Page 1

Fonterra secures Woolworths deal, Lion licks wounds PAGE 7 MANURE SPREADER

Farmers recycling waste PAGE 30


Drastic changes pay off PAGES 24-25



DAIRY SOLD OUT “Our words fell on deaf ears” Robert Poole, ADIC PAGES 4-5

Teatseal. Real stories, real savings. Ben McKenzie – Cobden, VICTORIA “Since using this product I have almost totally eliminated mastitis at calving and effectively removed mastitis issues from my herd…I have more than saved the cost of the Teatseal, antibiotic dry cow therapy and associated application labour by the massive reduction in lost milk, medical costs, time and culls.” ®

Zoetis Technical Information: 1800 814 883 © 2013 Zoetis Inc. All rights reserved. Zoetis Australia Pty Ltd ABN 94 156 476 425. 38–42 Wharf Road, West Ryde, NSW, 2114. AM1096 12/13 PAL1051/DN. PAL1051_DN_70x265_v3.indd 1

3/12/13 11:50 AM

We also supply complete feed mills designed for the small or large dairy farmer so why not start milling your own grain today and benefit from the savings Need a new pencil or centreless auger we stock a large range of grain augering equipment at great prices


NEWS  // 3

Prices easing but will remain strong SUDESH KISSUN

DAIRY PRICES are continuing to

Peter Notman (pictured with John Mulvany and Bruce Johnstone) told farmers to aim for a quick feed this season. PG.23

In-line cell count sensors have improved performance on Paul Smith’s Western Victorian farm. PG.28

drop but the dairy boom is far from over, says BNZ economist Doug Steel. At US$4033/t, the whole milk powder price is more than double the US$1800 paid to US farmers after the global financial crisis hit in 2008-09. Prices are expected to ease further as more milk floods the market but Mr Steel said prices would remain relatively high compared to those of previous years. Long term, dairy prices will remain strong on the back of good demand for milk products, he said. At the first GlobalDairyTrade auction this month, the index dropped 8.9% to US$4124/t from US$4563 a tonne two weeks prior, the fourth straight decline and the lowest level since August 2012.

Gippsland farmer Ian Hooker can spread rations over a day anywhere on the farm with his Lely mobile feeding station. PG.31

NEWS������������������������������������������������������3-13 MARKETS������������������������������������������� 14-15 OPINION���������������������������������������������� 16-17 BREEDING MANAGEMENT������ 18-21 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������22-23 ANIMAL HEALTH���������������������������24-27 TECHNOLOGY�������������������������������� 28-29 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS��������������������������������������30-34 Front page photo source: Licensed from the Commonwealth of Australia under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence.

Liza Fahey, one of four finalists in the 2014 Victorian RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year award, talked to Dairy News Australia on how to encourage more young farmers into the industry. Pg 10.

However, Mr Steel said the 2013-14 season has been “one out of the box” and no one should expect prices to remain around US$5000/t. “We might just get prices sustained at US$5000/t one day but over the next 12 months prices will ease,” he said. He put this down to increased milk supply from the EU, New Zealand, US and Australia. The milk supply situation has changed much in the last 12 months. Last year New Zealand was reeling from a severe drought and an extreme winter in Europe had affected production. This year EU’s production is up 5% and US up 1%. Steel predicts New Zealand to produce 11% more milk than last season. “Twelve months ago milk supply was squeezed and that kicked prices higher,” he said. “For 12 months very high prices were maintained. Now milk pro-

duction is ramped up and prices are easing. This is the commodity cycle at play.” However, demand for dairy remains strong in China and the Middle East and this should keep prices strong longer term. Dairy analyst Jo Bills, of Fresh Agenda, says futures prices and recent GDT auction results indicate the softening of prices seen in recent weeks will continue through 2014. However, she said there is no cause for panic. “A supply response has been building for some time, and commodity prices are still well up on where they were a year ago, in fact to the tune of 30% in Australian dollar terms,” Ms Bills said. “On this basis 2014/15 farmgate prices look pretty solid.” Rabobank expects an easing of global milk pricing from now until June. Exportable supply rose strongly

in the last quarter of 2013 and is expected to continue into early 2014 as producers respond to improved margins through high milk prices and falling feed costs, according to Rabobank analyst Tim Hunt. “A strong Northern Hemisphere production season, on the back of an exceptional season in the Southern Hemisphere, should generate more than enough exportable supply to exceed China’s extraordinary additional needs from the world market, loosening the market somewhat,” Mr Hunt said. “However, the rate of price reduction will be limited by structural constraints on suppliers, the need to replenish depleted buyer inventories and ongoing demand growth in line with a slow economic recovery. “The most crucial demand side question is whether China will sustain the frenetic buying we have seen on the international market throughout the last 12 months.”


4 //  NEWS

China FTA concerns after recent government deals DAIRY LEADERS have expressed concern that the industry could receive little benefit in the proposed Free Trade Agreement with China. Australian dairy has high hopes that tariffs and other trade restrictions will be significantly reduced to enable increased exports into this rapidly growing market. New Zealand signed an FTA with China in 2008 and now pays between 0-7% in tariffs, which will fall to 0% in the future. Australian exports currently attract tariffs of between 10-15%. However, the minimal concessions achieved by Australia in the recent FTA with Japan have caused concerns. United Dairy Farmers Victoria president Tyran Jones said the Japanese

agreement had mainly ignored Australia’s $13bn dairy sector. “This really doesn’t bode well for a meaningful trade agreement with China,” Mr Jones said. “The track record’s there. We didn’t get much out of Korea, and we got even less out of Japan.” Australian Dairy Industry Council vicepresident, Robert Poole, said the deal with Japan sent “all the wrong signals” to Australia’s key trading partners. “(It) is particularly troubling in the context of the upcoming FTA negotiations with China,” Mr Poole said. “As we seek to grow dairy exports to China we have one opportunity to get a China trade agreement right and it’s time for the Federal Government

to recognise the potential in dairy food export growth and prioritise this in trade negotiations.” Prime Minister Tony Abbott held one-on-one talks with China’s Premier Li Keqiang just days after concluding negotiations on the FTA with Japan. He used the talks to promote his economic reform message, stressing that Australia welcomes foreign investment, has always needed foreign capital to develop and wants access to the billions of dollars held in China. China is pushing for greater access to investment in Australia, prompting speculation that the threshold of $244 million which triggers automatic assessment by the powerful Foreign Investment Review Board will be lifted

in line with deals given to Japan and Korea. Josh Frydenberg, parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, said Australia wanted to replicate the deal achieved by New Zealand. Mr Frydenberg said New Zealand has more than doubled its exports to China since the two nations signed a free trade agreement, including a six-fold increase in dairy exports. “We want to replicate that sort of growth in twoway trade and we can do that through an FTA,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky News. Mr Frydenberg said there were sensitive issues still to be discussed, including the $248 million cap on Chinese investment without Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Speaking on ABC radio, Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the focus of China FTA negotiations was to ensure Australia’s trade strengths like agriculture, resources, education, health and medical research and tourism, were advantaged by the agreement. In return, he said Australia would “liberalise areas that China is strong in”. “To get Premier Li making these statements about the priority and the acceleration of these negotiations sends a signal to everybody throughout his administration, and it certainly gives us the encouragement to bring it to finalisation,” Mr Robb said. “I see no reason that we can’t conclude this satisfactorily within this year.”

China is a booming market for dairy.

Lion forced to recall milk from Hong Kong LION DAIRY has recalled three

UHT milk products after tests by Hong Kong authorities showed a bacteria count 4000 times over the normal limit. Lion Dairy last month withdrew Pura brand fresh, skim and Hi-­Lo milk from the Hong Kong market. Tests by Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety showed the total bacteria count of the sample was 130 million per millilitre. According to Hong Kong’s Milk Regulation (Cap 132 AQ), milk after heat treatment by means of pasteurisation should not contain more than 30,000 bacteria per millilitre.

