Farmers back aerial operation. PAGE 3 OAT MILK FLOWS
Expansion plans PAGE 11
THE HEAT IS ON Keep cows cool PAGE 18
FEBRUARY 4, 2020 ISSUE 439 //
THE BIG DRY “We need rain to ease the pressure. If not things are going to get quite difficult.” – Scott Taylor, Northland PAGE 5
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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
NEWS // 3
Eye in the sky NIGEL MALTHUS
Happy cows deliver top cheeses. PG.07
Changing the way we farm. PG.13
has taken to the air in an effort to identify potential trouble spots ahead of this year’s winter grazing season. A helicopter has made two flights around the province, concentrating on “risky” hill country areas and looking for paddocks where recently-sown winter forage crops are beginning to show themselves. Environment Southland land sustainability officer Karl Erikson said they were looking for spots that could be risky when grazed by animals, such as gullies and swales that lead into waterways, where forage crops appeared to have been sown right up to water without much buffer, or where winter rain could create mud and overland flow into waterways. Farmers identified as having potential problem areas will be offered help in managing them.
Karl Erikson, Environmental Southland.
The initiative follows a fractious winter grazing season last year, when Southland winter grazing practises were targetted in national publicity campaigns by environmentalists, leading to some confrontations between farmers and activists. Erikson said research by AgResearch on managing critical source areas in two different catchments produced “quite staggering” results with up to 90% difference in
sediment flow. “We’ve got ways and means and strategies on how to keep animals out, basically how to keep vegetation between animals and waterways, throughout the winter grazing period.” Speaking before the flights, Erikson said they couldn’t do every farm but were looking for the ones that looked the worst. “We’re not going to get everyone
FARMERS BACK AERIAL BLITZ Harvesting hemp. PG.23
NEWS�������������������������������������������������������3-11 OPINION�����������������������������������������������12-13 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������������ 14 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������� 16-17 ANIMAL HEALTH����������������������������������18 CROPPING & CULTIVATION���19-20 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS����������������������������������������21-23
FEDERATED FARMERS Southland president Geoffrey Young said the Feds “absolutely” supported the aerial effort because it was more about education than compliance. “Everyone in the farming community along with Environment Southland and other environmentalists all want to do better.” Young said farmers were more conscious of the issues, both environmental and
around animal welfare. “Nothing will ever be perfect with winter grazing but we all want to do the very best that we possibly can.” Both DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb NZ back the ES initiative: extension staff also went on the helicopter to help identify crops and problem areas. DairyNZ strategy and investment leader, Dr Jenny Jago, said much work had been done to
address poor winter grazing practices. “We’re encouraged by progress that’s been made on many dairy farms, but there is still opportunity for improvement. “We all share a vision for healthy water quality and excellent animal care in Southland, and we are committed to continuing to improve wintering practices and support farmers through change.”
but we want to be able to try to fly over and find those areas that could be risky. “It’s really a proactive measure to try and improve the winter grazing practises from what we saw last year.” Environment Southland chief executive Rob Phillips said ES focused on working with the rural community to understand and support good management practices. “No one wants to see a repeat of last year’s winter grazing issues, so this is a proactive, positive step to help farmers be in the best position to improve this year.” The ES land sustainability team will now offer the identified farmers a voluntary winter grazing plan and advice on improving and grazing those paddocks. “The plan is being offered as part of our service, so comes at no additional cost,” said Phillips. “The plan will be like a road map for how to apply good management practice in a challenging winter grazing paddock.” Erikson conceded that some farmers might resent the aerial intrusion. “But I’d like to think that farmers will support it because it is a proactive measure. These plans are going to be offered; they’re not an obligation. “We’re going to be saying ‘we’ve seen this winter grazing paddock and it could be risky in winter time. We’re going to offer this winter grazing plan at no extra charge just to help you manage the winter grazing period, with some strategies that might help you reduce the contaminant losses to waterway.”
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
4 // NEWS
Dwindling water levels a cause for concern FARMERS ARE PREPARED
PAM TIPA email@example.com
WATER IS the cen-
tral and sole focus of this year’s dry so far, says Julie Jonker of Northland Rural Support Trust. While most droughtlike conditions are about water, usually other factors are involved as well, she told Dairy News. But when it is only water, this means little can be done at this stage except provide support, she says. Rural Support Trust, DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb, Fonterra and the Northland Regional Council met in Northland last week and will meet again next week. Waikato and South Auckland agricultural industry representatives are also closely monitoring changes. The Waikato Primary Industry Adverse Event Cluster core group convened last Tuesday to review conditions and how farmers are coping. Jonker says feed is okay, but water is varied and that is the difficulty. Some areas are still okay.
Parts of Northland remain green: parts are drying out quickly.
Other areas are in a really difficult situation,” she says. “When it is just about water, there is so little you can do to actually help the situation other than provide messaging and support.” Huge amounts of cash will not help. “In some areas it has been driest in years. Whangarei itself has had 50% of its annual rainfall. “We didn’t get the water table replenishment we would normally expect during winter. “A lot of people that rely on dams and even creeks that normally
would flow at this time of year are in difficulty. People are saying that for the first time in decades the creeks are running dry and there are severe water restrictions being put on different areas in Northland. “No matter what we do we can’t make more water.” Previous droughts usually have had other aspects. “Previously for instance we may have had wet cold winters then dry cold springs when farmers haven’t been able to make supplements.
“But because it was a reasonably dry winter then a reasonable spring, there was good grass growth, good production before Christmas and supplements have been made on most farms. I’d hate to say all farms because some farms weren’t able to make it because they were in a different type of situation but most farmers were able to make good supplements this year. “ The situation is being monitored and community collaboration dinners will start in February. The message is to look
after yourself, your stock and your neighbours if possible, she says. “Talk to your neighbours. There might be things you can do together. “If feed situation gets tight we may be at the stage where we may do a survey of what contractors have got feed available so that when people call we can say ‘ you can contact this contractor’. “We are trying as best we can to make sure we can provide the contact points for people when they need things.”
DROUGHT-LIKE conditions have been a feature of Waikato farming in recent summers, so it’s good to see farmers are generally well-prepared, says Neil Bateup, Ohinewai farmer and Waikato Primary Industry Adverse Event Cluster chairperson. “There is plenty of supplementary feed about for stock at present following a good spring and farmers generally are reported to be coping. The crunch time for many is the next 2-3 weeks,” he says. “It isn’t an easy time for our cropping farmers, though – I’ve heard from some that turnips look like radishes and maize in some areas of the Waikato is starting to wilt,” the Rural Support Trust chairman says. The group reported that milk production was generally down compared to the same time last year. River and stream levels around the region are also getting low, so water users are also reminded by Waikato Regional Council to keep an eye on flow gauges. Flows are published on the council website and will enable users to reduce takes, as required by some consents when rivers reach certain low flow thresholds, to help look after the region’s waterways. So far this month many parts of the region – in particular the north Waikato, Hauraki Plains and Coromandel Peninsula – as well as South Auckland, have only had a few millimetres of rain. Bateup says with no significant rain forecast for the region in the near future “we want to reassure Waikato farmers that we’ve got this situation on our radar and we’re looking out for them”. The core group is due to meet again next week.
