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DAIRY AWARDS

New freshwater regulations. PAGE 3

Trainee category revamped PAGE 20

HOMEBOUND

Contract milker happy to return PAGE 13

JULY 20, 2021 ISSUE 475 // www.dairynews.co.nz

MAKING FARMING FUN!

The Mounter family – Jeremy and Kate with sons Jack (10), Beau (8), and Joe (5), Matauri Bay, Northland. PAGE 10-11

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

NEWS  // 3

A more flexible, practical plan PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

AGRICULTURE Plant-based milk bottles. PG.08

Gongs for top Fonterra sites. PG.14

Hard hat or hard head. PG.25

NEWS������������������������������������������������������3-15 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������ 16-17 OPINION����������������������������������������������18-19 MANAGEMENT������������������������������ 20-22 ANIMAL HEALTH�������������������������� 23-24 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS���������������������������������������25-27

MINISTER

Damien O’Connor admits the Government “made mistakes” with its initial freshwater farm plans. However, believes new proposals are more practical and have greater flexibility for farmers than the original ones put out by government last year. All arable and pastoral farms over 20 hectares in size and horticultural blocks over five hectares in size will have such a plan in place by 2025. But the phasing in of this will begin next year. Last week, O’Connor and the Minister for the Environment, David Parker put out a new document on this proposal for consultation, which will run from July 26 to September 12. Last year’s original proposal drew much anger from the primary sector, as it was seen as a very broad brush approach and impractical for farmers to implement. In particular, there was concern about the stock exclusion maps and the suggestion that stock on steep slopes needing to be excluded from small streams. The intent, says O’Connor, is to exclude stock from wide rivers, lakes and wetlands on what is essentially flat land. He concedes that the initial proposals that were put out included land that was never intended to be there and didn’t take account of the variability of slopes on indi-

New proposal will give the flexibility to protect the waterways but also the application of a local, farmbased solution.

MORE ACCEPTABLE? WHILE THE new freshwater regulations focus on intensification with dairy in the spotlight, the trend over the past two seasons has seen a drop in cow numbers and virtually no new dairy conversions. Just how the wider farmer population will react to what’s now being put in front of them remains to be seen. However, the Government claims that the main farmer groups – such as DairyNZ, Beef+LambNZ and Horticulture – have had input into this proposal. Whether this will quell opposition from farmers is a moot point.

vidual farms. O’Connor admits they knew, when the initial proposals were rolled out, a few mistakes were made. “This new proposal says anything over 10 degrees will be excluded from the regulations, but anything from 5 to 10 can be covered by fresh water environment plans,” he told

Dairy News. “That will give the flexibility to protect the waterways but also the application of a local, farmbased solution.” O’Connor says while there is flexibility in the new document, there is still a bottom line regulation underpinning it. He hopes that the new proposed regulations with the flex-

ibility will enable farmers, who are doing the right thing now in terms of the environment, will be able to continue dealing with the issues in a practical way. “I believe that the proposed new regulations are more practical and farmers will see their way through this, whereas the original proposals for many farmers seemed impractical and impossible,” O’Connor says. An issue that is likely to be raised again during this new consultation phase is who will do these plans and what this might cost the individual farmer. As part of the process, a ‘risk assessment’ has to be undertaken and while the farmer may be a part of this, someone else – likely to be a rural professional – will have to be employed. Then the plan will have to be certified and, again, it would beat a cost to the farmer.


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

4 //  NEWS

Grass-fed dairy in demand SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

THE GLOBAL pandemic has boosted growth opportunities for grassfed dairy products. That’s the view of Ornua (formerly Irish Dairy Board) chief executive John Jordan. Speaking at the recent Pasture Summit New Zealand-Ireland Forum, Jordan noted that Covid-19 has changed consumer perspective and buying patterns and they want transparency around brands. “They don’t want to be told a made-up story and find out that it is fake,” he says. “There’s been a great

Ornua chief executive John Jordan.

resonance in integrity and that’s as important in dairy as in any part of our lives. Dairy, through Covid, has been seen as a positive part of our diets.” Jordan says Ornua’s key dairy markets have performed strongly over the past 18 months,

cementing the position of grass-fed dairy products among consumers. “We genuinely believe that Ireland and New Zealand are the two countries remaining with predominantly grass-fed dairy systems,” he says. “That is a real point of

Call the experts. Cnr Robinson & McNally Sts, Ashburton Ph 307 9049 • Email admin@rainer.co.nz www.rainer.co.nz

About 10 million packets of Kerrygold butter and cheese are sold around the world each week.

difference, and we must leverage that.” Jordan says the difference is tangible and can be seen in grass-fed dairy products like Kerrygold butter and cheese compared with grain-fed products. The Irish grass-fed difference is behind the global success of Kerrygold butter and cheese. The Kerrygold brand is now worth €1 billion and is Ireland’s most successful food brand. It is the number one butter and cheddar brand in Germany and the number two butter brand in the US. About 10 million packets of Kerrygold butter and cheese are sold around the world each week. Jordan says being the number two butter brand in the US makes him smile. “This little island off the West Coast of Conti-

IRISH DAIRY BOOM THE IRISH dairy industry took off after the end of the European Union quota system that had capped milk production in member states. Ornua chief executive John Jordan says about €500 million worth of new stainless steel was put into the Irish dairy industry to prepare for the influx of milk. “The processing plants we have are state-of- the-art and operate to a very high standard, they’ll match anybody on a global scale,” he says.

nental Europe and we are the number two butter behind Land O’ Lakes in the entire US,” he says. Jordan points out that being a co-operative is important and helps them put some rules and regulations around the Kerrygold trade. Any dairy product in the world that carries the Kerrygold brand name

Jordan says this is backed by Irish farming families producing worldclass grass-fed milk and Ornua which markets Irish dairy products to consumers. Irish dairy produces mostly ingredients and consumer and food service products. It has processing plants around the world – Europe, the US, Saudi Arabia and Africa. Jordan notes that Ornua has little presence in Asia… “probably acknowledging the strength New Zealand has in that market.”

means that the “dairy element” has been produced in Ireland, he says. “It might be packed abroad – but it’s Irish dairy product from Irish milk from Irish farming families.” He says Kerrygold is a great asset and real value added for the Irish dairy sector. Jordan says Kerrygold

is sold on the promise of being made from milk from Irish grass-fed cows and having a premium quality and superior taste. “It’s the Irish grassfed difference that makes the difference,” he claims. “Irish cows graze outdoors for most of the year and grass-fed cow’s milk is rich in natural beta-carotene.”

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

NEWS  // 5

AIR SURVEY SHOWS GOOD COMPLIANCE A RECENT surveillance flight over the Southland region has shown farmers in the region are well-prepared for the season, according to the local regional council. The flight focused on the Mataura and upper Oreti catchments, with only three landowners identified as having potential issues that required a closer look on-farm. “I’m really pleased with what the team has seen,” says Environment Southland chief executive Rob Phillips. He says the surveillance flights help to reinforce the idea that what is seen from the road isn’t always reflective of on-farm rule breaches and environmental damage. “Farmers are working hard and understanding the situation and making a real effort to improve things,” he says. “This sustained improvement is something that Southland, as a whole, can be proud of.” One area noted from the flight that could be improved was the grazing of buffers. Phillips says the team noticed that while good buffers were in place, some had been grazed. “Its important buffers are left ungrazed to remain an effective tool for reducing sediment getting to waterways.” He says while wet weather is inevitable and presents several challenges, it is critical for farmers to continue to focus on good wintering practice and not become complacent. Phillips says agriculture in Southland is very important to the regional and national economies, but some farming practices – if done incorrectly or not done well – negatively impact water quality. “Winter grazing is recognised as a high risk activity with regard to water quality and a lot of effort has gone into providing advice and information to help farmers understand what is expected of them.” Acting compliance manager for Environment Southland, Glen McMurdo, told Dairy News that, when flying, the team is looking for good farm practices in terms of intensive winter grazing, as listed in their rules. “This includes location of winter crop paddocks, strategic grazing, buffer zones from waterways, transportable water troughs, portable feeders and careful management of critical source areas,” McMurdo says. “We also check for discharges or likely discharges to land or water, and any other instances where regional rules or NES regulations may be breached.” – Jessica Marshall

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Winter grazing – the good news PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

DAIRYNZ’S HEAD

consulting officer for the South Island says they are generally encouraged by the reports about way that Southland farmers are dealing with winter grazing. Tony Finch says this is backed up by reports that few complaints from the public are being received about poor winter grazing management. He says there certainly needed to be a step up in farmers improving their management of winter grazing and this appears to be happening. “It’s also been supported by Environment Southland and their flights over the region to

An aerial survey this month found most farmers well prepared for winter grazing this season.

see what has been happening,” he says. “There have been three flights now and another one is being planned.

