Page 1

Positive result music to farmers’ ears. PAGE 3


Revamp boosts power PAGE 23

OSPRI REVIEW A farmer’s view PAGE 15

DECEMBER 10, 2019 ISSUE 437 //

STAND OUT LEADER Manawatu farmer Mat Hocken, (with wife Jana and daughter Gabrielle), first Kiwi to collect the Rabobank Emerging Leader Award. PAGE 5

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NEWS  // 3

Co-op’s result music to farmers’ ears SUDESH KISSUN

FEDERATED FARMERS vice Fonterra JV in India PG.10

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president Andrew Hoggard says farmers will be pleased to hear a positive first quarter result from Fonterra. But Hoggard says it’s still early days, and the proof of Fonterra’s turnaround will be if they get a dividend again at the end of this financial year. Hoggard says farmer shareholders will be happy to see the co-op move in the right direction. “I mean, they weren’t happy when our co-op was moving in the wrong direction,” he told Dairy News. Fonterra announced a positive first quarter result, achieving a gross margin of $740 million, up from $646m last year. Operating expenditure is down by $104m, and debt is reduced by $595m compared to same period last year. Chief executive Miles Hurrell

says the cooperative has made good progress moving to its new strategy and has had a strong first quarter. “When we announced our strategy in September, we said there were three things most important to us: caring for people and making a positive impact on society (Healthy People), working together to achieve a healthy environment for farming and society (Healthy Environment) and delivering sustainable business results (Healthy Business). We are making good progress across all three areas. “I’m pleased to see this level of improvement. Our people are doing a great job at putting our strat-

egy into action. There’s more to do but the wheels are definitely in motion.” While the forecast milk price to farmers is the fourth highest in Fonterra’s history, its putting pressure on profit margins in the

value added business. “The biggest pressure on our earnings is going to be the rising milk price. Stronger than forecast performance from our Foodservice business has helped offset the higher milk price to date and we will need to be focused on making improvements in other areas too.” Fonterra’s earnings are also being affected by turmoil in some overseas markets Chile and Hong Kong. “There will also be some markets that have difficult trading conditions over the course of the year. These currently include Chile and Hong Kong where we are starting to see the ongoing civil unrest impact our sales.” Fonterra’s normalised earnings guidance for the 2020 financial year remains at 15-25 cents per share. This reflects the underlying performance of the business, Hurrell says. Miles Hurrell


OPINION�����������������������������������������������12-13 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������ 14-15 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������� 16-17 ANIMAL HEALTH����������������������������18-19 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS���������������������������������������������20 TRACTORS & MACHINERY��������������������������������������21-23

FONTERRA HAS managed to sell only 1% of its stake in the troubled Chinese company Beingmate. Chief executive Miles Hurrell says the co-op will continue to offer the shares on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange market. Under the sharemarket rules

it is only possible to sell up to 1% cent every 90 days directly on the exchange, or sell up to 2% in a single block every 90 days. Trades greater than 5% can be made to an individual party in an off-market transaction. Hurrell says the co-op is also

willing to sell a larger stake off market to any interested party. Fonterra paid $750 million for its 18.8% shareholding in March 2015, in a bid to gain access to Chinese consumers for its infant formula. Last year Fonterra wrote down the investment by $439m

which helped lead to its first ever annual loss of $196m. Hurrell says apart from Beingmate, the co-op is reviewing its China Farms and Brazilian joint venture with Nestle. He expects a decision on both these investments this financial year.


4 //  NEWS

Demand a nose ahead of supply in global market SUDESH KISSUN


milk collection figures confirm that the global dairy market is tipped slightly in favour of demand. Supply of milk is under a cloud, especially in New Zealand: October collection was down 215 million kgMS or 2.2% on the same month last season. While milk supply is down, prices for whole milk powder on the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction have hit their highest level in three years.

Last week, Fonterra lifted its forecast milk price by 25c to a range of $7 to $7.60/kgMS. Fonterra chairman John Monaghan says the co-op has continued to earn good prices for its milk. “The higher price reflects a global dairy market that is tipped slightly in favour of demand,” he said. “Our New Zealand milk production is forecast to be up 0.5% on last year. Annual milk production in the other key global supply regions of the US and EU are both growing at less than 1%. “On the demand

side, Global Dairy Trade prices have increased by about 6% since our previous forecast. Whole milk powder (WMP) prices, a key driver of our milk price, have hit their highest level since December 2016. “At this stage of the year, we have contracted a good proportion of our sales book and that gives us the confidence to increase the mid-point of our forecast farmgate milk price range by 25 cents.” Monaghan says farmers will welcome what would be the fourth highest milk price in Fonterra’s history. It would represent a $11.2 billion cash injection into

NZ communities. Fonterra says October began with colder and wetter conditions than usual across most regions which has seen milk collections reduce. However, recent warm weather could see a recovery in the first half of November. North Island milk collection in October was 128.7 million kgMS, down 2.0% on last October. Season to date collection is 339.6 million kgMS, up 0.3% on last season. Weather conditions across most regions were wetter than usual and the main contributor to the decrease in October collections.



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South Island milk collection in October was 86.6 million kgMS, down 2.6% on last October. Season to date collection is 185.1 million kgMS,

down 1.8% on last season. Wet and cold weather has South Island collections down on last year. The Southland region has had pasture damage

due to sustained wet conditions. Canterbury collections are in line with last season. @dairy_news

UPSIDE SEEN TO PRICE FORECAST ASB RURAL economist Nathan Penny says it sees an upside to last week’s milk price forecast from Fonterra. “We’ll be watching NZ dairy production data closely over November and December for clues as to the direction of dairy prices over the remainder of 2019 and early 2020,” he said. Overall auction prices have lifted by about 8% since the start of spring, with the price lift coinciding with softening NZ production growth. Following these price moves, ASB already revised its milk price forecast higher by 50 cents to $7.50/kgMS two weeks ago. “Looking ahead, we suspect that dairy auction prices may have further to climb,” he said. “Recall that NZ October produc-

Nathan Penny

tion was 1.5% down on October 2018 and, anecdotally, this production weakness has intensified over November. “Meanwhile, EU and US production growth is also soft, with annual production only marginally above year-ago levels in both regions.”


NEWS  // 5

From Colyton to UK and back PETER BURKE

HE COULD have become a top European Union political advisor or London banker or lawyer -- but no. Instead Mat Hocken left all the glitz and glamour of Europe to return to the tiny Manawatu township of Colyton to run the family dairy farm And his amazing overseas experience and knowledge have not been wasted because a week ago he was named the winner of Rabobank’s Trans-Tasman Emerging Leader Award – the first Kiwi to win the award since it began in 2013. For Mat Hocken and his wife Jana it was a very special occasion and

Mat Hocken with father Ross Hocken.

honour being presented with an Oscar-like trophy at a ceremony in front of some 200 guests, many from Australia. Presenting the award,

Rabobank Australia and New Zealand managing director Peter Knoblanche described Hocken as “one of those exceptional emerging leaders who has

the combination of business, technical, interpersonal and entrepreneurial skills, as well as academic and sporting success”. “It is the complete

package that makes him stand out. Mat is an exceptional young agribusiness leader who has a passion for the industry and a desire to keep learning. I have no doubt these attributes will ensure that his influence in New Zealand’s food and agribusiness sector will continue to grow.” After leaving school in Manawatu, Hocken gained a law degree at Canterbury and, while just beginning in law, he was offered an opportunity to study at Cambridge University in the UK. Hocken, long interested in politics, gained his masters degree there in political science and government. He then worked as a consultant with a company

in Brussels, advising clients on matters relating to the European Union. And there he met his wife Jana. He also worked in Australia and all the time pursued his interest in rugby. But the lure of the New Zealand lifestyle and the opportunity to be the fourth-generation Hocken to run the family dairy farm – Grassmere Dairy -won out and he and Jana came back to NZ in 2013. Today the couple run the dairy farming operation -- two farms with a total of 1000 cows and a dry stock block. The farms produce about 430,000kgMS. They employ seven staff. Hocken’s father Ross also lives nearby and runs drys-

tock and grows maize. The numbers make the farm sound like a typical dairy farm, but Mat and Jana are not your average dairy farmers. Both have been corporate high flyers, are tech savvy and have innovated on the farm. And they have connected with like-minded farmers, growers, scientists and researchers in the region to create new systems to take farm management to a new level. Mat was involved in setting up Rural Innovation Lab, a network platform intent on addressing challenges to the agri sector, eg the carbon issue, cutting costs and sharing machinery. The aim is collaboration and openness to new ideas.

