Page 1

Govt adopts emissions plan. PAGE 8


Women get the nod PAGE 6

OCTOBER 29, 2019 ISSUE 434 //


Making farm work easier PAGES 16-22





Govt adopts emissions plan. PAGE 8

Making farm work easier PAGES 16-22

OCTOBER 29, 2019 ISSUE 434 //

KEEPING FONTERRA STRONG “It’s about our co-op empowering our people to create goodness for generations.” – Shareholders Council outgoing chair Duncan Coull PAGE 5

Dairy News_265x70_v6 (No Bleed). ai copy.pdf




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Women get the nod PAGE 6

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NEWS  // 3

Council ‘not a second board’ FUTURE LEADERS


MPI under fire over M.bovis. PG.04

Less plastic milk bottles. PG.07

Seaweed to bust methane. PG.15

NEWS�������������������������������������������������������3-9 OPINION�����������������������������������������������10-11 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������������ 12 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������� 13-14 ANIMAL HEALTH���������������������������������� 15 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS����������������������������������������������16 FARM BIKES & ATV’S������������������ 17-22

THE FONTERRA Shareholders

Council doesn’t have the powers to act as second board of directors for the co-op, says outgoing chairman Duncan Coull. “A number of our shareholders would want us to be something we are not -- a second board,” he told a session of the co-op’s Governance Development Programme in Auckland last week. Coull says unfortunately not all farmer shareholders understand the limited authority the council has in Fonterra: monitoring how the board is increasing returns to shareholders and growing shareholder value. He says the council’s primary role is to represent the interests of supplying shareholders to the board through its constitutional function. It does this by representing its farmers’ views to the board, monitoring board performance through the statement of intentions and ensuring the cooperative principles are preserved The council is facing criticism from some shareholders for the coop’s poor financial performance. A lot of shareholders hold councillors accountable for performance of the board. But Coull says the council isn’t

THE FONTERRA Governance Development Programme is a one-year programme, running since 2006. It helps develop a pool of prospective future rural leaders, providing a stepping stone to leadership and governance roles in the industry. It’s open to Fonterra shareholders and herdowning sharemilkers. A few places are also available for members of other co-ops like LIC, Foodstuffs and Silver Fern Farms. It is a joint initiative of Fonterra’s board and the Shareholders Council and facilitated by Massey University’s College of Business.

Outgoing Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Duncan Coull.

ahead of the decisions made by the board; “we are behind the decisions”. “It makes it very hard for us as

a council to influence those board decisions. “A fair question is to ask our-

selves how effective we have been in delivering these functions. “The other question we have and need to reflect on is whether we are monitoring the right things. “The Statement of Intent monitors output which is past tense by the time we report. “In my view, Council would be more effective monitoring culture and behaviours within the organisation. If our behaviours are right then performance has a greater chance to succeed.”


4 //  NEWS

MPI under fire over M.bovis compensation NIGEL MALTHUS


eron is accusing MPI of negligently – or worse, deliberately – running a Mycoplasma bovis compensation system that as far as possible delays and minimises payments to affected farmers. Cameron, a specialist in class actions, has revealed that he is talking with several other law firms with dairy industry expertise and Mycoplasma affected clients, and a class action is now on the cards. He is also acting on behalf of the Van Leeuwen Group, on whose property the disease was first detected in mid-2017, seeking a High Court declaration on whether they can claim compensation for professional fees incurred as a result of the outbreak. Cameron told Dairy News that whether professional fees should be claimable was just the first phase of the overall strategy. He said every farmer with Mycoplasma bovis faced two major problems: the first was the MPI response, the second how MPI sees the compensatory regime. The second was dealing with the farming operation’s own bankers because they can “take fright” and start to apply

PAYOUT ISSUES ALWAYS COMPLEX – O’CONNOR COMPENSATION ISSUES are “always complex,” says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “There have been some ridiculous claims, and there have been some mistakes made. I don’t think it’s easy to point fingers at any particular part of the process to say who’s at fault here.” Asked to comment on complaints by some M. bovis affected farmers that they are out of pocket because of expenses ruled unclaimable under the Biosecurity Act, O’Connor emphasised that the eradication programme was jointly run by MPI with DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ, so farmers themselves were contributing to the cost. “We are always working to try to improve the compensation process but it’s governed by legislation and by determination by BLNZ and DairyNZ and MPI to pay fair compensation but not to pay it when it’s not justified,” he said. However, the Government is

pressure of one form or another depending on the particular farmer’s circumstances. Cameron said it was not just the Van Leeuwens. He had other farmer clients in the same position, as did other law firms he was in discussion with. “So the first thing is that the MPI compensatory regime should be fair and restore the farmer to a position they were in before the outbreak. That system doesn’t work and I think I would be that blunt about it.

committed to a review of the Biosecurity Act. Some ex gratia (outside the strict criteria) payments had also been granted. “Those decisions are made keeping in mind the fact that farmers themselves are contributing to this. They want a fair outcome and we have endeavoured to be fair at every stage, but there are technical and legal obligations that have to be adhered to.” Meanwhile, O’Connor said the TAG (Technical Advisory Group) report on the eradication programme would soon be finalised and released. “Indications are we’re still on track, that the challenges that we have encountered with testing, with the technology, with prioritisation, we’ve worked through those. “The programme has not been perfect but we’re still on track for eradication and we think that’s well worth the effort.”

“MPI pretend that it works and suggests that it’s paying a lot of farmers within a short period of time. We’ve seen no evidence of that at all. What we’ve seen is that there is the occasional interim payment. “There is a wider practice of delaying over extraordinary lengths of time. In the Van Leeuwen’s case it is over two years, but I know of other ones almost as long.” Cameron said it was plain MPI had no proper system in place “and we will certainly be bringing

South Island corporate farmer Aad van Leeuwen, with wife Wilma, is seeking compensation through court.

evidence ultimately before the court to show that they were almost inventing it as they went”. There was also a general attitude of delay as long as possible in the hope the farmer would accept a lower amount and go away. “We think there is probably a deliberate strategy to minimise payments to farmers. “This is a very serious situation because if they don’t receive quick and full recovery then they are necessarily going to be in strife with their bank and

with their creditors so their whole operation will be threatened. “So what we have is a system that is either negligently being operated or, worse, is being operated to a strategic plan designed to save money for the Crown. Under either scenario that is extremely serious for farmers and the faming community.” Cameron said it is serious for the country because it is a policy underlying the Biosecurity Act, and there is “an absolutely necessity” for farmers to report serious disease outbreaks as soon as they occur to avoid devastating the national economy.


Van Leeuwens had found that it was not just lawyers and accountants, but “a whole raft” of professionals including dairy consultants, bankers, real estate agents and others who had to get involved in helping M. bovis affected farmers to assess their position. “In respect of professional fees and bank charges, we are asking the High Court to declare that these things are covered by the compensation regime. “That will be many millions of dollars for the dairy community. If that case succeeds, farmers will be a helluva lot better off than they were before.”

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“There has to be a statutory incentive for people to report honestly, fairly and right upfront. “And the quid pro quo is a fair compensation regime that puts farmers back in the position they were in, and they can expect full fair and quick payment. “That is demonstrably not happening.” Meanwhile, Cameron has asked the High Court for an urgent hearing of the Van Leeuwen’s judicial review application, and is hoping it can be heard before Christmas. It is asking specifically whether or not the compensation regime covers professional fees. Cameron said that the

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NEWS  // 5

Co-op to value why it exists OUTGOING FONTERRA Shareholders

Council chairman Duncan Coull says the co-op’s purpose review has been the most defining piece of his tenure. The council instigated this review in February 2018 after discussions with the board under then chairman John Wilson. The review sought input from farmer share-

“Purpose is now at the heart of everything we do, why we get out of bed in the morning. “It is about our co-op empowering our people to create goodness for generations: you, me and us together, and it drives everything we do within this organisation. “It holds the strategy to account, it holds behaviour to account and

“Our council is excited about the review and working with farmer shareholders. “He points out that there has been no clear review of the council’s constitutional function

“Purpose is now at the heart of everything we do, why we get out of bed in the morning.” holders, employees and customers, highlighting the need to have a purpose that built belief and belonging and also acted as a guide to the culture and the strategic direction of our co-op. Next week, Coull steps down after nine years on the council, with fourand-a-half years served as chairman. He says without knowing why the co-op exists, any strategy, old or new, would be ineffective for Fonterra. “Without clarity of purpose, no matter how good strategy is or was, we would find ourselves back in this position after not too long,” he told Dairy News. Coull says the purpose of any organisation is critical in terms of understanding why it exists – how this shapes strategy and what needs to be done to effect the strategy. “For Fonterra in the first 18 years it could talk very clearly and succinctly about what it did, less so about how it did and very rarely talked about why it did what it did.”

since Fonterra’s formation. “Our view is that resolutions coming before us are from people who care about the co-op and its future. It’s critical that we all work together.”

