We can’t choose not to reduce emissions. PAGE 6 PASSING THE BATON Departing CEO PAGE 3
MARCH 30, 2021 ISSUE 467 // www.dairynews.co.nz
LIVING THE DREAM “Not only do I love the cows and the people in the industry, it gives the opportunity to run my own business, manage multimillion dollar farms and employ staff.” Rachael Foy, 2021 Auckland/ Hauraki Share Farmer of the Year. PAGE4
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GOLDRUSH Westland’s butter move PAGE 11
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
NEWS // 3
Team effort behind co-op’s renewal SUDESH KISSUN email@example.com
DEPARTING RAVENSDOWN Goal setting pays off. PG.05
Ear sensors keep tab on cows. PG.19
Methane-powered tractor. PG.22
NEWS������������������������������������������������������3-13 OPINION���������������������������������������������� 14-15 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������������16 MANAGEMENT���������������������������������17-18 ANIMAL HEALTH���������������������������19-20 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS����������������������������������������21-22
chief executive Greg Campbell says his first year at the fertiliser co-op was the toughest. He took over in 2012, when the farmer-owned fertiliser co-op had – for the first time – paid no rebate to shareholders, carried a high level of debt and reported poor profit. Campbell remembers having to front up to the board with his plan to revitalise the business. He says the board was ‘bold” and backed his plan. “I also remember having to roll out the plan…having ■■ some tough discussions with our shareholders around what we were planning to ■■ do,” he told Dairy News. “Across the business, ■■ there was overwhelming support for the plan and we ■■ delivered on that promise.” Campbell started his six-month notice period in December last year. After serving eight years at Ravensdown, part of a 25-year stint in chief executive roles he says the time is right to step down. “I’m not leaving through being dissatisfied. I think it’s time to hand over the reins to someone with new ideas.” Campbell attributes the achievements at Ravensdown during the past eight years to a team effort by
Campbell’s legacy Rebates and bonus shares for shareholders amounted to around $330 million. Equity rose by a third from $358m to $474m.
Departing Ravensdown chief executive Greg Campbell says it’s time to hand over the reins to someone with new ideas.
farm environmental consultancy in New Zealand. This was done in anticipaDebt repaid $259m – last year tion of possible regulations Ravensdown had $6m of net cash. and also in response to shareholder feedback that farmers needed help mitigating their staff, leadership, board members and impacts – not just growing as much as possible. farmer shareholders. His consistent message, over the “We have accomplished some years, is that the farmer-owned cogood things together,” he says. In the early years, he was instru- operative needed to be selling the mental in the co-operative exiting right amount of fertiliser, not the Australia, focusing on the financial most. Campbell has encouraged greater fundamentals and becoming even nutrient use efficiency so that the more science-led. Campbell initiated the setting up expense and potential environmenof what was to become the largest tal impact of essential nutrients Investment in net capital expenditure cashflow $225m.
were optimised. The ClearTech effluent management system, which he believes has the potential to transform a dairy farm’s freshwater use, was launched in 2018. The purpose of Ravensdown’s business changed under his watch – moving from providing essential inputs at lowest cost – to enabling smarter farming for a better New Zealand. Campbell believes his legacy is leading the co-operative’s transformation from a predominantly “fert company” to being seen as the “farm nutrient and environmental experts”.
DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
4 // NEWS
Good mentors key to success SUDESH KISSUN firstname.lastname@example.org
interest in dairying started when, as a 12-year old, she started relief milking during her school holidays. Twenty-nine-year-old Foy is now in her seventh season as a dairy farmer, contract milking for the Lumsden family on their Huntly farm. Along the way, she has two collected two prestigious awards: the Auckland Hauraki Dairy Farm Manager of the Year in 2017 and this month was named the region’s Share Farmer of the Year. Foy, who grew up on a lifestyle block, says she chose farming as her career because of the career development opportunities and ability
to grow equity. “Not only do I love the cows and the people in the industry, but it gives the opportunity to run my own business, manager multi-million dollar farms and employ staff.” The 300ha farm is owned by Malcolm and Eileen Lumsden and their son Roger and his wife Roanne. As the contract milker, Foy receives a fixed rate for every kgMS, so milk production is key – with each season depending on the mercy of the weather gods. Her company Grass to Gold Ltd employs three full-time staff and one part-timer. Foy says her success proves that young people, who don’t come from dairy farming families, can carve out a career in the industry.
Rachael Foy says she chose farming because of the career development opportunities and ability to grow equity.
It’s about having good mentors, great staff and
supportive farm owners. “My advice to young people is to have a good mentor and take all the opportunities that come your way,” she told Dairy News. “For me, on a farm this size having a good team is critical… I’m fortunate to have good mentors, farm owners and great staff.” Being a young, single female has provided constant challenges for Foy when she was trying to get ahead. She believes people are a strength of her business. Foy holds a Bachelor of Agriculture from
Lincoln University and has future farming goals – including growing equity through farming and nonfarming investments and land ownership. “I’d like to continue to be more involved within the dairy industry and community through educating and showcasing dairy farming in a positive light to school students and the public,” she says. “I wish I could change the New Zealand public’s perception of the dairy industry and farmers and help them to understand how important dairying is for New Zealand.”
THE 2021 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Manager of the year Stephanie Walker says the awards process has provided her with invaluable networking. “It has been priceless to be able to surround myself with like-minded individuals. The awards have been amazing and have provided incredible opportunities for my career.” Walker has been farming for five years. She is in her first year managing the 218ha Kauri Moor farm in Huntly, milking 615 cows. With an urban background, Walker says she was unaware of the variety of jobs within the rural sector. “I have always been involved with large animals since taking a liking to horses at a young age,” she says. “I originally went to university to become a vet but changed after my first year to agriculture science.” Walker reckons the future of the New Zealand dairy industry looks bright and she is pleased that urban schools are becoming more aware of farm life. “Fonterra operating milk for schools and open gate farm days allows young people like me to question more about our industry and discover the opportunities it presents,” she says. “I look forward to seeing more younger people enter the industry.” Walker identifies Kauri Moor’s environmental focus as a strength of the business. “It gives the next generation the best chance of being able to enjoy the farming lifestyle like I have been fortunate to do,” she adds. “Evolving technology is another strength of our farm. From milk quality to feeding levels, the farm is always looking at ways to improve technology to make better decisions on farm.”
DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
NEWS // 5
Couple’s continuous goal setting pays dividend NIGEL MALTHUS
A FORMER placegetter
in the Canterbury/North Otago region Dairy Industry Awards has come back to take out the top title this year. Dinuka and Nadeeka Gamage were named the region’s Share Farmer of the Year winners at a recent awards dinner. It follows Dinuka’s third place in the Dairy Manager category in 2016. The Gamages say the networking, strength and weakness identification – as well as the recognition they gain – through the awards process are what motivated them to enter again. It was part of their overall plan, adds Nadeeka. Dinuka Gamage has
been in the dairy industry since coming to NZ from Sri Lanka in 2008. Nadeeka joined him with their two children two years later. He worked one year on a farm at Kaikoura, and about eight years at Culverden. They are now in their fourth season as contract milkers on a Dairy Holdings farm at Ealing, just north of the Rangitata River. Dinuka holds a National Diploma in Technology (Agriculture Engineering) and a postgraduate diploma in Marketing from Sri Lanka. In New Zealand, he has earned a diploma in Agribusiness Management, Primary ITO Level 5 Production Management. Nadeeka holds the NZ Certificate in Early Childhood Education and still occasionally works
Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year 2021 for Canterbury/North Otago, Dinuka, left, and Nadeeka Gamage.
