Page 1

Chinese demand driving dairy prices up. PAGE 3


Effluent/water special feature PAGE 14-21

OCTOBER 27, 2020 ISSUE 458 // www.dairynews.co.nz

OFF TO A NEW POST Miraka chief executive Richard Wyeth reflects on his 11-year journey with the Maoriowned company. PAGE 4




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Feed & furniture

All-in-one has always made sense. Hay bales, they’re not just for feed. They make pretty good seats and the occasional rugby stand. Finding multiple uses for the same thing has always been our way and the same practicality is true with your LIC herd test. While you’re checking their BW and PW, you may as well do an animal health test. From a drop of milk*, we can check for the possibility of Johnes disease, BVD and Staph aureus. Tests that can help you identify health problems in your herd early. You could call it a convenient, all-in-one solution. And that doesn’t just make sense, that makes good farming practice.

Ask your Agri Manager about booking an all-in-one herd test today, or visit lic.co.nz/dropofmilk *A minimum 20ml sample is required to carry out health tests from herd test milk samples.


There's always room for improvement


NEWS  // 3

Chinese demand pushing prices up SUDESH KISSUN

Demand for milk in China is growing as the country’s economy improves following Covid.


Game changer in milk shed. PG.08

Effluent rules change looming. PG.18

Nesting birds a fire risk. PG.22

NEWS��������������������������������������������������������3-7 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������������� 8 OPINION�����������������������������������������������10-11 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������������� 12 ANIMAL HEALTH���������������������������������� 13 EFFLUENT & WATER�������������������� 14-21 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS���������������������������������������22-23

A RESURGING Chinese economy is helping boost returns for New Zealand dairy farmers. Two banks – BNZ and Westpac – are following Fonterra and lifting their forecast milk price for the season. The positive sentiment among economists is reflecting on the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction. Last week’s event recorded a slight increase in dairy prices, GDT’s third consecutive price rise. Westpac has lifted its forecast price by 50c to $7/kgMS, sitting above Fonterra’s new mid-point of $6.80/kgMS ($6.30 to $7.30 range). Senior agri economist Nathan Penny says the forecast change is due to better than expected global dairy demand, especially from China. Penny says the Chinese economy has rebounded strongly post Covid. “The Chinese economy is on track to post modest growth over 2020, the only major global economy likely to do so.” BNZ has lifted its forecast payout by 30c to $6.80/kgMS. Senior economist Doug Steel attributes the recent GDT gains to improving demand from China. “This has coincided with macroeconomic indicators suggesting that the Chinese consumer is starting to follow the country’s industrial

recovery that has been evident for months,” he says. “This is a good macro backdrop for the demand pickup to be sustained. At the same time, Chinese purchasing power has been improving with an appreciating Chinese yen.” Apart from China, most countries are still dealing with Covid-19. Earlier this year there were fears of a price slump as the global recession, triggered by Covid, weighed on global dairy demand. But Penny says China and some other Asian dairy markets are faring better than expected. “More broadly, New Zealand agri-

cultural exports, including dairy, have proved more resilient than we expected earlier in the year. In this vein, we now expect global dairy prices to hold at or around current levels over the remainder of the season. “This updated view contrasts with our previous view that prices would weaken as the global recession weighed on global dairy demand. “The strength in demand has seen prices firm over three consecutive auctions. Importantly, this sets up the milk price well for the season as this price strength has coincided with the peak in spring production and similarly high auction volumes.”

ASB, which is sticking to its $6.75 forecast, also notes that downside risks to the forecast have receded. Economist Nathaniel Keall says after three decent GDT auctions, there is now an upside risk. Rabobank, which will update its milk forecast payout in December, is hinting of a rise. RaboResearch senior dairy analyst Emma Higgins notes that Chinese buyers stepped back into the market more actively last GDT event following more quiet activity in the previous auction earlier this month, which coincided with Golden Week celebrations. “This increased activity was reflected in the steady powder results, with Chinese demand noticeably higher for WMP compared to last month and also compared to this time last year,” she says. “We forecast on a quarterly basis and we are set to revise our current $6.35/kgMS milk price in early December. “If dairy prices remain resilient, ceteris paribus, we will be lifting our forecast.” However, despite the positive outlook, some potential roadblocks remain. Covid uncertainties are ongoing and developments on this front still have the ability to surprise, he adds. Milk production continues to grow in most parts of the globe and this could tip the balance in favour of supply and impact prices.


4 //  NEWS

Miraka boss setting off on a new adventure A SAFE PAIR OF HANDS

PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz


chief executive Richard Wyeth says it’s been an absolutely fantastic opportunity to turn a greenfield site into a highly successful company. Wyeth is leaving the Taupo-based and Maoriowned dairy company to take up a new, and at this stage undisclosed, position. He joined Miraka eleven years ago when Miraka was just a plan with a building site out west from Taupo. He had the task of helping to raise the money for the venture and overseeing the construction of the plant. Miraka’s founding shareholders were two Maori Trusts – Wairarapa Moana, which owns a significant number of dairy farms in the central North Island, and Tuaropaki, which owns geothermal power that is used to run the factory. Wyeth says it’s been a pretty phenomenal journey over the last 11 years. “The highlight has been getting the plant up and running on time and under budget and then delivering a profit very early on,” he told Dairy News.

Richard Wyeth joined Miraka eleven years ago when Miraka was just a plan with a building site out west from Taupo.

“That was hugely satisfying and pretty amazing. There were plenty of people who didn’t want to see it work, so to be able to deliver it and get the business established was very satisfying,” he says. Under his leadership as chief executive, Miraka has shone as a beacon of excellence in a dairy industry that has often been under fire. Miraka introduced a scheme called Te Ara Miraka, which incentivises its farmer shareholders to perform to the highest standards in terms of milk quality and the way they produce their milk, with

strong emphasis on sustainability. Other companies have quietly copied this, but Miraka has always been in the lead. Wyeth says Te Ara Miraka and other initiatives by the company have helped shift dairy farming to “where it needs to go”. He concedes that it is possibly easier for a small company like Miraka to do this. “But to come up with these ideas and execute them speaks volumes for the Miraka team,” he says. Wyeth has no Maori background or experience with working with Maori before joining Miraka and

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says his time with the company has been a fascinating experience. “I have really enjoyed it here, but I think coming from a big family helped in some ways because I was used to knowing my second and third cousins quite well. Being involved in a Maori business is very much understanding how big families operate, so I enjoyed the challenge,” he says. Wyeth has not only been an excellent CEO, but also a very popular and much liked person. Staff are known to be sad to see him leave. He says he wasn’t

actively looking for a new role but says when he was approached for the new position he recognised that although it was a difficult decision it was probably a good opportunity to move. “After eleven years it’s also probably a good time for someone else to look into Miraka as well and put their mark on the business. It’s bitter sweet in some ways because I will certainly miss everyone and, in fact, Miraka feels a bit like my own child in many ways,” he says. @dairy_news

RICHARD WYETH says one of the success factors in the Miraka story was developing a good relationship with its chairman, Kingi Smiler. He says he and Smiler quickly developed a good working relationship and worked well together. “I am very grateful to Kingi and the great opportunities he gave me,” he says. Smiler has praised the work of Wyeth saying finding someone with his skills and approach to Miraka’s valuesbased culture will be a hard task. During his time as CEO, the MāoriKingi Smiler owned organisation has grown to over 140 employees, producing 240m UHT units and 35,000 metric tonnes of powdered milk per annum, with a turnover of more than $250 million. “Richard’s leadership has enabled Miraka to grow from a small local company to become a strong competitor internationally in the dairy industry. His approach has embodied the values of Miraka’s founders, ensuring that excellence, kaitiakitanga, integrity, innovation and tikanga are used as a base for all core business decisions. Richard has also established a competent and experienced executive team, who are well-placed to deliver on this year’s business strategy,” he says. Smiler says Miraka’s response during the Covid pandemic has given Richard confidence that he is leaving the organisation in good hands. He says our people have really pulled together to take on the challenges that Covid has presented Miraka and the dairy industry. “Throughout one of the most significant events in our company’s history, we have continued to keep our staff employed, our production lines running, and our communities safe,” he says.