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From these flights, without a shadow of a doubt, farmers are making

a difference now.” Finch says a few unfortunate images of farmers not doing the right thing in respect of winter grazing do not give an accurate picture of what is actually happening in the region. He says the vast majority of farmers are responding incredibly well and are better prepared now than ever before. Finch says farmers are taking the issue seriously and are investing heavily to make things work. “But we know that some are challenged by the new rules and we want to know who they are so that we can help them. When we get a lot of heavy rain it is very hard to manage significant rainfall events and

that means that if farmers have not been prepared they can get caught out,” he adds. “Our plan is to ensure we eliminate this going forward and move the bell curve further to very good management practice.” Finch says DairyNZ is getting more feedback than before from farmers doing a good job telling them about others who are not performing well. He says they are also seeing a willingness on the part of good farmers to help others step up to the mark. He would like to see more images of the good job farmers are doing to deal with winter grazing, rather than the few that are letting the side down.


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

6 //  NEWS

Tricky situation for West Coast farmers PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

WEST COAST dairy

farmers are being urged to make sure they manage the winter carefully and have a Plan B ready in case things go wrong. DairyNZ’s head consulting officer for the South Island, Tony Finch says the West Coast is like no other region in the country. This is because it has heavy rains in the south around Fox Glacier and dry conditions in the north around Karamea. He says the coast generally deals with wet weather well, but this year there have been challenges.

“They went into winter with the crop yields down and they have had some patchy weather having gone through a mix of dry and wet weather. Last season was a poor growing season with fewer sunshine hours – so they have been playing ‘catch up’ going into winter,” he told Dairy News. Finch says the challenge will come later in the winter and early spring. He adds that when looking at how the last two springs have played out, that’s been where the pinch points have been. Finch says West Coast farmers have gone into winter reasonably tight – but manageable. “That is where the

West Coast farmers have been playing catch-up going into winter, says DairyNZ’s Tony Finch (inset).

focus is now and how farmers manage their way through that,” he explains. “Our job is about preparing farmers and their staff that when calving comes in late winter early spring, getting them to think about how they can

manage what feed they have well,” he explains. “It’s also about keeping morale high, because during that busy period its wet and people can get down – so it’s a case of preparing for that.” Finch says employ-

ment on the West Coast is also a challenge, as it is in most parts of the South Island. He says there is a tight labour supply issue and that affects the coast as much as anywhere in the South Island. “If anything, the West

Coast can be even more challenging at times because it has a degree of isolation about it and finding staff – no matter where you are in the South Island – is challenging,” he says. Like all parts of the

country, the West Coast has to deal with issue of winter grazing, but Finch says they are busy getting the message out to farmers to implement good management practices. “The messaging to West Coast farmers is having a winter plan that is written and in place and making sure they have what we call a Plan B,” he adds. “This is so that when they get a heavy amount of rain – and it will happen – how they manage their livestock and the environment to the best.” Finch says this might mean having a plan to provide additional shelter or firmer ground where the cows can be grazed.


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

NEWS  // 7

Migrant worker visa entries open JESSICA MARSHALL

APPLICATIONS FOR dairy farmers wishing to gain border class exceptions for migrant workers are now open, say DairyNZ. The process, which opened on 8 July, would allow 200 dairy farm workers and their families enter New Zealand following the Government’s announcement last month. Farmers are able to make applications for 150 workers in management roles, and 50 dairy farm assistants. DairyNZ says it has worked closely with Federated Farmers and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to ensure the process in place is robust and fair. The organisation’s Jenny Cameron says opening the applications provided clarity and detail for farmers facing a nationwide staff shortage. “This will help some of the workers stuck overseas able to return to their jobs on Kiwi farms,” she says. “Or new migrants looking to join the sector, while supporting our farmers by relieving some of the workforce shortage.” The process opened, initially for two weeks, in order to assess and understand interest from farmers, Cameron adds. She says that if the 200 exception spaces are not filled in the initial two-week period, applications will remain open. However, if it is oversubscribed, Cameron told Dairy News that it could signal to the Government that they should consider making more spaces available. “We understand the urgency of our farmers wanting to get people on-farm, especially as we are entering such a busy time on the farming calendar,” she adds. “The New Zealand border closures may mean staff are a couple of months away yet due to the application process and booking MIQ space, but this exception process does deliver for the bulk of this dairy season and provides farmers with some options to fill staff shortages.” According to Government requirements, set by MPI and Immigration New Zealand, those wishing to bring migrant workers into New Zealand must apply to the relevant industry body – in this case, DairyNZ. There are a total of three categories for dairy farm workers: workers needed for short-term roles, workers needed for long-term roles and workers for an approved class. Dairy herd managers must be earning more than $79,500 and have 2-4 years’ relevant work experience, while assistant dairy farm managers or 2ICs must be earning above $92,000 with 2-4 years’ work experience. According to MPI, the maximum visa duration granted under the border class exception is 12 months and workers must enter New Zealand before the end of April 2022.

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Farmers are able to make applications for 150 workers in management roles, and 50 dairy farm assistants.

THE QUALITY OF MATERNAL COLOSTRUM ON MANY NEW ZEALAND DAIRY FARMS IS POOR In a 2015 NZ study, only 9.7% of 298 samples (collected from cows at multiple times during the calving season) had immunoglobulin concentrations above the recommended threshold of 22%*, and only 8.6% had acceptable (low) bacterial contamination levels¹. The study was done on 107 farms in nine regions. In the same study, FPT was diagnosed in one third of dairy calves. POOR QUALITY COLOSTRUM

Maternal colostrum enrichment table To achieve the targeted 22% MS for a 2L feed, you can add Launchpad18 colostrum powder (g/2L colostrum) as follows:

FAILURE OF PASSIVE TRANSFER

MORE HEALTH ISSUES

INCREASED MORTALITY

%BRIX of Maternal colostrum

Desired %Brix of final mixture (after adding recommended amount of Launchpad18 colostrum powder) 22%

15%

210g

16%

180g

How to measure colostrum quality:

17%

150g

Colostrum quality can be quickly and easily tested on farm using a Brix refractometer.

18%

120g

19%

90g

20%

60g

21%

30g

22%

N/A

Research has shown that if maternal colostrum measures 22%MS with a Brix refractometer, then the IgG content will be approximately 50g/L.

Please note: The maternal colostrum enrichment table applies to the first 2L colostrum feed only.

Ask your rural retailer for Launchpad18 with 18% IgG.

This practice should be followed regardless of whether the calf had a feed directly from its mother prior to collection.

1. Denholm et al., 2017. Associations between management practices and colostrum quality on New Zealand dairy farms. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 65, 5: 257-263.

Note: a brixmeter test shows milk solid %, so is a guide only.

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Calves must be fed another 2L of maternal colostrum or Launchapd18 colostrum within 12 hours of the first feed.


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

8 //  NEWS

Plant-based milk bottles PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

FROM SUGAR cane in

Brazil to a sustainable, plant-based, plastic milk container now on sale in NZ supermarkets. This is just one of many innovations being developed by Fonterra, as the dairy co-op moves to make all its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.  Recently, the company invited media to see, firsthand, some of its innovations in packaging and product development being undertaken at its Technical Centre at Palmerston North. Packaging is a big issue, with strong community pressure for companies such as Fonterra to improve the sustainability of its packaging mate-

rials. The company says packaging is a complex global issue and the materials used are very complex, but it’s doing its bit to better understand what recyclable actually means in all its markets. Emily Thomas, who is Fonterra’s sustainable packaging lead, says not only must new packaging be recyclable. It also has to meet rigid food safety requirements and deal with the natural complexities that happen with products such as cheese, which require quite specific conditions to maintain its shelf life. “If you think about something like cheese, we are going to wrap up a 20kg block of cheese in plastic, put it in a box and then allow it to mature for some months or even years,” Thomas explains. “There are cheeses

Emily Thomas, Fonterra’s sustainable packaging lead, with a milk bottle made from Brazilian sugar cane.