locally as a teaching aide, although less so as the farm takes up more of her time. “Agriculture has always been our career of choice. We love working outside with animals and nature,” say the Gamages. “It was challenging,
at first, to learn the skills required to be a NZ dairy farmer, but we have overcome that through continuous education and experience.” They say their goal is to continue to grow their business, while protecting the environment through
sustainable farming. The Gamages won $10,250 in prizes – plus two merit awards, the Federated Farmers Leadership Award and the Westpac Business Performance Award. Dinuka doesn’t put the win down to any one
thing, but to 13 years of learning, from his start as a farm assistant. The Gamages say they make a point of setting goals and strategising their progress. They believe that it’s important to understand the business both from their own point of view and that of the farm owner. Their ultimate goal is farm ownership, but Nadeeka says they are currently on track with a five-year plan to go 50:50 sharemilking. They also credit strong support from the farm owners as a strength of their operation. They already own some animals and lease more from Dairy Holdings under a scheme which they say gives them the opportunity to progress and is a big reason they are happy
to be part of the Dairy Holdings stable. The 245ha farm carries 980 cows in two herds, one consisting of the younger and lighter animals and another of the older cows, all spring calving. This season they achieved a 74%, six-week in-calf rate. Their farming operation is a fully grass-based system with no outside supplements and is largely self-contained – apart from winter grazing on another Dairy Holdings block. At the moment, the Gamages are feeding silage made on-farm, to help keep the cows milking through the autumn slow-down. Since January 1, they’ve been milking 16-hourly, through the farm’s 48-bail rotary shed.
YOUNG MAORI FARMER FINALISTS NAMED PETER BURKE email@example.com
THE FINALISTS in the 2021 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Dairy Award have been announced. They are: ■■ Ben Purua, 26, the 2IC for a contract milker at Trinity Lands farm, a 307ha property near Tokoroa in the South Waikato that runs 900 cows. ■■ Quinn Morgan, 26, who is in his
first season of farming working as a farm assistant for Sam & Kate Moore on their 155ha farm in Otakiri near Whakatane. They milk 570 cross breed cows through a 36 a-side shed and are on system three. About 80% of the farm is irrigated. Anahera Hale, 26, the 2IC farm assistant on Rod and Jackie McPherson’s dairy farm near Whakatane. Since 2019 and she’s been working on the 100ha (94 effective) where they winter
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about 360 cows. The farm is system two where cows are just fed grass and get topped up either with silage or palm kernel. The Young Maori Farmer of the Year award was inaugurated in 2012 and is designed to recognise up-andcoming young Maori in the sheep and beef, horticulture and dairy sectors. This year the competition is for dairy. Since it was inaugurated it has proved very popular and has attracted high quality entrants, many of whom have gone on to take leadership roles
in the wider agri sector. The three finalists this year were selected from a number of entrants from around the country. The coordinator of this year’s judging panel, Aaron Hunt says the standard of entrants in the competition was very high and reflects the number of young Maori because it offers an outdoor lifestyle and a significant career path. “It is also good for those with young families and allows them to have a supportive environment in
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which to work. As judges, we found all the entrants passionate about the industry and enthusiastic about their future prospects,” he says. The chairman of the Ahuwhenua Management Committee, Kingi Smiler, says it is great to see another cohort of young Maori from the dairy industry entering this event. He says the Young Maori Farmer competition is very important both for Maori and the dairy sector because it helps foster a new group of potential leaders and role models for the dairy sector.
• Ideal for Compartment Troughs/Tanks • High Flow • Top Mount • Detach to Clean • Compact/Robust
DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
6 // NEWS
We can’t choose not to reduce emissions – Carr PETER BURKE
THE HEAD of the Climate Change Commission, Dr Rod Carr says
all New Zealanders have a responsibility to begin reducing emissions if we are to rise to the climate challenge. He told about 40 rep-
resentatives of the Dairy Environment Leaders (DEL) Forum meeting in Wellington recently that human beings have a carbon footprint, no
TO ALL FARMERS FOR ALL FARMERS
matter what they do and, he says it’s about containing it, and how we contain it. Carr says the climate waits for no one and as a nation we can choose what we do, but we can’t choose not to reduce emissions. “So it’s about our share of the responsibility. The science is now so clear that we have to act because greenhouse gases are causing the climate to change. The needle on the dial is moving toward doing what we can, when we can. There is technical feasibility, economic effects and social acceptance we need to address. I think the journey is underway, we just have to configure how we do it. Long-term, we will need a technological breakthrough,” he says. As part of their meeting the participants attended at parliament to recognise their work at both a national and local level. At the function, DairyNZ chairman Jim van der Poel praised the work of the DEL and says by coming to Wellington to meet politicians and other leaders in the agrisector they now need to take these messages back to their communities and
Dr Rod Carr
farms and put them into practice. The DEL was formed by DairyNZ in 2013 to empower leadership and help farmers support other farmers making change to reduce environmental footprint. In the initial stages, members were to some degree hand-picked by the sector, but van der Poel says the organisation now has a life of its own and runs its own affairs, but is still funded by DairyNZ. He says while the sector can make policy and propose change, ultimately this has to be led by farmers themselves. He says DEL members are selected because
they are passionate about the environment and are keen to do the right thing on their farms and in the community. “They come together in these forums to share information and understand the issues and then go back to their communities and down on farms and promote good environmental practices both on their own farms and in their communities. These are people who live the good values and are proud of what they are doing in respect of the environment such as looking after the waterways, fencing them and carrying out riparian planting,” he says. Van der Poel says
many New Zealanders don’t understand what is being done on farms. “But that message is always more powerful when it’s coming directly from farmers who are doing the hard yards rather than information put out by sector groups,” he says. Van der Poel admits the sector still suffers from rogue farmers who engage in poor animal welfare or environmental practices. But he says there are bad people in every facet of society and says the majority of dairy farmers do not condone actions which ultimately damage the industry and their business.
RURAL NEWS TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS
THE CHAIR of the DEL is north Waikato dairy farmer Melissa Slattery. She and her husband Justin own and operate a 300 cow, 106ha dairy farm near Te Aroha. She’s an associate with a local chartered accountant firm, and is a former regional leader for both the Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Industry Awards and the North Canterbury Rural Business Network. Slattery says farmers are committed to playing their part to solve environmental challenges, and have a lot of great work underway already. But she says regulations need to be practical behind the farm gate and have pragmatic timeframes. “Dairy Environment Leaders Forum is an opportunity for environmentally-minded farmers to get together and discuss the opportunities we see, the challenges we face, and the support that we will need to succeed,” she says. She says DEL members are showing leadership either on their own farms or in the community as part of catchment groups or other collective groups and then on up to regional or national policy level. Slattery says at a local level they participate in farm discussion groups and share their insights with other farmers. “This is part of farmers’ culture and the culture of Dairy Environment Leaders,” she says.
DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
NEWS // 7
Dairy story goes virtual PETER BURKE firstname.lastname@example.org
THE STORY about the New Zealand dairy industry is about to become part of the total NZ story. Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ), DairyNZ, Ministry of Primary Industries and a range of stakeholders in the industry have joined forces to produce a sizeable profile about the industry which will be put up on the government website – the New Zealand story. This website features a whole range of success stories about the country ranging from film, technology and innovation down to the history of pavlova, our sauvignon blanc and even the eradication of mice from the antipodes. It is designed to give those who visit the site a picture of what
NZ is about and now the dairy industry is adding its story to the list. The focus of the dairy story is about ‘dairy goodness to the world’ and draws on the latest science and evidence regarding the important role dairy plays in a nutritionally adequate and affordable diet, with high quality protein, as well as vitamins and minerals, that our bodies can easily absorb. It talks about the generations of Kiwis that have contributed to the industry we have today, and how the spirit of dairying in New Zealand is one of ingenuity. And it notes that thanks to this enterprising spirit we now turn our milk into more than 1500 products and product specifications generating almost 20 billion in annual export returns. DCANZ chairman
Malcolm Bailey says the dairy story is something that all New Zealanders should be very proud of and it deserves the prominence it will now get on the NZ story website. His comments came at a function at parliament in Wellington recently where news about the move was announced to a large gathering of dairy sector representatives. Bailey says the move to create the dairy story will highlight how important
the industry is to the economy and focus on the good work it is doing. “When we look at a key issue now it is around climate change and our response to that and so when we make a claim around the carbon and carbon equivalent emissions from dairy we have validated and verified them in terms of international comparisons. But it is way more than that because we have our environmental claims as well around what we are doing to improve water quality and care for our land and the people who are working in the dairy sector. They are all important parts of the picture,” he says. Bailey says part of the aim is to tell the story of the industry to kiwis because he says while they know about dairying, they don’t necessarily
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know about our values and what we are doing to make sure we conserve our natural resources for future generations. Bailey says to some extent the industry has been telling its story in the past, but by putting a complete package together on the NZ web site will bring a much more coordinated approach to story about the dairy industry. There remains an unanswered question about whether the material on the NZ story website should be presented in languages other than English, given that a significant number of the countries we export to aren’t English speaking. But Bailey says just having the NZ dairy story on the web will be good given that in the Covid environment, more people are using technologies in their everyday communications.
Sensitive cows DAIRY COWS with no access to outside pasture may have damaged emotional wellbeing. That’s the conclusion that researchers at Queens University in Belfast in Northern Ireland have come to in a report just published in the prestigious journal Nature. Over the past year, Dr Gareth Arnott, senior lecturer in animal behaviour and welfare at Queens says their research shows the psychological damage that lockdown can have on human wellbeing, but notes that “livestock lockdown” may also damage emotional wellbeing in dairy cows. “In humans, negative moods are linked to pessimistic judgements, such as depression and anxiety sufferers tend to expect fewer positive outcomes in life. By contrast, happy emotions and moods are linked to more optimistic judgements. “This study is the first of its kind to investigate whether dairy cows also have this judgement bias, and whether optimistic judgements can be used as an indicator of psychological wellbeing, which is important for animal welfare,” he says. Arnott says animal welfare scientists and dairy consumers have long been concerned that depriving dairy cattle of pasture access harms their welfare. He says pasture access can promote natural behaviour, improve cows’ health, and cows given the choice spend most of their time outside. “However, the effects of pasture access on dairy cows’ psychological wellbeing have been poorly understood.” – Peter Burke
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
8 // NEWS
Finalists named for top dairy woman award work the women do for the industry behind the scenes, to encourage the next generation of dairy women to follow in their footsteps. “What excites me the most is being in the presence of incredibly hardworking, passionate and inspiring women who every day wake up to
THE THREE finalists
in the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award have been named. Whanganui sharemilker, Belinda Price joins Ashburton dairy farmer Rebecca Miller along with contract milker, farm consultant and Whangarei Māori farm advisor Chevon Horsford, in the running for the industry award managed by Dairy Women’s Network. DWN trustee and award judge Sophie Stanley says the three finalists were recognised by the judging panel as representing a wide range of diversity and leadership within the industry, on top of their commitment to supporting people as well as dairying as a whole. “Belinda showed
make the dairy industry a better place for their families, peers, the environment and New Zealand as a whole.” The winner will be announced at a gala dinner in Taupo on April 8 and will receive the award from Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell.
TOP REGIONAL WORKER
strong focus and determination to not only improve her own farming business through continuous learning, but to nurture and mentor others in the industry and contrib-
ute back to a wide range of industry organisations,” Stanley says. “Chevon’s passion, purpose and vision for encouraging and supporting Māori farmers and other wahine toa in the industry is inspiring. Rebecca’s positivity, enthusiasm and holistic approach to farming and family life shine through her nomination, which has enabled her to give back to the industry in a number of varied roles.” The finalists were selected by a judging panel comprised of Stanley, 2019 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year Trish Rankin and representatives from Fonterra, Global Women and Ballance Agri-Nutrients. Stanley says the award and the judging process shines a light on the
TWO WOMEN working at the grassroots of the dairy industry are the finalists in the DWN Regional Leader of the Year award. Donna Griggs, who farms in Ruawai, Kaipara up in Northland, and Rebecca Green, a dairy farmer from Cheviot, Canterbury, represent more than 70 regional leaders across New Zealand who connect the organisation to rural communities. Donna Griggs Rebecca Green DWN chief executive Jules Benton says regional leaders are the faces of the network and are its first point of contact for farmers around New Zealand. “They put enormous amounts of effort and time into organising and hosting regional events to provide their communities with the knowledge to further local farms, and ultimately the wider industry,” Benton explains. “The award not only highlights the effort they put into their roles as volunteer regional leaders, but the work they do behind the scenes for the good of the industry. She adds that the two finalists are both excellent representatives of Dairy Women’s Network and consciously incorporate its values into their work and day-to-day lives. This year’s award is supported by FMG. Head of rural insurance company’s agribusiness centre, Nicki Mackay says FMG is delighted to support the award. “We recognise the value of connecting with others, the opportunities to keep learning and for the part they play in wellbeing,” she says. “We’d like to thank Donna and Rebecca for the work they do in their rural communities and congratulate them on being finalists for this award.” The winner will receive a registration to the ‘Dare to Lead’ programme facilitated by Boma New Zealand, travel to the location of the programme and accommodation. The victor of the award will be announced at a gala dinner in Taupo on April 8.
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
10 // NEWS
First time entrants from Reefton scoops award JESSICA MARSHALL email@example.com
FIRST TIME entrants, Sian Madden and Mark Roberts were recently named winners of the Share Farmer of the Year category at this month’s West Coast/Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards. The couple are contract milkers and 20% sharemilkers on Stu and Jan Moirs farms in Reefton, milking 1,300 cows across the Moirs’ two properties. “It still feels pretty surreal, it’s just sinking in,” Madden told Dairy News. “It’s an amazing achievement and we’re
have faced is the location. “It’s a fairly different remote climate and we’re adapting to the lifestyle… and now we love it,” she says. Madden says that a personal challenge for her was learning the language specific to the dairy industry. She says the pair play to their strengths within the business. “Both of us have been able to use our skills and mine are in accounting and administration
both incredibly proud of ourselves and our team around us,” she says. The couple formed Madden Roberts Farming in 2019. The pair took on their first contract in that year and within six months were offered the opportunity to take on a second farm. Madden says that while her partner grew up around sharemilking and the dairy industry – his parents were sharemilkers – the same cannot be said for herself. “I only set foot on a dairy farm when I met Mark, so I come from a completely different background.” Madden says one of the challenges the couple
Sian Madden and Mark Roberts, West Coast/ Top of the South Share Farmer of the Year winners.
so we both use our skills and what we love and put them both into the business.” Looking to the future, Madden says the couple aim to own their own farm. “We are working towards farm ownership and know what we need to get there.” Other winners at the West Coast/Top of the South Island Dairy Industry include Rachael Lind (Dairy Manager of the Year) and Sam Smithers (Dairy Trainee of the Year). The West Coast/Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards winners field day will be held on April 7 in Reefton.
