Dairy News 6 February 2024

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Miraka board changes. PAGE 4 TOP ALL-ROUNDER All breeds youth camp Page 14

JIMNY GOES BIG 5-door SUV is here Page 22

FEBRUARY 6, 2024 ISSUE 535 // www.dairynews.co.nz

A FAMILY AFFAIR “It’s like a generational responsibility – to carry on what my grandparents started in some ways .” – Corrigan Sowman, LIC chair








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Amazing result for ill-thrift calves VETERINARIAN Kelly Andrews from Te Awamutu recommends Tracesure capsules following “amazing results” after treating a mob of calves whose prognosis looked grim. “190 calves were moved to grazing whereby 3 died and 19 were identified with illthrift losing 0.3kg/c/d. With half of these on a fatal path due to a confirmed diagnosis of Yersiniosis and Theileriosis the calves were mob separated with ill-thrift calves being offered meal supplementation, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory treatment and a Tracesure capsule”. 30 days later Kelly says the calves were unrecognisable and gaining 1kg/c/d vs gains of 0.45kg/c/d for the mob not given the bolus. The farmer requested the other mob also get Tracesure after seeing the results. Tracesure is a controlledrelease capsule that provides 6 months supply of Iodine, Selenium and Cobalt in an accurate and reliable daily amount. Think of it as like putting a dosing pump system inside the calf.

Says Andrews “We get continual great feedback from our graziers on how well weaned calves transition when Tracesure is used in newly weaned calves off to grazing. Calves and young stock transition to their new environments with less risk of Yersinia, less ill-thrift, recover faster from illness and provide some incredible mating results to name a few of the benefits seen. We routinely use the capsules at the end of the zinc treatment period,

enabling young stock to replenish vital trace element stores as they head into winter when such elements become generally less available from pasture, as soil temperatures drop”. Results speak for themselves and Andrews sees Tracesure/ Copasure as an indispensable tool to optimise health, growth and fertility of weaned young stock leading up to mating.

Te Awamutu veterinarian Kelly Andrews

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NEWS // 3

MP seeks consensus on water, climate change SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

NEW NORTHLAND MP Grant Expat judges impressed at NZDE. PG.15

Wet harvest spawns clever idea. PG.19

Methane capture. PG.21

NEWS ����������������������������������������������������������� 3-10 OPINION ����������������������������������������������������12-13 AGRIBUSINESS �������������������������������������������� 14 MANAGEMENT ��������������������������������������� 15-16 ANIMAL HEALTH ����������������������������������������� 17 NZ DAIRY EXPO ��������������������������������������18-21 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS ���������������������������������������������22-23

McCallum is calling for cross Parliament consensus on long-term issues like water quality. Delivering his maiden speech in Parliament last week, the Maungaturoto dairy farmer noted that while change is inevitable, it is the job of leaders to take people with them during periods of change and to help cushion the effects on society. “As farmers, all we ask for is a clear direction of travel that is achievable while maintaining a profitable business,” he says. “Having the pendulum swing wildly every time there is a change of government is not good for anyone and is certainly not good for the environment.” McCallum, a former National Party board member, is an executive of Bluegreens, National’s advisory group on the environment, formed in 1988 by former MPs Simon Upton and Nick Smith. McCallum noted that the Bluegreens is an excellent forum for debating some very challenging environmental issues. “It is a forum where all sides of the political and environmental spectrum can meet. It is respectful relationships like this that [we] need to chart a way forward as we work through long term environmental issues.” McCallum says solutions to envi-

New Northland MP Grant McCallum says it is the job of leaders to take people with them during periods of change and to help cushion the effects on society.

ronmental challenges lie with Parliament and New Zealand as a whole. “No single political party or organisation owns the environment, we all do,” he says. McCallum says dealing with climate change is another challenge facing farmers. While some see this as too tough and as a pointless battle, McCallum sees it as an opportunity. He points out that it’s an opportunity to help the world reduce global emissions and increase the value of our exports. “Let’s back ourselves and our amazing scientists to find solutions. Then, we can add real value to our produce and help secure a future for the next generations both financially and environmentally.” He also outlined his vision for

Northland, the “electorate that is miles above the rest”. “If ever there is a region that has untapped potential, it is Northland. We are located next to the biggest city in the country, and we have a great coastline and beaches. “We are blessed with quality soils that can grow a large range of crops. We have one of the highest percentages of young people under 15 in the country, yet we are struggling economically and socially and have done for a long time.” The single biggest factor holding the electorate back is connectivity, particularly the quality of roading infrastructure. McCallum says it is best summed up by the state of the Brynderwyrns and the Mangamukas. The Mangamukas has been closed since

August 2022 and are expected to be closed for the rest of 2024. The Brynderwyrns were shut for fiftyeight days after the wet weather last summer and are going to be shut for at least another nine weeks to do some urgent repairs, just to try and stop a catastrophic failure this winter. McCallum says Northlanders have had enough. “It is time to stop politicising Northland’s roads. It is time all the members of this house release the handbrake on Northland’s prosperity and back the four-lane highway. “It is a vital part of lifting families out of poverty by enabling businesses to invest, creating jobs and opportunities across a range of sectors and breathing new life into Northland.”


4 // NEWS

Long-serving Miraka GUMBOOTS IN chairman, board CHAMBER members step down

LAST WEEK’S Parliament sitting saw another first – a few Government MPs wearing gumboots in the House during Question Time. ACT MP Mark Cameron obtained special permission from the Speaker, Gerry Brownlee, for rural MPs to do this. Cameron says it’s a show of solidarity with farmers and the rural sector, and an acknowledgement of the pressures on the sector. “This includes from laws and regulations originating in our Parliament,” he says. Cameron hopes to make this an annual tradition. In the photo, ACT MPs Cameron (left) and Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard make their way to the House with gumboots.

PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

THE MAN largely responsible for setting up Miraka, the country’s first Māori dairy company, is stepping down. Kingi Smiler was the driving force behind Miraka when it was established at a site northwest of Taupo in 2010. He served as its inaugural chair. His stepping down from the board is a constitutional issue which states that the maximum time a director can serve on the board is 12 years. Smiler who has 45 years in the business and commercial world is also chairman of Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, which is the largest shareholder and biggest single supplier of milk to Miraka. It has 10,500 cows on 12 dairy farms and support blocks in the central north island near the township of Mangakino and it was this operation that was one of the catalysts for the establishment of Miraka. At present about 100 farms supply milk to Miraka. Other Māori trusts were also involved including one that supplied geothermal power to the factory. Miraka is the only

Kingi Smiler

factory in NZ to run on geothermal power. The other key factor in the establishment of Miraka was the setting up of a joint venture with the large Vietnamese dairy giant Vinamilk and this has been instrumental in the export growth direction of the company. Today Miraka is one of New Zealand’s largest Māori export businesses, with exports of $300 million to a total of 25 countries – in South East Asian region and

include Vietnam, China, the Philippines and Thailand. They also export to the US, El Salvador and Chile. Under the leadership of Smiler, Miraka has expanded from initially producing milk powders to new products such as UHT milk, frozen cream and milk concentrate. The company has won many awards and is lauded for the way that staff and suppliers are treated. They have a scheme that rewards

farmers for the quality of their milk. Other founding directors retiring are Maxwell Parkin and Mai Kieu Lien, and they are being replaced by Te Horipo Karaitiana and Truc Le Quang Thanh who are the appointees of Wairarapa Moana and Vinamilk of Vietnam respectively. Nigel Atherfold was also appointed an Independent Director. Bruce Scott, a current board member, takes over as chair.

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NEWS // 5

All in the family “With a new CEO and a new chair, I guess it brings a slightly different flavour and voice to the sector. So, I’m really excited for the co-op.”

SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

TAKING OVER the chair-

manship of LIC feels like a generational responsibility for Tākaka farmer Corrigan Sowman. The third-generation dairy farmer hails from a family that embraced animal breeding well before many other farmers. Sowman’s grandparents had a pedigree herd of Friesians on their original 80ha farm, which has expanded to 400ha. His parents were early adaptors of cross breeding. “Today we have a really good herd of cows,” Sowman told Dairy News. “So, to some degree it’s like a generational responsibility to carry that on – the opportunity to have this job and to carry on what my grandparents started in some ways.” Sowman took over as LIC chair in October last year from Murray King. With chief executive David Chin completing his second year in the role this month, LIC has a relatively new top duo. Sowman describes the job as a real privilege and one that come with a large degree of responsibility. “We are in such interesting times with the pace of change,” he says. “With a new CEO and a new chair, I guess it brings a slightly different flavour and voice to the sector. So, I’m really excited for the co-op.” Sowman milks 700 cows on the self-contained property, rearing young stock and dairy beef as well. He says these are challenging times for dairy farmers but adds that there is optimism in the sector. The lower payout and rising input costs were signalled early and this allowed farmers to adjust their businesses accordingly. “There’s certainly pressure out there, cashflow wise, and we are cognisant of that, but there’s a sense of optimism and confidence out

ronment. “People are saying, well I kind of know the roadmap now and I can see a path forward. That’s the sense I get, but still from a place of quite a lot of pressure.” Late last year, Fonterra came out with its scope three emissions target – a 30% intensity reduction in on-farm emissions by 2030 – from a 2018 baseline. Sowman, a member

of Fonterra’s sustainable advisory panel for the past three years, has been privy to the co-op’s plans over the years. He points out that it’s not an absolute, but an intensity target and different to the co-op’s scope one and two emissions target. “The things about intensity and how it relates to LIC is that it’s really about efficiency. That’s what we do – it’s

to help the NZ farmer be more efficient. “Whether that be a better cow or that be better information to make a better decision on a daily basis. “It could be MINDA records or could be FarmWise that we take a role in.” Sowman thinks the target is quite a hurdle. While the industry has had incremental improvements, it needs to double that rate to hit the target. “It’s not just keep doing what we’ve been doing, we got to ramp it up a bit.” Sowman says having as common target is also an important thing.


Takaka farmer Corrigan Sowman took over as LIC chair in October last year.

there as well.” The recent elec-

tion contributed, but he also thinks there’s more

clarity on things like emissions and the envi-

LIC WELL-PLACED FOR EMISSIONS TARGET CORRIGAN SOWMAN believes LIC is well placed to support farmers to meet Fonterra’s scope three emissions target. This is because 7% of the target is to be achieved through farming best practice with the themes of herd improvement and cow efficiency set to be influential. “That’s where we come in; this announcement gives us a clear mandate to provide solutions to farmers to reduce their emissions intensity. LIC has known the challenges for some time and has been focused on supporting farmers to be profitable and sustainable in the future through cow efficiency,” says Sowman. “Targeting a reduction in emissions intensity cements our focus on cow efficiency as a sustainable solution for the dairy sector, and the good news is, we have the cows that will get us there – we just need more of those highly efficient cows. “We will continue the strong focus on longevity and minimising wastage

as positive gains in this area will also significantly enhance on farm profitability and enable an improved emissions profile at a herd and farm level.” LIC’s genetic research is leading to cows that produce less methane, are more tolerant of hotter climates, produce more milksolids per kg of liveweight and are all-round more efficient. Many farmers are investing in quality, efficient pastoral genetics which will put them in good stead to reduce their emissions intensity, and LIC will continue to support them to do that. Long-term users of LIC genetics have almost doubled the rate of genetic gain in their herds over the last 10 years – these gains are cumulative and permanent, delivering long-term benefits into the future. “We know the efficiencies that can be achieved on farm through herd improvement, and we are confident we can support farmers to reduce their emissions intensity.”

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6 // NEWS

New dam could signal end of dairying on the plains NIGEL MALTHUS


chairman Murray King has welcomed the effective completion of a major dam, which is expected to give irrigators and other users on the Waimea Plains reliability of supply for decades to come. But the dairy farmer says the Waimea Community Dam is likely to hasten the eventual end of dairying on the plains, as irrigators go to more lucrative and intensive horticultural uses for the water. “I can tell you, there are only three dairy farms actually on the plain and there’ll be lucky to be 600 cows. It’s a far cry from what it used to be,” King told Dairy News. “It’s not cheap and so it will be used for the highest and best use.” King and his neighbour Julian Raine – also a longstanding dam supporter and Waimea Irrigators board member – are co-founders of the Appleby Farms ice cream brand. “One of the reasons for establishing the ice cream brand was to generate more from our milk to help cover the cost of the water because it’s relatively expensive water for growing pasture,” said King. But they have already invested heavily elsewhere, notably Canterbury, for the bulk of their milk supply. King said his own farm at Appleby is now “a bit of a lifestyle farm for us”. “We won’t continue to do what we’re doing. We’re considering our options.” King was commenting as the dam recorded a major milestone, being completely full and releasing water via its spillway for the first time on January 21. It had been a long time coming, the project having its conceptual origins in the major drought of 2001-2021 when it became clear that the

The Waimea Community Dam in the hills behind Nelson is full for the first time. SUPPLIED/WAIMEA WATER.

MOMENTUS MILESTONE WAIMEA WATER Ltd CEO Mike Scott said filling the dam was a momentous milestone for the project. “We have been pleasantly surprised with the rain over the Christmas period and then again last week. This has led to the reservoir being filled and meant that our shareholders have not needed water released over the period to fend off any restrictions.” Final engineering analysis and verification of dam performance would be carried out before some temporary pipes and facilities are removed and permanent pipework hooked up. Waimea Water Ltd expects the project to be completed and commissioned in March. “We have been looking forward to this day for a long time and I thank the community and shareholders for their ongoing patience,” said Scott. “We know that this dam is a very big, difficult and challenging infrastructure project for a small region to fund and undertake. “We have a legacy project that can serve the community for over 100 years now with water security. We’re real proud of what we’ve achieved, particularly engineering our way out of very difficult geological challenges.” Scott said the encountered geology was a big factor in the increased cost, along with living through the “strange times” of Covid and related inflation. “Our balance sheet is more leveraged than we had anticipated, but it’s still in pretty good shape at around at 50% leverage.”

choice was finding a way to augment the Waimea aquifers in dry years or restrict water take by users – who had invested a lot of money and infrastructure in a premium fruit growing area. By some estimates, the water was already over-

allocated by up to 70%, said King. A long period of investigations and feasibility studies eventually led to the choice of a site in the Lee Valley, and the final construction of the dam, albeit two years behind schedule and, at $200

Murray King says Waimea Community Dam is likely to hasten the eventual end of dairying on the plains.

million, about twice the expected cost. Built and operated by Waimea Water Ltd, which is 51% owned by the Tasman District Council and 49% by Waimea Irrigators, it will work by storing water in wet periods then releasing it as needed to maintain both river flows and aquifer levels on the plain. The system is nonreticulated, all users taking water from the aquifer by bores. King said it was not just for irrigation, but also for the health of the

river, with some water reserved for river flushing flows, and the enhancement of urban water supplies. He believed it was already having an impact, especially with people investing in higher-value horticulture on the prospect of reliable water. There was also new urban expansion at Richmond mainly because the council had confidence in the ongoing water supply. King said there was some frustration that the dam was two years late

and more expensive than expected. “There are a lot of learnings there for other water storage and irrigation plans and one of the biggest problems we have is certainty of success – people won’t invest if they think there’s a chance of failure. “Another challenge is just around the availability of expertise that’s used to doing some of these projects. The dam is the biggest that’s been built in 30 years, so people who know how to do this, how to design

such a thing and how to construct it, in many cases had to be pulled out of retirement or they had to be trained up. “The problem is you’ve lost your continuity because there’s no project for them to go on to. “These are long-term intergenerational projects. And in this case it will last well in excess of 100 years and the benefits will continue for years into the future, yet they’re based on a very short-term financing arrangement.”

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8 // NEWS

No repeat of last year’s ‘weird weather’ PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

THE EL Nino weather

pattern is likely to kick in during the last few weeks of February. That’s the view of NZ Metservice meteorologist, James Millward, who told Dairy News that this will bring higher pressures across the North Island, resulting in prolonged dry summer weather. He says the good news for farmers is that conditions will be more typical, unlike last year’s weird wet weather. Millward says at present the North Island is drying out and in terms of soil moisture the coun-

try is not far away from where it would normally be. He says the exception is southern Wairarapa which is particularly dry. But he adds that the expected early dry has not eventuated, with rain falling in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay and the possibility of further rains, depending on what might happen with weather systems in the tropics. “The weather could be a bit of a mixed bag in the coming couple of weeks and then we are likely to see it transition into the normal El Nino pattern,” he says. Millward says it’s been drying out in most dairy regions. He says while it’s dried out in Canterbury,

A section of damaged 25A highway after Cyclone Gabrielle hit parts of the North Island in February last year. PHOTO: NZTA

this region has benefited from some of the rain that came over the ranges from the heavy down-

pours on the West Coast. He says some of this got into the McKenzie Basin which was very dry.