PROGRESS ON FARM DEBT MEDIATION THE MINISTRY for Primary Indus-
tries (MPI) is taking steps to establish the new Farm Debt Mediation Scheme, (FDMS) which will begin operating on 1 July 2020. From this week MPI will be able to consider applications from mediation organisations wanting to take part in this scheme. MPI’s deputy director-general
agriculture and investment services, Karen Adair says the FDMS will help provide a way forward when a farm business comes under financial stress. It will ensure a fair mediation process takes place with an independent, neutral mediator and all the key people around the table. “The Scheme is designed to address any power imbalance between
stressed farm businesses and their creditors. Creditors will be required to offer mediation to farmers before they can take action on a debt default. This provides the best chance that everyone involved can reach agreement on a good way forward. This may be a way to turn things around or in some cases, to wind down the business.” Adair says MPI has already heard
from leading mediation organisations that are interested in participating. If an organisation is approved, they will then need to make sure their mediators are trained for the new scheme. “Two organisations, the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute and the Resolution Institute have advised MPI they are intending to apply to be Approved Mediation Organisa-
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tions under the new legislation. They are jointly developing a day-long seminar in mid-February to train existing mediators,” she says. Adair says one feature of the scheme will be that, if a farmer prefers, mediation can be based on tikanga Māori (protocols). This, she says could help get better engagement and outcomes.
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
NEWS // 5
MP’S SON ADMITS CHARGES TONY KURIGER, the son of National’s TaranakiKing Country MP Barbara Kuriger has pleaded guilty to eleven charges of ill-treating cows in a dairy herd he was responsible for. His guilty plea came just two days into his trial last week at the Palmerston North District court: it was alleged that Kuriger caused animals prolonged and severe pain. The offences were said to have taken place on a farm that Tony and his father Louis Kuriger were involved in running in 2016-17. When Tony pleaded guilty, the charges against his father were dropped. Veterinarians told the court that cows on the property that the Kuriger farmed near Eketahuna in the Tararua District were subjected to prolonged suffering due to chronic foot problems and weren’t properly treated. In total 74 cows were treated for lameness and 25 were euthanised. The Kurigers claimed they did all they could to stop the suffering. Kuriger and Oxbow Dairies will be sentenced at the end of April. His mother and MP Barbara Kuriger has been involved in a dairy industry for many years and is a former director of DairyNZ. She was named Dairy Woman of the Year in 2012.
Damien O’Connor with Northland farmer Scott Taylor.
Northland farmers look to skies for assistance SUDESH KISSUN email@example.com
NORTHLAND FARMER Scott Taylor says rain is urgently needed in parts of Northland to snap the long run of hot and dry days. Taylor says milk production is falling behind compared to last season as farmers are drying off early. On his farm in Tangiteroria, midway between Whangarei and Dargaville, Taylor has dried off cows that would be calving in autumn: he’s done this a few weeks earlier than usual. “Day after day of 25 to 30°C with no rain, no grass growth, it’s a no-brainer,” he told Dairy News. “We need rain soon to ease the pressure, if not things are going to
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get quite difficult.” Taylor is still milking 230 cows once-a-day feeding them turnips, grass silage and palm kernel expeller (PKE). He says Northland farmers have also adjusted to the dry summers by split calving. Taylor switched to split calving three years ago. “Split calving takes the pressure off spring,” he says. Northland’s winter is mild and this allows more grass growth than other parts of the country. Despite parts of Northland receiving its last “decent rainfall” three weeks ago, Taylor believes farmers aren’t hitting the panic button yet. “Parts of the region are still green and there is some grass growth but every day without rain
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takes us a day closer to difficulty.” Two weeks ago, Taylor hosted Minister of Primary Industries Damien O’Connor on his farm, where he milks 380 cows. He says O’Connor talked to him and some neighbouring farmers about the onset of dry weather. “It’s good to see the Minister out and about in Northland,” he says. “It gives us a chance to have our say and exchange thoughts with him.” O’Connor, who spent a day in Northland, says ground conditions across the region are varied. He praised the resilience of farmers, saying good farmers are more prepared for such climatic events. “Most farmers have got it... they need to be more prepared in future
for disruptive events.” O’Connor says mixed farming models will help farmers not only diversify their income but provide buffer to their incomes during droughts and floods. On the possibility of a drought being declared in Northland, O’Connor says his department is working with Federated Farmers and Rural Support Trust with “a set formula”. “We must not overreact and too quickly declare a drought, building reputation around an area for being unreliable as a farming block,” he says. “There are downsides to declaration of a drought such areas can be seen as losing the ability to farm sustainably and this can impact land values.”
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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
6 // NEWS
UK says bye bye to EU our quota split in terms of our access to Europe and the UK and that applies to a number of products out of NZ of which dairy is a big one,” he told Dairy News. The split in access to the UK and EU is unfortunate because it does not recognise the commercial realities. In particular where do products enter the EU as opposed to where they might finally be consumed? So, for us that’s work in progress,” he says. Bailey says Britain is the world’s number two importer of dairy products. As a member of the EU, it was effectively an open market for exporters such as NZ for more than 40 years and there were no tariff barriers. He says NZ’s position is that this situation should not change with Britain leaving the EU. “If we can work through an FTA between the UK and NZ it would be a really worthwhile opportunity for us. Ironically it’s like turning the clock back to the days
PETER BURKE firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW ZEALAND pri-
mary producers enter a new phase of uncertainty as Britain lurches its way out of the European Union. At 11pm on Friday January 31 Britain officially cut ties with the EU after a much fraught 46-year membership of what was known at various stages as the ‘European Common Market’ or the EEC. The chairman of the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) Malcolm Bailey says the situation remains very complicated. He says while the uncertainty of whether Britain would actually leave the EU has been resolved, and to some extent we know what direction we are going in, there remains the challenge of dealing with the detail of future trading relationships with the EU and UK and how this will be achieved. “We have still got the unfortunate situation with
before Britain wasn’t in the EU and NZ enjoyed significant trade access there,” he says. Bailey says negotiating a good FTA with Britain is important for them and NZ. He says he’s delighted to hear that Britain has got NZ on the priority list for countries to negotiate an FTA with. Meanwhile talks between NZ and EU negotiators are continuing as the two sides work towards finalising an FTA. While the timetable for settling a deal seems to have slipped back, Bailey says he’s not worried about this. “The FTA isn’t off the rails and yes it might take a bit longer but we believe the Europeans are serious and want to conclude this. “We have to remind ourselves that NZ is one of just six countries in the world that doesn’t have some sort of trade agreement with the EU and that should be rectified and they know that and we are hopeful a deal will be struck,” he says. Bailey expects the
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CALL FOR MORE FREE TRADE ON THE wider trade front Malcolm Bailey says he’s delighted to see the Cairns group of agricultural exporting countries calling for further reforms to reduce the subsidisation of agricultural production. The Cairns Group is a group of agricultural exporting nations including NZ, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and Canada to name a few. They first meet in the Australian city of Cairns in 1986 and been strong advocates of reducing agricultural subsidies which they say distort international trade. Recently the group met in Davos in Switzerland and again
negotiations to get tough especially on some major agricultural issues and in particular dairy. At the top of the list in this regard are what’s known as ‘geographic indications’. This is where the name of a given product has the same name as a town
called for reforms in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to at least halve all forms of trade and production distorting agricultural subsidy entitlements by 2030. Malcolm Bailey says dairy is one of the more affected areas of production and that world trade barriers against dairy production are the highest of any of the areas. He says these barriers are designed to sustain what happens in countries where they are highly subsidised. He says such policies often lead to periods of lower prices on the world market.
or region - for example Gouda cheese. He says from NZ’s point of view if the EU got its wicked way on this issue it could affect our cheese exports. “Yes they want to protect some of these geographical names they
“We need countries like those in the Cairns Group to come together and provide something of game changer to get things going again. “Let’s not forget just how these domestic subsidies impact on the prices we receive as an efficient exporter and the negative impact this has on our country and its farmers,” he says. Bailey concedes there is no guarantee that the Cairns Group will make progress with the WTO, but says it is important to keep the pressure on the hope that one day changes will be made.
use in other parts of the world but at the same time it looks like they are overreaching it. For example Havarti cheese has been in the systems as a generic name within codex for some time but now it seems they want to turn the clock back and
claim that name and we are very unhappy about that,” he says. So with issues like this still to be worked through, Bailey is expecting what he describes as ‘robust negotiations’. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
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forecast base milk price for the 2019-20 season to $7.25/kgMS from $7/kgMS. Synlait’s decision to increase its forecast base milk price was driven by its view that global dairy prices will remain around current levels for the remainder of the milk season. Synlait chief executive Leon Clement says Synlait increased its
forecast milk price to $7.25/kgMS for the current season on the back of higher than expected commodity prices at the end of 2019, “which we believe will hold in the medium term as supply and demand continue to be evenly matched”. “We are grateful for the ongoing support of Synlait’s farmer suppliers and are pleased to be able to offer an improved forecast milk price for the current season,”
Clement says. Forecasts are based on the best information available to Synlait at the time. Synlait will continue to monitor movements and keep its farmer suppliers up to date. Synlait’s next milk price announcement will occur in late May 2020. Fonterra’s current forecast farmgate milk price range is $7-$7.60/kgMS.