that continue to ferment, if you think of Swiss cheese there are holes in it and they are developed by gas during that maturation process. If we don’t let some of that gas out of the bag it’s going to explode, but we don’t want a bag with holes in

it either because we don’t want the water to drain out because the cheese will dry out.” Thomas says Fonterra is working with packaging suppliers both in NZ and overseas to ensure that it has the best options available. She says new mate-

rials are being developed such as a recyclable film to wrap Mozzarella cheese that Fonterra now produces. She says new recyclable sachets for milk powder are now being trialled and if this proves successful it will add to

the array of sustainable packaging being used by Fonterra. On the home front, a new Anchor brand, 2 litre milk bottle was released on the market towards the end of last year. In one sense, it’s a polyethylene bottle just like the standard bottle, but it’s different in that it is made from ethanol, which is made from sugar cane grown in Brazil. The bottle looks slightly different, in that the plastic appears to be thinner and lighter. From the consumer’s point of view, it is slightly more expensive because the resin is more expensive to make. Like the old bottle, it is also recyclable, Thomas says. “The polyethylene, instead of being sourced from the petrochemical industry, has been manu-

factured from sustainably produced sugar cane,” she explains. “You can make ethanol from sugar cane – that’s been done for years and the ethanol can be turned into polyethylene. But the big advantage is that its carbon footprint is very low.” Thomas says having a milk bottle with a low carbon footprint gives consumers an option and it’s a matter of choice. But Fonterra has no plans to make all its milk containers from ethanol because that would put up the overall price of milk and potentially reduce market share in a competitive market. Fonterra says the introduction of the plant based milk bottle is just one example of the company’s sustainable packaging commitment in action.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

10 //  NEWS

Progressing through sheer SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

NORTHLAND SHAREMILKERS Kate and

Jeremy Mounter have built a resilient business through sheer hard work. With no family connection to dairying and without any financial help, the couple own a herd of 330 Kiwi Cross cows – which they milk once-aday year-round on Moss and Margaret Pepper’s farm in Matauri Bay. Jeremy and a full-time staff look after the farming operations; Kate looks after their three young children and does the administration work. The couple are in their fifth year of sharemilking. Kate told Dairy News that dairy farming really is an industry where one can progress quite quickly.

However, she adds that it is important to align yourself with good farm owners and employers, and ensure you do due diligence on any prospective roles. “It wasn’t till after a season or two contract milking that we realised sharemilking was actually going to be a possibility,” she says. “Contract milking was a great stepping stone for us, as it introduced us to managing our own business. However, it is important to really negotiate and scrutinise your contract, as some contracts can leave you worse off than a managing role.” She says they have built a resilient business that is low cost and profitable and can be tweaked according to the payout and seasonal conditions. The couple moved into

Jeremy Mounter and son Joe with one of their cows.

sharemilking four years ago and, last year, moved to the Pepper’s farm. The farm owners, in their 80s,

still live on the property and are a great source of advice and inspiration for Kate and Jeremy.

“We also always seek advice from all avenues; farmers, contractors, feed and soil experts,” Jeremy

says. “Then work out what suits our system and farm the best.” He points out that

modern cross breed cows are very efficient feed converters. “We also analyse each


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

NEWS  // 11

hard work herd test in depth. Low empty rates means we have much more scope to continually improve our herd.” Excellent grass management is also a huge factor. With a young family, OAD milking has been another key factor behind their success. Kate says it is more sustainable – for the cows, the land, and the people.

“If we weren’t milking OAD, we would have left the industry years ago. “You don’t have the afternoon milking constantly hanging over your head the whole time, and because we don’t have to be up milking before dawn, there is not as much burn out,” she explains. “When we first decided to take the plunge from contract milking to share

milking, we knew we wanted to start with topquality OAD cows, rather than convert. “We purchased our herd from a retiring owner-operator, who had been milking them OAD for over 16 years, so we knew what the cows were capable of,” Kate told Dairy News. “We have 3 young sons, aged 5, 8, & 10. OAD milking has ensured

that Jeremy hasn’t spent half their life in the cow shed.” The farm has a tight calving schedule: 75-80% calved in the first three weeks and this means more days in milk. “We average 3% empty, so plenty of scope for replacements, and fine tuning the herd,” says Kate. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

"We expect to milk double the number of cows, with the same number of staff." Farm owner Moss Pepper is a guiding light for his sharemilkers.

A HARD SLOG JEREMY MOUNTER first job on a dairy farm, after he left Lincoln University, was as an assistant on Rakaia Island. After that, he moved to the Waikato where he progressed to a herd manager before becoming a farm manager. After meeting Kate, who was working in the Bay of Islands on The ITM Fishing Show, he moved to Northland and the progression continued – from manager to contract milker for several years. Jeremy says it was quite a shock for Kate coming into the dairy industry when they first met 15 years ago. “The standard of housing, and roster expectations on staff was a bit of an eye opener. Thankfully, over the years the industry does seem to be improving in this regard,” he told Dairy News. “Living on farm, and having one of us working off farm, allowed us to save most of our combined salaries, which

ensured we had enough for a deposit when we decided to go sharemilking. “It has been a hard slog, and still is, but now that we own our own herd, and are instrumental in the farm decision making process, it is very rewarding to see all our hard work paying off.” The Mounters were introduced to their current farm owners through a mutual contact. They have owned the farm for 50 years and it’s been milked OAD for the first time. Jeremy says they meet with the owners and keep them updated. “We respect their experience and knowledge and feel very grateful to be working with such open and progressive farm owners,” he explains. “Although technology and farming systems have changed a great deal since they actively farmed, they share our passion for sustainable grass-based

farming. The incredible native planting they have been doing on this farm for many, many years, should really be applauded.” Attracting and retaining staff isn’t a problem for the Mounters. “Since we became contract and then share milkers, it has worked out that all the farms have been drive in/drive out roles – so our staff still get a good work/life balance,” says Jeremy. “We are flexible. If a staff member has a child’s assembly etc that they wish to attend, we will work around that,” he adds. “Because of the OAD system, our staff don’t tend to get as worn out. Since moving to this farm last June, we have installed automatic cup removers in half the shed.” He says this means that the shed can be milked solo if necessary, and they encourage regular time off for everyone who works on the farm.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

12 //  NEWS

Farmer confidence riding high in Oz WITH FARMER confidence and consumer optimism high, much of Australia’s dairy industry has been riding on a wave of positivity over the past few months, according to Dairy Australia’s June 2021 Situation and Outlook report. Improved operating conditions, robust domes-

tic demand and supportive global fundamentals have continued to underpin a reasonably strong market outlook. Dairy Australia senior industry analyst Sofia Omstedt says a vast majority of farm businesses are expecting to make an operating profit this season, and having

seen favourable weather conditions, industry confidence has bounced back. Several factors, including higher opening milk prices in 2021/22, suggest this momentum could be maintained well into next season. She adds. Favourable operating conditions have had a substantial impact on

industry sentiment, as demonstrated by the latest National Dairy Farmer Survey (NDFS) which shows that 64% of farmers are feeling positive about the future of the dairy industry, up 20% from last year. About 88% of respondents are anticipating making an operating

profit in 2020/21, with 63% of these farmers expecting profits to be higher than the five year average. National milk production is expected to be stable in 2020/21, with minimal volume change compared to the season prior. Omstedt says look-

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

Dairy Australia senior industry analyst Sofia Omstedt says a vast majority of farm businesses are expecting to make an operating profit this season.

ing ahead, several factors point to possible modest milk production growth in 2021/22. Dairy Australia’s initial forecasts suggest 0% to 2% growth relative to this year, which would equate to a national milk pool of between 8.80 and 8.97 billion litres. In light of otherwise supportive conditions, high beef prices and strong land values have continued to weigh on the national dairy herd and encourage farm exits, whilst flooding and the ongoing mouse plague have presented acute issues in the affected areas. The lack of available workers remains a concern across the country. Consumer optimism is high with life in Australia starting to return to a prepandemic ‘normal’ (notwithstanding intermittent lockdowns and restrictions on movement), prompting recovery in foodservice spending and domestic dairy markets. There is an increased demand for branded prod-

ucts over private label variants, which is seeing the sales value of all major dairy products soar. Consumers are, however, going to the store less often and buying more items and bigger packs when they do. Globally, milk output from the four largest exporters – New Zealand, the US, the European Union (EU) plus the UK, and Australia – has been steadily increasing. Growth rates have ranged between 1% and 2% for much of the past year. Global demand has so far absorbed the additional milk produced, by outpacing supply growth. Greater China (China, Macau and Hong Kong) remains the key driver of this. In light of otherwise strong fundamentals, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to challenge market dynamics. Whilst global fundamentals remain positive for the Australian industry, the ongoing labour shortage remains a concern.

Cheese name change

RURAL NEWS TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS

HORTNEWS

IT’S OUT with Coon branded cheese and in with Cheer. The rollout of the rebranded Coon cheese started in Australian supermarket shelves this month. The near-century old Australian-made dairy product was renamed Cheer Cheese after the brand’s owners acknowledged the racial overtones of the original label. Coon cheese was named after founder Edward William Coon, the US man who developed and patented a unique cheese maturing process. However the word coon had also emerged as a racial slur in America in the 18th century. The brand’s owners, Canadian-based dairy giant Saputo, signalled last year that a rebrand was on the cards.