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
NEWS // 11
Westland’s $40m ‘goldrush plan’ CHINESE-OWNED WESTLAND Milk Prod-
ucts is ramping up production of butter. The company is spending $40 million to double capacity of its consumer butter manufacturing facility. The plan to increase production of premium grass-fed consumer butter brand Westgold has been five years in the making and has the backing of Westland’s new owners, global dairy giant Yili.
an important role.’’ Westland’s general manager of sales and marketing Hamish Yates said Westland would leverage the West Coast’s reputation as one of the most unique dairy catchments in the world to connect more directly with domestic and global consumers concerned about the provenance of food. Westgold and Westland-produced butter is already sold in more than 20 countries around the
“This investment now gives us the flexibility to pursue markets that will offer Westland the most value.” Westland resident director Shiqing Jian said the dairy company was transitioning from a supplier of mostly bulk commodities to play a greater role in the production of consumer goods in an expanding global butter and spread market. “The investment highlights the important role Westland plays in Yili’s ongoing plans to supply international industrial and consumer markets,’’ Jian said. Yili took over Westland Milk Products last year and also owns Oceania Dairy in South Canterbury. Annual global butter and spread sales are predicted to grow from a current estimated $US44 trillion to $US59 trillion by 2025 – with the US, Russia and China regarded as the world’s largest importers of butter. “New Zealand is one of the world’s major butter producers and industry and consumers widely recognise the value of dairy products of New Zealand origin,’’ Jian said. “Chinese consumers are also continuously looking to improve and diversify the application of butter products in baking, cooking and desserts,’’ he said. “In future, demand for butter production and processing of Yili and Yili subsidiary brands will be considerable, and the upgraded Westland plant will play
world, including the US, Japan and China. However, a large part of what it currently supplies is bulk commodity butter. “Given the rainfall and geographical conditions that make the West Coast catchment so unique for grass-fed farming systems, and the way our farming families have farmed the area for generations, we knew we were sitting on something world-leading and incredibly valuable,’’ Yates said. The plan to increase global market penetration of Westgold butter began in 2017. However, configuration of the old butter plant had kept retail butter production capacity capped. “This investment now gives us the flexibility to pursue markets that will offer Westland the most value,’’ Yates said. Westland chief operating officer Richard Hickson says the butter plant upgrade would increase Westland’s consumer butter production to a total of 42,000 tonnes a year. The upgrade includes replacing the existing single churn that was commissioned in 1978 with two German-built churns. These will offer greater quality control and production efficiencies, says Hickson. “New packaging lines will also allow us to package different formats and, at the back end, we’re
upgrading palletising to give us greater efficiency, speed and stacking combinations to suit the varying requirements of international markets. “Remote stacking and racking capability will also
be built into a cool store upgrade to allow for quick recovery of palletised goods for transport.’’ Site works, construction and installation is expected to begin soon and take three months.
Westland-produced butter is already sold in more than 20 countries around the world.
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
12 // NEWS
Upbeat crowd, exhibitors at field days MARK DANIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
WITH AN enforced absence of two years,
brought about by its cancellation in 2020, the Central Districts Field Days at Feilding heralded the first event of its type for 2021. With everyone breathing a big sigh of relief, following the cancellation of the Northland Field Days and The Horse of the Year Show a couple of weeks earlier due to Covid, the CD event was certainly upbeat. Visitors ranged from those looking for a bargain, to others doing some research for a future purchase, to those just after an excuse for a little socialising – with plenty of hand sanitiser, of course. Exhibitors spoken to by Dairy News were very buoyant about the state of the industry, citing good weather, plentiful harvests and a healthy dairy payout for the season. As expected, some were complaining about having to live a little hand to mouth with stock, due to the world’s heavily disrupted shipping schedules. Indeed, one UTV importer noted astronomical increases in freight charges, citing a 40-foot container that cost around
US$750 from China to Auckland in January 2020, now costing US$3500. Kyle Baxter, Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) president and tractor and machinery lead at Norwood says feedback from sales teams has been very positive, with some saying that they had received serious enquiries from faces they hadn’t seen in many years. “Interestingly, we did see the crowds thin out a little mid-afternoon, obviously some going home to milk cows or others getting back to harvesting the maize crop that appears to be a couple of weeks behind the Waikato region.” Henry McLernon, sponsorship and events director at Stuff Events says early indications are that they’ve had the best ticket sales in recent years, from a predominantly trade day on Thursday through to family groups on Saturday. “Exhibitors told us they had experienced strong revenue; some even said they sold more on the first day than they did across three days at other field days. “They also said they recognised the advantage of a regional show, not only direct sales, but delivering good leads in their own region for follow up. So much so, that a significant number of exhibitors have re-booked for 2022, which will be the event’s 29th year.”
Feedback from tractor companies exhibiting at the field days has been positive. Organisers says the three-day event had very strong ticket sales.
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
WORLD NEWS // 13
Automation helps get balance right FOR SMALL organic
dairy farms, like Camphill Village in South Africa, finding the right level of automation is key. Updating to a smart GEA in-line milking parlour was the best solution for improving efficiency without losing the handson approach the unique farmers require in their daily work. Camphill Village was established in 1964 as a residential facility, where today, nearly 100 adults with diverse disabilities and special needs are given an opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life. With challenges ranging from brain
The relationship between Camphill and GEA kicked off in 2018 when Camphill farm manager, Antonius Verhoeven, got a glimpse of GEA milking equipment in action at a trade fair. Soon after, a GEA Farm Technologies team began working closely with Camphill’s management team to find the right milking solution for their needs. The equipment and installation would need to deliver on: process optimisation, ease of maintenance and repairs, improved hygiene and safety. Two years later, with financial support from
responded to our myriad of questions – kindly assisting us even before we had committed to purchasing anything,” says Verhoeven. “The installation was accompanied by friendly, easy to under-
stand explanations of all the equipment as well as hands-on training for our people.” Thanks to these important upgrades, which have improved availability and reliability parameters, the
Camphill Village staff Wonder Masenga (left) and Louis Nel (middle) with Alon Lipman from GEA inisde the upgraded dairy parlour, including GEA Classic 300 milking clusters.
dairy operation at Camphill Village has a much higher throughput of milk products and provides
a more stable income stream. Today, with just under 30 cows currently being milked out of a herd
of 50, Camphill will finally be able to increase its milk production and dairy processing output.
The income from the dairy provides critical funds for the residents who live onsite full time and for paying the support staff. injuries, intellectual disabilities and down syndrome, Camphill provides its residents a safe haven where the focus is on getting “stuck in” by creating useful, value-added products. Set on a 220ha farm near Philadelphia just north of Cape Town, the organisation added a jersey dairy herd and milk processing facility to its operations in the late 1980s. Alongside its flourishing produce, herb and bakery activities, the Camphill Village dairy has continued to thrive over the years, providing organic dairy products for the residents and surrounding communities. The income from the dairy provides critical funds for the residents who live onsite full time and for paying the support staff. But increasing raw material handling and dairy production had remained a long-standing challenge for Camphill. The original milking equipment, purchased in the 1980s, was long overdue for an upgrade, along with the dairy processing facility which suffered from an outdated design hindering flow and processing efficiency.