The CFS has suspended imports of Pura milk until further notice. This is the second bacterial contamination case involving the product in Hong Kong. The recall comes five months after the food authority allowed the resumption of imports of all Pura milk products after a batch of skim milk was detected to have an excessive bacterial count in May last year. A CFS spokesman says it has informed the sole importer Vitasoy International Holdings Ltd that the batch of product has contravened the milk regulation. He confirmed the affected products were being

sold by retailers including supermarkets and were being recalled. The CFS says a batch of Pura skim milk imported from Australia was detected to have a total bacterial count exceeding the legal limit in May last year. “The CFS thus suspended import of all products of the same brand manufactured by the same processing plant for investigation by the Australian authorities and the manufacturer. “After investigation, the Australian authorities said the irregularity might be caused by a problem of temperature control and asked the

trade to make rectifications accordingly. The importer of the product was also changed subsequently. The product was allowed to be imported again in October last year. “The total bacterial count exceeding the legal limit indicates unsatisfactory hygienic conditions. It will be prudent for consumers who have bought the affected product to stop consuming it. The trade should also stop selling the affected product,” the spokesman says. Lion, owned by Japanese conglomerate Kirin Holdings, says

information received so far from Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety “suggests this is an issue of product quality, not consumer safety”. Lion is urgently testing to verify the facts and investigate the matter thoroughly, the company says. It says all Pura products undergo extensive testing at its Australian milk plant prior to export, to ensure the highest product safety and quality standards are upheld.

Dairy-Tech Refrigeration Registered Packo Dealer Australia

The dedicated milk cooling specialist • A Packo milk tank and system to suit all herd sizes, pick up schedules, and entry temperatures • Simple one button operation to activate either cooling or wash modes • Packo’s Patented fully automatic Rotojet cleaning system, ensures every square inch of the inside vessel is clean and hygienic. • The choice is yours- Direct expansion or a glycol chilling tank • Pre, instant cooling systems available

New & Secondhand systems / Wash system upgrades for any make-model tank Call Dairy-Tech Refrigeration today for a no hassle quotation

Phone 03 56623277 email Web



Tariff calls fall on deaf ears free under a global quota but under minimal progress having been the Government to reduce restrictive the new deal has gained a preferential, achieved in reducing a range of trade tariffs “fell upon deaf ears”, says duty-free Australia-only quota, which barriers. “We are extremely disappointed Australian Dairy Industry Council vice- will grow to 20,000 tonnes. Japan will also eliminate 5.4% tariffs with the deal announced by the Prime president, Robert Poole. And there could be worse to come, on protein concentrates and casein Minister,” Mr Poole said. “We were hopeful Government immediately. Mr Poole said. However, the Australian dairy had heeded the industry’s message in All levels of the dairy industry have expressed their disappointment industry will save just $4.7 million in regards to freeing up market access since Prime Minister Tony Abbott the first year of its implementation in Japan, however it now appears our announced a Free Trade Agreement rising to an estimated $11.6 million by words fell upon deaf ears. “There has been with Japan earlier this no movement in this month. agreement on fresh Japan is the single most “We were hopeful Government had cheese – the number important market for the heeded the industry’s message in one objective for Australian dairy industry, regards to freeing up market access Australian dairy, with with $511 million in exports in Japan, however it now appears our tariffs to remain at in 2012/13, which was 19% 29.8%. of Australian dairy exports words fell upon deaf ears. “A successful by value. – Robert Poole outcome on this There were high hopes tariff line would have restrictive tariffs would be removed or lessened, which 2031, out of a total export market of delivered approximately $60 million in tariff savings – instead we have would make Australian exports more $511 million. This equates to 0.1 of one cent per received nothing and the tariff stays competitive. However, under the deal, Australia’s litre for Australian farmers in 20 years’ in place.” Mr Poole said Most Favoured duty-free cheese quota of 27,000 time. Mr Poole, who is also a senior Nation (MFN) status has been put tonnes will be increased to 47,000 Murray Goulburn executive, said in place for cheese in Trans Pacific tonnes. The Government said Australia the agreement fell well short of Partnership (TPP) agreements. However, the exclusion of all exports 27,000 tonnes of cheese duty- the industry’s expectations with


other product lines leaves Australia vulnerable to one of its competitors reaching a more wide-ranging deal with Japan that could leave the Australian dairy industry worse off. “This has been an agreement over six years in the making and sadly from the dairy industry’s perspective, will end up providing no meaningful benefit,” Mr Poole said. “This deal sends all the wrong

signals to our key trading partners and is particularly troubling in the context of the upcoming FTA negotiations with China. “As we seek to grow dairy exports to China we have one opportunity to get a China trade agreement right and it’s time for the Federal Government to recognise the potential in dairy food export growth and prioritise this in trade negotiations.”

Fears dairy traded off UNITED DAIRYFARMERS of Victoria president

Tyran Jones says he hopes “dairy hasn’t been traded off” in the FTA with Japan. “Japanese car manufacturers have been given free access to the Australian market,” Mr Jones said. “All we’re getting out of this FTA is a few million dollars of tariff relief at best.” Mr Jones said the Federal Government has failed to recognise world dairy markets are undergoing significant transformational change and that tariff relief was critical. “The US and European Union are set to swamp the global marketplace with subsidised dairy products, making it even harder for Australia to compete on a level playing field.” Dairy farmers currently pay $116 million a year in import tariffs on $511m of processed dairy products going into Japan. About 130,000 tonnes of Australian dairy produce is exported to Japan

each year. The National Farmers Federation said the agreement with Japan falls short on a number of fronts. NFF president, Brent Finlay, said he understood the difficulties involved with negotiating such an agreement but is disappointed with the overall outcomes for agriculture with a number of sectors facing marginal improvements or limited commercial gains. “The sensitivities surrounding some parts of Japanese agriculture has made reaching an agreement more challenging,” Mr Finlay said. “Australia is the first major agricultural exporter to achieve some movement on some of Japan’s high import barriers. While the agreement has provided some concessions, Australian farmers needed more. “The ultimate objective with any trade agreement is to obtain tangible benefits to farmers.

Japan is very protective of its dairy industry. Tyran Jones

Agreements must be comprehensive. That means, no sector carveouts and elimination of tariffs. “The Japanese agreement falls short of the mark on a number of fronts in this regard. “The agreement does not improve—or marginally improves—market access and terms of trade for a number of sectors such as dairy, sugar, grains, pork and rice. “Given we export 60% of the food and fibre we produce in Australia, our farmers need good commercial outcomes from future trade negotiations.”


The GT Bunning Lowlander Manure Spreader is designed to spread all types of manures, compost & waste with twin vertical augers or horizontal augers with spinner deck options

• Lowlander Mk4 7 Models, 6-17T • Lowlander Mk2 1 Model, 19T

Widebody • Lowlander 4 Models, 13-35T Spreaders Available For Immediate Delivery LANDACO are your distributor for the GT Bunning Manure Spreader range, the key qualities of a Bunning are simplicity, durability & ultimate relability. Suited to both farmers & contractors with a range from 6 to 35 Tonne. Call today & ask about options available.

LANDACO has four types of spreaders for your spreading requirements: • Landaco Trailing 2.5 to 25T • Landaco Chain Floor Linkage 2 & 3T • GFL Econ Linkage 1.5 to 3T • Bunning Manure 6 to 35T

1800 358 600



6 //  NEWS

Parmalat buys Harvey Fresh PARMALAT HAS bought Western Australia’s second largest dairy business, Harvey Fresh. The Italian company said the deal strengthened its position in the Australian market, broadening its geographic footprint and enabled it to become a “fully national player”. Parmalat’s global headquarters in Italy paid about $117 million (79m euro) for Harvey’s WA and NSW processing assets. Parmalat also recently signed a twoyear deal to supply Woolworths with milk for its private label in NSW. Last financial year, the company reported revenues of about A$166 million. The positioning on the west of the country is also aimed at improving its capacity to export to Asia. The four

existing Harvey Fresh directors will continue to be involved in the business as consultants. Harvey Fresh, based in the south-western WA Harvey district, is a family company established in 1986. It first exported cloudy apple juice to Asia in 1988 and now sends a variety of Phil Depiazzi fruit and vegetables juices to export markets. Harvey also specialises in producing fresh and ultra-heat treated (UHT) milk dairy products including flavoured and lactose-free milk lines, and packs private label milk and juice lines for Coles supermarkets. Its juice beverage business was

expanded with the purchase of the Nugan Group at Griffith in the NSW Riverina in 2012. Parmalat bought the Haberfields Dairy processing operation at Albury Wodonga in 1996, followed soon after by Brisbane-based Pauls. It outbid National Foods in 1998 to buy Pauls for $436 million, also giving it dairy plants in Victoria at Bendigo and Rowville. Parmalat CEO Craig Garvin told ABC Radio the company thinks there is a lot of growth potential in Harvey Fresh. “There’s a strong capability here for export,” Mr Garvin said.