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NEWS  // 5

Lack of succession plans causing welfare concerns PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz


mary Industries’ head of compliance says a lack of a viable succession plan with some older farmers is leading to animal welfare issues on some farms. Gary Orr says this trend is showing up in some of the animal welfare issues that MPI has dealt with in recent years. He says a couple have worked hard all their life to build up a farming business, but often the next generation is not interested in taking over the business. He says the couple are not keen to walk away from farm life because it is part of their DNA and they have put their life into the property. “They have a strong connection to the land and they try to soldier on to a stage when the farming challenges are beyond

them and that’s when they get into trouble,” he told Dairy News. “We have had a few cases in recent time where we have been working with people in those circumstances trying to correct the course they were on. Sadly we haven’t been able to affect changes on the farm and we have ended up having to put them before the court, which is a really tragic situation,” he says. Orr says such people have been law abiding citizens all their life and the last thing we want is to end their farming career with a conviction. Despite the best efforts of MPI and rural professionals, there are still a number of breaches of the animal welfare code and regulations and Orr says farmers need to be held to account for treating their animals properly and conform to best practice standards.

He says if MPI comes across a situation where farmers are ill-treating their animals they will try and work with a farmer to get them to put the situation right. He says they will arrange for a veteri-

to comply with warnings or if the abuse is so wilful and of such a significant nature that it’s in the public interest to do so. At the end of the day it’s all about the welfare of the animals – we

Gary Orr

want to see the animals treated ethically and law-

fully so long as they are on a farm,” he says.








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GARY ORR says there are many reasons why animals are ill-treated on farms. Some is just bad practice, but often there are other personal issues in the background such as domestic relationships. Compliance and meeting regulations are also factors, but he says the issue of Covid-19 has not appeared as a major issue. He also points out that farming can be a very lonely business. “As you know there are communities where there is a limited ability to interact with peers and lots of these people come from a generation where you don’t ask for help. So we work very closely with the Rural Support Trust when we are involved in an animal welfare situation to try and get help for individuals. The Trust can help these people while we focus on the wellbeing of the animals,” he says. On average MPI receives about 900 complaints related to animal welfare issues each year. But Orr says a significant number of these come from city folk who have moved to rural areas and who don’t have an understanding of normal animal husbandry practices. “People from urban areas often see farming through a different lens. For example, we have had complaints about farmers letting their sheep have their lambs in the rain and the people who complained couldn’t understand why farmers weren’t out there getting the lambs under cover,” he says. Orr says while many of the complaints are well intentioned but not valid, he’d still prefer for people to contact the ministry if they see something they are not sure about rather than not report an activity. He says animals are a valuable asset to farmers and they invest a lot of time and money in them and not to look after them properly simply doesn’t make sense.

narian or farm advisor to help an individual. They may also issue a notice of direction under the animal welfare act. “We only prosecute if the situation requires it, with people failing


6 //  NEWS

Govt link key to strategy SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz


Jim van der Poel says a constructive relationship with the Government is vital for the industry-good organisation. He told the DairyNZ annual meeting in Ashburton last week that it will work pragmatically with incoming Government on issues affecting farmers. “A key part of our strategy is to shape a better future for our sector and a constructive relationship with the Government is essential to that strategy,” he says. “We have called them out from time to time, as you know, when we felt we needed to…such as on some of their water reforms and winter graz-

DairyNZ chairman Jim van der Poel says it will work constructively with the incoming Government on issues affecting farmers.

ing rules. “But our preference is to always try and work constructively with them and try and get best outcomes for our farmers. Because we believe at the end of the day that’s what delivers the best results.”

Van der Poel says it doesn’t mean DairyNZ always gets what it wants, but such an approach delivers better outcomes “than say, the alternative ways”. He says DairyNZ has developed a good rela-

tionship with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her key ministers. While DairyNZ doesn’t agree with all their policies, there are robust discussions with them over some of the decisions they make or want to


make. He says the decision to engage with them is paying off. Van der Poel says decisions are made in Wellington based on “their views of the world or regions”. DairyNZ’s job is to try and inform them through discussions and get better outcomes for farmers. He says DairyNZ’s focus this term will be to work closely with the new government “so that policies are based on good science and evidence and gives time to our farmers to make appropriate changes where required”. Van der Poel described DairyNZ’s financial year ending May 31 as a busy and challenging one. He says Covid was one of those major unanticipated events that affected everyone here and abroad. But it helped create an opportunity to highlight the value and importance of the dairy sector to NZ, he adds. Van der Poel and Dairy Holdings Ltd chief executive Colin Glass were reelected to the board for another three-year term.

COUNCIL REVIEW REPORT OUT A REVIEW into the role and functions of Fonterra

Shareholders Council has been sent to cooperative farmer shareholders. Council chairman James Barron says the council supports the recommendations by the Steering Group and is committed to actioning them. It plans to hold farmer meetings next month. The report’s release comes weeks before the co-op’s annual meeting where a group of farmers will have another attempt to force a revamp of the council. James Barron Three resolutions have been filed by Lumsden farmer Tony Paterson: restricting the council to perform its constitutional duties; reducing the council’s annual budget by $1m; and introducing a new 0.0015c/kgMS farmer levy to fund the council. To pass, the resolutions need 50.1% support from voting shareholders. Last year, Paterson moved a resolution to start an independent review of the council, but the motion received only 44% support. Barron says all Fonterra farmers belong to the co-op. “We encourage shareholders to read and consider the Steering Group’s recommendations before voting on the council-related resolutions,” says Barron.

TO ALL FARMERS. FOR ALL FARMERS. www.ruralnewsgroup.co.nz


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NEWS  // 7

Ice cream out of favour? SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

IS ICE cream falling out

of favour of major dairy companies in New Zealand? Last year, Fonterra sold its iconic Tip Top ice cream business to UKbased Froneri. Now Canterbury milk processor Synlait has sold its Deep South brand and associated ice cream operations to Talley’s Group for an undisclosed sum.

New owner Talley’s is one of NZ’s biggest ice cream manufacturers. The company also owns a majority stake in Open Country Dairy and wholly owns meat processor Affco. The 42-year old Deep South brand was owned by Dairyworks since 2016. Last year Synlait bought Dairyworks as part of its strategy to grow its consumer brands footprint in cheese and butter. Synlait chief executive Leon Clement says the

Massey’s top ag student William Robertson with Richard Greaves, Farm Source.

TOP STUDENT OFF TO CO-OP MASSEY UNIVERSITY’S top agricultural student for 2020 is off to join Fonterra and continue his interest and passion for the dairy industry. William Robertson received his prize at the special annual awards dinner for the top achievers in agriculture at the university, attended by about 150 students, lecturers and guests including sponsors. The guest speaker at the function was Kate Stewart, who completed her Bachelor of AgriScience (Agriculture) in 2017 and now works for DairyNZ as a consulting officer in the Lower North Island. Roberston, who has just completed a Bachelor of Agri Commerce majoring in international agribusiness, was presented with his award by Richard Greaves, area manager of Farm Source for Central Districts. Robertson has always been passionate about the dairy industry. This started as he grew up on a small dairy farm at Ohaupo in the Waikato. He says dairy is a very interesting industry full of good people and where everyone is down to earth. He says it’s always been a part of his life and would be very hard to leave. To that end, he’s got a placement on Fonterra’s business graduate programme and will be off to Auckland to continue his love of dairying. “Fonterra is a going to be interesting. I am going into the big city environment from Palmerston North and it’s going to be exciting to take that next step and see where it goes,” he says. Robertson says while the dairy industry faces many challenges, he sees it as an exciting place to be. He says dairy farmers work hard every day and do a good job dealing with the challenges they face on a daily basis. But he says it’s unfortunate that dairy farmers continue to be maligned by some people. “You have got to work within the dairy industry to understand and appreciate it. The hours are long the environment can be stressful. The last things that people who work in the industry want to do is to hurt the industry and they are really passionate about. They are in there for the best and they really want to get involved and help it succeed,” he says. – Peter Burke

decision to sell the Deep South ice cream brand is in line with that strategy. Dairyworks chief executive Tim Carter says Dairyworks is going through a period of rapid expansion in its core categories of cheese, speciality cheese, yogurt, and convenience butters. “While Deep South is a

successful part of our current portfolio, ice cream is not our core business. The brand has strong growth potential for a business more focused on ice cream.” When buying Dairyworks, Synlait said the acquisition would provide Synlait with another meaningful move towards

the delivery of its ‘Everyday Dairy’ strategy and complemented the company’s recent purchase of cheese manufacturer Talbot Forest. “This business is a great strategic fit for us and an important step in growing our presence in the Everyday Dairy category,” Synlait said.



