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Forecast milk price tops $7.50kg/MS. PAGE 3

CONCEPT TRACTOR

High-tech automation PAGE 26

MENTAL HEALTH Ex-cop talks well-being PAGE 14

NOVEMBER 26, 2019 ISSUE 436 // www.dairynews.co.nz

READY TO LEAD New Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman James Barron PAGE 4

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

NEWS  // 3

Milk price rises, volatility eases PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

Saving water while washing stock trucks. PG.08

Shed upgrade cuts milking time. PG.22

Making light work of silage. PG.26

NEWS�������������������������������������������������������3-11 OPINION�����������������������������������������������12-13 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������ 14-15 MANAGEMENT��������������������������������16-18 ANIMAL HEALTH���������������������������������� 19 DAIRY GOATS��������������������������������� 20-24 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS���������������������������������������25-27

ASB BUMPED up its this season

milk price forecast by 50c to $7.50/ kgMS after last week’s 1.7% rise in the Global Dairy Trade. And its senior rural economist Nathan Penny says most importantly the bank now believes we are likely to see less milk price volatility in the future. “We believe that the fall in milk price volatility is structural in nature. In that sense, the farmgate milk price is moving to a higher plateau,” he said. While BNZ has not moved yet from $7.10/kgMS, senior economic Doug Steel told Dairy News current market conditions suggest towards the top end of Fonterra’s $6.55 to $7.55/kgMS range. Westpac has more conservatively revised upwards for the current season to $7.10/kgMS. Westpac head of NZ strategy, Imre Speizer, says they are cautious about Chinese demand and allow for a modest pullback in world dairy prices over the first half of 2020. Steel says last week’s GDT gain was slightly lower than expected but still the fifth consecutive price increase. “This takes the cumulative rise since early September through to 8.3%. Prices are now 26.4% higher than a year ago and heading towards

Skim milk powder prices have reached a five-year high.

the top of a range that has contained them since 2014.” Milk powder prices drove the increase with skim milk powder (SMP) up 3.3% and whole milk powder (WMP) up 2.2% (average prices now US$3321/tonne). But fat prices eased with butter and AMF down 1.3% and 1.5% respectively. “Dairy market fundamentals still look healthy to us, with demand seemingly firm (unsatisfied bidders remain high, at 53) and supply is subdued (volumes sold at this event were 11.6% lower than a year ago),” he said. Obvious offshore risks require monitoring. “On supply, latest data shows NZ October milk production was down

1.5% on a year ago. Admittedly last spring was strong but signs that NZ production is now not keeping pace with last year are supporting prices.” Speizer, from Westpac, says WMP momentum remains clearly upwards, having risen a total of 12% since this sequence of auction price gains started in early July. It is up 28% from the low in November 2018. Despite a slight pullback in participation, demand from China has remained solid so far this year, and has been almost the sole source of growth for New Zealand’s dairy exports, he says. For the season to date, total New Zealand collections are just 0.5% above the 2018 equivalent. “This update is unsurprising,

given spring has been cooler than average in many regions. October is the largest milk production month, closely followed by November and December, which means there’s little chance of domestic supply rising significantly in the near term given lagged weather impacts. “Global supply remains constrained, with the US and EU flat over the past year. The implication from a supply perspective is that prices should remain firm.” Meanwhile ASB’s Penny has a next season forecast range of $6.50 to $7.50/kgMS. Northern Hemisphere growth is soft with annual production growth only marginally above flat in both the European Union and the US.


DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

4 //  NEWS

Challenges await new chairman SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

THE NEW chairman of

the Fonterra shareholders council, James Barron, is energised by the work lying ahead. The fourth generation Matamata farmer took over this month as chairman, elected by the 25 councillors after a twoway contest. His chairmanship comes at a crucial time. Fonterra has just posted its second year of net loss and the co-op is embarking on a new strategy to turn the business around. Fonterra shareholders are demanding changes, not only to the co-op’s business but the way the council operates as a watchdog for the 10,000 shareholders. The council

is embarking on a review of its functions and operations: not all shareholders are happy. Barron sees the year ahead as an opportune time to have “engaged and informed discussions” among shareholders on the role and functions of the council. He stresses that it’s not the council reviewing itself. “It’s a council-initiated review rather than a council-led review,” he told Dairy News. A steering committee of councillors, Fonterra directors and shareholders will draw up the terms of reference of the review. It will have an independent chair. At Fonterra’s annual meeting this month, Barron committed to the review within 12 months.

And it must be timely, he said. “So that we can move forward together. The process has started and there will be plenty of milestones along the way.” The council will invite shareholders to express their interest in serving on the steering committee. At Fonterra’s AGM, two remits were put forward by groups of shareholders calling for an independent review of the council, but neither remit reached the 50% threshold to pass. These remits weren’t supported by the council or Fonterra’s board. Barron says the remit from Southland farmer Tony Paterson contained conclusions drawn from the outset, including commentary on “council inac-

FOURTH GENERATION FARMER JAMES BARRON is a fourth generation dairy farmer milking 450 cows on the 140ha dairy farm where he grew up. After leaving school he earned a BCom at Canterbury University, worked in real estate and travelled -- snowboarding in Canada, kayaking in Africa and three years in the UK with his now-wife Holly. He went straight into farming on his return to NZ, starting as a farm assistant, then contract milking and sharemilking, before buying the farm the family has owned since 1933. James and Holly, who is a lawyer, have three children aged 8, 6 and 4. They all enjoy being part of their vibrant rural community. James joined the council three years ago, seeing it as a way to contribute to the ongoing success of the co-op. He is passionate about the cooperative model and wants to see it endure for generations.

Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman James Barron.

tion and suffering from board’s influence”. “Whereas our position is that we want the steering committee to set the terms of reference and we will move forward without any foregone conclusions.” Barron points out that about 44% of shareholders who voted supported Paterson’s remit. With voter turnout under 50%, only 25% of Fonterra’s shareholder base were backing the remit. Barron says the council would not ignore the views of these shareholders. “We have got a group of shareholders really keen to engage and have robust discussions. We will ensure they are given this opportunity in the next 12 months.” Barron acknowledges the different views among shareholders. “That’s the reality of being part of a 10,000 strong co-op. We are a diverse group of owners with a diverse set of viewpoints.”

‘WE HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE’ NEW FONTERRA shareholders council chairman James Barron says farmers are facing a raft of challenges. But this isn’t the first time farmers have been under the pump, he says. “We always have been able to overcome these challenges: this time is no different,” he told Dairy News. He says the challenges provide “a massive opportunity” for Fonterra farmer shareholders to work together and get through them. Changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) concern a lot of Fonterra farmers: most remain unhappy about having to supply milk to competitors at a subsidised price. Farmers are also facing new regulations on freshwater and carbon emissions. Barron says consumer expectations and preferences are also changing, faster than ever before. And rural banking is also changing. On Fonterra’s performance, he admits that its financial performance has been unsatisfactory. But the co-op is doing many good things. “Fonterra is providing me with a farm environment plan, it picks up milk

every day and makes timely payment for it. It also supports me through the Farm Source model. “And to top it all off, it maximises the price paid for my milk.” On the council’s performance, Barron says all the recommendations of a governance and representation review in 2016 are in place. The council has also changed the way it does things. For example, it now has communications designed for younger farmers and future shareholders. And as shareholders have requested, the council now has more focus on its roles and functions outlined in Fonterra’s Constitution. Face-to-face engagements with shareholders have increased in the last 12 months and its annual conference is now open to more shareholders. Barron says the council has also reviewed the way it collects and collates farmers’ views. “So, we are continually looking to improve the way we do things. There’s no perfect state. As long as we all try to improve I think that’s the right space to be in.”

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

NEWS  // 5

Effluent Expo doesn’t muck around MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

HELD LAST week at the Mystery Creek Event Centre, the annual Effluent and Environment Expo has firmly cemented itself on the calendar. Having ‘grown up’ a little since its days at Claudelands, Hamilton, the event, now run by Amanda Hodgson, has a broader emphasis. It not only exhibits effluent management products but also has sites giving advice and more content about the environment. The free Expo has sponsors including Fonterra FarmSource, Rabobank, Dairy NZ, Waikato

Regional Council and Mystery Creek. Education and discussion are important, with a wide range of speakers: Sir Graham Henry discussed performance, attitude and team wellbeing; Jacqueline Rowarth looked at soil biology; and Penny Clark-Hall discussing social licence and the benefits of building trust with stakeholders. Industry advisors speaking on farm water use, good management and adequate effluent storage give a good idea of the topical content. The exhibition hall had about 80 sites showing existing and new technology, particularly for monitoring and automation, all helping farmers and land-

Event Organiser Amanda Hodgson (left) & Social Licence Consultant Penny Clark-Hall.

owners to understand and meet the arduous require-

ments of the clean water accords and ETS schemes.

Amanda Hodgson summed up the event,

saying “We believe we’ve had a similar number of

farmers through the gates as last year”. “We’d love to see more but, interestingly, the locals were a bit thin on the ground. But we had people from the South Island, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Northland so it’s quality over quantity.” Exhibitors told Dairy News that the start of each day was a little slow and the day was over by about 2pm: dairy farmers tied to the milking shed? The event will grow, given the range of information on the one site and under one roof. Perhaps the uncertainty about standards is confusing farmers hearing different messages from different regions.

SKIM MILK PRICES UP GLOBAL DEMAND for skim milk powder (SMP) is increasing. As SMP stockpiled in European warehouses over the years dwindles, prices are on the rise. Last week’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction saw SMP price rise 3.3% to US$3017/tonne, the highest level in five years. In August 2015, SMP prices slumped to US$1419/t: around this time last year, SMP was fetching only US$1965/t. Open Country Dairy chief executive Steve Koekemoer has told farmer suppliers that over the past few years we have seen SMP prices struggle due to the high stocks produced in the EU.

