ■■ Milk out as quickly and completely as possible, minimising teat congestion, discomfort, and injury ■■ Be easily cleaned. • Source: DairyNZ

“Our milk quality is excellent and we’re maintaining a low cell count.” the dairy farmer,” the company said.

“You have to look at the big picture. Too

many manufacturers are involved in new technology and changing trends, but do they care enough for what happens to their products when they end their useful life?”

Seamus Walshe


Over 200

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s the milk coo tions. a h s n o ti lu o S g n gula Dairy Cooli ply with the new re to help you com

WHY A DCS MILK COOLING SYSTEM IS THE BEST INVESTMENT IN YOUR FARM European design and quality - Over 50 years experience in developing milk cooling tanks and one of Europe’s leading Dairy Cooling Systems producers for the needs of farmers around the world – from Mexico to Japan, from Russia to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Energy Saving with Packo Ice Builders (PIB’s) – thanks to the ice energy store build-up during night time hours, a smaller refrigeration unit can be installed, plus the potential savings of off-peak power rates. Water Saving with PIB’s – bore water pre-cooling is not necessary with the correctly sized PIB. This is ideal for drought prone regions or where water supplies are restricted. Improved Milk quality through Snap Chilling = potentially a higher return adding PROFITS to the farm. For 30yrs Eurotec has been supplying the NZ Refrigeration Industry with leading Global Brands. The only NZ supplier of this technology providing nationwide coverage and After Sales Support with branches in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with over 30 Approved Refrigeration Installers throughout the country from Invercargill to Whangarei. Check out the DCS website or talk to your refrigeration contractor to find out how you can comply with the new milk cooling regulations.

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Testimonials See what Dairy Farmers have to say about how this technology has changed their milk processing.

Dairy Cooling Solutions

Tradition meets Technology



Milk quality: any value for farmers? NATASHA MAGUIRE


quality’ mean different things to different people. Of course the dairy company has always wanted good quality milk but what’s in it for farmers? New Zealand is a leader in milk quality in supplying liquid milk not only to our own market but also milk and milk products to many other countries. So we are assessed locally and according to the increasing demands of the other markets we sell into. Milk quality is measured both for

compliance and payment. The dairy company is paying for the fat, protein and volume of milk. This system is fair and allows for seasonal fluctuations. It also needs to check there are no contaminants in the milk and measure water (freezing point), antibiotics (inhibitory substances) and residues to ensure the integrity of the milk. Next, the dairy company must ensure the milk is from healthy cows. Cows with mastitis will have an elevated somatic cell count (SCC). The lower the SCC the better quality the milk in the vat is, in terms of animal health. An elevated bulk tank SCC can also mean

lower yield for products like cheese. Finally, some parameters generally determine sanitary conditions. These are thermoduric, bactoscan and coliforms. Their presence is a concern because they can: Survive pasteurisation (thermoduric) so can spoil manufactured product and cause food borne illness Detect an uncontrolled hygiene or mastitis issue (bactoscan) Imply unsanitary conditions (E. coli). Selling into markets which are competitive is a reason to keep ahead of milk quality issues. To continue selling into

Be tough on mastitis.

offshore markets, NZ needs to supply the very best produce. Consumers want to believe milk is healthy, ie comes from healthy cows. They are learning about practices on farms via social media. So consumers can be fickle if they believe a product is substandard. Some are switching to ‘nut milk’, having been put off cow milk by poor farming practices, eg

BST hormone injections offshore. Milk quality is an opportunity for NZ. Our almost exclusively grassfed system is envied by the world. We have the fewest confined cows per cow head of population thanks to our mild climate. Our system also lends itself to new knowledge about the composition of our milk, eg grassfed butter and grass-fed

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beef are difficult to find offshore. A key aspect of milk quality can be controlled -- knowledge. Whilst the dairy company will take note of every tank you supply, its job is not to coach you on improvement until you meet a limit, which is generally controlled by regulation. Instead dairy companies are increasingly offering farmers incentives for quality, rather than penalties. There’s kudos for farmers who produce good quality milk. But what if your milk is not good quality, or its quality is good but you struggle with animal health issues? How can you improve your milk quality, and would doing so increase profitability? Our company’s recent experience has shown that a snapshot test of your bulk tank can highlight deficiencies before they show up as problems or if they do show up as problems. Knowing the priority of bacterial types in the bulk tank, and where you may need adjustment, are the keys in being ahead of issues, be they mastitis or hygiene related. Where to begin? How many cows are in the bulk tank contribution and how many are out? Alarmingly, about $55,000 is spent on mastitis annually for an average herd of 440 cows. Why are the cows out of the bulk tank? If they are out for mastitis have you taken cultures and provided treatment? (In many cases treatment can be better managed, so jumping in can mean more treatments than necessary and can mean