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

NEWS  // 13

Southland contract milker Janamjot Singh Ghuman is happy to have his job back after being stuck in India for five months.

Contract milker looks forward to milking cows after ending quarantine SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

AN AWARD-WINNING Southland contract milker who was stuck in India for five months is hopeful of being back on farm in time for calving next month. Janamjot Ghuman was expected to arrive in Auckland Airport last Friday with his wife, Mandeep Kaur, after an arduous journey that included 15 days in Serbia. After a 14-day quarantine in Auckland, the couple will be allowed to travel to Southland. Ghuman, who got married last year, travelled to India on February 13th to bring his wife back. However, before their return flights, booked for April 20th, the New Zealand Government suspended arrivals from India due to a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in India. Ghuman, who has worked in the NZ dairy industry for 10 years, was

due to start his first season as a contract milker on June 1, milking 450 cows for Kathy and Mike McDonald near Winton. He started at as a farm manager and in 2019 won the Dairy Farm Manager of the Year award for Bay of Plenty region and was a national finalist in the NZ Dairy Industry Awards. Ghuman told Dairy News via email that, as required by NZ immigration authorities, the couple were spending 15 days outside India before they can come to NZ. “We travelled first to Russia and the cases were spiking there and we got worried,” he says. “So we decided to move from there to Serbia. It’s a much safer country and at this point case numbers are below 100.” Ghuman is very grateful that he could save his contract milking job but says the events of the past five months have been challenging. “The whole thing has made a huge impact on the savings I had. I have

lost money with flight re-issuance and hotel charges and [I’m] going to lose nearly a month by doing quarantines in NZ and 15 days in Serbia.” Ghuman says he managed to save his job by organising staff to fill in for him. “Now I’m feeling like half of the battle has been done as I’m out of India and have some certainty to be able to go back and start the job in early August, which is about right at calving time.” Ghuman also thanked the farm owners Kathy and Mike McDonald for their support. He even offered the McDonalds the chance to opt out so they could hire another contract milker in his place. “But they said, ‘it’s okay, we will work this out’. Their support has been there, otherwise I wouldn’t have the job. They organised a lot of stuff on farm and helped out as much it was needed.”

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

14 //  NEWS

Gongs for Fonterra’s top sites WHEN IT comes to con-

sistent performance, Fonterra’s Edendale site in Southland is second to none. At the co-operative’s annual best site cup awards recently, Edendale picked up the prestigious Transformation Cup for their sustained performance over the last three years across budget, team engagement and product quality.

Edendale also scooped the Best Big Site Cup for consistent performance during peak. Fonterra handed out 18 awards at its annual best site cup awards which recognise excellence in manufacturing. Now in their 15th year, the awards recognise successes in a range of areas including sustainability, innovation and efficiency. Alan Van Der Nagel,

Fonterra’s director of New Zealand Manufacturing, says this year’s awards also demonstrate the resilience of the 7,000 people in its operations team. “In addition to the normal conditions they have to contend with, like natural weather events and the peak milk processing, this year the team also had to operate under tight COVID-19 restric-

Fonterra’s top site award winners show their spoils.

Fonterra’s Edendale team which took out the Best Large Site Award.

tions. “Despite these restrictions the 26 sites across New Zealand managed to collect 17 billion litres of our farmers’ milk and processed that into almost 3 million tonnes of high-quality dairy products shipped to 140 coun-

tries.” The awards spark a bit of friendly competition between Fonterra’s sites and while not everyone takes home a cup it’s a great chance to celebrate some exceptional work. The Medium Site Cup went to Northland site,

Kauri for its sustained health and safety performance, good culture and engagement with the local community, including supporting with flood relief. The Small Site Cup went to Stirling site in Otago for the second year

in a row. The team was rewarded for its health and safety performance this season. The Sustainability Cup also went to Pahiatua in Wairarapa for second year running for its focus on reducing water, energy and waste.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

WORLD  // 15

Arla builds training farm in Nigeria EUROPEAN DAIRY co-

operative Arla Foods is building a state-of-the-art commercial dairy farm in Northern Nigeria and use it as a training base for 1,000 local dairy farmers. Arla says the investment is part of its long term commitment to public private partnerships that support the development of the Nigerian dairy sector as part of the country’s efforts to increase local food production. Located in Kaduna State, the 200-hectare farm, scheduled to open in 2022, will have housing for 400 dairy cows, modern milking parlours and technology, grass lands and living facilities for 25 employees. Local farmers will be trained to improve milk yields and quality, animal welfare and farm profitability, contributing to the country’s aims to develop local milk production. In addition to providing training and support, the farm will also showcase modern commercial

farming in Nigeria. Over time, the farm is expected to produce over 10 tonnes of milk per day which will be processed by Arla’s dairy plant in Kaduna State, to supply locally produced dairy products to Nigerian consumers. Nigeria is among the fastest growing nations in the world. Its population is set to reach close to 400 million people by 2050 and there is already growing consumer demand for affordable dairy nutrition in the country. The Nigerian dairy sector is, however, currently only able to supply less than 10% of the country’s demand for dairy products, a gap that is expected to grow in line with the growth of its population. “There is a great need for nutritious food and dairy products to satisfy the growing demand from Nigeria’s fast growing population. This requires a complementary approach where imported food is crucial to ensure

food security while also supporting the government’s long-term agricultural transformation plan to build a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria. Our new dairy farm is our next step in our com-

mitment to Nigeria,” says executive Vice President and Head of Arla Foods International Simon Stevens. Arla Foods chairman Jan Toft Nørgaard says he is very proud of collabora-

Located in Nigeria’s Kaduna State, the 200-hectare farm is scheduled to open in 2022.

tions to support the sustainable development of the Nigerian dairy sector. “To collaborate with farmers in many parts of world, sharing knowledge

and supporting local dairy industries is a key part of our cooperative mindset and our farm in Nigeria is the next important step. “When it is built, we

Have you done your daily checks? Paddocks Animals Weather

a2 Milk seals Mataura deal THE A2 Milk Company (a2MC) has been given the regulatory approval to buy 75% of Mataura Valley Milk, Southland. The company says it has received approval from the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office (OIO). A key feature of a2MC’s proposed investment in Mataura Valley Milk is that current majority shareholder, China Animal Husbandry Group (CAHG), will retain a 25% interest alongside a2MC. CAHG is a wholly owned subsidiary of China National Agriculture Development Group Co Ltd, which is also the parent company of a2MC’s strategic logistics and distribution partner in China, CSFA Holdings Shanghai Ltd. (China State Farm). Mataura Valley is a dairy nutrition business. A2 Milk says the transaction will be completed by end of this month. “As previously advised, the proposed acquisition will provide the opportunity for a2MC to participate in nutritional products manufacturing, provides supplier and geographic diversification, and strengthens our relationship with key partners in China,” the company says.

can support local dairy farmers to create better livelihoods and it is a key enabler to growing dairy and food production on a local scale.”

Let’s make a difference this winter dairynz.co.nz/wintering


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

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16 //  AGRIBUSINESS

Farm environment awards secure new sponsor FARMAX, A subsid-

iary of state-owned AgResearch, is now a sponsor of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. The awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, recognise innovative Kiwi farmers focusing on sustainability. “Farmax is thrilled to be supporting the awards which showcase some of the country’s most sustainable and profitable farmers – many of whom are Farmax customers and simply excellent at what they do,” says Farmax chief executive Gavin McEwen. “The awards align with the core belief of Farmax, which is that profitable and productive farms are not mutually exclusive from sustainable ones.” With Farmax’s support this year, all award entrants will know their greenhouse gas emissions numbers and mitigation options thanks to the GHG and sequestration features in Farmax 8.1. Carbon sequestration was one of the most requested features by Farmax customers, who can now use the tool to calculate and monitor their greenhouse

Farmax general manager Gavin McEwen.

gas emissions, as well as identify opportunities to decrease emissions and calculate the carbon sequestered from their forestry or indigenous bush blocks. “Farmax is the only farm planning tool that accurately calculates pastoral farms’ greenhouse gas emissions alongside production and financial outputs, aligning with the He Waka Eke Noa Farm Planning Guidance which supports farmers in learning the greenhouse gas emissions of their farms,” says McEwen.