Other dry areas are Kaikoura and Marlborough. “Overall it’s a drier outlook for the South

Island,” he says. Millward says the weather patterns are on a much more even footing

and that will give farmers more certainty as to where they are and where they are going. He says it looks like being a typical late summer and autumn, albeit with a slight bias to the more westerly aspect flow, which is more typical of the El Nino patterns that were promised. He says once these kick in, eastern parts of both islands should get drier than normal. Millward says there is a risk that droughts could set in though autumn. “But at the moment we are sitting pretty well right across the country in terms of soil moistures, so for farmers it’s probably not so stressful as it has been,” he says.


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NEWS // 9

Buyers hunting for right farm JESSICA MARSHALL jessica@ruralnews.co.nz

IT COULD be that buyers are hunting out the right farm to purchase as farm sales drop for the three months ended December 2023. That’s according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ). REINZ recorded a total of 142 fewer farm sales for the quarter ended December 2023, down 37.1% on the same period in December 2022. Overall, there were 241 farm sales during the three months ended December 2023, up 23.6% on the three months ended November 2023. For the three months ended December 2023, the median sales price per hectare for dairy farms was $41,020 (37 properties), compared to $36,650 (27 properties) for the three months

ended November 2023, and $44,055 (80 properties) for the three months ended December 2022. On the whole, in 2023, 1059 farms were sold, 499 fewer than were sold in 2022; 41.2% fewer dairy farms and 7.3% fewer dairy support properties were sold during that time. The median price per hectare for dairy farms has decreased 6.9% over the past 12 months. The median dairy farm size for the three months ended December 2023 was 128 hectares. Meanwhile, for the three months ended December 2023, the median sale price per hectare for finishing farms was $35,625 (80 properties), compared to $38,345 (74 properties) for the three months ended November 2023, and $39,270 (105 properties) for the three months

Buyers may be hunting out the right farm to purchase as farm sales drop for the three months ended December 2023.

ended December 2022. The median price per hectare for finishing farms has decreased by 9.3% over the past 12 months. The median finishing farm size for the three months ended December 2023 was 37 hectares.

Shane O’Brien, rural spokesman for REINZ, says that while the year result was largely anticipated by the industry, there has still been a substantial reduction in the volume of sales across the year 2023. “This reduction, espe-

cially when compared to previous years, has affected all regions and sectors for varying reasons,” O’Brien says. “There is no doubt the headwinds from farm product prices combined with on-farm interest rates (circa 8.0%) and

rising on-farm inflation has challenged buyers when looking at property options,” he says. O’Brien says that for the first time in several years, a considerable number of properties remained unsold at the end of the spring selling

season. “Buyers are cautious and considered with buying decisions, but buyers indicated they will pay for the ‘right’ property,” he says. “The depth of the buyer pool has been reduced due to lack of the right listings for active buyers.” “The dairy sector had 57 dairy sales across New Zealand in December 2021 which reduced to 42 sales in December 2022 but only 14 sales of dairy farms across all of New Zealand in December 2023.” O’Brien says this represents a significant drop. “Similar sale trends have occurred in other sectors including grazing properties that have missed out on any active buyers who see an opportunity for conversion say to forestry,” he concludes. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

Outgoing Greens co-leader praised by politicians PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

TRIBUTES FROM across the political divide flowed last week for James Shaw, the Green Party co-leader who has called time on his nine year political career. He served at the party’s helm for the last eight. Prime Minister and National leader Christopher Luxon described Shaw was a “constructive parliamentarian” in his climate change work and someone he respected a lot. He says he’s always appreciated his

collaborative approach and the way he works to get cross-party consensus. Luxon is reported as saying that Shaw leaves Parliament with something that’s pretty enduring – namely the net zero legislation. “I like the way that he talks to lots of politicians on all sides and I consider him a friend,” he says. Former finance minister, Labour’s Grant Robertson, has also praised Shaw, saying he was a staunch advocate for climate action and for social justice. He says James Shaw’s efforts to build consensus and make progress on climate action have been enormous. “On top of that he’s one of the

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James Shaw

smartest people I know and a pragmatic idealist,” says Robertson. ACT’s David Seymour says he feels sorry for Shaw. He says it’s hard for many people to believe, but says Shaw is the sanest member of the Green Party. Auckland Business Chamber chief executive and former National Party leader Simon Bridges has described Shaw as having a warmth and decency which meant he had always been wellliked across political lines. “Among politicians on the left, he’s always been one of the handful of most popular for business to engage with. While he often won’t

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agree with the points being made to him, he’s a great listener and always has the courtesy to seek to understand the arguments being made to him,” says Bridges. Former National Party leader Todd Muller says Shaw was one of his best friends in politics, despite their divergent views. He described the Green MP as having a great sense of humour, willing to listen and seeing the bigger picture. Shaw has resigned as co-leader but will stay on in Parliament until his members bill about environmental rights is either passed or rejected. Only then will he leave Parliament.

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10 // NEWS


consultant believes the dairy industry has turned a corner as the rural sector navigates a downturn. Christchurch-based Pita Alexander says the present downturn is the worst he’s seen in his 60 years in the business, but while the situation is still dire for the sheep sector, there are positive signs for dairy farmers. He says the recent increases in the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) and the fact that predictions for the farm-

gate milk price are moving up are positive. “However, the reality is that the dairy farmers need a farmgate milk price of $9/kgMS,” he says. Alexander says the challenge for many dairy farmers – especially young ones – is that they have never experienced a downturn like this one, whereas it’s more likely sheep and Pita Alexander

beef farmers will have. But he says even though dairy farmers have four times more debt than their sheep and beef colleagues, they have been able to handle this better because

it appears to have lasted only one year. “Farmers are resilient and can handle one bad year, but two years in a row with low returns and higher input costs is another thing,” he says. One of the problems for NZ, says Pita Alexander, is the flat state of the Chinese market, which is by far the biggest market for dairy – taking 35% of our exports. The next biggest markets, at just 5%, are Australia, the USA and Indonesia. But Alexander says we

can’t blame China because it is grappling with its own internal economic problems. On top of that, domestic dairy production in China has risen. He says even with the upturn in the dairy industry, farmers still need to be prudent with their spending and a downcycle is not a time for making principal payments on bank loans or helping family financially. He says there is no substitute for accessing a top-class farm advisor to ensure good decisions are made. – Peter Burke

Cows are milking happily PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

CONDITIONS ARE looking better than forecast for the country’s dairy farmers. That’s the view of DairyNZ’s head of farm performance, Sarah Speight, who says with things looking better, the onus is now on farmers to make the most out of the few months while the cows are milking happily.

it is starting to get a bit dry. She says there are patches of dry in the Waikato and the pumice country in the Bay of Plenty. Taranaki is dry, but not drier than normal. Horowhenua is also dry and recent rain will help the situation. Not unexpectedly the Wairarapa is also dry, but this is not a major dairying region and is not something to panic about. “South Otago is prob-

Anecdotally, it looks like the Bay of Plenty and Waikato are about 5% above normal, and across the country the figure seems to be about 2-3% above normal. She agrees with other commentators who are saying that the dairy industry has pulled out of the slump that has affected sheep and beef and that the price correction for dairy farmers has been short and sharp. Speight says farmers had been anxious about the money they were likely to be paid for their milk, but the improvement in the Global Dairy Trade auctions has taken away some of their concerns, along with a drop in farm inflation. But she adds that people are still concerned about cost pressures. “Farmers are a lot happier and a lot less concerned than they were before Christmas,” she says. In terms of on-farm conditions around the country, Sarah Speight says in some places

ably a little bit drier than normal for this time of the year, while Canterbury is quite dry, but irrigation seems to be helping – apart from the areas where there are water-take restrictions. But such restrictions on some of the smaller schemes are normal for this time of the year,” she says. There is some good news around milk production, says Speight. Anecdotally, she says it looks like the Bay of Plenty and Waikato are about 5% above normal, and across the country the figure seems to be about 2-3% above normal. She says people have been taking extra cuts of silage, partly due to farmers concerned about a potentially dry period. Speight says summer crops are coming on and these must be used now, which means that there

Sarah Speight, DairyNZ says the onus is now on farmers to make the most out of the few months while the cows are milking happily.

is going to be a good build-up of supplements on farm, should they be needed. “The problem is that no one really knows what the weather is going to do in the coming months. What we are seeing now is quite different to what NIWA was predicting, which was it was going to be a ‘mother of all summer droughts’,” she says. Speight says there is concern that the drought may come later and go into autumn and winter, but some people are saying the drought has already peaked.