Game changer in milking shed GEA SAYS its new iCR+ cluster removers are a game changer inside the milking shed. The company says cluster removers deliver improved cupping efficiency, better udder

health, time savings and reduced labour. It gives the example of Waikato farmer Dries Verrycken, who milks 500 cows. Verrycken noted a saving of 1-2 seconds/cup-

ping with the iCR+, which adds up to 16 minutes in total cupping time at just one milking. GEA New Zealand product manager Ben Morris says this means Verrycken could increase

throughput by another 100 cows and still finish milking at the same time. “Or be home 30 minutes earlier every day.” Featuring unique EasyStart lift or pull vacuum activation, iCR+

GEA says its new iCR+ cluster removers are a game changer inside the milking shed.

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helps to simplify and minimise workload, saving 1-2 seconds/cow at cups on alone. It is designed to fit any parlour type or any make of milking machine, so can be retrofitted or added with a new parlour build. Morris says the automated EasyStart is intended to support efficient cupping techniques and milking efficiency. “With lift or pull vacuum activation, the milker has control over what works best for them. And with no need to push a button to activate the vacuum, they will save 1-2 seconds in cupping each cow.” Morris notes that the iCR+ is already in use on local farms and the labour efficiency is evident. “The iCR+ is a simple matter of lift or pull, cup and milk. Partnered with GEA’s market-leading Classic 300 E clusters, we believe we have the best solution for achieving the ideal cupping time of 4 seconds,” he says. A cost-effective option with high-tech functionality, iCR+ can be set to fixed point, timed or milk flow take-off, ensur-

ing over milking does not happen. Clearly visible LED lamps highlight the milking status in each bail, quickly alerting staff of any problems during the milking process. Protecting udder health was also a key consideration in the iCR+ design. When milking is finished, the cluster is vented and the vacuum shut-off before retraction to ensure gentle removal from the teats. Automation options create even better milking efficiency. In rotary parlours, drop-down activation means clusters will automatically drop out of the way below the bridge when milking is complete. “iCRS retention straps can be installed to retain cows on the platform in the case of a milking alert. And iPUD automatic teat spray units are an excellent add-on for consistent post-milk teat spraying on every cow.” For herringbone parlours, the iCR+ milking alert feature sees the cluster retracted and then lowered to hang in the pit area, so it is visible to the operator. The iNTELSPRAY2 walk over teat sprayer can be added too.

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IT’S BUSINESS as usual for New Zealand’s rural recycling scheme for agrichemical containers and drums, says new general manager Tony Wilson. He wants all farm waste recycled, reused, or repurposed in his quest to build upon the Tony Wilson legacy that his predecessor Simon Andrew left behind. “First and foremost, I want to follow the trajectory that the not-for-profit recycling scheme has already achieved,” says Wilson. “I’m not here to reinvent the wheel, but we will utilise our local and global networks to make our programme an even better one.  

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The day blue turned red

MILKING IT... NZDG vs. Kiwi THE BIG review of the Fonterra Shareholders Council threw a light on some quite negative sentiments among shareholders about its ‘watchdog’. While many wanted to see major changes to the council, to give it more teeth but less cost, only a few wanted to get rid of it altogether. However, PR man Matthew Hooton – whose resume includes not only the trainwreck that was Todd Muller’s brief leadership of the National Party, but also PR guy for the first ever Fonterra CEO, the late Craig Norgate – disagrees. “Just abolish it,” Hooton says. “The idea came from NZ Dairy Group that had one pre-merger, but the Kiwi Dairies side always thought it was stupid because it interfered in the relationship between shareholders & directors. But they went along with it to get the merger done.” Norgate came over from Kiwi, so it’s safe to assume Hooton’s take came straight from the big guy himself.

Pay back the money

PKE’s reign continues

Cow rescuer rescued

SOME OF the biggest companies in the world have claimed millions of dollars in Covid-19 wage subsidies for their New Zealand operations, with some going on to pay huge dividends to investors. However, cooperatives - Fonterra and Tatua opted not to take the wage subsidy. With dairy processors given the green light to operate through the lockdowns, these farmerowned co-operatives rightly felt it wasn’t fair to dip into the subsidy. The Government’s subsidy scheme was designed to provide cash to employers who experienced a revenue drop due to Covid-19, so they could continue paying staff wages. It’s paid out $14 billion, and at its peak it supported 1.8 million jobs. Following mounting public pressure to act within the spirit of the scheme, Briscoe Group said it would be paying back its $11.5m subsidy. As of the week ending October 9 nearly $500m has been paid back in 16,293 refunds.

THE USE of palm kernel expeller (PKE) on farms can continue, at least for now. The Green Party, seemingly hell bent on destroying the dairy industry in order to ‘save the planet’, vowed to end the use of PKE in New Zealand. It was part of their agriculture policy going into the general elections. With Labour able to comfortably govern on its own, the Greens’ bargaining power at the negotiating table is greatly diminished. Greenpeace, which called the policy “bold and transformational” won’t be happy. Their misguided belief that imported feed like PKE (that is a waste by-product) “fuel intensive dairying which is polluting our climate, degrading rivers and contaminating drinking water” goes on the back burner for another three years – we hope.

A CLASSIC case of biting off more than you can chew. A ‘sanctuary’ set up to save cows from slaughter has needed its own rescue after five malnourished animals had to be put down and dozens more re-homed. Til the Cows Come Home in North Canterbury was established by 20-year old Jasmine Hubber three years ago to house to allow cows to live their lives out on her farm and free from the threat of slaughter. Ironically, these animals ended up suffering through neglect and ignorance, leaving the animals in a skeletal state. The cost of maintaining a 190-strong herd took its toll. She has conceded she had “taken on far too much” after the Ministry for Primary Industries and another animal charity stepped in. Just another wellmeaning fool or an unwitting animal abuser? You be the judge.

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THE RESULT of last Saturday’s election result was not a surprise, but the extent of National’s demise probably was to many blue MP’s who lost their seats. National’s was arguably one of the worst run campaigns in recent history with rogue MP’s such as Jamie Lee Ross and Andrew Falloon, to name just two, and not forgetting Michelle Boag’s cameo appearance in all of this. There was the disastrous Todd Muller leadership coup, leaks and dissent from within the caucus and some dumb impromptu comments during the actual campaign. To be fair, National in its wildest dreams probably never expected to roll St Jacinda whose popularity has soared during Covid. She was like John Key in his heyday. But what is bizarre, is the fact the many National voters – and likely farmers – gave their party vote to Labour. This was probably not so much because they had suddenly turned red, but rather they believed the polls leading up to the election were correct and the chances of the National getting in was zilch. Fearing a Greens-Labour coalition, they voted Labour in the hope that Ardern could govern alone without the help of ‘the watermelons’ (The Greens: green on the outside, red on the inside). If this is true it poses some problems for Labour. On the one hand they can hardly discard the Greens because they may need their support in three years time, but if they go into a coalition – which now seems unlikely – there could be a backlash now and in future. There are also problems within Labour with Environment Minister David Parker seen by the rural community as a major problem with his hard line and uncompromising approach on the new freshwater regulations. Ardern will have an interesting walk along a tightrope in the coming weeks as she sorts out her new cabinet. Yes Labour has a mandate now, but one assumes that Labour wants six years, not just three, and balancing the pressures from all factions on the left will be challenging. Meanwhile, the so-called opposition will have to be a real opposition for a change and develop a culture of internal discipline if it’s once again going to be a force in NZ politics. One MP told Dairy News some months ago that there was a complete lack of discipline over the last three years and it was this that cost National dearly. That is going to be hard with the wounds of defeat still oozing and so a long time in rehabilitation is likely before the party can get itself in a position to challenge the magic of Ardern, who is now a cult figure in politics – in NZ and the rest of world. - Peter Burke

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OPINION  // 11

The fitness of Fonterra’s performance and strategy can be gauged by understanding the performance and strategies of competing firms within the NZ dairy industry.