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drives better outcomes for all of us. “In the absence of this work we had nothing that was holding our strategy to account.” At Fonterra’s annual meeting, farmers will be voting on two farmer resolutions seeking an independent review of the council. Coull and his councillors and Fonterra’s board oppose both motions because the council believes the reviews proposed by the farmer resolutions do not go far enough. “There needs to first be a full review of council’s purpose and functions before considering whether council has been effective, or deciding on any changes. The council has itself already called for a full review of the council.” Farmers behind the two motions say the council’s review will end up as an internal affair, something Coull disagrees with. He says the council is open to and understands the importance of independence in the review.

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DUNCAN COULL says there’s deep frustration among Fonterra’s shareholder base about the co-op’s performance. He’s not surprised that Fonterra farmers are seeking a culture change within the co-op that would translate into strong performance. He points to a value creation report the council commissioned last year; it highlighted that strategy has failed to deliver since inception. “It didn’t happen in the domain of the current leadership: it’s related to governance over a long period of time.”


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6 //  NEWS

Women elected to DairyNZ board KEY INVESTMENTS


DAIRYNZ INVESTED $67.8 million dairy farmer levy payer funds into six key areas driven by the sector’s Dairy Tomorrow strategy. Key investment includes R&D in farm systems and environmental sustainability, says chief

TWO WAIKATO dairy farmers were

elected to DairyNZ’s board last week. Tracy Brown is a new member and Elaine Cook was re-elected at the annual general meeting in Hamilton on October 22. They are two of five farmer-elected directors and three board-appointed directors who contribute to strategy and priorities on behalf of dairy farmers. DairyNZ now has a board of five women and three men. Chair Jim van der Poel welcomed the directors and acknowledged their role in “playing a key part in setting the future direction of DairyNZ”. “As dairy farmers we have always evolved and we are on the cusp of the next phase. We are in a period of increased innovation to build and empower New Zealand dairy farms to be profitable businesses in the most sustainable way.” Brown has been leading environmental change for dairy in her roles as DairyNZ Dairy Environment Leaders chair, Ballance Farm Environment

Tracy Brown

Elaine Cook

Awards alumni chair and as a Dairy Women’s Network trustee. “I have been dairying with my husband Wynn on our Waikato farm Tiroroa for 25 years. I have been leading environmental change for a decade, building relationships and empowering farmers to lead and find regional solutions,” Brown said. “We need to drive the delivery of creative solutions and innovation to evolve our farming systems for the future, increasing profitability and lowering our footprint.” 

Brown, originally from Northland, lives near Matamata on the 700 cow, 310ha (240ha milking platform) system three farm ‘Tiroroa’ which won the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Supreme Award in 2010. An AWDT ‘Escalator’ alumnus, she was a finalist in the 2017 Westpac Women of Influence Awards and won a Sustainable Business Network’s ‘Sustainability Superstar’ award in 2018. She was recently appointed by the Cabinet to the Freshwater Independent Advisory Panel.

Brown began in agriculture as an economist at the NZ Meat and Wool Board’s Economic Service. She has a BAgrSci (Hons) from Massey University and is a Kelloggs Rural Scholar (Lincoln University). Cook and her late husband took the traditional progression through the industry to farm ownership, farming in Waikato and Southland, and going on to win NZ Sharemilker of the Year in 2006. She has interests in a 300ha family farm in Otautau, Southland, but lives in Waikato with her three daughters. “I believe DairyNZ’s role is increasingly vital. As farmers we are innovative and world leading, and we need a framework that links all these great

executive Tim Mackle. “Next season, DairyNZ will invest $6.9m in projects which aim to protect and nurture the environment. Within this, DairyNZ has invested significantly in research and on farm studies.

things we do, to tell our story about sustainable and ethical food production,” she said. “I love dairy farming, am passionate about the industry and helping drive industry objectives to ensure we are farming well into the future.” Cook has been on the board of Southern Dairy Hub and NZ Young Farmers. Her current and previous governance roles have been with organisations that create value for others in agribusiness, research and innovation, industry good, pastoral dairy farming and education. Her corporate career has involved agribusiness, local government, information management, health and safety, and human resources.



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NEWS  // 7

Milk price hike a surprise and relief NEVER BEEN BUSIER


FONTERRA’S FARMGATE milk price forecast

upgrade was a welcome surprise although indicators were heading that way, says Federated Farmers dairy chair Chris Lewis. “We are so nervous and cautious at the moment so I guess it was a bit of a surprise,” he told Dairy News. Farmers had some expectations as they had noted the drop in the US dollar and compared to last year the GDT is on average $300/t higher. Fonterra last week increased its 2019-2020 forecast farmgate milk price range from $6.25$7.25/kgMS to $6.55- $7.55/ kgMS. The advance rate Fonterra pays its farmer owners will be set off the mid-point -- $7.05/kgMS -of the revised range. News of the upgrade would be greeted with a “huge sigh of relief” by cash-strapped farmers, says Lewis. “It is good news for farmers who have been feeling a lot of pressure of late,” he said. “Finance has been very tight and some of the regulations -greenhouse gas and water -- are weighing heavily on farmers’ minds.

Chris Lewis

“There has been huge mental pressure for farmers of late, and we are overdue for some good news, so it’s a positive indicator as to where our season might end.” He says he could feel a collective sigh of relief. Lewis and some economists expect the current month -- when production typically hits its season peak -- could show a slight decline. Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins says they anticipate a farmgate milk price of $7.15/kgMS is possible for the 2019-20 season. “We see global milk supply and demand remaining largely in balance over the remainder of the season,” she said. “Coupled with a weaker kiwi dollar relative to last year, we see the possibility for further upside to our existing forecast. For now we are comfortable with

$7.15/kgMS and we will be reviewing our forecast in early December 2019. BNZ senior economist Doug Steel says the new forecast range with a mid-point of $7.05 makes sense. BNZ lifted its own forecast a few days prior to the announcement to $7.10/kgMS. “Fonterra notes good international prices for the season to date and encouraging supply and demand dynamics for the period ahead,” Steel said.  “This suggests Fonterra has a degree of comfort that international prices will generally maintain their current decent levels.” A watch on the GDT auctions will show how it plays out.   Fonterra chairman John Monaghan says the co-op had been achieving good prices for its milk so far this season. “Demand for whole milk powder (WMP) has

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FEDERATED FARMERS is the busiest Lewis has ever seen it in trying to keep on top of responses to government policies, he says. “Water, greenhouse gases, and you’ve got the biodiversity coming up, Resource Management Act, immigration announcements, the RoVE review on Primary ITO -- I could go on,” Lewis said. “I have been involved with Feds for 13 years and we have never, ever, ever been so busy as we are now. We are stretched beyond our capacity with all the things coming out. “It is more than overwhelming. We don’t want to let our farmers down and to do a good job requires a massive amount of resources. It’s really making us work hard. “You have to piece it altogether -- all the science, the economics, all the different policy things. There are so many documents. There’s a 400 page one, then another 400 page one behind it.” The Feds have had to split into different teams to deal with different sections just so they can make some sense of it. He says there’s the election next year and he hopes some good policies come out.

been firm, and for the full season we’re expecting it to be above last year. Global WMP production is down year to date and expected to continue to decrease for the remainder of 2019. “We are also continuing to sell our skim milk powder at higher prices than EU and US dairy companies in Global Dairy Trade (GDT) events.” Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says there are positive signals for the milk price. “It is still very early in the season and a lot can change. There are a number of factors we

are keeping a close eye on, which is why we’ve retained a wide forecast milk price range,” he said. Hurrell says the strong demand for the co-op’s milk and the prices being achieved, relative to other milk producing regions, demonstrate the rationale of Fonterra’s new strategy to prioritise New Zealand milk. “One of our four priorities is to support regional New Zealand. If you take the $7.05 mid-point of today’s revision to our forecast farmgate milk price, it’s another $450 million into regional New Zealand.”