THINGS TO BE AWARE OF GIVEN THE present warm, moist conditions, DairyNZ is warning dairy farmers to be on the lookout for signs of facial eczema. Sarah Speight describes the situation as a perfect storm, the main thing being that night-time temperatures over 20 degrees push up the risk of eczema. “Facial eczema is notoriously variable across areas, so it’s important that people get in touch with their vets or do their own testing,” she says. Speight says there are also reports of grass staggers, particularly in young calves, which again is not unusual for the time of the year. She says young stock tend to get

knocked around at this time of year, so DairyNZ encourages people to check the weights of these. At six months they should be at 30% of their live mature weight, 60% at fifteen months, and 90% the first year they calve. The other issue that dairy farmers need to be on to, says Speight, is making sure they have any culled cows booked in with the meat processors early. She says with lots of grass around, many livestock farmers are holding on to stock – especially sheep farmers who are trying to get extra weight on their stock to help make up for poor prices. But she says there is a potential problem if

everyone wants their stock killed at the same time. “We are urging dairy farmers to be proactive in this regard and book space as soon as possible so as not to be caught with extra animals if feed supplies on farm suddenly start to disappear,” she says. Speight it’s a busy time for the industry and DairyNZ is running discussion groups on a range of subjects, including cash flow budgeting, contract milking workshops and effluent management. Speight says their website has lots of information available to farmers on these and many more subjects.




The last of the real Greens

MILKING IT... New party?

Share tumble

Farmer friendly Govt

ODH out

WILL DEPARTING Greens coleader James Shaw set up a new party? On social media Shaw has been praised for bringing legitimacy to the Greens, otherwise seen by many as a radical left wing set up. There are calls for Shaw to set up a new party. One X (formerly Twitter) contributor hopes that Shaw sets up a “real” environment party that can work on both sides of the house. “I am sure many would back that. The radical left masquerading as a green party needs to be a thing of the past.” “James Shaw could go and set up an actual Green Party in time for the next election. I think a lot of legitimate Green issues need to be addressed and the current party is clearly not capable, or focused at all, on doing that,” wrote another.

IF YOU are an investor in listed Canterbury milk processor, Synlait then you may have a reason to be worried. Synlait’s share price continues to fall and last week was trading around 81c. Compare this to two years ago when it was trading at $3.45/share. One year ago, it was hovering around $3.56/share. A run of poor financial results and a dispute with cornerstone shareholder and key customer a2 Milk Company have seen its market capitalisation drop 75% to around $177m. Farmers who supply milk to Synlait will be watching nervously.

FEDERATED FARMERS posted a photo on X (formerly Twitter) last week of a meeting between its board members and the new ministerial team at the Ministry for Primary Industries. The photo includes a smiling Associate Ag Minister and former Feds president Andrew Hoggard and Ag Minister Todd McClay. The post says, “Great discussion with Government today about how we can get farmers out of the office and back in the paddock. This is your Federated Farmers membership at work.” With a ‘farmer-friendly’ government in place, Feds sub payers will be keen to see their leaders’ plans.

THE FUTURE of Organic Dairy Hub, a small organic co-operative started by Waikato farmers, remains unclear, following well publicised financial difficulties. Organic Dairy isn’t the first organic dairy co-op to collapse. An initially-promising organic outfit, started by Taranaki farmers many years ago, also went under. With little in the way of assets – as Organic Dairy’s milk processing was done by third parties – it too could be liquidated and deregistered very soon. And what of Organic Dairy suppliers? They have reportedly switched to supplying Fonterra.

Head Office: Lower Ground Floor, 29 Northcroft St, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone 09-307 0399. Postal Address: PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: Inkwise NZ Ltd Contacts: Editorial: sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz Advertising material: davef@ruralnews.co.nz Rural News on-line: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: subsrndn@ruralnews.co.nz • Printed by Inkwise • Distributed by Reachmedia

JAMES SHAW is the last of the real Greens – a person who until the end has lived up to the ideals of the original NZ Green Party, which first entered Parliament in 1999 when one of its founders, Jeanette Fitzsimmons, historically won the Coromandel seat. Rod Donald and Mike Ward were the other key founding members. In its early years the Green Party was the flag bearer for the environment and while many people questioned its policies, it was widely respected. Fitzsimmons was seen as a strong and uncompromising advocate for the environment, but her advocacy was couched in moderate and reasonable language. Shaw carried on this tradition to the bitter end; A man with a lifetime commitment to advocacy for green ideals. Described as affable, engaging, gentle and kind he was also intelligent and a smart politician. He will be remembered as a great Climate Change Minister and for the passing of the Zero Carbon Act. Shaw has not walked away from the Greens – they have walked away from him. To call the present party ‘Green’ stretches the imagination to the limit. It is known in some circles as the ‘watermelon party’ – a thin layer of green on the outside, but red on the inside. While the party bats on about climate change, it seems to be placing more and more emphasis on hard left-wing social issues which will ensure that it forever will remain just an opposition party. The moderate and pragmatic approach of Shaw, now seems unwanted in the Green Party, which is looking more bedraggled by the day – not helped by the recent Golriz Ghahraman saga. Despite the party winning more seats in the last election, one must question where its future lies and who it really appeals to, other than an array of disaffected individuals. Sadly, the reality is that Shaw is too good for the Greens and will probably go on to carve out another stellar career in business.

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Dairy News is published by Rural News Group Limited. All editorial copy and photographs are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior written permission of the publisher. Opinions or comments expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of the staff, management or directors of Rural News Group Limited.

WAIKATO SALES REPRESENTATIVE: Lisa Wise ........................................................Ph 027-369 9218 lisaw@ruralnews.co.nz WELLINGTON SALES REPRESENTATIVE: Ron Mackay ................................................... Ph 021-453 914 ronm@ruralnews.co.nz



Its all about ag exports ANDY LOADER

THE PUBLIC Service in

New Zealand between 2017 and 2023 grew rapidly from 48,000 to over 64,000, and this does not include the use of consultants. Crown spending blew out from $76 billion per year to $139b per year between 2017 and 2023. We (the taxpayers) paid for all of this. The new coalition government must get stuck in and reduce the cost of central government and incentivise cost reduction and political neutrality across all our large public institutions. Tackling the huge bureaucracy in our public entities will help direct taxpayer funds towards productive work where they can really lift our nation’s health, edu-

cation, housing, and the wider economy. Tackling the costs of our bureaucracy is vitally important because we import many things of use in our day to day living which we don’t produce in New Zealand, and of course these imports have to be paid for. How do we pay for them? By selling/exporting goods or services produced in New Zealand. Currently post the Covid 19 pandemic, we are hugely reliant on the export of primary produce to maintain an income that allows us to pay for imported goods. Obviously whether it is an individual, a company or the government that is spending on imports, they need to earn as much as they spend to balance their

Agricultural exports earn most of our income.

obligations for payments. Currently New Zealand has a very large gap opening between imports and exports of goods and services. In the September 2023 quarter New Zealand exported $20.97 billion of total goods and services to the rest of the world and imported $27.82 billion, representing a negative trade balance of $6.85 billion. We need foreign currency we earn from our exports, to pay for the

things we want to import. Otherwise, the choices become increasingly precarious and/or unsustainable; like borrowing from overseas, selling assets, or printing more money (the more we print the less it’s worth). If we run out of foreign currency through a lack of export earnings, we will soon find ourselves experiencing severe restrictions on imports. The average annual value of NZ imports per person

in 2022 was just over NZ$20,000. The bulk of what we export is derived from agriculture and photosynthesis. It’s the vast energy of sunlight combined with carbon dioxide drawn from the atmosphere to grow something, followed by varying degrees of downstream processing, and very low carbon sea transport to our customers. Next time you’re buying an imported

product think about the people who are earning New Zealand’s export income and indirectly financing your purchase. New Zealand’s economy relies on agricultural exports for the majority of our income, yet we had a Labour government that was determined to knowingly penalise agriculture for its greenhouse gas emissions even when it was proved that the statistics they were basing their decisions on, were wrong, and the effects from farming were not as severe as had been stated. They took this action even though the Paris Accord clearly states under article 2, that actions to combat climate change should not affect food production. The world needs agriculture in all its differ-

ent forms to ensure the population can be fed so any discussion should be based on science and include all of the relevant information that gives a realistic starting point when discussing rules around agriculture. New Zealand produces enough food to feed about 40 million people but given our population is just 5 million most of this production is exported around the globe. Whether we like it or not and whether we agree with it or not, it is an incontrovertible fact; agricultural exports earn the majority of our income. This is the reason why we need agricultural exports from NZ. • Andy Loader is an executive of Primary Land Users Group (PLUG).



