Page 1

Remembering Michael Spaans. PAGE 4



Getting Mr Right PAGE 20

Heavy duty mower PAGE 29

NOVEMBER 28, 2017 ISSUE 391 //

LOOKING BEYOND THE COW Westland Milk’s new strategy doesn’t limit the co-op to producing only dairy products, says chief executive Toni Brendish. PAGE 3

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NEWS  // 3

Westland to look outside dairy PETER BURKE

Will composting barns work? PG.06

Fussy eaters need good feed. PG.27

Bale wrap up. PG.29

NEWS������������������������������������������������������3-14 OPINION���������������������������������������������� 16-17 AGRIBUSINESS������������������������������������ 19 MANAGEMENT������������������������������ 20-22 ANIMAL HEALTH��������������������������������� 23 DAIRY GOATS����������������������������������24-27 MACHINERY &   PRODUCTS��������������������������������������28-30

WESTLAND MILK Products (WMP) chief executive Toni Brendish says the co-op may in future look beyond the cow for the products it makes. Brendish told Dairy News that the new strategy adopted by WMP, which includes the phrase ‘nourishment made beautiful for generations’, deliberately doesn’t limit the organisation to producing only dairy products. For example, other products made from plant protein or other animal proteins could be processed by the existing WMP plants. Two years ago the cooperative was in trouble but Brendish says they have turned a corner financially by cutting costs, managing inventory better and building a leaner business. “The key message from me is that our shareholders have been fantastic. When I first met them last year at the annual meeting I said I wouldn’t be closing the gap in the 2016-17 period because there was too much to fix; I asked them for a year to turn the business around. “They have given me, the management team and the board the time and space to do the things we needed to do. “Westland shareholders this year will be rewarded for their patience because we have closed the gap and we will be competitive with the other processors.”

Westland chief executive Toni Brendish.

Brendish says WMP is looking at growth opportunities including such high value products as infant formula and nutritional products that are starting to deliver for the co-op. Westland’s heritage and location

are two areas WMP intends to build on to differentiate its products from those of other milk processors. Brendish points to the heritage of tenacity of WMP shareholders and the unique environment of the West

Coast with its good environmental footprint. She also points to WMP’s reputation as a butter producer. Brendish expects the butter price to come down but not as fast as it went up. She is also cautious about the overall dairy market and the impact this may have on Westland’s payout. “The pay-out will reflect the trends internationally. We have seen the [recent] GTDs soften and that, plus the combination of events in Europe, means we will see some general softening in prices. “Westland hasn’t seen milk supply growth so I would say payout is at the lower end of the forecast range – $6.40 to $6.80. We are still within the range and I’m feeling confident of that but I have said to the shareholders that it will be at the lower end and we need to be cautious,” Brendish says.

NOT PUTTING ALL EGGS IN ONE BASKET ALSO ON Toni Brendish’s mind is what impact geopolitical issues such as Brexit, Donald Trump, etc may have on the world dairy market and how any repercussions may affect New Zealand and WMP. “At Westland we spend a lot of time making sure we are not overexposed in any one country. “For example, 15 - 18% of our business [is in China] but we measure that carefully and we don’t want to have any more than 25% going there. This is

despite the growth in infant formula: we want to make sure we are not over-exposed there. “We also have good trade with the Middle East, the US, North Asia and some African countries. All that will protect us if there is fallout from Brexit or some other activity,” she says. Brendish says it’s been incredibly rewarding helping to transform WMP and get it back on its feet. The success of the transformation has been due to getting talented and capable

executives into the organisation – people aligned and committed to the new strategy to create a successful and sustainable business. “But the one thing that keeps me awake at night is not just to get things right now, but how to create more value in the future. [We need] value that our farmers on the Coast and in Canterbury can actually see on their farms.” Brendish says WMP spends a lot of time thinking about future development.



Leader from our own ranks

Giant kauri falls FEDERATED FARMERS


SADLY, OUR cooperative has lost

one of our strongest people with former director Michael Spaans passing away last week. Michael decided earlier this year to step down from the Fonterra board to try to recover from cancer. He and I go back many years and I saw him approach the illness as he approached everything in life -- resolute, determined and doing his utmost to continue as normal. His was a brave fight and I am sure that will not surprise those of you who knew him. Michael was a proud dairy farmer with a passion for our co-op and industry -- a fine example of a leader developed within our ranks. He brought experience and a huge energy and commitment to our board, and won the respect of his fellow directors and farmers for his willingness to

The late Michael Spaans on his Te Aroha farm.

listen and engage. Michael was a man who knew the importance of detail. He made sure he knew this business extremely well, and understood our strategy and detail in the numbers. He always looked for constructive solutions and thought deeply about our co-op’s governance and his role in the evolution of our business. His insights, experience, genuine

interest and inquisitive mind were invaluable on Fonterra’s milk price panel, the cooperative relations committee and the audit and finance committee. As recently as last month Michael was working for the betterment of New Zealand farmers in his capacity as chairman of DairyNZ. He also remained an ambassador for Fonterra in Wellington

and on the international stage, speaking recently at the United Nations in New York on behalf of the Global Dairy Platform and all farmers. We have lost a close friend, leader and an advocate of our industry much too soon. Our thoughts and deep gratitude for all that he contributed go to his family. • John Wilson is chairman of Fonterra.

Dedicated to DairyNZ DAIRYNZ CHAIRMAN and former

Fonterra director Michael Spaans (54) died last Monday (November 20) of cancer.                              A Te Aroha dairy farmer, Spaans joined the DairyNZ board in 2008 and became chair in November 2015. He was a director of Fonterra from 2013 until January 2017 when illness forced early retirement.  But he remained a director of ASB and Shoof International, and kept his farming interests in Canterbury, Chile, the US and his home farm. DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says Spaans was dedicated to DairyNZ and even when ill made an effort to add value to the organisation.

“He was often quoted as saying how vital DairyNZ is in acting in the best interests of farmers, and the DairyNZ family will miss him. “Our deep sympathies lie with his family, especially his wife Kristina, who has also dedicated her past nine years to us.” Mackle says Spaans had a presence, and not just because of his 6ft 9in height; he was a thoughtful, considered man passionate about farming and dedicated to his wife Kristina and three children now aged 16, 20 and 22. DairyNZ acting chair Barry Harris, says, “Michael will be greatly missed by the board, our staff, our farmers and the

wider Waikato community. “His passion and knowledge of the sector, and dedication to improving outcomes for dairy farming profitability and sustainability are well known. “We will miss his thoughtful debating and farmer-first approach to investment, his involvement with the dairy leaders group, his focus as chair of the Waikato Dairy Leaders Group and the group’s desire to improve the state of the Waikato River, and support for the Healthy Rivers plan in particular.” Growing up on a family farm at Tauhei, near Morrinsville, Spaans attended Mangateparu School, Morrinsville Intermediate and Morrins-

ville College. A keen basketballer as a young man, Spaans started farming life in Te Aroha as a young sharemilker. He later took over his parents’ farm at Manawaru, living there with his family until his death. He started in governance about the time Fonterra was formed, with the NZ Dairy Group shareholders’ council, and became the Te Aroha ward rep when the council and company became part of Fonterra. He has held many governance positions, dedicating his life to improving farming in NZ. Late last week DairyNZ appointed Waikato farmer Jim van der Poel as its new board chairman.

We know your weekends are workdays too.

representatives have described Michael Spaans as a “kauri in the forest” and “an asset to the dairy sector and agriculture” with his extensive governance acumen. Feds was “extremely saddened” to learn of his death and extends its condolences to the Spaans family. Vice-president Andrew Hoggard says Spaans was an asset to dairy and agriculture -- “a farmer first and foremost and someone who especially cared about decisions and what they meant onfarm”. “One enduring memory of Michael is 2013, at the launch of the Sustainable Dairy Water Accord. “The various signatories were accepting plaques on behalf of their organisations and Michael was representing DairyNZ. “Seeing PM John Key looking a long way up, dwarfed by Michael, was bloody amusing. When it came to the pictures you could see the PM actually shifting his feet to get on his tip-toes.” Feds dairy industry chair Chris Lewis describes Spaans as a “kauri in the forest” and a considerate man who showed great leadership. “I’ve worked with Michael on the Waikato Dairy Leaders Group and first met him five years ago,” says Lewis. “I recall asking him if he played defence as a basketballer or a lock in the first 15. He probably got asked that question a lot; he’ll be greatly missed.”


NEWS  // 5

Planning for future farm systems PETER BURKE

THE NEW strategy for

the dairy sector will lead to a longer conversation about what New Zealand’s future farm and food systems could look like. That’s the view of DairyNZ’s chief executive Dr Tim Mackle when talking about ‘Dairy Tomorrow’, the new strategy developed by DairyNZ with DCANZ, Federated Farmers and the Dairy Woman’s Network. It was launched last week in Wellington. The new strategy

embodies fundamental beliefs and positions, including successfully farming within limits; maximising the value from NZ milk while preserving the benefits in pasture based systems; caring for people, animals and the environment; and not tolerating people who fail to comply with rules on these subjects. It also is committed to greater transparency. The strategy itself has six major commitments: ■■ protecting and nurturing the environment for future generations ■■ building the world’s most competitive and

resilient dairy farming business ■■ producing the highest quality and most valued dairy nutrition ■■ leading the world in onfarm care of animals ■■ building great workplaces for a talented workforce ■■ growing vibrant and prosperous communities. Mackle says sustainable dairy farming has a critical role to play in NZ’s prosperity and wellbeing . He says farming

Tim Mackle

within limits and maintaining profitability is key to the industry’s success in global markets.

framework for world-leading onfarm animal care.” One of the challenges the authors of this strategy will have is getting complete buy-in from farmers. In practical terms, what will ‘not tolerating non-compliance’ with key rules actually translate into? Refusing to take milk or cutting payout from recidivist non-compliers? How will they get all farmers to be great employers and not tarnish the image of the industry?