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ery has eliminated 210 tonnes of fresh plastic from its packaging cycle over the last year. The company has been trialling bottles made from 100% recycled plastic. To celebrate Recycling Week NZ, the company said it has now permanently shifted all its bottles to rPET, which is made from 100% recycled plastic and is 100% recyclable in New Zealand. “No new plastic is created, and no plastic is shipped offshore because rPET is accepted by every council in the country,” said Lewis Road founder Peter Cullinane. “It’s an additional cost to us, but it’s one we’re happy to absorb rather than pass on simply because this is the right thing to do.” He said switching the company’s 750ml and 1.5L milk bottles had saved the production and import of 210 tonnes of fresh plastic into New Zealand. Also, the company will now change its 300ml flavoured milk and cream bottles to rPET, and will reduce the amount of plastic used in each of its 1.5L bottles by 30%. These two moves will save an extra combined 73 tonnes of plastic each year. “The colour of the bottles isn’t perfect,” said Cullinane. “We’ve had to tell a few customers that even though the bottles no longer look completely clear, the product inside is still pristine. Hopefully by doing this we can help make the path easier for others who may follow.”

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8 //  NEWS

Farmers ‘better board the emissions train’ PETER BURKE

THE EMISSIONS train is leaving the station and farmers need to be aboard, says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle. He was responding to last week’s news that the farming sector and the Government have signed a plan to reduce primary sector emissions. The plan will see the parties together developing practical, cost-effective ways to measure and price emissions at farm level by 2025. To advance this the Government has introduced the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill due for a first reading next month and then referral to a select committee. The aim is to reduce farm emissions by 2025, but there is a proviso in the Bill which stipulates that if the independent Climate Change Commission doesn’t think sufficient progress is being made at farm level the Government will intervene. A five year action plan will include providing better tools for estimating and benchmarking emissions on farms; integrated farm plans that include a climate module; investment in research, development and commercialisation; increased farm advisory

Susan Kilsby


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle at last week’s announcement in Wellington.

capacity; and capability and incentives for early adopters. The plan is based on a document He Waka Eke Noa – Our Future in Our Hands developed by the primary sector and it negates a proposal on this subject in July of this year. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the agreement is a world first which moves New Zealand closer to its goal to become the world’s most sustainable food producer. “We need a plan that supports our environment but also one that support our primary sector. A plan that is practical, innovative and

achievable.” Ardern says it’s great to see primary sector leaders sharing the same aspirations as the Government. Mackle says the sector is grateful that the Government has listened to the industry and devised a pragmatic solution. In this win win situation the Government wants to get moving forward at the same time as we want the right approach -- a time to work through the issues, he says. “There are still a lot of details that we have to work through. This gives us time and I think farmers

LOW MORALE and uncertainty in the dairy indus-

will appreciate that. It’s also certainty for farmers and it gives time to work through these things carefully. “We must be able to measure things at a farm level and put farm plans in place so that farmers have clarity on what they need to do to manage emissions.” Mackle says they must continue with R&D of mitigation options. But he says DairyNZ is not entirely happy with the Government intervention arrangement and doesn’t think it is necessary. @dairy_news


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try appear to be overshadowing the positive outlook for the sector. The latest ANZ Agri Focus reports a huge range of positives for the sector, yet the bank’s agricultural economist, Susan Kilsby, says dairy farmer confidence is the lowest they have seen in more than 20 years. The biggest thing impacting farmer confidence is the uncertainty about Government regulations on environmental legislation, she says. “Also, costs are rising and farmers have high debt levels. Farmers have had long periods of interestonly lending but the banks are looking for principal repayments on loans.” Kilsby says ANZ bank sees a positive outlook for the dairy sector and as a result has revised its payout forecast upwards by 15c to $7.15/kgMS. This is because the outlook for commodity prices is strong and the NZ$ is expected to remain low. ANZ says the Fonterra payout for the 2019-20 season is in the range of $6.55 - $7.55 and Kilsby says while this seems plausible, the chances of this hitting the bottom end of the range is now looking unlikely. The bank says milk price futures for the 2020-21 season have gained more than 25 cents over the past month to trade above $6.50/kgMS. Farmers trading this contract are looking for a degree of certainty in their future income stream, the bank says. Meanwhile the ANZ Agri Focus reports that global milk production remains subdued which will support better dairy commodity prices. ANZ says that while commodity prices have remained relatively stable in recent years they have not been high enough to encourage expansion in the big milk producing regions of Europe and the United States. European milk production is up by only 0.4 of 1%, while US production is up by a “tiny point one of a percent”. Cow and heifer numbers in the US are also down. The Australian dairy industry has been hit by ongoing droughts and water costs and this has hampered the viability of the key milk producing state Victoria. Australia is now only a minor player in the international dairy market, says ANZ. Only about 25% of Australia’s milk supply is now exported, whereas 20 years ago almost half its milk was exported. Overall ANZ says assuming global demand holds up the outlook for dairy products remains robust. The bank says the NZ season is off to a strong start. – Peter Burke


WORLD  // 9

Wood, sugarcane packs for milk SUDESH KISSUN

AUSTRALIA’S OLDEST dairy company

will be selling milk and other products in renewable cartons from next month. Brownes Dairy, Western Australia’s biggest processor, is ditching fossil fuel derived, plastic lined milk cartons for sugarcane and wood -- a first for the Australian dairy industry. Brownes Dairy chief executive Tony Girgis told Dairy News that from the end of November, most products will appear in Tetra Pak’s bio based board cartons made entirely from wood fibre and sugar cane. Girgis says the move is part of the company’s sustainable strategy aimed at reducing its environ-

Brownes Dairy is the first Australian company to sell milk in renewable cartons. Inset above: Tony Girgis, Brownes Dairy.

mental footprint through innovation. Over the years, Brownes Dairy has reduced the use of plastic in packaging, milk wastage during processing and use of cardboard. Girgis says when Tetra Pak approached the company with the new milk carton technology, “we decided to give it a crack”.

“There is a lot of emphasis on the importance of recycling, but less focus on how we can make products more sustainable from the beginning: we wanted to improve the sustainability of our packaging across the entire lifecycle of our products.” While making the

change to bio based milk cartons, integrity of product has been paramount. “We have tested the bio based board repeatedly to ensure our product quality, product freshness and food safety are fully maintained,” said Girgis. The company has received mostly positive feedback so far.

He says farmer suppliers are also happy supplying milk to a progressive company focussing on sustainability. Brownes Dairy will switch 25 of its milk carton products to the new sustainable packaging – about 17.8 million milk cartons per year. Products include fresh milk, fla-

voured milk and creams. “Brownes Dairy scoured the planet in search of the best sustainable packaging on the market. Making the switch to sugarcane is not only better for the environment, but now our consumers can trust the package is made from raw, plant based materials,” said Girgis. Tetra Pak has supplied at least 500 million renewable packs since its bio based board was introduced to dairy by the Finnish brand Valio in 2015. Brownes Dairy will be the first company in Aus-

tralia to integrate the renewable cartons across its entire milk carton range, and “proud to be the first company in Australia to embrace this new environmentally friendly packaging,” Girgis said. Brownes Dairy has been owned by Chinese dairy giant Shanghai Ground Food Tech since 2017. It was started in 1886 by farmer Edward Browne. The company collects about 150m litres of milk, which is 42% of the state’s total supply, and has 53 farmer suppliers. Brownes Dairy makes fresh milk for sale within WA: products with longer shelf life are sold in other states and exported, mostly to Asia. The company’s product range includes fresh milk, flavoured milk, cream, yoghurt and dairy desserts.

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At last a deal on climate change

MILKING IT... Angry as usual

Cripes, stripes!

THE USUAL culprits are angry at hearing last week that the Government and the agri sector will work together to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace is labelling it “Government’s surprise backdown” on its commitment to put farming into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) It accuses the Government of buckling to lobbying pressure from the dairy industry and big agribusiness. An ETS won’t work for NZ agriculture. Only collaboration between all stakeholders will take us forward, so last week’s announcement is a step in the right direction. Grow up Greenpeace.