An exercise in futility Former Fonterra Shareholders Council (SHC) chair and Waipu farmer Simon Couper puts his views on why the recent review of the council’s functions was a futile exercise. This is the first article of his five-part series: REVIEWING THE SHC is like

debating the performance of the orchestra after the captain of the ship has steered into an iceberg. The SHC has no input to investment and strategy decisions of Fonterra and no mandate to change them once they were made. A review of the SHC is a distraction and waste of resources and will tell us little or nothing about how we got to the position we are in or options we have for going forward from here. What we should be reviewing is Fonterra’s strategy. As shareholders we need to understand the key elements of strategy in a commercially competitive environment and how to measure performance. Over the years, strategy presentations have been delivered on what Fonterra is doing and where it would be going. As shareholders we have watched and invested our faith and our capital, but for whatever reason the delivery has most often fallen short of the promise. We know there is excellence within Fonterra, but for different reasons, the mirage of value-added returns have smothered performance and clouded our recognition of Fonterra’s core strategic capabilities. We have read the statements in the press from commentators, such as, “culture”, “Fonterra is doing everything for everyone” and “Fonterra is stuck in the middle”. But what do they mean in a commercial context? After eight years in the SHC, my understanding of how Fonterra

Simon Couper

formed its strategy was as much a perplexing mystery as when I started. If there was one thing I could change about the input I had in that eight years, it would have been to educate and improve my understanding of strategy in a commercially competitive environment and then make sure my fellow shareholders were given the same opportunity. Last year I completed an MBA through Massey University. The Massey MBA is strong on Leadership, Strategy and International Strategy and Leadership. As Miles Davis said, “knowledge is freedom and ignorance is slavery”. I have found that a rigorous education of strategy has afforded me a more complete understanding of the risks our industry faces and the opportunities there are available. The NZ dairy industry is not a completely free competitive market

as there are distortions presented by geography and legislation. However, the industry now has enough competitors and visibility to demonstrate different strategic approaches and how they can be measured. The fitness of Fonterra’s performance and strategy can be gauged by understanding the performance and strategies of competing firms within the NZ dairy industry. It is my aim in five articles over the next five issues to: ■■ identify the different competitive strategies within the dairy industry ■■ understand how strategic advantage is protected and measure performance ■■ understand strategies for succeeding internationally ■■ identify Fonterra’s core strategic capabilities ■■ outline the recognised elements a successful strategy most often contains. Fonterra’s recent profit announcement is good news and we should take heart. But we also need to understand exactly where we are going and how we are going to get there. I don’t profess to know it all and it is often easy to counter complex arguments that have been presented simply. But as can be said about many organisations, “you get the governance you deserve”. The purpose is to present a perspective from which to view and question the strategic performance of our cooperative. It will take you less than ten minutes to read. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

Rethink cups on If you could cut cupping times by 1-2 seconds per cow, how much time would you save during milking?

For Waikato dairy farmer Dries Verrycken who’s milking 500 cows, he can now save around 16 minutes at cups-on alone thanks to the new iCR+ with EasyStart simple lift or pull vacuum activation. That’s over 30 minutes a day and over 3.5 hours a week in this 50-bail iFLOW rotary. Meaning his cows can be back out to pasture quicker, and he can get on with other jobs. Time to rethink how you put the cups on? We can help. gea.com/new-zealand

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Growing business in a lockdown THE START of the new dairy season saw a Hawke’s Bay couple triple the number of cows under their care. Rob and Shiralee Seerden 50/50 sharemilk 260 mainly Holstein Friesian cows at Tutira, north of Napier.  In June, the award-winning couple expanded their business, taking on a nearby 600cow contract milking position.  It is the second time in the past decade where the pair has jointly run two dairy farms at once. The 325ha block (280ha effective) is owned by the Poyntzfield Partnership and has a 50-bale rotary milking shed.  “It was a last-minute opportunity. We weren’t offered the job until May, which meant it was hard finding additional experienced staff,” said Shiralee.

WIN OPENS DOORS IN 2017, the couple were named Hawke’s Bay/ Wairarapa Share Farmers of the Year in the NZ Dairy Industry Awards.  Entering the prestigious competition pushed the Seerdens outside of their comfort zone, but the win has opened doors for them.  “Prior to entering the NZ Dairy Industry Awards, we frequently wouldn’t even get a response when we applied for a 50/50 sharemilking job,” said Shiralee.  “Winning the title changed everything for us. People started calling us back when we applied for positions and often didn’t even want to look at our CV. The turnaround was amazing.”

Rob and Shiralee Seerden walk among dry cows on a crop of winter oats.

The Seerdens employed two people who were already working on the farm.  The property, which produced 155,000kgMS in 2019-20 (production was down because of the drought), is one of 12 dairy farms in the area.  It is 10 minutes up the

road from the 165ha farm which Rob, Shiralee and their family have called home since June 2019. The couple’s first season on the property could only be described as character-building. Animal health issues, and a lack of feed compounded by a prolonged drought, forced

the herd to be dried off in late March. “It was tough that’s for sure. We knew we’d face a few challenges in our first season on a new farm, but certainly not that many,” she said.  Within months of their arrival, the Seerdens were fighting to save cows

Why do we claim we’re the most sustainable dairy producers in the world? Because we are A litre of our milk shipped to Ireland would still have a lower emissions profile than milk produced over there. Yep, we’ve taken on the challenge of sustainability, and we’re winning. Why? Because we’re dairy farmers, and we rise to a challenge. And it’s in these moments we shine.


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with Theileriosis, a disease caused by a bloodborne parasite, primarily transmitted by ticks. It is widespread in half of the North Island. “Our stock became infected when they were grazing on the same property as a mob of cattle from up north,” said Shiralee.  “Once they have it, it’s always in their system and comes out in times of stress. It causes anaemia and cows can go downhill quickly. A shortage of grass made it worse. We bought in molasses, a high energy feed, to try and keep as many animals alive as we could.”  They lost 15 cows. The farm produced almost 100,000kgMS in the 201920 season, which was 20,000kgMS behind the couple’s original target. However, the result still eclipsed the farm’s previous production record by 20,000kgMS. The Seerdens worked hard to ensure they came into their second season on the farm well set-up and with plenty of feed.  About 150 tonnes of maize silage was contracted just as the drought started to tighten its grip on the region.  “The maize helped us get through the summer and autumn and we were still feeding it in the winter,” said Rob.  In mid-June, the herd had an average body condition score of 4.9, a month out from calving.  “We are really looking forward to having a good season,” he said.  “We have regrassed about 80 per cent of the milking platform with hybrid Italian ryegrasses and our average pasture

cover is 2,400 kg/DM/ha.” The herd started calving in mid-July. It is their first spring milking heifers born following an overhaul of mating practices.  Previously, cows were mated using sires from a single genetics company. But in 2017, when the Seerdens were nearing the end of a 10-year stint 50/50 sharemilking in Norsewood, they adopted a new approach and had their herd scored by approved aAa analyser Tracey Zimmerman. aAa is a dairy cattle breeding guide created in 1950 by a Vermont Holstein Friesian breeder.  Analysers study all the parts of each cow and determine the causes of functional problems, such as a narrow pelvis.  They then show breeders how to prevent the same problems from occurring in the next generation of animals.  “We looked into it after we got talking to another dairy farmer about it and thought it sounded like a good investment,” said Shiralee.  “Under our previous system, we were becoming frustrated with the quality of the feet and udders in our herd,” added Rob.  For the past three years the herd’s twoyear-old heifers have all been inspected and scored by Tracey’s partner Jurjen Groenveld prior to mating.  They receive an individual lifetime score - a six-digit code - which is used to find a bull to correct the animal’s weaknesses.  It is not an easy task. Rob and Shiralee source bulls from five or six genetics companies, with the aim of producing a “strong cow with good

longevity”. The match-making operation is made even harder by the fact that the couple is trying to breed a fully A2A2 herd.  It means they can only use bulls with the A2A2 gene. A2 milk is soughtafter for its health benefits. The herd was DNA profiled five years ago to identify animals producing milk free from the A1 protein. Three-quarters of the herd is now A2A2. Animals carrying the A1 gene are identified annually and sold.  “We rear 100 replacement heifers a year. They are all tested and profiled. We recently sold 30, mainly A1 heifers, for export,” said Rob.  “There’s no processor paying a premium or taking A2A2 milk in this part of the country. It’s unlikely there ever will be. We’re doing it because we’re 50/50 sharemilkers and our herd is our asset, so we want to do all we can to maximise its value.”  About 270 of the couple’s animals, including young stock, are registered Holstein Friesians.  The business produces zero bobby calves. The main milking herd is mated to Holstein Friesian and Hereford sires.  Rising two-year-old heifers are mated to fully DNA profiled, home-bred Holstein Friesian bulls.  Rob and Shiralee, who are members of Holstein Friesian NZ, are continually upskilling to make their business more robust and attractive in a competitive job market.  Rob is a trained artificial insemination technician with LIC, a seasonal position he has held for 22 years. Shiralee also delivers semen for the genetics company.



Strong parasite coverage in weaned calves just isn’t an area that is given a huge amount of thought at this time of year.