These and other challenges -- some of which are outside the control of the sector -- are acknowledged in the strategy: geopolitical and trade issues, changing cultural and social attitudes towards food, slow or declining growth and getting greater and faster adoption of new technologies. The report also notes the constraints on food production including water and, no doubt, land and the potential for disruption by climate change.

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“We want to begin straight away collaborating on strategies and actions toward achieving swimmable waterways and finding new opportunities to reduce or offset our greenhouse gas emissions,” Mackle says. “These actions will be ongoing priorities. At the same time we’ve put deadlines in place for implementing new initiatives, including developing cutting-edge science and technology solutions and implementing a new

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6 //  NEWS

Composting barns to allay public fears separate standing areas and individual bedding stalls; non-composting loafing barns; and slatted-floor barns with effluent bunkers underneath. AGRIBUSINESS CONSULTANT On his analysis, only composting Keith Woodford has come out as a big barns tick all the boxes as suitable and fan of composting dairy barns. economic for all four farming systems. Speaking at the recent Centre for A fully composting barn has large Dairy Excellence Dairy Barns conferareas of composting material at ence in Timaru, Woodford said least 600mm deep where the dairy farmers will have to do “We have to get cows offcows spend virtually all their “something” to get cows off pastime. ture in late autumn and winter. paddock in the second half of “It will have roof venting The New Zealand commu- autumn and winter.” and daily tilling. If those things nity will not allow current dairy practices to continue for the next 20 carry feeding; indoor-outdoor hybrid aren’t occurring then it is not going to to 30 years, he said. However, there are with year-round milking; indoor-out- be a composting barn.” The compost should stay in for various types of dairy barns and no one door with seasonal milking; and offpaddock shelter used only for limited 12 months. If it has to be pulled out answer for all. “I am enthusiastic about compost- periods of bad weather in a seasonal sooner because it is turning into a foulsmelling “anaerobic custard” then the ing barns and the solutions they can to milking operation. He also identified four basic barn farmer is doing something wrong, said provide in NZ, but they are not the only types: composting; freestall barns with Woodford. solution of course.” “It’s got to smell nice. It’s got to be pretty dry. If you can squeeze water out of it or anything like that, it ain’t compost. “There’ll be steam everywhere as you till, because evaporation is where the moisture goes.” There has to be some form of waterproof sealing under the 600mm compost, with a drainage system to catch any effluent, although in a properly functioning composting barn nothing will come out. “All your moisture is going up through the system to the sky. But it won’t work without the right structure -- a decent-shaped roof of at least 18 degrees [slope]. You’ve got to have internal venting up the top and you’ve got to have daily tilling.” Attendees at the Centre for Dairy Excellence Dairy Barns The compost is tilled by tractor Conference at Peter Collins farm. twice a day, usually when the cows are NIGEL MALTHUS

Woodford said he has found one composting barn that is working well in NZ but there may be as many as three others, and “a couple of hundred” in the US. He identified four basic barn farming systems: 24/7 indoor farming with year-round milking and fully cut-and-

Keith Woodford

out being milked. However, tilling also works with robot milking systems in which the cows do not leave the barn. “That’s OK. The cows will get up and get out of the way as you do it. I’ve seen that happening in North America. “I’ve seen one of these systems in Oregon working nicely with a robot system. That particular one is interesting because they have a freestall barn and a composting barn they put in later. The cows have a choice as to where they go and most of the cows prefer to walk past the freestall and around into the composting barn.” Woodford said benefits of composting barns include cow comfort -- “cows love them” -- clean udders, less lameness than with freestall, and no liquid waste. They may also mitigate nitrogen leaching and greenhouse gas emissions, although that needs quantification. That should come with improved biological efficiency, as measured by the ratio of milk produced per kilo of bodyweight. Woodford said farmers should be aiming for a minimum of 1.1kg of MS/ year/kg liveweight, or an average across the herd of at least 1.2. “There’s no doubt you can do better than 1.2. The very best pasture farms are probably around 1.1 and there might be some claiming to be closer to 1.2. But with barn farming we can go beyond that. You really can get very

big increases in production from these systems.” Emphasising that a composting system will not be for everyone, Woodford said it is a matter of matching the barn structure to the farming system, but he warned that systems could change over time and there is no simple answer as to whether it is the structure or the system that comes first. “I’ve concentrated on composting because that is the exciting one that a lot of you wouldn’t know anything about,” Woodford said. “I’m confident this is going to have a role for us in NZ. We are going to have to do something to get cows offpaddock in the second half of autumn and winter. “If we think the community is going to allow us to stick with [our current systems] for the next 20 to 30 years, that’s not going to happen.” However, one critical questioner from the floor of the conference said that while composting had emotional merit, “economically, I can’t make it work”. He questioned the cost of the necessary sealed layer under the compost; ongoing costs in acquiring compostable material such as sawmill waste at a time when sawmills were increasingly using it themselves; possible costs in storing material before and after composting; and problems with fungus and dust.

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NEWS  // 9

Fonterra tipped to revise forecast PAM TIPA

A FALL of 3.4% in the

overall GDT Event price index last week was the fourth consecutive fall and prices are now at eight-month lows. The usually bullish ASB has dropped its forecast 25c to $6.50/kgMS. This is more in line with the forecasts of other banks including ANZ which is now forecasting $6.25 - $6.50/kgMS. The latter is expecting Fonterra to downgrade next month from its current

$6.75/kgMS to possibly as low as $6.25/kgMS. Rabobank dairy analyst Michael Harvey says the milestone 200th auction result was again not what dairy farmers were hoping for, nor what futures markets were anticipating. The general sentiment in global markets remains bearish. Protein and fat prices both fell. “With farmgate milk prices across the export regions above break-even, milk production is gaining momentum. Fresh data confirmed this, with EU milk deliveries up 3.7% in September – the strongest

growth in 18 months. “In addition, NZ milk production data for October was up 2.9%. “However, it should be noted that 2017-18 is still trailing 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons across the peak.” Rabobank says it is more likely Fonterra will revise downwards.

ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny says NZ production has rebounded from wet weather sooner than expected. October nationwide production by all processors lifted 2.9%, though August and September were well behind 2016 levels.

“It seems NZ weather and thus production can turn on a dime,” says Penny. “With NZ production much improved and EU production already firm, we factor in this better global production outlook into our milk price forecast.” Rabobank’s Harvey

says a small but interesting development occurred in recent weeks. “The European Commission sold a small parcel (44 tonnes) of skim milk powder (SMP) out of European intervention stores. Interestingly, the product was reportedly sold below the purchase price, which is a change

in policy by the EU commission. “The intervention purchase price is set at €1693/ tonne and the recent sale was reportedly at around €1450/t. This potentially indicates a change in attitude by the EU commission and a sign that patience is running out on holding the inventory.”

Another tool to combat yellow bristle MAIZE GROWERS have another tool to fight yellow bristle grass this season. Crop protection company Nufarm says Latro WG is now the only nicosulfuron herbicide in registered in New Zealand for killing yellow bristle grass in maize. “This development will interest farmers, growers or contractors who repeatedly crop long-term maize ground, particularly in Waikato and Bay of Plenty,” says Nufarm technical specialist Paul Addison. On farms where yellow bristle grass makes up 13% (on average) of dry matter, the cost of supplementary baleage required to maintain milk production is estimated at $343/ha annually. While it has been proven that seeds of the grass will not survive longer than a week in well-sealed maize silage, the harvest, transport and handling of these crops at maturity remains a known risk for spreading YBG seed into road verges and pastures. “Once the weed is present on farms it can be difficult and time-consuming to eradicate, and costly in terms of lost grazing,” says Addison. This makes effective control in maize crops a good practice for biosecurity and it reassures farmers who may buy the resultant silage. Yellow bristle grass is an aggressive annual-seeding plant which spreads rapidly through pasture, reducing pasture quality. Cows won’t willingly eat it, leading to low pasture utilisation. Grazing avoidance leads to rapid re-infestation and an opening for other weeds. It is widespread throughout Taranaki, Waikato, South Auckland and Bay of Plenty. Addison says Latro WG is known as an economic, effective post-emergence herbicide in maize, with a broad spectrum of control for grass and broadleaf weeds.

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10 //  NEWS

Teachers revved up on farming PETER BURKE

A LEADING exponent of once-a-day milking says it’s important that New Zealand attracts intelli-

Farmer Leo Vollebregt hosts teachers on his farm at Wairarapa.

gent, keen young people to the dairy industry. Dairy farmer Leo Vollebregt, of Wairarapa, last week hosted on his farm 35 secondary school teachers from the Wellington region, including

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careers, science, commerce, maths and English teachers. This was the fifth such annual trip, organised by DairyNZ’s Susan Stokes and Rural News Group journalist Peter Burke, plus sponsors. They take city teachers into the country and show them farming career opportunities for young people. As well as visiting the dairy farm, the teachers were taken to a Landcorp sheep and beef farm and an orchard. Speakers on the day were mostly young graduates from Massey and Lincoln universities and Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre. Vollebregt says careers advisors are the key means of getting young people interested in farming. “City people must get

on a farm to understand the important opportunities there. You can’t do this by just sitting back in your office in an urban environment.” Supporting this opinion is Wellington High School science teacher and careers advisor Tony Cains, who described the day as awesome. Cairns says he now understands that farming requires not just agriculture and horticulture, but science, maths, communications and English. Farming is a complex business, he now realises. “Teachers like me didn’t understand the breadth of opportunities and range of careers; we now realise that we should be sending our top students, as well as kids who simply want to work the land, to make careers in the agri sector.”