HAVE YOU ever tried painting zebra stripes on your cows? Apparently, it could solve the age-old problem of fly attacks on livestock, and bring economic and environmental benefits. Biting flies are serious pests, causing economic losses in animal production. But a new study by Japanese researchers and published in PLOS One found that black cows painted with zebra stripes are nearly 50% less likely to suffer from the bites. Researchers used six Japanese Black cows with different paint designs in the study. The treatments were black-and-white painted stripes, black painted stripes, and no stripes (allblack body surface).  The numbers of biting flies on the cows painted with black-and-white stripes were significantly lower than those on nonpainted cows and cows painted only with black stripes.

Vegans chase nurseries

Vladimir the dairy farmer

THE BATTLE between milk and its fake rivals is spreading to nurseries in the UK. A charity claims that nurseries which do not offer a vegan alternative to cow milk as part of their free milk schemes are “indirectly discriminating against” children. The Vegan Society has published a legal opinion challenging the Department of Health to include fortified plant milk in its Nursery Milk Scheme. The charity’s legal expert wrote in a formal letter to the Government that nutritional public health initiatives for children must include fortified plant milk to cater for the growing number of vegan children.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin is a master tactician in taking advantage of international conflicts. Now he’s on a mission to wean Russians off foreign food and to modernise the dairy industry, where milking is still often done by hand. And he’s getting help from Europe. Five years after the food embargo banning Dutch gouda and Italian parmesan, Russian companies are trucking in thousands of black-and-white Holstein Friesians from across the border to state-of-the-art milking parlors built with German and Swedish engineering. Russia is now the biggest importer of cows from the European Union and its flagship milk company is German owned. It’s part of an ambitious Government plan to transform Russia from a major milk importer to self sufficiency within eight years. In the longer term, Russia has set its sights on selling milk to the biggest market of all: China.

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PRIMARY SECTOR bosses and Government ministers waxed lyrical at a news conference at Parliament on the new deal on agricultural emissions. It seems the Government has taken farmers’ word that they can cut farm emissions in a way better than the very prescriptive approach the Government was proposing a few months ago. The news conference heard farming’s two representatives say they were “very proud” to be associated with the agreement and to feel listened to by the Government. They were seeking practical, effective outcomes and believe that the deal will achieve this. They said farming will work with the Government to design a pricing mechanism whereby any price is part of a broader framework to incentivise the uptake of economically viable opportunities which contribute to lower global emissions. Both sides are describing this as a win-win deal, and in fairness it was probably the best that both sides could have hoped for. It’s likely that some farmers will be unhappy and that some ‘green’ elements of the Government may feel aggrieved and claim that farmers are being treated as a special case. Already Greenpeace is labelling the deal “a sellout”, accusing the Government of buckling to lobbying pressure from the dairy industry and big agribusiness. For its part, Federated Farmers is happy to be working with the Government via ‘He Waka Eke Noa’ commitment but it continues to oppose agriculture entering the ETS. Its position remains that He Waka Eke Noa is clear that the ETS has not worked to reduce emissions and will not work for agriculture. The question that remains is whether this new Bill and proposed solutions will take some pressure off farmers and give them certainty. One could say it may help, but there are still lots of other issues to be resolved on the environmental front, notably water and farmers’ about land use change. Much is said about helping farmers deal with climate change and the challenge will be how to get the message out to the wider farming sector. A lot of this will likely fall on industry good organisations such as DairyNZ. At this stage it looks hopeful as most parties go forward with goodwill.

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Reducing phosphate loss * by up to 75% is big news “Phosphorus is needed for plants to grow in New Zealand’s naturally deficient soils, but too much of it in waterways can cause excessive growth of unwanted aquatic plants and algal blooms”, says Ballance Innovation Leader, Dr Jamie Blennerhassett. “Most farm systems lose phosphate, mainly via runoff. The actual amounts of phosphate lost to waterways in runoff are relatively low, typically 0.1 to 1.7 kg P/ha/year. But even low amounts can have a significant negative impact on water quality”, says Jamie. A soluble fertiliser, such as superphosphate or di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), spread too close to waterways or applied less than two weeks before irrigation or heavy rainfall, can contribute up to 90% of total phosphate losses from pasture, via runoff. If this lost phosphate enters waterways, it will be available to aquatic plants and algae. The good news is that SurePhos can reduce phosphate loss by up to 75%*, so it’s better for business, better for waterways, and better for the future of farming in this country.

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For the love of the land | 0800 222 090


OPINION  // 11

No time to stand still TOM POW

WITH A few years under

my belt now, I have more than half a century experience of seeing banks watching landowners, changing markets and seeing farmers switch from wool to milk and back again. I’ve even seen some farmers indulge in handrearing possums for fur, and breeding angora goats and ostriches. Various successful enterprises have popped up, and more than a few dead-end ones. I never did think milking seagulls would catch on. You can see the stage the bankers have now got to in the economic cycle: it’s the ‘suck in the money’ stage -- lending money at low interest rates with only a small deposit required. But the Reserve Bank is applying pressure in wanting banks to retain more capital, so no doubt the banks will soon come back around to where they started: taking deposits and basing their lending on what they where doing -- and shortly overextending. The Reserve Bank could require our banking sector to raise at least $20 billion extra capital. Is this a bad joke? Do they really think it will work? It would take a huge sum out of the economy just as farmers are being required to spend large on technology and infrastructure to reduce waste, greenhouse gas, runoff and to meet a vast range of sometimes arbitrary-seeming compliance costs? A previous government set up a ‘rural bank’. Why? 1. Was the NZ Rural Bank just to help farmers? 2. Was it just to help the NZ balance of trade? 3. Was it for employment? 4. Or was it to help to develop poor land? (They even had a marginal land programme.) Banking criteria can change but for farmers one fact remains timeless:

growing profits are king for any business. Whether you have low debt or high debt, making a poor profit is no fun for anyone and has no future. Right now, dairy farmers should have smiles on their dials. Dairy farming is a skill and not just an investment, not anyone can just leap in. Dairy factories and/or companies may

tunity would pass by and the farm would go backwards. 4. Find options that will grow the business and profits: keep in step environmentally while increasing profits. Use the profits and increase revenue in a way that will keep you ahead of the pack. This could help to keep tax at manageable level.

“Right now dairy farmers should have smiles on their dials.” change over time but the milk supply was and will be highly sought after by investors. We must not lose the skill and skilled people in NZ dairy farming. Our Government says all the right things but for all their talk we are not seeing progress across New Zealand. On September 11, a news story said our country’s banks are struggling to maintain profits from their loan portfolios. At the same time, there’s a tsunami of compliance coming our way. We need to be nimble and think ahead. As dairy farmers, what can we do and are there options to suit? Let’s look at a few and problems that could arise: 1. Standing still: No way, the downside is too steep. The rules around farming are getting tougher, resulting in increased costs with no extra return. Standing still may work for a few farmers but in reality it means going backward. 2. Taking small steps forward: this would keep your business moving forward slowly, but while small steps every year should keep you compliant, your profits will wane. 3. Likely outcomes of dropping the bank off your back by following bad advice (because banks appear to be looking after themselves before their clients): tax demands would go up, farm improvements would stand still, oppor-

Returning to compliance costs: how many people does it take to change a lightbulb? On a farm these days -- judging by the number of rural inspectors beating a path to the farm gate -- the answer is: quite a few. Attacks, sometimes even a surprise ambush, come from all directions and most bear an associated cost. Why do farmers need all these people poking into their business and telling them what they must do or else? Government, local government, industry compliance groups, feel good groups and even farmer owned bodies, to name a few, are all at it. And many of these entities have more than one group of inspectors ready to come out with their checklists to pronounce their verdict on your operation. This needs to be sorted out. Clean water is another hot topic – and ‘clean’ seems to be a much misused and misunderstood word. Water from the roof of cowsheds and farm sheds and houses wouldn’t pass clean water tests. There are plenty of feathered flying creatures who squawk and do other stuff on our roofs. And we all know the downstream effect from fish farming. Nature recycles nutrients, nature is not wasteful. Here’s an idea: if you don’t like the water, drink milk. To clean up the rivers in Northland you would have to get rid of all the

Rules around farming are getting tougher, resulting in increased costs with no extra returns. Inset: Tom Pow

birds along with any live fish in our streams and rivers. Sediment in rivers is another interesting test of common sense. My farms are on silt/sedimentary soils which are thousands of years old. Our land

shows the scars of old riverbeds with the healthy appearance of nature just doing what it does. Banks erode, trees fall, plants sprout. Are we expected to stop nature’s constant cycle of decay, death and

regrowth to maintain a picture-perfect scene fit for a photograph? As our climate changes, our waterways will need to change too to remain fit for purpose, getting wider and deeper during wet years.