New formula for weaning calves A NEW Zealand animal health company says it has developed a a worldfirst formula specifically designed for weaned calves. Alleva Animal Health says the oral drench provides worm parasite coverage, as well as helping to protect against coccidiosis. “This combination helps provide protection during the vulnerable period after calves come off coccidiostat-treated meal onto pasture while supporting the development of their natural immunity to coccidiosis,” says Alleva general manager Blair Loveridge. He says on many farms the mad rush of calving is winding down for the year. However, mating is about to start and spring cropping is rolling out across the country. “Strong parasite coverage in weaned calves just isn’t an area that is given a huge amount of thought at

this time of year. “Due to stress and undeveloped immunity during the weaning transition, calves are very susceptible to parasitism from both gastrointestinal parasites and coccidiosis. The result can have an impact on growth rates during this time while the calf’s immunity to coccidia infection is developing.” Loveridge says its Turbo Initial formula is stage one of the threestage drench programme designed by Alleva specifically for growing cattle. “We’ve listened to the market and worked with vets to iron out as many pain points of cattle drench options in New Zealand as we can. “The result is really exciting and a huge leap forward in terms of efficacy and safety in cattle drenches,” says Loveridge. The second product in the range is also an oral drench named Turbo

Advance. This targets cattle in that second stage of growth, where coccidiosis immunity has developed and they are still a safe size to drench orally. It can also be used on cattle under 120kg, which is often not an option with many other drench combinations, allowing for variations in growth rates within mobs. Turbo Pour-on and Injection are alternate treatments for the third stage of growth, suitable for cattle that are too large for an oral drench. The product is available exclusively through veterinary practices nationwide and is recommended as the first drench for weaned young stock. Loveridge says Alleva Animal Health is New Zealand owned and operated, ensuring products are designed specifically for New Zealand farmers.


shend is the new chairman of dairy cattle breeding entity New Zealand Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL). He takes the helm of the DairyNZ subsidiary from Warren Larsen who has retired. DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says Townshend’s knowledge, passion for genetics and skillset will be valuable as NZAEL enters a new phase of evolution. “Mark has over 45 years farming experience in New Zealand and internationally, and is an experienced chairman,” he says. “Perhaps most importantly, he has a lifelong passion for bovine genetics through four stud herds, and a deep understanding and appreciation of the National Breeding Objectives,” says van der Poel.

As a wholly owned subsidiary of shifts to utilising genotype inforDairyNZ, the mandate of NZAEL is mation. Van der Poel acknowledged the to lead the independent provision of state-of-the-art national genetic great work Larsen has done with NZAEL and its team in establishevaluations for the NZ dairy sector.           “NZAEL is a complex system ing new databases and animal evalwhich underpins crucial deci- uation software. “Warren has supported the sion-making for farmers and their animal breeding. We are constantly NZAEL team with ensuring there’s adjusting and updating the systems a reliable and future-focused source to improve data and information of genetic evaluation information for farmers which is independent for farmers,” says van der Poel. In a bid to deliver improved and achieving the National Breedbreeding values, during 2020 it has ing Objective for dairy cattle,” he focused on implementing the most says. “There is a lot of work on recent genetic evaluation software. data standards which underpins The next phase is to work the system, and we are excited by toward a national genomic evalu- where it’s at, thanks to Warren’s ation system for NZ dairy farmers. leadership.” As part of the next phase, the Townshend and the NZAEL board will be supporting the tran- results of research will be intesition of genomic data into the grated into the NZAEL system and NZAEL system, as the emphasis new research initiated.

Rethink udder health Never over-milk or under-milk your cows again, with the new iCR+ Intelligent Cluster Remover.

With gentle retraction, cluster take-off is determined at either a set point, a set time or by milk flow (or whichever comes first). Protecting your cows from udder damage caused by over or under milking. A stress-free and comfortable milking routine could also result in your cows enjoying a longer milking life. Time to rethink your herd’s udder health? Call 0800 GEA FARM, or your local dealer for a quote. gea.com/new-zealand

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Irrigators need to build public trust IRRIGATION NEW Zealand (INZ) chair

Keri Johnston says the sector has much work ahead to continue building public trust. It also needs to bridge knowledge gaps about the benefits that fair water management can bring to communities and environment, Johnston says. She made the comments while announcing Vanessa Winning as INZ’s new chief executive. “We believe Vanessa is the right person to drive this,” says Johnston. “Vanessa has the strategic vision to lead our sector in the right direction: she partners to achieve positive outcomes; has commercial experience to grow an effective organisation; understands the primary sector and has worked in it managing large teams; and can navigate the increasingly complex area of water management in New Zealand.” Winning took over her new role last week. She was most recently general manager farm performance at DairyNZ where

she led a large team across the country to help farmers improve their businesses and reduce environmental impacts. Prior to DairyNZ, Winning spent 18 years in banking, trade, product development, marketing and communications. She says she sees so much potential for water in NZ. “It’s sensible harvesting, fair management, and pragmatic use for balanced outcomes across the economy, environment, and all of our communities, including mana whenua. I can’t wait to get stuck into the role.” In addition to appointing a new chief executive in Wellington, INZ has established a new position of regional policy and planning manager, taken on by former chief executive Elizabeth Soal. Soal will represent and support members in regional planning changes following the roll-out of new freshwater regulations and amendments to the RMA. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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New Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Vanessa Winning.



A clear assessment of fertiliser requirements will both improve economic returns from pasture and help avoid contamination of ground and surface water.

Spring up with fertilisers BALA TIKKISETTY

WITH SPRING in the air and soils

starting to warm up over the next few weeks, farmers will be preparing to fertilise their paddocks. As there are a range of risks when applying fertiliser and strategies to help avoid them, it is highly recommended that all farmers have a nutrient budget and a nutrient management plan for their properties and discuss their situation with a fertiliser or farm consultant. There are a range of tools to help practice sustainable nutrient management. Nutrient budgeting is widely accepted as the appropriate first step in managing nutrient use and it’s also the preferred tool for evaluating the environmental impact of farm management practices. OverseerFM, a digital decision support model, is used to advise on nutrient management and greenhouse gas emissions. It predicts what happens to the nutrients that are brought onto the farm in the form of fertilisers and supplementary feed in the same way that a financial budget can track money. A prolonged dry spell is forecast for the forthcoming summer months. It is therefore strongly recommended that nitrogenous fertilisers be used strategically looking at feed budgeting. Another issue to consider is nitrate leaching. Plants need nitrogen (N) for healthy leaf growth. But

N is an extremely mobile nutrient. If more nitrogenous fertiliser is applied than plants can take up, most of the unused nitrogen ends up leaching down through the soil into groundwater. Sometimes N will also be lost to waterways as runoff and some is always released back into the air as gas. The amount of N leaching from pastures can be reduced by: ■■ timing fertiliser application to avoid periods when plant uptake of N will be low, such as when soils are saturated, during heavy rain, colder periods and times of low soil temperatures ■■ applying N fertiliser in split dressings (limit to 30 kg N/ha/yr and maximum of 190 kg N/ha/yr) ■■ irrigating farm dairy effluent to a large enough area ■■ adjusting fertiliser policy for effluent irrigated areas to account for the nutrient value of effluent ■■ using fenced wetlands and wellmanaged open drains as nutrient traps. The nutrient phosphorus behaves very differently to N because it binds with the soil and only dissolves slowly in water over time. This means it doesn’t readily leach to groundwater. But it can damage the health of waterways through soil erosion and surface runoff into water. Farmers can reduce the amount of phosphorus runoff by keeping Olsen P to optimum agronomic levels. Other tips include: ■■ following the NZ Fertiliser Man-

ufacturers’ Research Association Code of Practice for Nutrient Management ■■ applying fertiliser when the grass is in an active growing phase ■■ leaving a grassed buffer strip between paddock and waterway – the strip filters the phosphorus before the runoff reaches the water ■■ controlling runoff from tracks, races, feed and stand-off pads. So, a clear assessment of fertiliser requirements will both improve economic returns from pasture and help avoid contamination of ground and surface water with nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus. With Waikato Regional Plan Change 1, National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) and National Environmental Standards (NES) around the corner, there is an increasing pressure for farmers to improve their farm’s nutrient management. Due to the effects nitrogen and phosphorus can have on water, and because improving nutrient use efficiency is more important for farm profitability, the issue of nutrient management has become increasingly vital. Getting the best bang for buck out of fertiliser, use while protecting economic and environmental bottom lines, is a key goal for farmers. • Bala Tikkisetty is a sustainable agriculture advisor (technical) at Waikato Regional Council. Contact him on bala. tikkisetty@waikatoregion.govt.nz or 0800 800 401.