“Combined with the brands we already have and the iconic Harvey Fresh brand, we think this is an excellent acquisition.” WAFarmers dairy section president Phil Depiazzi told ABC Radio the arrival of a major multinational like Parmalat was a real confidence boost for the local dairy industry. “I guess we’re hopeful, seeing this big international company that is interested in investing in quality processing outfits and obviously they saw Harvey Fresh as a great opportunity to do that. “I would hope so far as local producers go that Parmalat will be hoping to grow that business, particularly get fairly serious on the export market and if they need more milk to supply those markets. “Then hopefully that will put upward

pressure on the farm gate price and that will only be a good thing for the Western Australian dairy industry.” Capel dairy farmer Mike Norton chairs the WA Dairy Collective Bargaining Group, which held discussions with Coles last month. Mr Norton told ABC Radio Coles was very keen to set up a farmer brand name, much like the SA Dairy Farmers has done in SA. “Where Parmalat operate in South Australia they are packaging for South Australian dairy farmers a brand that comes under a dairy farmer brand name. “Obviously they are prepared to think outside the square in South Australia and possibly Queensland, so that’s probably good news from what we’re hearing from Coles in relation to Parmalat.”

Lion loses second major Saputo joins new look WCBF board contract in 12 months WARRNAMBOOL CHEESE and

LION HAS lost its con-

tract to supply Woolworths with milk for its private label in Victoria and Western Australia – 12 months after losing its Coles contracts in Victoria, NSW and south east Queensland to Murray Goulburn. Fonterra won a 10-year contract to supply milk to Woolworths in Victoria from February 2015, while Brownes was chosen for a seven-and-a-half year deal in WA from this July. Parmalat was chosen to

supply milk for the Woolworths house brand in NSW on a two year contract. Lion will continue on a yearly contract basis in Tasmania, South Australia and Northern Territory. “We are however disappointed with the outcome in Victoria and Western Australia, where Lion will cease supplying Woolworths’ private label white milk from February 2015 (Victoria) and July 2014 (WA),” the company said in a statement.

“We put forward our most competitive bid in each state, reflecting Lion’s commitment to grow the Australian dairy industry through fair pricing that ensures a sustainable future for the whole supply chain – including farmers and processors – and long term contract certainty that supports investment. “However, we fully respect that this is a decision for Woolworths, which remains an important customer and partner

10% MORE


*AgResearch trial 2007, compared to production from cows grazing a standard perennial ryegrass.

for Lion.” Lion said the decision will impact volumes at Lion’s milk processing plants in Chelsea (Victoria) and Bentley (WA). “We will work through the detailed implications of this with our teams over the coming weeks,” the company said. Woolworths hailed the new contracts a win for farmers and customers, saying longer-term contracts gave dairy farmers and milk processors confidence to invest in their businesses. Arrangements were also made to keep milk in the state where it is produced, particularly in WA.

Butter will remove the current requirement for the board to have at least four supplier directors at a general meeting on May 9. Saputo chairman Lino Saputo Jr will also officially stand for the streamlined WCBF board at the meeting. In a statement to the ASX, WCB said as a result of Saputo’s 87.92% shareholding in WCB, it has requested a number of modifications to the company’s constitution, including a restructure of the board. The board will be reduced from nine directors to five. All current directors and associate directors will resign with effect from the close of the meeting and Terry Richardson, Bruce Vallance and Neville Fielke will stand for re-election. David Lord will continue to assist the board in his capacity as chief executive officer. John McLean, current associate

director and former CEO and managing director, will be retained as a consultant to the board following his resignation. Saputo executive vice-president, finance and administration, LouisPhilippe Carrièr, will also stand for election. The proposed board composition will allow WCB to benefit from the experience of directors seeking reelection, in terms of their knowledge of local market dynamics, the dairy industry, the WCB business and its key relationships, while adding Saputo nominees, the statement said. WCB chairman Terry Richardson said “the contribution by the current directors over a number of years and in particular during the takeover process is testament to their professionalism, work ethic and wide ranging skill set that allowed the company to grow and to achieve an outstanding result for its shareholders”.

Looking for a way to save fodder costs? We have the answer! The bale up feeder will save you money. With 5% or less hay loss our feeders pay for themselves. 11 feet long and 8 feet across they can easily hold an 8x4x4 square bale or 2 round bales. TOTALLY AUSTRALIAN MADE!



incl GST plus delivery

Models available for cows, bulls, yearlings, calves, horses and sheep. FIND OUT HOW (02) 6040 6464

Bale-Up Hayfeeders

Phone: 0458 590 766 • Fax 03 5859 1137


NEWS  // 7

Deal encourages suppliers to lift production RICK BAYNE

WESTERN VICTORIAN farmers say a new 10-year deal for Fonterra to supply Woolworths home brand milk across the state will encourage them to increase production. The suppliers have welcomed the deal which requires Fonterra to source an additional 100 million litres per year and will create 30 new jobs at an expanded Cobden milk processing plant. They say the deal gives them added security, confidence to invest in their farms, confidence in Fonterra’s commitment to Australia, and hope for more profitability. Larpent dairy farmer and director with the Bonlac Supply Company, Mark Billing, said the deal would be good for the region. “It gives us certainty of supply for the next 10 years,” he said. Mr Billing said he disagreed with reported comments from UDV vice-president Roma Britnell that the deal would just shift milk from one player to another. “It will be a challenge but I believe there are opportunities for current suppliers to grow. There might be some suppliers who come across but Fonterra is creating an environment to create internal growth,” he said. Mr Billing said the milk price would need to remain competitive throughout the 10-year deal. “There’s no point in making more milk if it is not profitable. We don’t want milk coming into the system that is not profitable,” he said. “Fonterra is committed to wanting profitable farmers and suppliers I have spoken to see the deal as a positive one.” Mr Billing said the good season and higher milk price was adding to the positive outlook as farmers emerge from a recovery period and look to the next phase of their business. “We’re in a growth phase and this partnership creates opportunities. On our

Fonterra signs 10-year deal with Woolworths RICK BAYNE

Tania and Stephen Luckin

farm we hope to grow, but it has to be done with profit margin in mind,” he said. Suppliers Stephen and Tania Luckin from Heywood welcomed the announcement, saying it would give farmers confidence to invest in their business to grow and become more profitable. “From a supplier’s perspective, it gives us added security for the medium term knowing there is a market for a portion of our milk. It will encourage farmers to supply more and provide more confidence to invest to become more profitable,” Mrs Luckin said. “We will get more premium eye-level shelf exposure for our product, which is a good thing,” she said. Colac supplier Simon Scott said the deal would give farmers more access to the domestic market. “It will enhance our product mix and spread it over different products,” he said. Mr Scott described the deal as a confidence booster for Fonterra suppliers in the district. “It will be good for the Western District to have more jobs and an expanded facility at Cobden and it gives suppliers confidence that Fonterra is committed to dairy farmers in Australia,” he said. “It will deliver more stable returns,” he added. Mr Scott said he was adjusting his farming system to reduce costs with the aim of producing milk more profitably.