“If you recall, they were stockpiling for some time which held prices down,” he writes in the company’s monthly newsletter Talk Milk. “These stocks have been worked through and it seems as manufacturers have directed milk away from SMP into other product mixes there is now a shortage. “Buyers have realised this recently and helped SMP prices reach the highest level seen in five years.” Open Country has not traditionally been a big SMP producer. However, Koekemoer says with the new upgrade at Awarua coming on line in March next year, it will be able to market a competitive SMP offering.

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

6 //  NEWS

Essential Freshwater’s $80b bill DAIRY FARMERS say over-stringent freshwater policies will cost New Zealand at least $80 billion in the next 30 years, but will not greatly improve water quality. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says water quality limits under the Government’s proposed Essential Freshwater plan are so severe that the net result will be a significant economic loss regionally and nationally. But they may not yield the environmental gains hoped for. “An $80 billion price tag equates to a cost of $38,000 for every household in the country, according to independent and robust economic analysis of the Essential Freshwater proposals,”

he said. These costs are three times higher in Southland, Taranaki and the West Coast, rising to around $120,000 per household over 30 years. This will have a devastating impact on regional employment, Mackle says. The analysis predicts 800 more households in Southland and 1000 more in Taranaki with a breadwinner out of work. “These are significant costs to be borne, particularly in rural communities, and they should not be taken lightly. “These points emphasise the role of dairy farming as the economic engine of the regions where there is no guarantee another sector will replace it.”

By 2050 this will be costing the country $6b per year – equivalent to the cost of unmitigated climate change in that

year, predicted by the OECD. DairyNZ says its scientific understanding and economic modelling

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indicates there is a more pragmatic way to achieve similar environmental outcomes at less cost to the economy and communities. “To be clear, the Essential Freshwater policy isn’t all about economics or money,” said Mackle. “Healthy, swimmable waterways are

important to all New Zealanders, including dairy farmers, who share the same aspirations to protect our rivers, lakes and wetlands.”   Up to 20% of New Zealand waterways run past or near a dairy farm and many of those farmers already strive to pro-

tect the environment. About 98% of waterways wider than 1m now exclude dairy cattle. Mackle says farmers will do their bit, but water quality targets exist that better address scientific objectives at no great cost. “DairyNZ is proposing an alternative approach to managing ecosystem health. This is based on strengthening existing standards for nitrogen toxicity to further protect sensitive indigenous species, alongside the proposed attributes for macroinvertebrates (MCI index) as the overall indicator of ecosystem health. Similar approaches are being proposed by regional councils. “The New Zealand dairy sector is solutionsfocused. Moving forward, it is crucial for the Government to work with the dairy sector.”

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The economic analysis forecasts that by 2050 total milk production will fall by 24% and all exports by 5.2% or $8.1 billion.

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billion loss ($7 billion) in GDP and another 4 percent reduction in milk production (28 percent). ■■

Proposed nutrient limits would impose a significant financial burden on the dairy sector. These limits – broadscale introduction of phosphorus and nitrogen leaching reductions in monitored catchments – are based on overly simplistic relationships and not supported by robust science.

■■

Southland, Taranaki, Marlborough and West Coast are likely to be most negatively impacted. By 2050, GDP could fall in Southland by up to 3.6%; Taranaki by up to 2.9%; Marlborough by up to 3.2% and West Coast by up to 2.9%.

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

NEWS  // 7

Ex-speaker loses bid for board seat FORMER PARLIAMENT Speaker David

Carter has lost his bid for a directorship of the South Island rural service company Ruralco. At the cooperative’s annual meeting last week, shareholders re-elected sitting directors Jessie Chan-Dorman and Tony Coltman. Both retired by rotation and offered themselves for re-election. Carter was the third candidate. Chan-Dorman says she is humbled to be part of the Ruralco team. She echoed a shareholder’s call that the co-op was one team working together for its farmers. And she acknowledged the challenges and opportunities ahead for farming, saying Ruralco will support farmers as they make the transition. Coltman, who joined

the board in 2016, says he was honoured to be reelected. “It was great to see such high participation rates and to see the seats contested. This is a healthy position for the board.” Coltman says he is acutely aware of the need to keep the business and its people in a strong position and help it to evolve in a competitive market. Shareholders voted online for directors for the first time and chairman Alistair Body said the voting went well. “Most of the votes were cast prior to the AGM and in spite of this we still had a good attendance and participation at the meeting.” Shareholder participation rates were five times higher than last year. At the meeting Body

congratulated the board and management on their enabling the cooperative to remain competitive. He said Ruralco’s management and board agree on

the business model and its future. The co-op had “positive financial results and many accolades to its name despite a diffi-

cult trading year, with the weather effecting irrigation and grain trading, and uncertainty and farmers’ conservativism affecting their spending.”

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MANY DAIRY farmers from the lower North Island were among the 1000 farmers who marched on Parliament recently, ostensibly to protest at the planting of pine trees on highly productive farm land. But their placards showed that trees were not their sole concern: also featured were gun laws, the environment and job losses. One organiser of 50 Shades of Green, Mike Scott, said people came from Whangarei, Taranaki, Tauranga, South Island and lower North Island. The turnout was amazing, he said, considering the busy time of year. The marchers assembled at Wellington’s Civic Square and walked through the main streets. Leading the march was a tractor driven by Daniel Michelson, a sheep and beef farmer from Taihape. It had taken took him eight hours to drive to Wellington. His tractor never made it into the Parliament grounds. It had to be parked in the street away from the action, he said. Waiting for the protesters at Parliament were the politicians who listened to speeches by the group leaders. But the politicians were all booed and heckled, including National’s agriculture spokesman Todd Muller. Afterwards Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor told Dairy News that the group came to have a say but not a listen which, he says, is the nature of protest at Parliament. But people must look at the facts and technical studies and make adjustments where necessary, he said. “I don’t think any of them would want the Government to intervene in their decisions to sell [their] land to whoever they wanted to.” – Peter Burke

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

8 //  NEWS

Saving water while washing stock trucks

From this to this: A washdown sump at Frews Transport’s Darfield base (left) and water that has been through the ClearTech system.

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ClearTech is Ravensdown’s commercialised version of a Lincoln Universitydeveloped treatment system aimed primarily at dairy shed effluent. It greatly reduces water use by using a special coagulant to separate out the solids -- producing water clean enough to re-use as yard wash. It also eases effluent storage needs by reducing the volume going into the ponds and eventually onto the paddocks. For Frews, a family business with a 100year history of servicing the Canterbury rural economy, the problem was the water used in washing down the fleet -stock trucks in particular. General manager Chaz Frew explains that with the onset of Mycoplasma bovis, everyone now wants cleaner crates. “You can spend four or five hours washing out one truck. So that’s a lot of hose time and a lot of water going out.” But Frew said the main aim was reducing the water intake, to get in line with their water take consent. The company was using 20,000 to 22,000 litres a day but is only consented for about 7000 – a figure he says was “plucked out of the air” 20 years ago when consenting came in but no-one really knew how water issues would develop. Although the company has yet to get its latest quarterly water bill, he believes water use has dropped dramatically since the Cleartech system was put in. The contaminated wash water goes into a 30,000 litre settling tank, where coagulant is added and mixed in. After the solids have settled to the bottom, clean water is pumped off the top to holding tanks and the residue goes back to the pre-existing septic tank system. The clean water can then be used to wash down more trucks.

Frew said the system has worked “almost too well,” because they were able to recycle such a high percentage of water that after a while an odour developed. That has been tackled by a small increase in the amount of fresh water intake and by adding an aerator to the holding tanks. Another teething issue was having to amend the software controlling what to do if the settling tank has to be dumped for some reason (if, say, the pH goes out of bounds). In Frews’ situation the tank cannot be dumped all at once but must be dumped in stages. “It’s been a bit of a learning process but I think we’re getting the system right now, with a little bit of fresh water coming in and recycling most of it.” The system is largely automated, while being remotely monitored by Ravensdown. At this stage it is leased but Frew expects to buy a system because the trial appears successful. He does not expect it to pay for itself in reduced water supply charges, but says it will ensure the company can operate within its water take consent. “It has additional cost, but it’s nothing to the cost of not being able to wash out or having our wash shut down. “To do anything new these days is hard, isn’t it? If you can build on your existing consent you’re pretty much right but if you’ve got to go and apply for a new one, right from ground zero, you’re looking at significant cost.” Meanwhile, Frew says a North Island trucking company is also interested in installing a ClearTech system and has come to see how the Frews installation works. Carl Ahlfeld, Ravensdown’s ClearTech product manager, says he expects to have seven installations running by the end of this year. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews


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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

10 //  NEWS

A2 eyes higher sales, profits PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

A2 MILK expects strong first half sales supported by brand and marketing investment in China and the United States. The company anticipates the annual operating profit margin full year 2020 will be 29-30% which is greater than expected. It previously expected profit to align with the 28.2% increase during the second half of 2019. Chief executive and managing director Jayne Hrdlicka says Greater China and the US are significant markets with sizeable and growing premium categories. “High consumer loyalty with relatively low

SYNLAIT DEAL EXTENDED A2 MILK has extended its supply agreement with Synlait Milk. The new agreement is a key part of a2 Milk’s global supply strategy. The supply agreement for a2 Platinum and other nutritional products, announced on July 3, 2018, provided for a minimum term of five years, with a rolling three-year term from August 1, 2020. This is now extended by two years for a new minimum term to, at the earliest, July 31, 2025. The volume of nutritional products over which Synlait already has exclusive supply rights has been increased. Synlait will raise its production capacity.

awareness indicates significant growth opportunity,” she said at the annual general meeting last week. This requires stepping up to serve Chinese consumers well through all

A2 Milk chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka.

channels. A2 will look to broaden its product portfolio in core markets, she said. “Our core markets have sizeable adjacent categories, once meaningful brand awareness is

achieved.” The company will leverage its existing infrastructure, channels and proprietary knowhow but investment in new capability will also be required.