DAIRY-WAGYU CROSS OFFER TWO NEW Zealand farmer-owned co-ops are jointly

offering an alternative revenue stream for farmers through a Wagyu programme. The LIC and First Light Wagyu scheme enables dairy farmers to cross their dairy cows with Wagyu sires, creating more value for the farmers and a reliable source of export-quality Wagyu stock for First Light. First Light chief executive Gerard Hickey says the scheme is helping to meet global demand for grassfed Wagyu. “The dairy-Wagyu cross creates a desirable product for export, with more of the marbling for which Wagyu beef is renowned. Our experience has shown dairy breeds, including the Kiwicross cow, produce a high quality marbled beef when mated with First Light Wagyu sires,” he says. “Grass-fed Wagyu beef is increasingly popular with NZ and overseas consumers... who have shown they are willing to pay more for a verified traceable product with the superior eating characteristics of Wagyu.” LIC’s general manager of biological systems, Richard Spelman, says the scheme enables farmers to see non-replacement calves becoming a valuable product. “It gives income diversification from calf sales in early spring and provides an alternative to bobby calves. Farmers can extend their existing artificial breeding period to include First Light Wagyu,” says Spelman. He says the partnership with First Light is happening at an opportune time as interest in dairy-cross beef options is rising. “It offers new options for dairy farmers and creates high-value beef that fits with the NZ grass-fed story. “The partnership also connects the dairy and red meat value chains to create an emerging value-added product.”

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12 //  NEWS

Spierings to chair global dairy body FONTERRA CHIEF

Theo Spierings

executive Theo Spierings has been appointed chairman of Global Dairy Platform (GDP). Established in 2006,

the GDP’s mission is to align and support the dairy industry to promote sustainable dairy nutrition. Spierings says he is

pleased to be taking on the role and playing a part in maximising the contribution dairy can make to the world. “More than ever,

people are turning to dairy for nutritional security and sustainable food and every day we see the good dairy can do. “We also recognise the world will have more than two billion more mouths to feed by 2050. With food demand expected to increase by at least 50% in 2050, the challenge is how best to apply the goodness of dairy to the places and people that need it the most. “Along with the role dairy plays in everyday nutrition, there is a real opportunity to work together and look at new ways we can make the nutritional benefits of dairy more available for those facing poverty and hunger and those fighting obesity.” Spierings says good progress has been made since GDP was formed 11 years ago. “At the same time if we are to make a real difference in a world where

the pace of change is picking up, we need to be getting better every day and this will take real conviction and belief.” Spierings, who has been a director on the GDP board since 2012, will succeed Dairy Farmers of America chief executive Rick Smith who has chaired the organisation since 2015. “It has been a great privilege to serve as GDP’s chair,” said Smith. “Over the last two years, GDP has provided strong leadership and strategic thinking to increase the credibility and visibility of the dairy sector in the international community, particularly within the United Nations. We have built a solid foundation to grow on.” Smith will remain on the board with Arla Foods chief executive officer Peder Tuborgh and Royal FrieslandCampina chief executive Roelof Joosten.

SYNLAIT OPENS NEW PLANT SYNLAIT MILK has doubled its milk powder can-

ning capability with the opening of a $55 million facility at Mangere, Auckland. The blending and consumer-goods packaging plant can pack 32,000 tonnes annually. The plant removes the single-site risk inherent in operating the Dundandel plant only. The company expects demand for consumer packaged products to increase significantly in the near term. A tremendous amount of work has gone into this milestone, says chief executive John Penno. “We acquired this partially completed facility in May and have done a lot of work to commission it in just over six months. “We have employed a great team of 30 people to operate the facility and we expect that number to increase to 100 in the coming year as we add additional shifts.” Synlait is bracing for growth in business with infant formula customers. “Under the Chinese Food and Drug Administration infant formula rules coming into effect on January 1, 2018 this second site enables us to increase the potential number of our customer brands we can export to China.”

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NEWS  // 13

DWN adapting to change PAM TIPA

THE SAYING that ‘change is the only

constant in life’ is true for the dairy industry and standing still is not an option, chair Cathy Brown told the Dairy Womens Network (DWN) annual meeting. In this fast-paced world with massive amounts of information at our fingertips we need to “understand what is important,” she said. “Not only in our own lives but in the dairy industry where as farmers we live, work and play. “It is important for the organisations that support and provide leadership for the industry to sort through the noise and understand what is important. “We will need new skills, we will need an attitude to embrace the change, we will need to find new ways of working together. But we know people are a very important part of the equation. “Here at DWN we will work with our partners to support people to adapt to that change.”

She says DWN has taken a fresh look at its strategy and values. It has asked membership what is important to them and worked with the industry to help review the Dairy Industry Strategy. Chief executive Zelda de Villiers says membership stands at 10,020. They increased events in the past year to 240 from 210 in the previous year. The modules organised with partners or DairyNZ on capability and skills increased from 84 to 131. “We realised it is an industry under pressure and we have run more events but often smaller, connection-based events. There were more events which enable women to connect with each other and relax a bit.” They realise people connect in different ways. “Some people come to events, some people connect on Facebook, some connect with others by getting support from them,” de Villiers told Dairy News. “Our purpose is unlimited opportunities for women in dairy. There is a small shift from the past: the past was very much about dairy farming women, now it is for women in dairy.

“We will need new skills, we will need an attitude to embrace the change, we will need to find new ways of working together.”

DWN chair Cathy Brown.

So we recognise rural professionals and everybody in the industry as part of the dairy industry. It is also about unlimited opportunities so with different people an opportunity is different. “Everybody’s journey is different; opportunities for them or what they are

aiming for are different and we are able to provide everything for everybody because we are an all-inclusive and all-encompassing organisation.” Because they are a grassroots organisation, regional leaders (formerly regional group convenors) came up with the proposed values and those were evaluated by a sub-group of regional leaders. Referring to speakers at the annual meeting, De Villiers says Mark Payne, strategist and investment leader for

people and business at DairyNZ -who has always promoted DWN and knows the organisation well – told how the organisation is strong in leadership and partnerships. Wendy Morgan, a nutritionist and quality manager at Seales Winslow who presents calf rearing days, told how DWN has developed. Morgan said from the outside looking in, DWN has appeared to have strong internal leadership offering freedom within a framework. It has a clearly defined framework and objectives but empowers members and develops leaders to move forward in their own way within it. The Dairy Woman of the Year, Jesse Chan Dorman, gave a powerful presentation on her leadership journey. She shared a lot about her personal journey. Her father was a strong role model and this was a big influence on the success of family members. Katrina Thomas, DWN dairy community leadership award winner, spoke about her role as a regional and hub leader and being on the conference committee, seeing how the values in DWN came through every day.

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14 //  NEWS

EU dairy exports on the rise The infant formula market in China continues to grow.


WHILE OVERALL dairy exports from New Zealand and Australia are declining, the European Union is showing strong export growth, says Fonterra’s November Global Dairy Update. This is despite China’s imports being 12% up in the year to September 2017 and increasing a whopping 34% (53,000 tonnes) in September versus the same month last year. NZ’s total dairy exports for September decreased 7% (14,000t) versus the same month last year. Exports for the 12 months to September 2017 were down 2%. “Weak powder numbers led the decline,

with whole milk powder (WMP) and skim milk powder (SMP) down 11% and 26% respectively,” the update says. “Fluid and fresh dairy growth continued, up 9000t (39%) for September.”

Weak volumes for SMP, AMF and butter – down 11%, 14% and 10% respectively – led to the overall 2% decline in exports in the year to September. Fonterra Australia

to July 2017 and 10% (40,000t) in July versus the same month in the previous year. Exports of SMP increased significantly, up 70% (30,000t). Fluid and fresh dairy and infant formula also had solid growth, up a combined 9%. This was partially offset by declines in whey powder, down 16% in July. Exports for the 12 months to July were up 5% (227,000t) on the

previous comparable period. SMP, infant formula, cheese and lactose exports increased significantly, up a combined 265,000t (13%), offset by declines in fluid and fresh dairy, butter and AMF, down a combined 56,000t. US exports were up 11% for the 12 months to September 2017 but decreased by 6% (11,000t) in September versus the same month the previous year.

This was the second consecutive month of declining US exports. Leading China’s increase in imports were WMP, infant formula and SMP, up a combined 96% (33,000t) in September. “Imports continue very strong into China, with almost all categories showing growth this year: WMP, infant formula and SMP grew the most, up a combined 22% (179,000t),” the Global Dairy Update says.

dairy exports were down 3% both in September and for the year to September 2017. Meanwhile the latest figures show European Union dairy exports rose 5% in the 12 months Virbac team from left: Ian Burke, Travis Marsh, Vanessa Macdonald, Paul Gibson and Ian Pryor with the award.