THE LEAN OPERATION MAT TOOK on the role of local Federated Farmers dairy chairman and in 2018 was a Nuffield scholar looking into innovation in agriculture. Their commitment to innovation sets Mat and wife Jana apart from others. Jana has written a book called Lean Dairy Farm, based on Toyota’s management philosophy. Jana once worked for Toyota. Mat says the Lean concept has a focus on continuous improvement and seeing problems as an opportunity to improve. It looks at waste reduction, be this in terms of products or time and this fits neatly into the sustainability agenda. Efficient businesses are appealing to their staff, Mat says, because they, like the owner, don’t like to waste time. And while the dairy shed at

Grassmere Dairy is crammed with the latest technology, in the staff room very low technology is equally central to the running of the business. The walls are covered in white boards displaying the various metrics of the operation. They call it ‘visual management’. The staff meet here weekly and their discussion is based on boards’ content. “The staff were involved in designing these boards so it’s very much a bottom up process,” he said. Mat emphasises communicating with and training staff, giving them responsibility and making them accountable for specific aspects of the operation. “This instills a lot of pride in people. We also have a five days on, two days off roster even

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through calving and I don’t think you’ll see anything like this on other farms.” Looking to the future, Hocken sees many challenges, the key one being environmental. He says dairy farmers must be more closely connected to consumers, as are horticulturalists and even sheep and beef farmers. “We need to move beyond just telling our story, to finding out what information our consumers want and giving it to them in the way they want it,” he said. His award will enable Mat to attend a two week Rabobank-run leadership course in Sydney, with networking and meeting like-minded agribusiness leaders in Australasia.

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6 //  NEWS

M.bovis milestone in sight NIGEL MALTHUS


bovis eradication programme is closing in on another milestone as 2019 draws to an end. On the latest figures, 124,050 cattle have been culled and the 125,000 milestone seems certain to be surpassed as this issue of Dairy News goes to print. When the eradication programme was formally adopted in May 2018, 26,000 had already been earmarked for slaughter and it was estimated that another 126,000 would need to be culled. The total number of farms confirmed as infected passed 200 in October and now stands at 211 -- 49 in the South Island and 162 in the North. 54 were dairy farms, 113 beef and 44 other. Of those, 22

Damien O’Connor

are still active and 189 cleared. In positive signs, however, the number of farms under active surveillance -- which dropped sharply when testing protocols were changed to streamline the process in September -- has continued to trend downwards since

then and now stands at 269. The number of farms under a Notice of Direction (NoD) is also down from an October high and now stands at 260. The Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, recently announced extra funding for the Rural Sup-

port Trust. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries about bank debt and how

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best to meet the challenges of improving our waterways and meet New Zealand’s climate change commitments. “To that end, I’ve spoken to the Rural Support Trust and, alongside our Mycoplasma bovis programme partners, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ, we’ve set aside an extra $250,000 to help with their work talking to farmers on the ground. “The trust will develop a plan for using the money, in addition to the other farmer support mechanisms provided by the M.bovis programme, and the DairyNZ and B+LNZ compensation assistance teams (DBCAT). “The trust does a fantastic job and is well placed to deliver additional help. They’re experienced and practical people who can coach farmers through difficult times.’’ O’Connor said the new funding is on top of previous increases by the Government. “The Government has already boosted funding for the Rural Support Trust from $386,500 a year to $626,000 for their daily work. Outside of that, the trust is budgeted to receive more than $1m in the next year for M.bovis related work.” Meanwhile, the rural support trusts have published a list of services offered to help farmers affected by Mycoplasma bovis, saying they are

RESEARCHERS HIRED GLOBAL EPIDEMIOLOGY consulting company Ausvet and New Zealand’s Working Formula (WF) have been appointed by the Mycoplasma bovis programme to research an acceleration of the eradication programme. Ausvet and WF specialise in finding disease patterns in populations. This will help to understand the risk of spread from different properties at different times, explains Dr John Roche, MPI’s chief science adviser and chair of the M. bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group (SSAG). “Farms potentially infected with M. bovis are currently prioritised for follow up (casing) using several criteria. Ausvet and WF will investigate if there is anything we can do to improve the current criteria to more effectively prioritise farms at high risk of infection for urgent follow-up. “It’s more critical to apply movement controls on high-risk farms than other properties. If these farms can be identified and actioned more quickly, it will slow the spread of the disease and speed up eradication.” This will be a short-term research project, based on analysis of existing data. Ausvet has also been awarded a contract to review the existing M. bovis programme surveillance strategy. This will identify any areas for development and improvement focused on how to improve our confidence that M. bovis is absent from New Zealand in the future. The company will also provide training to M. bovis programme epidemiologists, for them to undertake ongoing surveillance. Of the $870m in funding allocated to eradicating Mycoplasma bovis, up to $30 million is earmarked for research projects.

“more than just an ear to listen”. “As well as someone to talk to about your concerns, we can also help you navigate through the process, as we have training in and experience with the M. bovis programme and know how it works. “Depending on the individual farming operation, it can be a lengthy process, involving a

number of M. bovis programme teams, and RST offers support throughout the process and the ability to help shift things along if they get stuck. “We are rural people helping rural people. We are farming people who understand the challenges of rural life.” All Rural Support Trust branches may be contacted on 0800 787 254.

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NEWS  // 7

Andrew Hoggard

Banks put screws on farmers PETER BURKE

FARMERS ARE feeling the pressure

from banks. Federated Farmers vice president Andrew Hoggard says rumours about the actions of some banks are swirling around the rural community and farmers are concerned about what this may mean for them short and long term. He says he’s heard about contract milkers and lower order sharemilkers being refused overdrafts and of a succession plan being vetoed by a bank at the last minute. Rural professionals have told Dairy News of banks giving the ag sector a wide berth on lending. One bank is said to have ceased all lending to the ag sector and others have pulled back massively or are much tougher about granting loans. Investigation by Dairy News suggests that Rabobank is the only bank not cutting back on lending to the ag sector. Hoggard says he’s trying to grapple with the issue and decide what action

farmers should take. “The present situation creates a whole series of challenges, especially when you look at all the expectations coming in the form of policies on climate change and fresh water. If farmers are to respond to these issues they may need to invest in infrastructure and if no one is interested in loaning them the money to do that they are locked in a bit of a hard place.” Hoggard says the challenges facing farmers are prompting many to look at quitting the industry. But if the banks are not lending to people who might want to buy their farms that creates further issues for some would-be sellers. “So the question for those wanting to sell is whether they will get the price they expect or are they going to have to hold on for years until the market settles down and they can walk away without having to take a bath. This is the perfect storm with multiple challenges happening at the same time.” A recent survey by Federated Farmers shows that the proportion of its members feeling pressure from banks has risen in the last six months from 16% to 23%.

NEWS NO SURPRISE THIS NEWS is not surprising. Dairy News reported Feds president Katie Milne saying at National Fieldays this year that the mood was sombre. Andrew Hoggard recalls that when he visited various Fieldays bank sites it was apparent that a couple of the banks didn’t have much interest in being there. Others had downsized their sites and were not touting hard for new business. ANZ’s head of agri, Mark Hiddleston, said at that time that the Reserve Bank’s increased capital proposal would either restrict the availability of capital or raise the cost of capital. Today his view is backed David Tripe, professor of banking at Massey University. Tripe says the new rules mean that generally the banks are going to be pressured to hold a higher

percentage of capital reserves. To do this they will have to either increase their returns on lending substantially or cut back on the amount of lending. “The lending they will cut back on is the lending that is less profitable, which for most of them is agriculture. “What has tended to happen in the past is that people have been very enthusiastic about farming without regard to the concerns of doing it. The new Reserve Bank rules will give the banks a new focus on the returns from any new lending.” Tripe says less money will inevitably be available for the agri sector. Lending to the farming sector is no longer as easy as it was. The effect of this may be lower land prices.