Market testing continues in South East Asia and the Korean range is being extended to include infant nutrition with Korean company Yuhan. “Exiting the UK will

allow further focus on our existing core markets and over time more attractive new markets,” Hrdlcka said. Overall, for the full year 2020 revenue growth

is expected to remain strong in key regions, supported by brand and marketing investment in China and the US. Greater capability and infrastructure will be needed. First half revenue is expected to be $780 million to $800 million. China label infant nutrition sales are forecast to be about $135 million -- a growth rate of 84%. Cross border e-commerce infant nutrition sales are forecast to be about $155m (+54%). ANZ English label infant nutrition sales are forecast to be about $350m (+9%). US sales are forecast to be about $27m (+110%). Australia fresh milk sales are tipped to reach $75m (+12%).

Spring sheep products hit the shelves PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

SPRING SHEEP is now launching its products into the local market for the first time. The first product will be Spring Sheep’s full cream sheep milk powder. It is now available at Aelia Duty Free stores in Auckland and will be followed by select supermarkets in early 2020. It will be sold in convenient 350g and 850g resealable pouches. Shortly the company will also roll out its premium toddler and infant formula range to New Zealand and Australia. The company owned by Pamu and agri investment company SLC was established in 2015. The last four years

have seen Spring Sheep launched into multiple export markets, including Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan, with various high value sheep milk products. Spring Sheep’s chief executive Scottie Chapman says sheep milk is a traditional milk that has been around for thousands of years and is popular throughout Europe. Most of the global sheep milk supply goes into cheese production, but now people are starting to see how its digestibility, nutrition and taste attributes make it ideal for other products. “Consumers are becoming more educated and aware of the different options available and are actively looking for alternatives with beneficial health properties,” he said. Andrea Wilkins, Spring Sheep’s

marketing and innovation director, says they started by launching prod-

ucts into the Asian markets where there is a strong latent awareness

of the benefits of sheep milk and research showed demand for quality specialty dairy products. “In New Zealand, most people associate sheep with high-value wool and high-quality meat, but this is changing. “We’re thrilled to see the growing interest in sheep milk locally,” she said. As Kiwis have become more aware, they have seen a dramatic increase in people asking where they can buy grass-fed New Zealand sheep milk. “Most have issues digesting cow milk or have children who cannot tolerate cow milk. They’re looking for a natural alternative that has great nutritional benefits.” Spring Sheep powder is produced from sheep grown in Taupo and Cambridge.

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

NEWS  // 11

N strips show farmers the way NIGEL MALTHUS

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farmers is a cost-effective way to manage nitrogen levels in soil, a three-year project has shown. The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), backed by the Ministry for Primary Industry’s (MPI’s) Sustainable Farming Fund and other collaborators, has tested the use of Quick Test nitrogen strips, originally used in the US by the vegetable industry. Diana Mathers, FAR’s research manager in farm

extract nitrogen from soil samples) and 100 strips – meaning each test costs just $2 versus $50 in a laboratory. Mathers said the testing process could take as little as 1.5 hrs including collecting soil by corer or auger, and sieving and mixing to make a homogenous sample. A small amount is shaken up in a calcium chloride solution and allowed to settle. A test strip is then dipped in and a colour change on the strip shows the current nitrate level in the soil. The farmer then con-

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sults the Quick Test Tool, a chart on an Excel spreadsheet that helps determine how much, if any, nitrate is needed for their particular crop. “The nitrogen strips are an economical way to test every paddock at the start of the season. “While costs may seem daunting at first the savings on fertiliser costs far outweigh this,” said Mathers. “What would work well for farmers is if they get together with, say, a group of three and set themselves up with a kitset, then they could work together and support each other and learn from each other.” Steve Penno, director investment programmes at MPI, says the results of the research inspire confidence for farmers. “Responsible nutrient management is essential to protect the health of our waterways. MPI is delighted to support this research, which shows that these nitrogen strips are effective in New Zealand soils. This is a practical and cost effective tool for farmers that will help them with nutrient management.” The next step would be to develop an online version of the tool and add more crop types,

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systems, says the research confirms the strips provide a useful gauge of nitrogen levels in New Zealand soils and farming systems. In 14 of 18 trials, farmers were able to reduce the amount of fertiliser they applied – by up to 50% - without a loss in yield, said Mathers. The test could be used at any stage of a crop rotation, to help inform the decision about how much nitrogen to put on, she said. “It can either confirm that he’s on track with the yield he’s expecting, or maybe there’s enough nitrogen in the soil and he can cut back. Or the other side of that, maybe he can add a bit more. “To manage nitrogen without great losses to the environment, farmers need to know how much nitrogen is in the soil. The way to do this in the past was by mineral N tests in a laboratory which are quite expensive and we found that some farmers weren’t doing them. “We hope that this much cheaper solution will encourage more soil testing.” A $200 kitset now available from Lab Supply, Dunedin, includes tubes, a rack, calcium chloride (used as the reagent to

including forage crops. Mathers said the test was potentially transferable across all farming systems. The project was done

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

12 //  OPINION RUMINATING

EDITORIAL

Peace in our time

MILKING IT... More carrot, less stick RURAL News last week summed up the disconnect going on in rural communities: “It seems incredible that in times when commodity prices are strong, interest rates low and climate favourable there should be so much angst and concern in rural NZ”. The angst has been expressed by farmers in protests around the country and in angry confrontations with ministers Damien O’Connor, David Parker and Shane Jones. The latter responded with smart-arse and dismissive comments like “get over it”. As Rural News said, the angst is the current reality and “can be squarely sheeted home to policy changes being proposed by the Government”. Consultation with farmers on these changes has been at best token. Some changes are certainly needed, but the politicians must use more carrot and less stick if they’re to take farmers with them.

Nats cop it too INTERESTINGLY, NONE of the politicians managed to escape the wrath of farmers at the protest march organised by the lobby 50 Shades of Green. There were boos and jeers when Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Forestry Minister Shane Jones and National agri spokesman Todd Muller arrived to meet protesters at the Beehive. While the biggest boos and jeers were reserved for Jones and O’Connor, Muller wasn’t spared either. Some farmers feel that none of the parties, including National, have done enough to for them on climate change. The near-unanimous passing of the Zero Carbon Bill is a case in point.

Can’t beat them, join them ANOTHER SIGN has appeared showing plantbased dairy products taking over conventional dairy space. American dairy processor Chobani says it will soon launch vegan oat milk and dairy-free yogurt. Chobani has specialised in dairy products since its launch in 2005. It is the top-selling Greek yogurt brand in America and it operates the largest yogurt facility in the world. Now the dairy brand is stepping into the plantbased food sector. It will soon launch a vegan dairy line, Chobani Oat. It will offer oat milk in flavors plain, vanilla, chocolate and plain extra creamy. It will also offer vegan coffee creamers.

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ABC audited circulation 26,510 as at 31/3/2019

Why the stripes?

ISSN 1175-463X

AN EXPERIMENT on a herd of cows in central Japan appears to have proven a radical, natureinspired solution to a pest problem plaguing farmers. Zebras and their gaudy coats have long intrigued scientists, spawning theories on how and why a few equine species developed stripes. A consensus emerged: the zigzag pattern was an evolutionary response to biting insects, especially carriers of deadly diseases. Insects, it seems, have a harder time landing on striped surfaces than solid-colored ones. If it works for wild horses in Africa, why not cows in a Japanese pasture? So pondered the staff of the Aichi Agricultural Research Center, near the city of Nagoya. Together with agri school colleagues at Kyoto University, the center decided to experiment on its herd of Japanese black cattle. The white-striped cows sustained only half as many bug attacks as either of the other groups.

FONTERRA’S ANNUAL general meeting earlier this month was mostly a peaceful affair. About 200 farmer shareholders flocked to the ILT Stadium, Southland to hear the co-op leaders ask for more time to turn around the business. With Fonterra posting net losses for two consecutive years, we would have expected more fireworks at the meeting. There was a flutter of excitement when one shareholder called for more fans “as the air is going to get hotter”. But apart from a few calls for chairman John Monaghan to resign, it was mostly business as usual for most shareholders. It’s clear that Fonterra shareholders are willing to give the new management team and directors time to turn the business around. Monaghan retires by rotation at the next annual meeting and he is likely to pass the chairman’s baton in the new year to a chairman-designate and help with a smooth transition before stepping down in November. Who will take that baton remains to be seen. There’s Peter McBride, with a proven track record at Zespri. One farmer director with an outside chance would be outspoken Fairlie farmer Leonie Guiney, who fought her way back onto the board after being sidelined by former chairman John Wilson. Some shareholders are floating the idea of Fonterra embracing its first woman chair. If Monaghan goes, as is widely expected, this would leave a new ‘top three’ to steer the co-op. The shareholders council has appointed fourth generation Matamata farmer James Barron as its new chair. With Miles Hurrell settling comfortably into his role as chief executive, a new chair would give the co-op the impetus to start a new era. Fonterra is implementing a new strategy: focusing on New Zealand milk rather than striving to be a global co-op. The shareholders council will spend the next 12 months reviewing its role and functions. And next year will see the required five-yearly review of the 2016 governance and representation revamp. Change is in the air for Fonterra. In October 2021 it will celebrate its 20th birthday. Right now Fonterra farmers and unit investors have little to cheer about. Granted, it is paying a competitive milk price at the farmgate but its financial performance still leaves much to be desired. There is optimism that the co-op is on the road to recovery. Farmer owners have made it clear that rather than being the butt of jokes they want to walk with heads held high. They will be hoping that when the 20th birthday is celebrated in 22 months such pride will be justified.

