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Doing things right PAGE 14

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JULY 21, 2020 ISSUE 451 // www.dairynews.co.nz


A small group of Fonterra farmers are on the cusp of setting a new milk payout record. PAGE 3

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NEWS  // 3

$10 payout! suppliers on the global market outlook. It also unveiled a new logo for sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz its organics business. Henderson says the feedback A SMALL but select group of Fon- from farmer suppliers has been posterra farmers are on the cusp of set- itive. “They are very happy with the ting a new milk payout record. The co-op’s 60 organic milk sup- record payout and very supportive pliers have already received $9.80/ of the business,” Henderson told kgMS for last season’s milk. A final Dairy News. Fonterra’s organwash-up payment in ics business has evaded October will take that any negative impacts of payout into double digits the Covid-19 pandemic – over the $10 mark – a raging around the world. first for New Zealand Henderson says dairy industry. demand for organic dairy Fonterra global busiproducts has gone up in ness manager organic, recent months. Andrew Henderson told Reports from retailers Dairy News that the last season had been an Andrew Henderson, in key markets – the US, Australia and South Korea “incredibly good year” Fonterra – suggest there has been for the co-op’s organic increased demand for organic prodbusiness. Henderson believes a payout ucts as consumers focus on health over $10/kgMS farmgate milk price and wellness during the pandemic. “The short to medium term outis highly likely – based on returns look for organics is quite positive,” from sales. Fonterra has a small niche organic Henderson says. “In the current economic downbusiness – jus 60 suppliers supplying turn, just as it was during the global 5 million kgMS last season. The co-op recently held a round financial crisis, organics is continuof farmer meetings to update organic ing to do well.” SUDESH KISSUN

Milk powder donation. PG.08

Top tips for calf rearing. PG.17

Still going strong. PG.26

NEWS�������������������������������������������������������3-9 OPINION�����������������������������������������������10-11 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������������ 12 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������� 14-15 ANIMAL HEALTH����������������������������������16 CALF REARING�������������������������������� 17-24 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS���������������������������������������25-27

UDSA STANDARD FONTERRA’S ORGANIC certification is linked to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards. Henderson says the USDA organic standards are one of the toughest in the world. Fonterra’s main markets for organics are the US, South Korea and Australia. While the co-op doesn’t export organic products to China, sales in NZ and Australia “end up in China”, Henderson told Dairy News.

Fonterra’s organic story is a positive one, propped by grass-fed cows and cost-effective farming practices. Henderson says co-op has one of the best milk stories in the world, with brands that are trusted by consumers around the globe. Fonterra’s organic suppliers are based in the Waikato; milk is processed at sites in the region. The Waitoa plant makes organic milk powders and UHT milk, the Morrinsville plant butter and milk powders, while Hautapu pro-

duces whey protein concentrates and milk protein concentrates. Anchor organic milk is generated at Palmerton North. The list of organic milk suppliers is growing. This season Fonterra will collect organic milk from 74 suppliers and about 100 farms are in the process of becoming organic farms, a process that takes three years.


4 //  NEWS

Red faces all round after awards fiasco PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

THE DAIRY Industry

Awards are supposed to be a time of celebrating the success stories of the industry and showcasing new role models. Instead, just 10 days after the announcement of this year’s winners, the NZ Dairy Industry Trust (NZDIA), which runs the awards, has had to appoint New Plymouth QC Susan Hughes to review its procedures, processes and entry criteria. This follows the NZDIA’s decision to strip the ‘on night’ winners of the 2020 Share Farmers of the Year Nick and Rose Bertram of their title. This was because of what the Trust called ‘unacceptable social media comments’ posted by Bertram prior to the awards. The tweets – made by Bertram in 2017 – were brought to light by the animal rights group SAFE which claimed the tweets, which have since been removed, advocated “cruel and illegal” farming methods and were “disrespectful”. When the SAFE accusations surfaced, it is understood that NZDIA spoke to Bertram and asked him to voluntarily give up the award. However, when he refused a decision was made to revoke the award. Bertram subsequently apolo-

Andrew Hoggard


Nick Bertram

gised and the tweets were removed. But given the controversial nature of the decision the Trust subsequently decided to hold an independent review of the award. The issue of whether the Bertrams should be penalised or not, and to what extent, is a matter of some conjecture. Many farmers expressed their concerns about the tweets. In a press release, put out after NZDIA announced it was stripping him of the award, Bertram claimed that people associated with the Trust were aware of the tweets in question three years earlier. “They had a meeting and following this I was told to pull my head in and, in future, watch my tweets and my language. Soon after that I took a

year off twitter to focus on the family. During this time, I did social media training. I have had no issues on social media since,” he says. But while Bertram went off social media, his 2017 tweets remained... and that some individuals, spoken to by Dairy News, claim that is the problem. Bertram claims he is a victim of “cancel culture” and says if he voluntarily gave up the award that would effectively be “a win for SAFE”. Dairy News can verify that Bertram was counselled about his social media behaviour. But there has been no official word from the NZDIA that judges in the actual competition were aware of this. Apart from a very brief press release, stating that the Bertrams had been stripped of the award,

NZDIA has declined a request by Dairy News to discuss the matter further. It claims it would be inappropriate to comment in light of the pending review. Bertram also claimed in a media release that two trustees from NZDIA had resigned, but the Trust told Dairy News this was incorrect. There have been a number of accusations made by Bertram, but Dairy News has taken the view that to air these is best left until after the review is completed. NZDIA chairwoman Natasha Tere says animal welfare is of paramount importance to the industry and the Trust is committed to offering a 2021 Awards programme that will showcase best practice and allow entrants to benchmark and improve

their own farming practices. “It is also committed to farmer welfare and will ensure Mr and Mrs Bertram are supported during this difficult time,” she says. This reporter attended a field day at the Bertrams Woodville dairy farm, just days before the awards were announced. About 100 people attended the event to hear the couple talk about their farming operation and how proud they were to be finalists in the competition. There was a farm tour during which the improvements to the property the Bertrams had made were highlighted. There was speculation that the Bertrams were likely winners of the awards. No mention was made – or raised – about Nick Bertram’s social media profile.

WHAT REMAINS unclear, at this stage, is whether Nick Bertram will continue in his role as vice chair of the sharemilkers section of Federated Farmers. Bertram says he is stepping down from the role – for at least the foreseeable future – to “focus on my family and farm, which is most important to me”. Feds President, Andrew Hoggard says how this plays out is largely up to the sharemilkers section, but it’s clear that no hasty decision will be made. Hoggard told Dairy News the whole affair was really sad for all involved. He concedes that given the number of entries in the dairy awards doing what amounts to due diligence on every entrant could be a mammoth task. He also raises the issue of how long a person’s past should be held against them. “To be honest, there are a lot of people entering the dairy industry awards and for them it’s been a bit of a redemption,” Hoggard says. “They have come from some pretty bad backgrounds. But good, hard physical work and dedication have put them on a pathway that has pulled them into line. I would be really worried if we stop people going forward based upon their past. After all, when is long enough?” Hoggard says he would hate to see a situation whereby a person cannot outlive their past and move on. Dairy News is aware of past gang members have got themselves back on the rails and won competitions in the agriculture with no recriminations. However, whether such arguments in the Bertrams’ case are relevant remains to be seen.


NEWS  // 5

Dairy champions PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz


farmers Nick and Nicky Dawson have been awarded Fonterra’s John Wilson Memorial Trophy for responsible dairying. The award recognises dairy farmers who demonstrate leadership in their approach to sustainability, who are respected by their fellow farmers and their community for their attitude and role in sustainable dairying. The award is part of the dairy industry awards, which were announced recently. The couple run 450

Hawkes Bay dairy farmers Nick and Nicky Dawson.

cows on their 220ha farm (170 effective) at Patoka, north west of Hastings. They have been dairy farming for about 30 years, starting as sharemilkers before buying the

farm outright earlier this year. Nick Dawson says winning the award means a lot to himself and wife Nicky because they were nominated for the award

and didn’t enter the competition as such. “We were nominated by our local Fonterra area manager – which was quite nice,” he told Dairy News.

COMMITTED TO ENVIRONMENT IT’S NOT the first time the Dawsons have been recognised for their sustainability efforts. Last year, they took out the Supreme Award at the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards. The couple noted, at the time, with farmers being looked at from all angles, they wanted to be role models for other dairy farmers so they can also do what’s right for the animals and the land. The Dawson’s farm, Glenelg is somewhat unusual for a dairy farm in that some of the land is hilly. But the couple have retired about 30ha of land at the back of the farm, fenced the waterways and have even set up a nutrient trap to stop run-off going into their neighbour’s farm.

They have also dropped cow numbers, but their production is still well ahead of district and national averages. Their heifers are on once-a-day milking all year round and, from Christmas, the whole herd moves to OAD. Nick and Nicky Dawson have, from day one in their farming career, been committed to improving the environment on their property. From the first days in their sharemilking career they were buying root trainers and planting these strategically around the farm. They have become, in every sense of the word, ‘model farmers’ having made what amounts to a lifetime commitment to best practice farming. Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell congratulated the

Dawsons for winning the award, and he also recognised the other finalists, Chris and Shelia Falconer and Michelle and Leighton Pye. “These farmers are driving positive change in our industry and are great role models,” Hurrell says. “As New Zealanders, farming is a big part of our way of life and agriculture is important to New Zealand’s success at home and abroad. “What sets us apart is our pasture-based farms, our animal welfare practices, the ways we show care for our environment, our people, and our local communities. “Nick and Nicky, along with the finalists, are great examples of this in action.”