less-than-effective treatments in some cases). Knowing the bug before you use the drug helps track cows with issues such as Staph. aureus, so they don’t end up rebounding or infecting more of the herd. It’ll also mean you can treat according to a vet-developed protocol. In many cases this means fewer days of lost milk as the treatment can be targeted. Look at the subclinical picture. Like the tip of an iceberg, focusing on the clinical picture tells you part of the story. The bigger part of the story is submerged in the secrets in the vat. A snapshot test can tell a story about what you are missing. The best part is the cows aren’t sick, so it is a proactive and preventative strategy. Be tough. Check which cows are coming into your herd by being careful. Cows for sale can already have problems that could spread in your herd. Be tough on mastitis: know the type of bugs you are treating and make a protocol with your vet to ensure you are dealing with contagious cows as well as cows that need regular treatment. Most of all, keep records and discuss findings so prevention can be discussed. Check milking staff techniques and practices. Engage staff by developing them and encouraging best practice (if not yours then that of your vets and consultants). Enhancing your milk quality offers plenty of benefits for everyone. • Natasha Maguire is a director of Farm Medix Ltd.




Hilux SR5 cruiser variant.

Hilux ups the ante on safety MARK DANIEL

TOYOTA HAS raised the safety

benchmark at grassroots level by introducing its Toyota Safety Sense Package on its hugely popular Hilux. All its New Zealand new vehicle offerings will now have high-spec safety features as standard. So, all Hilux variants -- from the 2WD single cab chassis to the range topping SR5 Cruiser – will have the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) package as part of a range-wide upgrade. All variants will have the maker’s pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking (acting for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists), dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with yaw assist (brake control) and road sign assist. Toyota NZ chief operating officer Neeraj Lala says TSS will make the

Hilux even safer. “The revised Hilux is the first vehicle to be put forward to ANCAP for retesting and is currently the only ute with a 2019 five-star ANCAP rating.” Using a camera and radar sensors, the pre-collision system is designed to detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, and to give the driver visual and audible warnings, braking assistance or autonomous emergency braking if they fail to heed these warnings. The lane departure alert function will warn the driver with visual and audible alerts if the vehicle deviates from its lane and, if necessary, will use the braking system to create yaw to keep the vehicle within the lane. Dynamic radar cruise control (DRCC), standard on the Hilux range, uses sensors to maintain a suitable following distance from the vehicle ahead. The DRCC system

operates at speeds above 40 km/h. All Hilux variants will also have a road sign assist system which recognises speed limit signs and displays them on a 4.2-inch colour display now standard in all variants. Two rear tray options are being made available for the cab-chassis variants. The Toyota Genuine alloy tray has galvanised steel bearers and mounts, and the T Custom steel and timber tray is made of heavy duty galvanised steel with a Transtex industrial plywood deck. Both tray options include mud flaps, mud guards, and tail light protectors. The former ‘S’ Hilux variants have been discontinued and will be replaced by a new entry-grade model later in the year, and a new PreRunner SR single cab chassis, manual transmission variant with extra cab variants will be available from October.

ALREADY AHEAD of the game with its methane-powered tractor, New Holland Agriculture has unveiled the first prototype of its Low Carbon Tractor (LoCT). The tractor’s development is partially funded by The Advanced Propulsion Centre UK and led by CNH Industrial and its powertrain brand, FPT Industrial. The project is aimed at manufacturing a commercially viable tractor capable of running on bio-methane, while complying with the latest EU and US emission standards. New Holland and FPT industrial, who already have 20 years experience in the natural gas sector, have partnered with Eminox, an exhaust gas after-treatment specialist; Zircotec, a thermal management and ceramic coating expert; and engineering consultants Ricardo. Sean Holland, head of tractor product management at New Holland, says the LoCT project fits with the brand’s

work already completed in alternative fuels in agriculture. “The collaboration will aim to develop a commercially viable tractor that can operate on sustainable, locally sourced bio-methane,” he said. He says this will be the vital link in closing the ‘virtuous cycle’ of an energy independent farm, where farmers use waste products to produce fuel with carbon neutrality. Each of the project partners brings special expertise to the development: Eminox has 35 years of exhaust engineering know-how, particularly in crafting specific systems for vehicles. Zircotec, a spin-off from the UK Atomic Energy Authority, knows how to deal with the extra heat produced by a gaspowered engine versus its diesel counterpart. And Ricardo will figure out the engine installation, fuel tank systems and exhaust components to fit current tractor offerings. – Mark Daniel


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



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




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

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



Electric excavator a world first JCB PROFIT


SIGNALLING CHANGING times, the construc-

tion and agricultural machinery maker JCB has begun producing the world’s first fully electric mini excavator. Dubbed the 19C-1E, the excavator is made at JCB’s Cheadle, UK factory. Sixty machines have now been sold, the company says. The excavator uses

JCB HAS posted 2018 turnover of NZ$7.8 billion versus NZ$6.46b in 2017. Profit was NZ$849m (NZ$648m). Machine production hit 96,246 units vs 75,693 in the previous year. JCB says the global construction machine market grew 18% to one million machines. JCB had a 22%

gain. Its largest market was India, where JCB India celebrated 40 years and commissioned a NZ$123m factory in Gujarat which will open in 2020. But the company warned that this year many markets are stalled, notably the Middle East, Latin America and India. JCB’s mini electric excavator.

the latest automotive battery technology for zero emissions and five times less noise than its diesel counterpart, yet it has the

same performance as a fossil fuelled version. A full battery charge takes no more than two hours then it’s ready for a

full shift. The unit is said to be popular with companies working inside buildings or in tunnels and in urban

places with noise restrictions. Operating costs are low: five years of charging

would cost only half that of rebated diesel. And servicing costs are expected to be 70% lower.