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
NEWS // 7
Happy cows help deliver award-winning cheeses SUDESH KISSUN email@example.com
WHAT DO you get when you combine fresh milk from happy cows and a family of talented cheesemakers? Award-winning cheese! The winning combination is at Oromahoe, 70km north of Whangarei, where Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese has been operating for nearly 35 years. Founded by Anne and Bob Rosevear, the cheese business now involves their three children – cheesemakers Jesse and Jake and farm manager Tim. Anne and Bob are still involved in the business.
Mahoe Cheese factory and shop is located on the farm, adjacent to a herringbone shed where 70 Friesian cross cows are milked: fresh milk is piped across to the factory and pasteurised on the way. Every year Mahoe turns 250,000 litres of fresh milk into 23 tonnes of cheese and yoghurt. A member of the NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Association, Mahoe has scooped many awards. For three years in a row (2012-2014), Mahoe’s ‘very old Edam’ took out the champion artisan cheese award. Jake Rosevear was twice named the champion cheesemaker
Bob Rosevear, Mahoe Cheese.
(2012 and 2013). Last year Mahoe won the champion of champi-
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ons award for its cumin gouda in the boutique cheese category.
Bob Rosevear says winning awards is quite satisfying especially when it draws more people to try out their cheese. “When we won awards for our very old Edam, everyone wanted to taste it,” he says. Over the years Mahoe has built a strong band of clientele, some based as far away as Christchurch. “We have customers drive here from Auckland and buy wheels for friends and family back home. “We also have customers who have been coming to our store for 30-odd years: they first came here as kids and now they bring their own kids to buy cheese.”
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Mahoe sells cheeses through its store, selected retail outlets around the country and takes orders via email or telephone. Bob puts down the success of Mahoe Cheese to the positive vibe on farm: the family has eight to 10 staff depending on work. “We are very blessed to have our three children working in the business,” he says. “We’re also very lucky to have staff, who are like family too, some of them have been with us for 30 years.” Animal welfare is also a key factor for Mahoe Cheese. Cow numbers have halved over the years.
“Our philosophy is to under stock, this way cows are never under stress and there’s always feed even during dry summers,” he says. Cows are fed mostly grass with silage used as supplementary feed. No feed is brought on farm. The farm is “pretty close” to being an organic operation but Bob is in no hurry to get organic certification. “Our operation isn’t certified organic, we follow a humane approach and animal welfare is priority. “We are autonomous, free from the problems of the outside world; we have happy cows and we are happy.”
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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
8 // NEWS
Farmers ‘doing more with less’ NEW ZEALAND dairy
farmers are becoming world leaders in precision farming, says Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) chairman Murray King. “They are using costeffective, innovative solutions to get more value on-farm and ultimately do more with less,” he says.
This was also evident in the 2018-19 Dairy Statistics with farmers achieving record milk production while cow numbers continue to decline. “This is good for our dairy industry’s profitability, competitiveness and reputation in global markets. It shows our farmers are evolving with the
times, and demonstrating careful stewardship of their land, their cows and the resources they need to produce milk.” King made the comments at LIC’s halfyear financial results announcement for the six months to November 30, 2019. The net after-tax profit
of $30.3m was down 7.6% from the same period last year. Highlights included $163m total revenue, up 1.4% from that period last year. The earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $58.4m were down 1.5%. The earnings before interest and
tax (EBIT) were $43.1m, down 6.5%. Underlying earnings (NPAT excl bull valuation change) remains forecast to be $21-25m for year-end, up from $19.5m in 2018-19. NPAT, EBIT and EBITDA were down due to timing of expenses incurred within the period. The co-op’s guid-
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Murray King, LIC chairman.
ance for underlying earnings at year-end is still expected to be above the prior year. King says the result was in line with market guidance reported in July and is underpinned by the co-op achieving the milestones on its strategic roadmap, which have shaped LIC into a modern, progressive and high performing co-op. “This is another solid result which builds on all the work we have done in recent years to transform the business and drive an innovation-led growth strategy to keep LIC and our farmers leading the global pastoral dairy system. “LIC’s strategy is built off a global understanding of the factors driving change in global dairy markets and here in New Zealand. This is important at a time when dairy farmers need certainty and trusted partners to help them navigate the change. It requires financial strength, high-performance and a clear focus on the innovations needed on-farm to keep our customers’ farms competitive, profitable, sustainable and efficient. “Data is the fuel to drive this strategy forward and we will continue to drive our access to and use of data. It provides the insights for LIC’s herd improvement and technology innovations and to enable real-time decision making on-farm. It also improves our ability to make the right decisions about where to invest and where to focus our critical R&D spend,” King says. King says the result was driven by a continued shift towards ‘precision farming’ with farmers investing more in genetics
and technology solutions that support them to produce more with less and drive further improvements in efficiency and sustainability. Sales in New Zealand during the halfyear period reflected increased demand for LIC’s premium AB products to deliver increased value on-farm, including genomic bulls, sexed semen, and genetics offerings in A2, short gestation and Wagyu. Demand for animal health and diagnostics testing also increased, with more farmers proactively monitoring the health and wellbeing of their herd against diseases such as BVD and Johne’s, to enable early diagnosis, treatment and to minimise production loss. More farmers are also adopting LIC’s technology solutions including satellite pasture management service SPACE, which continues to grow in popularity, and more farmers are making the switch to LIC’s web-based MINDA LIVE system and MINDA app for animal recording and insights. International markets continued to perform strongly, King says, particularly Australia, South America and South Africa. However, the automation subsidiary business was challenged by a shortage of capital in the market with revenue down 23% from the same period as last year. King says LIC has one of the highest rates of investment in research and development in the primary sector (5.6% of revenue in 2018-19) and investment decisions are critical to lead the global pastoral dairy system into the future.
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
NEWS // 9
Wood pellets to replace coal at Fonterra site FONTERRA’S TE Awa-
mutu site will be coal free next season in another step towards its commitment to renewable energy. Until now the site has used a combination of fuels to process milk including coal. This latest move follows a trial last year and means it will switch from using coal at the end of this season, starting the 2020/21 season powering the boiler with wood pellets. Fonterra’s sustainable energy and utility manager Linda Thompson says it’s an exciting step for the cooperative and, in particular, the Te Awamutu team. “It really demonstrates
that sustainability, doing what’s right for the long term good, is very much at the heart of how we’re working and thinking about our future.” Fonterra last year announced a series of environmental targets relating to its coal use, manufacturing emissions and water efficiency, packaging and farm environment plans. “The move to wood pellets at Te Awamutu will save the cooperative about 84,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year, that’s the equivalent of taking around 32,000 cars off the road and will reduce Fonterra’s national coal consumption by approximately 10%.