8 //  NEWS

Crackdown on dodgy raw milk sellers NIGEL MALTHUS

THE MINISTRY for Primary Industries (MPI) has cracked down on unlicensed raw milk suppliers. MPI compliance staff executed search warrants on December 3 at eight unregistered suppliers of raw (unpasteurised) drinking milk in Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Horowhenua, Nelson and Southland. MPI’s manager of food compliance, Melinda Sando, says the co-ordinated site visits followed a year-long operation, and were to gather evidence of the offending and to allow further investigation. “We believe that the suppliers we visited today are operating outside of the regulatory framework. By not adhering to the rules for selling raw drinking milk, they are putting consumer health at risk. “There have been multiple instances in the past of people getting sick after drinking raw milk from some of these suppliers. We can’t let this continue.” Sando says unregistered suppliers have been using various tactics to continue selling their product, including selling it as ‘bath milk’ or ‘pet milk’. “These tactics are not legal in our view and are a way of getting around the regulations and avoiding the costs associated with being compliant, including food safety testing costs, registration costs and audit costs. MPI says a formal investigation is underway and prosecution action may follow. The eight suppliers were directed to stop selling raw milk until they complied but all still have the option of registering and selling within the regulatory framework. A raw milk pioneer has welcomed the crackdown. Richard Houston, managing director of Takakabased Village Milk, says it brings everybody onto the

EASE UP ON GOOD GUYS WHILE WELCOMING the crackdown on non-compliant raw milk suppliers, Richard Houston also says it is time to give the complying suppliers a break by easing the regulations on distribution. Raw milk suppliers can only sell direct to their customers, either at the farm gate – often through automated on-farm vending machines -- or by home delivery. It cannot be sold at another location. “Current legislation’s pretty tight on distribution,” said Houston. “They consider the milk to be a really high risk but we’ve been running seven years now and we’ve

same field. He said it was good that MPI was “stepping up to the plate” to go after operators who wanted to run their business without proper testing, or who had “gone underground”. Houston believed it was the first real shake-up since new rules on supplying raw milk came into effect on March 1, 2016. It had been a long time coming, he said. “Hats off to Melinda (Sando). She’s done a great job.” Current regulations require raw milk suppliers to register with MPI, follow strict hygiene and testing protocols, and to ask customers for contact details so that any discovery of potential health risks can be followed up. Sando says all suppliers were able to take part in the consultation process on the new regula-

never been faulted. “We’ve got a really good procedure we follow every day, we test regularly and we’ve got great animals and a beautiful little farm.” Houston said Village Milk is sold at the farm in reusable glass bottles, which his customers were managing “really well”. “It would be great to be able to take the milk a bit closer to the people. Not everyone can drive to the farm.” Houston said raw milk is fantastic as a whole food. “The legislation’s there. The milk’s safe.”

tions. “They knew what the rules were designed to do and why they were brought into effect. The suppliers need to stop selling unregulated product immediately. They’ll be able to resume selling once they have met all requirements to make them compliant. We hope they put human health first. It’s the responsible thing to do.” MPI made no apologies for holding to account people who are breaching the regulations. “Raw unpasteurised milk is a risky product as it hasn’t been heat treated to remove illness-causing bacteria including E. coli, listeria and campylobacter. “These types of bacteria most commonly cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting, but occasionally some have been linked with more seri-

ous complications that include miscarriage, paralysis, meningitis and serious kidney problems in children. Raw milk may also be a source of tuberculosis.” Sando said MPI supports consumer choice. “We’re not saying people can’t drink raw unpasteurised milk. What we are saying is that when people choose to drink raw unpasteurised milk, they’re able to make that choice with a degree of confidence that the milk they’re consuming is produced within the regulatory framework. “Purchasing from MPIregistered suppliers who are being audited regularly to ensure they are managing risks and testing regularly helps consumers reduce the risks if they choose to drink this product.” @dairy_news


NEWS  // 9

Fat prices drag GDT index down PAM TIPA


below expectations at last week’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction with lower fat prices dragging the overall price index 0.5% lower, says BNZ senior economist Doug Steel. Fat prices fell heavily with butter and AMF sinking 4.9% and 5.1% respectively, seemingly on lower demand, he told Dairy News. Steel says apart from fats, prices were buoyant elsewhere with casein up 4.9%, cheese up 2.7% and skim milk powder (SMP) rising 1.9%. Whole milk powder (WMP) prices were essentially flat at US$3331/t (still well above the RBNZ’s medium term view of US$3000/t).

The slight dip in overall prices broke a run of five consecutive increases and economists agree the market was taking a slight breather. Steel says prices across the range of dairy products seem to be converging, with previously high priced fats easing and

previously low priced SMP rising, providing a good illustration of this dynamic. “While overall prices were lower than expected, the result wasn’t a complete surprise given mixed indicators heading into the auction.” A bout of ‘risk-of’ sen-

timent sweeping through financial markets in the previous few days would not have helped, including unsettling developments on trade as Trump commented that he had no deadline on a US-China trade deal, Steel says.  “In any case, the overall move is minor and

essentially consolidates recent gains. Dairy prices are at high levels with the GDT Price Index 23.1% higher than a year ago.” The result takes the edge off milk price calculations, especially in the context of a recent small “pop higher” in the NZ dollar.

“But general dairy price strength to date still bodes well for a decent 2019-20 payout to farmers. “Our current milk price forecast sits at $7.40/kgMS. This includes a view that international prices will be broadly flat over coming months before easing a touch later in 2020.” ASB’s senior rural economic Nathan Penny noted that over five previous consecutive auctions prices lifted 8.3%. WMP prices were essentially flat at the auction, up just 0.1%, which was a touch softer than the expected 1% price rise. “Nonetheless, WMP is a healthy 25.1% up on this time last year.” Meanwhile, skim milk powder (SMP) prices continued their strong recent run. “SMP prices have recorded seven consecu-

tive gains, jumping 23% since the end of August.” Penny says the WMPSMP premium has narrowed from over 30% at the start of the year to under 10% at last week’s auction. “In contrast, milk fat prices posted their second consecutive fall. Both butter and anhydrous milk fat prices fell by around 5%. “That said, prices are near their seasonal lows and we anticipate milk fat prices will lift as we head into summer and the accompanying seasonal fall in production.” He suspects that auction prices may lift once again after the pause. “Recall that NZ October production was 1.5% down on October 2018 and, anecdotally, production weakness has intensified over November,” Penny said.



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10 //  NEWS

Co-op eyes $1b sales in Indian JV SUDESH KISSUN

FONTERRA IS hoping to build a NZ$1 billion joint venture dairy business in India within seven to 10 years. This follows a flying start to its joint venture, Fonterra Future Dairy, with Indian retail giant Future Group, launched June this year. Within five months of launch, the Dreamery brand products are building an impressive market share: milkshake 16%, curd 10% and toned (flavoured) milk 6%. Fonterra Future Dairy

“Fifteen years ago if I were to get curd from the market that would have meant disrespect for my mother and grandmother, almost implying they don’t know how to cook.” chairman and the co-op managing director Sri Lanka and Indian subcontinent, Sunil Sethi, says consumer demand for

dairy in India over the next seven years is ■■ 25% of food spending expected to attributed to dairy increase by 82 billion litres. ■■ 40% of people are vegetarian; dairy considered key source of The value protein added dairy ■■ Value of dairy is unchallenged sector will due to its importance in Hindu grow 50% mythology and scriptures faster than the dairy sector in the next seven years. ”India consumes 170 billion litres of milk every year ... the opportunity is huge,” Sethi said. Fonterra has also launched its Anchor Food Professionals, targeting high end hotels and restaurants.

Milk in India

Fonterra Future Dairy chairman Sunil Sethi.

Sethi says Fonterra’s joint venture in India is “capital light” but based on profitability and growth. The co-op hopes to meet the $1b target in 7-10 years. Sethi was in Auckland last week with Future Group executives to brief the board on progress. He told journalists the growth in value added dairy is driven by evolving food habits. More Indians are now moving into packaged foods, spurred by changes in lifestyle and for convenience. “They also tend to trust packaged foods as opposed to unpackaged foods.” More Indians are also comfortable buying cottage cheese and yoghurt from a store, rather than consuming home-made products. “Fifteen years ago if I were to get curd from the market that would have

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meant disrespect for my mother and grandmother, almost implying they don’t know how to cook. “But today people get curds delivered to their homes: the trend of moving away from homemade dairy to getting it from outside is a big driver.” Dreamery products are now available in about 3000 general stores in the key cities Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Although made from milk sourced from Indian dairy farms, the product packaging highlights Fonterra’s 130 years of dairy expertise. Milk is purchased from chilling stations and tested twice: once at the chilling station and then at the processing plant gate. Fonterra Future Dairy products are made by Schreiber Dynamix, a third party milk processor in India for many.