Current BFEA Otago Regional Supreme winners, Anna and Ben Gillespie from Two Farmers Farming, appreciate what Farmax can do in their farm planning. “It is an essential tool in our farming operation. Using Farmax we were able to scrutinise our farm system to closely align feed demand to feed supply. This has helped us with our goal of maximising feed eaten in situ, reducing reliance on supplements. “Using Farmax to predict timing of stock pur-

chases is crucial, ensuring feed is adequate while staying ahead of markets.” Applications for the 2022 awards are now open, with separate awards for each region of New Zealand. More information about the Ballance Farm Environment Awards can be found at: https:// nzfeawards.org.nz/ “Entries are of such a high calibre each year and we are looking forward to seeing the applications for the 2022 awards round,” says McEwen. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

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POWER COMPANY Meridian has renewed its sponsorship of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) for another three years. “National sponsors play a key role and it is great to have their ongoing support. Some of our sponsors have been associated with the awards since their inception more than 30 years ago,” says NZDIA general manager Robin Congdon. “Over this time, we have found a real benefit from sponsorship is the relationships that develop between entrants and sponsor representatives as they network, work together and learn from each other. “Meridian are fantastic supporters of the dairy industry and the

name change of the merit award to the Meridian Environmental Sustainability Award will continue to drive environmental best practice and excellence,” he says. Meridian agribusiness national sales manager Dave Greenwood says sustainability is at the core of everything done at Meridian. “We wanted the merit award to reflect the importance of sustainability in the dairy industry. “We think it’s important to support and give back to the rural industry and our sponsorship of the awards is a great way to do this. “We are proud that we have re-signed this sponsorship for the next three years and look forward to supporting the entrants on their

journey.” Last month NZDIA announced that Westpac was pulling the plug on its sponsorship after a 10-year partnership. The awards are supported by national sponsors DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian Energy, and Ravensdown, along with industry partner DairyNZ. Entries open for the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards on October 1 with registrations of interest able to be made now at dairyindustryawards.co.nz An announcement on the date and location of the 2022 National Awards gala dinner is expected by the end of August.


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

AGRIBUSINESS  // 17

Ballance appoints first associate director ASHBURTON FARMER Will Grayling

has joined the Ballance Agri Nutrients board as its first associate director. Grayling is a previous Young Farmer of the Year award winner based in Ashburton. He and his wife Kim milk 3,300 cows across 830ha. Their equity partnership business model also incorporates a 50/50 share milking structure. “I love farming, it’s physical work that is also mentally challenging. I’m proud to be a dairy farmer and I want to give back to the sector and my community,” he says.  “Ballance is an excellent example of the importance of co-operatives within the agricultural industry. “How they respond to the ever-changing environmental needs of running a farm today will set the future direction for all

their shareholders. “I want to be part of that future direction setting, helping contribute at Ballance and also by bringing these skills back and applying them to local challenges, turning them into opportunities.”  Grayling has experience in consultancy, management and ownership in the dairy industry, with a particular interest in large scale farming. He has been on the board of irrigation co-operative, Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation (BCI), and he has also held a range of voluntary positions in community organisations. Ballance is owned by over 17,000 farmers and growers. Chairman Duncan Coull says Grayling’s 18-month role will focus on building governance experience.   “To understand how boards set and drive

organisational strategy and vision, you need experience and training. “We’ve created an opportunity for an associate to get involved in primary sector governance and learn through doing

Coull. “It is one thing to learn about being a board member, another to be around the table making decisions that can impact a sector for many generations.”

Will Grayling

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to the newly created position of scientific officer, supporting the chief scientific officer Ants Roberts in an ongoing programme of innovative science and technology projects. Will brings strong soil knowledge to the innovation challenge from his undergraduate agricultural science and post graduate soil science studies as well as lecturing at Lincoln University in soil erosion, cultivation and physical properties. It was through Ravensdown’s many projects with Lincoln that Will saw first-hand the co-operative’s innovative approach to solving production and environmental challenges simultaneously. “I was really impressed. Here was a company investing in science I loved, to make practical tools that are used by real farmers. I knew I wanted to be part of that.” Will’s PhD looked at the effect of pasture types on one of the big farming issues of our time; nitrogen loss. He found that pasture with increased winter growth reduced nitrogen loss. Roberts said Will’s farm-hand experience and pragmatic agricultural and soil science knowledge made him a valuable addition to the company’s expanding work on new tools and technology. “We have ongoing development of existing tools as well as actively investigating new technologies such as precision fertiliser application, remote aerial sensing, novel soil tests, nitrogen and trace element product development, multiple projects in reducing direct fertiliser N and P losses and bio-inoculants. “Will’s addition to the Innovation and Strategy team here at Ravensdown will allow us to accelerate our efforts towards enabling smarter farming for a better New Zealand.”

by being around the board table,” says Coull.   There were a number of high calibre candidates interested in the associate director role, a good sign for the future of co-cooperative governance, says


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

18 //  OPINION RUMINATING

EDITORIAL

Let’s get the real picture!

MILKING IT... Utes are OK!

Peak milk?

Microbe power

THE ‘UTE tax’ has exposed the rank ignorance of some proponents of this wokeness, encapsulated in a recent RNZ interview with environmentalist and ‘liberate the lane’ cyclist Kirsty Wild. She argued nobody should have a ute if it isn’t used as a work vehicle – the ‘legitimate use’ angle used by PM Ardern. If they needed more space, “they should get a minivan”, Wild claimed. But, as some listeners kept pointing out, utes only used as much fuel as the average minivan – an inconvenient fact Wild tried to skip past. But they are right: modern diesel utes are efficient, especially relative to their high ‘utility’ value. A 2.0l Ford Ranger averages 7.4l/100km; a Honda minivan, 10.6l/100km!

SO, FONTERRA believes New Zealand has reached peak milk. Environmental restrictions are impacting on how much more land the dairy industry could occupy. Dairy conversions have dried off while the amount of dairy land is also shrinking. Some farmers had converted land from dairying to forestry or horticulture, or in some cases housing or even solar farms. So, with new milk processing plants still being built in NZ’s dairy heartland, what does this mean? It means older, inefficient plants may be forced to shut down. And with Fonterra owning the most number of old plants in the country, this scenario doesn’t bode well for the co-operative.

MICROBES FISHED from the stomachs of cows can gobble up certain kinds of plastic, including the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used in soda bottles, food packaging and synthetic fabrics. Scientists from University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, in Vienna, uncovered that these microbes in liquid that was drawn from the rumen, the largest compartment of a ruminant’s stomach. Ruminants, such as cows, rely on microorganisms to help break down their diet of coarse vegetation. The rumen acts as an incubator for these microbes, which either digest or ferment foods consumed by a cow or other ruminant. The researchers suspect that some microbes lurking in a cow’s rumen should be capable of digesting polyesters, substances whose component molecules are linked by so-called ester groups. That’s because, due to their herbivorous diets, cows consume a natural polyester produced by plants, called cutin.

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Almond milk is ‘disastrous’ THIS GUY deserves a medal! Almond milk and avocados are “disastrous for the environment” and vegans who buy them instead of meat and dairy should consider the impact of their diets, according to Adam Henson, a British farmer and Countryfile presenter. Henson suggested those who attacked livestock farmers for contributing to climate change, while buying imported products with a high environmental footprint, were being inconsistent. One almond nut produced in California requires 12 litres of water and some farmers in the US state are ripping out almond trees because of drought. Almond production in the US has been criticised for harming bees because it involves pesticides. Henson added: ‘Avocados and almond milk are disastrous for the environment. It isn’t a simple argument’. “Beef, sheep and dairy farmers are having fingers pointed at them, but these industries are doing a huge amount about that.”

JUST AS Southland farmers were receiving praise from local authorities on their improved winter grazing practices, new photos surfaced of cows in knee-deep in mud. While there is debate about the authenticity of the latest photos, reportedly taken by environmental activist Geoff Reid, the truth remains that not all farmers are following winter grazing rules to the fullest. Sadly, it is this small group of farmers who are trashing the reputation of hundreds of others doing the right thing. Such farmers are only providing ammunition to activists roaming dairy paddocks with cameras and drones hoping to find distressed cows lying in mud and reigniting the debate on banning winter grazing practices. Let’s not let a few reckless farmers, and a group of equally reckless environmental lobbyists, take the gloss off the excellent work many farmers are doing. Environment Southland reported that its first aerial compliance inspection for the month confirmed that farmers have prepared well for winter grazing. The flight focused largely on the Mataura and upper Oreti catchments, and only three landowners were identified as potentially having some issues that need a closer look onfarm. “These flights help to reinforce that what’s being seen from the road isn’t always reflective of a breach of rules or environmental damage,” council chief executive Rob Phillips says. “Farmers are working hard and understanding the situation and making a real effort to improve things. This sustained improvement is something that Southland, as a whole, can be proud of.” Otherwise, all it will take is for a camera, a drone or even a fixed-wing aircraft, to take some shots of your farm and hand them over to dairy-hating, anti-farming environmentalists who to continue their farcical campaign against the industry. The Government has deferred regulations to improve waterways and animal welfare until 2022. In return, farmers agreed to make immediate improvements as a compromise for the delay. The new photos show not all farmers are putting their shoulders to the wheel. Let’s not take the foot off the pedal when it comes to improving winter grazing practices. Don’t give these activists any chance of another photo of a cow lying in mud!