“We then got interviewed on Zoom by a panel of three people, which was unusual because we couldn’t show them the physical part of the farm. But we enjoyed the experience anyway. “I think because it is called the responsible dairy award because it looks at the holistic picture about what we do on the farm, how we treat staff and also what we do outside the farm gate. It’s nice to be acknowledged for that.” The Dawson’s have made a huge effort to engage with the Hawkes Bay community and schools in particular, to give young people an ‘on farm experience’ and to show that dairy farmers actively improve the environment to help dispel the myth of ‘dirty dairying’. Nick Dawson says many kids today have no idea what a farm is like, let alone a dairy farm. The couple regularly host school groups on their farm and even give the young people a chance to milk a cow. “It’s special to see their parents – who have had this notion of dirty dairy for so long – say that the farm is a lovely place and that dairying is a nice industry,” he says. “We try to do our bit to promote dairying in every way we can.”

IN BRIEF Bennett retains portfolio HAMILTON EAST MP David Bennett has retained the shadow agriculture portfolio and moved on to the front bench, at number 12, following a reshuffle, last week, by new Opposition Leader Judith Collins.

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6 //  NEWS

Migrant workers dilemma CHRIS LEWIS

DAIRY FARMERS want more Kiwis to move into the industry and domestic unemployment is high due to COVID-19. They are also arguing for relaxed immigration restrictions for skilled dairy workers. What’s the

problem? The New Zealand dairy industry has made no secret of its reliance on migrant labour to keep our farms working. To date, this system has suited migrants, farmers, the economy and the Government – with a wave of reliable workers coming to fill roles that

many New Zealanders don’t want to do. The combination of a lack of available and keen workers in the rural areas, and a ready and able immigrant workforce, has led to the wide range of nationalities working in cowsheds around the country. Covid-19 has turned

all this on its head. The unprecedented closure of the New Zealand border has completely stopped the flow of workers literally overnight. The unluckiest have found themselves stuck in their home country after being away attending family events such as births, weddings or funer-

als. Their life here is now in limbo; houses, possessions, vehicles and pets all sit waiting for them to return – which seems increasingly unlikely. Others were ready to enter the country to start a new role. Instead, they’ve been left with travel and immigration debt and no job. Chris Lewis

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Both scenarios have left many NZ employers with an empty space on their farm team that is proving hard to fill. Those migrants still working in New Zealand are also facing uncertain times. A stand-down requirement is pending for many low-skilled workers, an enforced 12-month period away from New Zealand – after spending three years here working in ‘low-skilled’ farming roles. After extensive lobbying by Federated Farmers and DairyNZ, this has been delayed until next year. However, now these ‘low-skilled visas’ must be renewed every six months – putting the employee and the farmer through the expense and uncertainty of a visa renewal twice a year. This requirement can be avoided by paying lower-skilled roles a minimum of $25.50 an hour. This rate may seem reasonable, but when coupled with subsidised accommodation, farm meat and other benefits of farm life – total remuneration for lower level dairy assistant roles rising to rival senior and management staff wages on farm. This condition also jeapordises the longstanding mechanics of the dairy season, where workers on salaries usually have a quiet winter period with low hours before the long days of calving and peak milk production. We want to see more New Zealanders in the sector, but where are these people? A recent Federated Farmers request for Ministry of Social Development Skills Match Reports of Kiwis suitable for work on farms came back with ‘suitable clients locally for this type of work – zero’, from

across the country. There are forecasts of record unemployment following COVID-19 and the Government wants these New Zealanders to fill our vacancies on-farm. Visions of Queenstown tourism guides moving to Balclutha or Auckland baristas upping sticks and settling in the heart of the Waikato have more than a few farmers scratching their heads. There are similar aspirations underway in pest management. TV news recently broadcast redfaced, soft-handed new recruits swinging axes at a sea of wilding pines, presumably because no one was qualified to operate a chainsaw. Training initiatives such as ‘GoDairy’ are working to get Kiwis ready to work on farm. However, this takes time and some on-farm roles are technical and skilled. Right now, the industry needs to hold on to all the experienced people they can. New Zealand needs the primary industries to run at full capacity after the lockdown. That means having the right people to do the jobs on farm now. Recent concessions on migrant visa conditions have been welcome, but these are essentially just kicking the can down the road. We recognise employment of New Zealanders is a government priority. But when it comes to the dairy sector there are practical, short-term barriers standing in the way. Dairy farmers need the government to recognise these barriers and pull the levers to let all New Zealand farmers, migrants or otherwise, just get on with the business of farming. • Chris Lewis is Federated Farmers national board member


NEWS  // 7

Bells keep ringing in top quality milk SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

THE WALLS in the

office of Waitoa farmers Graham and Glenys Bell have been steadily filling up over the years. Gold grade certificates from the last 10 consecutive seasons adorn the office, together with other milk quality accolades. When it comes to supplying safe and quality milk, no one beats the Bells. Milk from the 114ha Milldale Farm is the highest quality Fonterra gets from its 10,000-strong shareholder base in NZ.

Farmers Graham and Glenys Bell have supplied top quality milk to Fonterra for 10 straight seasons.

Graham and Glenys say they are proud of their achievements. But they

Dream team: from left, contract milkers Ashlee Cannons and Anna McNeil with farmers Glenys and Graham Bell.

don’t it to be number one. “A lot of work goes into it, but we wouldn’t

do it any other way,” Glenys told Dairy News. “We do it for our cows

THE PERSONAL TOUCH GRAHAM BELL says having a “personal touch” when it comes to managing cows is important to us. He doesn’t rely on computer records and knows in his head the medical history of each cow. “I remember any treatment any cow has throughout its whole life – it stays in my head.” After calving, the cows remain in the colostrum mob for four days, where they are tested for mastitis. Any cow showing a big reaction is treated straight away. Cows with slight reaction are monitored over the next two milkings and go for treatment if the somatic cell count rises.

Hygiene is a top priority. Care is taken to avoid cows being calved in mud. “We do a daily sort from the mobs and the cows are brought closer to cow shed to calve on grass,” Graham says. “This helps to cut down on infection over this period and also helps with avoiding mismothering of calves.” The Bells also adhere to excellent hygiene standards in the cow shed. “We do teat spraying all year and when you do teat spray, you cover the bottom of the udder. It’s about doing the job properly… it’s all about attention to detail.” Graham says he hates to have

sick cows. “We put the work in to have a nice, happy and healthy herd.” Contract milker Ashlee Cannons has worked on farms with large herds. He told Dairy News that working for the Bells is “a lot different”. “We had never focused on cows, we just milked them,’” he says. “On this farm we get to know each cow.” Cannons and partner Anna McNeil joined the farm at the beginning of last season. He says they are learning from the best on how to produce grade-free milk. “We are very fortunate, it’s a great learning curve for us.”

Benefits of the system

and the awards just come with it.” Graham says there’s no secret to the farm’s track record for producing grade-free low cell count milk. “It’s hard work, passion, good management practices and a personal connection with cows,” he told Dairy News. The Bells have been milking cows for most of their life. Married for 45 years they run 350 cows on the family farm and also have a sharemilk-

ing job on a neighbouring 170-cow farm with their daughter. The Bells did the LIC AI run for 30 years. Not only do they breed bulls for genetic companies, Graham says he looks through catalogues to choose the right bulls for mating the herd. “There is definitely a role for genetics, we don’t use bulls with high cell counts,” he says. “I spend time looking through catalogues to pick out the ones right for us.”

Graham says the calving period is crucial. A lot of work goes into how cows are managed during that period by the Bells and their contract milkers Ashlee Cannons and Anna McNeil. “We actually put a heap of work in,” he says. “If a cow is prone to mastitis, we bring her in before calving to just check on her. The whole herd, as soon as soon they calve, the sooner they get into the dairy shed, the better.”

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OCD not getting over-excited was ‘impressive’. “With China, domestic WMP prices having increased recently and customers wanting to fill their pipeline. It seems many have taken a position to stock up early,� he says. Meanwhile, at its recent round of farmer meetings, Koekemoer says the key topic has been the recovery of dairy prices post-Covid. “This is understandable and obviously an

SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz


second largest milk processor says the recent hike in global dairy prices won’t change its ‘disciplined’ milk price forecasting. OCD chief executive Steve Koekemoer says the company will continue to closely monitor market activities over the coming weeks to substantiate any trend. “We are in our lower volume period and will keep our focus on the larger peak volume months as we head into the season,� he told farmer suppliers.