Rethink how you milk With the new revolutionary iCR+ Intelligent Cluster Remover from GEA.

Perfect for rotaries, herringbones, retrofits and new installs, the new iCR+ with EasyStart lift or pull vacuum activation helps you save time and labour, all while providing a consistent milking routine for both cow and operator. Quick and easy to install, maybe it’s time to rethink how you milk? Call 0800 GEA FARM, or your local dealer for a quote. gea.com/new-zealand

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Things one must consider when investing in effluent storage INVESTING IN effluent

storage is a significant decision on-farm, so it’s worth taking the time to carefully plan what is needed to ensure the right design for your farm. Current and future considerations The first thing to consider when planning effluent storage is to think about how you currently farm and whether anything will change in future. For example, if you’re currently an owneroperator but are planning to step back and get a manager, will that affect your plans? Or if you’re planning to expand your farm or herd, will the effluent storage pond be

future proofed to cope with those changes? An effluent system can be tailored to suit a farm’s requirements. Let your system designer and installer know your needs during the initial design discussion and keep your effluent system as simple as possible. This makes it easy for staff to understand and manage. DairyNZ has a farm dairy effluent systems planning guide with a table of options to share with your designer (see dairynz.co.nz/effluentsystem). Choose an accredited designer Designing and installing farm dairy effluent systems is a

technical job requiring specialist knowledge. As with a number of trades, an accreditation system is in place for effluent design. Accredited providers are trained effluent system specialists who understand and follow the Farm Dairy Effluent (FDE) Code of Practice and design standards when designing and installing systems. DairyNZ established the accreditation programme. Look for the green tick logo when selecting a dairy effluent system company. A full list of accredited FDE companies is available online at effluentaccreditation.co.nz


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The first thing to consider when planning effluent storage is to think about how you currently farm and whether anything will change in future.

Gather your core information When planning effluent storage, work with your designer to create one that’s suited to your needs and property. Some things to discuss and provide information on include: ■■ consent requirements ■■ soil type (soils can be either high or low risk for effluent application) ■■ daily water use in the farm dairy ■■ your budget ■■ your farm management and how you want to apply effluent ■■ the pond site – including distance from the cow shed and line of sight to houses

your preferences for the storage type â– â–  effluent solids management â– â–  safety management â– â–  siting the electricity connection. To ensure that everyone is clear, check that the quote includes key requirements above such as the site, pond type, storage capacity and electricity. Calculate how much storage is needed Your designer can calculate how much effluent storage is needed, based on factors including location, soil type, effluent application, shed type and water use. A report can show you how this figure was â– â– 

calculated. Regional councils usually prefer to see the calculation to ensure the storage meets regional rules or resource consent conditions. Some councils will only accept system design and storage calculations from an FDE accredited company. It’s a good idea to have a little more storage than your calculations show. The Dairy Effluent Storage Calculator will give the best results on-farm by allowing for deferred irrigation and ensure you don’t run out of space. If you want an independent storage calculation, an FDE accredited company that is not a product

supplier or a Dairy Effluent Warrant of Fitness assessor can provide this service (see effluentaccreditation.co.nz and www.effluentwof.co.nz). Training your team to use your new system Ask your designer or installer for an operations and maintenance manual for your new system. They may also offer your team training on using the system. Check the guide! DairyNZ has summarised the key things to think about when planning or upgrading an effluent system, visit dairynz. co.nz/effluent • Information supplied by DairyNZ.


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$300m to clean up harbour A $300 million project has been signed to try and prevent sediment loss from land to sea at Kaipara Harbour. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the government, councils and Kaipara residents recognises an equal partnership between iwi and councils to undertake the Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme. The programme is predicted to create around 300 new jobs; 200 for direct farm work such as fencing streams and wetlands, establishing water reticulation systems, preparing and planting land, weeding, and hill country stabilisation, and another 100 in the rural sector for nurseries, fencing manufacture, and farm advisory services. Minister for the Environment David Parker signed the agreement with stakeholders this month. Joint governance committee chair Tame Te Rangi says the committee will oversee a yet-to-be established entity charged with delivery of the 10-year Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme. “One of our first priorities will be deciding the spend for the programme’s first year. “We know there are many strands of the programme that are ready to go now, and these are what we’ll concentrate on first.

“We’re effectively carving out new history – this type of programme has never been done before – so it’s important we get the right logistics and processes in place and balance that with urgent action to give the harbour the help it needs.” Auckland Mayor Phil Goff describes the agreement as a turning point for the restoration of the Kaipara Harbour. “It represents all parties coming together to address the siltation and degradation of the Kaipara and the biggest-ever commitment of funds to remediate that damage,” he says. “It’s a shared commitment to stop the erosion of the land which is devastating New Zealand’s largest harbour, and to begin to restore and preserve the harbour as a major fish-spawning and recreational asset,” Goff says. Northland Regional Council Chair (and deputy chair of the joint committee) Penny Smart says it is important to recognise that landowners and community groups are already working to improve the environment, but resourcing has been a constant struggle. The new government funding of $100 million for the first six years will help bring us together and enable large-scale and targeted progress to be made, Smart says.

The Northland Regional Council says landowners and community groups are already working to improve the environment, but resourcing has been a constant struggle.


Gypsum application is a standard practice worldwide for addressing the build up of sodium in soils, including soils receiving waste waters. Gypsum is one of those rare materials that performs in all categories of soil treatment: an amendment, conditioner and fertiliser. It is useful in the transition period in dairy cows 2 – 4 weeks pre & post calving, and can be used as an anionic salt to counteract the effects that high potassium & sodium concentrations have on increasing hypocalcemia. Gypsum, a readily available form of calcium, is 100 times more soluble than lime and is more suitable for the digestive system during this period.

Gypsum in fertilising NEC is here to cover your needs for Resource Consents and environmental compliance solutions

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• Readily dissociates into free calcium ions (Ca++) and sulphate ions (SO4--), major elements in plant nutrition • Has an approximately neutral pH and can be used in heavy applications without causing undue alkalinity in soils

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Gypsum in water savings

• Promotes water infiltration, retention and conservation • Allows water to penetrate the soil without forming puddles or water logging • Conserves water by stretching intervals between irrigations • Tests show that farmland treated with gypsum requires up to 33% less water than soils without recent gypsum application

How Does Gypsum Work?

Gypsum is hydrated calcium sulphate. Calcium from gypsum replaces sodium in the soil. The sulphate allows the sodium to be effectively leached out of the soil. The soil then has more ability to flocculate and form stable aggregates to improve drainage and soil quality. Na+ Na+ Ca++ leached CaSO4 + Soil Cation ➔ Soil Cation + Na2SO4 Exchange Exchange

Gypsum in soil conditioning

• Breaks up soils compacted by sodium and clay, and compounded by farm animals and machinery • Reduces cracking and compaction following irrigation and retards soil crusting • Allows soil to dry more quickly after rain or irrigation so that it may be worked sooner • Decreases energy requirements for tillage • Binds organic matter to soil and checks soil erosion • Enhances friendly bacterial action and discourages plant diseases related to poor soil aeration • Conditioned soil allows for deeper, healthier root development and water penetration

Gypsum in amendment

• Displaces sodium binding clay soils • Reduces high soil aluminium levels • Suppresses the soil acidification effects of growing crops and the prolonged use of acidifying fertilisers

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Looming effluent rules discussed at field day A RECENT field day in Otago to discuss looming new effluent storage and

discharge rules attracted 50 farmers and rural professionals.