German NGO Rays of Hope and some goodwill investment from GEA, Camphill was able to replace its bucket milking system with an in-line “flat” milking system featuring a 1x8 point high line layout. This meant the new parlour could be installed without altering the existing building or major construction work. In this case, it was necessary that the milking equipment meet modern standards but without a high degree of automation since residents benefit from maintaining close contact with the cows during milking. In fact, this physical interaction is considered to have therapeutic benefits. The integration of a system for recording milk enables the farm to automatically collect and store data about individual animals. This tool, coupled with the integration of DairyPlan Herd Management Software, allows the team to take informed decisions related to production, health and fertility and means they can effectively grow the milking herd over time. “We chose GEA because their team patiently listened to and
THE BENEFITS OF 100% NATURAL GYPSUM
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 Soil tests throughout New Zealand shows sulphur deficiency is wide spread. Although often overlooked, sulphur is needed in at least equal quantities to phosphorus. Many responses in crops are sulphur due to the sulphate radical (SO4--). • 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
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 Soil Cation Soil Cation CaSO4 + ➔ + 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
For more about Natural Gypsum and soil stabilisation visit gypsum.co.nz
DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
14 // OPINION RUMINATING
Spreading the good word
MILKING IT... Foot in mouth A MATE of Milking It recently opined that Ag Minister Damien O’Connor is a sitter for the moniker ‘Minister of Foot in Mouth Disease’ after yet another clumsy public statement. In January, O’Connor did his best to set back relations with our closest neighbour and vital trade partner Australia by wading into their relationship with China, saying, “… clearly if they were to follow us and show respect... then they too, hopefully, could be in a similar situation”. He has now followed this gaffe in a speech he gave at the CD field days – no doubt trying to pander to his farming audience – by kicking tourism while it’s down. Covid-19, he said, has taught the tourism industry “not to be so cocky” after it conceded to dairy as our top export earner. Towns dependent on tourism are dying and need government assistance, not a kick in the guts.
Seaweed to the rescue
Cows in lockdown
RESEARCHERS AT the University of California, report an 82% reduction in methane emissions in cows fed small doses of seaweed a day for 21 weeks. If it proves effective at scale, reductions of this size could offer significant climate benefits. The new results published, last week, in the journal PLoS One, builds on work published by other researchers suggesting that adding certain types of seaweed can reduce livestock methane emissions. In 2018, some of the same researchers behind the new paper recorded methane emissions reductions of more than 50% among dairy cows after the introduction of a red-coloured seaweed called Asparagopsis taxiformis to their feed.
OVER THE past year the world has been shown the psychological damage that lockdown can have on human wellbeing. New research led by Queen’s University; Belfast has found that “livestock lockdown” may also damage emotional wellbeing in dairy cows. The research has been published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports. Dr. Gareth Arnott, Senior Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Queen’s University and principal investigator on the research, explains: “Animal welfare scientists and dairy consumers have long been concerned that depriving dairy cattle of pasture access harms their welfare. “Pasture access can promote natural behaviour, improve cows’ health, and cows given the choice spend most of their time outside.”
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Sour taste A DAIRY snack for kids made by the Gloriavale Christian Community has been dropped by two distributors because of “reputational” issues. The Moo Chews website listed more than 100 stockists nationally for the milk bites, which are marketed as a health treat for children. However, two distributors, who recently learned Moo Chews’ were made at Gloriavale, have now refused to handle the product – with one offering all its retailers a full refund as an incentive to get them to withdraw Moo Chews from sale. Following enquires from local media about manufacturing of the milk bites, an email from the Moo Chews NZ website said Gloriavale’s contract would be suspended until the company was satisfied with employment practices at the factory.
HATS OFF to the New Zealand dairy industry for telling its story to the world. We have a great story to tell. Our farmers are world leaders in animal welfare and climate change. And, unlike producers in many other nations, they do it without direct, free-trade distorting subsidies. The NZ dairy industry turns milk into more than 1500 products and product specifications and generates almost $20 billion in annual export returns. Our cultural characteristics of trust, integrity and ingenuity underpin a strong global reputation for product safety and quality. New Zealand achieved a score 100 out of 100 for food safety in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Food Security Index. The New Zealand Dairy Story has been added to the New Zealand Story online toolkit and is one of dairy goodness for the world. It sets out New Zealand’s unique combination qualities as a country – our natural advantages, our care, our ingenuity and our integrity – and how they come together to make New Zealand a great source of milk, and therefore of dairy nutrition for a sustainable die. Developed in partnership by Dairy Companies Association of NZ, New Zealand Story, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise – with input and support from DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, and Dairy Women’s network – it adds dairy-specific resources to the New Zealand Story toolkit. The story highlights temperate climate, good soils, and abundant rainfall provide the potential for year-round pasture grazing. The milk produced is a highly digestible source of the nine essential amino acids (which must be consumed through diet) and naturally contains other essential vitamins and minerals. New Zealand’s farmers and dairy companies produce the equivalent of two and a half serves of milk per day for around 90 million people each year. Many of whom are in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where there are not the same natural resources to produce milk. Our temperate climate and soils are such that our cows can be outside almost every day, eating grass, behaving naturally and having space to roam. Federated Farmers dairy chairman Wayne Langford rightly says: “Our dairy story really is one of integrity, innovation and kaitiakitanga.” And we should be telling the world about it.
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
OPINION // 15
Vaccinating animals just as important MARK ROSS
AS WE struggle to
fathom how we ended up in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re reminded of the importance of vaccinations to protect us from lifethreatening diseases. The same applies to animals – to preserve their health and wellbeing as well as ours – due to the spread of disease between animals and humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 60% of infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, meaning that they can pass from animals to people and vice versa. Three out of four zoonotic diseases originate in wildlife. As well as affecting human and animal health, animal diseases are detrimental to livestock, wildlife and agriculture. They also result in revenue and trade losses. Up to 20% of livestock are lost to disease each year. Preventing animal disease through vaccination, nutrition, biosecurity, and good husbandry, increases the availability of safe food by reducing losses and waste on the farm. Rapid diagnosis and treatment are essential because disease can’t always be avoided. For bacterial diseases, the only current solution is antibiotic treatment. The global animal health sector invests approximately $1.8-2.7 billion per year in new R&D for better prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Vaccinating animals protects them from lifethreatening diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and leptospirosis, which affect New Zealand animals. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease shared between rats, dogs, pigs, cattle and people. According to the ACC, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of leptospirosis in the world. It puts farmers, particularly dairy farmers, at risk as it can spread from infected
urine in dairy sheds. It is also an occupational risk for meat workers, who can contract the disease in the same way. According to the New Zealand Veterinary Association, anyone in contact with cattle could be at risk. Many killer diseases have been kept in check by responsible animal owners maintaining vaccination programmes. Rabies, for example, is a completely preventable virus that is fatal if left untreated. It kills more than 59,000 people each year, mostly children in Asia and Africa. If this isn’t tragic enough, the impact of the virus is estimated to cost in excess of US$6,000 million, according to the WHO. Many animals die of rabies. Its transmission to livestock reduces food productivity. Bovine rabies causes one million cattle deaths in Central and South America every year. Rabies is prevented by vaccinating dogs. Through research and pilot programmes, the World Society for the Protection of Animals found that vaccinating at least 70 percent of a community’s dogs creates ‘herd immunity’. This occurs when a significant proportion of the population (or herd) is immunised, providing a level of protection to unprotected individuals. Vaccinating a large proportion of dogs in a community breaks the cycle of transmission between them. It also prevents the disease from spreading to people. The World Health Organization, World Organisation for Animal Health, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control have committed to ending dogmediated rabies in people by 2030. The spread of disease between humans and animals remains a constant threat. With a growing global population, the risk of zoonotic diseases spreading will only increase as humans and animals live in increasingly closer prox-
imity. This coincides with an increasing demand for food when resources for agriculture are increasingly under pressure. Vaccination vastly improves the health of
both people and animals and is vital for continuing to meet the health challenges of growing populations. • Mark Ross is chief executive of AgCarm.