Steve Koekemoer

“The fundamentals suggest that the market should be well balanced, and prices should remain stable at current levels.� The Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction on

July 8 saw the price index jump 8.3%. Whole milk powder (WMP) prices rose 14%. Koekemoer says while he was expecting a positive result, the magnitude

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MILK POWDER DONATION OPEN COUNTRY Dairy (OCD) is donating 11 tonnes of milk powder for distribution to the poor and needy. The company says it recently produced 11,000 1kg sachets of milk powder to support The Foodbank Project across New Zealand. Chief executive Steve Koekemoer says the product will be distributed around the country over the coming weeks. “Covid and the associated difficult economic situation means that many New Zealanders are having a tough time currently,� he recently told OCD suppliers. We felt that we wanted to give back and support our communities and the people in need.� The Foodbank Project sends out 2000 parcels a week; demand is expected to double when the wage subsidy is discontinued. OCD says, as a business, it is glad to have the opportunity to

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NEWS  // 9

Producing milk, the Miraka way Miraka’s cream of the crop.

THE GOAL of the Maori owned

Miraka dairy company, near Taupo, is to become the most sustainable dairy company in the world, according to chief executive Richard Wyeth. Speaking at a special ceremony to recognise its top farmer suppliers, those who have met additional goals in the way they farm and in the quality of their milk they produce, under a scheme known as Te Ara Miraka (The Miraka way). Wyeth says achieving high standards of sustainability starts behind the farmgate. This means farmers applying environmentally sound practices to create climate resilient farms that produce some of the highest quality milk in the world. Te Ara Miraka financially rewards any of its 101 suppliers who meet five criteria, namely – people, the environ-

ment, animal welfare, milk quality and prosperity. Within these there are 31 standards of which 13 are mandatory for farmers to meet. These in turn are extrapolated out into a points system – 100 all told. If a supplier passes the mandatory measures, they get some sort of incentive, but if they get the full 100 points they will get the extra 20c/kgMS at the end of the season. This is prorated down depending on how many points a farmer gets. This year, 18 farms achieved a score or 90% or more and five farms a score of 100%. This is twice the number of farms that have achieved this score since the scheme was initiated four years ago. Supplier Wayne Chamberlin, of Chamberlin Trust Farm, says achieving the top score was a challenge. “The Te Ara Miraka framework is

good as it keeps you on your toes,” he says. “It incentivises you to keep striving and stay focused right through the season, and new measures are added each year. Miraka’s approach aligns well with our own philosophy on our farm.” Chamberlin believes that if you look after the land and the animals, they will look after you. Papatangi is one of five farms owned by the Te Raparahi Lands Trust. All five farms achieved an excellence score of 90% or above this season. Phillip Samuels says his trust is really proud to be suppliers to Miraka. “They are proactive to deal with and have a genuinely personal approach,” he says. “We never feel like we are being held back – Miraka encourages us to be innovative, to get out there and make things happen.”

RAISING THE BAR MIRAKA’S GENERAL manager of milk supply, Grant Jackson says the aim of Te Ara Miraka is to get famers to raise the bar. He says the goal is to make farmers strive for excellence in a wide range of areas including – animal welfare, sustainable land management and supporting staff. “This is about more than just meeting regulations, it’s to show what’s possible and to become true leaders in the industry.” Jackson says Te Ara Miraka is a dynamic programme. He says the pillars and criteria on which it was initially based will change so that farmers are incentivised to meet the new needs of

consumers. Jackson adds that Miraka stays in close touch with its markets and food safety is now a given. However, he says consumers are now looking closely at the environmental and social aspects of food production. He says Te Ara Miraka is based on real data and consumers can have confidence in claims the company is making in terms of its products. “It provides credibility. We have independent assessments that are ISO accredited and we validate that through our data bases and our GIS spatial mapping to state exactly what is happening on farm.”



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No place for Tom, Dick or Harry!

MILKING IT... Lemongrass burger BURGER KING says it may have found a way to reduce cow methane emissions by 33%. The fast food giant worked with scientists at the Autonomous University at the State of Mexico and at the University of California to test and develop its formula of adding 100 grams of lemongrass leaves to the cows’ daily diets. “We were able to see a reduction of up to 33% on average of methane emissions during the period the diet was fed (the last three-to-four months of the cow’s life in the case of our research),” it says. “And the good news is that this reduction was powered by a natural plant that grows from Mexico to India.”

Carbon zero fad

For sale?

FONTERRA AND supermarket giant Foodstuffs last week launched what it claims is NZ’s first carbon zero milk. Many like the concept, but there are some sceptics. A 2-litre bottle will set you back $4.00, compared to the home-branded bottle at $3.38. Some farmers are questioning who benefits from the premium price. “The farmer… or the farmer-owned processor? Or is it being spent on carbon credits via a Kaikoura Forrest and Bangladesh cooking stoves. Would it make more sense to capture that value for the actual farmer?” one farmer asked.

THE SALE of troubled Southland milk company Mataura Valley could be imminent. Reports says the processor will require additional funding to stay afloat, after reporting a net loss of $47 million in the financial year ending December 2019. It has also reported a projected funding deficit of $26 million by December 2020. Majority owned by the China Animal Husbandry Group; Mataura Valley has been on the radar of a2 Milk Company. Happy Valley Nutrition, which is building a new plant in Otorohanga, is also said to be interested.

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Stars back oat milk OAT MILK maker Oatly has secured a group of highprofile investors that includes Oprah Winfrey and Jay-Z. The company, based in Swedish city Malmo, sold a US$200m stake in a deal that values the brand at US$2bn. Oatly is riding high as demand for plantbased milk alternatives soars, with more people switching to vegan or vegetarian diets. The American private equity firm Blackstone, Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation, Natalie Portman and former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz are among new shareholders, the company said.

MIGRANTS ARE a critical and valued part of dairying in New Zealand, filling skills shortages on farms when there aren’t enough local workers available. The sector currently has about 4000 migrants on work visas (18% of total sector employees) and another 1500 on resident visas (mostly employees but some employers). The NZ Government, like other governments around the world, is facing a growing unemployment queue thanks to Covid-19. They are under pressure to employ locals. But it isn’t as simple. All those out-of-work Queenstown baristas are hardly likely to give up and move sticks to the Waikato, don an apron and start milking cows. Dairy farmers have been – rightly – calling on the Government to better understand their plight. They can’t get workers from overseas, while suitable Kiwis are hard to find and those migrants still working on NZ farms are facing uncertain times. A stand-down requirement is pending for many overseas farm workers, an enforced 12-month period away from New Zealand after spending three years here working in ‘low-skilled’ farming roles. After extensive lobbying by Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ, this has been delayed until next year. However, now these low-skilled visas must be renewed every six months, putting the employee and the farmer through the expense and uncertainty of a visa renewal twice a year. The 12-month stand-down period remains. These migrant workers will not be returning to their country of residence waiting out their NZ work visa one year stand down. They will move on to another country where they can get work and be appreciated. We train them and pass them on to our competitors. Marlborough farmer Catherine Tither says this is not fair to migrants nor employers. “It is not good business practice to train up then dismiss valuable employees; worse still to export our knowledge and skills to our competitors.” She also points out that a misconception anyone can be trained in dairy farming in a couple of weeks. The tasks and focus on farm changes every couple of months. As the season progresses from wintering dry cows, through calving, mating, supplement making, summer dry, and in autumn preparing the cows and the farm for the following season the focus and tasks change. The skill set involved is broad and varied. The standards of milk quality, animal welfare, environmental compliance and traceability are constantly evolving. Tither is on the mark when she says the industry “is not for any Tom, Dick or Harry”.

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OPINION  // 11

Know your farm’s emissions profile CAROLINE READ

AS THE world deals

with the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, it’s important to remember climate change hasn’t gone away. It remains a clear and present threat to New Zealand’s ability to produce sustainable and natural food. Farmers in regions such as the Hawke’s Bay and Northland, who have been managing through crippling droughts and feed shortages, can only expect to have to deal with this more frequently as the effect of climate change increases. The sector is already demonstrating its commitment to making positive changes. The Joint Action Plan on Primary Sector Emissions (He Waka Eke Noa) is an innovative partnership to reduce primary sector emissions. It aims to equip farmers and growers with the knowledge and tools they need to reduce emissions, while continuing to sustainably produce quality food and fibre products for domestic and international markets. Sheep and beef farmers have also already reduced their industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% since the 1990s and worked to protect and restore native habitats on their farms to the tune of 2.8 million hectares – the second largest holding of native forest and native biodiversity in the country. That is sequestering carbon and making a real difference. But we can do more. As a country, we need to be positioning ourselves in the sustainable products market in a way that is robust and verifiable. That means connecting scientific tools to carbon certification programmes to give our customers confidence. That starts on-farm. For farms wanting to reduce emissions, it is not enough to know how much you are emitting, it’s about understanding where the emissions are coming from and what you can do about it within a context of other environmental considerations.