Fonterra employees Jonathon Milne and Kevin Liao during the wood pellet trial at Te Awamutu last year.
emissions by 2050.” The Te Awamutu site is one of three North Island sites currently
“It’s a positive step forward as we look to reduce emissions and work towards net zero carbon
using coal. Thompson says the cooperative knows it’s got a big challenge ahead of it to get
out of coal but it’s up for it. “There is no one single solution for us to transition out of coal. We know we can’t do it alone, that’s why working with others like wood pellet supplier Nature’s Flame and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) are so important.” Taupo based Nature’s Flame will be supplying the pellets made from sustainable wood fibre residues from the surrounding areas. John Goodwin, Nature’s Flame’s operations manager, says they’re excited to be partnering with Fonterra. “We’re encouraged
about the growth of the bioenergy (wood pellets) industry and we’re proud to be part of something that’s good for the environment and our local communities.” EECA’s chief executive Andrew Caseley says this project fully aligns with EECA’s purpose to help decarbonise the New Zealand economy. “This is the largest boiler conversion project to biofuels to date, and this is why it has received $200,000 in funding from EECA’s technology demonstration programme. It also has the added benefit of establishing a more viable and large scale wood pellet supply chain.”
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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
10 // NEWS
Workshops to help ease financial stress DEALING WITH
mounting financial pressures on farmers is the focus for a new pilot workshop being run by the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN).
The workshops are being run with support from NZ CA, Figured and Xero. “The impact of what you do today will affect your dairy farming
business in five years and beyond so it’s vital to be planning as far ahead as you can,” DWN chief executive Jules Benton says. “But we all know how
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hard that can be at times when you get caught up in the day to day running of a business, so we hope this new workshop will give our members the skills, knowledge and resources for good, robust, future financial planning and goal setting.” DWN has invited Silver Network Partner NZ CA Ltd, an association of 30 of New Zealand’s leading independent chartered accounting firms that has a strong rural presence, to present alongside farm financial management software company Figured and leading accounting software suppliers Xero to provide the content for the workshops. “With mounting pressures on farmers in the form of banking, environmental and employment regulatory changes, it’s never been more important to get on top of your finances,” says Alan Hay, NZ CA chief executive. “There has been a lot of volatility in the industry, so farmers must be able to predict and prepare for the future and be in control of their finances.” Dave Dodds, chief executive officer of
Figured says it is important to align your goals to your financial performance, and be very clear on how you can achieve your goals through long term planning. “No matter what type of farmer you may be, this workshop will help you understand how planning and getting visibility over your numbers will have an impact on what you can achieve long term.” “The workshop will help those that attend to understand the benefits of long term financial planning and taking ownership of their numbers. It’s not just about a one-off budget, it’s about the impact that long-term planning has on the financial success of the business and the achieving business goals.” The first ‘Getting my goals and financial performance aligned’ workshop is being held in Timaru at the Landing Service Conference Centre on Tuesday the February 18 with a second workshop planned for Rotorua at the Distinction Hotel on Tuesday, March 10. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
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ENTRIES ARE open for the national Primary Industries New Zealand Awards. This year’s award winners will be presented at the Primary Industries Summit at Te Papa in Wellington on June 24. “These awards are all about celebrating the significant achievements being made every week, every month and every year by New Zealand’s primary sector, and its supporters,” Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says. “So start thinking about who deserves to be nominated, and recognised, and potentially rewarded.” The categories for 2020 are: Primary Industry Team Award (sponsored by Primary ITO) Primary Industry Science & Research Award (sponsored by Yashili Dairy) -Primary Industry Innovation & Collaboration Project Award (sponsored by Norwood) -Primary Industry Chief Executive Award (sponsored by Lincoln University) -Industry Champion Award (sponsored by Federated Farmers) Outstanding Contribution to Primary Industries in NZ (sponsored by Massey Ferguson). The deadline for entries is March 30.
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
NEWS // 11
Taking NZ oat milk global NIGEL MALTHUS
NEW ZEALAND’S first
home grown oat milk producer, the Humble Oat Co, has announced ambitious expansion plans in response to surging demand. Launched nine months ago and initially supplied to a few Dunedin cafes, its Otis Oat Milk brand
is now sold in 150 cafes throughout New Zealand. This year the company hopes to treble the number of New Zealand cafes it supplies, move into supermarkets, and initiate sales in Australia. To achieve that, they plan to establish the country’s first processing facility for plant-based dairy alternatives, with an initial production capac-
US$38B MARKET TIM RYAN says the global non-dairy milk market is expected to reach revenues of more than US$38 billion by 2024, and oat milk is the fastest growing plant-based milk globally. “The category holds enormous potential for New Zealand farmers who’d like to shift towards producing higher-value and more environmentally sustainable products.” Studies have shown that oat milk production requires significantly lower environmental inputs than dairying, and New Zealand-grown oats are claimed to have the highest concentration of beta glucan, a natural fibre that helps lower cholesterol, improves blood sugar control, and boosts the immune system. Otis has an exclusive partnership with Swedish consultancy firm Cerealiq, world leaders in the development of enzyme technologies that produce nutritionally superior plant-based foods. “We’re working with the Cerealiq team to optimise our production processes,” said Ryan. “This will ensure that kiwi oats are paired with the world’s leading experts, to create superior plant-based products from our corner of the globe.”
ity of 25 million litres per year. The company’s cofounder, Chris Wilkie, said conventional wisdom might say they should build nearer the big Auckland market but they are conducting a feasibility study on a site in Dune-
din. “We want to be a pro-farmer brand and a pro-farmer company so we going to build at the bottom of the South Island,” said Wilkie. Wilkie started the company a couple of years ago with managing direc-
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tor Tim Ryan. Both men are from farming backgrounds but are back in New Zealand after several years overseas. Now running a small cattle farm in South Wairarapa, Wilkie said that when they started the oat milk company he thought it might
be an opportunity for him to move into plant-based agriculture. “We’ve learned a lot and I think farming really is about using the right land for the right purpose and the right land for growing oats is down the bottom of the South Island. That’s where all our oats for human consumption comes from, Southland and Otago.” The factory’s oat supply would continue to be via the Harraways mill in Dunedin. Wilkie said while they could try to broker with farmers directly, they wanted to make “really healthy partnerships” and had no intention to break that supply chain. The long-established Harraways was a great company and “true southern brand,” he said. “The hero ingredient is the New Zealand oat. We grow, we believe, the best oat in the world and have been for a long time.”
Ryan says their expansion plans are in response to growing demand. “It’s a very exciting time for Otis and indeed New Zealand’s plantbased food sector. “Demand has exceeded our expectations so we’re going to expand our productive capacity and distribution to make oat milk more accessible to Kiwis and then take it to the world.” “The feedback we’ve been getting from our wholesale café networks, and the general public, has been really positive. We’re getting calls every day from Kiwis wanting to know when they can start buying Otis in supermarkets. We’ll have some good news for them on that front in the coming months,” said Ryan. They also see significant growth potential in Asia, especially given the prevalence of lactose intolerance in that region. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
12 // OPINION RUMINATING
Good bye Britain – again
MILKING IT... Please explain NATIONAL MP and senior whip Barbara Kuriger owes the dairy industry an explanation. A former Dairy Woman of the Year and DairyNZ board member, Kuriger must tell us how much she knew about the animal welfare abuses on a family-owned farm. Last week, her son pleaded guilty to 11 charges of ill-treating cows and will be sentenced in April. Similar charges against her husband were dropped. Dairy industry leaders need to lead by example.
Forced to drink fake milk?
Life saving cows
WILL STARBUCKS be forcing consumers to buy more fake milk? Starbucks chief executive Kevin Johnson says he will ‘push consumers towards’ choosing vegan milk as part of a drive to become more sustainable. The global coffee giant recently released a statement saying it aims to become ‘resource positive’ - storing more carbon than it emits, eliminate waste, and provide more clean freshwater than it uses. Johnson said plantbased milk will be ‘a big part of the solution’ when it comes to reducing its footprint for greenhouse gases, water, and waste. According to the chain, dairy products are responsible for over a fifth of its greenhouse gas emissions and over a seventh of its water use.