A 10-YEAR contract for Fonterra to supply Woolworths home brand milk across Victoria is a shot of confidence in the industry, says Bonlac Supply Company chairman Tony Marwood. The chairman has welcomed the deal and says farmers have been buoyed by the announcement. “Bonlac Supply Company supports the strategy Fonterra has in Australia and the deal with Woolworths shows confidence in the Australian business,” Mr Marwood said. “It gives farmers confidence that it will benefit them in the long term. It helps support long-term farmer profitability so they can grow their businesses with confidence.” The proposed deal will see Fonterra investing more than $30 million into a state-of-the art milk processing plant at its Cobden site in South West Victoria. The investment will support 30 new jobs at the Cobden facility and be commissioned early next year. Fonterra and Woolworths are still working to finalise contractual arrangements to reach a

Tony Marwood

binding supply agreement. The deal requires Fonterra to source an additional $100m litres of milk from south west Victoria and while admitting this would be a challenge, Mr Marwood said he was confident the growth could be achieved. “In a competitive market to get an extra 100 million litres will be obviously a challenge, but I think we are in a good place to achieve that,” he said. Mr Marwood expected Fonterra to attract new suppliers and help existing suppliers to increase production. “We have a strong pathway to help farmers grow their existing milk flow. We have remodelled our pricing structure which gives more transparency and helps farmers to make better decisions around their business,”

he said. “We have also improved the way our milk supply group works with farmers. It is far more targeted, with specialist field officers in the likes of agronomy, animal health and milk quality, all tailored to different aspects of what farmers need.” Mr Marwood said the feedback from farmers was positive. “We are on a pathway of building strong relations between Fonterra and the farmer and this deal is part of that strategy. The feedback I have had so far has been excellent.” Mr Marwood said he could not comment on prices or specifics of the deal. Woolworths managing director of supermarkets, Tjeerd Jegen, said the new contract will be a win for

farmers and Woolworths customers. “We don’t want to see milk shipped long distances which only adds cost and increases the time between the farm and the supermarket shelf,” he said. “These new contracts mean local farmers will supply Victorian milk to Victorian families.” Fonterra Australia managing director Judith Swales said Fonterra is excited to partner with Woolworths. “It expands our current white milk portfolio complementing our Riverina Fresh milk business in New South Wales,” she said. “Just as importantly, the proposed arrangement will provide certainty for dairy farmers so they can invest on farm and grow their milk production.”

Hoof trimming that is safe and secure . Self-locking headgate Hot dip galvanised finish . Made in Australia . Hoof Works Crush

Contact Philip Thompson . 02 4473 7276 . .


8 //  NEWS

Consumer watchdog puts bite on Coles campaign AUSTRALIAN DAIRY Farmers has

welcomed the consumer watchdog’s findings that Coles misled customers in a cheap milk campaign launched last year. The ACCC found that the ‘Our Coles Brand Milk Story’ video and cartoon released on the internet last year are likely to have contravened Section 18 of the Australian Competition Law. Section 18 prohibits misleading or deceptive conduct, with Coles admitting it is likely to have contravened this part of the act. ADF board member Chris Griffin said the Coles video and cartoon was a real slap in the face for dairy farmers on top of the damage already inflicted by $1 per litre milk. “The video and cartoon were a cynical exercise by Coles to convince consumers that farmgate prices had

The ACCC found whilst Coles increased for dairy farmers when they toon on social media that the farmgate had actually decreased,” Mr Griffin said. milk price increased from 86 cents per based the 90 cent figure on an August “Coles has also claimed that their two litre bottle of Coles-brand milk 2012 report containing an early estimate of the 2011-12 own margins decreased on farmgate milk price and Coles-brand milk – something had the script reviewed that the ACCC has said could by the same industry not be substantiated. “The video and cartoon were expert that prepared “The ACCC’s ruling is an a cynical exercise by Coles this report, at the time indictment of Coles and underit published the matemines their key claim that they to convince consumers that rial Coles was aware, or have absorbed the cost of $1 per farmgate prices had increased should have been aware, litre milk.” for dairy farmers when they had of other reports that preThe ACCC found that the actually decreased.” dicted that final induscartoon and video represented try figures would show a as ‘fact’ that processors decrease in the farmgate received around $1 per 2 litres milk price to 84 cents in of Coles-brand milk in 2011-11 and 2011-12, when in fact these figures in 2010-11 to around 90 cents in 2011- 2011-12. In addition to the representation were estimates and unable to be 12, when in fact this was an estimate and final industry figures showed the about the farmgate price, Coles sugsubstantiated. ACCC chairman Rod Sims said, 2011-12 farmgate milk price actually gested that it was a “fact” that on average Coles’ margin on Coles-brand 2 litre “Coles represented in a video and car- decreased to 84 cents.”

milk decreased from 55 cents in 201011 to 10 cents in 2011-12 and that processors received around $1 per 2 litres of Coles-brand milk in each of 2010-11 and 2011-12. In fact, these figures were estimates that were unable to be substantiated. Coles has admitted that its making of these representations would be likely to have contravened section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law, which prohibits misleading or deceptive conduct. Coles now has to publish corrective advertisements on the same online platforms that the original representations were published. It has also agreed not to make misleading or deceptive representations in relation to the impact of reductions in the retail price for Coles brand milk on the farmgate milk price for three years.

Summit report to shape future priorities A REPORT highlighting industry priorities identified during the recent

ADF National Dairy Farmers Summit will be posted on the ADF website this month. An Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) strategic forum, involving about 30 senior dairy representatives from the farming and processing sectors, will be held in the next few months to formulate a dairy industry vision and set of strategic priorities. The ADF said these priorities will “guide our collective industry work” and will be presented to the Federal Government, including at two industry events hosted in Canberra later this year. The March summit involved speaker presentations followed by six themed workshops where participants identified 18 industry priorities. These were then voted on by the 150 delegates, including 90 dairy farmers. Developing a strategy for innovation, investment and growth was the top priority from a dairy summit last week. This priority from the “market growth” workshop was twice as popular as the next highest, “identify pathways to success to encourage investment and confidence in the industry”. “Government to continue with trade reform that benefits dairy” was the third priority.

There were 150 delegates participating in the National Dairy Farmers Summit in March.

JANTEC ELECTRONIC HERD IDENTIFICATION • Accurate cow identification • Individual feeding • Automatic drafting

• Voice and visual alerting system • Herd management software • Easy to use


(03) 5222 8891

... for positive management and control.



NEWS  // 9

Recruiters want Kiwi dairy talent AUSTRALIAN DAIRY,

banking and investment interests are out to entice ambitious New Zealand dairy farmers and workers across the Tasman. They want to rejuvenate the Tasmanian and Victorian dairy industries and inject new impetus into productivity. They are dangling the carrot of a cheaper path to dairy farm ownership – about one third the cost of New Zealand, claims Andrew Radford, a director of ATR accountancy and owner of two Tasmanian dairy farms. He and two Rabobank rural managers, from Tasmania and Victoria, Rabobank senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey, and another investment specialist, were delivering the message at four bankorganised seminars around the country last month. They want Kiwi talent to cross the ditch to help provide “the next wave of farmers to take the industry up another notch,” says Leigh Barker, a Rabobank rural manager in Devonport branch, Tasmania. They think New Zealand farmers and workers will bring new ideas, new competition and new innovation. “In the late 1990s to 2000s when the first wave of New Zealanders came, they contributed to growing the industry to a new level,” says Barker. “That contribution can come again with the capacity available.” With big investment in processing plant in Tasmania in recent years, there’s an annual 335 million litres extra capacity in Tasmania alone, Barker says. “If you go over there and buy a farm, all processors will turn up on that farm and try to grab you. They need to fill that stainless steel,” says Radford. “There’s a lot of spare capacity that can be generated by new blood.” As with farming globally, many farmers in Tasmania and Victoria are ageing and many are at