Dairy farmers know how vital it is to keep their sheds and herds clean and free from contamination. No one can afford to have their milk down-graded. Make sure your products are put in front of the nation’s dairy farmers by advertising in this report. To be in this special report contact your advertising representative now to promote your products and/or service to all NZ dairy farmers and sharemilkers. Contact your closest Sales Representative


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


Lisa Wise ..................... Ph 021-832 505


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







Teen shines at youth camp RILEY TAYLOR’S lead-

ership skills and ability to surmount challenges has seen him presented with the top award at the 2024 World Wide Sires national all dairy breeds youth camp. The 17-year-old from Opunake, Taranaki was presented with the Paramount Cup – awarded to the top all-rounder – at the conclusion of the youth camp, held in Feilding from January 5-8. HFNZ field officer and youth camp co-ordinator Amelia Griffin says she was impressed with the excellent leadership skills Taylor showed toward the younger attendees at camp. “It was greatly appreciated by the helpers, as there were a lot of

younger participants this year who had never done anything like this before,” Griffin says. “Riley also did an amazing job with his difficult animal, which was meant as a challenge to see how he would cope. We were all greatly impressed with his final results on show day.” Each year Holstein Friesian NZ hosts the youth camp, which is designed to upskill young people aged 10-21 interested in showing and handling dairy cattle. Held over four days, the camp allows young people to make friends, learn about animal behaviour and care and take part in a mini show and team building activities. Educational modules at

Riley Taylor, 17, Opunake, Taranaki was presented with the Paramount Cup – awarded to the top all-rounder.

the 2024 youth camp included clipping, care and maintenance and an artificial insemination module run by LIC. Each year five awards are presented at the con-

clusion of the youth camp: Top Junior Handler, Top Senior Handler, Best Presented Heifer, the Dennis Terry Memorial Trophy for most improved clipper, and the

Paramount Cup for best all-rounder. This year, Top Junior Handler went to Toby Whytock (14) of Te Awamutu; Top Senior Handler went

to Zara Williams (16) of Manawatu; Best Presented Heifer went to Hayley Ferrier (14) of Otorohanga, and the Dennis Terry Memorial Trophy to Elyse Horgan

(12) of Feilding. The best team title went to the Joyclas Holsteins team. Griffin says the 2024 camp was a great success. “The 2024 camp saw a lot of younger participants and first timers attend,” she says. “With over half the participants being under 15 years of age we had our work cut out for us. “All the participants worked extremely hard over the four days which was evident when the animals walked into the ring for the show on the Monday. I am so proud of all the work the attendees did and the leadership that was shown by our older participants during the camp.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews

AI TO TRANSFORM PRECISION AG ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE will assist farmers to interpret the huge amounts of data generated using precision agriculture, says a US expert who will speak at a Hamilton maize conference this month. “We’ve evolved from precision agriculture to digital agriculture,” says Scott Shearer, professor and chair of food, agricultural and biological engineering at Ohio State University. Organised by the Foundation for Arable Research, the “Maize Profit and Productivity” conference will be held at the Claudelands Events

Centre on February 12 and 13. Speaking on the current and future role of precision agriculture in US maize systems, Shearer, who will present via video link, says “digital agriculture” is broader. “It covers everything from when the seed goes in the ground until there are end products on the consumer’s table. Everything is connected to the internet.” Digital agriculture applies artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to interpret huge amounts of data to support a farmer’s decisionmaking and improve the efficiency of

farm operations. FAR technology manager Chris Smith says the biggest challenge for growers adopting precision ag as an everyday tool on farm has been the perceived cost versus the return on investment. Issues around data transfer and inter-operability between different systems by service providers have also been barriers to adoption. “Internationally, several countries are trialling new technologies that may provide future precision ag opportunities for New Zealand maize growers,” says Smith.

“Software and hardware developments promise greater and smoother integration of layers of data. AI and machine learning will help greatly with this, and will also provide greater resolution of imagery, draw on large amounts of data for identifying issues like weeds, pests and diseases and the ability to manage them more accurately and cost effectively. “There are some great opportunities ahead,” Smith says. The conference is also the last chance to hear from David Densley in his role as FAR’s senior maize researcher. Following the conference,

he is leaving FAR to concentrate on his consultancy work. He will discuss a long-term FAR maize research programme focusing on identifying maize production system practices that lead to higher profitability and better production resilience. Three grower panels will provide a farmer perspective on the conference’s key themes. The conference also includes an afternoon at FAR’s Northern Crop Research Site at Tamahere, near Hamilton, where trial work will be discussed.







Expat judges blown away by calibre of NZ cows DIANNA MALCOLM

TWO OF the interna-

tional judges candidly admitted they were surprised when they judged in New Zealand for the first time this week. Brian Behnke from Wisconsin, US has judged at the biggest show in the world – World Dairy Expo – three times, and his expansive judging resume spans many years across multiple countries. Nico Bons, from the Netherlands, said he had followed Australian cattle for years through International Dairy Week (IDW), so he had a good idea about what to expect when he judged the Red & White Holsteins at IDW two weeks ago. However, they both said they did not know as much about New Zealand cattle, and they were flying blind when they arrived in Feilding to judge the New Zealand Dairy Event

This year’s judges brought a gratifying international energy to the show. They included (L-R): Nico Bons (Holland), Kate Cummings (Southland), Jamie Taylor (Taranaki), Brian Behnke (USA), Simon Tognola (Australia).

(NZDE). Brian judged the Ayrshires and Nico

adjudicated over the Holsteins.

HOLSTEIN DOMINATE AWARDS THIS YEAR the Holsteins dominated the Supreme Champions awards. The Supremes are chosen from the breed Champions in the junior, intermediate, and senior sections. They were pointed by the entire judging panel, which included Brian (Ayrshire judge), Nico (Holstein) Jamie Taylor (Taranaki, Combined Breeds), Simon Tognola (Australia, Jerseys), and Kate Cummings (Southland, Youth Show). The Supreme Champion and Supreme Intermediate Champion both came out of the Fullerton and Dreadon team. It was a satisfying finish for the Hamilton family who had a week that initially challenged their decision to show. Their cattle fitter slept through and missed multiple flights – almost turning Alex Fullerton into a travel agent. Their four-year-old Grand Champion Holstein and Supreme Champion of the show, Tahora Mogul Paris, didn’t handle the 360km journey to the show well, and took some time to settle. Reflecting after judging, Alex said the overriding feeling was relief. They bought Paris for $28,000 in a solid buy from Tahora Holsteins’ Party at the Pub sale in Canterbury in 2022. In her most recent herd test, Paris produced 2.8kg milksolids (MS) a day. She had finished her first season at her new Ngāhinapōuri home with more than 10,000 litres and 700kg MS. The Fullerton family also snaffled

Intermediate Supreme Champion with their three-year-old, Waipiri CR Freaky Girl-ET, sired by Oh-River-Syc Crushabull-ET. Alex said she was their surprise package in terms of the team’s results, and they were thrilled with her performance. Alex added that one of the special moments for the family was when the Holstein judge Nico Bons remembered seeing their seven-year-old entry, Waipiri Mogul Kristy in a photo three years earlier. The 2023 Senior Holstein Champion had an eye removed a month ago because of eye cancer, and she bounced back to win Reserve Champion Holstein this year, in another broad ribbon effort for the cow who has been a constant in the Fullerton show team over several years. Kristy was Best Udder of the 2021 NZDE, and in 2023 she won Supreme Champion at Stratford and Senior Holstein Champion and Senior All Breeds Champion at the 2023 Waikato Show. She was also the 2021 Semex On-Farm four-year-old Champion. “Having those top herdsmen see your animals and recognise them is the whole incentive to bring them out,” Alex said. “Not only did Nico judge her this year, but he had also seen her before and remembered her. “I think it’s important for New Zealand breeders that people around the world do see our animals.”