Planting riparian belts around Northland rivers will help to stop some of nature’s ongoing changes, as well as make managing the bed almost impossible. • Tom Pow is the founder of Herd Homes Ltd.



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Fonterra’s dream run in India PAM TIPA



months ago launched its first consumer brand in India under the Fonterra Future Dairy joint venture, says Judith Swales, chief operating officer, global consumer and foodservice. The brand Dreamery has had a “fantastic reception”, she says. Fonterra is working with joint venture partner Future Group which is present in 26 of 31 Indian states with over 2000 modern trade outlets and 5000 public distribution outlets. “Dreamery was unveiled in Mumbai in June this year, with the goal of delivering a new

FONTERRA sees huge potential in India for its foodservice business Anchor Food Professionals, says Swales. The Indian food service industry is set to grow at 9% each year until 2023, when it is predicted to reach a total value of over $130 billion. “The new Indian consumer eats out of home on average twice a week and when they do they’re demanding high quality and better

generation of innovative and nutritious dairy products to excite the new Indian consumer -- something we’re calling Dairy 2.0,” Swales told the India New Zealand Business Summit in Auckland this month. “We’re creating these products from locally sourced milk. The milk

tasting food,” said Swales. “When you consider that dairy is used in over 10% of food served in restaurants, you get an idea about how important it is.” With Anchor Food Professionals, Fonterra will enable chefs in the Indian foodservice sector to create food that not only tastes and looks better, but helps them to run a more efficient kitchen with better yield and less wastage.

will be collected from Indian farmers, helping to uplift India’s dairy industry while also enhancing food safety and quality across the supply chain by implementing Fonterra’s stringent global standards. “At the same time, we’re also enhancing the safety and quality standards and dairy process-

ing infrastructure of the third party manufacturers who process these products in India.” Having access to this locally sourced milk means Fonterra can create consumer products that offer enhanced nutrition, taste and texture to Indian consumers. They increase demand

for high-quality, valueadded dairy. “To date, we have launched four products tailored to the needs of the New Indian con-

sumer: Dahi, UHT Toned Milk, Chocolate and Strawberry Milkshakes, with more planned for the coming months. “Today we have prod-

ucts in 1100 Future Group Modern Trade stores all across India. “And we’re present in 500 general trade stores in key cities including Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.” Since the launch they have had a fantastic response, says Swales. “Dreamery’s Milk Shakes and UHT Toned Milk have already achieved more than 10% of sales in their respective category in Future Retail Stores. As we establish the brand, we’re focused on building a strong consumer base with strategic expansion throughout India.”

DAIRY CONSUMPTION ON THE RISE INDIA’S DAIRY market has recently transformed, says Judith Swales, Fonterra’s chief operating officer, global consumer and foodservice. “Consumers are looking to lift their dairy consumption, and they are calling for new products with new standards of safety, quality and taste,” she told a recent conference. But with 23 official languages, distinct regional tastes and preferences and a huge landmass to cover, there’s a lot of work to do to reach these diverse consumers. Swales was outlining at the India New Zealand Business Summit why Fonterra has entered India’s dairy market and how the co-op is going about it. Today, India is the largest producer

of dairy. The country’s dairy sector is valued at upwards of $20 billion. Annual consumption of dairy in India is 138 litres per person. This compares to the global average of 110 litres per person. Over the next seven years, this consumer demand for dairy in India is set to increase by 82 billion litres – seven times the forecast growth for China, she says. Driving this growth is the country’s young population: 70% of people are below 45 years old. “They are digital, live in urban areas, lead an active lifestyle and have more disposable income than ever before. And they’re looking for dairy products that deliver higher quality and better nutrition. “This has resulted in a big shift

away from more traditional locally based dairy businesses with limited product and brand differentiation, to a Judith Swales new era where more value added and innovative dairy products are in high demand across the country.” Fonterra has more than 100 years of dairy heritage, uncompromising food safety and quality standards and global manufacturing and R&D expertise, Swales says. “The question is how we use these qualities to make an impact for Indian

consumers. “We recognise that our expertise in dairy is only one part of the equation and if we want to make a difference in helping India strengthen its dairy industry we can’t go it alone.” This led to the partnership with Future Consumer, one of India’s largest consumer companies. “By leveraging each partner’s strengths we are creating a truly collaborative approach to bring a new generation of dairy products to this rapidly expanding market. “This joint venture allows the co-op to bring our global dairy innovation, manufacturing and nutrition expertise to a diverse Indian consumer base. “With their deep understanding

of the Indian consumer, experience working with international partners and this nationwide supply chain and retail network, Future Group is an ideal partner to reach these new consumers. “Future Group is present in 26 of 31 Indian states with over 2000 modern trade outlets and 5000 public distribution outlets and a nationwide cold chain and ambient distribution network. “Together, we’ve got the scope to reach over 500 million consumers in over 350 cities all across India.” They also have a partnership with Amazon and recently acquired the master franchise for 7-Eleven in India, allowing us to work together to reach a wider range of consumers.

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Dairy motivates top scholars PETER BURKE

QUAD SAFETY is back in the news in Australia,


BOTH MASSEY University’s top scholars for 2019 are from dairy farming families and both are DairyNZ scholarship students. Megan Robertson who hails from a dairy farm at Hari Hari, West Coast, was named Massey Agriculture Student of the Year. And Grace Burmeister, whose parents have a dairy farm at Mangatainoka, Tararua District, won the prestigious William Gerrish Memorial Prize. This is for meritorious performance in various farm management papers and for demonstrating a high level of personal integrity, intellectual curiosity, vision and social conscience. The recipient must be interested in a career in farm management or agricultural economics. Grace Burmeister, newly awarded a BCom, attended Fielding High School before going on to Massey. She says she’s always been passionate about the dairy industry and having worked on her parents’ 1000 cow farm near the Tui Brewery knows what it’s like to be ‘down and dirty’. Burmeister says she went to Fielding High School to get the agricultural experience. “I guess from there my passion for the industry grew even more when I did an agri commerce degree at Massey. As a result of this I am going into banking next year as part of a graduate agribusiness programme with BNZ. “I have always been passionate about banking and the economics and financial side of farming so I made it my goal to get into banking and I have got there,” she said.

Heads up on a good hat

Grace Burmeister.

Megan Robertson.

Burmeister likes to see the success stories of farmers and see them succeed to their potential. She says working as a banker will allow her to do that. Looking at the future of dairy industry, Grace Burmeister says the environmental side is huge, it will not be fixed overnight and will take time. “Farmers understand that they have got to work with the Government to progress and make the environment better. Dairy farmers have been hit a lot lately and their morale is very low. So there will be a change, but I think the Government and everyone else needs to understand that this has

THE MASSEY Agricultural Student Award was won by Megan Robertson, newly awarded BAgriCom. The award is for her all round contribution to the university. She also won the Young Farmers Sally Hobson award for her service to the club. In July, Robertson was part of a team that represented New Zealand at the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association conference and business case study competition in China. The conference theme was on how e-commerce is shaping global agribusiness. Growing up on the family dairy farm on the West Coast, Megan Robertson says she always knew she would pursue a career in agriculture. “l studied agriculture via correspondence when I was attending Nelson Girls College and this sparked more of an interest. From there I decided to go to Massey University to pursue my passion for agri commerce, majoring in international agribusiness. I now have a job working for Fonterra Farm Source in their agribusiness graduate programme in Hamilton,” she said. Robertson says her upbringing on a dairy farm guided her towards Massey. Her experience at university has broadened her perspective of the agricultural sector. This has been helped in part by her parents’ move from the dairy farm to own an avocado orchard in Bay of Plenty. “I have tried to do as much as I could while at university and taken any opportunity that I have been given and also helping everyone out wherever I can. “I have a passion for getting young people into the industry and have been talking in schools and helping at agri kids competitions and what not. At the moment I want to continue learning and soak up as much as I can and stick my hand up for any opportunities that come my way,” she said. Longer term Robertson would like to be in a governance position in NZ agribusiness with a longer term goal of going back on farm and running her own business.