The field day at Scott Johnstone’s Moneymore Dairies at Milton was run

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Around 50 people attended a field day in Otago recently to discuss looming regional effluent rules.

by RDA Consulting, a regionally-based environmental consultancy firm. RDA Consulting chief executive, Jason HarveyWills, told the farmers that RDA was happy to share information, assess issues and help farmers with solutions to get their environmental requirements dealt with. “We are aligned and passionate about the primary production industry and are well set up with the right expertise, tools and track record from Southland to help them to implement changes required by both the new Otago effluent rules and the National Environmental Standards (NES) for freshwater management,” Harvey-Wills says. Under the new rules recently notified Otago Regional Council Plan Change 8, farmers in the region will be required to prove that their effluent storage pond is sized in

accordance with the dairy effluent storage calculator. RDA Consulting project engineer Karen Ladbrook and environmental consultant Georgia Robinson spoke at the field day, explaining step-by-step how the Massey University dairy effluent storage calculator (DESC) works. The DESC is designed to determine how much deferred storage is required to hold effluent for those days when it is risky to apply effluent onto land. “You should only irrigate effluent to land when conditions are suitable so that effluent does not run off to waterways or drain through the soil and contaminate groundwater. Ideally, you should be irrigating when effluent nutrients can be taken up by plants,” Ladbrook said. The farmers had an opportunity to look at Moneymore Dairies’ effluent system starting at the

cow shed, tracking the path of the effluent to the stone trap and sump, over to the sludge beds and out into the pond. Ladbrook emphasised the importance of having an operational management plan to mitigate risks identified for each of the components of the effluent system. Robinson told farmers that under the recently notified rules, they will likely require a pond drop test if your pond does not have a leak detection system, is not of impervious concrete construction or is not an above ground tank. The test uses specialised electronic probes to determine if gross leakage is occurring in an effluent pond. She demonstrated the process of setting up a pond drop test and provided graphical examples of pass and fail results. RDA Consulting

senior farm environmental leader James Muwunganirwa says farmer feedback from the field day highlighted an increased understanding of the new rules and what they mean on their farm. “At RDA we are seeing a continued need to assist farmers with the raft of new rules coming through from central government and regional councils. “Plan change 8 is just one of these, but wetland identification, effluent system design, consenting, freshwater plans and water takes are all areas where we are seeing strong demand to help our clients.” Muwunganirwa urged farmers to seek professional advice to understand their current situation and what they may need to do to meet the new requirements. • For more information go to: https://rda.co.nz/otagoplan-changes/

Strautmann TS-Spreaders The TS range is the beginning of the new Strautmann series of flatbed spreaders with two upright spreading beaters for highest throughput rates and long service life, large tyres for little rolling resistance and ground disturbance. TS Spreader comes in two models TS-140 (14t) and the TS-160 (16t) • Optional universal 2-disc spreading unit • Galvanised floor with 4mm V shaped side walls for increased work life and ease of emptying • Optional extensions for maximum loading compacity • Slim spring suspended drawbar for improved manoeuvrabilty and towing • Taking indent orders now “Proudly family owned and operated with 37 year’s experience in agricultural machinery”

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Iwi to take over monitoring role A SPECIAL ceremony was held in Taupo recently for the official signing of an agreement to transfer specific water quality monitoring functions to the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board. At a meeting in July, Waikato regional councillors voted unanimously in favour of transferring summer bathing beach, regional rivers, rainfall and groundwater quality monitoring within the Lake Taupo catchment to the trust board. It’s the first iwi authority in Aotearoa New Zealand to have functions transferred to them by a council. Governance and senior officials from both the council and the trust board were at the singing on October 16, which saw the formal agreement signed by leaders. Council chair Russ Rimmington described it

as an important step forward in resource management for our nation, sending a strong signal that the time has come for more effective engagement between councils and iwi. “The signing of this agreement is the start of something new, providing the opportunity for Ngāti Tūwharetoa to be directly involved in tracking the quality of these water bodies over time.” For Waikato Regional Council, it creates a more efficient method for delivering some monitoring functions, saving it more than $100,000 over a 10-year period. Regional councillor Andrew MacPherson said at the event that the council had become more confident in working in partnership with iwi. “Through the maturing of our relationship, we are no longer looking to just

meet statutory requirements or minimums. We are seeking greater opportunities to work together, to partner on projects that are mutually beneficial to iwi and the council, and therefore the wider

Specific water quality monitoring functions in Lake Taupo have been transferred to the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board.

community,” MacPherson said. Tūwharetoa Māori

Trust Board will only collect samples – not make decisions – and the data

collected in undertaking sampling will remain in the ownership of Waikato


COMPOSTING BARN Our SmartShelter with a composting floor is absolutely the way forward. It enables us to winter and calve cows completely off pasture, 24/7.

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Regional Council. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews



State funding for riparian planting MORE THAN 600km of Taranaki river and stream banks will be planted with a million native plants next winter as the region’s farmers take advantage of a $5 million government boost. The funding for the Transforming Taranaki riparian management programme will allow eligi-

ble farmers to buy native plants for $1 each, create 80 new jobs and bring environmental benefits to the entire region.   The Taranaki Regional Council scheme has been running for 27 years, with farmers voluntarily planting and fencing thousands of kilometres of waterways. In that time Coun-

cil officers have prepared nearly 3,000 individual riparian plans, and more than 6.2 million plants have been distributed at cost. The programme’s goal is improved water quality and an increase in biodiversity, with the plants providing habitat for native birds and cover for

aquatic species. About 900,000 plants are being contract-grown for the 2021 winter planting season. The opportunity to buy $1 plants will be offered to Council plan holders in the intensively farmed zone of the Taranaki ring plain and coastal marine terraces, with priority given to

More than 600km of Taranaki river and stream banks will be planted with a million native plants next winter.




Pichon offers an extensive range of slurry tanker systems, with capacities ranging from 2,600 up to 30,000L and also a number of axle options. • • • •

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those who have demonstrated a strong commitment to riparian planting and fencing over the years. If eligible, they can order between 500 and 2,000 plants per plan. The cost includes planting by Councilarranged contractors, whereas previously that had been the responsibility of the landowner.  Plan holders will be required to erect fences to protect the plants, estimated to be worth $4.1 million.  The value of the combined fencing and planting is expected to be near $10.8 million. Council land services manager Don Shearman says the funding is great news for the region.  “Taranaki farmers have put in years of hard work planting and fencing their waterways all at their own cost – because they know

it’s the right thing to do. And many are now so close to completing their plans. “This funding will save them thousands of dollars, plus precious time, allowing them to push forward to the finishing line. “We’re already seeing environmental benefits from the programme, with a NIWA study last year finding many Taranaki sites had the best water quality they’d had since 1995. We’re excited to see the improvements continue.” The $5 million came from the Public Waterways and Ecosystem Restoration Fund, administered by the Ministry for the Environment. It is part of the Government’s wider Jobs for Nature Programme, part of its COVID-19 recovery package.



ClearTech delivers massive water savings for farm Agricultural Fieldays AgriInnovation Award, and a Highly Commended at the 2019 National Fieldays Innovation Awards. Hancox says as farmers the LDUF wants to do the right thing. “So, ClearTech delivers us a system where we can make a real difference to our environmental impact without busting

MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz


ClearTech effluent treatment system installed at the Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF) has saved over 600,000 litres of freshwater in its first month of operation, equating to the average daily use of about 3,000 people, or the amount used by an individual in eight years. With a potential to save billions of litres of freshwater annually if used across the New Zealand dairy industry, the systems efficacy and impact is confirmed by LUDF farm manager Peter Hancox. “Our ClearTech plant has been operational from the start of our milking season and we’re saving at least 50% of the water used to wash the yard. If we continue along this trend, then over a 10-month season we’ll achieve a total saving of 6,000,000 litres of freshwater,” he says. Hancox notes the costs of set-up and ongoing maintenance are relatively modest, and far outweighed by the benefits that will accrue to farms and the wider community. Working away in the background, with no extra effort on behalf of the farmer, it’s a “winwin” for farmers and their communities, as every litre of wastewater recycled is a litre of freshwa-

the budget and with no disruption to our normal farm operations.” Lincoln University acting vice-chancellor Professor Bruce McKenzie said the development of ClearTech exemplifies the university’s significant contribution to discovering Agritech solutions to help address some of the world’s most pressing

land-based challenges. “We’re also focused on developing meaningful partnerships with likeminded organisations, and our close collaboration with Ravensdown has enabled the successful delivery of the ClearTech system to farmers,” says McKenzie. www.ravensdown. co.nz/cleartech.

Maintenance free separation solutions

Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di with the Lincoln University Dairy Farm ClearTech Effluent Treatment System.