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

OPINION  // 19

Migration essential for the future DAVID BENNETT

THE NEW Zealand dairy

sector attracts the best and brightest from around the world; aspirational farmers that want to make the highest quality products in the best environment. Migration means continual renewal of our labour force, farm ownership and future leaders. Migration is crucial to our competitive advantage, and we should welcome and encourage their contribution. The migrant communities are involved in all stages of production from on farm to processing, veterinarian practice, management and marketing. They are vital to our success.  In the recent Dairy Industry Awards, the success of Manoj Kumar, Sumit Kamboj and Christopher Vila reflect the power of immigration. As highly motivated farmers they show a passion for farming and a willingness to learn. Their adaptability will have long term positive impacts as not only successful farmers but also being inherently connected with our markets. Unfortunately, the Minister of Agriculture has a directive to reduce the reliance on migrant labour. It’s part of his incoming minister brief. It is a short sighted vision that would lead to farms being unable to achieve their productive capacity, animal health issues, mental health issues and a failure to embrace the skills and attitudes of a new generation of leaders. We first saw the reduction of labour supply in the horticulture sector. The restrictions on RSE workers put that sector into a panic as fruit harvests loomed. When the sector stories became a nationwide issue, the Government made token announcements to try and dampen down the issue. The Government is under some illusion that New Zealanders will take

these jobs up. The reality we know is somewhat different. Some will, of course, but many don’t have the desire to move to regional jobs and engage in this type of work. We need our migrant labour force to maintain our productive capacity. We are now seeing the dairy industry being deprived of skilled dairy farm staff. The current immigration settings are specifically designed to reduce the migrant labour supply. When the inevitable industry pressure comes we get our token managed isolation announcements. The Government uses the cover of COVID and poor productivity as excuses for reducing migration. DairyNZ has undertaken some very helpful research in this area. They have identified a number of possible scenarios and the associated labour force challenges. Essentially, we are looking at a 2,000 shortfall currently and this increases to between approximately 4,000 in the next year based on current immigration settings. This shows the seriousness of the labour supply issue facing the dairy industry. The real reasons this Government is against migration are two-fold. First, they want to redistribute the income on farm. It is explicitly in Minister O’Connor’s brief to achieve a redistribution of income. If they increase the costs of labour on farm then this will achieve their redistribution goals. The other reason is that the Government wants to have the option of unionising the primary sector workforce. The recently announced Fair Pay Agreement legislation provides for industry-wide agreements, conditions and pay, where either: 1,000 employees, 10% of a sector, or a public interest test is met. The 1,000 employees is hugely concerning as that equates to 5% of the New

Zealand dairy workforce. We can see how this threshold could easily be met in the dairy sector. The dairy sector also has a reliance on con-

tracted labour supply. The Minister is also looking at including contracted agreements at a later date as well. This would be devas-

tating for employment relationships in the sector. We must be looking at promoting migration. • David Bennett is National’s agriculture spokesman.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

20 //  MANAGEMENT

Industry awards trainee category facing changes CHANGES HAVE been

announced to the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards programme. The Dairy Trainee category has undergone major changes – the age range is now 18 years to 30 years – with a maximum of three years’ experience from the age of 18. The online entry form has also been simplified. Additional conditions for visa entrants have been removed with no minimum length of time in New Zealand required. The modifications to the Dairy Trainee age range recognises that traditional pathways into the dairy industry have

altered. “According to Primary ITO, the average age of a dairy trainee in now 32 years and we are seeing many career changers joining the ranks,” says NZDIA general manager Robin Congdon. “These changes acknowledge the awards programme as a learning platform which recognises trainees’ achievements, drives personal development, allows them to grow industry networks, and use the programme to develop skills along the way.” NZDIA executive dairy trainee member Raewyn Hills says there was a

2021 National Dairy Trainee finalists after their final day of judging, before heading off on the study tour.

strong desire to enhance the judging to be more educational, fun and engaging. “We have revamped the process and the preliminary round will have a Skills Day with a practical

focus, which will appeal to all,” she says. “We will also give onthe-spot feedback and training on how to complete the practical tasks on the day meaning entrants will come away

having learnt something rather than just judged.” The new format will also allow more trainees to go through the programme in less time, which means less pressure on volunteer regional

teams and judges. The preliminary round of practical judging will produce six Dairy Trainee finalists from each region, who will progress to a face-to-face interview round, which will also include a large verbal practical element to assess general farming knowledge. “This is invaluable experience for the trainees and develops their communication and interview skills,” says Hills. Regional winners will continue to the national programme, which includes a study tour, practical testing, and the National Awards dinner.

“There is a real buzz about the changes,” she says. “We feel they will reinvigorate an already fun experience and our regional teams and judges are excited to get the 2022 programme underway.” The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian Energy and Ravensdown, along with industry partner DairyNZ. Registrations of Interest for the 2022 awards can be made via: www. dairyindustryawards.co.nz with entries opening on October 1.

FARMERS URGED TO GET ON BOARD FORMER RAVENSDOWN board member Scott Gower is calling for farmers to step up and participate on boards of their co-operatives. Gower is a third-generation hill country sheep and beef farmer from Ohura near Taumarunui, who retired from the Ravensdown board last September after reaching the maximum term. “The ag sector is served by more co-operatives than most. Participation by working farmers is vitally important especially in the board’s composition and determining its priorities,”

he says. “Co-op members can nominate candidates; they can run themselves and of course elect the directors that best represent how they think things should be governed.” Gower admits he was elected to the board earlier than was comfortable, as he was single-handed on his farm, but the experience gave an enormous boost to his career path. “Being on the board really changed my career. I knew what I was doing on the farm, but exposure to business and networks opened up new ways of

thinking for me. It taught me how to see farming business differently,” he adds. “The ideal candidate might already have farm-staff to Scott Gower keep things running while they’re at board meetings every six weeks or so, reading board papers and emails, and talking with farmers.” Looking back on his 12 years on the

Ravensdown board, Gower is proudest of helping engineer the co-op’s shift to the concept of ‘smarter farming’. “Farming has been under social and environmental pressure for a number of years,” he says. “We got in a little ahead of the game in spotting that what we did for farmers was central to these pressure points. If we developed smarter products and services, we could help them farm more effectively. Gower believes that getting an active farmer’s perspective at board level on the company’s products and

services and its delivery is of huge value to the company. “I would encourage active farmers to consider standing for a director’s spot. “I can assure them that their value to the company will be significant,” he adds.  “It is a company of farmers for farmers.  If it is to continue to be successful, they need to participate at a high level.” Nominations for directors on the Ravensdown board are open between July 17 and August 13. 

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

MANAGEMENT  // 21

Don’t take away farmers’ rights! PETER BUCKLEY

SIGNIFICANT NATURAL Areas (SNA) are

becoming a very important topic for farmers who are finding that parts of their properties have been or will be designated as SNA’s due to a perceived high level of indigenous biodiversity and will be captured under the proposed National Policy Statement (NPS) for Indigenous Biodiversity. As the saying goes ‘the devil is in the detail!’ The proposed NPS does not just cover the designated SNA but also covers areas that are seen as connecting pathways between SNA’s. This NPS for Indigenous Biodiversity doesn’t take into account private property rights. Currently, landowners have been working under

Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) are becoming a very important topic for farmers.

permitted activity rules under the RMA, and have been voluntarily protecting many significant areas on the land. Yet now under this NPS they are to be constrained in what they can do.  Common justice would expect compensation for land taken by the Crown. Surely landowners

should be compensated. But no, Minister Shaw (Climate Change Minister James Shaw) has stated that they would not be compensated because the policy would not stop them from using their land. Rubbish! An example of government paying for taking away private property rights was the Waikato Regional

Council’s Variation 5. This paid for the nitrogen to be taken out of the Lake Taupo Catchment. Using this example, if the crown wants to impose conditions on Indigenous Biodiversity on private land they should enter into meaningful consultation with landowners. If SNA’s are agreed to, then compensation must be

applied. We see the three district councils and the regional council chair on the West Coast and two local rūnanga chairmen wrote to the Minister James Shaw opposing the SNA process and only received a “generic response letter” back. Minister James Shaw said existing activities would be able to continue on SNA’s providing they

happen in partnership with nature. Some new activities could be possible with a resource consent, the minister said. What on earth is he talking about? Minister Shaw, the question needs to be asked, why are these proposed SNA’s to be imposed on private land? If you know how farmers think and behave, you would know that these areas were left because landowners recognised the value of retaining these special places, making that decision unfettered by needless legislation. It has long been part of landowners’ culture.  We note too that the Prime Minister made a clear statement that there would be no new taxes under her government this term. Yeah Right! The short definition of

a tax is: “A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer by a governmental organisation”. The designation of an SNA which takes away some private property rights surely falls within the definition of “some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer by a governmental organisation”. The Government seems to want to blame the rural sector for all the ill winds that blow through. There is no acknowledgement of all the good works that rural sectors have achieved. It seems highly likely that imposing SNA’s as part of the NPS will lead to more unproductive government bureaucracy. • Peter Buckley is a Waikato farmer and a former chairman of Waikato Regional Council.