For example, OverseerFM is designed to support farm planning by allowing farmers to assess different management options on-farm and their impact across a range of environmental losses including GHG emissions as well as looking at carbon sequestration of forested areas of the farm. This means when decisions are made, they are informed and can avoid pollution swapping. What’s also important is ensuring that sciencebased tools like Overseer can be driven by information the farmer knows or has easy access to. This ensures that its use can be maximised to support as many farmers as possible. For example, we currently have over 11,000 farms set up in OverseerFM, which is equivalent to around half of the commercial farms operating in New Zealand. All those farms set up to generate nutrient budgets for regional councils also have GHG reports available without having to change a thing. So rather than the two per cent of farms knowing their GHG emissions that we often hear reported, if they opened their OverseerFM accounts, nearly 50 per cent could. OverseerFM also provides farm totals for each gas and product footprints that provide a performance measure on farm production. Tools such as OverseerFM provide farmers with a way to understand what is happening onfarm for GHGs and crucially provides a platform to guide their direction of travel. But if we really want to ensure that the country realises its export potential benefit from increasing the sustainability of production, the sector must constantly look at ways to feed into further value-add opportunities. Overseer recently partnered with Toitū Envirocare to support the development of their farm certification programme. Now farmers using OverseerFM can join up to achieve Toitu Farm carbonzero or carbonreduce certification and get third-party verification for

“As a country, we need to be positioning ourselves in the sustainable products market in a way that is robust and verifiable.”

Caroline Read

their on-farm carbon footprint. The programme is aligned with the highest international standards

with the aim to empower farmers to get ahead of oncoming regulation and validate their environ-

mental efforts. Farmers can then use OverseerFM to inform their carbon reduction plans. Initiatives like this will support moving to a low emissions economy, through being able to realise value in certified sustainable food production. We all have a role to

play in helping farmers look at options to improve their sustainability and to work across industry to increase New Zealand’s agricultural product value so that the country can lead the world as a sustainable food producer. • Dr Caroline Read is chief executive of Overseer Ltd



Carbon zero milk FONTERRA HAS

joined forces with a supermarket chain to deliver what it claims is NZ’s first carbon zero milk. Simply Milk, a joint project between Fonterra and Foodstuffs North Island, hit supermarket shelves last week. It is now available in New World, Pak’n’Save and Four Squares in the North Island. Simply Milk has been certified carbonzero through the purchase of carbon credits from Toitū Envirocare, a whollyowned subsidiary of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, a Government-owned crown research institute.   The carbon credits relate to projects undertaken both in New Zealand and overseas. These have then been used to offset the carbon emissions of making the milk. Carolyn Mortland, director global sustainability at Fonterra, says Simply Milk is a good example of how co-op’s strategy is putting sustainability at the heart of everything it does. “With Simply Milk we

Carolyn Mortland Head of Sustainability Fonterra and Chris Anderson Merchandise Manager Chilled Beverages Foodstuffs North Island.

have a practical way to demonstrate their support for the environment,” she claims “It will enable us to support the regeneration of 7.5 square kilometres of native forest near Kaikoura, as well as renewable energy programmes in overseas markets where Fonterra sells its products.” Foodstuff’s Chris Anderson says it’s becoming increasingly important

to customers to know where their food comes from and that it’s being produced sustainably. “It’s really exciting to be bringing this first to New Zealand. Simply Milk offers customers the opportunity to purchase their everyday milk and know their choice is making a difference to something that’s really important to them,” says Anderson. Toitū Envirocare

chief executive Becky Lloyd says the carbonzero accreditation process firstly evaluates the carbon emissions of making the milk, right from the farm via store fridge to the customer’s home. The product’s footprint includes farming, production, distribution – as well as eventual consumption and disposal. Fonterra and Foodstuffs North Island then worked with Toitū to

identify projects to offset the emissions. “We apply a thorough set of principles to determine if a given carbon credit project is real, reliable and meets our quality standards,” says Lloyd. “Reaching net zero by 2050 requires all New Zealand businesses to start measuring and reducing their emissions now.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews


Careers Expo believe the event will help lure more young people into the agriculture sector. The expo will take place in four cities over August and September. Last year 38,000 young people attended the event. Mark Gillard, New Zealand Careers Expo director, says the event will be a great opportunity

for the ag sector to tell young Kiwis about training programmes and employment opportunities. “Following the Government’s recent announcement of $19.3 million to place 10,000 people into primary sector jobs the New Zealand Careers Expo is perfectly timed to connect providers and programmes with young New Zealanders entering the job

market,” he says. “With the impact of Covid-19 on the employment and training environment the New Zealand Careers Expo is needed now more than ever. “Young people need to know what career prospects are available and how to navigate these challenging times.” Gillard says the expo show-

cases jobs and training opportunities to tens of thousands of young people at a series of events across the country. Taking place in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch, the events will run during August and September. For more information on New Zealand Careers Expo, visit: careersexpo.org.nz.

Milking cluster with cartridge DELAVAL HAS launched what it claims as the world’s first milking cluster that uses a cartridge, instead of a liner. The launch was done online last week and the company believes the Evanza milking cluster is “a game-changer”. A simple clip and turn allows all four cartridges to be replaced in less than a minute. “It’s a major change in performance, durability, and how quickly you can change them. It’s a game-changer,” says Hamish Bruton, DeLaval solution manager. He says it would have been better for people to be able to hold and touch it. “So, they can see how light it is and how easily you can change all four cartridges in less than a minute, but we will try to show this with video, and if they want a demonstration they can get in touch.” DeLaval also launched its new VMS V310, the first robotic milking system to automatically confirm pregnant cows. It not only milks cows automatically it also uses progesterone to analyse reproduction cycles accurately detecting heat, pregnancy and miscarriages.

Superheat understands how important it is to raise happy, healthy calves We are proud to supply our New Zealand dairy farmers with hot water solutions that provide reliable amounts of hot water. Using copper or stainless steel barrels and high quality insulation, our calf cylinders will reliably heat your water to the correct temperature so you can prepare your calf milk replacer right, every time. Our most popular calf cylinder size is 180 litres, however we can make a cylinder size to suit your specific requirements. For more information, contact our team on 03 389 9500 or feel free to visit our website www.superheat.co.nz


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Benefits of winter grazing DAIRY FARMERS

Sietze Feenstra and Simone Bouwmeester are enthusiastic about the future of wintering dairy cows on crop. They put a lot of time and effort into ensuring good wintering practices on their farm and are enjoying the rewards. “For us, we’re committed to doing the right thing for the environment and animal care,” Feenstra says. “We believe in doing things properly.” The couple focus on feeding their cows well and with consistency to achieve excellent production, cow condition and animal welfare outcomes – both during the milking season and during the winter. “Doing wintering well is great because you have more control,” Bouwmeester explains. “You get improvements in met-

abolics and condition, while transitioning cows from crops to grass is easier.” She believes this sets them up for calving and the whole milking season. The couple have been wintering their cows at home for six years. This season, they peak milked 240 cows and are on target to produce 127,000kgMS (530kgMS/ cow). In the 2020 winter, 160 cows will be wintered on farm with brassica and baleage, while another 90 cows will be wintered by a grazier because of crop rotation. All their cows will be wintered at home again next season. The couple started out in dairy farming as 50:50 sharemilkers before buying a pregnancy scanning and calf disbudding company. They grew their business over 18 years,

Sietze Feenstra and Simone Bouwmeester say following good wintering management practices brings a range of benefits.

adding in a hoof trimming service and maintaining an AI run. In 2013, a small dairy farm came up for sale, and Feenstra and Bouwmeester seized the opportunity to become farm owners. In 2014 they bought an additional 50ha nearby. This extra area allowed them to have self-con-

tained wintering. A key to the couple’s success, with wintering, is ensuring they fully feed the cows. “We make sure we have extra baleage and straw so they can have more if they need it, say if it snows.” The couple have a rolling to hilly property, with three gullies with water-

ways at the bottom. They have fenced off critical source areas and have a buffer zone around the waterways of at least three metres, with permanent fencing on both sides. “We’ve been able to put oats in straight after the cows come off the crop. That means the paddocks are looked after and

not too muddy, and the soil quality is better.” With their wintering, Feenstra and Bouwmeester stay in touch with the latest advice and information – including from DairyNZ – and continually review the costs and benefits of their system. Several years ago, they introduced portable troughs and back fences. The combination redirects the cows’ energy use from walking around the paddock to putting condition on, thus improving feed efficiency. In early 2019, Bouwmeester decided it was time to upskill further. She attended a DairyNZ Smart Wintering field day and then attended a Beef + Lamb NZ Land and Environment Plan (LEP) workshop later in the year. After this, she implemented the advice and

tips she’d learned. At this point, the couple fenced off at least 20m of crop to act as a buffer to the waterways. This is later fed at the end of winter, in dry conditions. A written wintering plan with feeding and environmental policies and procedures documents is used and they also created an adverse weather plan, for managing through the tougher times. Feenstra and Bouwmeester say their system is practical, efficient and cost-effective – while achieving excellent environmental and animal care results. They encourage all farmers interested in getting the latest information and advice on wintering to check out the DairyNZ resources online at dairynz.co.nz/wintering


TRACTORS & MACHINERY Quality machinery is essential for the efficient operation of any dairy farm and this issue of Dairy News will take a special look at the latest in Tractor and Machinery technology. To be in this special report contact your advertising representative now to promote your products and/or service to all NZ dairy farmers and sharemilkers. Contact your closest Sales Representative


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Ted Darley ................... Ph 021-832 505