Supreme Champion of the 2024 show, Tahora Mogul Paris, surrounded by the Fullerton family and team (right) and judges (left). PHOTO: EVIE TOMLINSON.

“I expected the kind of cows that are generally promoted out of New Zealand – the smaller New Zealand-type cows,” Brian said. “But that’s not what I found. “I’ll admit I was blown away. New Zealand has awesome cows with quality and strength, a great spring of rib, with great udders and feet and legs. “It wasn’t a huge show, but the quality was there. You guys should tell more people that these kinds of cows are here, because they can compete on the world

stage.” Brian did have a piece of advice for the exhibitors. “One thing they could do better is to break their animals to lead. There were some nice cows that I struggled to get a good look at,” he said. Nico was on the same page when it came to his choices. “I was impressed with the heifer show because there was quality all the way through – it wasn’t only the top two or three,” Nico said. “The first five or six in every class made quite a com-

petition for all of them. “What I liked was that they were ready. They had the right body condition, and they had the body depth. I’m looking a little bit for heifers who have enough chest width. I think the heifer show is made to find out which one is going to be the best cow in the future to milk. “My champion was quite special. It was not the toughest decision to make her champion because she had more capacity and more spring of rib. She showed a naturally straight top line.

That’s what I like to see on these heifers.” Both judges were joined by associate judges from New Zealand. The associate Ayrshire judge, Neko McDonald, from Kaitaia, in Northland said the experience working alongside Brian was a once in a lifetime opportunity. “Brian’s awesome, and the cows were wicked,” Neko said. “I learned a heap from him, and it was just an incredible experience being out here, getting to know him and getting to know the kind of cows he likes.”



Co-op decarbonisation leader’s Antarctic trip AT THE beginning of November 2023, Linda Mulvihill, Fonterra’s general manager energy & climate, flew to Ushuaia, Argentina, where she boarded a ship and began a 19-day voyage to Antarctica. “It takes two days to travel from Ushuaia across the Drake Passage, which is known for being very tumultuous – it was bumpy,” says Mulvihill. The trip was part of Homeward Bound, a global leadership programme for women with a STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine) background and included a one-year online course and expedition to Ant-

arctica. The purpose of the Homeward Bound programme is to create a diverse group of leaders in STEMM who are equipped with the skills required to navigate the changing world we live in today. Mulvihill was the only New Zealand woman selected for her cohort in the global programme, which was originally postponed due to Covid. During the voyage, Mulvihill learnt about leadership, strategy, and collaboration, with seminars including strategy, generative dialogue, systems thinking, planetary boundaries, polyvagal theory, policy, eco-grief,

Linda Mulvihill, Fonterra’s general manager energy & climate, did a 19-day voyage to Antarctica late last year.

and many Antarctica topics. At Fonterra, Mulvihill leads the co-op’s decarbonisations strategy, which includes the conversion of coal boilers to

wood pellets that is currently underway at Fonterra’s Hautapu site and the transition to wood biomass at Waitoa. Arriving in Antarctica, participants were met

with a challenging and inspiring backdrop. The earth’s southern-most continent has experienced some of the greatest warming on earth over the

last 50 years and is central to understanding the global impacts of climate change. “We saw humpback whales two metres off the ship, which was incredible. It was also special to see penguins in their home – it was mating season, so we saw them building nests, and the males bringing pebbles to the females, which is part of their mating ritual.” Whilst in Antarctica, Mulvihill also took part in the ‘polar plunge’ ( jumping into near-freezing water that was approx. -1°C) to raise money for three charities that she is passionate about: Endometriosis New Zealand, Surf Lifesaving New Zea-

land, and RestoreNative. Mulvihill hopes to bring back to the cooperative stories of hope about what can be done to improve our planet, as well as a renewed focus and passion to continue to make a difference in her role as a leader in energy and climate. Now back in New Zealand, Mulvihill is training for the kayak leg of Coast to Coast, which takes place in February. “I’m a very driven person, and I love pushing myself. I often ask myself why I want to keep doing so many things, there are so many great things to be done and I don’t want to miss out,” she says.


FARM BIKES & ATVs Reliable transport is essential for the efficient operation of any dairy farm and the March 5 issue of Dairy News will take a special look at the latest technology in farm bikes and ATVs. To be in this special report contact your advertising representative now to promote your products and/or service to all NZ dairy farmers and sharemilkers. Contact your closest Sales Representative


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


Lisa Wise ................... Ph 027-369 9218


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


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






Summer sale averages $4612 IN A reasonably tight

season for milk prices, the Summer Sensation Sale at the New Zealand Dairy Event in Feilding last month averaged $4,612 over 33 live lots. The sale included live lots, embryos and semen. The top live lot was $15,000 and it was paid for a Jersey which sold at lot 23a – Posterity Man Susie. The top-priced Holstein was $9,000, and it was paid for Lot 20, Paragon Graze Charlie. The second top-priced Holstein was paid for lot 15, Barwell Mercy Frosty.

Frosty travelled from Canterbury to sell, and she traces back to an international household name in the industry that twice won World Dairy Expo. She was bought by Ryan Andrew, of Panic Station. The sole Milking Shorthorn to sell was Westell Hunt Angela SOS and she was a popular inclusion. She sold for the fifth highest price in the sale to Jarod Hudson, of Hudson Farming, at Ngatea, for $7,500. Angela’s fourth dam was the 2008 International

The granddam of Lot 15, Windy Vale Windbrook Frosty-Imp-ET; her granddaughter sold for $8500.

Dairy Week Champion in Australia, Panorama

Angeline 8. Her sire comes from the equally

successful big-milk Queensland herd of

Myrtleholme. The pick of ten Brown Swiss calves from the Meier Trust sold for $4,000 to Fernlee limited. The highest priced embryos were the imported embryos from double master breeder herd from Canada, Avonlea Jerseys. A package of five embryos sold for $2,000 an embryo ($10,000 for the package). The semen lots sold for up to $1,200 per dose for five straws of sexed Holstein semen, Westcoast Alcove ($6,000 total), which as

offered by the Gilbert family, from Ashburton in Mid-Canterbury. Only one animal as passed in, according to Carrfields representative, Luke Gilbert. “It was an extremely successful sale, with buyers from both islands of the country,” says Gilbert. “BIDR played a massive part with 315 people watching the sale online from home. We are pleased and grateful to the vendors and to the purchasers.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews


last month’s NZ Dairy Event came with a great story for her 14-year-old owner, Toby Whytock. Eighteen months ago, Toby and his parents, Newlands Whytock and Lee Morris (an equine vet who specialises in equine embryos through her business, EquibreedArt) decided to shift their focus on their 40ha farm from horses to cows. They not only won Holstein Junior Champion and Supreme Junior Champion with Glenidol Lambda Cookie – they had two animals finish in the top-two of the six Holstein classes that peaked at 26-head in one class. It was a punchy start in the registered industry at the country’s premier show for this tight knit family which supplies Open Country Dairy. “We’ve got a small farm, and we thought if we can have only a small number of cows we’ll have 50 really nice cows,” Lee said. Lee said they had secured foun-

dation cows from the Barclay family (Okawa Holsteins) and later from Tahora Holsteins’ Party at the Pub sale in Canterbury in April 2022. One of the those cows, sired by High Octane – Tahora Octane Cookie – bred them Cookie. It’s worth noting that Tahora Holsteins had a quiet hand in two of the three Supreme Champions of the show. “We bought seven amazing animals, and her mother was one of them,” Lee said. Newlands said he had always followed the production awards and had always been impressed by Tahora’s results. “Now we’re buying some of their animals,” he smiled. They both said – as Toby rushed straight from the win to join his team in the youth challenge – that it was an incredible feeling not just to show cattle, but to show cattle together. “Because it’s such a family thing… kind of ‘united we stand’,” Lee said.