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A CAMPAIGN to market mastitis treatments to dairy farmers has been recognised at the Westpac Waikato Business Awards. The Choose Black marketing campaign was developed to showcase Virbac New Zealand’s locally made mastitis treatments. At the start of the 2016-17 season Virbac targeted the lactating cow intramammary market where rival products had been used for many years. By the end of the 2016-17 season, Virbac’s Penclox 1200 High Potency Milking Cow was the number-one lactating cow intramammary in NZ, in both tube and dollar terms1, rising from 14% market share in 2015 to 35% in 2016. Virbac dairy product manager Travis Marsh says the title Choose Black was born out of the products being presented in black boxes, “which is synonymous with NZ-made, the All Blacks and all things Kiwi. “ Kiwis are renowned for our love of rugby, so it was deemed important to appeal to our audience by using rugby connotations, a take on cartoon characters around in the 70’s & 80’s, and of course the dairy cow. These elements were used in print/digital/television advertising and print material aimed at both vets and farmers, to encourage the inclusion of Virbac mastitis products on prescriptions and to remind farmers to use the products throughout the season.”

Penclox 1200 High Potency Milking Cow is a world-first formulation combining the antibiotics pencillin and cloxacillin into one lactating cow intramammary treatment. These two antimicrobials are the first choice to tackle the two most common mastitis pathogens in NZ, Strep. uberis and Staph. aureus, meaning one product can be used throughout the entire lactation period. Virbac was selected as finalist in the marketing category for Choose Black and the innovation category for Penclox 1200 High Potency Milking Cow. At the awards night on November 3 the team were announced winners of the marketing category, missing out on the innovation award, but excited for Tag IT technologies, who took it out for their Halo farm system. “This was a team effort, involving all 70 Virbac New Zealand staff, past and present, from sales, to logistics, to operations. This award solidifies our achievements and is proudly displayed in our office. “We discovered in October this year that Penclox 1200 High Potency Milking Cow remains the number one lactating cow intramammary in both tube and dollar terms. “Special thanks goes to the vets and dairy farmers that supported the Choose Black range of mastitis treatments, and continue to do so, we couldn’t do it without you.”

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What’s in a trip

MILKING IT... Always moaning

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Take that Robbie

Cows’ fame spreads

ANTI-DAIRY LOBBIES Fish and Game and Greenpeace have proved it again: they will never accept the good done by our dairy industry. A DairyNZ-led vision unveiled last week hasn’t gone down well with these lobbies. Too little, too late, they say, but no appreciation of the hard work done by farmers to protect the environment. They prefer to remain stuck in negative mode. How about working with farmers and the industry?

PRIME MINISTER Jacinda Ardern is reaching out to farmers. Federated Farmers national council heard last week that Ardern’s office has requested the dates of the Feds’ national conference next year; the PM plans to diary this and attend. The Labour Government will not receive many Christmas cards from farmers this year; many bridges were burnt during the election campaign. Let’s see if Ardern is able to turn this around.

NOBODY LIKES to find out they are less popular than a cow, particularly Robbie Williams. The surprise hit of the UK autumn has not been the pop star’s biography; instead it’s The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young, a UK farmer. Her book chronicles the life of Amelia, Desdemona, Charlotte, Dolly and the rest of the herd on her organic farm in Worcestershire. Since its publication last month the book has sold 16,000 copies, occupying No 6 slot this weekend in The Sunday Times hardback chart for a second week. By contrast, Reveal: Robbie Williams has sold no more than 20,000 copies despite a huge marketing push and being on sale for longer: it came out in September.

THREE COWS made world-famous during the Kaikoura earthquakes are in “good order”, says their owner. The two Herefords and a calf were stranded on an ‘island’ formed by a landslide; an aerial photo went viral online, assuring their fame. Now the trio have moved on: the two cows have calved and are “in good order”, farmer Derrick Millton told Newshub. “We’ve had a really good winter; a bit wet in the spring, but the cows are fit and well with a calf each.”

LAST WEEK saw a small and largely unsung project aimed at encouraging more young people to make farming their career of choice. Rural News Group, DairyNZ, HortNZ, ANZ Bank, Zespri and Lewis Road Creamery paid to take a bus-load of secondary school teachers from the Wellington region to several farms in Wairarapa. The aim was to show the teachers the massive range of well-paid and interesting careers on offer. The main speakers on the trip were young graduates bubbling with enthusiasm about their careers in the sector, and the future they see for themselves. The teachers were most impressed, coming away empowered by the knowledge they gained to start directing top students into agriculture. To be fair, this is just one initiative among many: DairyNZ and other organisations run great scholarship programmes. But as good as open days and seminars are, they can only do so much; it’s the hands-on stuff that counts -- getting influential urban people such as teachers into the country to see what makes NZ tick. Writing and reading speeches and moaning about a problem does not contribute much to solving it. Coming up with a solution and putting in some cash or serious time is what’s needed. This past week saw the dairy industry launch its refreshed strategy and again the people issue was raised. It was also raised by Stu Taylor, an innovative dairy farm manager near Whanganui whose people management is crucial to his and their success. He has an exceptional philosophy, rightly arguing that by taking time to get the right people with the right attitude, and paying them well, pays off handsomely. While aspirational strategies are fine, the doing bit and the word of mouth are what count in the end. Bad employers and dumb managers who flaunt regulations have to be railroaded out of the industry – no second chances. As Stu Taylor says, farmers are willing to spend money on consultants to improve the performance of their cows and grass, but how many spend it on getting good HR advice. The cost of the bus trip was not great, but the benefits huge. We are as usual left thinking that some serious spending nationwide on such projects could effect change and help bridge the so-called urban-rural gap. The 35 teachers on our trip would say ‘yes’ to that.

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OPINION  // 17

Are they worth their keep? NEIL McLEAN


salary package/bonuses paid to Theo Spierings in the past season it is important to understand that the Fonterra business is owned by shareholders who empower a board to act on their behalf. Any remuneration paid to Spierings and his management team are based on the rules set and agreed by the Fonterra board. The Fonterra annual review notes the board engaged McKinsey to assist with these rules as it has international experience in creating positive culture change within large businesses. Before shareholders shudder at the size of the bonuses paid, they must ask the following questions: did the board set the benchmarks at a reasonable level? And are the rewards for achieving those benchmarks out of alignment with the end point? One would also ask, was the use of international benchmarks/ rewards appropriate in a small trading economy like New Zealand and is

it best practice to make bonus payments based on such a short time-span, when the culture and management changes are likely to remain in place much longer? Theo Spiering’s base salary is $2.462 million plus a staff superannuation payment of $170,000. The remainder of the total salary package he received in the 2016-17 season reflects the performance of the business in the 2014-15 and 201516 seasons. Those performance incentives were split into short-term factors, such as return on investment, revenue and the co-op’s share of NZ milk production, to total $1.832m. Long-term incentives were based on benefits to the farmgate milk price, earnings and working capital, and improvements to the organisational health and employee engagement presumed to have a long-term benefit on future earnings. So how can a Fonterra shareholder judge whether the apparently high payments have been to his/her advantage as an owner of the business? A review of the farm-

gate milk price shows the cost of production of commodities has been stable for a long time. This must indicate that efficiencies gained over a similar period have also been maintained. There has also been a shift of revenue out of the dividend stream into milk price revenue as technological innovations have become mainstream commodities. It is also worth noting that the shareholder dividend was lifted even though previous seasons’ dividend revenue has been transferred, while improvements in working capital are a direct improvement of revenue to shareholders. One should also note that all these changes have been made while health and safety and employee engagement levels have improved. All payments made for achieving targets are part of a sliding scale, with the annual review indicating that if the targets were achieved, 60% of the base salary would be paid; so with total velocity payments totaling $3.147m, Spierings and his team achieved levels about


WATER QUALITY issues remain one

of our biggest challenges. Urban new Zealanders, whose letterboxes don’t get swamped with the farming publications and stories on all the rural people stepping up to sustainability, are swayed by lobby group campaigns and a mainstream media that thrives on controversy. There’s no argument: agriculture has had an impact on rivers.  But you can’t live anywhere on the planet and not have some effect.  What’s important now is to the get the word out on farmers’ determination not to produce less, but to maintain the export earnings vital to the nation while at the same time shrinking farms’ environmental footprint. The Feds strives to get legislators and regulators to see our thinking is

the best way forward: science-informed, practical and catchment-based projects harnessing all the new technology coming our way. Profitability means farmers have the resources to do more, to reach out and to strive for that place they always want to go -- to leave things better than they found them for the next generation. We are always optimistic, believing that eventually Kiwis will begin to realise farmers have been working to improve waterways and water management for at least ten years, and this work will continue into the future.  This will show up in improving water quality, so the need is not just to change urban people’s perceptions but also the reality. • Katie Milne addressed the Feds national council in Wellington last week. @dairy_news

Waikato farmer Neil McLean.

50% greater than targets. In terms of cash back to shareholders these improvements indicate a return of at least 30 cents. Looking at the funding model, the most important revenue source for the Fonterra shareholder must be the milk price, which can be considered as the return on the capital invested in the farm assets. By contrast, the dividend payment on company shares is the return on the capital that shareholders have invested in the business. Looking at share-

holder returns over the long term, earnings from the milk price will provide at least 90% of their income from Fonterra, so it is important that this income is maximised. From the co-operative perspective, Fonterra can strive to control costs associated with the manufacture of its products, and it appears these costs have been stable for several seasons, while improvements in milk collection and manufacturing costs have been equal to or better than the increases due to inflation.