FORSI SEPARATION SOLUTIONS ARE SUITABLE FOR ANY INDUSTRY ● Dairy effluent ● Car wash ● Drycleaning ● Horse pool ● Veggie processing ● Winery waste

The ClearTech system collects farm dairy effluent then treats it with a coagulant to bind effluent colloidal particles together in order to settle them out from the water.

ter saved, he says. The ClearTech system collects farm dairy effluent then treats it with a coagulant to bind effluent colloidal particles together in order to settle them out from the water. The treated water can then be recycled, with the leftover treated effluent being safely used to recy-

cle nutrients back to the pasture without odour. In addition to reducing freshwater used in the yard by about 50%, the system effectively increases effluent pond storage capacity, while at the same time reducing leaching losses of phosphate and E. coli from the treated effluent when it is

applied to the land. The technology, developed by Lincoln University Soil Science Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di, in conjunction with commercial partner Ravensdown, won the Science & Research Award at the inaugural Primary Industries Awards, the South Island

Have a chat to the team about how we can help with your waste water problems

Forsi Innovations Ltd | 14 Waihou Street | Matamata | Ph 07 880 9479 | Fax 07 880 9486 | www.forsi.co.nz

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A:73 Deveron St, Invercargill 9810 ❙ P: 03-218 2515 ❙ E: service@especs.co.nz ❙ w: electronic-specialists.co.nz

Farmtrenz is a division of



Nesting birds trigger machinery fires MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz


rural insurer, FMG says nesting birds continue to account for around $700,000 worth of tractor fire claims each year, so is encouraging machinery operators to remember to ‘Stop & Pop’ the bonnet and check for birds. “Starlings in particular, have the ability to find their way into the smallest of entries to build their nests, and they do so very quickly. With the availability of dry grass on farm, which is the birds’ preferred nesting material, we know that they can build a nest in less than the time it takes to eat your lunch or have a cup of tea,” says Stephen Cantwell, FMG’s manager advice. Cantwell says most of the claims for tractor fires caused by bird nests coincide with the starling breeding season, which runs from September through to December. Over the last three years, 142 tractor fires claims were the result of birds’ nests, accounting for 38% of all tractor fire claims over that period. He also notes, even quad bikes, side-bysides, cars and utes aren’t immune from a bird determined to build a nest, so recommends that owners and employ-

SNIPPETS Second-hand guarantee IMPORTER AND nationwide tractor distributor Norwood is offering peace of mind when buying a second-hand tractor with the recently launched Norwood Assured programme. All Norwood Assured tractors have undergone pre-purchase inspections by factory trained technicians to ensure that each one meets high standards of mechanical health, safety and appearance. Peace of mind is reinforced with a six-month, full tractor warranty from the date a tractor is delivered, covering key components such as the powertrain, hydraulic and electrical and air conditioning systems system and the cabin structure. The Assured Programme covers the cost of replacement parts and labour, with a $1000+GST excess charge.

Powerful deal

Most of the claims for tractor fires caused by bird nests.


ees check for nests under the bonnet each time they start up any machinery. FMG also suggests it might be useful to leave the bonnet in the raised position when a tractor is parked up to discourage birds from nesting in the first place, while also rec-

ommending the fitment of an easily accessible fire extinguisher. FMG’s long-running campaign, ‘Stop & Pop’, reminds operators to check the engine before getting back to work. Free ‘Stop & Pop’ stickers to help remind busy farm-

UK RURAL insurer NFU Mutual reports that overloaded battery terminals are behind an increasing number of tractor fires, in 2019, paying out £19 million ($37m) relating to the issue. An investigation into around 1000 claims found a common factor was electrical accessories wired directly to the tractor battery cables, that when combined with the heavy current drawn from modern tractor electrical systems, can create extra loads that can lead to overheating and fires. A NFU Mutual spokesperson says accidental tractor fires have traditionally been attributed to overheated bearings, moving parts or chafed wiring causing a short circuit and starting a fire, particularly in older tractors. “However, we also found that some relatively new tractors were involved, which upon investigation showed that resistive heating of the battery terminal was the cause.”

ers and operators to make the check can be ordered at www.fmg.co.nz/cam-

paigns/stop-and-pop/. @dairy_news

POLARIS INC. has announced a 10-year partnership with Zero Motorcycles, a global leader in electric motorcycle powertrains and technology. The partnership in off-road vehicles (ORV) and snowmobiles is a cornerstone component of rEV’d up, Polaris’ long-term strategy to position the Company as the leader in power sports electrification. A spokesman for Polaris says thanks to advancements in power, pricing and performance over the last several years, and with customer interest surging, “now is the right time for Polaris to implement our rEV’d up initiative.”

Digital hub JOHN DEERE has launched its Digital Agriculture

Hub, designed specifically for Australian and New Zealand farmers, with the site featuring information on the power of data in decision-making, easy-tounderstand ‘how to’ videos, and case studies with primary producers speaking about how digital farming has transformed their businesses. The website is designed to support farmers with tools and knowledge to make adoption of digital technology both as simple and as profitable as possible, with the company noting, many farmers have digital tools inbuilt in their farm equipment but may not be aware of how to get the most from that technology. The information on the site provided by our local Solutions Specialists and farmers ranges from how to set up an account, through to the ‘Help Me Improve’ section for those who want to be able to extract more value from their technology. Farmers with any brand of equipment can create a MyJohnDeere account, load in their farm machinery and gain access to the John Deere Operations Centre and the MyOperationsTM App, Visit the Hub at JohnDeere.co.nz/GotWhatItTakes








Electronic Power Steering

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Rear Tray Capacity (kg)




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4-Stroke SOHC Twin Cylinder

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Horsepower (HP)






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254 / 254

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*Offer ends 31/10/20 or while stocks last. Offer only available at participating Polaris Dealers. Not valid with any other offer. Excludes fleet clients. ^Free Roof valued at $695 INC GST. +Finance offer is only available on all Ranger and RZR models excluding youth models. GST registered customers only. 24-month term contract. 20% Deposit required. Deposit may include Trade (Trade conditions apply). Fees and conditions apply (normal lending criteria applies) Finance is provided by Polaris Finance, a program operated by De Lage Landen Limited Company No 135515. **Specifications and price correct at 12/10/20 and sourced from Can-Am Website and Trademe.

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Pottinger Novacat goes large AUSTRIAN MANUFACTURER Pottinger

has added the NOVACAT 402 ED to its range, claiming that with a working width of 3.88 metres, it is the biggest

rear-mounted mower with conditioner on the market. The ED (Extra-Dry) conditioner features V-shaped tines of hardened steel, mounted on

rubber blocks and said to guarantee an extended service life. A round, highvolume conditioner hood and adjustable guide vanes deliver a loose and airy full width spread to

promote a rapid and uniform drying, or a compact box-shaped swath for following machinery, while also featuring adjustable conditioning intensity. Weight saving is

Pottinger says its NOVACAT 402 ED is the biggest rear-mounted mower with conditioner on the market.

achieved on the wide machine, with the conditioner hood partially constructed from aluminium. Mower mounting is aided by a hydraulic lower linkage arm offering easy mounting without having to adjust the tractor hitch struts. When the cutter bar is raised, it is held firmly in place by a stabiliser cylinder,

Lemken Rubin 10 assembly line. Inset: Nicola Lemken.


ogy supplier Lemken is celebrating its 240th birthday. Established in a small blacksmith’s shop in Xanten on the Lower Rhine in 1780 by Wilhelmus Lemken, it is a leading supplier of crop production technology with more than 1,600 employees and 29 sales subsidiaries worldwide. Lemken started out by forging ploughs, cultivators and harrows for local farmers. In 1969, Viktor Lemken took over the management of the family business and drove its development through

innovation and a focus on exports and the opening of eastern markets from the 1990s onwards. Now led by Nicola Lemken, the 7th-generation of the family business, the company continues to focus on professional crop production that is characterised by innovation and high quality. The company realigned its crop care segment earlier in 2020 to focus on camera-controlled hoeing technology and the selective application of crop care products. A key part of the company’s ethos is the responsible use of

resources at its production sites, with the Alpen facility being carbon-neutral in its consumption of electricity, thanks to on-site combined heat and power plants and extensive, smartly controlled energy cycles between administration and production facilities. Lemken focuses strongly on its employees, so it is appropriate that their reminiscences feature strongly in celebrating the 240th anniversary, alongside the technical developments. www.240lemken.com

– Mark Daniel



Single/double axle

From 7m3 to 35m3. Molasses and mineral intake tubes for dietary requirements with front facing conveyor with side shift. Teaser rollers placed at door to break up clumps. 2 speed main gearboxes. Full chassis for strength.

SOUTH ISLAND Alastair Robertson 027 435 2642 www.cochranes.co.nz

NORTH ISLAND Jarred L’Amie 027 203 5022 www.gaz.co.nz

making it easier to drive over swaths and providing greater stability during transport. During transport the mower is pivoted hydraulically to the rear by means of a double-acting cylinder, meaning there is always a clear rearward view. The swivel mechanism also doubles as a collision protection device.

With safety and good weight distribution in mind, a counterweight delivering up to 600kg is available as an option, increasing the load on the tractors rear left tyre, while at the same time reducing the torsional loading on the machine’s drive shaft assembly. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

Profile for Rural News Group

Dairy News 27 October 2020  

Dairy News 27 October 2020