Supreme Junior Champion Glenidol Lambda Cookie, owned by 14-year-old Toby Whytock (kneeling), of Te Awamutu, gave the family a great run in their first big show.

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Pump supplier now one-stopshop for effluent systems MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz


& Harrison, well known for its Yardmaster pump brand, has evolved from just being a pump supplier to a full provider for dairy effluent system needs, offering farmers a full service from concept through design, to installation and ongoing maintenance. R&H has expanded their product range to include shore mounted, self-priming pumps, a range of submersible pumps and stirrers with mounting infrastructure and an increased range of separators and automation with HALO

supersmart control and monitoring. An increased service offering includes accredited dairy effluent design, warrant of fitness certifications, the position of endorsed effluent systems provider with Farm Source and a nationwide dealer network to provide local services and aftermarket support. In line with its policy of introducing new innovations or alternative solutions, Yardmaster has released their Progressive Cavity (PC) pump, which compared to centrifugalbased pumps, will move effluent with the focus on power efficiency and constant flow. The PC versions can deliver pressure up to

heads of 240 metres, volumes up to 55 cubic

metres per hour and suction lift of up to 8.5

metres. Constructed of cast iron and equipped

with chrome plated rotors and natural rubber

Reid & Harrison has expanded their product range to include shore mounted, self-priming pumps and a range of submersible pumps and stirrers. Inset: Reid & Harrison also has a nationwide dealer network to provide aftermarket service.

stators, the PC pump has six rotor speed options and power options from 4kW to 30kW. Assembled and tested in New Zealand, the range offers users a shore-mounted solution for easier and safer maintenance, constant flow rates over large distances and lower running costs. The evolution of its pumping solutions means R&H believes the result will mean the right pump (and related equipment) can be selected for the customer’s needs, rather than only offering what is available to the customer, with the end result being cost savings, easier maintenance and performance meeting compliance and customer outcomes.




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Wet harvest spawns clever solution MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

WITH A wet autumn

and even wetter winter, Northern European farmers and contractors are coming up with novel solutions to get the harvest in and plant next year’s crops. Reports suggest that the forage maize harvest has been particularly difficult, with some crops expected to be harvested in late September or early October, still being chopped just before Christmas. While swapping harvesters’ front tyres set up for tracks has meant that harvesters keep moving, the biggest issue has been

“We can offer trailers from 11t to 18t with single nonpowered axles in the wideor standard body width format with 750/60R30.5 tyres.”

With a powered axle and larger tyres this Richard Western SF18 trailer can handle wet harvest better.

the ability for tractors and trailers to run alongside. One Danish contractor, Gads Maskinstation, has addressed the situation with a powered axle and larger tyres on his Richard Western SF18 trailer. Typically, the SF 18 trailers leave the east of England factory on tandem axles fitted with 560/60R22.5 tyres or a 600/55R26.5 option. Seeing a developing pattern of harvests getting wetter, Maskinstation looked at a different configuration and now runs four SF18s with a single hydraulically powered axle and extra-large 800/65R32 VF boots.

Giltrap Engineering offers a range of slurry tankers with capacities from 5000 to 20,000 litres.

Making the most of effluent WITH A likelihood that fertil-

iser prices may take another hike because of ships bypassing the Suez Canal, smart farmers will be taking a closer look at their dairy effluent as a nutrient source – with additional benefits gained by increasing soil organic matter, leading to improved water holding, aeration and drainage. Research suggests that 100 cows, milked over a 270-day season, will produce a volume of effluent equivalent to 590kg of nitrogen, 70kg of phosphorous and 540kg of potassium, meaning that well utilised material can help reduce the dependence on boughtin products. Otorohanga-based Giltrap Engineering offers a range of slurry tankers with capacities from 5000 to 20,000 litres, running on tandem or triple-axle layouts depending on size, with corresponding axles sized from 60 to 130mm and dependent on specification utilising 10-stud commer-

cial wheels. Tank diameters vary depending on capacity, but all feature high-grade rolled steel of 6mm wall thickness, or 8mm in the case of the largest unit, with domed end panels to create integrity. The vessel is carried on an integrated heavy-duty chassis and drawbar assembly, with a large range of options to suit individual situations. These include braking systems, various tyre equipment, sprung/steering axles, suspended drawbars or mudguards. For those looking for proof of placement information, options include flow pumps and GPS coverage maps accessed through an easy-to-use touch-screen system. The heart of the machine centres around a high-end BattioniPagani rotary vane vacuum pump with capacities of 6500 to 12,000 litres per minute, depending on model. The vacuum/pressure system is protected by a double moisture trap, with relief valves

in each circuit, with a sight glass to monitor filing, while the use of brass and galvanised fittings throughout give effective corrosion protection. Separate filling points allow the machines to operate in situations where there might be access issues, with the option of an autofill set up allows users to fill the tank without leaving the tractor seat, helping to promote cleanliness and more importantly, safety. Detail design sees inspection hatches on the side and top of the tank for easy access for maintenance or cleaning, while up to three integral tank baffles prevents “surge” as the tank empties or fills. Machines are supplied with 150 or 200mm lightweight, sectional filling hoses, in lengths of up to 8m. A high-quality paint finish externally, complemented by an epoxy paint coating inside the tank, should help the machine look good over an extended working life. – Mark Daniel

Supplied by the customer and fitted by the Suffolk-based trailer manufacturer, the drive axle with planetary driven hubs have come from a loading shovel or dump truck, while the trailer builder has also incorporated an additional cross member for the hydraulic motor mount which drives the axle.

Danish contractors are not alone in struggling with water-logged maize, as similar situations in the UK and Ireland means there appears to be increasing interest in the single axle/large tyre solution. A spokesman for Richard Western says, “We can offer trailers from 11t to 18t with single non-powered axles in the wide- or standard body width format with 750/60R30.5 tyres. For powered axle configurations, we can either source the axles or fit units supplied by the client”. The company also notes that one of the best options for wet conditions are BWT20 trailers with tandem axles and 650/50R26.5 tyres, commonly found in sugar beet and maize silage harvest operations. Back in Denmark while the solution is working well, the contractor’s New Holland T9.560 tractor has been called upon on several occasions to keep the T7.315 and bespoke SF18 alongside the forage harvester.



End-of-life tyre scheme set for new beginning and the size of some of the tyres replaced off large machinery,” Adele said. Tyrewise will work with rural service providers to enable back loading of the more difficult-tocollect tyres, making the process easier and more efficient, she said. Tyrewise has set a target of 80% of tyres processed by the fourth year of operation and over 90% by the sixth year, Adele said. Currently only about 40% of end-of-life tyres in New Zealand are recycled or used in the creation of new products. An implementation team has been busy behind the scenes for many months registering tyre importers, sellers, transporters, processors, and end market manufacturers. The scheme will initially cover all air-filled and solid tyres for use on motorised vehicles for cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, tractors, forklifts, aircraft and off-road vehicles. Tyres for products like non-motorised equipment, as well as precured rubber for retreads will be brought into the scheme at a later date.

Currently only about 40% of end-of-life tyres in New Zealand are recycled or used in the creation of new products.

MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

THE FIRST stage of gov-

ernment regulations designed to reduce environmental harm from end-of-life tyres is about to take effect, realising a proposal that has been discussed for many years. Tyrewise, the country’s regulated product stewardship scheme for tyres, will make it easier for the rural sector to safely dispose of everything from tyres on sideby-sides and utes to those found on tractors and harvesters, said Adele Rose, of Tyrewise Implementation project managers 3R Group. The first stage of regulation commences on 1 March, where buyers will notice a tyre stewardship fee being charged when they purchase new tyres, or vehicles imported with tyres, that will be used to manage those tyres at the end of their life. It must be applied at a standard rate across the country. Dairy News understands that, based on weight, tractors will incur a charge of between $142 and around $350.

The fee payable on new tyres for their future management will apply from 1 March. Existing ad hoc disposal fees may apply on any old tyres you need disposed of up until 1 September 2024, at which time this must stop.

From 1 September 2024, Tyrewise will be responsible for arranging the free collection of endof-life tyres from registered tyre sellers, garages and public collection sites. The scheme will also ensure the tyres go to registered processors

and manufacturers, so they get a second life in a new product, rather than being landfilled, stockpiled, or dumped. “The rural sector has some unique challenges when it comes to endof-life tyres due to the often-remote locations

The scheme will make it easier for the rural sector to safely dispose all used tyres.