Up to 20% of livestock are lost to disease each year.
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
16 // AGRIBUSINESS
Watson to head world’s largest breed federation HOLSTEIN FRIESIAN New Zealand general manager Cherilyn Watson has appointed President of the World Holstein Friesian Federation (WHFF) Council, She is the first woman to hold the role in the Federation’s 45-year history. Watson has been general manager Holstein Friesian NZ for 17 years and has been the Oceania representative on the World Holstein Friesian Federation Council since 2016. The Federation is responsible for improving, promoting and developing the Holstein Friesian breed around the word. Holstein Friesian NZ president, Hennie Verwaayen says Watson’s appointment was recognition of how far the breed society had come in New Zealand and proof that New Zealand was producing some of the best leaders in the field. “For a little country at the bottom of the world I think Cherilyn’s appoint-
ment shows we can and are footing it with the best in the dairy industry.” Watson was instrumental in securing funding and is leading the development of a new $1 million project, backed the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), to develop an information system to shape the genetics powering New Zealand’s dairy sector. The Breed Society and Traits other than Production (TOP) solution to Dairy Industry Good Animal Database (DIGAD) is being jointly developed by New Zealand’s independent, not-forprofit dairy cattle breed societies lead by Holstein Friesian NZ. She is also on the industry genetics steering group looking at access to data and genotypes across the NZ dairy industry. She sits on the Breed Association Working Group of ICAR, an international committee setting standards for animal recording, and is secretary of the NZ Dairy Breeds Federation. Watson is also serves on the
Holstein Friesian New Zealand general manager Cherilyn Watson has been appointed president of the World Holstein Friesian Federation (WHFF) Council.
TOP Advisory Committee which steers the development and implementation of TOP traits in New Zealand. Watson says she is honoured to accept the role and is looking forward to working with the WHFF Council and members to lead the Federa-
tion through an ever-changing world from the global pandemic to the environmental challenges facing all dairy farmers. “New Zealand farmers are facing similar issues to dairy farmers around the world, from managing our social
licence to operate, to addressing environmental challenges. I’m looking forward to working with the Council and continuing to both facilitate discussion and help address those challenges.” Watson said one of the biggest challenges currently facing the New Zealand dairy industry was the development of genomics and the ownership of genomic information for the national herd. “Overseas the development of genomic testing has already led to more structured breeding decisions about the type of cows farmers both want and need to breed. In New Zealand we haven’t quite got there yet because there is currently no one industry good source of genomic data.” Watson takes over from Jos Buiting, the Netherlands, who will remain as a Federation Council member. Exiting the role, he highlighted the work of the Federation in recording breeding traits and genetics.
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
MANAGEMENT // 17
Stick to the science THE OTHER day I read
a couple of articles that made me think. The first, published in Stuff was on a report by Otago and Victoria Universities on the number of Kiwis at risk of getting bowel cancer because they live in areas with an elevated water nitrate level. The report was based on a 2018 Danish study which sought to link higher rates of colorectal cancel to those people living in regions with a groundwater nitrate level above 0.87mg/l. It stated that somewhere between 300,000 and 800,000 Kiwis were at risk of getting colorectal cancer because they were drinking high nitrate water. Then on February 24th, a second article was published also in Stuff. Dr Frank Frizelle, a bowel cancer surgeon and the
medical advisor for Bowel Cancer NZ, cautioned against the over interpreting of studies that seek to prove a link between water nitrates and bowel cancer. He pointed out high rates of colorectal cancer were unlikely to be caused by high levels of nitrates in the ground water as the 2018 Danish study found. Dr Frizelle said that of seven studies undertaken around the world on the same issue, four showed no significant difference, two indicated a slight increase in
risk and the Danish study showed a notable increase in bowel cancer. However, when the analysis of all seven studies was measured against the number of bowel cancer cases recorded, it was questionable that there was “anything there at all” in terms of increased risk. Dr Frizelle suggested that the cause of bowel cancer could be due to the higher
rates of meat consumption (an established risk factor) in rural communities. These rural communities also tend to have higher water nitrate levels. The above is a great example of how we can use numbers to support an opinion. The Danish report measured high rates of colorectal cancer in areas with
high water nitrate levels. They assumed one (water nitrates) caused the other (colorectal cancer). However, as Dr Frizelle, a person who knows a lot about colorectal cancer points out, “What we have got now is a very loose association with nitrates and bowel cancer, and perhaps it doesn’t exist at all ... there is no logical reason or cause and effect.” It is very important that we make decisions based on good science. I am constantly amazed how farmers purchase all kinds of things based on poor science and very little data. The company I work for spends a lot of time and money to produce good science. For example, our maize hybrid advancement programme is based on a large number of side-by-
side hybrid comparisons conducted across multiple locations over several years. We want to ensure that the merchant selling the seed and the farmer growing the seed can be confident that the hybrid we recommend will be right for their paddock. This is good science. So, how do you as a farmer know if you can trust the data behind something that is being sold to you? I have five things you should look for. These are as follows: ■■ Is the person trying to convince you reputable? Do they have qualifications to back up their interpretation of the numbers? ■■ Do they have any scientific data and is there any real (statistical) difference in the numbers you are being
shown? Have the trials been conducted over a wide area and ideally over more than one year? ■■ Have the results been published so that other independent people can look at the results and see whether they have been generated correctly? ■■ Are the conclusions drawn from the data correct or are there other possible interpretations of the data? While you can’t always make the right call about whether a product will provide a benefit on your farm, using good science to help make your decision will guarantee a higher chance of a good outcome. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact him at iwilliams@genetic. co.nz ■■
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
18 // MANAGEMENT
In the first time in their lives, Sri Lankans Nalayini and Chinniah were earning enough money to eat three meals a day and pay for their kids’ education—thanks to one cow and a lot of hard work.
NZ dairy expertise helping Sri Lankan post-war recovery NALAYINI AND CHINNIAH, both in their 50s, have overcome more obstacles than most couples do in a lifetime. They didn’t have an easy life before the civil war in Sri Lanka. They were living in poverty, raising their five children, and were only able to afford one meal a day instead of the usual three. “My husband worked as a labourer in the paddy fields and cut firewood, while I was at home with the children,” says Nalayini.
“Life was very difficult… we didn’t have a traditional house with all the furnishings. We lived in a small place made from coconut leaves and slept on a mat on the ground. We would always get wet when it rained. We lived like that for a long time,” she says. When the civil war started in Sri Lanka, Nalayini and Chinniah with their children fled for their lives. “We moved from place to place because the bombs were falling everywhere. We hid in bunkers to protect
ourselves. We were convinced we would die.” The couple managed to make it to one of the camps for displaced people where they stayed for a year. “We were given food and water and other basics, but we couldn’t go anywhere. All we wanted was to go home.” When the war was over, the family returned to their home village, but they were traumatised. “We were scared all the time. We
feared the bombing would start up again—that the whole war would start all over.” Not only that, when the family returned there was nothing left – home was destroyed and goats and cows were gone. Nalayini and Chinniah rebuilt their lives step-by-step with determination. They didn’t have any other choice. “At first, we built a kind of makeshift house. After a couple of months, we were able to get some supplies
to make our house a little stronger. After three years, we managed to build a sturdy, brick home for our family.” At the same time, the couple joined Tearfund’s dairy farming programme. They had owned cows before the war and knew the basics of how to care for livestock. “We received a pregnant cow, attended various training sessions on how to care for and raise the cows well so we could increase their milk supply.”