“the end of their business cycle”. Young farmers aiming for ownership in Australia don’t have to buy Fonterra shares, says Barker. It is a good way to progress their career. The dairy industry in Tasmania and Victoria is virtually all export orientated and poised for growth. It does not face the same degree of price pressures from supermarkets as the regions that produce mainly for the domestic market. “The investment in Tasmania into stainless, which is basically manufacturing, has been huge over the last three or four years. So we’ve got extra capacity which is driving the need for more milk,” Barker says. “There’s also a new player in the state – Tasmanian Dairy Products. We’ve now got four processors so the state is poised for growth. “The main purpose of my trip is to let the New Zealand guys know there’s opportunity. Tasmania does still have a competitive edge in that we still grow grass and plenty of it, we’ve got good rainfall, high quality soils and the important part – available farms. “We now have water schemes as well; there’s water surety. You’ve got to buy that water surety… but it is there.” Ron Masin, from Rabobank’s branch at Sale, Victoria, says on the back of irrigation Victorian dairy is flourishing. Year-onyear production is improving with grass yield going up, the plentiful availability of grain and the implementation of technology. “Probably the two big areas that have improved production are automated irrigation and automatic cups-off and that’s helping with labour. Production’s going up and the gains are quite significant financially,” says Masin. The Rabobank roadshow around New Zealand last week aiming to show different ways of getting into the farm ownership or investment in Australia. New channels have opened up within Rabo-

bank as well, so anyone in New Zealand interested can contact their local branch, who can then make the contacts in Australia. “Ten to 14 years ago a lot of people from New

Zealand who went out and pioneered did it the hard way because they had to find their own way. “It is fair to say there’s a community of New Zealand farmers in Tasmania now.”

The grass is cheaper on the other side says Leigh Barker, Rabobank, Tasmania (left), Andrew Radford, accountant and Tasmanian dairy farmer, and Ron Masin, from Rabobank in Victoria.

Imagine a shed designed for the milker not just milking

When you spend hours every day milking cows, you need a shed designed to minimise fatigue, and provide greater operator comfort and safety. The new DeLaval P2100 parallel parlour does exactly that. Designed from the ground up to create an environment that works as well for the milker as it does for the cows, the P2100 delivers greater efficiency and productivity. Talk to your local DeLaval dealer today and start imagining more. Call 1800 817 199 or visit TRACTA51848-DNA



10 //  NEWS

Helping young farmers find the right pathway the odd milking at the moment - her main contribution to dairying over recent years has been in organising WHEN LIZA Fahey was young she was events and leading young farmers. This commitment started through a regularly given the choice of either helpsporting association with former Westing in the dairy or preparing meals. Vic Dairy executive officer Mike Weise. The dairy always won. When the organiser of a Victorian “We’d have a choice to get tea or to milk. I’d always choose to milk and my badminton tournament left only weeks sister would do tea,” Mrs Fahey said. “I before the event, Mrs Fahey stepped just preferred to be outside and be dad’s in with great success. Mr Weise, the Warrnambool badminton association little tomboy.” Now she encourages other young president at the time, was impressed people to find their right pathway into and asked if she would be interested in coordinating the south-west Young the dairy industry. Mrs Fahey’s preference for dairy has Dairy Development Program (YDDP). That was in 2008 when the YDDP never abated and at 40 her commitment to the industry has led to her becoming had 250 local members. Today it has 753 members. one of four finalists The massive increase for the 2014 Victo- “We need to has been achieved by rian Rural Industries show young existing Research and Devel- famers pathways encouraging members to spread the opment Corporation into the word of the benefits of Rural Woman of the industry such being involved, a strong Year award. Mrs Fahey and as leasing, share social media presence and recruitment of serher husband, John, farming, farm vice providers. work on the Fahey management “We have developed family farm in Terang trust and good word of which has grown from and equity mouth and people see milking 250 cows in partnerships.” five-hour stints in a – Liza Fahey that they get something out of it. It is driven from Herringbone dairy to milking 400 Ayrshires in a 44-unit the ground up so the members get the information that is relevant to them,” rotary. “We milk Ayrshires all year round, Mrs Fahey said. “We have encouraged members and the goal is to continue producing to encourage others to join and take good quality milk,” she said. The farm is doing well, as evidenced advantage of social media. About a quarby 4.9 fat and 3.8 protein test, but Mrs ter of our members are service providFahey’s commitment to the industry ers and they contribute as well as get something out of it.” spans well beyond the farm gate. Mrs Fahey takes great pride in assistWhile still helping on the farm and filling gaps where needed – mostly just ing young farmers to achieve their RICK BAYNE


dreams and grow as leaders in the community. “It’s like being a guide to such a large group of young farmers,” she said. With an ageing farming community, Mrs Fahey says finding ways to encourage young people into dairy remains a big challenge. “The average age of farmers is mid 50s so we need to explore different ways to get young people in. There are opportunities for equity partnerships that can

be considered but we need to explore more.” She doesn’t have a magic wand to wave to solve the problem. “Young farmers are out there but they need the tools to help them recognise and reach their goals,” she said. “They have to understand they don’t have to own their own farm to be profitable but they have to be shown these pathways such as leasing, share farmTH1584M 19/3/2014

“we make farming ezy”

tOP tECh™ hIGh LIFt GAtE

Cows hard to get into the dairy parlour for milking? The Top Tech™ high lift gate is sensitive and does not bulldoze the cows. A reliable management system resulting in less stress for cows and staff.


Cow teat condition abismal? Scc, cost of treatment and labour for manual spraying high? Invest in an automatic teatspray system. All your cows teatsprayed correctly every milking and reduced labour cost.


High SCC? Possible penalties and treatment cost? Test for infections with instant results. Instant indication of infection level, instant results on treated and retested milk before it goes back into the vat.



Castrating with knives? This can be dangerous, staff safety compromised & animal performance set back, resulting in a potential loss of revenue. Use a TechniPharm™ castrator at the critical time. More beef on the hook and staff kept safe.

Not sure how much feed to grow? Measure what is grown and work to your budget. More feed used, better management, better results.


Walk throug

Lame cows and treatment a real hassle? headlock Cow care and staff safety compromised? Get a professionally designed hoofcare handler. Cows lame feet treated early and staff kept safe.




thE GrOOMEr™

Liza Fahey

ing, farm management and equity partnerships.” Mrs Fahey says she is proud to be involved in a dairy business and wants others to feel the same. “We are doing a fantastic job educating young dairy farmers but it’s up to all farmers to help change any negative image about them.” Her other industry contributions include being secretary of the Terang– Mortlake United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, a member of the Australian Dairy Conference organising committee and recently being appointed to its Board of Directors, being a member of the Australian Dairy Farmers policy advisory group for people capacity, being part of the planning committee for the Great South West Dairy Awards and helping to run WestVic Dairy programs, such as Profitable Feeding Systems, Managing Business Transitions, In Calf and Taking Stock. In 2013 she also completed an Advanced Diploma in Agriculture and the National Developing Dairy Leaders course. Mrs Fahey is currently working on a booklet and a website that will help to clarify who does what in the dairy industry. “It’s not necessarily my opinion, but there is some confusion about who does what and where you can go to voice your thoughts or become involved. Maybe the NCDEA could include a unit on understanding the industry structure,” she said. Mrs Fahey says if you want to see change you have to roll up your sleeves and get involved. “There’s no use whinging without standing up and being part of change.”


No facilities to handle cows and heifers? Jobs not getting done? Staff safety compromised? Choose from the TechniPharm™ range of Dairy handlers. Each can be used for a multitude of tasks and treatments as and when required, safely and with due care to the animal, ensuring full animal healthcare. Animal wellbing increased, production increased and vet bills lower.

$1295 Normally $1595

Fresh cows on the platform? A neuro immobiliser relaxes the cow and a relaxed cow will get used to milking more easily. Reduced labour, less staff frustration and better overall animal wellbeing. *Conditions apply. All prices exclude GST, Insurance & freight.