RESEARCH ON a herd of cows in south west Scotland could play a part in helping humans live longer and healthier lives, scientists have said. The study of their DNA by Scotland’s Rural College was carried out at the Crichton Royal Farm in Dumfries. It found telomeres which protect the end of chromosomes - deteriorate the most soon after birth, indicating how long and healthily an animal may live. It could help human geneticists looking at how to prolong our life expectancy. Work suggests that telomere length in humans affects ageing in as much as young humans have long telomeres and old humans have short telomeres.
UK FARMERS are up in arms over claims made in a TV documentary Apocalypse Cow: How Meat Killed the Planet. In the programme, renowned UK environmentalist George Monbiot claimed that livestock farming was “destroying our life support system”. Farmers say Britain has some of the highest standards of environmental protection in the world: they also note that British farming has an ambition to become net zero by 2040. Farming is not just an industry, it is the lifeblood of Britain’s rural heritage, the National Farmers Union says.
THOSE OF us who have been around for quite a few years will remember the unhappy and heady days when Britain joined the then EEC on the January 1, 1973. Up until then, NZ had enjoyed unlimited access to Britain for its agricultural products and at one stage there was even a law passed that said they had to be given priority for our exports. When Britain joined the EEC, many NZer’s felt hurt and disappointed that the so called ‘mother country’ had deserted us and that we now had to find new markets for our agricultural exports. There were some tumultuous times – especially in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when the EEC as it was then, and Britain by default, further cut the amount of product we could send there. Despite these setbacks NZ Inc got on with the job and found new markets and settled upon a reasonable deal with the European Union. In 1972 we were concerned about the impact that Britain would have on joining the EU and 46 years on we are ironically concerned on the impact of Britain leaving the EU. The reason for Britain leaving the EU is bewildering to many. One commentator described it as ‘an unbelievable act of self-harm’, and time will tell whether this is so. From NZ’s point of view Brexit is not good news and whatever spin the UK government may put on it, their leaving the EU has made life for us as an exporter of agricultural products much more difficult. For a start, unravelling the access arrangements between the two entities is a nightmare and already the signs for us are bad with the EU and the UK seeming to flout WTO rules in terms of splitting the sheep meat quota arrangements. Issues on dairy are also a major problem. This whole process has cost NZ massively in terms of time and resources sorting out what to do, and the cash register is still ringing up the bill. To their credit the UK have indicated that they are willing to negotiate a favourable FTA with us and let’s see what this means over time. But with Britain leaving the EU, New Zealand is left without a so called ‘friend’ around any negotiating table in Europe. The one guarantee is more uncertainty for NZ as the protracted trade negotiations continue – just like it was 46 years ago.
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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
OPINION // 13
Changing the way we farm MARK ROSS
FROM WEEDING and
spraying crops to taking care of cattle, digital technology is making its mark on agriculture. Self-driven vehicles are picking and grading fruit as well as detecting and pollinating flowers. Now the latest technology involves detecting and managing disease - helping farmers to become more productive and sustainable. Modern agricultural machines take away some of the more time-
improving in the last few years. Drones allow farmers to constantly monitor crop and livestock conditions – often more reliably than manual inspections. Drones mainly capture images and provide data, but they also monitor crops from planting to harvest - helping farmers to react faster to threats such as weeds, insects and fungi. This data is processed and translated into information on plant health and pest infestations. Data can then be entered into smart machinery to adjust
executive of Agcarm, the industry association for companies which manufacture and distribute crop protection and animal health products. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
Drones allow farmers to constantly monitor crop and livestock conditions
“Drones allow farmers to constantly monitor crop and livestock conditions – often more reliably than manual inspections.” consuming tasks and help to protect crops from disease with exact doses and targeted applications of products. In the last decade, there has been an unprecedented growth in precision farming with about 80% of new farm equipment using it. This advanced digital precision technology can help farmers to use land efficiently and maximise harvests while reducing costs and workloads. Robotic technology makes it possible to detect the precise location of weeds or disease and spray only the affected area. That means lower costs, lower environmental impact and a more abundant harvest. Farmers using advanced digital precision technology report reducing herbicide use by 10 percent and diesel by 20 percent. Thanks to digital connectivity, smart farm equipment can provide farmers with field-specific information from cloudbased farm management software. Sensors collect data from a distance to evaluate soil and crop health and identify the presence of pests or diseases. Agricultural drone technology has been
the amount pesticide used for a field. This saves time and improves the application of variable input rates in real-time. Drones can also be used to apply pesticides. Aerial spraying in Japan and China is done by drones. In Europe, they are used to distribute biological agents like wasp eggs. The potential for drones is sky-high. Waterresistant drones can monitor any type of crop, in any geographical area, in any weather. They can also get higher quality and more precise images in real-time as they fly below the clouds and have high photo resolution — far superior to satellites, which only take pictures once a week or month and don’t work well when it’s cloudy. The use of agricultural drones will grow significantly in the coming years as they offer a wide range of applications that improve precision farming. They can potentially replace the human application of pesticides, minimising farmer exposure. That’s some highflying technology that will hopefully be available in New Zealand sometime soon. • Mark Ross is chief 1673 NAIT Advert Jan19_280x187_FA.indd 1
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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
14 // AGRIBUSINESS
Joining commodity producers online THE TIME is right for
new initiatives in providing greater businessto-business engagement through the use of a digital marketplace, says Mike Petersen. Petersen has been appointed board chairman for Nui Markets, an innovative agri-food digital marketplace developer. As New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy for six years, he advocated for agriculture trade and market access interests and identified opportunities for New Zealand to commercialise its agricultural expertise offshore. “I am really excited by Nui’s potential,” he says. “Value chains no longer place the consumer at the end of the line,
but have them embedded in the centre. Connecting people is the future of business in my view, and Nui can do this easily and efficiently for businesses and in a more sustainable way. “Technically, Nui is a very strong platform with a demonstrated track record of success. I feel a real affinity with the busi-
ness and people involved. This is a business where I feel I can contribute to make a difference and I am joining at an exciting time in Nui’s growth.” Petersen has extensive governance experience in the agribusiness sector. He is chair of Pastoral Genomics, and a director of ANZCO Foods and a number of other privately-owned companies. He was previously chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand. Nui chief executive Kevin O’Sullivan says that Petersen’s appointment signals a significant shift for Nui as it cements itself as the e-marketplace of choice for agri-food and ingredient business that is fit for a modern world.
“In the past year we have grown to now being the largest e-platform for dairy in Europe, with some of the world’s largest agri-food businesses such as Arla Foods and Valio using our platform to transform their sales process, and scale and enter new markets,” says O’Sullivan. “The agri-food sector is still relatively traditional in its trading and sales approach, but increasingly we are seeing a real appetite for digital tools such as ours that enable efficiency and scale. “I am excited about the governance and international business development experience that Mike brings to Nui.” Visit www.nuimarkets.com
PUMPING POO FURTHER AFIELD EFFLUENT PUMP maker Numedic says its new pump casing allow poo to be pumped more efficiently to paddocks around the farm. The new pump casing has been designed after several years of testing and development with Canterbury University. Numedic says the new pump casing
that will increase pump performance by up to 25%: allowing effluent to be pumped further and more efficiently saving both time and money. “Based on our 25 years of experience we have developed an extremely strong, reliable, powerful and efficient high pressure effluent pump” says Numedic director Peter Reid.
MILK COOLING Milk cooling affects milk quality. The quicker the milk is cooled after milking, the better the quality when it is collected from the farm. The Ministry for Primary Industries has introduced new milk cooling standards. The new rules now apply to all converted farms.