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NEWS  // 11

Keep mastitis from milking you dry. Clare Bayly, Agrisea

Seaweed pioneer working with innovative farmers AGRISEA NZ feels lucky to be

able to work with the country’s most innovative farmers, says Clare Bayley, business and development manager. The seaweed products pioneer company was named supreme winner in the NZI Rural Woman NZ Business Awards. Bayley says the award is a recognition of the farmers AgriSea works with -- people who are leading the way into the future. “It is very exciting because often our farmers are excited by farming rather than being down in the dumps. We are pretty lucky to work with some cool people,” she told Dairy News. AgriSea has also just received a judge’s commendation in the restoring nature section of the Sustainable Business Awards. That too was recognition of some “incredible dairy farmer customers of ours who are leading the way in reducing their environmental footprint.  It was an acknowledgement of those farmers who are doing the work; we just provide the tools.” Bayley says AgriSea has a range of tools that can help dairy farmers become more environmentally sustainable. They include a range of products helpful for animal health and preventing of diseases, and products for the land that assist farmers to transition to a more environmentally friendly way of farming. “We have these transition plans that have been pretty well researched.  Change can be really scary for farmers but we have got a whole lot of tools to help them on their way.” Bayley’s mother-in-law Jill Bradley and partner Keith Atwood started the business in the early 1990s under their sister company Ocean Organics. “It was almost by accident,” said Clare. “They went on a walking holiday and came across a farm that was healthy and had no disease, no facial

CONTINUOUS RESEARCH WELL RESEARCHED tools that will help farmers into the future is AgriSea’s focus, says Clare Bayley. The company’s continuous product development results from their being close to their customers. “We don’t sell to third parties. We are right on farm gathering information about what farmers and growers need and trying to solve those problems. We are really lucky to be up close with our customers which gives us the ability to develop products which are useful in their business.” One example is that until a few years ago they were a liquid only company. “We looked for a very long time for a carrier for our liquid. We now have a product where the liquid is absorbed onto a chip and farmers can mix it in with their conventional fertiliser and it gives a probiotic effect in the soils. That has been a really good product introduced to the farming community.” A PhD student at Lincoln University is researching the effects of one AgriSea product on ruminant nutrition.

eczema yet it was one of those fungal summers. It was a German couple and their main input was a seaweed product they had made themselves.” Jill and Keith researched the development of a gardening product made from New Zealand seaweed. The business went from strength to strength. A completely different phase began when they started in the early 2000s creating products for people who live off the land such as farmers, orchardists or commercial growers. “We had to research cleverly what the effects were of the products on commercial growing systems to make sure we were adding value to people’s businesses. This is their livelihoods so that was a very important step.” Clare’s husband Tane had grown up in the business and 13 years ago they decided to get out of Auckland and join fulltime. They had three children in that time and officially took over about five years ago. The seaweed is supplied by a network of hundreds of families in remote coastal communities in New Zealand. “[We use] only New Zealand sea-

weed. We want to grow a New Zealand seaweed industry rather than use cheap imported powders that are actually a byproduct. Our seaweed is collected after storms. Each seaweed harvester knows exactly which wind and what conditions bring it onto which beach. They are highly trained in how to collect, prepare and dry it for us.” In announcing the award, Rural Women national president Fiona Gower says AgriSea’s business model and products are epitomised in Clare’s passion, expertise and commitment to her family’s business. “The Paeroa company’s impressive investment in research, development and innovation is a showcase of a successful, inter-generational, rural agri-business,” said Gower. Bradley says Tane entered the Rural Women Awards without her knowing. AgriSea had supported the awards before “as we want to encourage rural women to put themselves forward”. When contacted to say they were a finalist she thought they had made a mistake and were actually contacting her about supporting the awards.

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The good, the bank and the ugly

MILKING IT... Shot in the foot AS MANY in the know predicted, the police have made a hash of the gun buy-back. They admit that 35 people had their full details accessed, and “less than 500 people” have had their names and addresses accessed. The breach occurred when an update to the database -- not authorised by police -- gave a group of gun dealers more access to the database than they were supposed to have. The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) advises gun owners who had used the site that they may need to increase their security. Learning from Treasury’s abysmal handling of the Budget ‘leak’ earlier in the year, the police at least didn’t try to claim the firearms database had been hacked. Calls for Police Minister Stuart Nash to resign will be ignored, but perhaps he should start listening more closely to the gun community, including the Feds, to avoid making the buy-back fiasco any worse.

Zany Zeus for sale

Port in a (small) storm

THREE WEEKS after winning the top prize in the NZ Ice Cream Manufacturers Association annual awards, Wellington gourmet dairy producer Zany Zeus is in the hands of receivers. The company got into financial strife as it set up a Seaview factory and had no option but to call in receivers. Already well-known for its other artisan dairy products, Zany Zeus not only won the Premium Ice Cream category but also scooped the Supreme Award for boutique manufacturers for the first time with its Ghana Chocolate ice cream. The judges commented on the ice cream’s dark, rich chocolate flavour, which leaves a clean mouthfeel, calling it absolute indulgence. Zany Zeus’s collapse is unlikely to leave a sour taste in the mouths of Welly ice cream lovers. The company is still operating and the receivers hope to sell it soon.

THE PROPOSAL to relocate Auckland Port to Northland continues to float in open waters. Finance Minister Grant Robertson still hasn’t backed the relocation, which has become the baby of outspoken NZ First Minister Shane Jones. Radio NZ reports that Jones was recently told to temper his public comments about the extent of support for Northport from the Government rather than just his own party, New Zealand First. He acknowledged Labour’s only commitment was to a feasibility study, now done. The agri sector, a major user of the port, is watching keenly to see whether politics or good policy will eventually win.

Swedes bellyache about milk SWEDEN’S MILK war is now being played out on television. Sit through any TV commercial break at almost any time in Sweden today, and you’re bound to see one of several  different  ads, each with a different set of characters but all following the same script: promoting real milk. The ads, released by the Swedish dairy conglomerate Arla, are the latest escalation in the vicious, so-called milk war that has been raging for five years between Sweden’s powerful dairy industry and the virally popular Swedish oat milk brand Oatly. The war has played out on the national stage, in the form of lawsuits and attack ads, as a bitter struggle over market share and what it means to be Swedish in 2019.

THE NEWS that most banks are pulling back or taking a more cautious approach to lending to the rural sector should come as no surprise. The signs were obvious at this year’s National Fieldays. Normally banks are out selling debt for all they’re worth, but this year they had retreated inside their much smaller sites, mostly showing the flag to a few key clients and checking the mood of the event. The Reserve Bank’s move to get banks to increase their capital reserves, to protect bank deposits, will pressure their ability to lend. The days of banks’ carefree lending are over. Anecdotal evidence suggests that before lending on a farm a bank will take a microscopic look at the property and its viability. For example, how compliant is the farm in environmental matters and is the asking price realistic given its likely future? That makes sense. But the trouble for many farmers is that tighter lending criteria pinch their ability to spend money on necessary new infrastructure such as feed pads or cow homes or better effluent systems. Dairy News has already heard that bankers’ pressure on some Southland farmers to repay loan principal is forcing them to try to raise profit at the expense of getting on with farm tasks. With banks squeezing farmers, the Government’s environmental agenda could be at risk, or at least it may face pushback from farmers. Farmers’ discretionary spending on environmental improvements will be nudged down their priority lists, or such spending will generally be curtailed, dampening the economies of rural towns. This is not a good outcome because NZ will only maintain its position as a producer of high quality, sustainable food by adhering to good on farm standards. And the reality is that rural NZ is the real NZ. Banks’ decisions to cut the size of their agri portfolios, and all that this may mean, come as the country moves into an election year. For not the first time farming may be the centre of the debate.