ADVANCE IrrIGAtOr™ NEW...NEW... Scan the Code using your smartphone - then grab a TechniPharm Ezy Deal

For more solutions to make farming ezy... FREE Ph: 1800 124 034 Go online:


NEWS  // 11

Dairy must change culture to retain staff changing dynamics; out of all that is lost is a big issue in the dairy productivity.” industry, says the 2013 Lower stress on an NZ Dairy Woman of employer is an outcome the Year and business of better retention. A manager for Bel Group, better team gets you Justine Kidd. Ms Kidd spoke at the better results; they are Australian Dairy Confer- easier to manage and ence in Goelong in Febru- you’ve got more time for other things. Retention ary. “It’s the nature of our also builds a better CV for the people working industry: people move for you. to grow,” Kidd told a Retention is usually Dairy Womens Network measured over the Juneworkshop. “I have been June dairy season, Ms around the industry for just over 20 years and it’s Kidd says, but that will an ethos in our industry… one day change and the if you are not moving you industry will recruit midseason. Resignations in are not growing.” May-June is a critical Even if we are doing measure for a good job of “Our dairy farmers – looking after not just those staff, “if we are industry not growing culture is during the year. Ms Kidd said and allowing they are the Bel Group them to move going to targets 85% [outside] our staff retention business… our move.” for the year. industry culture is they are going to move. If you have 100% you have stability but you “If we are bad can get stagnation, she [employers] we’ll have crazy high turnover rates. says. “Turnover creates freshness and potential If we are really good to bring new ideas into [with staff ], compared your business; it creates with town businesses pathways for people.” even our good levels of Fifty per cent retention are seen at the retention, which can be lower end, not at best common in dairying, is practice compared to too low: depending on town.” the business size, the The rule of thumb used by the New Zealand retention goal should be 70-85%. Ideally a senior Institute of Human couple should be stable Resources is that when but expect juniors to a staff member moves change every year or two. on it costs about three Planned turnover times their salary. That is preferable to includes training, loss unplanned. of productivity and Ms Kidd has been recruitment. involved in the family “It is definitely more business Bel Group as than one times the business manager for six salary and the further years, much of that time up that person is in your dealing with staff. She business – the higher supervises 10 dairy farms level of responsibility – the bigger [the cost]. And with just under 3000ha you are also paying them of dairy plus dairy support. more, so three times The group employs $100,000 is a lot more than $45,000. It’s a really 58 people onfarm and 65 people businessbig impact. wide, including dairy “[Given] the time operations managers and and effort you have to farm managers. put into them, it’s about STAFF RETENTION

Dairy executive Justine Kidd illustrates a point at her ‘Making Your Team Tick’ workshop.



15,000-cow China hub in full swing PETER BURKE

FONTERRA’S NEW hub of five dairy farms in China are up and running and already the NZ co-op has started work on a new hub of farms at Ying in Shanxi province. Fonterra’s vice-president international farming, Sarah Kennedy, said from Beijing that calving at the final farm at Yutian 3, Herbei province, is almost over and all the 15,000 cows at the hub are milking. At full production the hub will produce 150 million litres of milk a year but with many of the cows first-time milkers it will take some months to reach that target. Completion of the hub, especially the last farm, ran close to deadline with 1000 construction workers on site to get it ready for the cows coming. Kennedy says all the cows at the farms have come from New Zealand or Australia under a scheme they call ‘genes on legs’ – selecting a certain genetic profile in partnership with LIC. “So our beautiful girls get on the ship and take two weeks coming from New

Zealand to China. They are beautiful animals and we treat them like treasured gold. They are hard fed before they [leave New Zealand] to get them used to the hard feed on the trip. “When they get to China they go into quarantine for six weeks and then onto the farm. When we put them on the farm they are lovely and quiet and adapt to their new home extremely well.” All calves from the cows that go to China are kept – the heifers for replacements and the bull calves to be sold locally for the beef market. They are said to be popular with the locals. Fonterra is using a combination sexed semen and is introducing Holstein genetics to increase the volume of milk from each cow: currently this is 34L. The reason is simple: they are paid for volume, not milk solids. None of the milk produced by the Yutian hub is processed by Fonterra. Instead it’s sold to local processors who turn it into UHT milk, yoghurts and other products. “For them it’s a high quality consistent product produced to all Fonterra’s standards,” Ms Kennedy said.

Lessons learned on the first, pilot, farm at the Yutian hub are applied to the subsequent farms. Cow comfort is one, said Ms Kennedy. “Sand beds are the gold standard bedding for cows. You can tell when you walk around the barns how well a farm is run. Basically if the barns are quiet and you don’t hear mooing, that is the sign of satisfied cows. We want the cows lying down because then they produce more milk. Of course they are free to roam around the cow houses.” Raising cows’ body condition score to 5.0 is not difficult, Ms Kennedy said. In fact the staff must ensure the cows don’t get overweight. Most feed is sourced locally and this helps build relationships with the community, said Ms Kennedy. “We buy all our maize silage from them and there will be a mixture of cotton seed and brewer’s grain. We have nutritionists who make up the feed; we use some compound feed or pelleted feed to make up a complete diet. We test the food we bring in.” Fonterra plans to be producing one billion litres of milk in China by 2018.

Fonterra and China exchange centre WHAT’S IN it for us? Fonterra

shareholders may well be asking following last week’s launch of a China-New Zealand Dairy Exchange Centre in Beijing. Announcing the initiative with China’s National Dairy Industry and Technology System, Fonterra said the centre will support sustainable development of the industry in both countries. “It is a key priority for Fonterra to contribute to the development of the Chinese dairy industry and we believe there is a lot to be gained by both New Zealand and China through the sharing of knowledge, research and dairy expertise,” president of Fonterra Greater China and India, Kelvin Wickham, said. “Both parties have world-class dairy research and know-how. We are pleased to be playing a key role in bringing this initiative to life.” Fonterra says the centre will develop policy in the China and New Zealand dairy sectors, arrange academic exchanges, industry promotion, dairy technology research and personnel training.

Kevin Wickham

An annual China-NZ dairy research forum, and a ‘Golden Key’ training programme to assist China’s local dairy industry development will be among early initiatives. Wang Yuchan, a scientist with the China Ministry of Agriculture’s National Dairy Industry and Technology System said it hopes to learn more about New Zealand’s technology and expertise, jointly do R&D, and undertake technology exchanges and training on dairy sector issues through the centre. “This will help promote the sustainable development of dairy.”

5 TRIPS TO BE WON! Impact 2 Perennial Ryegrass, Certified Farm Ready for: ✓ Very high yields – late flowering diploid with excellent growth rates across all seasons for a perennial ryegrass. ✓ Persistence – delivered through a high tiller density combined with NEA2 endophyte for resistance against insect pests#. ✓ Animal safe – NEA2 endophyte does not induce animal health problems or ryegrass staggers. .

We know that Impact 2 Perennial Ryegrass is one of our best performers, but we want to hear what you think. Send us your story that describes how Impact 2, Aston, or Shogun has performed on your farm and you could be flying to New Zealand on an all expenses paid study trip*. There are five to be won, so get planting and you could be on your way across the Tasman!

For more information and full competition entry details visit *Terms and conditions apply. For entry form and full competition details visit Entries close midnight 31/8/2014. This competition is a game of skill, not chance. Heritage Seeds, 26 Prosperity Way, Dandenong South Victoria 3175. ABN 43 007 614 379. #NEA2 endophyte provides resistance to some insect pests including black beetle and root aphid. NEA2 does not provide protection against all insect pests and therefore an appropriate Integrated Pest Management strategy should be employed to prevent damage to pastures.