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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
16 // MANAGEMENT
Faith in raw milk delivers In what they describe as a moment of madness, Andrew Faith and his wife Stacy decided to install a vending machine and sell raw milk from their dairy farm alongside SH1 just south of Otaki in the lower North Island. They have been open for business for just on a week and already they say, demand has exceeded their expectations. They bought 1400 bottles thinking they would last forever, but they have all sold in a week. Peter Burke talked to the couple and their family about this latest venture and its instant success.
Andrew and Stacy Faith.
THE PURPOSE of set-
ting up the raw milk vending machine operation, says Andrew Faith, was to future-proof their existing dairy farming operation. They currently run 340 cows on the 90ha home farm which is supplemented by an additional 70ha on lease. These cows are on once-a-day (OAD) milking and produce about 120,000kgMS each season with the milk being sold to Fonterra. But Faith says there is a risk that they could lose the land they lease which has been earmarked for a subdivision and that would mean they would only have their own 90ha block. “We have a 20-a-side shed and with the risk of losing the lease land we decided not to build a bigger shed which would involve a large capital
outlay with no guarantee of getting a return on this. We have looked at other ways of improving production and while we have put in irrigation on 15 ha’s but that is a small area and due to the lower underground waterflow. We have also looked at buying additional land but this is very expensive. ” he says. Faith says they looked at the idea of selling raw milk about three years ago, but it wasn’t until they saw an article in a farming newspaper (likely Dairy News) that they decided to give it a go. “We were getting 50 cents a litre from Fonterra and we can sell raw milk for $2.50 so it seemed a good idea at the time,” says. In the end Andrew and Stacy decided to draft out 20 A2 cows out of the
existing herd. While they don’t market their milk as being A2, they note on their signage that their raw milk contains A2 protein. “Under the regulations MPI requires us to have a separate herd if we are supplying the public directly. These cows are run on a different part of the farm to the main herd and are milked at a different time, in this case OAD in the afternoon. The main herd is milked OAD in the morning,” he says. Andrew Faith says the regulations around the supply of milk to the public are very strict. He says for a start they can only sell directly to the customer and not sell it through a third party. He says while signing up to sell milk at the farm gate is relatively easy, meeting the very strict regulations
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
MANAGEMENT // 17
EASY AS OPERATING AN ATM
The raw milk operation is a family affair.
is demanding. “There are lots of regulations we have to comply with, such as recording who the cows are in the herd, keeping all the equipment spotless and then getting the milk
tested every ten days. Just keeping within the testing requirements is difficult and if we fail, we risk being shut down for a week. Then every year MPI audit the business and we have to make
sure our recording keeping is absolutely correct,” he says. He says other farmers contemplating a similar venture should be under no illusions that the work is hard and demanding.
FOR THE Faith family, it’s been a busy and exciting time getting the equipment installed and tested and putting signs up on their farm telling people they will opening soon. The vending machines are housed in a distinctive small purpose built shed near the driveway to the Faith’s property on SH 1. Distinctive because on top of the shed is a very large life-size cow which in itself is eye catching. Their building is sited on a large off-road parking area that lends itself to passersby stopping. Originally there was a general store, later converted to a café which Andrew Faith’s great grandfather built. Sadly this was burned down several years ago. The Faith’s are confident about the future of their new venture. Andrew points out that there are 50,000 people in the Kapiti District which takes in the townships of Paraparaumu, Waikanae and Otaki. “We are lucky being on a state highway, but even when the expressway is completed, we know we will get good local clients who will support us,” he says. Since they opened a week ago, the Faith family have taken turns to be on hand and to teach people how to use the fully automated vending equipment. The aim is have the facility open from 6am until 10pm “If you can use an ATM you can use the vending machine. You simply put you money in to buy a one litre glass bottle and then pay again to fill it up. Or they can bring their own bottles. The aim is to customers to reuse the bottles and thus reduce the amount of waste in landfills,” says Andrew Faith.
The couple say it’s been great meeting all the customers who they think are even more enthusiastic than they are. Stacy says she’s looking forward to the operation running without them being there all the time. They will just make regular checks. “I am losing my voice I have been so busy talking to people,” she says. In their first week of operation they were expecting to sell about 100 litres of milk a day, but just two days after they opened for business they sold 278 litres on a single day. The couple note that they can’t remember a time in the past week when there hasn’t been a customer at the shop. Andrew Faith’s family have farmed the land for more than a century. Andrew’s great grandfather bought the block back in 1911 and initially it appears sheep and beef were run on the property. It was Andrews’s grandfather and later his father Paul who converted to dairy Andrew’s sons Keegan and Reon are taking an interest in the farm business. So be successful he says you need to be a good stockman, accountant, plumber, builder, computer tech and social media savvy. The latter he says is to help in the promotion of the venture. “Between them they bring all those attributes,” he says. Andrew is determined to make sure the farm stays in family ownership and selling milk at the gate provides another income stream that helps insure that future generations of Faith’s will continue to farm the land and make a reasonable living from it.
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
18 // ANIMAL HEALTH
Keep close eye on animals as dry weather sets in WITH MANY regions
experiencing increasingly dry weather, DairyNZ is asking farmers to plan for managing stock through challenging conditions. Current NIWA soil moisture deficit maps show soil moisture levels are significantly below historical averages across the upper North Island, parts of the Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatū, the North Island’s East Coast, Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago. “Ongoing dry weather
Heat affects milk production.
HEAT IS ON COWSN IN all areas of New Zealand are affected by heat stress during summer. The comfort zone for a cow is 4-20°C, much lower than the comfort zone of a human. Heat stress occurs when an animal’s heat load is greater than its capacity to lose heat. Cows feel hot sooner than we do. High air temperature, humidity, solar radiation and low air movement contribute to increased risk. High relative humidity decreases evaporation and reduces the cow’s ability to lose heat by sweating and breathing. When air temperature is greater than about 21ºC and relative humidity is greater than 70%, friesians and crossbreeds begin to reduce their feed intake, and milk production is reduced. Jerseys are more tolerant of heat, with production losses insignificant until 25ºC Cows radiate heat during the night to the cooler surroundings. Warm cloudy nights can reduce cooling, increasing the risk of heat stress.
can be stressful for farmers. Planning ahead for how to respond if the dry conditions continue will allow farmers to consider their options and provide confidence about having a plan in place,” says DairyNZ’s strategy and investment leader Bruce Thorrold. “The use of supplements needs careful consideration, taking into account the costs and benefits, including to cow health,” he says. Farmers looking at using supplementary feed to fill a feed deficit should consider a number of issues to ensure it is used profitably: calculate the maximum supplement price that is affordable (includ-
ing additional costs associated with supplement use), while still achieving performance goals manage the amount of supplementary feed used to achieve post-grazing residuals of seven clicks (1500 kg of dry matter per hectare) or less on the rising plate meter, to ensure minimal substitution of pasture reduce feed demand by reviewing stocking rates and moving unwanted stock off-farm. “Heat stress has a real impact on cows and it is one of the key factors affecting milk production, but farmers can take steps to manage this,” says Thorrold. When temperatures are over 21C and humidity
is over 70%, Friesians and crossbreeds begin to feed less, and milk production reduces. In Jerseys, production losses only occur when temperatures rise to 25C or more. To help keep cows comfortable in warm weather, farmers can: ensure ample water is available to cows both day and night by checking flow rates to water troughs are high. Lactating cows need 100 litres per cow per day provide shade. Many farmers also use sprinklers and fans in dairy sheds to cool cows avoid giving high fibre feed to cows during the daytime, as it increases heat load change milking times to avoid the heat of the day. Moving to once-a-day milking or three milkings over two days is worth considering as an option. “Farming through dry conditions does create uncertainty which can be stressful for everyone on a farm,” says Dr Thorrold. “Take care of yourself and your team by planning for everyone to have regular time off to help you farm through a difficult time.” Additionally, as part of forward planning it is helpful for farmers
to assess body condition scores and decide in advance which stock will
be dried off if weather conditions remain dry.