GOT SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND? GOT SOMETHING on your mind about the latest issues affecting our dairy industry? Put your pen to paper or your fingers to your keyboard, and let our readers know what you think. Contact us by either post or email. Don’t forget to put your name and address. Note: Letters may be edited. POST TO: LETTER TO THE EDITOR PO BOX 331100, TAKAPUNA, AUCKLAND 0740 OR EMAIL:

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OPINION  // 13

How to assist farmers ARTHUR TSITSIRAS

A RECENT report by New Zealand Institute of Economic Research showed that the dairy industry contributes $17 billion to the NZ economy. The report also showed a 70% increase in export earnings per cow since 2001. Dairy has the highest average salary amongst agricultural industries and is a top ten employer in half of New Zealand territorial authorities. The

farmers are now expected to be conscious about their environmental impact. PM Jacinda Ardern recently announced that Kiwi farmers have a five year window to reduce their carbon emissions before the Government introduces financial penalties, potentially adding further stress to already overworked farmers. Ardern’s Zero Carbon Bill was passed in early November, with the aim of New Zealand being carbon neutral by 2050. Waterway pollution,

The rise in plant-based milks is probably the newest threat and one that looks set to continue as the vegan movement rises across the globe. Forbes and The Economist have called 2019 the year of the vegan and the global vegan food market size is predicted to be worth US$ 24.3 billion by 2026. dairy sector’s economic activity also supports the regional economy, delivering 10% of GDP in Waikato, Southland, West Coast and Taranaki. It is the second largest contributor to economic activity in Northland and Manawatu, and the third largest in Canterbury and Bay of Plenty. The dairy industry in New Zealand is not immune to challenges, however. A recent outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis, a disease which can cause mastitis and abortions in cows, led to 80 farms being tested positive for the disease. Dairy farming is also impacted by the same set of variables that affect the agriculture industry as a whole: droughts, floods, storms, and fluctuating demands in its product. The rise in plantbased milks is probably the newest threat and one that looks set to continue as the vegan movement rises across the globe. Forbes and The Economist have called 2019 the year of the vegan and the global vegan food market size is predicted to be worth US$ 24.3 billion by 2026. In addition, dairy

as a result of phosphorus and synthetic nitrogen fertilisers, is also hot on the agenda. The Government recently announced it would spend $12 million to help support farmers and communities clean up New Zealand’s waterways. An Environment Ministry report in 2014 revealed that roughly 60% of New Zealand’s waterways are unfit for swimming and experts say water quality has deteriorated further since. Moreover, in a recent Colmar Brunton survey, 82% of respondents said they were “extremely or very” concerned about the pollution of rivers and lakes, more than any other issue including living costs, child poverty and climate change. Clearly, farmers are behind the movement to make New Zealand more sustainable. A recent survey by Nielsen Research, which was commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries through the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Research programme, revealed that 92% of farmers are focused

on making their farm more environmentally sustainable, up from 78% in the last survey of 2009. Dairy farming, despite it being one of the biggest contributors to the New Zealand economy, isn’t without its challenges. It has now been presented a fresh hurdle in the form

of the Government’s new environmental regulations. Collectively we must support farmers to become sustainable. Farmers are onboard and actively want to be more sustainable, some 92% of them in fact. So it won’t be resistance

or a want of trying that leads farmers to fall short of the Government’s climate emissions reform expectations. It’ll be that they haven’t been sufficiently supported. • Arthur Tsitsiras is general manager of TerraCare.

Arthur Tsitsiras


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Ice cream maker hasn’t lost its touch Tip Top’s winning Boysenberry Ripple ice cream.


ICONIC ICE cream company Tip Top may have changed hands but has not lost its winning touch The former Fonterra business scooped the 2019 Supreme Award for large manufacturers at the NZ Ice Cream Manufacturers Association (NZICMA) annual award in Auckland recently. Tip Top’s Boysenberry Ripple ice cream won the top prize for the fifth time, and it won in the standard ice cream category. Fonterra still supplies milk and cream to Tip Top; most of the ice cream maker’s ingredients are sourced from within New Zealand. As part of its revised strategy, Fonterra sold the company earlier this year, for $380 million, to the British company Froneri, owned by Nestle and R&R Ice Cream. Tip Top marketingmanager Mel McKenzie says winning the Supreme Award with Boysenberry

DSM opens revamped facility

Mel McKenzie

Ripple for the fifth time was an honour. She says top quality milk and cream and fruits by farmers around the country provide a winning combination. McKenzie says Boysenberry Ripple is in the top five for Tip Top’s 2L sales. About 60% of sales are made in summer. Tip Top buys boysenberries from, apricots come from Hawke’s Bay, strawberries from Auckland and kiwifruit from Te Puke. At this year’s awards Tip Top and Kapiti Ice Cream won one Supreme Award, two category awards, five gold medals and nine silver medals. NZICMA spokeswoman Hannah Wood says New Zealandmade ice cream and

gelato is arguably the best in the world, made

from top quality dairy and other locally sourced

ingredients, and the awards are a great opportunity to showcase this. “It’s fantastic to see so many different ice cream makers – from smaller boutiques to large established manufacturers – take out the coveted Best in Category trophies. It demonstrates the high level of quality overall, which is great news for anyone who loves ice cream and gelato,” said Wood.

CURRY GELATO ONE CATEGORY changes each year to highlight a star ingredient: for 2019 it was all about nuts. The winner of the Best of Nuts category was Little ‘Lato, which made hazelnuts sing in its winning Hazelnut Chocolate gelato. Little ‘Lato also won the Open Creative category with something a little different: Massaman Curry gelato. The judges said the spicy, sweet Massaman Curry gelato hinted at the complex flavours in the popular Thai dish. It was a great example of the innovation NZ ice cream makers bring to the Open Creative category, they said. There was no shortage of creativity this year, with other entries including turkey with white chocolate gravy and stuffing, and beetroot and ginger.

GLOBAL NUTRITION and animal health company DSM has opened its refurbished plant in Auckland. The company says it is looking to expand and strengthen its New Zealand footprint, building on its established presence of at least 20 years. Powered by renewable electricity, the newly upgraded Auckland facility will further improve DSM’s resource efficacy, decreasing its emissions and sending a clear message on its commitment to using renewable energy, it says. The facility will produce a range of sustainable and innovative nutritional compounds for a wide range of segments such as early life nutrition, food and beverage, sports nutrition and medical nutrition. The company aims to deepen its connection to its consumers in the Oceania region. The new plant serves as a catalyst for growth in Australia and New Zealand, reinforcing DSM’s ambitions for both countries. DSM says it draws on the latest science and technology to develop tailored solutions, leveraging its product portfolio and innovation capabilities to ensure customers extract maximum value from the solutions developed and produced locally. Commenting on the opening, Leah Davey, general manager, Oceania DSM Nutritional Products, said, “We are proud to be walking the talk with our site run on renewable electricity”. “Our newly upgraded facility in Auckland will further advance the high quality standards in the production of our nutritional premix. “We will continue to front run the production of premixes with new and innovative ingredients, all of which will enable our customers and partners to deliver more innovative and sustainable solutions to tackle some of the toughest social and environmental challenges.”Apart from new blending and packing equipment, the facility also has improved layout and zoning, and floors with anti-microbial growth properties.

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A year of rebuilding for OSPRI As 2019 draws to a close, OSPRI Mid-North Island committee chair CHRIS IRONS gives a farmgate perspective on OSPRI’s activities. THIS PAST year for

OSPRI has seen rebuilding, with new chief executive Steve Stuart coming on board to lead the future vision of world class disease management and traceability for farmers and industry. OSPRI has 12 regional committees representing farmers from different industry groups, ensuring the farmgate voice is heard in Wellington, and farmers are more aware of OSPRI activities and can influence decisionmaking. Since Stuart took over, the importance and value OSPRI committees provide has been acknowledged and utilised during a challenging period. The recent TB outbreak in northern Hawke’s Bay is very disappointing, however, this reminds everyone there is still risk of TB from wildlife in the North Island. OSPRI is throwing numerous resources in its response and investigating what happened. They are also reviewing their vector control programme across the country, so they can reduce the risk of a similar occurence elsewhere. While TB infected herd numbers are relatively low in the North Island compared to a decade ago, we still have some way to go with an estimated 1.6 million hectares to be freed of TB in wildlife. Let’s not rest on our laurels and forget the past generation of farmers who worked tirelessly to fight TB with less resources. Don’t be complacent, stay on top of your TB testing. In autumn, OSPRI undertook the biggest change to the NAIT online system since it was introduced in 2012. This required about 85,000 farmers and lifestylers to re-register their farms and animals. The roll-out caught farmers off-guard and resulted in plenty of confusion, frustration, and anger. OSPRI has acknowl-

edged this could have been better planned and managed. The contact centre did not have enough staff or resources to handle the volume of callers. It also coincided with winter grazing and the moving day period with operators handling, at its peak, over 4,000 calls a week and a backlog of emails, which temporarily affected their ability to respond. I believe it should never have been called NAIT re-registration. This was misleading, and in hindsight it might have been more helpful to ask farmers to update their NAIT accounts -- not reregister. The perception was that they had to start all over again. I’m curious to see what the next NAIT system upgrade will bring: a refurbishment is long overdue. Farmers have been involved in the redesign with a prototype trialled at this year’s Fieldays where it was well received. It’s crucial we get this right and fit for purpose. The OSPRI committees will be watching closely and holding those involved to account. We all want a system that’s easier to use and navigate and it can’t come quick enough. The introduction of new NAIT standards are welcome and should provide more value and reassurance for farmers who use third party providers or stock agents to manage their NAIT accounts. Farmers are frustrated with having to record their stock movements twice in different systems; this is time-consuming and a nuisance. OSPRI is working with third party providers to fix these technical issues. Finally, MPI is increasing its NAIT compliance activities. For farmers doing their NAIT, they’ll say ‘bring it on’.  There has been no sig-

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nificant punishment for farmers ignoring their NAIT obligations, which is infuriating for farmers who are doing their NAIT. If you are one of those farmers ignoring OSPRI letters (over a 1000

have been sent) and not attempting to sort your account, beware, MPI’s NAIT officers will be calling on you. There’s been nearly 700 infringements issued this year, with a prosecution case against a farmer not meeting his NAIT obligations recently filed in court.