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Dairy News is published by Rural News Group Limited. All editorial copy and photographs are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior written permission of the publisher. Opinions or comments expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of the staff, management or directors of Rural News Group Limited.

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

OPINION  // 13

Great, average or poor summer? EDWARD HARDIE

AS ANOTHER summer approaches, crucial on-farm decisions will need to be made. These decisions will include if and when to provide additional supplement, change the milking frequency and/ or dry cows off. Decisions will become clearer as the season progresses, but some clarity can emerge now if farmers know their true profit margins (for example, what animals produce the most milksolids per kilogram of liveweight) and are therefore able to identify where the farm’s genuine profitability lies. First things first As the natural mate bulls enter herds at the tail-end of mating, check bull power is matching the number of cows cycling. It’s safest to work on one bull per 20 to 30 cycling cows. If you’re doing all-AB, keep the heat detection aids in good order. Use of short gestation length semen for the last 10-14 days of AB provides the advantage of mating for longer and lowering the empty rate, and retaining a relatively tight calving pattern.

Looking slightly ahead, ensure a i.e. what are the catalysts for progrespregnancy test plan is in place (scan- sively drying off, culling or moving aniners get booked up quickly). Doing an mals off farm? early pregnancy test at 12 weeks can Contingencies, round lengths, supply and demand help with culling decisions, Three summer feed and in reviewing 6 week in budget scenarios can cercalf rates. tainly help: For example, Stay in control and be a great summer, an averagile age summer or a tough When the mating period summer. finishes, it’s important the What resources are feed plan is reviewed for needed in each scenario? the summer months ahead: A good plan is to first What feed, pasture, Edward Hardie reconfirm what your pascrops, and supplements are stockpiled and contracted? Is there ture cover is now, and what you intend to do given the weather predictions.  enough to cover a tough summer? Adjust the stocking rate and stock What if the weather is much different from what’s planned, or milk prices numbers early so pasture rotation can change substantially? How can the feed be lengthened in early summer: this is plan, and livestock levels, be adjusted critical. Plan fertiliser and nitrogen applicaaccordingly? How is pasture management best tions for late spring/early summer: genoptimised to achieve an effective rota- erally this is a good time to get pasture tion plan (including use of irrigation cover accumulated. The reason for adjusting round and fertiliser) to accomplish high-quality grass for milk production? Remem- length out is to build average pasture ber, it’s imperative the farm stays cover and to match rotation with the slowing leaf appearance rate. within nutrient and water-use limits. Lengthening is done easily and What circumstances or timings will be the triggers for a change to the plan, quickly with supplements. However, if

this is uneconomic, the farm at least needs to lift target pre-graze covers instead of cutting silage, and reduce areas allocated per day. Other options include reducing demand. This can be done by changing the milking frequency and/or starting to cull cows that are empty or genuine culls. From the middle of December any repeat offenders with mastitis or lame cows (older cows with low production worth or lactation worth figures) could be worth more by being culled. This would have the effect of lowering demand and alowing remaining cows to be fed better. Once January/February arrives and the farm has its first pregnancy test information, culling can continue on the re-checks that may be empty or are at least late-calving. All on the same page Make sure you and staff know what the plan is, and monitor the situation weekly to see if the plan needs tweaking or updating. Do weekly pasture measurements (eg. walks, towbehinds, eye-ometer, SPACE). Enter information in Minda Land

& Feed to identify paddock rankings and average pasture cover for checking against the plan. Regularly inspect any crops for growth progress and weed control; ensure there is some technical support for the crop maintenance programme. Use herd test data and the body condition score (BCS) of animals to check cows are at optimum condition and performance for efficient milk production. Weigh young stock monthly, and enter this data into Minda for future reference. Beware of animal heat stress and ensure there are mitigation options available. As mentioned above, consider changes to milking frequency: there are several variations that can lie between once-a-day, three-in-two days, and twice a day. Depending on the time of year and how the summer unfolds, work out one that best suits the cows, your staff and you. Whatever happens there will be choices and options for your farming business. Make good decisions, and make them early. • Edward Hardie is LIC national FarmWise manager.

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

14 //  AGRIBUSINESS

Guiding rural people to better ‘mind health’ ISOLATION COMBINED with the pressure of running a business from home means some farmers are putting their own wellbeing and mental health on the backburner, says Lance Burdett, a former ‘top cop’ who is now a motivational speaker and author. He says taking a break and getting off the property seems to be even more difficult for farmers now than ever. Burdett, a former police detective-inspector, now runs a business coaching people in dealing with problems and challenges in everyday working life. And he is working with Ag Proud NZ, whose focus is the wellbeing of farmers and rural people. He will speak at seminars in Southland on December 5 and 6 (details in box below). Said Burdett: “Farmers used to take a break, go into town, go to the market, see the rugby, have a few beers and be able to unwind. Those opportunities are now few and far between.  “Farmers are living and breathing their work. When things go wrong, they look out the window and what do they see? Their work.  “They’re finding it challenging to separate the two, or are reluctant to get off the property and have a break.”  Burdett worked in the police for 22 years where he specialised in suicide prevention and crisis negotiation, among other things.

In 2016 he published a book detail- the start to separate work from ing his police career: Behind the home.” Taking a holiday once or twice Tape, Life on the Police Frontline.   Then five years ago he started a year is paramount, he says.   “We know most of our poshis own consultancy business called Wellness, Awareness, Resil- itive, long-term memories are ience and Negotiation (WARN), tagged to holidays we’ve had in coaching people how to cope with the past. That’s influential and can problems and challenges faced have an effect on our psychology and our physiology when we come each day at work. Ag Proud NZ intends to open back to work.”   He often hears farmers say Burdett’s presentations to whole rural communities, not just those they can’t take a break because working in farming. It aims to they’re worried about who will strengthen relationships between manage the property while they’re away. urban and rural communities.   “Some say they can’t leave  Burdett says he will encourage farmers to get off the property and because they’ve got to milk twice a day. I ask, can they reconfigure take a break.  “I’ve got my own business but their business to go to single-milkmy home is not my work. With ing?  “Can they get a group of their farmers, they are living right in the middle of their work. It’s hard neighbours together, so for one week a year the neighbours take to switch off.”  At the seminars he will share over milking and they can go on simple suggestions about remov- holiday?”   Burdett says he uses only ing the burden of work from home applied techniques and elements life.  “You can have one completely of neuroscience in his presentaseparate room in your house tions. where you can talk about work, but not in the rest of the house.  “If you don’t  The seminars will be held on December have a room, you 5, Croydon Lodge, Gore from 1pm-3pm might have a and at the Makarewa Country Club, chair you use for Invercargill from 7pm-9pm. Also on December 6, Rosebank Lodge, Balclutha work, and a sepfrom 1pm-3pm. arate chair for relaxing. That’s

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LANCE BURDETT grew up in Bulls and went to secondary school in Hamilton. He was a builder until he joined the police at 35, looking for “an easier lifestyle perhaps working somewhere like Eketahuna”. But he progressed through the ranks to detective-inspector. He also joined the Police Negotiation Team which led to his appointment as national advisor for NZ Police negotiations teams.  He was one of three Kiwis to complete an FBI negotiators course in Quantico, US, and he attended a counter terrorist negotiators course in Darwin, Australia.   He also worked in the 111 police emergency contact centre managing police staff there.  The variety of his career kept him motivated but the workload was challenging.  “I had depression -- not taking leave when it was owed. But also the organisation would say, ‘you can’t take leave, we need you here’.  “Burnout took me to a deep dark place. So I stuck around, managed to work through it and then decided to get out and start my own business.”  Equipped with just a laptop and Powerpoint presentation, Burdett first got some work with ANZ Bank, coaching staff and offering advice on security.  Now he coaches people in emergency management, personal safety, leadership, intervention communications, and call centre and customer service, etc.  Clients include banks, credit unions, government departments, councils, legal firms and sports groups.  Recently he has found his work in the rural industry rewarding and he has presented to other rural groups in Australia and Canada.  Now he sees his work with Ag Proud NZ leading to more opportunities to speak with rural people about wellbeing and “mind health”.  “I think there’s a disconnect between urban and rural people which Ag Proud wants to change.  “There are very few rogue farmers out there. Most are loving, caring people who just put on a brave face. They’ve been the heart of New Zealand for generations and we shouldn’t forget that.” The Ag Proud NZ initiative is supported by Waikato Milking Systems, Southern Wellness Activity Team, House of Travel and Malloch McClean Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors.

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

AGRIBUSINESS  // 15

Nominations invited for top dairy woman PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

NOMINATIONS FOR

the 2020 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards have opened. Last year’s finalists were of a high calibre says Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) chief executive Jules Benton. “Women on farm all juggle many multiple roles,” she said. “They need to be able to care for their animals as well as be anything from a financial planner and strategic thinker through to a mechanic and mum. “There is no doubt women are being recognised as leaders in the dairy industry.” Benton says many network members are humble about their efforts. They just don’t realise how much they are actually doing and what a difference they are making. So the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards is a way of recognising this effort and it gives others in the industry something to aspire to. The prestigious award was established in 2012 by DWN as a key strand

in its support of women in leadership who provide inspiration, learning and education. The award has been supported by Fonterra since it began. Winners receive a $20,000 scholarship to take an approved professional development course. Mike Cronin, Fonterra’s managing director of co-operative affairs, says the co-op is proud to support the award as it’s a celebration of high performers in the dairy industry. “No other award in New Zealand specifically recognises and encourages the capability and success of women in the dairy industry,” he said. “While only one will be named the winner, each year we see many outstanding women nominated. They are passionate about the dairy industry, leaders across the sector and in their communities and networks, and contributing to the frameworks that will enable the next generation of farmers to succeed.” The finalists will be judged by representatives of DWN, Fonterra, Global Women, Ballance AgriNutrients and a previous recipient.