In summary, for a shareholder the changes brought about by the Velocity 3 scheme have delivered benefits to onfarm cashflow, even at a time of lower world commodity prices, which suggests that the Fonterra board should continue to focus on both a superior milk price and an above

average return on investment in the supply chain, by making plans that will serve the co-op well and long after the present management team has moved on. • Neil McLean is a Waikato dairy farmer and Fonterra suppler. @dairy_news

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All change at Lely MARK DANIEL


NZ’s parent company Lely to sell its grass machinery division to AGCO and concentrate on dairy technology, particularly robotic milking, has brought about changes in New Zealand and Australia. Lely Dairy NZ Ltd, formed on August 1, has new premises and a new managing director in Samuel Andersen, who oversees 20 people in NZ and six in Australia. The NZ hub controls accounts, administration and marketing in both countries. Andersen, a stalwart in robotic milking, reports a marked change in perception over the last two or three years; potential customers are now happy to discuss the idea of robotics, leading to more installations. “Our Astronaut robotic milking plants are just that -- clever milking machines in a complete package offering tangible benefits,” Andersen says. The cost of robotics is not prohibitive, he says, particularly for a farmer considering building a

new herringbone or rotary complex. Such a plant demands high outlay on buildings, concrete, pipework and milking plant; whereas the modular design of robotics can be easily incorporated into existing structures, and cows voluntarily milking themselves requires very small areas of concrete because the herd need not congregate. The change to robotics, where cows milk typically 2.5 times per day, has several advantages – fewer workers, increased production -- or the same production from fewer cows -- better herd health, a lifestyle change for the farmer, and most importantly lots of data capture. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” says Andersen. Data collected on production, milk composition, cell count and rumen pH allows users to make informed decisions over long times, rather than the more typical typical herd testing regime that only delivers a snapshot of one day in the life of a cow. In the case of the Lely Astronaut, a digital dashboard allows TFC (time for cows), with monitoring of key areas, which


can be set up to rank cows on measurables already mentioned, effectively producing a ‘league table’ useful for informed decisions. Is robotic milking the route for everyone? Maybe, says Andersen, but the technology is being accepted by farmers

with up to 500 animals. The average installation has four robots, 250 - 300 cows and farm layouts allowing three fresh breaks of grass per day without too much walking for the cows. On finance, Andersen says the cost of capitalintensive robotic milk-

ing plant can be charged against machinery rather than against the farm. This lends itself to a market in second-hand units being established, as seen recently when a North Island farm was sold for housing and the refurbished robots found a second life.

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Right people key to great b Getting the right people is the key to running a successful business, says Stu Taylor, manager of a large dairy farming operation near Whanganui. The business, owned by the OB Group with interests in the North and South Islands, was visited by people attending the recent Grasslands Association conference. Peter Burke reports. THREE DAIRY farms

operate in the windswept area of Santoft, along the coast near Whanganui, each with an average of 1100 cows. Collectively the farms produce 1.3 million kgMS on 1400ha, about two-thirds of it irrigated. They also have another farm now being converted and expected to be in full production within 18 - 24 months. Before the OB Group took over the land it was a mixture of extensive sheep and beef farming, a feedlot operation and forestry. In its previous life, about four people worked this land; now there are 40. Stu Taylor has managed the farms for about eight years. He was brought up on a dairy farm in Northland, did an agricultural degree at Massey University, then after an OE worked for JD and RD Wallace in Waikato before coming to join the OB Group. He

has been a scholar in the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme. Interesting to the Grasslands visitors was the way the land was and is being converted from low-producing sandhills to highly productive dairy land, and there is no doubt that irrigation is a huge part of this. “The first stage,” says Taylor, “is to strip the soil and organic matter off the sandhills and set it up in piles or wind-rows. Then heavy machinery is used on the sandhills to flatten them or contour their shape; the soil and organic matter are returned and the ground is levelled. “This work builds topsoil and sequesters carbon because the limiting factor in that country is the lack of organic matter in the soil. We use a combination of techniques -drilling only and growing crops such as kale, sorghum and red and white clovers.”

The land being converted at present is 390ha; about 200ha will be irrigated. Looking at the farm now, the irrigators seem to stretch on forever, each 300m long. Taylor says they are yet to decide whether this land will become part of the milking platform or be used as a run-off block. Once the organic matter has built up in the soil, Taylor and his team plant tall fescue and broome; both especially suit dryland farming and are better for production and persistence, are deep rooted and are efficient in using soil nutrients. Taylor believes the deeper rooting pastures also speed up the development of organic matter in the soil and carbon sequestration. Some of the land on the new farm is already growing grass, other parts have newly sown kale. Taylor’s management style accounts for the

Farm manager Stu Taylor.

development of the new farm and the full production on the others. His focus is on people management, something he learned from his parents. “When I was growing up I used to watch my parents bringing people into our family, caring for them, training them and

helping them get where they needed to be. This is nothing new, we’re just replicating what agriculture has always been about; the difference is we’re doing it at scale rather than as a family operation.” His management philosophy is set out in a


Remember that the desperate employ the desperate.” Taylor says many farmers don’t like the HR part of their business, yet employing the right staff makes all the difference to the success or failure of a business. On the farms he runs, Taylor does it differently from others. His mantra is to seek innovation and good ideas, and to create a workplace that is community focused. Forty people work on the farms but not everyone works full time. “Flexibility and fitting












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paper he wrote on his Kellogg course, but Taylor was practising this long before then. His paper noted that while dairy farmers seem happy to spend money on consultants on the physical aspects of their farms, they baulk at spending it on human resource management. “Cows and grass are easy. With people, you’re never really sure what you will get. Take as long as it takes to get the correct person; it is not just a job to get done. Only choose the best and take your time employing people. 0800 476 868

Irrigation is a huge part of the operation.



t business active with their children. So balancing home/work life makes sense. I also have a student who works four days and then spends three at university.” Taylor says all but the most untrained junior staff members are paid at least $20 an hour; higher wages attract better staff whose higher performance results in higher profits for the company. They also have a roster system that allows people adequate time off and

they have an absolute limit on the hours any staff member may work in a week. “This is 58 but we target 50,” he says. • Stu Taylor’s management ideas can be seen on a website he runs

Cows returning after milking.

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THE LARGE farming operation has become a community with up to 25 children living on the farm, whereas ten years ago there were virtually none. They embody Stu Taylor’s vision of getting the right people and managing them well. “On this farm, people not only have to be good productive workers, they have to be decent people who can work in a team environment and accept and live the values of the company.” In his Kellogg paper Taylor refers to the need for employers to ensure each person knows what he/she is being paid. He says sometimes free accommodation and meat often create confusion, so the full remuneration package must be properly explained. The same goes for feedback, Taylor says. “Acting pissed-off is not a successful people management technique.” The modern-day business environment requires a professional approach to feedback or, if things go terribly wrong, formal disciplinary procedures, he insists. Naturally there will be conflict on a dairy farm, as in any business, but correct management of this will lead to good outcomes. The OB Group farms look great, the grass is growing well and they are an impressive operation. But Taylor sees this as no accident; it’s a result of the emphasis on people management. “Our company is all about innovation, good ideas and caring for people who in turn care for the animals,” he says.



the business around good people’s lives is what counts,” he says. “We have job sharing between husbands and wives. We all know society has changed and we want to adapt to that change. “[In former times] when wives were at home -- and at times not enjoying life -- they often wanted to share the childcare and work roles, have adult time and still have an active role at work; and men wanted to be more

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Filling summer feed deficits THE IMPACTS of a wet winter are clearly evident as I drive around the countryside. In fact, I have never seen the level of damage on farm after winter as I am seeing now. One of the impacts of this damage is reduced pasture production. Our data is showing a lot less pasture silage being made, simply because there has been little or no surplus generated. Even the pasture silage yields off winter grazing blocks are down, as these were also pugged. On top of this, due to the wet spring many farmers have struggled to plant their turnip or chicory crops on which they

have traditionally relied to get through summer. What does this all mean in practical terms? Simply this: there will be less feed available this summer to fill feed gaps. Farmers in warmer districts know that securing their summer or autumn feed supply is of utmost importance. With all contract maize silage already committed for 2018, you

won’t be able to rely on buying in maize silage as and when needed. Therefore the planning needs to be done now if/when summer dry turns to drought. The good news is that there are crops farmers can still successfully plant as we move into summer to fill any feed deficit. Two highly successful summer feeds include green-feed maize and a forage sorghum x sudan grass crop. These crops are also excellent options if you know you don’t have enough grass silage, or you have struggled to establish brassica, chicory or fodder beet crops. Both maize and sorghum are relatively

Forage Sorghum-Sudan grass produces good yield in a short time frame.