All machines are fitted with the JCB LiveLink telematics system as standard.

Stocking up on parts POWER FARMING says it

now stocks an extra $500,000 of parts at its hubs in Christchurch and Invercargill to help cut contractors’ downtime in the South Island. It is targeting regions with lots of McHale baler-wrapper combinations, Kverneland triple mowers and large rakes. The aim is to make parts immediately available. Dave Pritchard, group parts manager, said, “For a critical range of products during the harvest season we aim to ensure that no-one is more than four hours away from required parts 24/7.” Power Farming, a New Zealand owned and run family business, has three parts facilities in Australasia: Morrinsville, Christchurch and Melbourne. These support 26 NZ dealerships employing 180 trained technicians.

LED strobe beacon BEACONS ARE an indispensable health

and safety device for many vehicles on farms. But the inconvenience of a power cord plugged into a vehicle’s accessory/lighter socket can be a nuisance. The new Narva Sentry Pro amber strobe light solves this in a rechargeable cordless LED package which gives five hours of light from a 2200mA lithium bat-


AGRI ENERGIZERS Electric Fence Energizer Range

AVAILABLE NOW MAINS POWER | BATTERY | SOLAR Ask for Strainrite at your nearest rural supplies store

Strainrite’s Agri Energizers use of patented Adaptive Power Technology (APT) on selected models ensures maximum power is delivered to the fence while minimising power losses along the fence line. With APT the energizer detects and responds to changing environmental factors, such as weather conditions (wet/dry) and vegetation growth on the fence, and adapts to the changing needs of the fence by maximising fence power and efficiency underneath the point of arcing.


tery. It has 12 LEDs. The strobe is held by a magnet to a roof or metal surface, withstanding 120 km/h wind. It has fully sealed construction, a virtually unbreakable polycarbonate lens, solid state circuitry and no moving parts. It comes with a 12V accessory/lighter socket cable, and an optional 240V charger mains charger is available at extra cost. A 5-year LED warranty applies.



Small tractor didn’t cost the earth MARK DANIEL

A HOME in the country usually brings

with it a little work so Bronwyn Baird figured on buying a tractor. Her lifestyle block at West Melton, near Christchurch, runs to 4ha split into 10 paddocks where her animals reside. Wanting to keep the paddocks at their best she typically tops them three or four times a year. At first she looked for a small, good condition second-hand tractor. But when a friend pointed her to the Kioti brand she visited a local dealer and was surprised to find a new tractor fell inside her budget. Fast forward two years and Baird now sings the praises of her Kioti CS2610, noting the quality of the tractor and the great value for money. Powered by a 3-cylinder diesel engine that pushes out 26hp, the compact Korean also has convenient hydrostatic transmission with twin pedals for easy forward or reverse control. Add to that stepless speed control, in a choice of two ranges, and it means there’s a speed for every job on

the property. The machine’s flat platform gives easy access and dismounting, controls are grouped to the left and right of the seat and a comprehensive dashboard shows and enables control of the tractor’s main systems. Baird said, “The Kioti is as easy to operate as a ride-on mower, everything falls to hand and the power steering makes it very manoeuvrable, so it’s easy to live with.” She uses it exclusively with a rear mounted slasher/topper. It always has plenty of power and is easy on fuel. Baird said of the tractor’s reliability, “It’s not something we use every day, so sometimes it will sit for weeks as a favourite sunbathing spot for the cats. Despite this it always starts first time and never gives any problems.” Her local dealer is just down the road at Rolleston so Baird knows after sales support is only a phone call away. Her peace of mind reinforces her good decision in choosing the Kioti, she says. She summed up the CS2610: “Exceptional value for money and a great little tractor, so much so we have pointed a number of friends in the same direction.”

Bronwyn Baird with her Kioti.



24.8 HP


KG 1134















We spent years developing the new Ranger Diesel to offer the durability and performance needed on New Zealand farms. This model was designed for New Zealand and extensively tested in New Zealand. The all-new Ranger Diesel has a new engine, new heavy duty one-piece chassis and new powertrain. To learn more about the incredible story behind the development of the New Ranger Diesel, watch the short documentary on our Polaris New Zealand YouTube Channel.

WATCH NOW! Model shown with optional extra accessories.

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Profile for Rural News Group

Dairy News 17 September 2019  

Dairy News 17 September 2019

Dairy News 17 September 2019  

Dairy News 17 September 2019