Why do we love our cows like they’re family? Because they are family Treating your animals with respect and kindness is vital. To us, it’s how we farm. In fact, we aim to be world leading in animal care. Why? Because we’re dairy farmers and we rise to the challenge. And it’s in these moments we shine.
DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
ANIMAL HEALTH // 19
Ear sensors keeping cow health under tabs typically dead within 24 hours. The system identified suspicious activity compared to the rest of the herd, with an indication of both a temperature and rumination drop, that upon veterinary investigations indicated sulphate poisoning. Indeed, speaking with the Aubrey’s post-event, Kay said, “without a doubt, the biggest standout for us is bang up to date information on our animals’ health status, both individually and as a herd. In the case of the sulphate poisoning, a subclinical alert allowed us to take early action and cows being saved with a $10
MARK DANIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CHANCE of an
extra set of eyes on a dairy farm is not to be sniffed at, so a recent onfarm show and tell day in the Waikato created a great deal of interest. About 40 people turned up, not to see the latest employee but to hear about Bill and Kay Aubrey’s experience of using CowManager, a monitoring system that offers the ability to look at the fertility, health and nutrition of the herd 24/7. The system, driven by patented ear sensor technology, measures three stages of activity, which is combined with data collected from measuring rumination, eating and animal temperature, which in turn uses clever algorithms to pinpoint areas of concern. Claimed to be the most accurate system in the marketplace, CowManager developed and holds patents around collecting ear temperatures, using a clever dual temperature device that can detect swings of up to 7 degrees. In practice, the ear sensor relays collected data to a series of routers placed around the farm, that in turn, wirelessly forward this information to the farm office, smart devices or to storage at a cloud- based domain. An overview sees four distinct areas of operationfertility, health, nutrition and the recently intro-
duced Find my Cow function. Heat Alerts allows users to see the ideal window for artificial insemination, by indicating the state of the heat cycle, alongside an indication of the last heat event, while also proving to be very clever at detecting “silent heats”. Compatible with most automated drafting systems, animals can be seamlessly moved to a holding area postmilking, or in the case of the Aubrey’s, quickly identified and moved manually. The system is said to be 98% accurate for heat detection, but can also monitor heat status after calving, identify irregular heat cycles, while also delivering 100% accuracy for in-calf diagnosis. In the Aubrey’s case, using the system saw empty rates reduced from 15% to 6%, with an added benefit of being able to
“ignore” animals for culling, but also ensure the peak timing for cows to be inseminated with sexed semen. On the health front, the system offers a traffic light approach to monitoring animals, with a yellow display meaning “keep an eye on this animal”- orange meaning the animal is sick and needs some intervention and a red alert showing the animal is very unwell. Typically, these alerts give early, often sub-clinical indications of conditions such as milk fever, laminitis and mastitis. During the monitoring process, individuals are compared against the herd average, while also sending alerts if there are extended periods of non-movement. Interestingly, the Aubrey’s and farm manager Matt Kerr talked of the alerts indicating that something “wasn’t quite right” with several ani-
DATA COLLECTED ON THE MOVE COWMANAGER IS a family owned business based in Holland, and has operated in the monitoring arena for more than twenty years. The device has been available in NZ for around eight years, currently installed on more than 130 farms with herd sizes from 120 to 2500 cows. Individual set-ups centres around mapping farms, to understand the topography and identify any shadow areas. This will dictate the position of the routers, which
can typically offer a range of one to nine kilometres. Data is sent every 15 minutes, with alerts sent every hour. Data is also collected as cows move along the race to the milking shed. Sensor tags are said to be easy to install, being designed to fit over the NAIT tag, with a 5-year battery life, lifetime warranty and a loss rate of 0.02%. On commissioning, the system records data for 7 days to create a base or normal level for the herd, from which point the system will go live.
mals. Cows presented with heads thrown back,
then apparent blindness, with affected animals
dose of Be Calm.” On the nutritional front, the system was configured to suit all types of New Zealand dairy operations, proving to be particularly useful during the cow’s dry period, offering insights into eating and rumination, particularly in the risky weeks prior to calving. Using ear temperature measurement combined with behaviour could also warn of potential heat stress, while optimisation of feed and good management could prevent losses and lead to a generally healthier herd. www.samen.co.nz/ cowmanager @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
Zero Antibiotic use for Mastitis Consider starting with steps 4 at drying-off and 1 at calving
Use SuperStart Lead Feed for springers. (Can be used in water troughs) A powerful probiotic for easier calving and reducing calving mastitis. “We used to get up to 30% heifer mastitis. Now we are unlucky if we get 2-4%.” Stewart, Pahiatua
Use BioRumen DFM (Direct Fed Microbial) to milkers Improved feed conversion, noticeably better fibre digestion and reduced acidosis. Improves cows base immunity so that results of treating cows for mastitis with probiotics are improved.
Treat clinical mastitis with ImmunoMax – 5 days “Last season I treated 25 cows. One had to be treated twice so we culled her.” John, Kaponga
Trough treat high SCC cows with Bovine Boost for 5 days after drying-off. Helps populate the udder with mastitis inhibiting bacteria. “I’ve treated high SCC cows for 2 years and to me it is just as effective as dry cow therapy. Very few treated cows have to be culled during the season.” Shaun, Ingelwood
Continue to use other proven management practices to prevent mastitis and boost herd immunity: Supplement with minerals, including minerals that are vital to the immune system such as Selenium and Zinc. Ensure milking machines are running efficiently. Teat spraying milkers. Cull clinical cases that don’t respond to treatment.
Call us to discuss how we can transition your herd towards zero antibiotic use
Call us to discuss how we
027 459 1061
021 234 1713
DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
20 // ANIMAL HEALTH
Cow BCS now more in the spotlight UP UNTIL now the dairy industry has largely left the monitoring and management of cow body condition scores (BCS) to individual farmers, but change is imminent as scrutiny builds from
within the consumer base of our valuable markets. This increasing market focus has been one of the drivers of the very recently rolled out ‘Fonterra Co-operative difference’. This new initiative
by the co–op serves as an incentive focusing on improving practices around the environment, record keeping, animal welfare, people management and milk quality. By fulfilling further require-
Cows with marginal BCS are now in the spotlight.
Stress less with your drying off and teatsealing Experienced and highly skilled, our team of professional VetEnt Veterinary Technicians are currently accepting bookings for the drying off and teatsealing season. Trusted for their reliable results and driven by their passion for best practice administration, they truly love what they do and are here to help you. Outsourcing to our Vet Tech team gives you and your staff peace of mind, is cost-effective, helps calm your heifers and protect next season’s milk quality.