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very efficiently. In fact, maize water use efficiency is three times that of pasture. It will continue to accumulate yield long after shallow rooted species have stopped growing. Greenfeed maize While maize is traditionally fed as silage, the beauty of a greenfeed crop is its flexibility. If you don’t need the feed prior to silage harvest time it can be ensiled. Greenfeed maize is reasonable quality (10.310.8 MJME/kgDM), with higher energy levels being achieved as the grain content increases. Greenfeed maize typically has slightly higher (9-10%) protein levels than maize silage. Crops can be break-fed or chopped using a maize harvester or a flail-type mower. Feeding behind an electric wire reduces crop wastage from trampling. There is just one caution: take care when green-feeding crops have high amounts of grain present, as excessive grain intake can lead to acidosis (grain overload). Forage Sorghum-Sudan grass Another option for summer feed is a forage sorghum x sudan grass hybrid such as Pioneer brand Bettagraze. These have been around for a long time and have been used extensively by a dedicated group of farmers in northern New Zealand. These hybrids are excellent options for summer feed in warmer districts, producing good yields of moderate quality feed in a relatively short

timeframe, even under dry growing conditions. Because they grow rapidly, crops can be grazed or harvested in as little as 35-45 days after planting for first grazing, with further grazing able to be achieved at regular intervals. Key benefits of forage sorghums include a larger seed that can be planted into the soil moisture zone, rapid early growth and quick recovery after grazing, delayed flowering for easier management and high sugar content, fine stems and a high leafto-stem ratio for excellent palatability and good feed value. Like maize these plants are pretty versatile. They can be grazed, but if the feed is not required it can be harvested as silage or hay and stored for feeding later when there is a genuine feed deficit. As is the situation with all rapidly growing summer plants, they can have issues with high nitrate levels, which need to be managed. This is done by first testing to see if they are high and if they are then give animals their feed after a feed of grass so they’re not being fed on an empty stomach. If you can, the other option is to wait until the nitrate levels have fallen to a safer level. If you need to know more about either of these options get in touch with your local merchant or go online to pioneer. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact him at iwilliams@genetic.

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Barn farmer got the very best advice NIGEL MALTHUS


farmer Peter Collins has paid tribute to the man at the centre of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak in helping him set up his huge new dairy barn system. “I was very lucky to have Aad Van Leeuwen to help me with it,” says Collins. Collins converted his 800ha farm 10km south of Timaru about three years ago and built the 1200-capacity freestall barn two years ago. The farm now milks 1200 cows, including some winter milkers, and supplies the Oceania Dairy milk powder plant at Glenavy. With the efficiencies afforded by the barn they are on track to produce 600kgMS/cow this season. Speaking to farm visitors during the recent Centre For Dairy Excellence Dairy Barns conference, Collins said the barn complex cost $3 million and still needs $600,000 more to complete it with adjoining feed bunkers. Feed is now stored in bunkers 1km away on the property. In the meantime Collins has bought a large mixer wagon to transport it. He acknowledges the advice he got in setting up from Aad Van Leeuwen, whose 16-farm Van Leeuwen Dairy Group further south near Oamaru is now at the centre of the Mycoplasma outbreak. “I didn’t know about milking cows so I went to see Aad. He got [us] into his rotary and said ‘this is what you don’t do’, and then he took us into the robotic sheds and said ‘this is what you do’.” However, Collins chose a rotary shed after going over the figures with his banker and deciding they could not make robotic milking stack up. An unusual feature of the barn is extensive rubber flooring -- not just in the cows’ resting stalls -- installed for the animals’ comfort and foot health. “People laughed at us and said ‘what a waste

of money’,” admitted Collins. “Van Leeuwen said to me, ‘Peter, if you don’t put the rubber on the floor I’m not going to have any more to do with you.’ I asked ‘how much will that cost?’ He said ‘another $250,000’. “So we put the rubber on the floor and in the first season I lost six cows to the scrapers and I couldn’t figure out what the hell I was doing wrong,” said Collins. “Then Aad came up and said ‘no, what you’re doing wrong is you haven’t put in your stoppers’. So he showed me what to do. If a cow gets caught at the end of the shed it automatically turns everything off now. We haven’t lost a cow this season.” Collins said the key is training young heifers to lie in the stalls. “So our heifers will be coming in here probably the end of February and they will be trained -- trained properly -- and that’s the secret. “You can’t bring in an old cow that’s been on grass all her life and think she’s going to lie there. It’s all about the barn system – training the young stock.” Collins also paid tribute to his farm manager Colin Muir who is also finding his way in the barn system having come from a conventional grass farm. “So with everything working together -- good nutritionist, good farm manager -- we’re on a winner here,” said Collins. “We want to achieve 600 kgMS. Colin says we’re on the mark now, that we will achieve it this year.” With the cows now on pasture for the summer, Muir said the cows are in the barn about two-thirds of the year. At 4.6 cows/ha stocking rate they have to grow a lot of grass to feed them, and he envisages bringing them into the barn early this season. Muir says they are now at least 12% up on production for November. In September they were only 2% up for the

month, when the quality of feed had affected production. “So when we get the feed right in the barn who knows what we can achieve?” Muir said they are aiming to breed 580kg

cows – mostly Friesian. “We’re trying get rid of these little brown things; we have some brown cows, just to remind us why we don’t have a whole herd of them,” he joked.

Timaru farmer Peter Collins.

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How to grow your herd MARJORIE ORR


Before does can produce milk, they generally have to produce kids, and that means you have to manage the mating process, pregnancy, kidding and the day-to-day farming of the does and kids as well as the milking process itself. (Surprisingly, the occasional doe will produce milk without kidding -if she has a ‘false pregnancy’. Then she shows all the signs of being pregnant and even produces milk, but there is no pregnancy and no kid at the end of it.) Doe kids reach puberty at about six months but sometimes as young as four months, and buck kids can be sexually active even younger.  So take care when running does with entire bucks of any age. Generally it’s best to wait until the young does are about 18 months old before mating.  If a doe at six months is well-grown and in good body condition, and you have experience of kidding does, she could be mated at this age but only if a small-frame buck is used.  Large kids can injure

small dams, particularly during their first kidding. Does generally have heat periods lasting twothree days at regular intervals of 17 - 20 days from March to October, but some does in warm areas and some Nubian does can start cycling even earlier. When they are in heat they usually let everyone know they are ready for a buck by standing apart from the mob, bleating or blaring loudly and wagging their tail. Selecting a good quality buck is important if you want to breed for better milk production or for showing.  You can get advice from experienced goat farmers in your area, and view potential sires at agricultural shows.  If you use a commercial buck, you can assess his performance as a sire by viewing the milk recording data of his daughters. For mating, you can take your doe to the buck or the buck might be brought to you.  If the doe is in heat, mating is usually over very quickly, so the visit could be as short as an hour or so.  When she has been successfully mated she won’t come into season again.  If she does, a repeat visit is necessary.  Sometimes it’s pos-

The occasional doe will produce milk without kidding.

sible to let the buck and doe run together for at least four weeks after the first service, so that if she doesn’t conceive at the first cycle she can be covered again three weeks later. If you are using the services of a registered buck, the owner may

require you to produce a CAE-negative testing certificate, so find out well in advance. The owner of the buck will give you a certificate of service for when you register the kids. Remember that it’s good practice when taking goats to another farm to

make sure they have been recently wormed and their feet are in good condition. If you visit the buck with an in-heat doe for a same-day service, take care to minimise stress on the doe when you take her home. For example, don’t tie her up for trans-

portation.   Stress can reduce the chances of her conceiving. If you have a buck on your farm, be aware that his temperament will change dramatically in autumn.  Hormonal changes in autumn prepare bucks for mating and make them aggressive and

very smelly, even if for most of the year they are quite docile. Where there are only a few does it’s important to make sure they are not harassed by the buck. Bucks tend to lose weight when they are running with does, because they are much more interested in mating than in eating.  When mating is over, the bucks need good feed to build them up again before winter.  They do best with company, so when their aggressiveness wears off they can be run with other bucks or weathers until the next mating season. • Dr Marjorie Orr is a lifestyle farmer and veterinarian (retired). This article was reproduced from


horns, feel the raised bumps between the ears on the top of the head. If they are pointed the kid will be horned; or check for whorls of hair, this indicates horns. If in doubt leave the kid for a few days and look again. Make sure buck kids are done less than four days old otherwise there can be scurs.

Step 1: Clip as much of the hair as you can from the top of the kid’s head. The smell is terrible when it burns. It will grow back. Step 2: Locate the horn buds. Skin will the tight over the site. Apply the iron to the horn bud and cut out a circle. Count the seconds; hold for 10 seconds for average hot iron. To keep the kid immobile during

this operation, clamp its neck between your knees, or use a dehorning box. It will help if someone can hold the legs, especially if it’s a big kid. Be careful not to choke it. If you have to put your hand over its nose to hold it still, give him a breathing spell once in a while. Step 3: If the horn buds are quite well grown (over 6mm) they may be removed now quickly

with a sharp knife, then the area cauterised with the iron. Rotate the iron to use the hottest spot. The whole circular area should be copper coloured. Step 4: A cuddle and a drink of milk will restore the kid to its normal self. Apply charcoal powder. • Article sourced from NZ Dairy Goat Breeders Association- www.

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Most dairy goats in NZ are Saanen breed.