to come progressively otherwise you are going to get mental health issues,” she said. She says she’s seen this with her own parents who have had to ride out the ups and downs of the dairy industry. She says people need good support networks such

as the Rural Support Trust to help farmers through difficult patches. Initiatives are needed to get farmers off the farm and out into the community and socialising, she says. @dairy_news

where the Government has ruled that rollover protection will be mandatory within 24 months. So it’s timely to revisit the subject here and, notably, mention a good safety helmet your reporter is pleased to have worn during machine test outings. WorkSafe’s website shows a downwards trend in fatalities and serious injuries, no doubt because of greater awareness and increasing use of safety helmets. Australia’s coroners have looked at several fatalities and have not recommended the use of crush protection devices. They urge more factual evidence of their efficacy. Importantly they say that had riders been wearing an approved safety helmet the fatalities investigated would have been 42% fewer. Riders are known to oppose wearing helmets because they are hot, heavy, difficult to buckle with gloved hands and impede hearing livestock or colleagues when herding. The Shark ATV ROV helmet, released in 2017, appears to have addressed these issues, as it was designed for agricultural use. The lightweight composite shell meets all ECE 22-05 and DOT certifications for off- and on-road use and it weighs only 1200g. The construction comprises four foam densities for maximum shock absorption, and it has two large, adjustable vents in the upper surface for cooling. On the sides are hearing pods with apertures allowing the wearer to hear ambient noise, and a recess at the rear allows the fitment of digital communications gear. A quick release sliding buckle set-up does away with the older double D ring design, and a removeable lining allows easy cleaning. There are kits for dust, insect and noise control. This reporter has worn a Shark during tests of two wheelers, quads and side by sides, and confirms that the helmet lives up to the maker’s claims. In a wide range of weather conditions and temperatures it was cool and comfortable, and its lightness prevented neck pain even during long sessions. The quick release buckle is a big plus point. – Mark Daniel

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Too late for maize? Despite the month’s difference in planting date there was only a 15-day difference to silking, and by silage harvest maturity the difference was just over a week.

EVERY YEAR, my col-

leagues and I get the odd call in early November asking if it is too late to plant maize silage. We are also asked whether it is worth switching to a shorter maturity hybrid or is it better to stick with the longer hybrid. Fortunately, my friend and colleague, Dr Rowland Tsimba, has researched the subject and so I put some questions to him that are typical of the ones we get asked. Ian: Rowland, there seems to be conflicting advice around when is the best time to plant maize? Some say as early as possible, others say on Labour Day and others say you can plant maize well into December. Who is right? Rowland: Not wanting to sound like a politician, the answer is: it depends. While we used to think the earlier planted the better, that was before we had done the research. Some research I did as part of my PhD showed that the planting window in most regions is actually quite wide and the likelihood of achieving the potential yield is the same as long as you plant somewhere in that window. Ian: But how wide is that planting window?

Rowland: Once again it depends, as it varies from season to season and from region to region. The colder the season or the colder the region, the narrower the window. For most of New Zealand somewhere between the first week in October to the first week in November is ideal. Ian: If I am a week or two later than my planned planting date, what is likely to happen to yield and will it mean that I will be harvesting a week or two later? Rowland: The research showed there was a big variation between seasons and between regions. However, our modelling work showed that depending on hybrid maturity, maize planted in late November in Waikato or Manawatu would in a ‘normal’ season drop less than 10% of its potential yield than maize planted in October. Later planting does not necessarily mean later harvest. It’s important to note that, like any other

crop, maize development is driven by temperature. The warmer it is, the faster it grows. Summer and autumn are always warmer than spring so a week or two later planting in a cool spring will often mean only two-three days later harvest. In fact, we did research where we planted maize on October 19 and on November 19. Despite the month’s difference in planting date there was only a 15-day difference to silking, and by silage harvest maturity the difference was just over a week. However, when considering things at a farm level, you need to take into account any impact that later planting may have on other important farm activities like regrassing. If you plant late and then we have a cool summer and autumn, it may push back your harvest date. This may then mean you have a later regrassing date, which may in turn impact the establishment of your new pasture. Ian: Ok, then let’s run with that scenario.

I’ve planted mid November with a longer maturity hybrid and now it is getting near the end of March and I need to get my maize off and my grass in. What can I do? Rowland: There are a couple of things you can do. Firstly, you can harvest your maize silage in the low 30% DM range rather than waiting until the mid to upper 30s. Once again, the research work shows there isn’t too much yield loss with taking it a little earlier. Secondly, and in extreme cases, you can raise the cutter bar height on the chopper and leave a little bit of stalk behind. Our research shows you may lose a little yield but you increase the dry matter content and the energy per kgDM, and you get your paddock regrassed on time. Ian: What about changing hybrids from longer to shorter? Does that work? Rowland: Of course it works, but I only recommend it as a last resort and by that I mean planting in early December or

if you want to harvest by a particular date and the longer hybrid is unlikely to be ready or closer to 30% DM. In many cases, switching to a shorter maturity hybrid may actually result in decreased yield, whereas sticking with the planned hybrid and harvesting it a little earlier may well achieve the desired result. Ian: If people are still unsure about this or have any questions what should they do? Rowland: They can contact their local merchant rep or contact us on our helpline 0800 Pioneer. In summary: the maize planting window is quite wide. A couple of weeks later planting often results in only a few days later harvest. You don’t necessarily lose a lot of yield by planting later. There are a few things farmers can do to bring their harvest forward if the crop is still not quite ready to harvest but the paddock needs to be regrassed. Only shorten your hybrids as a last resort but talk to your maize seed seller and involve them in the discussion. Ask for advice if you are unsure of what to do. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact him at iwilliams@genetic.



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A new polymer coating for superphosphates.


IN NEW Zealand’s soils, phosphorus does a great job at growing plants but unfortunately it does the same thing if it makes it into our water. Once dissolved phosphate is in surface water, it assists in growing the wrong plants such as oxygendepleting algae that starve other organisms. There has been plenty of heat and noise about the Government’s proposed limit for dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in New Zealand’s waterways and its impact on food creation. But the proposed limit for dissolved reactive phosphate (DRP) deserves just as much focus because the implications are just as serious. The proposed 0.018 parts per million limit for DRP is certainly ambitious. The impacts of such an in-stream phosphate limit could affect more catchments than the proposed nitrogen limit: approximately 30% of monitored river sites exceed this threshold.   To paraphrase the old saying, ‘For every complex problem, there’s someone selling a solution that’s clear, simple and often wrong.’ Anyone with a partly soluble product to peddle who says it’s a silver bullet to hit any newly imposed limit is ignoring the most important study of its kind from four eminent professors in Journal of Environmental Quality.  Earlier this year, professors David Nash and Mike Mclaughlin from Australia and professors Richard McDowell and Leo Condron from New Zealand contrasted the P-loss effects of poorly and well managed fertiliser applications. They found “under poor management, recently applied P fertiliser can contribute a considerable proportion (30-80%) of total farm P exports in drainage, but when fertiliser is well managed, that figure is expected to be less than 10%”. Good fertiliser management constitutes placing the right amount of the right nutrient in the right place at the right time: the trusty ‘Four Rs’.  Yes, there are innovations in the pipeline such as coatings or amendments that can better control the release of the phosphate and there are slow-release P products on the market today. But these are no substitute for getting the right advice, testing, modelling and mitigations from a certified nutrient management advisor combined with more precise and traceable application from a Spreadmark accredited company. Everyone wants to see P stay available to the right plants. It’s the best thing for the environment. Farmers certainly don’t want to pay to create a whole lot of underwater greenery. But farms, soils and waterways are complex systems and losses will occur. Their complexity also means that, whatever eventual DRP limit finds its way through the consultation process, the answer won’t just be as simple as “Buy New Product X.” • Mike Manning is Ravensdown general manager, innovation and strategy