Don’t let your industry or neighbour down; keep on top of your NAIT account. OSPRI is focused on helping farmers meet their NAIT obligations; don’t hesitate, call the contact centre and do something about it. @dairy_news

Chris Irons

The Tow and Fert’s versatility is one of the many benefits on farm saving owners time and money and retiring older machinery.

Rid the farm of those unused machines, save time and free up capital with a Tow and Fert. Once upon a time there was a machine for everything. A bulky spreader for your solid fert, a liquid spray machine for foliar applications like weed spray and a seed spreader for overseeding your pasture. The revolution in farm machinery technology has continued to make farmers more efficient and the Tow and Fert is at the forefront of this change. The Tow and Fert has been designed to enable farmers to dissolve their N fertiliser in the tank in minutes, suspend UFP fertilisers in liquid, spray small round seeds, such as chicory,

plaintain and clover and apply weed spray when required, all while using your effluent as a base liquid. Tow and Fert is not only revolutionising the application of fertiliser for dairy farmers it is also saving them time by reducing the necessary trips made out onto the farm to apply different products. Tow and Fert is a machine that you will quickly come to realise is an indispensable part of your farming system. As for that other machinery gathering dust and cobwebs in the shed, it might just be time to move it on.

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“One of the reasons we went to the Tow and Fert was because of its adaptability.

“We have just as much grass saving half the fert costs and putting on extra seed is a real benefit to us because we are wanting to get a lot more species into our pastures.

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I can apply my Nitrogen, Pro Gib, weed killers and sow brassica seeds all with the one machine at the same time.

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Herringbone feed system has rotary benefits NIGEL MALTHUS

A FEEDING system developed for herringbone dairy sheds by Tuakau-based PPP Industries is now ready for prime time, says general manager Nick Morison. The company, originally formed in 1962 to make poultry gear, now makes a range of livestock feeding systems, sheep jetters and effluent handlers. Morison says the patented Experto feeding system now brings to herringbone sheds the ease of use and customisable functionality of feeders that has previously only been available in rotaries. A typical Experto system would consist of two travelling feeders, one each side of the shed, and two external silos for different feeds, with four auger lines to keep the feeders supplied. Another hopper can provide minerals as required. Morison, who joined

Cows in Graeme Hall’s herringbone shed enjoy a feed from the travelling PPP Experto Lopper.

PPP in 1996 and bought it in 2001, said development of the Experto started in 2015. By August 2016 the first commercial prototype was operating in a shed and development has continued. “Farmers are great about telling you if something would work better if you did this or that,” said Morison. “Basically we’ve now got the final version essentially perfected as far as the mechanics are con-

cerned. “And we’ve got an advantage over anything else you can put into a herringbone shed: we can put two different types of feed in it and it does its own blending. So rather than pay a blending fee to a feed company to blend your feed, we can do it all through this machine.” Morison said the system was also at the stage where it would soon be able to electronically identify cows by reading

their NAIT RFID ear tags, to automatically tailor the feed for groups or individuals. The system has all the hardware needed, while the software is in the final stage of development, he said. Early adopters Graeme and Jo Hall, of Otautau, have had an Experto feeder operating in their 50-a-side herringbone shed for about 18 months. Hall said the computerised system allows

him to work out what he wants to feed his cows, with different feed blends pre-set as required. “It just travels down the pit and drops to each cow. If there’s no cow

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there it stops until the row fills up.” Hall says he used to have a system of individual bins for each cow, with the contents individually adjusted and released by pulling a rope. “In our case that would be 100 little bins. You’d have to adjust each one and that would take quite a bit of time.” Hall said the Experto gave him more production and improved animal health. “It basically means we can keep the cows fully fed through the peaks and troughs of the season.” It had been particu-

larly useful this season because his Southland farm had experienced three months of rain leading into November but he was able to feed them in the shed with a kilo each of PK, distiller’s grain and crushed wheat. Putting minerals into the feeder also saves a lot of time on farm since there is no need to go round dusting the paddocks, he said. Hall has been on the farm for 18 years, converting it from sheep and beef nine seasons ago. He winters about 650 cows, last year producing 320,000kg MS.

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World’s worst weed on the prowl MARK DANIEL


weather bringing on forage maize crops in leaps and bounds, Waikato Regional Council is reminding farmers and growers to keep watch for velvetleaf. It’s reckoned the world’s worst cropping weed, slashing crop yields by competing for nutrients, space and water. The seedlings grow vigorously up to 2.5 m high and can produce seeds viable for up to 60 years. The national outbreak in New Zealand in 2016 was reckoned caused by imported fodder beet seed. Ongoing incursions in Waikato have been linked to infested maize crops and maize silage, unclean machinery moves and by stock that have eaten infected feed. The seeds can survive in maize silage and the guts of cattle, so can spread rapidly between farms. Landowners and occupiers are responsible for controlling velvetleaf and should not allow any

Tips for stopping the spread VELVETLEAF CAN spread by soil movement, stock feed and equipment such as diggers, crop harvesters and general farm machinery. Farmers should protect their properties from velvetleaf and other serious plant pests by: ■■ insisting all contractors practise good weed hygiene by thoroughly cleaning machinery before entering the farm ■■

ensuring supplementary feed brought onto the farm is weedfree


ensuring manures, aggregates, soil and sand brought onto the farm is weed-free


checking feed crops before purchase to ensure they are weed-free.

person to move, or allow to be moved, any velvetleaf propagules from a contaminated property. And of concern to contractors is that no person may move, or allow to be moved, any cultivation or harvesting machinery that may be contaminated. If a property owner suspects may have an infestation, they should contact pest plant staff on 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246732). Council staff will

Velvetleaf with a blackened seed head.

help develop individual biosecurity plans. The council says plants that have not developed seed heads should be hand pulled, but if seed heads have formed, place a plastic bag over the seed capsules and flowers, tie firmly, then bend the stem in half, pull the plant, then place it in a second plastic bag. Where seed heads have blackened, a drop sheet should be placed on the ground to catch falling seeds. Then resort to the previous strategy

and clean up any dropped seed. Soil may also need to be removed. In pasture, if small seedlings are abundant, they should be treated with 2,4-D, but larger plants will need to be targeted individually with aminopyralid/triclopyr. In maize crops, use a pre-emergence application of acetochlor plus saflufencil to kill early weeds. After emergence, an application of topramezone, dicamba or mesotrione will help kill plants that may emerge later.

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Rusty and handler John Taylor.

CLEVER CANINE JOHN TAYLOR and his heading dog Rusty, now 9.5 years old, are backing up the fight against velvetleaf. Rusty started his working life in search and rescue -- searching for people -- before putting on his biosecurity collar five years ago. He was trained to hunt out velvetleaf plants, initially in fodder beet crops on his own territory in Southland. Now the crafty canine is now used NZ-wide, often to deliver the ultimate proof of freedom from the pest plant. Rusty was reluctant to tell Dairy News much about his role, but we suppose he may be open to a tummy rub or a few treats.