NZ flock small but productive MARJORIE ORR


GOATS HAVE been used to pro-

duce milk for at least 9000 years, but only recently in New Zealand. Sometimes milking does were kept on ships bringing immigrants to NZ, for milk during the voyage.  Some were farmed for their milk by the early settlers, but the commercial dairy goat industry didn’t begin to develop in earnest until the 1980s. Now it is a small but well-established industry centred on Waikato which in 2005 had about 26,000 milking goats; NZ-wide there are about 40,000. A small but steady market exists for dairy goat milk and other products.  Goat milk is popular for its reputation of being readily digested and less likely than cow milk to cause allergic reactions; and it especially suits cheese making. Milk from many North Island commercial dairy goat farms goes to the Dairy Goat Cooperative (DGC)

MOST DAIRY goats in NZ (about 80%) are Saanen, a breed from Switzerland. They are medium to large, with coat colour white or cream and they have erect ears.  The Sable is a coloured variant of the Saanen developed in NZ. The Toggenburg is of medium size, brown in colour varying from light fawn to dark chocolate, with distinct white facial stripes from above the eye to the muzzle and with white along the edges and tips of the ears, on the lower legs and the inside the legs to the trunk and around the tail. The Nubian is a cross between African Nubian and English goats.  It is of medium size and has a distinctive ‘aristocratic’ Roman nose and long pendulous ears set low on the head, wide and open.  The coat is usually mainly fawn or brown and there can be patches of white, cream, brown and black.

factory in Hamilton for milk powder and export mainly to China. The DGC is farmer-owned, most in Waikato and some in Northland and Taranaki.  These suppliers farm milk goats only -- mainly Saanen, and some Toggenburgs and Nubians. Unfortunately for lifestyle farmers, the costs of maintaining the very

high standards of hygiene required for the sale of milk are generally prohibitive. So most of us use our goat milk and milk products only for our own families. • Dr Marjorie Orr is a lifestyle farmer and veterinarian (retired). This article was reproduced from

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PLACID AND INTELLIGENT GOATS OF dairy breeds are good animals to have on a lifestyle farm because: ■■ they are placid and intelligent ■■

they don’t require shearing or Tb testing


with good handling and good facilities, lactating does can be hand-milked fairly readily


hand-reared kids make good pets for children, and castrated male kids can usually be acquired from dairy goat farms, where they have little value.


On the down side: dairy goats have a particular need for effective windproof and rainproof shelter at all times


individual goats can be problem jumpers making it difficult to keep them in


breeding does must be mated to a smelly buck in autumn if they are to produce kids and milk the following spring


the kids will need to be disbudded and male kids castrated


the hand-milking of goats requires a good understanding of milking procedures


hand-milking requires regular milking sessions, usually one session a day if the milk is shared with the doe’s kids, and two milkings a day otherwise.

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Does goat milk help the lactoseintolerant? MILK IS made up of pro-

tein, fat, carbohydrate, water, minerals and vitamins. These components are packaged inside cells within the mammary gland and are released from the cells by two different pathways of secretion: 1) merocrine secretion -- proteins, lactose, minerals and water are released without disruption of the cell; 2) apocrine secretion -- milk fat is enveloped by the cell membrane before being pinched off from the cell. In this process some of the cell components are also released

into milk. Milk proteins consist of whey and casein proteins. There are four casein proteins: A1-, A2-, ß- and K-casein. Low levels of A1-casein cause the proteins, lactose, minerals and water in milk to be secreted by the apocrine pathway. In New Zealand goat milk A1-casein makes up only 5-10% of the total protein. Similarly, around 5% of the total protein of human is A1-casein. As a result much of the proteins, lactose and water in both goat and human milk are secreted by the apocrine pathway. In cow milk, how-

ever, about 25% of the total protein is A1-casein. Therefore, proteins, lactose and water in cow milk are only secreted by the merocrine pathway. Studies show that goat milk reduces intestinal permeability and intestinal inflammation. Other studies show that oligosaccharides extracted from goat milk reduce symptoms of

HOUSE OR PASTURE? GOATS HOUSED or run on pasture – farmers use a variety of systems. Mostly they house them in opensided, free-stall barns and feed them on forage brought directly to them. They enjoy natural lighting and fresh air and can move freely

colitis and support the growth of Bifidobacteria isolated from breast fed infants. To date, these out-

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comes have only been seen in laboratory studies and need to be investigated clinically. However, there is a closer similarity in fecal microbiota between goat formula and breast fed infants than breast milk and cow formula. Lactose is the name of a specific carbohydrate or sugar of milk. Unlike

through the shelter or barn. Another popular system is pasture grazing where the goats are taken to their feed. DGC farms are required to follow the New Zealand Code of Welfare for Goats and DGC’s own Code of Farm Practice.

proteins and fats, lactose in all milks is chemically and biologically identical. Goat milk contains lactose just like cow milk. There is no difference so it is unlikely that the lactose in goat milk will help directly with lactose intolerance. However, other factors may play a role in this. For example goat

milk contains oligosaccharides similar in structure to human milk oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharide concentrations in goat milk from NZ are about 10 times higher than cow milk. These oligosaccharides may influence how lactose is metabolised. • Information for article sourced from NZ Dairy Goat Cooperative (DGC)



Fussy eaters need good feed WINTER SUPPLEMENT


DAIRY GOATS, like meat and fibre

goats, need good feed. If they are pregnant or lactating or both, they need up to three times their basic maintenance ration.  Yet they are fussy eaters and if they are to be healthy, happy and productive, it’s important to know what to feed them and how much. Pasture is the main source of feed for goats in New Zealand, and the general principles of grazing management for livestock apply: ■■ make efficient use of pasture by reducing wastage ■■ improve pasture quality by managing pasture growth properly. Some farmers use controlled grazing systems such as break feeding and rotational grazing so that they can ration pasture to allow all goats to get their daily feed requirement.  Where the available pasture isn’t enough, appropriate supplementary feed must be provided. The belief that goats will eat anything is incorrect.  They like a wide variety of plants and are good at eating young thistles and dock weeds in pasture (and also expensive plants and trees!), but they won’t eat food that isn’t clean and fresh. The ‘maintenance ration’ is the amount of feed needed by a nonproductive goat to keep it in stable body condition.  Goats that are growing, lactating or pregnant, thin goats and all goats in cold conditions need

IN WINTER, goats need supplementary feed particularly if they are producing milk, and this means hay, silage or concentrates. Any supplementary feed must be introduced gradually over 7 - 10 days, taking care that individuals don’t gorge on carbohydraterich food such as grain or sheep nuts.  Good supervision is needed to make sure no goats are being bullied and kept away from the feed. Ensure that goats have water available at all times, particularly if they are on dry supplementary feed and/or are producing milk. Beware of poisonous garden plants such as rhododendron, yew, laurel and privet, and poisonous native plants such as tutu and ngaio.  While goats can handle small amounts of ragwort, too much will cause damage to the liver. Selenium supplementation is usually wise for goats, and there are various ways of adding it to the diet, for example in prills on pasture, added to the worming drench or in mineral supplement added to the food. 

more than maintenance rations as follows: ■■ pregnant does need up to three times their maintenance ration in late pregnancy and when they are producing milk ■■ growing goats need up to twice maintenance ■■ when weather is wet, cold and windy, goats’ feed requirements increase markedly so that they can produce more heat to maintain their body temperature ■■ if thin goats are to put on weight they need up to twice maintenance rations. The energy content of feed is often used as a measure of its quality. It is expressed as megajoules of metabolisable energy (MJME) per

Pasture is the main source of feed for goats.

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kg feed. In drought conditions or when pasture is sparse, pasture might provide only about 8 MJME/day and 110 g protein.      A 50 kg pregnant doe needs about 13 MJME/day of energy and 100 g of protein per day. Three times this amount is needed when she is lactating, and this can only be achieved by giving supplementary feed such as concentrate pellets.  A doe might need about 0.5 kg pellets each day during pregnancy and up to 1.5kg when lactating.  It’s important also to provide plenty of good quality hay. • Dr Marjorie Orr is a lifestyle farmer and veterinarian (retired). This article was reproduced from

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Titanic tub comes up trumps MARK DANIEL



Keenan, known for its paddle mixers, now sells vertical auger mixers in collaboration with Italian specialist Storti. The Collins family’s Dalmore Farms at Pareora, South Canterbury, recently took delivery of a VA3-44 – the biggest in the company’s range. It demands a decent tractor up front, in the Collins’ case a 350hp Claas. The VA3-44, with triple vertical augers housed in a tub of 44m3; it weighs a hefty 16.7 tonnes empty and 32.5 tonnes fully loaded, and is at least 10.7m long and 3.5m high. It is said to be remarkably manoeuvrable with a triple-axle set-up with front and rear forced steering on the front and rear axles. Several features make for consistent mixing: heavy duty augers with tungsten-coated blades, chopping blades at the top of each auger to rapidly incorporate bales and, to aid discharge, aptly named sprint paddles at the base of each auger for constant discharge.

The Fliegl Buffel

BUFFALO SOLDIER Keenan auger mixer on the Collins family farm.

Inside the tub, half-depth stainless steel liners are fitted to prolong service life; in the driveline a hydraulic switched two-speed gearbox allows easy starts to mixing; twin discharge doors at the front and rear allow the user many options; and an inspection platform and hydraulic brakes take care of safety. All functions are controlled hydraulically from the tractor seat, and the Keenan In-Touch telemetry automatically delivers data on ration weights and mixes overnight. An 8-cell weigh system keeps track of the load, automatically telling the loader operator the cumula-

tive load weight and the quantities of each ingredient needed to make up the required ration -- helpful as rations change through a season. At Collins’ farm, where the VA3-44 is used to feed 1200 high producing cows, it replaces a much smaller machine, meeting the objective of delivering two fewer loads to the mob each day. Brent ‘Bones’ Collins says they have “calculated that reducing the work by two loads a day saves about $600 in operating costs”. “Feeding is now a breeze with a machine that is highly manoeuvrable around the yards and looks to be built like the proverbial outhouse.”