Ron Mackay ................ Ph 021-453 914


Kaye Sutherland ........ Ph 021-221 1994


4 August 22 July 28 July



Managing debt to beat Covid storm PHIL FLEMING


positioned as saviours for our post-Covid recovery, but like many, a priority for them remains reducing debt, despite the Government taking measures to reignite the economy and preserve jobs. It’s well-known we live in one of the best countries in the world – if not the best – for dairy farming, largely due to our climate, topography and soil types. However, large expansions and easy borrowings, based on capital gains, have in the past few years, led many farming enterprises to accumulate a large amounts of debt. With the new season underway, dairy farmers should be reviewing their budgets and assessing debt levels. But what else could farmers be doing to weather winter and the seasons ahead and come out on top? Frailty of finance Reduced land values in certain regions, coupled with banks financing less dairy expansion and requesting capital repayments, means many dairy farming operations must be more mindful of managing income and expenses. Consider where savings can be made and ensure you lock in profits, with considerations for payments and tax yet to be paid. Solid payment Fonterra has announced a wide opening milk price forecast range of $5.40 - $6.90/ kgMS for the 2020/21 season. Thankfully, it is looking on the higher side. Taking into account, maintenance, debt repayment and capital develop-

ment to meet regulatory requirements, the breakeven milk price for many dairy farms will sit at around $6.50 - 6.60/ kgMS. For farmers that are highly leveraged, a milk price as close as possible or above the $6.50 $6.60 range (and certainly no less) will be needed to make any headway. By now farmers should have done the numbers on their anticipated payment range and updated their budgets to reflect the different scenarios. If not, get onto it. Look at your farm working expenses and know what your breakeven milk price is. Continually improving It’s going to be another busy and at times trying season, so get yourself match fit by reviewing last season’s financials and asking yourself, what went well and what could you have done better? Where is there room for improvement and where could efficiencies be made? And remember, small changes can make big differences to bank balances. Shop around Compare your operation with other farms of a similar size and system to gauge your strengths and challenges. Make use of the annual Dairy NZ economic survey or dairy base to compare costs. Seek expert help Farmers are usually Jacks and Jills of all trades, but it’s important to seek counsel from a trusted advisor, whether that be a professional farm management consultant, bank manager, accountant or lawyer, at different times during the year for impartial advice and a fresh perspective. Equally important, plan

Se l f

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ahead and monitor your monthly cash flow budgets so you know your current business financials. Take advantage of financial & budgeting software such as Figured-

Xero or Cashmanager Rural to help with this. Now is the time to utilise available resources to ensure an even more resilient farming community as our country col-


We’ve teamed up with our retail partners to make sure you get the best product for the best price after the challenges of Covid-19. Restless in the pursuit of perfection, we’ve made some critical enhancements to TeatX®, NZ’s favourite teat spray, to create TeatX® PLUS. TeatX® PLUS has been formulated to enhance a cow’s natural defence mechanisms to prevent mastitis. We have maintained penetration speed into the skin surface (less than 2 seconds) while adding 30% more emollient for skin condition.



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lectively pulls together to weather the post Covid storm. Reach out to your local Rural Support Trust (phone 0800 Rural Help). • Phil Fleming is a FarmWise consultant in Taranaki




Mastitis prevention move pays off ADAM FRICKER


Hawe’s focus on mastitis prevention and teat condition rather than blanket use of DCT during dry off is paying dividends. A former Sharemilker of the Year, Enda Hawe has run his own farm in Rakaia for the last two years under the banner Emerald Pastures – a nod to his homeland, Ireland. His approach to drying off has evolved over the years, with the aim now being mastitis prevention, including a real focus on the importance of main-

taining excellent teat condition. Rather than opting for blanket use of antibiotics when drying off, he targets specific cows based on their performance in herd test results. “Approaching drying off, I like to wind the cows down quite hard. I minimise the green feed, and substitute with straw to reduce the quantity of milk flow,” says Hawe. “I make sure I get the teat spray on there. And I don’t blanket dry cow [therapy]. I selectively chose the cows to administer dry cow therapy (DCT) to, based on their

herd tests.” He says that by keeping somatic cell counts down all year by using the right products, he doesn’t end up with an unnecessarily high DCT bill at the end of the season. This approach to drying off has worked well for him for over 10 years now. Part of Hawe’s regime during the last decade has been choosing the right teatspray – in his case, Deosan TeatX. Eleven years ago, he saw better teat condition within a week of first using the product and has stuck with it ever since. He says he started using it as a

teatspray before his cows calved, aiming to lift teat condition in his herd – a key component of his ‘prevention’ approach to mastitis. In the same way that his selective use of DCT saves him money, using a teatspray with a fastacting surfactant formulation that delivers the ‘actives’ to where the bugs are, pays dividends. If the active ingredient doesn’t get into skin, it is probably a waste of money. Science backs up Hawe’s belief in incorporating good teatspray into an effective mastitis prevention regime. Otago

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When it comes to mastitis prevention, farmer Enda Hawe targets specific cows based on herd results.

University Professor Greg Cook, whose work has focused on antimicrobial resistance, teamed up with Kiwi-owned agrichemical company, Deosan, to advance the science around teatsprays – sanitizing products that prevent infections in the first place, reducing the need for antibiotics later on. Deosan managing

director Kip Bodle says the work with Professor Cook on teatsprays sharpened Deosan’s focus onto what is best for the cow. He says what is best for the cow is not formulations loaded with unnecessarily high levels of ‘actives’, it is formulations that enhance the cow’s natural defence mechanisms. “Enhancing rather

than hindering its natural defence mechanisms against mastitis is more about skin condition than killing bugs,” says Bodle. “So we started by reviewing our surfactant formulation to maintain a very fast penetration speed into the skin surface, then on emolliency to support skin condition, and then the level of active ingredient to kill mastitis bugs.”



Top tips for smart calf rearing SUCCESSFUL CALF

rearing will be high on the agenda for dairy farmers around the country right now. DairyNZ’s animal care team manager, Helen Thoday, says having the right knowledge and skills for the job makes the team’s life easier and more rewarding, and ensures all calves receive the best start to life. Here are some tips to help you and your farm team in the weeks ahead. Encourage regular breaks It’s tempting when we’re busy to skip breaks, but this is often counterproductive. When we’re tired, hungry or dehydrated mistakes can happen. Remind your team that it’s important they take regular breaks to prevent burnout. A quick snack and drink of water between meal breaks can go a long way to recharging their energy levels. Checking new-born calves Cows and calves can get separated in the calving paddock. Calves can hide in drains, hollows, hedges, and long grass, or they may walk under break fences, so remember to take your time checking the paddock. It’s useful to know that in cold, wet and windy

weather, calves will tend to walk in the direction of the wind. Picking up calves more than once a day As many of you will know, there is only a short window of opportunity for calves to absorb colostrum and get the full health benefits of this liquid gold. Ideally, your calves should drink at least two litres of fresh colostrum during the first six hours of their life to get the protective antibodies. Picking up calves more than once a day can make a huge difference to the amount of colostrum they get during that short timeframe. If the weather is bad, calves should be picked up more often. Better access to grain As you know, calves eat grain shortly after

they drink milk. If all the calves in the pen can access the grain feeder at the same time, it helps encourage intake. Observe your calves to see how many go off to feed after drinking, and how many can fit around the feeder. Most calf rearers like to wean calves when they are eating at least 1 kg/ day. It’s hard to tell what they are eating however, and recent studies show the grain intake can vary from 0.2-1.9kg per day. To help encourage your calves to eat grain, position your meal feeder so that it’s easily visible to help them find it. Making it longer will also make it easier for them to all access the grain. Biosecure calves Good biosecurity

practices can help keep calves and the farm team

healthy. Your replacement calf shed should be a for-

tress. Having dedicated personal protective equipment for the calf sheds is an easy form of biosecurity, and many farms find this easier than managing footbaths and scrubbing boots. For information on Mycoplasma bovis precautions for calf rearing visit dairynz.co.nz/mbovis. Doing the right thing at the right time Sometimes, when a calf is ill or injured, the most humane thing is to put it down. As soon as a calf is euthanised, check for any signs of life and then reconfirm three to


Treat navels with iodine to reduce the risk of infection and dry the navel quicker.


Feel for abnormal/swollen navels regularly.


Look for scours or dirty bums.


Look for any with dull or sunken eyes, or walking unsteadily.


Look for any not feeding as enthusiastically as the others.


“Calves that are well cared for have a reduced risk of disease and cost less to rear,” says Helen. “They grow faster and go on to be stronger, well grown replacements that will continue to develop into valuable, productive adults.”