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Mastitis can milk you dry AMANDA KILBY


titis occurs over calving, so if you’ve had a good spring, you probably feel like you’re in the clear. But, if left unchecked, clinical and subclinical mastitis occurring between the end of calving and dry-off can reduce milk production and increase both the cost of dry-off and mastitisrelated culls. To minimise the impact of mastitis beyond calving, follow these 5 best-practices. 1. Keep the teat spray flowing Effective teat spraying is the single biggest step you can take to prevent mastitis1,2. Teat spray all cows, all season. Ensure that you are mixing your commercial teat spray with high-quality water

and a clean measuring container, every 2-3 days, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Apply 20 mL for hand-spraying, or 30 mL for automatic spraying, just after the cups come off3. Periodically check that teats are being completely covered by wrapping paper towels around 10 different teats after spraying, to see that each paper towel is uniformly moist when you remove it. 2. Minimise overmilking Overmilking means pressure is being applied to teats without a corresponding amount of milk flowing from the teat end; this can occur at cups on or at cups off. Overmilking damages teat ends and increases the likelihood of bacteria being sucked into open teats while the cups are on. Both con-

sequences of overmilking increase mastitis risk4. If overmilking is a problem in your herd, you may notice many rough teat ends. Keep an eye on this as the season progresses to see if you need to take

a closer look at overmilking. To minimise overmilking at cups-on, handle cattle in a stressfree manner, following the same routine at each milking. Avoid using alarms, dogs, or backing gates and keep milking calm and quiet to facilitate efficient milk letdown. At cups off, you should be able to hand-strip 50-65 mL of milk from each quarter4. If you can strip more than this, milkout is incomplete. If you can strip less, the cow has been overmilked. If overmilking is occurring at cups off, you can remove cups sooner. This will increase milking speed and help with cow-flow through the shed without affecting milk yield. 3. Address problem cows

Mastitis spreads from infected cows to uninfected cows in the shed via contaminated cups and milkers’ hands. If you know some cows are infected you can do something with these cows to protect the rest of the herd. Options include: drying the problem cows off early with dry cow antibiotics, culling them, three-quartering them, or putting them in their own herd and milking them last5. Working with your vet to take some milk cultures from these animals will help you decide which option is best and identify the source of the problem. 4. Change liners on time, every time Synthetic rubber liners should be changed every 2,500 cow-milkings6. Use one of several online liner-change calculators

to set your next date for liner change. Worn-out liners become less effective and develop cracks which act as repositories for mastitis-causing bacteria, increasing the spread of mastitis during milking. When it’s time for your next liner change, keep in mind that different liners are appropriate for different cows. Liner slips and squawks in the shed, swollen or bruised-looking teats at cups-off, incomplete or uneven milk-out, and cows kicking the cups off are all signs of a mismatch between cows and cups.7 Work with a milk plant expert to check that you have the right liners and shed settings for your cows. 5. Keep good records and ask for help Monitor your bulk milk

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cell count, record your clinical mastitis cases all season, and if you herd test or carry-out a wholeherd RMT, check your percentage of high cell count cows (>150,000 cells/mL, or RMT positive). If your bulk milk cell count creeps well over 150,000, if you have more than 1% clinical mastitis per month after the calving period, or if you have more than 15% of cows with high cell counts at any given time, ask your vet or a milk quality expert for some help getting ahead of mastitis8. For more information about mastitis, speak with your vet, consult DairyNZ SmartSAMM resources, or visit www.TopFarmers. • Amanda Kilby is MSD animal health veterinarian



FE researchers aim to raise awareness NIGEL MALTHUS



NEW ZEALAND’S first professional

dairy cattle can cause significant production losses without visible symptoms, says a new group formed to raise awareness of the disease. Dairy facial eczema (FE) can cost individual farmers more than $100,000 a year in lost milk production, a recent study has found. But many cows do not show clinical signs, so farmers often don’t know why milk loss is happening and end up drying off their cows early. “It’s hitting farmers hard in the pocket: they’re losing 0.14-0.35kg milk solids per cow per day. We worked out that one of the herds in our study had lost $125,000, just in milk production,” said dairy veterinarian Emma Cuttance, the head of Veterinary Enterprises Group (VetEnt) Research, which is leading the project. “Often, people don’t think FE is as big an issue as it is, because about 95% of the cattle that get the disease won’t display obvious skin lesions, even though the FE is causing damage to their livers,” said Cuttance. “If our project can improve the number of farmers effectively managing this disease by even 20%, it will make a phenomenal improvement to the productivity, animal welfare and sustainability of the dairy industry.” Zinc is currently

dairy cow hoof trimmer has fulfilled a long-held dream, setting up a training institute to bring internationally recognised standards of hoofcare to the industry. Dutch-trained Fred Hoekstra came to New Zealand 29 years ago and believes he was the only professional hoof trimmer here for nearly half that time. He runs a hoofcare business, Veehof, at Dromore, near Ashburton, and has now opened his Dairy Hoofcare Institute (DHI) in a purpose-built facility alongside. It will teach hoofcare methods developed in the Netherlands by the Fred Hoekstra Dairy Training Centre (DTC) in Oenkerk and the University of Utrecht. Veehof has previously offered short courses at various levels, including for Massey University’s veterinary science students, and that will now come under the DHI umbrella. DHI will also offer a diploma in hoofcare, taught to the DTC curriculum. Despite discussions with NZQA, the diploma is not NZQA-recognised but Hoekstra said that remains a possibility. But the diploma is industry-recognised worldwide. DHI’s tutors have to be accredited by DTC and re-assessed every three years. “So it is a probably the most robust training model that I can think of to do here in New Zealand,” said Hoekstra. Speaking at the formal opening of DHI, Hoekstra said lameness in New Zealand has dramatically increased over the last 20-30 years, despite improvements in laneway construction, and he blames it on the increased intensity of the industry stressing the animals. “We have more cows, we have more

Emma Cuttance

the main way of treating FE. However, Cuttance explains that many farmers don’t administer enough to control the toxin that causes FE. “Blood testing is the best way to determine how badly affected the cows are if they have FE. However, getting farmers to do blood tests can be tricky because of the cost and time involved.” The project team brought in AgResearch to examine the wellbeing of cows affected by FE to see if there are other ways of identifying symptoms. The first trial involved putting pedometers on cows to observe their movements. Having found no real difference in their behaviour compared to healthy

cows, they moved on to analysing the blood profile of affected cows. Cuttance says stress and pain can be detected in the blood, although analysis of the results is still in progress. Another approach the team is exploring is photographing damaged livers at the meat works. “If processing plants were required to grade livers according to damage and report back to farmers, that would increase understanding of how serious the issue is,” she said. A range of resources will be made available through the DairyNZ website, including an online cost calculator, an investigation tool for testing zinc, and educational

videos and webinars. The Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Farming Fund is supporting the Facial Eczema Action Group made up of veterinarians, dairy farmers and rural professionals intent on exploring ways of raising awareness of FE so that more farmers take preventative action. Steve Penno, director investment programmes at MPI, says MPI’s support recognises that FE is an issue that needs to be addressed. “Whichever way you look at it, it’s in farmers’ best interests to proactively manage this disease, both in terms of improving cattle health and wellbeing and the bottom line.”

cows per hectare, we have more milk production per cow. So the intensity has gone up dramatically. “The skill level that comes with dealing with the problems hasn’t grown with it and lameness is one of the major problems. It never used to be, but it’s into the top three of cows’ health issues now (alongside fertility and mastitis).” Hoekstra said when he arrived in New Zealand he met a farmer trimming cows’ feet with a sharpened breadknife. The modern equivalent might be taking to hooves with an angle grinder with a steelcutting wheel. The result would be cows lamer than before. Hoofcare was seen as simple, with people shown it once, trying it on a couple of cows then thinking they were “ready to go”. The reality is that a lot of science goes into it. “So my passion is to teach people and to be part of the process in getting people to understand it better, [so that they] become better skilled in dealing with lame cows, and also on the preventative side of things. That’s where the DHI really comes in.” DHI’s slogan is to teach farmers to become better at what they’re doing by raising the standard of hoofcare. “Here at the Dairy Hoofcare Institute we truly believe that whatever is good for a dairy cow is good for the industry and what is good for the industry is good for New Zealand.” Hoekstra said he wants New Zealand to be seen worldwide as a dairy farming leader. “I love to see cows being treated better and so functioning better as individual animals. “I realise that it’s more than just hoofcare that will help us in the dairy industry to reach this high level, but at DHI we can do a little bit from that hoofcare perspective.”