THE AGRITECHNICA biennial expo,

always a launchpad for innovation, did not disappoint during its seven days in mid November. German manufacturer Fliegl, best known for its transport and manure handling gear, has a new concept it claims will revolutionise grass harvesting. The Fliegl Buffel (Buffalo) combines elements from a loader wagon or round baler, in the shape of a grass pick-up and a chopping rotor, and adds to these a holding bunker and unloading conveyor similar to units seen on potato harvesters. This essentially creates a self-loading forage wagon that can unload on the move and keep harvesting grass as it does so.

Unlike a self-propelled harvester set-up (SPFH) it can carry on harvesting when no trailers are available, unload on the move when a trailer arrives and carry on harvesting when that trailer departs and before the next arrives. Unlike a loader wagon it does not need to make unproductive trips back to the clamp to unload, so the company claims it offers the best of both worlds and that it taps into the lower cost per acre harvested achieved by loader wagons over SPFHs. First photographs of the machine suggest the ‘empty’ trailer can’t be too far away because the capacity of the bunker looks quite limited; but upscaling shouldn’t be too difficult.

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Autumn / Winter HerdHomes® shelters users throughout New Zealand continue to talk to us about the benefits they get throughout the autumn and winter. It allows for users to manage pasture residuals and round lengths with ease. Drying off is based on calving date as all stock are wintered at home where putting on a condition score is simple 

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Bale collection all wrapped up MARK DANIEL


in Quebec, Canada, has launched a trailer that collects wrapped silage bales on the move, with no risk of damaging the plastic film. The single-operator RBM 2000 is said to clear paddocks quickly, saving manpower and fuel and with less risk of ground compaction than is likely during normal loader trailer operations. It can hold 20 bales: two seven-bale rows on the base and a single sixbale row on top; typical loading time is 20 seconds/bale.

The key to the design is an innovative lifting arm with a bale detector that starts the lifting sequence as the bale is touched. As the bale is approached the arm slides forward; as contact is made it slides rearwards as the tractor continues to move forwards, the arm remaining pretty-much stationary in relation to the bale and ground. The bale-picking claw normally runs in the horizontal plane, but can be manipulated to a vertical position by the operator using Danfoss controls and a touchscreen, allowing collection of bales that have fallen onto their sides. Bales are loaded onto

the trailer on their sides and moved rearwards by a sliding headboard. For unloading, the trailer is tipped hydraulically and the bales are pushed off by the headboard. Dimensions are 11.75m

long x 2.55m wide x 3.72m high, and the unit weighs about 5.5 tonnes. All-up fully laden weight is 21.8 tonnes, carried on a tandem axle with oversize flotation tyres to minimise ground compaction.

Anderson’s wrapped bale trailer.

ZERO-TURN MOWER SCORES HIGH KUBOTA NEW Zealand has introduced the new Z400-Series zero-turn commercial mower range in two models, both powered by Kawasaki FS petrol engines. The Z411KW-48 (22hp) and Z421KW-54 (24hp), are available with 48- and 54-inch decks, respectively. Both models have 26L fuel tanks. Heavy-duty construction sees the machines offered with a two-year unlimited hours warranty for commercial users, and a four-year, 500-hour warranty for residential customers. The Z400 is said to deliver more power to the deck and to mow on the largest tyres in the class, resulting in a superior cut quality for the market segment and increased cutting performance through dense turf and across hilly terrain. The units use Hydro-Gear’s commercial ZT3400 transmission to combine best speed and torque, with easy maintenance and minimal downtime. Durability and productivity start with a tubular steel frame and a 10-gauge, 5-inch deep, welded deck for high cutting performance, with the latter using Kubota’s K-Lift deck height adjustment system to make easy cutting height changes with a turn of a dial and press of a pedal. SKP1255 2500 Change_Dairy News 280x187_FA.v1.indd 1

27/09/17 5:40 PM



‘RS’ might mean ‘really sharp’ MARK DANIEL

BUYING A house, horse

or car is often about first impressions, so the first look at the Skoda Octavia RS wagon is likely to have you reaching for the chequebook – if you still have one. Our test vehicle, in stunning race blue metallic, turned heads at the supermarket, its vibrant paint job, angular look and LED lighting giving a bang-up-to-date look. Once the butt of jokes, Skoda is now in a good

place with great vehicles prompting competitors to ask ‘what’s going on here?’ What’s going on is Skoda is building vehicles -- often on the same platform as their VW and Audi stablemates -- that are well engineered and appeal to people who like the idea of inherent technology. What those buyers don’t want is to spend time having to tweak technology to get the best out of it. Skoda buyers know the technology is under the skin, and the whole point of the automation is to let it sort

itself out surely. Looking at the test vehicle, a 169kW, 2L TSI engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with the DSG twin clutch control system. For drivers wanting more involvement there are flappy paddleshifters behind the steering wheel; but for this driver -- hey let it do its own thing. Hitting the loud pedal sees the motor revving freely and taking this hot wagon to 100km/h in a little over seven seconds. Ratio changes are largely seamless, steering is well

weighted and precise, and the suspension is firm, which keeps things planted on the twisty stuff. Information is clear and concise and appears to be pitched just about right, compared to many modern vehicles that have, frankly, too much going on in front of the driver. For further enlightenment a clear touch-screen allows you to drill down and fiddle to your heart’s content. Firm sports seats up front give great support in all directions and give the casual observer some

Skoda Octavia RS wagon.

idea of this car’s DNA. Behind the driver the rear seats offer more room than many SUVs, especially for passengers sitting behind a long-limbed pilot. The rear load space totals 610L with the rear seats up, and a whopping 1740L folded down, meaning taking the kitchen sink away on holiday should be a doddle. The list of inherent technology will not leave

techies wanting: basic stuff is all there -- ABS, stability control, dual-zone AC, satnav and seven airbags. Then add such ‘must-haves’ as camera-based adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, predictive pedestrian protection, dynamic chassis control and even optional trailer reverse assist function. Add to that an electric tailgate, a neat wireless

phone charger and signal amplifier in the centre console, and such trademark Skoda goodies as a removeable LED torch and umbrella, and you have a well-speced vehicle for your hard-earned dollars. If you don’t want to run with the crowd in the increasingly common SUV, the Octavia RS might just be the right choice.

Mowing 2ha/hour SLOVENIAN GRASS harvesting

equipment maker SIP, celebrating its 50th anniversary at Agritechnica, displayed a prototype mower called the Silvercut-Disc 1500T-FC – five3.25m-wide mowers with an overall cutting width of 14.55m. A front mounted 340 model is set up to give 0.5m overlap to the rear machines; these are carried in a purpose-built trailed frame with a

Silvercut-Disc mower.

forced steering-system suspension and hydraulic brakes. This will handle 22.5ha/hour at a modest 15kph. The maker recommends a tractor of at least 350hp, probably because the unit, even without conditioners, still weighs a hefty 9.1 tonnes. A unique, patented folding mechanism sees the front pair of mowers folding vertically, then the rearmost

pair lowering slightly before swinging inwards into the place vacated by the forward pair, to attain transport dimensions of 3m wide x 4m high x 7.55m long. Designed as part of the company’s 15m Harvesting Solutions offering, the mower was shown alongside the Spider 1500-14T, 14-rotor tedder and the Star 1250/50T four-rotor rake. – Mark Daniel

DRONE FOR SPREADING TR AILED PL ANTER 8-ROW NX WINGFOLD • A folding, pull-type frame – The advantage of the pull-type frame is that it can be used with lower powered tractors. • Four wheel units – This pull-type frame is equipped with 4 hydraulic wheel lifts. • High capacity fertiliser attachment with FertiDriveVM – for easy and rapid adjustment. • Easy adjustments and operating – All planter functions operate from the tractor cab using a function selector.

0800 88 55 624


DRONES ARE showing their value for farm map-

ping and photography, and for monitoring livestock in outlying areas. And now the German company Rauch, known for agricultural and municipal spreaders, has launched a drone for spreading; just the job for cockies in a wet Waikato spring. Based on an 8-rotor Agronator Octocopter weighing 80kg, and 4m in diameter, the Culticopter carries an electrically powered Draco single-disc spreader fitted with a 50L hopper that will carry 30kg. Prototypes have so far been used to spread slug bait and mineral powders, guided by GPS on planned flight paths in specified spreading areas. Two lithium-polymer batteries provide 40 minutes flying time then recharge in 20 minutes. The Draco unit automatically adjusts application and spreading widths as pre-programmed by the user. Notable advantages: spreading when dedicated LGP vehicles cannot travel, less ground compaction and no wheelings.














CARGO TRAY 96.5 X 138.4 X 30.5 CM






0800 020 074

^3 year warranty covers MY16/17 Can-Am Defender models only. Always ride responsibly and safely. Always wear protective gear & approved helmet. BRP reserves the right to change the promotion at any time.




It’S nOt wHaT YoU gRoW. It’s WhO yOu gRoW.

Growing your people will take your business further. A Diploma in Agribusiness Management will grow your business by increasing their knowledge and expertise, as well as adding value to your business and everyone they work with.

It’s an industry-recognised qualification, so if you’re looking for your business to go places, this is the place to start. Get growing now. Go to or call us on 0800 20 80 20

ey’ll know budgets like a bank manager, learn to set goals today and reach them tomorrow, to work more sustainably with your land and resources and how to grow a team that will grow your business. ey can develop one of these skills, or work towards a full Diploma on the job, at their own pace.





Dairy News 28 November 2017  

Dairy News 28 November 2017

Dairy News 28 November 2017  

Dairy News 28 November 2017