: Mark Ahlers Stu Richards Taranaki : Loren Greensill Southland : Peter Cooke

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five minutes later. There should be no blink reflex, the pupils should be fixed and dilated, and there should be no regular breathing. General calf health Daily health checks are a good way to help you identify and treat any issues early. From a distance, check if there are any calves: ■■ Isolated from the group. ■■ That aren’t interested in feeding. ■■ Behaving differently to the group. • For more information: go to dairynz.co.nz/calving

0800 677 333




Look after your calves, look after your community RURAL WOMEN New

Zealand (RWNZ) is partnering with animal health company Virbac New Zealand during the calf rearing season. The ‘Look after your calves, look after your community’ is a joint initiative targeted at keeping both livestock and rural communities

strong and healthy. RWNZ and Virbac New Zealand say they both recognise the importance of this and that is why they have worked together on this initiative. So, this season, Virbac will be donating $1 from every box of calf oral electrolyte products Revive and Diarrest

sold to RWNZ. This donation will be used to fund RWNZ’s newly established Animal Health Study Grant. This grant will be available to any person studying in the veterinary and vet nursing field. Special consideration will be given to those choosing to live and work in small or rural communities. RWNZ says attracting professionals to live and work within rural and smaller communities in New Zealand has always been a challenge. “Encouraging and supporting students into a rural profession provides an opportunity to give a taste of rural life to a graduate that may never have considered living rurally before.” RWNZ says it provides a respected and credible voice to decision-makers on the challenges facing rural New Zealand. The organisation has been empowering rural women, their families, businesses and communities for close to 100 years. In times of need, they provide support to those that need it, and offer a vibrant social support network to help rural communities to remain strong and resilient. RWNZ says it

recognises that women have an integral role to play in rural businesses and communities as decision makers and influencers. Often on the front line and commonly tasked with the role of calf rearer, this time of the year requires relentless hard-work, care and nurture from rural women throughout the country. The organisation believes in supporting women by providing opportunities for development within the organisation and through educational grants and bursaries, however they are not just for farming women. “RWNZ focuses on supporting and empowering all rural women, their families and communities through their nationwide membership which embraces the diversity of those living rurally as well as those interested in rural life,” it says.


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James feeds his calves Ancalf to start with because of the coccidiostat and the nutrients and once they get up to proper weight, close to weaning time, he puts them on Ancalf Finisher. Any weaker calves quickly flourish and James reckons his calves put on around 10 kilos at every weigh in and manages a 10-12 week rearing stage.

“When our calves go out onto pasture, they’re still being fed CMR. The vitamins, minerals and proteins in Ancalf helps their development and well-being which in the long run ensures they reach their full potential as a heifer and cow.” Low fertility in South Canterbury and the wider Canterbury area seems to be an issue and according to James, one theory is that it could be a result of poor calf rearing systems in the past. Producing healthy replacements, giving calves the best start in life with a premium CMR is vital so they can become contributing and productive animals in the herd.

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“Our whole farming system is based around using quality products for quality results and you can cheat yourself on one area and cost yourself and another, so it’s not really worth compromising to be honest.”

He knows Ancalf is not just good quality protein, but provides milk fat a good source of Butyrate for rumen development.

When you’re rearing calves to boost your bottom line, getting good quality protein from every bag is number one. James Emmett doesn’t compromise on quality and knows Ancalf will get his calves up to weight faster.




Preventing scours THE MOST common cause of scouring is nutritional scours, which happens when there is a change in diet or a diet that is inappropriate for the age group of calves. Calves with nutritional scours are often still bright, and their faeces are not smelly or bloody. It can be prevented by

ensuring dietary changes are slow and that feeds are suitable for that age of animal. Most nutritional scours resolve without specific treatment within a few days, but electrolytes can help prevent dehydration. Scours can also be caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa, or parasites.

Infection occurs orally when calves are exploring a new environment. Many of these infectious organisms can be found at low levels in the faeces of healthy adult cows, which means calves will be exposed from birth –reinforcing the importance of good colostrum management.

Prevention of contagious scours requires good colostrum management, well designed calf sheds with freely draining bedding and meticulous hygiene with milk preparation and feeding equipment. It also requires a rapid response should a calf become sick. Having a hospital pen,

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where sick calves can be isolated until they are let outside can be an effective component in preventing further spread of disease. Make sure to interact with the sick calves last and thoroughly disinfect equipment before using it with healthy calves. Testing of faecal material by your local vet can be a useful method to identify the cause of scours and appropriate animal health interventions to reduce further disease spread. Vaccination of pregnant cows against common diarrhoea causing pathogens will boost antibody levels in their colostrum. However, this will only help if calves are getting their first feed of colostrum in a timely manner. Calves suffering from scours lose fluids and salts, and don’t absorb

the sugars they need for energy. This can cause alarming weight loss and dehydration. Therefore, lost fluids and salts must be replaced as soon possible to maintain calf energy. A good quality oral electrolyte at therapeutic levels during the diarrhoea and recovery period is the most efficient way to ensure optimum calf health Oral electrolytes are lower in energy than milk, so milk feeding should be continued during the scouring period Calf rehydration It’s important to feed both milk and electrolytes during rehydration. Ideally feed 2L of milk followed by 2L of electrolytes. These feeds should be 4 hours apart as the electrolytes can interfere with milk digestion.

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Calves with nutritional scours are often still bright.





Well-looked after calves thrive CALVES THAT are cared for well have a reduced risk of disease and cost less to rear, says DairyNZ. In its Caring for Calves booklet, the dairy industry good organisation says well-looked after calves grow faster and go on to be stronger well grown replacements. It also adds that such calves also develop into valuable, productive adults or that will be fit and strong enough to be transported at four days of age as bobby calves. “Healthy calves also make the whole farm team’s life easier, more rewarding and are something to be proud of. “Good biosecurity practices can also help keep calves and the farm team healthy.” DairyNZ recommends farm workers washing

Well-looked after calves grow faster.

their hands with soap and warm water regularly, especially before eating, drinking or smoking. “Have a separate pair of farm clothing and boots to use around calves and clean these regularly,” it advises.

“Prevent visitors from entering the shed – the more people that come through the shed, the

higher the risk of spreading disease. Also avoid moving calves between pens to limit the spread

of disease. Bedding must be comfortable, clean, and dry.” Dairy NZ also advises

to regularly use a disinfectant to clean pens to help reduce build-up of harmful bugs. “Keep feeders and other calf equipment clean. Bobby calf transporters have a high risk of spreading disease. Since transporters can carry diseases from other farms, the bobby calf area could be at risk. “Feeding bobby calves once all other calves have been fed can reduce the chance of spreading bugs to our other calves,” it adds. General health daily health checks are also recommended to help identify and treat any issues among calves early. “From a distance,

checks can be made on calves getting isolated from the group. “One can also pick out calves that aren’t interested in feeding and behaving differently to the group.” The booklet suggests that when near the calves, check them over while they are feeding. “Treat navels with iodine, which reduce the risk of infection and dries the navel quicker, look for scours or dirty bums. “Also look closely for any calf with dull or sunken eyes. Or those walking unsteadily and not feeding as enthusiastically as the others. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

EAR TAGGING EAR TAGGING and avoiding infected ears allows for better identifying and tracking of calves. DairyNZ says by understanding how to correctly tag calves, farmers can keep calves calm. “Before starting, check to make sure the tagging equipment is working. Once the tagger is loaded, make sure the male and female parts of the tag line up correctly,” it advises. “To reduce the risk of infection, dunk the tag and end of the tagger in antiseptic, and remove any hay or shavings from the ear. “Hold the calf between your legs with its back end in a solid corner of the calf pen to maintain good control. Place the tag as shown, between the two thickened lines of cartilage. “Once in place, squeeze the tagger quickly and firmly. You should feel a strong click when the tag snaps together. Remove the tagger and check to make sure the tag is closed and it will hold.”




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Minimising weaning stress on farms EVERY CHANGE

at weaning should be carefully planned and gradually implemented. Avoid any abrupt changes in feeding practices, such as removing milk or meal

suddenly. Also minimise any major changes in the environment (e.g. use the same paddock if weaning off milk outside onto pasture). Don’t wean off milk indoors and then abruptly put your calves

outside into a foreign environment. A calf’s rumen development is the most important factor to consider when making a weaning decision. The only way this can be


A calf’s first 60 days are critical for her future performance. Making the right decisions now will give her the best chance of a long, productive milking life. We’re here to help with nutrition advice, feed and feeding supplies. We’re just a call or click away.

assessed is by measuring the amount of solid feed calves are readily eating. This should be at least 1 kg of meal or 2 kg of pasture per day when commencing the weaning process.

Avoid any abrupt changes in feeding practices, such as removing milk or meal suddenly.