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New Holland eyes methane capture MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

HAVING UPPED the ante in the

alternative fuels segment for use in tractors with its T6 Methane tractor, last year New Holland took a majority interest in Bennamann, a company specialising in methane capture. Using methane produced by capturing dairy herd effluent makes perfect sense, but the tricky part is capturing the gas before cleaning and compressing it ready for storage, thereby removing multiple storage vessels around the tractor. Bennamann, based in the southwest of England, was founded in 2011 and over the ensuing years developed a circular model which reclaims fugitive methane from cattle and uses it to The next part of the equation will be the development of methane capture at a commercial level on-farm, now being addressed with

the resources that New Holland can bring to the table. Already, development has led to the introduction of the world’s first liquefied fugitive methane tractor prototype, the New Holland T7 Methane Power LNG, which is operationally carbon negative when fuelled using Bennamann’s system. Research has found that a 120-cow farm operating our shared methane capture technology can reduce the CO2 equivalent of 100 western European households – about 780 tons annually. Looking at the science of Liquified Fugitive Methane more closely, due to its high energy density, liquefied methane (a natural gas) is much easier to store and efficiently distribute than renewable energy sources such as hydrogen and compressed natural gas. This makes liquefied methane a direct and suitable replacement for fossil fuels in high power applications, even in the most remote locations such as construction sites.

New Holland took a majority interest in Bennamann, a company specialising in methane capture.

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New Kuhn trailed mower

MAKE THAT LARGE PLEASE! KUHN FARM Machinery has introduced a new flagship FC 13460 RA trailed mower conditioner, in the shape of the FC 13460RA, aimed at users requiring increased capacity and efficiency from a wider trailed machine. Featuring a 12.4-13.4m cutting width, operators are said to benefit from reduced fuel consumption and lower soil compaction due to a wider pass, while also accessing well-known features such as LiftControl and the Optidisc-Elite cutter bar. KUHN’s grassland product specialists note that the FC 13460 RA offers significantly higher output from a single machine, with a 25 to 30% wider cut on each pass than compared to a mounted triple-mower combination, resulting in savings in fuel, labour and time. The Mo-Co uses KUHN’s

proven cutter bar, featuring the Fast-Fit quick knife system to reduce downtime. The mower features 12 discs on each unit, said to deliver improved crop flow and an increased knife overlap, while a greater distance between the discs allows improved crop flow to the rear of the mower and away from the cutting area. Disc skid linings and TRIPLE 5 knives are standard. Central to the design is an innovative frame that offers constant ground pressure control through the Lift-Control suspension, with the weight of the mower spread between the tractor’s drawbar and the mower’s axle and flotation tyres helping to further protect the soil. The manufacturer says, “LiftControl allows users to change bed pressures to suit the conditions, helping to protect swards and pre-

vent damage to the mowers, especially in wetter conditions.” When fitted with the belt grouper, the FC 13460 RA can produce a swath between 1.8m and 3m wide and group a 13m cut into one row, helping to increase the output of the following operations. It is ISOBUS compatible and available with a CCI 800 or 1200 screen. Users can also take the option of the CCI A3 joystick to group up to 30 functions onto a single control. Independent section control of the mowers is only an option through the CCI screens. This feature lifts the mowers automatically to avoid double cutting crop at the end of a run, helping to maintain forage quality and reduce operator fatigue. Expect units on farm during quarter two of 2024. – Mark Daniel

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Jimny goes 5-door MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

FIFTY YEARS ago, Suzuki

was a pioneer in developing a small Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) with fourwheel drive capability and low fuel consumption. Suzuki Development of the original Jimny in 1968 and the LJ10 Jimny arrived in 1970 it was the first mass production 4WD in the Japanese domestic mini-car category. The model evolved into the SJ413 Samurai that went into local assembly in New Zealand in 1985, using a lightweight Suzuki Swift engine and incorporating special modifications for off-road operation. Early popularity of the Jimny has continued unabated with demand usually outstripping supply. Since its launch, 3.3 million Jimnys have been sold worldwide, picking up numerous awards along the way, including the Compact SUV Award in New Zealand. Much like Vegemite, that garners a love it or hate it response, the Jimny – with its distinctive retro looks and personality – is said to be a car with no peers, resulting in a cult following in Austral-


Since its launch, 3.3 million Jimnys have been sold worldwide, picking up numerous awards along the way, including the Compact SUV Award in New Zealand.

The arrival of a 5-door version to complement the fourth generation Jimny 3-door that has been a success story from launch.

asia. A new addition to the range sees the arrival of a 5-door version to complement the fourth generation Jimny 3-door that has been a success story from launch despite a long waiting list and buyer’s premiums on used examples. While the width and height of the 5-door remains the same as the 3-door, the overall length extends 340mm to provide a still compact 3820mm body length, while a longer 2590mm wheelbase compares with 2250mm for the 3-door. The 5-door retains

Standard equipment includes dual camera brake support that recognises vehicles, pedestrians and lane markings.

a strong ladder frame underpinnings and the same 210mm ground clearance and tread of the Jimny 3-door, while front suspension changes include an increase in

the coil springs, revised damping characteristics of the shock absorbers and a heavier duty anti-roll bar, alongside an upgrade to ventilated front disc brakes.

The well proven 1462cc, 4-cylinder Suzuki K15B multi-point injection engine with 4 valves per cylinder has a maximum output of 75kW (100hp) at 6000rpm and


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without using the brakes or clutch. Hill hold control helps prevent the vehicle rolling rearwards so the driver can focus on controlling acceleration. Curb weight at 1200kg is a 105kg increase on the 3-door, while the 5-door has a relatively nimble turning circle of 11.4 metres. Standard equipment includes dual camera brake support that recognises vehicles, pedestrians and lane markings, automatic braking, rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking system and a rear camera. Additionally, other functions include emergency braking, weaving alert, electronic stability control, projector LED headlights and halogen daytime running lights are standard, alongside adaptive cruise control on the new 5 door, while a three-year/100,000km, plus a 5-year powertrain warranty should offer peace of mind.

Are you hitting your target market? Contact your local sales representative for more information Auckland

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peak torque of 130Nm at 4000rpm, with the manual achieving 6.4 litres/100km and the four-stage auto returns 6.9 litres/100km. A three-link rigid rear axle and coil spring suspension system mirrors the 3-door while the 195/80R15 Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tyres fitted to 15-inch alloy wheels also remain the same. All Jimny models are part-time, four-wheel drive and the Suzuki ALLGRIP PRO system with its low range transfer case allows high and low final drive ratios depending on the road conditions or the terrain. The driver can simply select 2WD, 4WD or 4WD Low Lock when the going gets rough. Hill descent control limits the Jimny to 5km/h in low range, braking individual wheels for controlled descending, enabling the driver to concentrate on steering

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Twin-axle slurry tankers on debut MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz


and retailed in New Zealand by Norwood, has introduced two new twinaxle ‘Slurry Vacuum’ SV slurry tankers. The SV13 model, available with bogie or tandem axle layouts, is complemented by the recessed SV13R model, which can be fitted with wheels up to 1680mm diameter. With contractors and farmers said to be their main focus, the SV13 duo offer versatility, meeting the needs of users with a spreading plan ranging between 1000 and 5000 cubic metres of liquid fertiliser per annum. Suitable for tractors up to 180hp, they have a compact design and an axle centre distance of

over 1.8m, making the units easy to pull and with good stability. For filling operations, the SV13 model can fit a BP2 arm or Pichon plunger arm. Additionally, the recessed R version can be equipped with a turret arm for more flexibility. The SV13R’s integrated chassis with recessed wheels gives it a low centre of gravity, and unparalleled manoeuvrability without the need for oversized tyres. These features help reduce the overall weight, making it a good solution for spreading operations on hilly terrain. Designed for compatibility, the SV13 models work in conjunction with all application equipment manufactured by SAMSON AGRO, including drip hose booms, injectors, and incorporators.

Pichon has introduced new twinaxle ‘Slurry Vacuum’ SV slurry tankers.


The slurry tankers have a spreading plan ranging between 1000 and 5000 cubic metres of liquid fertiliser per annum.

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