Fair Oaks Farms takes up fight SUDESH KISSUN

TEN YEARS ago one of the largest dairy operators in the US saw the writing on the wall: animal welfare lobbyists were increasing their focus on farming and consumers were keen to know more about their food. Although environment groups were targeting the pig and poultry sectors back then, Gary Corbett, chief executive of Fair Oaks Farms, Indiana knew “dairy’s time was gonna come”. In 1994, Fair Oaks decided to go on the offensive; it opened the 13,000ha dairy farm to the public, for them to see how cows are looked after and milked. A birthing barn auditorium also allows visitors to see calves being born. Milk, cheese, ice cream and yoghurt are processed and sold at the farm. Today, Fair Oaks hosts 575,000 visitors annually and is the number one destination for visitors to the town. Fair Oaks’ success has attracted interest from other sectors; last year Fair Oaks Farms opened a pig adventure operation with 3000 sows. Mr Corbett shared Fair Oaks’ success story with 350 farmers at the Australian Dairy Conference in Geelong in February. Speaking on ‘People, Planet and Profit- ensuring dairy farming has


a future’, he urged Australian farmers to take their story to the consumers to counter negative publicity from animal rights groups. According to Mr Corbett, the activists are well funded and passionate in their campaigns. “Consumers were also becoming well informed; they wanted to know about traceability, the food supply chain and animal welfare,” he said. According to Mr Corbett, the dairy industry has always believed someone else will take care of the negative publicity generated by activists. Therefore, dairy has never been ahead of the game. He says people visiting Fair Oaks are very interested to interact with farmers. “In our experience 99% of the visitors have no agenda and come to understand agriculture better. Consumers haven’t let us down.” After touring the farm, consumers buy locally produced cheese and ice cream from the Fair Oaks store. Mr Corbett believes there is an emotional attachment after visitors see how it houses cows, feeds and milks them and

Visitors take a bus ride through the cow shed. Inset: Gary Corbett

takes care of them. Cheese produced at Fair Oaks is sold across the US however ice cream and yoghurt are only available at the store. Mr Corbett has no regrets about opening the farm to the public. “The question is not whether we can afford to tell the story but can we afford not to? We can’t.” Fair Oaks practices sustainability on all fronts and Corbett says this will ensure the business will prosper for many years. Fair Oaks has 37,000 cows; the aver-

age herd size in the US is under 200. The property has 11 milking platforms and a permit to build another one. The freestall barn operation milks 800 cows every 6 1/2 minutes for 24 hours a day serving the fluid milk market; it produces almost a million litres of milk daily. The 1.6 million gallons of liquid manure produced at the dairy operation is fed through a digester with the end product used in many ways. For example, liquid manure is turned into gas to power the business’s 45 trucks

PROVEN INCOME WITH COAST & COUNTRY LIFESTYLE • Situated 14km from Coffs Harbour city centre and domestic airport. Sydney 542km, Brisbane 390km. • Modern, operational herringbone dairy (2 years old) 12-a-side – central pit – 250 cow capacity. • Current long term Norco contract. • Property offers excellent grazing, plus supporting mixed farming operations.

• Frontage to the Orara River plus 130 Meg irrigation licence. • Average rainfall approx 1600mm. • Original homestead (circa 1940) boasting elegance, extensively upgraded to a spacious dwelling with landscape gardens and resort style pool area. • 4 additional quality homes generating an extra income.

Agents summary: “Brooklyn Farm” consists of 52.8 ha (132.5 acres) with the option to expand by way of lease or freehold of adjoining properties. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the coast and country lifestyle with the added benefits of two proven incomes. “Brooklyn Farm” is being offered on a WIWO basis. Current figures, plant and stock numbers are available on request. Inspect by appointment with exclusive agent only Neil Stocks 0439 009 414 or Kate O’Leary 0448 142 749

02 6657 1777

and to yield fertiliser, with the water used to grow a source of protein which is added to the herd’s total mixed ration. About 120 calves are born every day. Fair Oaks Farms also produces at least 60% of its own feed. Mr Corbett says he doesn’t want to lose any sleep over what to feed the cows the next day. “We have two years of feed on hand. We try to have big healthy cows, ensuring we have feed in front of them 24 hours a day.” Fair Oaks Farms employs 450 people.


14 //  NEWS

Australia behind USA, EU in South Korean pecking order Dairy NewS aUSTraLia june, 2012

agribusiness // 17

THE REPUBLIC of Korea is Austra-

lia’s ninth largest dairy export market (in value), and imports considerable quantities of cheese, whey powder and other dairy commodities. Korea imported about 200,000 tonnes of dairy products in 2012/13, worth at least US$700 million. Australia’s market share was 12%, down from 19.9% (in USD terms) in 2008/09. The conclusion of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between Australia and Korea in December last year makes it timely to consider why this market, and the FTA, are important to Australia. Australia exported 21,000 tonnes of dairy products to Korea during the 2012/13 financial year, worth US$87 million. Cheese was the most significant category (representing 34% of exports by USD value), followed by skim milk powder (SMP) (23%), and infant powder (15%). Exports of infant powder from Australia to Korea grew by 46% (in USD value terms) over the five years between 2008/09 and 2012/13.

Export demand remains strong

duties and volume restrictions will Cheese is not only Australia’s largcease to apply to most Australian dairy est dairy export to Korea, it also repreproducts in the long run. sented 47% of Korea’s dairy imports (by With season 2011/12 only a few incremental change in milk production (year-on-year) weeks from ending, KAFTA tariff phase-down periUSD value) last financial year.attention Whileis now focused on 2012/13 milk prices as farmods are three or five years longer than Korean raw milk ers production (and the consider strategies for the coming In some domestically-focused those agreed under the Korea-US FTA number of milkingyear. cows), increased by regions, renegotiated contracts incorgLobaL impacT (known as KORUS), and will not start 12% (2.18 billion porating litres)lower between 2011 ‘tier prices and reduced JohN DropperT one’ access are undermining farmer until KAFTA is ratified. For example, if and 2012, increased milk prices and confidence and supply stability. For GLOBAL IMPACT private label contracts and proexport-oriented Shifts inAMY the KORUS phase in period is 10 years, rising labour costsmany havefarmers seen aindecrease BELLHOUSE a lower price outlook relative to cessor rationalisation have seen milk then KAFTA will be 13 years – and if the in the proportionregions, of raw milk used for the current season not only adds to the companies adjust their intake requirements of and pricing to meet theconsumption changbusiness, but seemsresult increasing of agreement is ratified in 2014, the phaseproducts such as challenges cheese.of doing At the same to contradict the positive medium term ing demands of a highly pressured retail Western style Mozzarella is the in period will be completed in 2026. time, demand hasoutlook beenofrising. marketplace. Lowerfoods. contract prices and Asia-driven dairy demand a lackpopular, of alternative supply and isopportuniused in pizza fast- The exceptions, which will not be libTotal domesticgrowth. production of fresh most Dairy Australia’s indicative outlook ties present challenges in a market with flows. 2012 milk production in the US those in south-east Asia and the Middle forto Australia, are milkhigher powoutlets and European and processed for cheese 25,000 East maintain consistently ecois up around 4% oneralised 2011 for the year manufacturing capacity. Despiterestaurants. southern was farm gate milk prices food – limited whilst early nomic growth rates that support these challenges, the underlying domes- April (leap year adjusted), the recent Dairy 2012: Sitevaporated milks, buttermilk, Unusually for the region, consumer ders and tonnes in 2008, published while inconsumption uation and Outlook report, is for an tic market is stable, with steady per-cap- data suggests EU-27 milk production increased dairy consumption. Howmilk, andinother preference for chilled was 72,000 tonnes, and ever, the surge supply acidified has outpaced 2012 quota year up kephir, ita dairy consumption and afresh/pasteurised growing finished the Marchcurdled opening pricethe rangeshortfall of $4.05-$4.40/kg and a full year average price range population providing a degree of cer- 2.3% on the previous year. New Zealand demand growth in the market. milk or cream. milk results in limited retail demand for 47,000 tonnes. MS In 2012, production This situation has seen the scales between $4.50 and $4.90/kg MS. The tainty beyond the current adjustments. production is widely expected to finish in favourliberalisation of buyers in dairy are marup 10% on last year - atoward huge tip trade In the seasons following the 2008 this season considers the wider market picSteps long-life/UHT milk (USDA-FAS GAIN was 22,400 tonnes,report consumption 82,400 ture and summarises the many factors financial crisis and subsequent com- market influence given 95% of NZ milk kets, with commodity prices retreata welcome development, however other report KS1347, 2013). tonnes, and the shortfall 60,000 tonnes. at play; the key theme of the current sit- modity price recovery, farmers in is exported. Argentina is also enjoy- ing steadily over recent months. Butter prices are down from some 30% from their solid(July production growth, but a sigregions have2012) seen solid being that ofdomestic re-balancing in the export-oriented challenges remain. Aside the head The USA (March andingEU The growing gapuation between global supply growth (see chart) - with nificant supply gap in Brazil prevents 2011 peaks, whilst powder prices have dairy supply chain. starts on tariff reductions and quota 2011) both have FTAs in place with the supply and demandIn has resulted in a regions of Australia focused on higher-cost competitors in the North- much of this additional milk from leav- lost more than 20%. Farm gate prices have subsequently been reduced America. increases enjoyed ern Hemisphere amongst those expand- ising producing drinking milk, years many farmers by Australia’s com-in Republic of Korea. Australia atSouth a com93% increase over the last five Despite wider economic uncer- most exporting regions. The average face a re-balancing market in the form ing output as their margins increased. petitors in trade agreements such as the mercial disadvantage as a result. Under (2008/09 to 2012/13) in the volume of of renegotiation of supply contracts This season, favourable weather con- tainty, demand has remained resilient basic farm gate price for milk in France ‘tier one’ supply. ditions have further enhanced milk as importing countries like China and for example, dropped 12% from 32 Euro the FTA agreement concluded by Aus- Korea-US FTA, one of the biggest influcheese exported and to reduced Koreaaccess by tointernatralia and the Republic of Korea (known encers on US dairy export performance tional suppliers. Increased demand for cheese is a as KAFTA) in December 2013, import is the Cooperatives Working Together