The best time to start implementing “step-down weaning” will depend on your milk feeding system, but three good rules of thumb are: Weight-for-age target met (common weights used for weaning are 70kg for Jerseys, 80kg for Crossbreds, and 90kg for Friesians) Eating more than 1kg of meal or 2kg of good quality forage (e.g. pasture) per day Calves are in good health and not receiving animal health treatments Prior to weaning, closely monitor calves and establish whether they are all consuming solid feed (i.e. eating at the feed trough and demonstrating rumination behaviour). Also carefully observe for any signs of illness and consider separating and reintroducing milk for those calves that don’t seem to be coping. Once-a-day feeding with restricted milk allowance can be used as a weaning method. Low milk allowance calves can be weaned over 3-4 days, while high milk allowance calves (>6L/ day for an average size calf) need 2-3 weeks, to increase solid feed intake and thereby help prepare the rumen for better post-weaning performance. Ideally, the step-down weaning procedure should be implemented in 4-5

steps where 20-25% of the milk offered is reduced every 4-5 days. If using automatic feeders, a 5% linear reduction of milk offered daily over 20 days is ideal. When calves should be weaned off meal is less well defined, as calves may struggle to get optimal nutrition out of dry summer grass. However, it is generally good to keep feeding at least 2kg of meal per calf for at least 2 weeks postweaning off milk and then gradually wean calves from meal feeding over a 2-week period. This will give the calves’ digestive tract (including microbes) and metabolic system time to adapt to the change in diet. It will also reduce metabolic upsets and maintain an adequate flow of nutrients to the animal to support its growth and health. Other considerations: ■■ Weigh a sample of calves to monitor target growth rates before making a weaning or management decision. Weigh bands are a useful tool to approximate calf weights ■■ Make sure shelter and water are easily accessible post weaning e.g. shelter belt • Article sourced from www. nzagbiz.co.nz

CORRECTION AN ARTICLE on the value of probiotics (Dairy

News July 7) incorrectly named the trial farm. The trial was conducted at Jyle Farms Mangatainoka. Kyle Goodwin, Jyle Farms, says she was impressed with the results of the trial. The error is regretted.

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Giving calves the best start to life THE BETTER start a

calf has in life, the better animal they will be in years to come. Rearing a quality calf starts with good nutrition and management of the cow to support a healthy, robust calf at birth, followed by quality nutrition and management practices during rearing. Nutrition, and thus

feed inputs, plays a crucial role in the development, growth and well-being of young calves. As with any feed it is important to source products that are nutritious, highly reputable, carefully designed and made from high-quality ingredients. Rearing healthy calves begins with a careful selection process. Ide-

ally you want to be able to buy from as few suppliers as possible and from those who have good feeding and management practices on their farm including vaccinating their herd against rotavirus. Ask about the farm’s colostrum management practices and how they ensure that a calf receives adequate colostrum

within the first 12 hours after birth. If the Serum Total Protein (STP) or Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is known for a calf at the time of sale, it is worth paying more for these calves because good levels will protect calves from disease during the first month of life. At purchase, check calf navels, which should be

clean and dry with no sign of infection or inflammation (e.g. swelling, pus or scabs). A wet navel indicates a calf is under 24 hours old and therefore too young to purchase (a calf should be more than 4 days old before it’s moved). Also check eyes, ears, feet and tails to ensure animals are in good health before they enter your rearing facility and ask about antibiotic treatments (if any). To prevent infection, the navel should be

treated with an approved iodine solution immediately after birth and following transportation. If possible, check for signs of iodine treatment (e.g. yellow hair around the navel). Transportation can be stressful for calves and detrimental to their health. Drive with care when calves are in tow, provide them with sufficient space to lie down and a clean, dry, draft-free environment, and handle calves gently upon arrival. If a calf is dehydrated

after coming from a sales yard or a long journey, it is recommended that an electrolyte (approx. 4L) is offered for the first feed. If a calf is sourced locally, the first feed should be milk. Rearing facilities should be set-up and maintained well to ensure calves stay healthy. Young calves should be housed for at least four weeks to ensure they stay warm and are using their energy for growth. • Article sourced from NZ AgBiz calf rearing guide

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Must be dry and draught-free for calves to regulate body temperature. Calves should be protected from wind and rain in a structure twice as long as wide. Cover the floor surface with dry materials such as sawdust, shavings, straw, post peelings or wood chip to a depth of at least 200-300mm. Avoid dusty materials. Ideally the floor should be lower

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at the front to help drain effluent and water. Regularly muck out and top up the bedding so it is clean and dry. Good ventilation is essential and is best situated where the walls meet the ceiling. It’s easier to ventilate across the shed, not down the length. Ventilation should be adaptable, so the use of boards, shutters or wind cloth is recommended.


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Setting calves up for future Mixer Tanker Feeder, a mobile feeder that selfmixes milk power and self-cleans, all while feeding out milk to hungry calves. The company says it aims to take the strain out of calf rearing.


rearing starts at the beginning and getting it right will always be important in setting them up for the future, says calf feeder maker Stallion Ltd. It says farmers want to create a thriving environment for their calves to grow up in and to suit their own needs. Mob sizes, the number of teats, troughs or manifolds, mobile feeders or pen feeders are all things that need to be considered. A lot of thought goes into calf rearing and Stallion says this is reflected in their mobile feeders. The transition between feeding out in the pens and in the paddock is unique for every farmer and in most cases a physical strain when carrying around buckets of milk around.

This year, Stallion has released a new mobile feeder design, the Open Trough Mixer Tanker Feeder (OTM). Currently available in 50 teats, the OTM combines the Open Trough Feeder and Mixer Tanker

Feeder to create a feeder design many had requested. Now farmers will be able to choose between a manifold mixer tanker feeder or open trough mixer tanker feeder. www.stallion.co.nz


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For the optimum health of your herd, give them the best start in life

WHENEVER CALVES leave the farm on a truck – work with your transporter to ensure their job as easy as possible and that your calves are treated with care, DairyNZ advises. “You can position  your bobby calf  pick  up  and slink collection point to improve on-farm biosecurity by reducing the risk of exposure to pests, weeds and disease,” the dairy industry good organisation says. It also suggests using the red, orange, green system to map out zones on your farm. Rules for the red, orange and green zones ■■ Red: No go areas for visitors, tankers, livestock trucks (i.e. paddocks and heifer rearing sheds). Red zones can only be entered after a visitor carries out biosecurity requirements. ■■ Orange: Areas that have a mix of cows, farm staff, visitors and equipment (i.e. the milking shed and

bobby calf sheds Green: Areas that have unrestricted access to visitors, their vehicles, tankers and livestock trucks, but restricted access by cows (I.e. the milk tanker track, access tracks to houses on farm, bobby calf and slink pick up points). The bobby calf and slink truck should remain in the green zone while on farm. When loading bobby calves, minimise crossover between the truck, drivers  and the inside of your bobby calf sheds.   Holding and loading facilities should be designed and constructed so that calves are able to walk directly from the loading facility onto the truck. Health and safety regulations mean that it is no longer acceptable for transporters to repeatedly lift calves from the ground to truck deck height. Raised loading facilities will also help to improve the wellbeing of calves being transported. ■■

Got Calves Coming? Calving can be a stressful time for cows, calves and farmers.

The last thing you want is animals that are sick, or worse, die.

The stress caused by weaning, dietary changes and adverse weather conditions can impact on your calves’ guts microorganism population, affecting their health and nutrition. By introducing probiotics (the live, good microorganisms), into their rumen or gut as a part of their daily feed regime you can help boost your herd’s health and provide them with the best possible start.

bacteria and prevent harmful intestinal bacteria from establishing, while stimulating digestion for feed absorption resulting in a healthier herd with improved immunity and growth rates*.

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To reduce problems, use Megimmune Newborn which consists of an organic base, and is enriched with all the important minerals and trace elements, vitamins and probiotics. Can be administered to cows pre or post calving to reduce stress, or simply add to calf milk for a really healthy start to life for them. “I don’t have any sick calves or scours.” Quote from Julie of Northland, who raises calves and always includes Megimmune Newborn in her programme.

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X marks the spot MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

WHILE MANY car man-

ufacturers set out to cater for all sectors of the market, it’s fair to say that Subaru has “stuck to its knitting”, pushing the line of Symmetrical FourWheel Drive and a lowslung Boxer engine. Favoured by the outdoor types, the brand also has a strong and loyal following from those living or working in the rural sector. The Outback, now in its fifth generation, is still Subaru NZ’s most popular seller. So, the introduction of the limited edition “X” for 2020, is likely to reinforce that position. Pitched between the 2.5 Sport and the range topping 2.5 Premium, the Outback X takes most of its spec from the latter – except for leather upholstery. In their place are water repellent fabric seats, that should prove ideal for those outdoor/ rural types, who arrive back at the vehicle complete with wet or muddy clothing. In addition, the new arrival also features Dual X Mode four-wheel drive. This builds on the staple of automatic adaption of engine output, throttle, torque distribution and braking to aid traction. All this is geared to further improve performance in

Elite telehandler’s new look NEW HOLLAND Agriculture has

deep mud or snow, should the user want to wander beyond the berms of Jaffaland. Living with the Outback X for a wet and windy week in a wintery Waikato, the vehicle imparts a sense of safety. However, it also proved to be exceptionally surefooted on both sealed and gravel surfaces. Add in the excellent EyeSight safety suite, that looks after lane change warnings, blind spot detection, adaptive headlight control and side-view cameras, then you feel very secure. Point it where you want to go – then it goes there. So, don’t listen to those urban journo’s who mumble… “it certainly doesn’t corner like a Porsche.” Powered by the wellknown, 2.5 litre flat four Boxer engine, the Outback won’t break any perfor-

mance records. However, with 129kW and 235 Nm on tap, it readily gets on with the job. Mated to Subaru’s Lineartrionic Transmission (SLT) – the company’s take on a CVT, but with chain rather than belt drive. The engine needs a “good poke” to get things happening, but once moving sees a smooth transition as speed builds and proves very easy to live with. Helping drivers get in the right frame of mind, the SI drive function allows the choice of Normal, or a more aggressive Sport setting for throttle response to suit terrain or conditions. In the cabin, the cloth seats offer plenty of adjustment, even for those that are longer or have a wider beam. It proves to be comfortable on a longer run and supportive in more

rural situations. Fit and finish is right up there with nicely placed controls. An 8-inch, touch screen, colour monitor takes care of settings, sounds and navigation – with the seemingly obligatory Apple Car Play and Android Auto also installed. Outwardly, a range of subdued colours are given a bit of bling with some lurid green badging, that is countered by blacked out 18-inch alloys, grille and wing mirrors. Access is SUV-like, helped by a 213mm ground clearance. The stand-out for any switched-on buyer is the high level of standard equipment that includes Satnav, electric sunroof, a power tailgate smart key – and a “must” for any outdoorsman or woman looking for adventure – a set of roof bars. www.subaru.co.nz