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ments in these areas, farmers will be awarded a further 10 cents/kgMS produced for the 2021-22 season – a figure certainly not to be sneezed at. One of the areas in the spotlight is cows with marginal BCS. Presence of these cows within a herd is indicative of an extended period of suboptimal nutrition, representing a period where cow wellbeing is deemed suboptimal. In the past, the Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare required farmers to take immediate action (including drying off and providing additional feed) if a cow was to fall below BCS 3.0. It is now expected all cows supplying Fonterra will have BCS of 3.5 or more and the onus is on farmers to ensure cows stay above this level. It is therefore recommended that herds are objectively assessed at crucial times during the season, such as pre-calving, pre-mating and mid to late lactation, and farmers are expected to take action to prevent individual cows falling below the 3.5 threshold. In addition to monitoring the herd throughout the year, farmers are being encouraged to take a proactive approach with feed budgeting in an attempt to address high risk times of the season, such as summer drought conditions. Preparing an annual feed budget in autumn/ winter for spring calving
herds provides an opportunity for managers to forecast feed pinches and decide on a strategy to mitigate significant BCS loss. An added benefit of this planning is that it also provides farmers with a good estimate of the amount of feed required to bridge any gaps, allowing a greater opportunity to contract feed at lower prices. Finally, as discussed in previous articles, cows that lose and gain weight more frequently throughout a season require significantly more feed to produce milk. This is because cows short ~3kg DM lose 1kg of liveweight and to regain this weight they require ~5kg DM. It is like borrowing $3 from the bank to pay back $5 within the same year. This equates to a 66% interest rate, which should be avoided at all costs! In summary, there are many advantages of proactive planning, including improvement of the farmer’s peace of mind, cow welfare, the sourcing and contracting of feeds and ultimately the bottom line of the farm. By taking a proactive approach represents a win–win for all involved. • Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services. This article is brought to you by
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
MACHINERY & PRODUCTS // 21
Case plugs into the future
New telemetry solution MARK DANIEL email@example.com
PART OF the AGCO stable, Fendt, is introducing Fendt Connect – a new generation telemetry solution for Australian and New Zealand customers, said to offer improved productivity, efficiency, and profitability. The Fendt Connect system gives customers and their dealers machine location and diagnostics data, including fleet statistic overview, alarm and maintenance notification by machine, alongside tracking of fuel level and DEF levels, engine hours, and historical machine path details. The system allows users to connect to Fendt tractors and harvesters, using the simple platform from any location, at any time. “Customers can see the current status of their machines and how their machines have been performing in terms of
has announced that it has completed a minority investment in Monarch Tractor, a US-based agricultural technology company, who will help assist in accelerating agricultural industry transformation towards autonomy and electrification. Further, the partnership is said to be an important step towards further enhancing longterm sustainability, enabling the world’s farmers and agribusinesses to realise profitable zeroemission farming. Dubbed the world’s smartest, fully electric autonomous tractor, the new machine combines electrification, automation, machine learning, and data analysis, all combining “to enhance farmer’s existing operations, increase labour productivity and safety, and maximise yields to cut
The Monarch Tractor is 100% electric.
re-charge time four to five hours at 220V, and it has a 10-year battery guarantee. The tractor can operate with or without a driver, performing preprogrammed tasks in the latter mode, or an operator can use interactive automation features including Gesture and Shadow modes to have the tractor follow a worker on the job. Safety features include roll and collision preven-
overhead costs and emissions”, the US firm says. In terms of horsepower, the tractor’s electric drivetrain offers 40hp (30KW) of continuous power and short duration peak power up to 70hp (55KW). The Monarch Tractor is 100% electric, with zero tailpipe emissions, while also offering the capability to perform as a powerful generator in the field. Operating time is claimed to be 10 hours and over,
tion, a vision-based PTO safety system and 360° cameras, while connections to smart devices allow users to receive tractor alerts, updates on current micro-weather conditions, operations reports, data collection, analysis, and storage. Interestingly, the machine has a Deep Learning and Sensing Suite, meaning the tractor collects and analyses over 240GB of crop data during a typical working day.
Fendt is introducing Fendt Connect – a new generation telemetry solution for Australian and NZ customers.
fuel levels and consumption rates, engine hours and time to service, and current and historical positioning, over a secure data platform,” says Anthony Morgan, product manager for Fendt technology products. The benefits are said to include logistics management, remote accessibility, and more informed decision-making abilities. For dealers, a selection of tools enables proactive and insightful service delivery, such as diagnostic support features, to help with planning and forecasting service support for customers. They also have an overview of machine activity, including service requirements, error
codes, machine and owner information, and the ability to assist with remote diagnostics, allowing customer support to begin quickly and remotely. A free five-year subscription is available to new Fendt tractor and harvester owners who purchased a compatible machine from 1st January 2020. Moving forward, more models will be introduced to the Fendt Connect lineup, achieving the Bavarian-based manufacturer’s goal of a fully connected fleet that allows customers to track and optimise individual machine and fleet performance, and dealers to support customers faster and better.
FASTRAC MADE EASY TO OPERATE JCB HAS compiled a series of “How To” videos to help operators make the most of the Fastrac 4000 Series high-speed tractor and features such as its unique four-wheel steering system. Published on JCB Agriculture’s YouTube channel, the 14 videos are kept short yet informative, explaining how the touch-screen in the Command Plus cab is easily navigated to
achieve optimum settings for different tasks and applications. It covers topics like setting up the stepless transmission and its various modes, to organising a headland management sequence. Several of the recordings relate to the tractor’s hardware – things like setting up and operating the four-speed PTO, front and rear linkage, auxiliary hydraulics, four-wheel
steering and the transmission. One covers daily service checks to ensure the tractor is in tip-top condition for a day’s work. A further six, focus on electronics, with topics such as setting up joystick buttons, the tractor’s area meter, work lights, screen display and headland management sequences. And another two explain set-ups for the comprehensive lighting pack-
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DAIRY NEWS MARCH 30, 2021
22 // MACHINERY & PRODUCTS
New Holland has announced its revolutionary tractor is reaching the final stages of testing for “commercial availability” later in the year.
First methane-powered tractor set for global rollout in 2021 THE FIRST production unit of the
T6 Methane Power tractor, a cornerstone of New Holland’s Energy Independent Farm concept was presented at the Agritechnica show in 2019. Now New Holland has announced its revolutionary tractor is reaching the
final stages of testing for “commercial availability” later in the year. NH Brand President, Carlo Lambro, explained, “we developed the EnergyIndependent Farm model, at a farm near Milan, showing how a closed loop between agricultural production
and energy generation can make farming CO2-neutral, or even carbon negative. This year we are taking a further step into turning this into a reality, as our methane-powered tractor enters the New Holland range.” With field trails nearing comple-
tion, the middle of the year should see production units being delivered to selected customers in Germany, France, Italy, the UK and the Benelux regions, all markets where biogas production is well advanced. The machinery giant has confirmed
that the methane-powered tractor will enter the New Holland range by the end of the year and be available to all customers in Europe and other markets around the world. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
NEW DIMENSION IN FERT APPLICATION WITH NEW nitrogen fertiliser restrictions due to kick in during July 2021, with a target to apply less than 190 units N/ha, many farmers will be having a re-think on fertiliser application. Tow and Fert, well known for its system of delivering nutrients in suspension as a foliar application, says its system is already reaping benefits for its customers, by increasing efficiency, reducing inputs, leaching and run-off and most importantly, growing more grass. The latest introduction to the Tow and Fert family is the Multi 500 that the company says will help farmers reduce their nitrogen
inputs significantly, helping them to become compliant with the new regulations. Designed for smaller farms, those wanting to trial the system or perhaps requiring a smaller second machine, the Multi 500 is said to bring the technology of its larger siblings in an easy to use package. Suitable for towing behind an ATV or UTV, the Multi 500 features a 500-litre tank, working in conjunction with an engine-driven, 2-inch Metalform stainless steel trash pump. Typically, the set up can cover 3 –4ha in 20-25 minutes, at spreading widths of up to 10 metres, with the
ability to dissolve 200kg of urea/DAP or keep 350kg of lime in suspension. The heavy-duty suspension uses galvanised steel throughout, houses the tank in a position to create a low centre of gravity, while wide, low pressure tyre equipment means the machine treads lightly. Its compact size and light footprint means that it can be used immediately after the cows have left a paddock, while also offering the versatility of being able to mix and apply mag oxide several days in advance of grazing, or applying thistle control herbicides in combination with urea applications. www.towandfert.co.nz
The latest introduction to the Tow and Fert family is the Multi 500.
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Dairy News 30 March 2021