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

22 //  MANAGEMENT

Strong industry partnerships will protect farming’s future STRONG INDUSTRY

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global general manager of animal management, Lisbeth Jacobs at the recent Primary Industries New Zealand conference in Christchurch. Jacobs believes that unlocking the full potential of the technology needed to safeguard farming’s future will only happen if our industry collaborates. “Artificial intelligence will play a key role in the future of agriculture in New Zealand as we move towards more data driven, precision farming,” she says. “But farmers risk becoming overwhelmed with information from a number of sources that is housed across different apps. “As we innovate and encourage farmers to adopt new technologies, we need to agree on quality data standards and how data can be easily shared across a range of industry platforms. “Ultimately, it’s about working together alongside farmers and making it easy for them to harness all the information they already have at their fingertips to make better decisions. Only then will we be in a position to produce more with less and in a way that our customers demand.” Mega trends around water quality, food traceability and social license to operate are not unique to New Zealand. But

Lisbeth Jacobs, Gallagher’s

Jacobs says with the world’s population predicted to increase by 2 billion over the next 20 years, having quality data to make the best decisions will be crucial to maintaining our country’s competitive advantage. “We already have sensors available for just about everything from electric fences to water management products and even cattle neckbands, with most tools being cloud based. “All this technology creates huge amounts of data. If we harness it correctly and make it easy to interpret, it can be used to add real value and create precision farming operations that will stand the test of time.” She says there is the potential to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyse the enormous amounts of

data generated everyday by farmers. The concept of wearable technology is also starting to gain traction. Gallagher launched its virtual fencing technology eShepherd at Fieldays last month. It promises to revolutionise New Zealand pastoral livestock operations, helping farmers meet environmental regulations and saving them millions of dollars on traditional fencing. eShepherd allows graziers to control the location and movement of cattle using a web application and an intelligent, solar-powered neckband connected to the internet via a base station. Lisbeth says the development of technology like eShepherd, along with Wi-Fi enabled weighing and EID technology, means farmers will be able to manage every

individual animal on their property from their phone. “It’s exciting to think that farmers can have all these data insights in the palm of their hand and make good business decisions from wherever they may be – on the farm, in town or at school. We also need to consider how we can make farmers’ lives easier and appeal to the next generation of farm owners. “We have been generating data for a long time. Now technology means we are gathering information from anywhere at any time. But we are only just beginning to make real sense out of that information and understanding how we can use it to our advantage. The challenge now is to coming together as an industry to help farmers realise its potential.”

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

ANIMAL HEALTH  // 23

Scientist noted for pioneering work in animal evaluation LIC SCIENCE Leader

Bevin Harris has been recognised for his pioneering work in animal evaluation. Harris was a finalist for the Primary Industries Science & Research Award for his achievement in developing an enhanced animal evaluation model which combines an animal’s ancestry, performance data and DNA information all in one step to more accurately estimate its genetic merit and value to the dairy industry. LIC chief scientist Richard Spelman says utilising genomics (DNA information) in animal evaluation is estimated to be worth $180 million annually to the New Zealand industry as it

The model Bevin Harris (inset) and his team developed is perhaps the greatest step forward in animal evaluation since Breeding Worth was introduced in 1996.

enables elite young bulls to be used for artificial breeding, effectively fasttracking genetic gain. “The purpose of genomics in animal evaluation is to predict the future. Rather than waiting for performance data from a bull’s daughters to come through, genomic

evaluation utilises a young bull’s DNA and ancestry to predict it so we know as early as possible whether a bull has the genetic merit to sire the next generation of sustainable and efficient dairy cows for New Zealand. “The model Bevin

and his team developed is perhaps the greatest step forward in animal evaluation since Breeding Worth was introduced in 1996.” Spelman says the single step animal model was implemented in February 2020 after thorough validation

showed it increased the accuracy of genomic predictions. “Validation of the model has shown it produces genomic breeding values that are more aligned to daughter proven breeding values than ever before. “This improved accu-

racy has not only given us confidence to use genomics more extensively in our breeding programme but also provides farmers with reassurance that their investment in genomics will deliver returns to their farming practice through increased productivity and efficiency.” Internationally, genomics is widely used for animal evaluation, however Spelman says New Zealand’s crossbred dairy herd required Harris to undertake years of complex research to develop a genomics evaluation model with the accuracy it has today. “Bevin’s work has been outstanding as he navigated the intricacies of New Zealand’s largely

crossbred cow population to generate a model that can accurately evaluate dairy bulls and cows using genomic and phenotypic information simultaneously. Bevin has worked at LIC for over 30 years where his extensive research into the application of animal evaluation and world-leading statistical methods has singlehandedly improved the efficiency and productivity of the New Zealand dairy herd. “Being a finalist in the Primary Industries Awards is fantastic recognition of the critical work Bevin and his fellow scientists are doing behind the scenes to help farmers breed more sustainable and efficient cows.”

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

24 //  ANIMAL HEALTH

The best of both worlds ADRIAN YOUNG

WHEN IT comes to bal-

ance it doesn’t get better than the production of Friesians paired with the efficiency of Jerseys. The KiwiCross team is going from strength to strength, with an allround team that shows few – if any – weaknesses and is not dominated by one or two key players. While it’s always a pleasure to have superstars like Sierra and

Solaris, what really matters is depth across the paddock. The livestock selection team have just finished dam inspections for the coming year’s contract matings. We saw plenty of amazing cows, and they’ll be valuable contributors to LIC’s breeding programmes in the years ahead. Feedback and discussions between farmers and LIC’s livestock sire selection team suggests a common desire among farmers for more prog-

ress in fertility and udder breeding values. Currently, the average BVs in the Premier Sires KiwiCross teams sit at 2.9 fertility gBV and 0.54 udder overall gBV. These figures represent the strongest values across all breeds in these traits and well above national averages in KiwiCross herds (0.7% fertility gBV and 0.16 udder overall gBV). Dam of 520057 Bells Pierce Using KiwiCross Premier Sires across your

Dam of 520057 Bells Pierce.

herd provides the best opportunity to lift particular traits. Specifically, those which were most desired in the initial feedback from the National Breed-

ing Objective review. The continued strength of KiwiCross is recognised in its increased usage across the national herd, with more than 1.3 million straws of KiwiCross

semen used in the past year. When it comes to size and liveweight, farmers have asked for more consistency among KiwiCross progeny, and LIC’s sire selection team has been fast to act on this. The average liveweight gBV among the Premier Sires bull teams is -1kg. The base cow in animal evaluation with a 0 liveweight gBV has a mature liveweight of 467kg. Mated to the Premier Sires bull teams, we will expect to create a mature cow liveweight between 450 and 500 kg. Depending on the size of cows, if the Premier Sires bull teams are used across an average liveweight gBV herd of -1kg, it will maintain a mature cow liveweight between 450kg and 500 kgs. In both the LIC Genetics Catalogue and in LIC’s Premier Sires teams, some genomic bulls to keep an eye out for are: 520057 Bells Pierce. He sits at 316 gBW and is a really well-balanced bull from Graham and Glenys Bell’s stable in Te Aroha. Pierce has an udder overall gBV of 0.91 and boasts some great production – with 63 kg combined fat and protein BV and a very respectable fertility gBV of 2.4%. Pierce was used as a sire of sons last year, and we have big belief in this Sheperds Egmont son, whose dam is sired by Castlegrace Mako. Dam of 518038 Werders Premonition Another exciting sire is 518038 Werders Premonition. A Sierra son bred in Patea by Thomas and Courtney Werder, he’s F8J8 with excellent TOP BVs. His somatic cell count gBV is a massive advan-

tage, sitting at -0.29; with targeted use of antibiotics at dry off now emerging as a non-negotiable, Premonition should be a great solution in this space. Dam of 520033 Dawson Honenui-ET A third genomicallyselected sire is an F7J9 bull bred by Nick and Mary Dowson in Tauranga, 520033 Dowson Honenui-ET. He’s outstanding at 1.05 on udder overall gBV, with capacity gBV sitting at 0.58. A Greenwell Blackhawk son with 64 kg of milksolids gBV, and a fertility gBV of 6.3%. He’s also an A2A2 bull, who has been used as a sire of sons and LIC’s livestock selection team is very excited to see how his sons will genomically test next spring. 515025 Speakes Slipstream A proven option who is still doing the business is 515025 Speakes Slipstream, bred in Cambridge by Mark and Fiona Speake. A Manzello son from a Mint-Edition cow, he has a rock solid pedigree, and Slipstream simply continues that tradition. An F6J10 bull with a proven 1.1 udder overall gBV, he’s also easy calving and would be an ideal bull for crossing on Friesian heifers. Crossed with an F16 (Full Friesian) animal, he would create F11J5 offspring with great udders and also massive fertility, with Slipstream boasting a 6.6% fertility gBV. Daughter of 515025 Speakes Slipstream All bulls mentioned are A2A2, and feature in LIC’s 2021 Genetics Catalogue and Premier Sires teams. • Adrian Young is LIC senior sire analyst.