OUTSTANDING IN HER ROLE DAIRY WOMAN of the Year for 2019 Trish Rankin, a primary teacher from Taranaki, was outstanding in her role, says Benton. “She has taken every opportunity offered to speak and present at events and has been motivating as an inspiring leader in our industry.” She balances teaching part time at Opunake Primary School and being on Trish Rankin farm full time in South Taranaki with her husband Glen and their four boys. A passionate environmentalist, she has taken the Kellogg Leadership Programme to research how a circular economy model can be developed on a New Zealand dairy farm. Rankin is a Dairy Enviro Leader, a member of the NZ DEL network and chair of the Taranaki DEL group. Last year she was elected to the national executive for the NZ Dairy Awards and was a NZ Climate Change Ambassador as part of the Dairy Action for Climate Change.

DWN trustee and awards judge Alison Gibb says the award recognises a woman who has already achieved a great deal beyond the farmgate but has not yet reached her full potential.

“We know that with support the winner will go from good to great.” Nominations are now open and the winner will be announced at the DWN conference gala dinner in Hamilton next

year on May 6. Anyone may nominate a DWN member for the award but nominators need not be DWN members. Nominations close April 3, 2020 at https:// www.dwn.co.nz/dwoty

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

16 //  MANAGEMENT

T N E C U G L N NS FI A R OO T

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payout. Because we were struggling I immediately culled all the later (calving) cows. I got $1200 onthe-hook … that high beef

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the previous year. Player took action. “You can’t make much money in your first season at that kind of

The tough start to their sharemilking career was down to unlucky timing, but they believed in the fundamentals for medium-long term success. Sticking to a 250-cow herd, they adopted an improvement strategy -- stock sales, culls, and a focus on repro, health and selective genetics. “In the first two years we culled and sold on calving date, and we brought the calving period shorter by two or three weeks each year,” Player said. “I try not to cull, I prefer to sell and to get a good price I’ll sell early.” Today the Player’s artificial insemination period lasts 22 days, before they turn to the bull for 24 days, and finish off with short gestation length

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land and England and on a Waikato drystock farm, followed by two years contract milking in 2013 and 2014. “So in 2015 I purchased five mobs -- a core herd of 180 plus 35 heifers and three other smaller lots that looked good for the right price,” he said. That took him up to the required 270 cows he needed for the system 3 farm. “We had a mix of big Holsteins and tiny little Jerseys. Because we’re sharemilking there’s always a need to keep the BW (breeding worth) up, but once we had the cows the focus was on improving them.” But then came a ‘payout crash’ which saw dairy farmer cashflows almost halve from $8 in

KNAT

in their first year sharemilking was a shock for Simon and Aimee Player, reports LIC. The Waikato sharemilkers knew they had to increase the value of their asset smartly. Their focus on their cows has never since wavered. This spring, with no intervention, and within 22 days of the planned start of mating, they want 100% of their herd submitted to artificial insemination. From that, they’re aiming for a 90% six-week in calf rate. “If we miss that, I’ll be happy with 87%,” Simon says. According to their Fertility Focus Report, in the spring of 2018 the Players achieved an 82% 6-week in-calf rate, in 2017 it was

81%, in 2016 it was 70% and in 2015 it was 72%. Their herd’s calving spread during the same period has more than halved, from 15 weeks to just seven weeks. They’re targeting a calving spread of six weeks next season. Meanwhile, per-cow production figures in year one (2015) of their job began at 400kg milksolids, followed by 420kg, 450kg, 470kg, and 500kg in 2018. This year the Players are targeting 550kg milksolids per cow. The couple arrived on their farm in 2015 with a real mix of animals they had bought with borrowings from family and the bank. Player wasn’t brought up on a dairy farm, but he had done and apprenticeship in the rural sector, working in dairying in Ire-

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price got us through. But it dropped us down to a 250 cow herd. The last cow that year calved on 26 October.” AY

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

MANAGEMENT  // 17

moving months, so for us it’s just a case of staying ahead through the season.” “Having a very supportive owner has enabled me to change the way some things are done and try a new approach.” The Players don’t go in for intervention, preferring to manage feed and cows so as to maintain good condition yearround. Player likes to have cows in good condition before mating starts, ensuring strong heats. “It all comes down to getting cows in-calf early, because every other option stems from that. A low empty rate gives you more options.”

HOMING IN on accurate production worth figures takes account of breeding values of protein and fat, as well as liveweight and milk volume. This should refine the herd’s selection pressure further, helping Simon Player to make the incremental gains that become progressively harder to achieve over time. And the subtleties matter, he says. “Because we’re Open Country suppliers we get paid twice as much for protein so there’s not a lot of need to chase fat content. And we’re on free-draining soils here. I’m chasing a quality cow with a quality udder that’s highly fertile and does good production. “Ideally I’m after a strong F10-F12 herd, weighting 475kg-500kg, doing 550kg milksolids, with a 6 week

The Players are targetting a calving spread of just six weeks next season.

calving (7.5 week mating) and a sub-10% empty rate.” He keeps calves only from the cows he likes milking. He’s selective and is careful to bring in a better standard of heifer each year. “This year we’ve got it sorted. I’m excited because next year will be the first year of good heifers coming through and the mating and repro results are so much better. “I like to walk in the shed and feel proud about the cows I’m milking, or walk through the paddock and admire the condition of my herd.” Health and wellbeing in the herd is a significant factor, he says. “When cows are healthy they perform that much better.” In the last year, the herd’s somatic cell count was about 51,000, putting the herd at the top of the Open Country supplier index for SCC.

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NOT JUST BW FOR ARTIFICIAL breeding, the Players continue using LIC’s genetics to strike a balance between Breeding Worth (BW) and the traitsother-than production he’s after. Identifying the true bottom-end cows is key to continuous genetic improvement, and this feeds into repro management and maintaining cashflows. “I want to maintain the high number of replacements I’ve got coming through, and not having too many empties always helps because I’m selling every year and I’m avoiding culling where I can. “If I have 50 heifers coming through, 10 might be culls, 20 might be empties, but I’ve still got another 20 I can sell, and I pick them out by looking at their figures, udders, age and breed.” On December 1 he will weigh his herd because he wants to compare the 350kg Jersey to the heavier Friesian, ultimately aiming for an animal doing 1.2+kg milksolids per kilogram of liveweight. “I’ve got quite a few doing that, but I want to find out where they’re all at in the efficiency pecking order.”

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dairy for 10 days. These later cows are able to recover about 10+ days-inmilk and this has helped progressively condense the calving pattern. The emphasis on a high submission rate and a high six week incalf rate means the calving period is progressively tighter, but this is key to the production gains. “It’s days-in-milk for me. I’ve done 14,000 more solids than previous sharemilkers have done under this owner for the last 10 years (despite the lower the stocking rate). “A lot of that is down to calving spread. Last year I was 10,000 solids ahead in the first three

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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 12, 2019

DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

EFFLUENT & WATER // 25

18 //  MANAGEMENT

Over-irrigation forced mers back blitz Summer feed options AS NEW Zealanders,

we love to talk about the weather. We have NIWA predicting this and MetService predicting that and Mr Jones down the road predicting something else. What is certain is that summer will follow spring just as spring followed winter. Also certain is that there will be periods of the summer months where there won’t be enough feed for animals. It happens every year. How farmers deal with feed shortages varies hugely. Some simply let the animals go hungry and see production fall dramatically. Other farmers make the decision to fill feed gaps in order to keep their animals producing and growing. Normally feed gaps would be filled with a summer crop, grass silage or PKE.

This year, however, there are potential issues with both grass silage and PKE. While some regions have experienced good spring grass growth rates and made some silage, farms in other regions have made very little silage. With restrictions on the amount of PKE which can be fed, filling big summer feed gaps with PKE without pushing the animals into the C or D zones will be difficult. Cropping Historically farmers have filled summer

feed gaps by growing a summer crop. Traditionally, this has been either turnips or forage rape. The problem with both these crops is that if you need them because it is dry then it is likely that they haven’t grown well because of the dry. Conversely, if you don’t need them because of good summer rainfall, they have probably grown well. Farmers tend to end up wasting pasture or making expensive, poor quality pasture silage. In recent years, farmers have grown chicory, which has a deep taproot and seems to be a lot more resistant to the summer dry. The only problem with chicory is that relatively low yields mean a significant area of the farm needs to be planted in crop to grow the recommended