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Holden on the road for summer MARK DANIEL

IN A move to demon-

strate the capability of its vehicles, Holden recently put the talk to one side and ‘walked the walk’ in an innovative towing event to showcase the ‘quintessential Kiwi summer experience.’ National marketing manager, Marc Warr says, “It’s all very well to talk about how good the Trailblazer and Colorado are to tow with”. “We thought we’d put our money where our mouth is and put these vehicles to the test as they offer the highest tow rating in the Holden range.” To help demonstrate a typical summer getaway, journalists embarked on a tow-test from Auckland to the Coromandel, ate fish

and chips then enjoyed an overnight stay in caravans at Shelly Beach Top Ten Holiday Park. “It was an excellent opportunity to hook up a variety of large 21 foot to 25 foot Jayco Caravans

and experience the pure towability on offer courtesy of the Trailblazer and Colorado,” said Warr. The two Holden models, well known for torquey powertrains, use the 2.8L 4-cylinder Dura-

max engine delivering up to 500Nm from the automatic transmission, suiting them for all towing applications. Easing the towing of large campers are the vehicles’ grade brak-

ing and trailer sway control which help keep the towed item under control. In operation, if the system detects the onset of instability it uses a combination of ABS, traction control, electronic

brake force distribution and electronic brake assist to help maintain control. While it’s impossible to beat the laws of physics, the company says the combined active and passive safety features give

the driver peace of mind thanks to a capable and functional tow vehicle. The Trailblazer is rated to tow 3 tonnes and the Colorado 3.5 tonnes and, although the laws on towing need keeping mind -- GVM (gross vehicle mass), GCM (gross combined mass) and tow ball loading, and offer course, an open road speed limit of 90km/h. Warr sums up the Kiwi Road Trip: “We wanted to show how capable Holden models such as the Trailblazer and Colorado are at helping Kiwis get away for their holidays”. “Demonstrations such as these are undisputable evidence that the Trailblazer and Colorado are more than up to the job and one of NZ’s best vehicles for towing.” @dairy_news

DIET MIXER FOR BIG HERDS KONGSKILDE HAS launched heavy duty transmission for its large complete diet mixers, citing larger dairy herds, longer mixing times and its success with its Mix+ concept. The HD transmission line is offered as an option on the VM 38 and VM 45 machines with triple augers. It consists of a robustly made gearbox and PTO shaft that are designed for continuous operation under heavy load. The gearbox has an oil cooling system that ensures a constant and optimal operating temperature. The solution includes a gear pump and an oil filter. The HD transmission line withstands farmers’ intensive use of such machines: it is not unusual for a diet mixer to have to produce six-seven mixes per day and to cope with longer mixing times. Growing heavy loads were also behind the company’s Mix+ -- in essence a wear part concept with replaceable wear parts for the front edges of mixer augers.


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Dual-purpose Keenan Orbital spreads muck up to 20m MARK DANIEL

WITH TRAVELLING irrigators being

the preferred choice for dealing with dairy farm effluent in New Zealand, the sight of effluent tankers or manure spreaders is a relatively rare one. However, the problem of repeated applications to the same area is, in many cases, causing problems with high levels of potassium. Additionally, the move by some forward-thinking farmers to feedpads is resulting in the need to deal with some drier manures. The Irish company Keenan, known for its high-capacity mixer/feeders, also makes an interesting dual-purpose machine -- the Keenan Orbital spreader, centred on a semi-cylindrical tank. A rear mounted pushing door delivers the material to a large flywheel mounted at the front of the machine. That flywheel, a solid 1.8m diameter

disc, carries six paddles and rotates at 170 rpm. In operation, the material hitting


the flywheel and the paddles is shredded then passes out for spreading through a side opening. It will spread

material -- depending on its makeup -up to 20m. During loading and transportation,

a hydraulically actuated slurry door seperates the chamber and flywheel, allowing the machine to handle both liquid and drier manures and ensuring low start-up torque. The machine has only four key moving parts and is solidly built, so Keenan claims excellent reliability and low maintenance costs. The set-up also benefits from one main drive chain and all bearings being located outside of the main body of the spreader. A variable rate control system for the rear door/pusher arm allows precise adjustment of material arriving at the rotor, to achieve typical spreading times of 1.5 to 5 minutes per load. Additionally, as the load moves forward, weight is transferred to the tractor’s rear axle, for positive traction in poor ground conditions. The Orbital has a tare weight of 5.5 tonnes and a minimum power requirement of 120hp. @dairy_news





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JCB Loadall raises its game MARK DANIEL

JCB HAS released the third generation of its Loadall telescopic handlers with an extra 200kg lift capacity, a new chassis levelling control, new cabin and an air trailer braking option. Comprising six models, the Series III offers lift capacities from 3.2 to 5.6 tonnes and a maximum reach of 6 to 9 m. Obviously a centre point of the machine, the cabin is said to be 12% larger than the previous version but has the same layout and functiongrouped switches, making it easier for JCB-familiar operators to switch easily between different machines. A wide door opening and adjustable push-away

steering column with working position memory make it easy for operators to enter and exit the cab. A lack of bare metal within the cabin is said to reduce noise by 50% to a best in class 69dBA rating. Further design changes see the removal of the front cross-member from the roof area and a 14% larger glazed area, allowing operators a better view of the raised boom and implements. The large front wiper and two roof-mounted wipers sweep 92% of the curved windscreen glass. Improved airflows improve the demisting and defrosting functions, and storage includes a liftout bin behind the seat for documents, tools, food and drinks. A larger, tablet-like digital display is attached to

the windscreen glass and this has a mobile phone holder, Bluetooth, integrated microphone and speakers for hands-free calls and entertainment.

On the operational front, a new sway control levelling system enables the operator to level the machine before boom lift when working on slop-

ing or rough terrain. This is effected by a doubleacting hydraulic cylinder attached to the chassis and front axle and electro-hydraulic cab control.

The system is available on Agri Plus and Agri Super versions of the 542-70 and high-lift 536-95 (3.6 t lift, 9.5 m reach). Models are powered

by the 4.4 L JCB EcoMAX engine delivering 109 hp or 125 hp, while high spec units are fitted with a 4.8 L version delivering 145 hp. All engines meet Stage IV emission levels using SCR and a diesel oxidation catalyst. Transmission choices include a 33 km/h 4-speed JCB Powershift manual, the 40 km/h TorqueLock4 transmission with directdrive torque converter lock-up in top gear and the 40 km/h 6-speed JCB Autoshift transmission. The unique JCB DualTech VT unit combines hydrostatic and powershift elements in one transmission. Options include twinline air trailer braking with electrics and an ABS socket, or a combination of twin-line air and singleline hydraulic braking for trailed equipment.






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Revamped Claas tractors easier to operate MARK DANIEL

CLAAS HAS improved its popular

Arion 600/500 tractors to coincide with the introduction of Stage V engines. Seven models of the 4-cylinder DPS engines in the Arion 500 series deliver outputs of 125 to 165hp, and the 6-cylinder DPS in the Arion 600 series deliver 145 to 205hp. While power outputs remain unchanged, the new engines have a 6% to 14% improvement in the torque curve at lower revs, and a reduced engine idling speed to 650rpm in the Arion 600 models saves fuel. All engines meet the Stage V emissions standard using a combination of cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalytic converter. The 600 series now

shares the same, smaller SCR catalyst mounted on the front right hand ‘A’ pillar as the 500 series, helping to improve visibility. The Arion 600/500 tractors can be configured with a choice of the basic Claas Information System (CIS), the intermediate Claas Information System Plus

(CIS+) or the advanced Claas Electronic On-Board Information System (CEBIS).

Claas Arion tractor.

CIS uses mechanical spool valves, while the CIS+ has electronic spool valves. Both systems have the CIS terminal and a multi-function armrest with a four-way control lever. The CIS+ is aimed at customers who want greater convenience and efficiency but do not need all the functionality of the CEBIS system. It also provides the option of using the CMATIC continuously variable transmission without the CEBIS system. Operators of CEBIS specification tractors will benefit from several new features including the CEBIS touchscreen terminal that has a new

ISOBUS UT interface that enables all tractor and implement functions to be managed using one terminal in most situations. Additionally, the ability to link up to two cameras to the CEBIS screen avoids the need for an additional screen in the cab. ISOBUS sockets can be fitted to the front and rear of the tractor, and CEBIS spec tractors can link an engine speed memo button to an external PTO button. With four-point cabin suspension and optional front axle suspension, Arion tractors are respected for driver comfort, so the addition of a new ‘dual motion’ driving seat, tinted rear windscreen, roof hatch and hands-free phone takes driver comfort to another level. Additional improvements include a compressed air connection, new LED work lights and redesigned battery poles, making it easier to connect jump leads or power leads for fuel pumps.

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Profile for Rural News Group

Dairy News 10 December 2019  

Dairy News 10 December 2019

Dairy News 10 December 2019  

Dairy News 10 December 2019