MINIMISE STRESS To MINIMISE impacts on productivity and protect cow comfort, consider the following: Water Lactating cows will typically require more than 100 litres/cow/day and will drink between two to six times per day. Ensure flow rates to troughs are high enough that the trough never runs dry. Most cows drink soon after milking, so install water troughs in races to meet that need. Feed Ensure summer pasture is of high quality. Feed with a high fibre content can increase the heat of fermentation in the rumen, increasing the heat load on the cow (e.g. non-irrigated summer pasture). Provide supplementary feed at night when it is cooler. Shade Use paddocks with shade trees during periods of heat stress – ideally 5m2 of shade per cow, to minimise competition. Provide shade at the shed if possible. Install shade cloth in off paddock facilities. Management Reduce the walking distance and speed to the dairy. Reduce the time spent in unshaded yards. Minimise handling stress. Isolate cows most severely affected by heat stress and provide shade and cooling. Milk earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon, or consider once-aday milking. Cooling Sprinklers can be used over the dairy yard to wet the cows coat and aid evaporative cooling for between two to six hours after milking. However, sprinkling can increase the humidity around the cows, especially when they are held close together. The effectiveness of sprinkling depends on the removal of water vapour by air movement, ideally by using a fan.
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DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
CROPPING & CULTIVATION // 19
Turnips can help bridge a summer feed gap TURNIPS ARE a brassica root crop commonly used as a fast-maturing single-graze crop to bridge a summer feed gap and maintain milk production. Turnips can be sown from spring through to late summer, autumn or winter depending on the cultivar. Turnips are grown on farm to: ■■ help bridge a feed shortage and provide a high-quality feed to maintain or increase milk production ■■ to help establish new pasture by contouring and cleaning the soil of pests, weeds, and diseases reduce the amount of surplus pasture needing conservation in the spring, thereby improving pasture quality and production. According to DairyNZ, there are two varieties of bulb turnips: the soft white-fleshed bulbs referred to as soft turnips or summer turnips, and the hard, yellowfleshed bulbs referred to
turnips tend to have better tolerance of lighter soil and lower THE PROFITABILITY of growing a soil fertility. summer turnip crop depends on three If turnips are things - remembering that the cost of required over growing turnips is fairly fixed (whether you grow a good or bad crop): an extended ■■ Yield of the turnip crop (t DM/ha) period (e.g. ■■ Lost pasture production (while mid-January to crop is grown) March) sometimes the first ■■ Additional benefits a turnip crop brings to subsequent new pasture two-thirds of like removal of pests. crop is soft turnip, and the final third a better-keeping hard turnip. The harder types There are some animal have better bulb-keephealth issues relating to ing ability but produce turnips as a feed: most lower yields (t DM/ha) than soft turnips. Harder animal health issues occur in the first day or two of types are an option for feeding, as animals adjust single graze winter feed, to the crop. Ideally cows or for later maturing should be fed alternasummer feed. Winter summer pasture and maintain milk production. Testing shows an ME of up to 12-13MJ/kg DM and leaves are a valuable source of protein in summer. Turnips need a minimum of 60-70 days and have no ripening requirements. The proportion of leaf to bulb varies with individual cultivar.
as hard turnips or sometimes described as winter turnips. The higher-yielding, faster maturing soft, white fleshed turnip varieties (or summer turnips) are more commonly sown in dairy systems and are used for summer feed. This type of bulb turnip offers a high-quality feed to supplement
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tive feeds (e.g. pasture or silage) before accessing the crop to minimise the risks. Milking cows can lose condition when eating turnips if pasture is short. The extra protein in the turnips can lift milk production at the expense of cow condition; this can be corrected by feeding grass or maize silage at 2-3kg DM silage/day. Bloating has been reported in cows grazing turnip crops. Drenching, or grazing cows on turnips after they have eaten some grass are ways to overcome this. Rumen acidosis can occur if turnips are introduced too rapidly. Introduce them slowly over
5-7 days to allow rumen microbe populations to adjust. In some years, on some farms, photosensitivity can be seen in stock due to the glucosinolates in turnips. Remove affected animals from the crop and give shade, good quality feed and water. The main disease threats are club root and dry rot; while the main insect pests are springtails, leaf miner, diamondback moth, white butterfly, aphids, and when direct-drilling, slugs. Inspect young crops regularly by walking well into the paddock and, if necessary, apply the appropriate insecticide.
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
20 // CULTIVATION & CROPPING
Learnings from the mid-west IN JUNE last year, I had
the privilege of travelling through the mid-West, USA with a group of NZ dairy farmers. We visited several leading dairy farmers and scientists in Wisconsin,
Iowa and Illinois. As we travelled and talked to these people, it became clear that some of the principles behind business success in the US are similar to those we have here. There were 5 things
that were frequently mentioned and are directly applicable to the NZ context. Grow and harvest as much home grown feed as you can When we asked dairy
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farmers, “What was the key to their business success?”, we got the same answer…” Keep feed costs down by growing as much of your feed needs as you can”. They then added “Source what you can’t grow at home as cheaply as possible”. This is the same here in New Zealand. Several analyses run over the last 15 years have shown that optimising home grown feed is closely linked to optimizing profit. In New Zealand, as a result of pasture production plateauing in many regions, farmers are using maize silage to increase the total amount of dry matter grown. Optimise feed quality to optimise milk production The farmers we visited stressed the importance of optimising feed quality. In their case, this meant keeping their maize plant growing and laying down starch until the point of harvest. It also meant making sure their other crops (e.g. lucerne) are harvested at the right time. Feed quality is critical to US milk production. The higher the feed quality, the more food cows can eat. The more food they eat, the more milk they produce. The same principles apply here. Feeding your cows the best quality pasture you can, will ensure the optimization of milk production. Unfortunately, given NZ’s climate variation, farmers often struggle to have enough highquality pasture when they need it to maintain milk production. Having maize silage, a high quality, stored forage, on hand makes sense for times when pasture is not enough because there isn’t enough pasture.