council to take action

manner,” says Lynch. THE CASE against Pol“On this particulock Farms was taken by lar farm the storage was Waikato Regional Counonly sufficient for a single cil following inspections day. It should have been where over-irrigation of up to 100 times larger effluent was evident.  than that. With virtually Effluent from an no storage, this means underpass to an adjoining there will have been reguproperty was also being lar and frequent unlawful pumped directly to land discharges of dairy effluin large volumes.  Both ent into the environment practices pose a real risk for years. of effluent contaminating “We would have groundwater. expected Mr Pollock to Similar breaches had have changed his pracbeen found by the council Effluent sump overflowing on the farm. tices following his first in 2016 and 2017. Formal prosecution. Unforwarnings and infringetunately, it has taken virtually doubled their an ongoing risk to the ment notices had been herd size, from 380 to 700 numerous enforcement environment for years. issued for those breaches actions, three with quality no expansion There has been woefully and an abatement content,including fine stems and moderate feed in or chopped using a maize cows, amount of feed. notice prosecutions and finally of dairy effluent inadequate had There been served the a high leaf-to-stem ratio.a a relatively shortinfratime – harvester orinfrastructure a flail-type are twoonother court order, for that farm on this farm sincebehind Mr Polfarming company SepSSS on the other hand an excellent option for mower. Feeding an structure. alternatives to theinturto get to grass a good “Everyfeed dairyinfarm lock firstwire appeared before tember 2016 toand cease the is ultimately a sudan x sudan warmer electric reduces crop summer nips, chicory forage place. should have sufficient courtsfrom in the 1990s. illegal practices. hybrid which provides districts. These are wastage trampling. rape: these are greenfeed the “This is stems a very and sigstorage be able loving to safely finer Quite simply, he about has “Thisand farmer is sorghum underleafy genuinetosummer The good thing maize forage fine. It is a clear throughbe wet nificant all maize of the is actions mining allorofsudan the posiexcellent regrowth potenplantseffluent and shouldn’t greenfeed that if store X sudan x sudan ignored to those poor busyuntil periods, the idea message taken by the council tive work being(e.g. done by tial. planted the soil you don’t need it youtocan and grass hybrids Bettaperformers in unsure the dairy being that when weather as well all of store the the wider farming indusIf you are what temperature is 18°C and harvest it forassilage, graze or SSS). The advan- date, industry that best, they give need and circumstances messaging his own try and to would work rising. it and feedfrom it when you tage of community each are outlined change their behaviour, this effluent industry to improve.” improve your merchant a call and Usually plantingcan takes to need it. Greenfeed maize allow, below. our environas thewill courts, the to public then established that ment,” said council inves- WRC they be able guide placebeinirrigated the first to week can be fed to dairy and Greenfeed Maize: and own with indusland as fertiliser an from 2016 the be tigations you.even As istheir the case or December or in later. beef 2010 cattletoand it can Maize is manager a tropicalPatrick grass. try has lostmaize, patience with environmentally purchased a Lynch. greenfeed if the Because of their safe rapidand grown NZ-wide. It has high water use effi- company said. it can economically and “Thisand farm has to posed feed is Lynch not required growth, cropsprudent, can be first them,” There are farm two cauciency tends grow neighbouring be harvested as silage or grazed or harvested (at tions with greenfeed well in summer when hay and stored for later 80 -100 cm in height) as maize: first, don’t feed other crops are strugMANAGING POO feeding. little as 35 - 45 days after gling. While maize is best young or stress crops It is recommended planting, with further regknown for its use as silage without checking nitrate DAIRY have alevels and,of effluent non-compliance. effluent management requirethat farmers test forage ular grazings afterwards. second, take it ALL can also be afarmers very valuresponsibility to manage the All farmers be aware ments andsorghum how to meet them. x sudan grass This crop shouldn’t care when feeding matureneed to able greenfeed crop. effluent from their cows and this of, understand and adhere to resources available for nitrate and/or be planted until early DairyNZhybrids crops which have high The feed value for is taken seriously by the vast permitted activity rules. to all dairy farmers include a prussic acid levels prior to amounts of grain present. December, so you don’t greenfeed maize is in the majority of dairy farmers. For farmers who haven’t yet Dairy Effluent Storage Calculafeeding or ensiling. If the need to decide to plant Limit access to the crop rangeMost of 10.3-10.8 MJME/ dairy farmers are undertaken the work needed to tor, A Farmer’s Guide to Building levelsStorage are high,Pond contact it until you have a better initially as the cows are kgDM, with higher energy investing in reliable, sustainable meet their obligations, advice is a New Effluent your local vet or idea what the summer likely to gorge themselves levels being achieved farm systems. available from dairy companies and a certification schemeanimal for for feed manmay look like. on the cobs and this may as theWell-designed grain content and conand regional councils. DairyNZ accreditednutritionist effluent system There are different or grainincreases. mature structedLess effluent storage lead pro- to acidosis also has an environmental designers.agement Farmersadvice. looking for vides a lot ofcrude benefits whose role summer support in•establishing Ian Williams effluis a Pioneer forms of these overload. extension specialist crops can have pro-– better flexibility irrigation, farmers, entBetinfrastructure can visit the forage specialist. Contact grasses. For example, Sorghumworking with tein levels asfor high as 16% betterForageincludes environmental management, rural professionalstagraze and others website – www.dairynz. iwilliams@genetic.co.nz is a forage DairyNZ sorbut this drops to 8-10% as X Sudan Grass risk to help farmers understand theirgrass co.nz/effluent. ghum x sudan Hybrids:These hybrids thepeace cobs of fill.mind and reduced @dairy_news hybrid with a high sugar Crops can be break fed produce good yields of facebook.com/dairynews

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

MILKING / ANIMAL HEALTH  // 19

Boomer year for OAD farmers “So that’s the key: quality and quantity,” she said. Turnips are grown on the farm to deal with the summer dry and in the first week of February all cows are pregnancy tested and empty cows are sold to save the pasture for productive animals. Cows have been weighed to improve accuracy of selection

PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

A LEADING once a day (OAD) farmer says her farm is set to have a record year thanks to a combination of favourable circumstances – especially the weather. Christine Finnigan who farms near Rongotea, Manawatu says the warm winter has seen good pasture growth into spring and her 220 Kiwi cross cows are in good condition. She says the original target for this season was 78,000kgMS, but says if conditions stay favourable the record of 82,500kgMS could be reached. Her son Kieran works full time on the 85ha farm which is a mixture of Tokomaru silt loan and sand. The clay soil is tile and mole drained, but the sandy ridge area gets dry as the summer hits. There is no irrigation. “One year we didn’t have any rain for eight weeks and the sandy ridges dried off so badly that we had to re-grass them,” she said. “We have had to do this on other occasions as well because they will not recover from a severe drought.” The Finnigans make silage every year and have already taken one cut this season and those paddocks have already bounced back well with the pasture in outstanding condition. They buy in maize silage and a little PKE to deal with any emergencies. But this season has been a boomer. Finnigan has farmed

Christine Finnigan

COWS END UP WITH GOOD CONDITION THE PROS and cons debate about OAD is ongoing and for many who contemplate a change from TAD the risk of an initial drop in production immediately surfaces. OAD farmers will argue over time, and depending on circumstances production will come back to an acceptable level and any drop will be outweighed by the benefits. For Christine Finnigan profitability is the real issue. “The thing about production is that you can see it every day whereas with profitability you have to look at your accounts so it’s not right in front of you every day. It’s a big picture thing so it’s hard to judge on a daily basis how you are going profit-wise other than the fact you know the cows are up or down.” Finnigan says OAD provides

here for most of her life and converted to OAD eleven years ago. She is highly regarded in the OAD fraternity and is a

flexibility and gives the farmer and cows a buffer to deal with unforeseen situations. She went to OAD when her three children were in their teens and this gave her time to do family things. She acknowledges that moving to OAD is a bold move and for everyone it is different. For example, OAD can suit what she describes as ‘difficult farms’. Finnigan says there is a lot more pressure on dairy farmers in the paperwork and compliance required and OAD helps make time for that task. Tiredness is a big issue for dairy farmers, especially at the peak of the season, she notes. “OAD is physically more manageable and is kind to people and animals. In spring, not only does the cow end up with a good condition score, so do the people.”

‘dairy connect person’ for DairyNZ, meaning she often fields enquires from farmers thinking of switching to OAD.

With the benefit of experience and her ongoing quest for knowledge, it is no surprise Christine

Finnigan has had a good season. She is well aware of the special challenges OAD farmers face. “With OAD, the cows stay in milk longer, but due to the compressed calving period there is a risk of a feed shortage in early spring. Having said that, in tough seasons our cows tend to get in calf better and if they suffer a problem they tend to bounce back faster than cows on twice a day (TAD). “For us the critical time of the season is late August to early September because that is the time when pasture growth can be variable.” To that end Finnigan turns to a spring rotation planner to manage available pasture. Pasture residuals are targeted from day one of milking to manage quality and production.

for OAD. This has aided OAD research by Nicolas Lopez-villa Lobas of Massey University. Finnigan is a great believer in data. “I just don’t know how you can make decisions without information, but you have to make sure it’s the right information. There is a lot of pseudoscience out there.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

20 //  DAIRY GOATS

Keeping ketosis away CHRIS BALEMI

KETOSIS IN any of its

forms can lead to sudden and catastrophic loss levels at kidding time. A number of goat farms this year experienced significant losses at kidding time and during early lactation. Farmers were puzzled as to the cause and unfortunately these losses happened rapidly, before any remedial action could be taken. Such acute losses at this time typically come down to one thing: a catastrophic energy deficit experienced during a critical stress period, namely kidding and early lactation. This disease goes under a number of names and confusingly can take a number of different

forms. The most acute form is often called pregnancy toxemia in goats, or sleepy sickness. In dairy cattle it is more commonly called ketosis, or fatty liver disease. These different forms can be made up of a range of symptoms but all emanate from the same root cause: a lack of glucose production. When the body fails to produce enough glucose for energy it kicks into survival mode and begins to break down fat tissue for energy, releasing ketones. To fully understand this disease and its differing manifestations we need to have a good understanding of the stresses involved during the lead up to kidding and early lactation. At this time there is a rapidly increasing requirement

for energy and the body needs to have the capacity to meet these needs within a very small period

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of time. Understanding Ketosis in dairy goats Ketosis is a metabolic

disease common to all living creatures, but particularly problematic in high production

ruminants. It will usually only appear at critical stress times, namely kidding/calving and early

lactation. Ketosis is related to the body’s inability to synthesise sufficient glucose from fatty acids produced in the rumen to supply its energy demands. The body then starts to mobilize body fat. The mobilised fat is broken down into non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA’s). When these non-esterified fatty acids reach the liver, they are either oxidised into energy forming substances (ketones) or removed out again as very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL’s). This process is complex and is largely regulated by hormones such as insulin, ghrelin and leptin (the satiety hormone). The problem is, when the production of ketone bodies is upregulated in


DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

DAIRY GOATS  // 21

from goats favour of the more efficient glucose energy cycle, it can lead to a significant energy deficit. A serious side effect of the over utilisation of fat for energy is fatty liver disease -- when fat goes into the liver in greater volumes than the liver’s capacity to process it, and this causes a fat buildup that can quickly lead to liver failure. Once established this condition is very hard to reverse, particularly in small ruminants with limited liver capacity. Animals that are overfat also have a tendency towards insulin resistance. Excess fat tissues release higher levels of leptin (the satiety hormone) which further reduces appetite causing the body to increase fat breakdown using ketones as the energy source. This would not be too much of a problem later in lactation. But when you take into account that ketones are a far less efficient energy source, ketone production is hard on the liver, and this is all happening during a high stress period, you can under-

stand how these animals very quickly get into an energy deficiency crisis. Three distinct pathways lead to this one problem In a similar way to diabetes these are often referred to as types: Type I: Inadequate feeding -- meaning insufficient energy in the diet. This will cause the body to take emergency action and begin mobilising body fat reserves for energy in the form of ketones, never a good thing. Diets at this time need to be formulated to supply high levels of readily available energy, relative to protein, and for obvious reasons fats should not be added to the diet at this stage, as they are not a readily available form of energy and can further hamper the liver in metabolising volatile fatty acids. Target an increase in carbohydrate and starch, relative to any increase in potentially high crude protein containing grasses or silages. Grains are excellent sources of starch. However, it is

important in any mixed ration to have sufficient fibre to maintain rumen pH stability. Rumen buffers added to the premix can help ensure stable rumen pH. Type II: Over conditioning -- too much body fat can be a real complicating issue for this disease and is probably the leading cause of ketosis and related fatty liver disease. Unfortunately, excess conditioning is not always easy to identify in goats. While dairy cattle accumulate fat under the skin, goats tend to accumulate this fat internally in their body cavities. Hence an overweight goat is not always so obvious. Type III: Poor quality silage – this is probably the least recognised, yet very important. Poor quality silage, particularly when fed around transition time, can be a game changer (in the worst way). This is the silage that we all know too well, the stuff with the sickly smell. It was probably baled or bunkered when the rain

MAINTAINING A HEALTHY, PRODUCTIVE ANIMAL

threatened the crop, or the contractor turned up too early. Being harvested at a higher than optimal moisture content, this silage didn’t go through efficient lactic acid fermentation but instead, because of the higher moisture content, it has gone through a butyric acid fermentation cycle. Consider that it takes as little as 50 grams of butyric acid to cause severe ketosis in a goat during the transition period. A little more care and good practice at silage making can ensure a crop that delivers high levels of energy, which will lead to better production as well as lessen the risk of ketosis. • Chris Balemi is managing director of Agvance Nutrition. www.agvance.co.nz

AS A farmer it is important to carefully plan the feed requirements during the lead up to transition and the early lactation period. How you manage the nutrition at the different stages of this period will need to change constantly as the requirements change, but every stage of this period is equally important in order to maintain a healthy productive animal into the next lactation. Correct transitioning should see us preparing the animal for the stresses leading up to the birth and then supplying adequate nutrition to support the heavy demands of early lactation. A failure at any stage will have serious consequences and will increase potential losses and negatively impact production during the following lactation. Things that should be done: 1. Plan feed demands well in advance, ensuring feed levels will be adequate and of the right quality for each part of the season: the dry period, the transition, and the early lactation periods. If feeding silages, make sure that these are lactic acid fermented silages. With correct fermentation good quality silage will not contain butyric acid. The correct silage inoculant can be very benefi-

cial to ensure a correct fermentation and a better quality final product. 2. Make sure animals are well conditioned without being over conditioned at the end of lactation and during the dry period. 3. Plan to feed increased levels of energy leading up to birth, and then plan to rapidly increase energy levels once lactation is underway, while all the time taking precautions against acidosis. 4. Carefully consider the correct balance of minerals, vitamins and amino acids required -- those being delivered through the feeds naturally, as well as supplementation of additional quantities into the feed. These will be very important co-factors in efficiently utilising the feed. Certain key amino acids and vitamins, while not taking the place of adequate feeding, are essential to the production of energy and the utilisation of dietary protein. In the scientific world these are called methyl donors; they are essential at the cell level in energy production as well as the utilisation of protein. Methyl donors of most importance to ruminants are choline, methionine, betaine, vitamin B12, and vitamin B2.

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

22 //  DAIRY GOATS

Shed upgrade cuts milking MATAMATA GOAT

farmers Wiebe and Piety Smitstra have retrofitted their goat milking shed with a GEA WestfaliaSurge low line double-up herringbone system. The system, including automatic cup removers, milk meters and DairyPlan software, have contributed to worthwhile efficiency gains, say the Smitstras. They have ‘gained’ two extra hours per day and the ability to identify their top performing

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“It’s also saving us money. For example, we used to herd test four times a year, but don’t need to anymore. We have all those details in DairyPlan.” That’s a saving of $14,000 a year. goats for breeding. The Smitstras goat farm is a family business. Wiebe and Piety have been in the industry for 25 years, raising five children in that time. They now milk 1200 goats on a 130ha farm in Matamata. The herd is made up of Saanen goats, which originate from Switzerland. Replacements are reared on farm (about 30% annually). The goats are milked twice daily, either by Wiebe or one of the family. In the past they worked in an old 40-bale herringbone parlour with highline swing-over clusters and pulsation. Milking took four hours morning and evening. Looking to increase efficiency, Wiebe called in GEA area sales manager Grant Coburn and Shaun Jellie from GEA service partner Matamata Milk and Water. “I told these guys what I wanted, and they came up with plenty of good ideas, turning our old

milking shed into something modern and efficient,” said Wiebe. “I chose to work with GEA because they have a lot of research behind their equipment and they’ve got plenty of experience in the goat milking industry worldwide.” GEA goat milking equipment prioritises the comfort of the animal, while the range provides flexibility for farmers on a budget, with options to upgrade at any time. Most of the equipment can be retrofitted to existing parlours. Wiebe’s upgrade doubled the capacity of his parlour to 80 bails. New features include fitting a low line with cup removers, Metatron milk meters together with DemaTron 70 control units (featuring time or flow take-off) and PPiD (per point identification) with RFID. DairyPlan is linked up to record the milking time, volume and conductivity for each animal, with additional informa-

Meet your goats new best friend! Your goats deserve the best! The DeLaval mini swinging brush is a cost-effective way to promote animal welfare and boost productivity. Once installed it will be in constant use by your goats. Phone 0800 222 228 or contact your local DeLaval dealer

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

DAIRY GOATS  // 23

time

tion on animal health, mating and kidding. For Wiebe, the changes have been very cost-effective. “One person can easily manage milking 420 – 500 goats an hour,” he said. They’ve shaved off one hour in the morning and 1hr 20min in the evening. And that’s with teat spraying. “A double up parlour makes cupping much quicker and the cup removers ensure there’s no overmilking,” said Wiebe. Capturing data is another big plus for him. “I can also see exactly how each goat is producing as they milk, with the information appearing on the Dematron units above each animal. “This information is

fed into DairyPlan so we can see which animals consistently perform well. We can also identify animal health and possible mastitis issues before you might notice them with your own eyes. “It’s also saving us money. For example, we used to herd test four times a year, but don’t need to anymore. We have all those details in DairyPlan.” That’s a saving of $14,000 a year. Wiebe notes their production levels remain similar per goat, but the upgrade enables them to milk more goats. Animal condition is better too, says Wiebe. “At the start of the season, we had some animal health issues. But since we started in the new plant, those problems

disappeared.” Cup slip is a thing of the past and there are fewer grading issues. What does the future hold for the Smitstra goat operation? “We have generally been careful about investing too much,” said Wiebe. “But we feel that the goat industry keeps getting better with the market much more positive than it was 20 years ago. The Dairy Goat Co-op continues to want more milk and we’re always aiming to better our operation. “We are prepared now with a high-end milking parlour and good information on the herd. We are already building another barn and will increase our herd size.”

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

24 //  DAIRY GOATS

New training plan to upskill goat farmers

Drive efficiency with GEA “One person can easily manage milking 420-500 goats an hour” – Wiebe Smitstra, Matamata

Wiebe and Piety Smitstra retrofitted their milking shed with an 80-bail GEA WestfaliaSurge low line double-up herringbone. Doubling the capacity of the milking parlour and adding some simple automation means one person can milk 1,200 goats in 3 hours – shaving 2 hours off their daily milking time. With DairyPlan linked up too, they can see exactly how each animal is performing and save thousands on herd testing. Want efficiency? Get in touch with GEA. gea.com/new-zealand

A NEW training course to upskill and ensure consistent standards in the dairy goat industry is being rolled out in Waikato. The customised practical course results from collaboration between the Dairy Goat Cooperative (DGC) and Primary ITO. The course, together with a review of previous programmes, was enabled by Caprine Innovations NZ (CAPRINZ), a fiveyear $30 million partnership between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and DGC, launched in August 2018. Dairy Goat Cooperative chief executive David Hemara said there has always been training in New Zealand for people employed in the dairy goat industry “but it was largely modelled on the bovine dairy industry”. “Given the growth of the dairy goat industry we worked, and continue to work, with Primary ITO to review available resources, customise where needed and introduce new courses to provide the skills needed for New Zealand to retain its position as a leading producer of dairy goat milk. “Two training courses have been customised to better suit goat farms, providing skills easily and consistently applied on-farm. “Targeted and timely training is key for ensuring goats are healthy and able to produce quality milk. Skilled staff play a vital role, continuing to improve the animal welfare, environment, consistency and use of technology on dairy goat farms.”