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Seaweed could bust methane emissions NIGEL MALTHUS


is predicting huge international demand for a native seaweed if research proves its worth as a potential methane buster for agriculture. The seaweed, Asparagospis armata, has already been proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in livestock by up to 80% when used as a feed supplement. Nelson’s Cawthron Institute has been granted $100,000 from the Government’s Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund through the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for a one year project to investigate commercial scale aquaculture of the weed. Cawthron, New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation and an expert in aquaculture and freshwater and marine ecology, is contributing $150,000. Announcing the grant during a visit to Cawthron with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, O’Connor said the research estimated that if just 10% of global ruminant producers adopted Asparagopsis as a feed additive, it would have the same impact on our climate as removing 50 million cars from the world’s roads. “Farmers know better than most about the effects of climate change and many are innovating so that they can drive down on farm emissions. They need technology

like this to help them get there.” O’Connor told Dairy News the new research was the next stage of moving towards commercialisation, to see if it can be scaled up and delivered to animals in our farm systems in an effective manner. “We run a unique pasture based system in New Zealand but we are very innovative. Ensuring that the development of Asparagopsis into a practical form that can be delivered on a regular basis to cows and be really effective is the challenge of this project. “If this is proven to be effective as predicted there will be huge international demand for it. “Not only do we gain from methane reduction within agriculture but a huge opportunity for agriculture as an industry itself,” he said. The research will be carried out by Cawthron with researchers from the University of Waikato and Australian macroalgal scientist, Professor Rocky de Nys. Methane from cows is regarded as a significant greenhouse gas. It comes from a group of microbes called methanogens in the rumen which produce methane from hydrogen and carbon dioxide as the rumen contents breaks down. The seaweed contains chemicals found to suppress those microbes. Research already done in Australia has shown that the seaweed, once harvested and dried, can be used as supplementary

Laboratory flasks of the native seaweed Asparagopsis armata, being investigated as a potential methane-reducing cattle feed supplement. SUPPLIED/CAWTHRON

feed. The next phase is to develop an early proof of concept of the aquaculture production systems needed to develop Asparagopsis at scale. Prof. Charles Eason, chief executive of Cawthron Institute, said: “We are excited to offer our aquaculture expertise as part of this collaborative research effort. “This type of seaweed is native in New Zealand, but there is not enough of it to meet the potential demand from farmers which could be thousands of tonnes each year. Part of our job is to work out how this could be grown at mass scale in order to meet demand domestically and globally,” he said. “This research project firmly aligns with our aim of using our independent scientific research to help protect our environment and support the development of sustainable industries. “This project will build on Cawthron’s world leading algae research, and Asparagopsis is just one of a number of seaweeds and algae that have high value potential for New Zealand. “Micro and macro algae (seaweed) are an area of global growing interest due to their unique properties. We already work with a range of commercial partners to optimise the growth of healthy algae strains for successful aquaculture and increasingly to identify algal species, like Asparagopsis, with

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Prime MInister Jacinda Ardern at Cawthron Institute for the announcement of Government support for research into the potentially methane-busting seaweed Asparagopsis. SUPPLIED/CAWTHRON

the potential to produce high-value products,” said Eason. “Aquaculture is a young industry with enormous potential for this country, not only in the field of algae, but also open ocean farming. Our hope is that our research will enable our industry partners to reach the Government’s target of aquaculture being a $3 billion industry by 2035.” O’Connor said sustainable agribusiness and transitioning to a low emissions economy is a major focus for the Government. “It’s why we established the $40 million a year SFFF fund last year: to invest in projects that deliver economic, environmental and social benefits for all Kiwis. “Aquaculture is a growth industry for this country and has the potential to play a more significant role in our economy. It’s currently worth $600m a year and employs over 3000 people. “The Cawthron project could lay the foundations for a new high value industry, along with the jobs that go with it. There are also export potential and on farm economic benefits, including price premiums for milk and meat.”

154 Coplands Road, Ashburton Freephone 0800 833 463 Email



A step up for two-wheeler fans MARK DANIEL


well known XR 125, the new Honda XR 150L is a step up for those preferring two wheel transport on the farm or between

properties, as the machine is road registerable and LAMS approved. Now equipped with a 149cc fuel injected engine, the unit benefits from several technical upgrades including an offset crankshaft, roller rocker assemblies and a

lighter piston. It has an electric starter, but for a back-up it’s equipped with a kick-starter to deal with a flat battery (usually caused by the ignition being left switched on overnight). A light-action clutch lever allows the operator

The Honda XR 150L is a great choice for those who prefer two-wheelere sot move around the farm.

The Honda XR 150L is road registerable.

to snick the machine into gear and quickly move through the five-speed transmission. Mounts and dismounts are made easy with an 825mm seat height, and the long, sculpted seat gives good support and comfort. Up front, twin telescopic forks have 180mm of travel to soak up rough ground or potholes, while a rear single shock takes care of the rear with 150mm of movement. Front tyre equipment is 19-inch, mated to a 17-inch rear, combining in a useful 233mm ground clearance. Braking is by a 240mm disc with a twin-piston calliper at the front,

with a drum unit at the rear. Final drive is by a high quality O-ring chain at the rear, easily maintained with eccentric cam style adjusters. Standard equipment includes a comprehensive instrument binnacle with an analogue speedo and display area with multiple warning lights. Additional equipment includes a parking stand on the left side, twin rear view mirrors, halogen headlight and direction indicators. Completing the package is a rear tubular carrier, engine crankcase guard and hand protectors on the handlebars. @dairy_news

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The new Ranger Diesel retains all its hallmark features111.

Two years of R&D delivers Polaris Ranger diesel RELEASED IN June 2019, the new Polaris Ranger

Diesel results from two years R&D including customers, dealers, technicians and engineers. To understand a ‘day in a life of a Polaris’, engineers instrumented vehicles in New Zealand to collect data towards the specification of the new Ranger Diesel and to help them focus on improvements. The Ranger Diesel is powered by a new 24hp diesel engine with a new, higher intake and filtration system at the vehicle’s front. The complete driveline is sealed, with new bearings, bushings and a new heavy duty steering rack system. The drive shaft is a 2-piece CV sealed system for longer life, while mudguards are added to exclude dirt, mud and water from sensitive areas of the onepiece chassis. Ground clearance is increased by 20% to 33cm, allowing the machine to tackle tougher terrain. Towing capacity is rated 1134kg, load bed capacity is 435kg there’s a 13% better turning radius. As part of the new Ranger, accessory numbers exceed 200 available for this model: 30% are new and 70% are a carryover from previous models. A new electrical buss bar under the hood adds the ease of plug and play for many of those accessories. The Ranger Diesel retains hallmark features like on-demand all wheel drive, EPS, engine braking and active descent control. New styling includes a digital gauge positioned directly in front of the driver, the new seat has 2.5cm thicker padding and storage areas in the cab are improved by 17%. Deep storage bins take your gear, there are two gloveboxes and six cupholders, and a flip up passenger seat give space for dogs, animals and buckets inside the vehicle.


A::ll day. every day.


The definition of reliable – Suzuki’s DR200SE Trojan is a no-nonsense farm bike that’s been designed for hard graft – day in and day out with a minimum of maintenance and downtime. Developed for New Zealand conditions it’s no wonder they’re a firm favourite with Kiwi farmers like Opiki-based Ken Anderson. In service all day, every day since 2012 and over 60,000km later it hasn’t skipped a beat. If you want a rugged farm bike that redefines the word ‘reliable’, the Trojan is ready for work.


500 WAS $14,995




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KG 680












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KG 1134

24 HP









SAVE $1,000

KG 680

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*Offer ends 31/12/19 or while stocks last. Offer only available at participating Polaris Dealers. Excludes Fleet Clients. Not Valid on any other offers. **Farm Pack for Ranger 570 valued at $2,385 INC GST. Farm Pack for Ranger Diesel Gen 3 & Ranger XP 1000 valued at $2,625 INC GST. ^This insurance is underwritten by certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s and issued under binder authority by AWN Insurance (ABN 78 075 483 206, AFS Licence 246469) Polaris offers this insurance as an Authorised Representative of AWN Insurance. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. |




A complete package MARK DANIEL

DESCRIBED AS Kawasaki’s premium Mule side by side, the PRO-FXR is a sport utility machine that combines a wide-body chassis with a 320mm shorter wheelbase. This combination is said to offer stability and comfort, and give a tight 4.3m turning radius. The machine uses a frame that is ‘shinari’ tuned -- a Japanese term that describes elasticity and the ability of components to ‘bend’ then return to their original shape, not unlike a hunting bow or fishing rod. The upshot in this case is better handling and ride comfort, with the bonus of prolonged durability. Power is provided by a 3-cylinder, 812cc, fuel injected 35kW engine. A CVT-style transmission gives high, low and reverse, and engine braking for control on downhill sections, with overall traction controlled by 2- or 4WD choices and a dual-mode differential. Controlled braking falls to disc brakes all round.