Control costs Many US dairy farmers have struggled to make money for the 3 previous seasons. In Wisconsin last year, 2 farms per day simply gave up dairying. The farms we visited survived this downturn by keeping their cows producing milk efficiently and by keeping control of core costs. Once again, home grown feed (maize and lucerne silage) was critical to making sure costs stayed under control. Limit the impact of capital cost There is often criticism of the US system as being capital intensive. While cows are housed in expensive barns, the land around the barn, which the farm uses for growing feed, is relatively inexpensive (about 1/3 to ½ the value of NZ land). This is the opposite to the NZ system where our infrastructure is relatively cheap but our land is expensive. When we compared return on capital (ROC) between the NZ and the US farms, the farms we visited had a similar ROC to that of our farms. US farmers were very aware of not letting the cost of capital reduce their ability to drive cash from their farms. As in the case here, this was done by diluting their capital cost over more milk. Look after the cows Nearly all the barns we visited were clean and quiet with animals in excellent condition. There were no obvious signs of animal distress. Time and time again we were told by the farmers, “Look after the cows and they will look after you”. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact him at iwilliams@genetic. co.nz @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
MACHINERY & PRODUCTS // 21
Cobra puts the bite on SP’s MARK DANIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
OVER THE last two
decades, the once familiar trailed forage harvester has become a rare sight in the paddock, driven by the switch to contractors using high capacity self-propelled units and a widespread adoption of forage maize. One Finnish company, Ehlo, suggests this might be about to change, with the introduction of its concept Cobra 7710 trailed harvester. Suggesting that many operations have high horsepower tractors available to run such a harvester, they also mention the chance to achieve better timeliness alongside much lower capital investment compared to a self-propelled outfit. Suitable for tractors
from 250 to 400hp, the Cobra 7710, unusually runs a driveline that sees a 1000 rpm direct drive from the tractor to the chopping cylinder, eliminating the need for expensive gearboxes. Up front, a 3.0-metre
wide, hydraulic folding pick up, moves away from the conventional design, to encompass short, sprung tines, under a curved hood, not dissimilar to the company’s crop conditioner. Eliminating the need for tine
bands, the unit is said to “tease out” lumps in the feed being delivered to the transitional augers. Twin augers, rotating at 680 rpm convey the crop to a hydraulically driven feed roller housing, that incorporates three lower
PAJERO SPORT ARRIVES WITH BELLS AND WHISTLES AN ALL-NEW Mitsubishi Pajero Sport VRX has arrived in New Zealand, featuring external dimensions that are 40mm longer and 30mm higher, while the styling sees a deeper, squared-jaw front face with plenty of chrome and twotone 18-inch alloys. At the rear a new bumper incorporates LED light clusters and up top, a new full width integrated spoiler is now standard. In the cabin, the new 8-inch colour LCD meter offers changeable displays according to user preferences. Seats use Sports leather covering, with dual-zone air-conditioning enhancing driver
and passenger comfort. A handsfree power tailgate makes opening and closing effortless, with the added benefit of remote control from a suitably enabled smart device. Powerplant is the well-proven 2.4 litre MIVEC turbo diesel engine, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that connects to the final drives by retaining the Super-Select 4WD II system for positive off-road performance and ability. Key safety upgrades include the addition of Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. A wider colour choice now sees the addi-
tion of Graphite and White Diamond options. Elsewhere in the Mitsubishi product offering, a Limited-Edition Outlander Sport, restricted to 300 units is available with an array of premium extras as standard. Sporting the increasingly popular “blackout” package, the LE gets a large rear spoiler, new 18-inch alloys and an optional Silky White finish. Offering several extras, usually associated with the VRX specification, the LE gets heated front seats with power lumbar support, improved cushioning in the rear seats and comfort inducing dualzone air conditioning.
and two upper rollers to meter crop to the chopping cylinder. The transversely mounted cylinder is 770mm diameter by 1000mm wide, dimensions not much different to a self-propelled unit,
Suitable for tractors from 250 to 400hp, the Cobra 7710, unusually runs a driveline that sees a 1000 rpm direct drive from the tractor to the chopping cylinder, eliminating the need for expensive gearboxes. that carries two banks of twelve knives, which features electronic sharpening and automated shear bar adjustment. Discharge, on the lefthand side of the machine
is via a hydraulically controlled spout that has a maximum height of 5.8 metres. Addressing operational issues, knock sensors in the pick-up hood detect stones or metal, in doing so, stopping the feed roller system. In turn, the feed roller system incorporates a load sensing system that alerts the operator to any potential blockages. If a blockage should occur, the pick-up will raise automatically to stop crop feed. Additional features include a hydraulic folding spout assembly, a telescoping wheel axle for increased stability on slopes and hydraulic forks at the rear for lifting silage additive containers/pods. Release is scheduled for 2020 in Scandinavia, with wider availability in 2021.
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
22 // MACHINERY & PRODUCTS
Cross Flow now here in 3m version ALREADY AVAILABLE on Pottinger’s
Novacat 320 CF
NOVACAT A10 mower combinations and the 3.5m NOVACAT 352, rear mower, the Austrian grassland specialists are
launching a 3.0 m version of its cross-flow auger the NOVACAT 302 Cross Flow. Offering the ability to merge swaths after mowing, without the need
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for a conditioning element, the 3.0m version only requires a tractor of 100hp, while also offering the convenience of a hydraulically controlled rear discharge flap, operated from the tractor seat. In operation, the CF auger merges forage to form one swath right after mowing, incorporating a closed design to prevent leaf loss in delicate crops. The design ensures there is no ground contact and consequently no forage contamination, while operational efficiency is improved by the fact that no post-mowing swathing passes are required, before pick-up by a baler, loader wagon or harvester. Said to offer versatile operation, the CF auger also creates a light conditioning effect as it turns the crop as it flows through the convey-
ing auger. When mowing paddock boundaries, the auger can transport the crop away from the hedge-line with the rear flap closed, meaning subsequent passes with tedders keeps crop well away from the boundary. For those seeking a more intensive drying effect, the rear flap can be opened to place a wider and airier blanket of forage. When used in combination with a 3m front mower with a working width of 3 metres, a working width of up 12m can be “dropped” into two swathes that are within 6 m or each other. However, the two swaths are deposited within 6 metres of each other, that in turn allows a twin rotor centre-swath rake to bring the material into one large row.
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IF YOU want a sneak peek at Kubota’s vision for the future, look no further than its Concept-X tractor recently unveiled in Kyoto City. Designed to commemorate the Japanese company’s 130th anniversary, the fully autonomous, tracked machine is said to be packed with artificial intelligence and electrification technology. The layout centres around the increasingly popular use of rubber tracks at each corner, with electrical power being achieved by lithium-ion and solar batteries. The vehicle is also able to adjust its working height to give sufficient clearance for a range of crops, while also using the same technology to “lower” itself to increase traction in difficult ground conditions. Steering is effected by changing the speed of each electric wheel motor, said to result in a very tight turning radius The company suggests that the development of such concepts addresses the two main challenges in the Japanese agricultural sector: those of labour shortages and the increasing average age of the country’s farmers.
DAIRY NEWS FEBRUARY 4, 2020
MACHINERY & PRODUCTS // 23
SAMCO IMPROVES STACK STABILITY
Hemp harvesting up MARK DANIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
WITH HEMP production expected
to increase in New Zealand over the coming years, it might not be too long before we see some strange looking machines out in the paddocks. In Holland, Dutch hemp grower Dun Agro has three specialised machines that harvest the valuable flowers and upper leaves separately from the lower stems, all in one operation.
Based around Claas Xerion systems tractors, with plenty of heavyduty componentry to deal with the “tough” crop, the layout sees a highlevel Shelbourne Reynolds stripper header working ahead of a 6.0 metre / 4 -rotor Kemper unit, at speeds of up to 10kph. The first two units, a leaf storage bunker is mounted on a rotating frame, that is swivelled hydraulically to discharge to the side. This allows them to discharge directly into trailers, although some care is needed around field perimeters to avoid
becoming entangled with overhanging trees. The newest version gets a 38 cubic metre bunker that is mounted longitudinally on the machine, with the body being raised hydraulically to deliver its contents to a rear -mounted and telescoping side-delivery conveyor. The new layout is said to lend itself to unloading on the move, a function not possible with the two previous versions due to tractors and trailers having to run over the hemp straw swaths.
A CLEVER idea from the Emerald Isle, addresses the issue of stability when operating loaders on silage stacks. Developed by Samco Manufacturing in Limerick, the aptly named Wheeled Loader Extender is a retrofit hub system that allows loader operators to undertake road work at the factory set wheel track, then extend the loaders front wheels for work on the stack. The wheels are “pushed” out using an integral, manually operated hydraulic pump, typically increasing overall track widths by up to 600mm The system is said to remove the need for dual wheel set-ups and the chore of removing them for road trans-
port. The modified track is also said to help improve consolidation on the stack, as it creates an offset between the front and rear wheels. Additionally, for those operating in walled stacks or clamps the extended track allows consolidation right up to the wall, while the body of the machine is kept further away. Samco founder Sam Shine, a wellknown face at the New Zealand National Fieldays says, “we originally designed the system for loaders, be we are currently receiving enquiries from people operating headers or large trailed implements on slopes and looking for improved stability.”
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Dairy News 04 February 2020