try. “The new course is being trialled with DGC suppliers but will eventually be rolled out across the industry, available through Primary ITO. “Current students range from newbies right through to people who have worked in the industry for more than eight years but who say that if they even learn one new thing it will be an asset they can apply back on farm.” Averill said delivery of course elements is timed to match what’s happening on farm. “For example, kidding is underway now, so students have been provided with the specific knowledge and skills they need to confidently take care of does and kids on farm. Training is balanced between classroom and farm so students get a chance to practically apply the skills they’ve just learned. “This training is designed to provide a consistent standard which will attract and Goat farmer Kerry Averill. retain people, and give our international mar(Level 3) course now being trialled kets confidence in the quality stanwith 16 students from DGC farms in dards which apply to New Zealand’s dairy goat industry,” Kerry Averill Waikato. Dairy goat farmer and DGC share- said. Primary ITO chief executive Linda holder Kerry Averill helped review the training and is leading the roll- Sissons said the joint work of DGC with Primary ITO people was critical, out of the husbandry course. “I have always had a particular as capability development is a priorinterest in training to ensure con- ity across the industry. “It’s great that the dairy goat sistency across the industry. As an ex dairy farmer (converted to dairy industry is so passionate about traingoats 15 years ago) I was aware that ing as this will clearly advance conmost of the training elements avail- sistency in milk quality and animal able to people working in the indus- health.” try were based on bovine and needed @dairy_news to be tweaked to the dairy goat indusfacebook.com/dairynews Hemara said the co-op, working last year with Primary ITO, had reviewed the existing Milk Quality and Food Safety (Stage One) course and then began work on the inaugural Livestock Husbandry – Dairy Goat

COURSES ON OFFER Milk Quality – Stage 1 course ■■ Held over six months, the training is designed to upskill people employed on dairy goat farms with best practice for collecting, handling and storing milk. ■■

The revised course was first run in December 2018. At least 50 students have now completed the course.

Livestock Husbandry – Dairy Goat (Level 3) course Now being trialed in Waikato on DGC supplier farms.

■■ ■■

Initial intake of 16 students.

■■

Held over 12 months, the course provides students with knowledge and practical skills required over the seasonal calendar including insight into the psychology of dairy goats (as distinct from cows), breeding and kidding, nutrition and animal health.


DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS  // 25

Rakes floating like butterflies MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

AUSTRIAN GRASSLAND specialist

Pottinger has launched an optional ‘glide bar’ for its TOP 842C rotary rake. The option, designed to replace the more conventional jockey wheel layout, is said to reduce dirt ingress to the crop by tracking the entire surface of the ground close to the raking tines. In operation, the Flowtast guide bar, made from wear resistant plastic, acts as a giant skid plate, with a large sabre shaped profile that can glide in all directions.

The system, said to have less rolling resistance than typical wheeled set-ups, combines with suspension that allows up to 10% higher travel speeds. The maker says reduced vibration and smoother running reduces overall wear

and tear, and causes less downtime than usually incurred in repairing traditional jockey wheels in wet, muddy or rutted conditions. The guide bar particularly suits problematic operating conditions such as wet or peaty soils or areas deeply rutted with

tyre damage, tramlines or the wheel tracks caused by travelling irrigators. In other Pottinger news, the new Alpha Motion Pro frontmounted mowers have won a Machine of the Year accolade in the haymaking section of the Agritechnica 2019 awards. The judges liked the easy attachment of the machine to a tractor’s front linkage and the proven kinetics of its active support frame. In operation, the Alpha Motion Pro headstock allows the complete carrier frame to adapt to ground contours. This helps achieve a ‘floating cut’ even at high speeds or on wet ground.

20 YEARS OF EMC TECHNOLOGY SPREADING THE right amount of product in the right place at the right rate has always been the basis of effective fertiliser use. For 20 years, Kuhn fertiliser spreader operators have been achieving this aim by using the company’s patented electronic mass flow control (EMC) technology. The EMC system regulates product flow using electromagnetic torque sensors to control the rate of material falling to each disc individually, allowing each paddock to get the right amount

of fertiliser every time. Throughout its lifetime, the EMC system has won international awards at Agritechnica, SIMA, ABRIBEX and EIMA. In North America, the Axis H-EMC line of fertiliser spreaders was recognized by ASABE as one of 2015’s most innovative products because of the EMC system. Today, Kuhn uses EMC technology on its Axis and Axent precision fertiliser spreaders to help the world’s farmers meet their spreading needs.

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DAIRY NEWS NOVEMBER 26, 2019

26 //  MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Magnon wagon makes light work of silage MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

LOADER WAGONS are increasingly popular with contractors looking to make quality silage with less power and fewer staff than are needed with traditional self-propelled teams. Loader wagons also suit smaller jobs at the end of the harvest season. In New Zealand the Strautmann brand is recognised as productive, robust and easily serviced. Its latest offering is its new Magnon series, with a host of new features including a Flex-Load pick up system, Exact-Cut knife bank/ chopping rotor, and a hydraulically pivoting front bulkhead said to increase overall capacity. Available as three models in 42, 46 and 53cu.m capacities, the Magnon models 430, 470 and 530 will in 2021 replace the current Terra-Vitesse range. At the front end of the machine, 2.25m wide Flex-Load reel substitutes steel pick-up tines for plastic fingers arranged in six V-shaped rows. These have greater flexibility and durability, particularly when operating on uneven terrain. Steel stripper bands separate the plastic tines to prevent wrapping or block-

AGRITECHNICA 2019 WITH AGRITECHNICA 2019 behind us,

ages, which tine changes achieve by a single-screw fitting. Powered hydraulically, the pickup has variable speeds for individual conditions, while in auto mode the pick-up speed is matched to the tractor’s forward speed. Height control is achieved by easily adjustable anti-scalp wheels that can be complemented by an optional support roller mounted behind and under the pick-up. Also new, the 48-knife ExactCut chopping unit uses doublesided knives to deliver a theoretical 35mm chop length. A knife protection system allows individual items to retract if they encounter foreign objects, then automatically reset after the object has passed. This is said to increase overall production. The Magnon series continues to

use the company’s well proven continuous flow system that ensures the crop is spread evenly over the full width of the chopping rotor, so ensuring a consistent chop quality. Up front, the hydraulically activated headboard automatically moves forward as the wagon is filled, giving a useful extra 5cu.m load capacity. When unloading, the system operates in reverse to help increase discharge speeds. The 2.4m wide wagon body has a galvanised steel floor that houses four low-wear floor chains, each with a 13-tonne breaking strain rating. All Magnon wagons are fitted with hydraulic suspension. The 30 and 70 models have tandem axle layouts, and the 530 flagship a Tridem axle format.

Dairy News can report it was a case of high-tech, automation and an eye on the future. Among the eye-catching exhibits for those into ‘heavy metal’ was the stunning Steyr concept tractor. Steyr tractors, products of CNH Industrial, are sold, particularly in the northern hemisphere, as the group’s premium offering alongside betterknown New Holland and Case IH machines. The concept tractor has a diesel-electric hybrid drive train -- a 4-cylinder 150kW/204hp FPT engine mated to an electric generator. The generator powers four independent electric wheel motors and a

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fifth motor that drives the PTO system. The tractor, said to deliver 250kW at peak, also has a battery system with a capacity of 30kWH or 60kWH. With an eye on the future, the tractor is also set up to power the electrically driven implements starting to appear in the market, via 48V or 700V connections. The tractor can also communicate in real time

with a drone to gather and process field data. As part of the driveline, regenerative energy recovery stores power in the battery during braking or when travelling downhill. Neat design touches include doors that open and steps that swing out electrically, and the driver’s seat swings through 90 degrees to greet the operator as he climbs into the cabin.

Gold award for weighing system SIMPLE DESIGN coupled with a product that ‘gets

the job done’, has led to Datamars taking the Gold Pin at the Best Design Awards. The Tru-Test S3 weigh system, which includes the MiHub Data Link phone app and MiHub Livestock, took the top honours in its category, while the Datamars’ integrated solar energiser won a bronze award in the same category. Judges liked the clean lines of the S3, its clear screen interface and the tactile quality of the front fascia and keypad. Paired with robust load bars and the smartphone app it gives farmers a novel weighing experience. The Tru-Test S3 weigh scale is said to offer a new level of simplicity and economy in animal weighing and data management on-farm, by stripping back the functionality and allowing the farmer to get on with the job. It captures the weight information for later analysis via the MiHub Livestock digital portal, using Bluetooth pairing to a phone application, bringing advanced technology to the ‘economy’ end of the weigh-scale market. Ease of use was intentional in the design, ensuring minimal interactions were necessary for the farmer to capture the weight information required. Individual animal weights can be matched to animal ID on-the-fly via the app, synching all data automatically through the MiHub Livestock cloud software for future use. The S3 weigh scale is easy to read in varying light conditions, has large, easily accessible buttons with a tactile feel for powering up and zeroing the scale and is rated IP67 for outdoor use in wet conditions. It is easily mounted to timber or pipe infrastructure in a yard. Power from a lithium-ion battery removes the need for external power supply, and this is easily removed for charging and storage. – Mark Daniel


Q. Can we float a new pasture measurement idea by you?

A.

There's always room for improvement.

Every day, satellites pass over New Zealand and you should smile, because they’re taking pictures. They’re part of our new SPACE™ (Satellite Pasture and Cover Evaluation) service. Sign up and you can get images of your farm with detailed pasture data reports, so you don’t have to walk the lot. You can see pasture cover by colour variation, get a paddock ranking and the estimated dry matter per hectare. It’s space-age stuff and we’re covering more and more of New Zealand than ever. Better still, your data can link with MINDA® LIVE – making farm management even more… out there.

LIC_1017_DN_A

Ask your local LIC Agri Manager for a heads up on our SPACE™ service or contact the LIC SPACE™ team.

lic.co.nz/space

Profile for Rural News Group

Dairy News 26 November 2019  

Dairy News 26 November 2019

Dairy News 26 November 2019  

Dairy News 26 November 2019