The suspension set-up is double wishbones in each corner, working with twin tube shock absorbers and coil springs, resulting in a 275mm ground clearance for this 800kg unit. The wide body configuration allows for a roomy cabin, accommodating three adults side by side and kept safe by three-point safety belts. Half doors allow easy ingress and exit, while also keeping legs out of the danger zone and keeping mud out of the cabin. A standard hard top/roof also helps with weather protection and can be combined with screens and full door assemblies. The bench seat layout has two sculptured seats and shoulder bars for the left and right occupants, with a flat pad for the piggy in the middle. Both right hand passengers have handgrips integrated into the ROPS safety frame ensuring security in difficult terrain. A multi function display includes a digital speedo, fuel gauge, odometer, hour meter and clock. Additionally, dual trip meters, 2- or 4WD indicators and a park brake warning light com-

plete the information available to the driver. A tilting steering column accommodates drivers of differing sizes and is equipped with electric assistance that is speed sensitive, helping more at lower speeds or when manoeuvring. A 30L fuel tank is good for a long working

Completing the package, cast aluminium wheels are fitted with 27-inch bias ply tyres to give off road ability, grip and ride comfort.

day, and is located away from the wheels to prevent impact from hidden obstacles but is also protected by a steel guard. Helping to keep the machine looking its best are steel front bumpers and a bash guard, and similar rear assemblies -a first for the PRO-FXR machines.

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Top defender CAN-AM HAS added to its Defender UTV/side by side range for 2020, with the arrival of the Pro HD-10. Featuring a 1.8m cargo bed with a 435kg carrying capacity, the machine also has a low level storage box accessible from both sides of the vehicle. Power is provided by an 82hp, v-twin, fuel-injected Rotax engine that is said to be strong and smooth, and the frame has had a complete refresh. The new model builds on the Defender’s reputation for toughness and capability, says BRP’s senior vice-president for global products, BRP, Bernard Guy. “The utility/recreational segment for off road vehicles is growing each year, so we are committed as ever to product innovation that provides the best solutions for hard work.” The PRO HD-10 is configured to offer 1134kg towing capacity via a two-inch receiver and can transport three adult passengers. The unit also uses the Pro-Torq transmission with a quick response system to enhance low speed driving.













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*Ride away prices quoted exclude GST. CFMoto Sweet As Deal 2.99% 1/3 Finance Deal is valid on the following models. Total cost for CFMoto CForce 400 EPS LE is $8530.41 paid via three equal instalments of $2843.47. Total cost for CFMoto CForce 520 EPS Farm Spec is $10,305.15 paid via three equal instalments of $3,435.05. Total cost for CFMoto UForce 800 EPS Farm Spec is $18,582.45 paid via three equal instalments of $6,194.15. The initial instalment is in the form of a deposit at time of purchase. The second instalment is payable after 12 months where the third (final) instalment is payable after 24 months. These totals equate to the cash price including GST plus a $235.60 application/documentation fee and $10.00 PPSR Lodgement (Total charges of $245.60) plus interest costs calculated at a rate of 2.99% per annum. Normal lending criteria apply. Finance offer excludes CFMoto CForce 520, CFMoto UForce 550 EPS and CFMoto UForce 1000. Offer end 31st December 2019 or while stocks last.



Kodiak built to endure tough stuff MARK DANIEL


stranglehold of the offroad market has been tempered by side by sides (UTVs), quads persist, particularly on narrow tracks or difficult terrain. For a quad for heavy loads or tough conditions it’s hard to find a more capable machine than the Yamaha Kodiak 700 EPS. It’s shod with heavy duty, 25 inch diameter Maxxis tyres carried on 12-inch steel wheels and weighs 307kg. It’s a large

machine, with physical attributes that make it good for 600kg at the towbar and a useful 140kg spread between the front and rear racks. Out on the farm the Kodiak, despite its weight, is easy to steer thanks to electronic steering that keeps driver effort light and gives good feedback on changing surfaces or terrain. The SOHC, 4-valve, 686cc single cylinder, fuel injected engine starts easily and quickly settles to a steady tickover. Hitting the throttle results in smooth rapid

Dairy News 420FM1_XR190 Ad_Oct.indd 1

progress, helped by Yamaha’s Ultramatic CVT system in which a toothed drive belt is kept under constant tension. This gives excellent downhill retardation, with all wheel braking by the one-way sprag clutch set-up. A wide, long seat accommodates all sizes of riders, and full length footboards give a sense of safety and prevent seasoned bikers from putting their feet down before the vehicle comes to a stop. Countering the machine’s turn of speed, disc brakes all round give a controlled stop. Their

Yamaha’s Kodiak is the one for heavy loads and tough conditions.

configuration is a righthand lever control of the twin discs at the front and a left lever or the rightfoot pedal actuating the rear single disc. On the farm race the ride quality felt pliable, edging towards soft, but certainly a very comfortable ride. A double wishbone, A-arm set-up uses specially designed KYB shock

absorbers with 180mm of travel at the front and 230mm at the rear. The machine took in its stride towing an 80 teat calfeteria loaded with 500L of milk along the main farm race and through muddy gateways. The 4WD engaged only to stop the front tyres ‘washing out’ on turns. The flat contours of central Waikato precluded

hitting the diff-lock button. Riding the 700 for a couple of weeks looked to be easy, evidenced by the shaft drive to the rear, a handy access cover at the left heel to get to the engine oil dipstick and a capable and powerful halogen headlight up front. Keeping things clean was also easy with smooth panels, especially under

the mudguards, and plenty of space around the front and rear axle components to let muck fall through, rather than lodge and collect. No excuses there. Negatives? None that stood out, except the markings on the selector lever for forwards, reverse and park: not big enough for old buggers with less than perfect eyesight.



Trojans work hard every day MARK DANIEL


family farms at Opiki, southwest of Palmerston North. This true family business is run by Ken, wife Jill and sons John, Mark and Ross. They milk 400 cows, run bull beef and crop 15ha of turnips and 5ha of forage maize. As on most dairy farms, much of their available time each day is taken bringing cows to and from the milking shed or moving young stock and followers between paddocks. Their on farm transport falls to the Suzuki brand, with a fleet of four DR 200SE Trojans and a LT 300 quad, the latter doing spot spraying and haulage tasks like calf retrieval and feeding.

The Suzuki fleet on the Anderson family farm.

Ken says the Trojan is “a really good all round machine”, not surprising given the model’s history. A prototype, developed by Suzuki NZ with the help of local farmers to meet local conditions, was sent back to the factory in Japan before hitting dealer showrooms in 1996. Power comes from a single cylinder 200cc

engine, fed by a conventional Mikuni carburettor and prodded into life with an electric start. There’s a standard kick start for back up. Layout sees a 21 inch wheel up front and an 18 inch at the rear, combining to give 260mm ground clearance and an 810mm seat height. “The Trojan is really comfortable and easy to

swing a leg over, but most of all reliable,” Ken said. Weighing about 130kg, the machines are easy to handle and steer, making them ideal for the Anderson operation. “We particularly like the powerful halogen headlight that’s useful for early starts or late finishes out on the farm.” Ken also notes the Trojan comes at a good

price, is supported by a good dealer and once on the property it never leaves -- it just becomes a valuable source of spares for the current machines. This is particularly so with wheels and tyres, with two spare sets available at any time. So punctures, whilst an irritation, only need a wheel swap, with repair done next time someone goes into town. After arrival, the new machines get a first service at the local dealer’s, but from then on get routine maintenance on farm at 2500km so they start when required and go on to lead a trouble-free life. One machine, seven years on the farm, had its odometer turn over 60,000km, so the team obviously know what they’re doing. Standard equipment

The bikes get routine meintanance on farm to lead a trouble-free life.

is a disc brake up front, a drum unit at the rear and a useful clutch lock, meaning the bikes can be left in gear when stopping to open gates or drop hotwires. Add to that front and rear racks to carry necessaries, and guard bar, sump guard and a fully enclosed chain case.



Ken sums up the Trojan: “We have a great relationship with our dealer Phil Turnbull of Courtesy Motorcycles that goes back nearly 40 years and at least 40 machines. They’re well priced, but importantly they’re reliable and a great all round bike.”




W XR190


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213 , 5 EXC GST

16/10/19 9:25 AM

Profile for Rural News Group

Dairy News 29 October 2019  

Dairy News 29 October 2019

Dairy News 29 October 2019  

Dairy News 29 October 2019