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS  // 25

Hard hat or hard head A RECENTLY released

huge changes in ATVs over the last two decades, particularly in performance, which in most cases is far in excess of 30km/h. Recently, this writer tested a machine, being sold as dual-purpose for farm and recreational use, where 100km/ h+ could be brought up very quickly on the digital speedo.

Of course we need to commend those riders who are choosing to wear safety headgear as statistics show that doing so has the greatest potential to prevent serious injury or fatalities. But we need to see much more in-depth information at the point-of-sale to allow purchasers to choose the right headgear for their

work environment. On a broader note, UK research suggests that two thirds of ATV and UTV riders still don’t wear a helmet, citing bizarre reasons such as they feel foolish wearing a helmet on their own farm, or the fact they don’t ride fast enough to warrant wearing one. The report by the

University of Aberdeen found that 63.5% of riders owned a helmet, but only 29.9% reported wearing that helmet frequently or always. The research identified several underlying factors, many around personal perceptions, that stopped riders wearing helmets, including: ‘a helmet isn’t necessary for short rides; I

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am an experienced rider so don’t need a helmet; I don’t race or do stunts so a helmet isn’t necessary; as an adult, I look foolish wearing a helmet; none of my mates wear one; they are too hot; and, they are uncomfortable’. Other comments included: ‘when I’m in a rush, I forget to wear my helmet; I can never find it when I need to use it; and, when I’m tired, I’m less likely to wear a helmet’. The statistically proven fact is, wearing a helmet has the biggest potential to prevent serious injuries or fatalities compared to other safety devices, where benefits are not backed up by independent testing. Choose a helmet that fits well, is comfortable and doesn’t impair you from operating the vehicle safely, but most importantly – wear it!

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DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

26 //  MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Feed system helping grow top heifers MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

FEEDING LIVESTOCK

can bring with it several challenges including labour shortages, wasted feed, higher prices for

smaller quantities, intake monitoring and dominant animals bullying more timid individuals. It is generally understood that growing a quality heifer will lead to increased conception rates, easier calving,

longer time in the milking herd and higher production outputs, so along with the personal risk with regards to health and safety, making an investment in good feeding equipment makes a lot of commercial sense.

Advantage Feeders have been helping farmers around the world overcome these challenges for almost 15 years and has now developed a model for the NZ dairy farmer. It harnesses the innovative and break-down free

The practical benefits of Advantage Feeders newly released M1000HD model uses a three-way restriction system that offers supplements to animals, in small amounts, often.

feed intake control system with easy manoeuvrability in wet and trying conditions.

THE SMART CHOICE FOR A

COMPOSTING BARN “I struggle to think back about going back to wintering cows on pasture now for a variety of reasons. The cows are warm and happy, we can feed them much more economically and we’ve got beautiful compost to put on our pastures and boost the nutrients.”

feed with each lick. The three adjusters can be set for any ration. But in the most restricted setting, stock receive about 0.33% of their body weight per day, approximately 350g/ day for a 100kg calf or 1kg/day for a 300kg heifer. Once feed control is achieved, many challenges are overcome – like the 1000 litre hopper that can be filled with a tractor bucket or dumpy bags, leading to an overall reduction in feed costs. The large hopper can also help reduce labour requirements. Typically to less than once per week, as 600kg of feed, fed at 500g/day for 60 calves, will last 20 days. There is also the added benefit of zero waste as the hopper is sealed and the troughs are licked clean by the stock.

Pedal harvester dream becomes a reality

Jeff Rea, Readale West Otago

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Talk to us about arranging a visit to your farm, or book in for one of our upcoming dairy shelter open days.

The practical benefits of Advantage Feeders newly released M1000HD model uses a three-way restriction system that offers supplements to animals, in small amounts, often. This ensures the rumen pH stays in a zone that allows pasture digesting microflora to work efficiently leading to a reduction in overall supplement needs and reduced costs. The 3-way feed restriction system controls the height, width, and depth of how much feed flows from the hopper to the feed area. This allows precise control over how much supplement can be consumed by calves and heifers. In practice, animals soon learn how to lick in and out of the “feed access area”, only gathering a small amount of

www.smartshelters.co.nz/composting MAKE A SMART CALL 0800 566 126

THE MYSTIQUE of Christmas is about to be brought to life after a four-year old farm boy from Northern Friesland. In the area where Germany meets the North Sea, the boy wrote to Santa Claus to asking for a pedal harvester for Christmas. While pedal tractors are a familiar sight in machinery dealerships or toy stores, pedal harvesters are somewhat rare. So, the boy’s mum put out a call on social media to try and bring her son’s request to fruition. It was no surprise then, that the Claas company, headquartered at Harsewinkel, stepped up to look at making a re-creation of its self-propelled Jaguar forage harvester –the global leader in the sector. The company established “Team Pedal Harvester” then started out by inviting budding drivers from 3 to 10 years old to help with the design, leading to 140-plus entries from mini-engineers. A group of industry professionals picked the best designs, taking in the ‘must haves’ – like a cup holder, rotating beacons, a tow rope and a folding maize header. From there, the construction challenge was handed to apprentices at the Claas Training Academy. The first prototype was finished in April 2021, with discussions in place to make the project ready for mass production – and no doubt make the magic of Christmas come true – for an even wider audience of budding farmers or contractors … I wonder if they’ll trade in my ride-on lawnmower? – Mark Daniel


DAIRY NEWS JULY 20, 2021

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS  // 27

Giving calves the best start SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

WAIKATO FARMER Ed

Grayling milks 430 cows on mostly peat soil that is low on trace elements. He has been the owner operator of the farm at Rukuhia, 10km south of Hamilton for eight years. To boost the health of young stock and give them a good start, he has an array of animal management tools at his disposal – feeding them well, looking after them on a daily basis, feeding good colostrums and boosting trace elements. For trace element supplementation, he uses MULTIMIN that comes in the form of an injection containing copper, selenium, zinc and manganese. Grayling administers the injections himself to stock five times over a

two-year period. “They get the first shot four days after birth, another shot at weaning, one before wintering, one prior to mating and the last one before the next winter,” he told Dairy News. “We can use it on cows but I believe giving them to calves over a twoyear period sets them up pretty well for the milking life.” He says it’s hard to quantify how MULTIMIN works because he hasn’t got a control group alongside his herd. “But it is certainly one of the important tools in our tool box to ensure all young stock have enough trace elements to give them a great start to life. “For me, preparing calves for their milking life is about having a multi-pronged strategy. Trace element supplementation goes alongside

feeding them well and looking after them daily.” Grayling says he started using the product after it was recommended by a vet and a neighboring farmer. “It’s a very efficient way of supplementing trace elements in young stock.” Grayling rears all his stock on-farm. According to Virbac, MULTIMIN is designed to be administered to stock prior to high periods of demand, such as early life, weaning, calving and mating. Each injection contains copper, selenium, zinc and manganese and comes in a chelated formulation that is safe and tissue friendly. It is absorbed into the blood within eight hours and transferred to the liver within 24 hours. MULTIMIN is also scientifically proven in New Zealand conditions. For

more information, visit performanceready.co.nz and speak with your vet. It is registered under the ACVM Act 1997 (No A9374) @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

Farmer Ed Grayling (right) gives MULTIMIN injections to his young stock five times over a two-year period.

BETTER WAY...

Calves need trace elements from day one.

STANDARD FEEDER (C6 Pinned) • 1 x 6 foot bale • 2m diameter • 15 feed positions • 15 - 30 animals

OVAL FEEDER (S2 Pinned) • 3 x 4 foot bales • 2 x 6 foot bales • 24 feed positions • 24 - 48 animals • 4m long

g n i x i M y a r p S t a e dT e t a Autom Daniel Place, Te Rapa, Hamilton 0508.732.733


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Dairy News 20 July 2021  

Dairy News 20 July 2021

Dairy News 20 July 2021  

Dairy News 20 July 2021

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