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upgraded its telehandler offering, with new naming and livery, with the latter said to integrate the range into the NH harvesting family. “The new and improved TH Series offers solutions tailored to New Zealand’s different farming and civil operations, ranging from medium to large scale livestock farmers, agricultural and cartage contractors, as well as civil and construction operations,” says Rod Gardner, brand manager New Holland New Zealand. The top of the range TH7.42 Elite features a more powerful 146 hp engine, up 13 hp from the LM7.42 Elite it replaces, includes features such as

hydraulic pressure release, heated airsuspension seat with integrated controls, and rear cab and boom lights to maximise productivity. A new transmission offers electronic modulation to ensure enhanced shifting and shuttling modulation, while a 6x3 powershift system offers two forward/reverse shuttling modes, resulting in easier directional and speed changes, with an automatic gear shifting mode for travelling. With the aim of reducing downtime, daily checks and routine maintenance for the TH7.42 Elite have been simplified, with service intervals extended to 600 hours. – Mark Daniel



Still life in the old gal yet! tractor arrived, Chris was milking on 84 ha, that has now expanded to 317 ha, where he milks 800 cows. The farm is self-contained, producing all its own silage, baleage, and fodder beet and holds the stock over winter. Stoked with the performance and reliability of his first Valtra, Chris now owns two more of the same brand – a 165-hp T163 and a T174, the latter delivering 190 hp at 1900

MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

WHEN CHRIS Kenel bought his first Valtra tractor back in 2003, he told the dealer he thought it would last 20,000 hours and he expected the only thing that would wear out would be the seat. The dealer told him, if that was the case, he would provide a new seat. That Valtra 6750 has now clocked up 21,000 hours in 17 years of service, and as Chris predicted, the main thing that has worn out was the seat. So, true to the handshake, on June 9, Valtra and AGCO New Zealand delivered him a new seat. Over the time on Chris’s farm near Winton, the Valtra has worked every day, as the operation milks all year round. Over summer it feeds out silage in the paddock and does groundwork for the

rpm and 900 Nm torque at just 1100 rpm. Two years ago, a telehandler arrived at the property, so the old 6750 was relieved of its loader duties, but still works every day and clocks up a still respectable 800 hours each year. “I am happy with the tractor and it is a good brand. It is a shame more people don’t know about it. I will buy Valtra again any time,” Chris says.

Chris Kenel with his Valtra tractors. Kenel says the only thing that has worn out is the seat (right).

fodder beet crop, while in winter it powers a mixer wagon around the feed pad. The 105hp Finn has a manual transmission, offering 32 gears forward and reverse, and is said to be easy to drive, so suits the dairy operation where

it has multiple operators. It has only had one bout of sick days, and that was to replace the turbo charger in 2017. “It is not that it’s never had a problem. The fact is they were all minor and, considering the hours, it has worked out really

well for me,” Chris says. “There aren’t too many fancy things to break down. It’s just a simple, basic tractor. The best thing about it, apart from its longevity, is the front axle suspension, especially with the front loader.” Back in 2003, when the


and large farms, the latest Kuhn GA 7631 and GA 8131 semi-mounted central-delivery rakes come with working widths from 6.7m to 7.5m and 7.1m to 8m respectively. Both machines are said to be designed for intensive use, raking dense and heavy fodder, featuring the master drive double reduction gearbox with conical and cylindrical sprockets. Meanwhile, aluminium alloy bearings using a guide with bronze

bushings and an outward sealing ring allow a significant reduction in the weight of the machines’ moving parts. Additionally, the design is said to extend the service life of the rotors, with the lubrication intervals pushed out to 200 hours. A high frame ensures fast rotor lift during turnaround manoeuvres, while providing under rotor clearance from 43 to 70cm, depending on the working width setting, in order to avoid damaging previ-

ously formed windrows. The rotor attachment point is optimised to lower the rear of the rotor first, with plant cover preserved thanks to the “jet effect”. Hydraulic adjustment of the working and windrow widths is standard, while multiple options include hydraulic adjustment of the working height, individual rotor lifting, wider transport wheels, bogie axles and a hydraulic windrow curtain. www.kuhn.co.nz

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An artist’s impression of the new $10m building.

Landpower invests in cow central MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

ONE OF Australasia’s largest, privately-owned farm machinery distributors, Landpower is building a new $10 million complex adjacent to Hamilton Airport. The project is taking place on a three-hectare site, that will become the new home of CLAAS Harvest Centre, Waikato. It will also include a parts, training and demonstration hub for five other dealerships in the North Island. With groundworks already commenced, stage one includes construction of a six-bay service workshop, a 1000 square metre parts warehouse and a 700 square metre showroom, administration and training centre.

Outside will be a 6500 square metre ‘hard stand’ comprising landscaped concrete, asphalt and gravel areas and a one-hectare product demonstration and training area. Landpower chief executive Richard Wilson says the major investment will underpin increasing demand for high performance farm machinery and after-sales service and support. “Hamilton is our largest dealership in the North Island and has developed a solid business based on forage harvesting technology,” Wilson says. “This expansion will spearhead the continued growth in sales of our extensive range of front-line tractors, material handling and feeding equipment.” Landpower represents brands of farm machinery, including Claas,

Amazone and JCB, via a network of 32 company owned and franchised Claas Harvest Centres on both sides of the Tasman. Claas Harvest Centre, Waikato traces its roots back to the wellknown A.M. Bisley & Co, which was established as a seed, grain and produce store on the corner of Ward and Alexandra Streets in Hamilton in 1920. In 1987, Bisley’s farm machinery business was acquired by Farmrite, the Invercargill-based farm machinery importer and distributor established by Herby and Pam Whyte in 1975. In 1995, it was rebadged as Landpower, which at that stage operated 12 franchises and about 50 independent dealers throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Rotating beacons NEW AEROMAX LED Rotating Beacons from Narva feature six, 1-watt LED’s paired with an engineered reflector designed to promote a concentrated light pattern that can be seen on all surrounding surfaces, providing additional visibility. By comparison, traditional strobes produce directional light, which can be lost in some working environments, Narva says. Furthermore, the new beacons feature quiet operation and CISPR25 Class 2 rating for Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) suppression that won’t disturb vital radio communications or electrical items around them. To provide consistent and stable rotation regardless of the conditions, the single-piece reflector is driven by a software-controlled stepper motor with CISPR25 RFI protection to ensure super quiet operation with no inter-

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ference to electrical equipment being used in the same area. A non-reflective back also ensures that any reflection from the sun or other light sources doesn’t cause the beacon to appear on when it is not operating. For added durability, a heavy-duty, die-cast aluminium base dissipates heat and resists vibration and combines with virtually unbreakable polycarbonate lenses and a fully sealed and weatherproof construction to IP67 and covered by a five-year warranty. Mounting options include a flange base and three-bolt system for permanent installations or vacuum magnetic base variants, enabling the beacons to be moved among vehicles if required. The latter option includes a 3-metre cable for use with a vehicle’s accessory socket, available in 12V or 24V options, with amber, blue or red outputs. www.narva.co.nz

Swadro Rake The low maintenance and nimble KRONE Swadro produces exceptionally consistent windrows while working at high rates and offers great lift-out heights.

Contact your local sales representative for more information Auckland

Stephen Pollard ....... Ph 021-963 166


Ted Darley ................ Ph 021-832 505


Ron Mackay ............ Ph 021-453 914

T h e s wa g e d t i n e a r m s s h o w n o s i g n s o f wear even after prolonged use. Wo r k i n g w i d t h f r o m 6 . 4 m t o 9 . 3 m .

* Te r m s , c o n d i t i o n s & lending criteria a p p l y.

Low maintenance, high quality and dependable.

Christchurch Kaye Sutherland .... Ph 021-221 1994 ■ BREAKING NEWS ■ MACHINERY REVIEWS ■ MANAGEMENT STORIES

K W S e r i e s Te d d e r

EasyCut Mower

Produce exceptional results with the Krone machiner y range.

www.dairynews.co.nz ■ AND MUCH MORE... Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n c o n t a c t


06 370 0390


Profile for Rural News Group

Dairy News 21 July 2020  

Dairy News 21 July 2020

Dairy News 21 July 2020  

Dairy News 21 July 2020