(CWT) export subsidy program. Total assisted exports under the program 2013(AUD exceeded cents/litrein in March 41c/L) to 2894,000 tonnes, Euro cents/litre (AUD 36c/L) in April. 62% of which was cheese. Of the Profit margins are under pressure in the cheese exported under US, and in NZ Fonterra has announcedthe program in the final payout for the 2011/12 season 47% was desthe first quarter of 2013, has been cut from NZ$6.75-$6.85/kg MS tined for Asia. As noted to NZ$6.45-$6.55/kg MS (AUD$4.96- earlier, inter$5.04). national exports of cheese to Korea Effectively, global dairy markets are rebalancing. Lower considerably prices will both over the last have grown slow production growth and stimulate five years. The share of these exports demand, and as this occurs we will ultimately recovery. Key factorshas risen from heldseebya price North America to watch on the global scene will be the 23% to 46%, while share has rate at which milk production Australia’s overseas slows in response lower to prices, the New Zealand fallen fromto15% 8%. impact of the current financial worries have barely heldthesteady, going from on consumer confidence, path of China’s economic growth, and the value 32% to 31%. of the Australian dollar. The for announcement Demand exported dairy prod- of the Koreaucts remains a positive and will conAustralia FTA presents an opportunity tinue to grow with the middle class in large markets such the as China, to emerging start reducing commercial diswith changes in diet and with increasing advantage that Australia urbanisation - and also in conjunction faces in one with Locally, of global our population top-10 growth. destination markets for the domestic market is supported by a dairy. While we await ratification of the growing population and stable percapita consumption. dairy agreement soWhilst that the phase-down periods market is currently a challenging place start, attention turns tocan be a seller, all signs indicate that bal- to the newly ance will ultimately return. announced Japan-Australia FTA. • Amy Bellhouse is an industry analyst with Dairy Australia.

Malaysia FTA benefits dairy Freedom

ASEAN-Australia-New rice and wine exporters to Zealand FTA (AANZFTA). “Protectionist sentiMalaysia are the biggest ment over agricultural winners in a free trade goods is rife and growagreement (FTA) signed ing across the globe, so between the two counin this context it is pleastries last month. ing Australia has managed The deal, signed after to forge an agreement seven years of negotiawith Malaysia that has tions, allows a liberalised Monday at the Mangatawhiri plant, dealt with some sensilicensing arrangement tive agricultural issues for Australian direct liquid milkflight put on Air New Zealand’s not effectively covered by exporters and allows to Shanghai on Tuesday and is in OravAANZFTA,” says Fraser. access for higher value “While under the retail products. ida’s warehouse on Wednesday. AANZFTA agreement It guarantees AusConsumers gettralian to buy it before the most of Australian agriwine exporters culture’s key interests best tariff treatment weekend. the had tariffs bound at zero, Malaysia gives any counOravida dairy and rice are two sectry. It is alsothe allowsmain open partaccess arrangements from tors where incremental ner in the business, and “very market access improve2023 for Australian rice ments have been negotiwith all tariffs eliminated professional,” Mr Den ated under the Malaysian by 2026. Haring said. The National Farmers’ FTA. Federation says thegood trade cus-“This trade deal was “A very also particularly impordeal will improve intertomer; we tant for sectors such national market access can’t as dairy that have been for Australian speakagricultural highly facing a competitive disgoods. enough of Oravadvantage in Malaysia “After seven years of compared with New Zeanegotiation, the NFF is ida and the land which already has under no illusion of how challengingrelationship it has been to a completed FTA with in place.” complete this FTA with we have,” Malaysia heThe FTA also sigMalaysia,” NFF vice presinals some administrative dent Duncansaid. Fraser says. benefits for AustraThe FTA will fill a Chinese number of gaps within the lian agricultural export-

Foods plant targets Asia

austraLian DairY,

Chinese company expands NZ footprint SUDESH KISSUN

FRESH MILK exports from New Zealand to China are booming and a key Chinese player in the trade is now buying New Zealand dairy farms. Oravida has been selling fresh New Zealand milk in Shanghai via direct order since May 2012. Business has increased 100% since the launch and every week 5-10 tonnes is freighted. Oravida is said to be charging NZ$20 for a 2L container. The company recently bought a 300cow farm south of Auckland, close to the Green Valley Milk plant which processes and packs Oravida milk for China. Green Valley also packs milk for Ruima Foods, which sells in Guangzhou. Green Valley general manager Corrie Den Haring says orders are received weekly. Milk is processed at 4am every

consumers gener016-017.indd 17 ally mistrust dairy products but New Zealand is seen as the home of quality dairy, Mr Den Haring said. “Some latest scares tested this but most people have a high degree of trust in our products. Based on this trust, business for us is growing every week.” Green Valley’s confidence in Orav-

austraLian FooD

Sealing the deal: Malaysian trade minister Mustapha Mohamed with Australian counterpart Craig Emerson after signing the deal.

ers through streamlining of rules-of-origin declaration processes and improved marketing arrangements for certain commodities. The Malaysian market is worth about A$1 billion in Australia agricultural exports – including being its fourth-largest sugar export market and fifth-largest wheat export market. With an annual economic growth at about 5%, Malaysia forms an important part of the ‘Asian Century’ story and the opportunity this presents for Australian agricultural producers, says Fraser.

Despite the completion of this agreement, much remains to be done for Australia’s farmers to tap into the full potential of the Asian region and beyond. He says the NFF will now throw its attention towards ensuring agriculture remains front and centre in completed FTAs with South Korea, Japan, China and Indonesia as immediate priorities. “These are all markets with enormous growth opportunities and where significant barriers to trade in agriculture still exist, not only through tariffs that restrict trade

but also through technical or so called ‘behind the border’ restrictions.” The FTA was signed on May 22 in Kuala Lumpur by Australia’s Trade and Competiveness Minister Craig Emerson and his Malaysian counterpart Mustapa Mohamed. Emerson says Australia will be as well-positioned in the Malaysian market as Malaysia’s closest trading partners in ASEAN, and in some cases better. The FTA will guarantee tariff-free entry for 97.6% of current goods exports from Australia once it enters into force. This will rise to 99% by 2017.

company Freedom Foods Group Ltd is to build a new milk processing plant to cash in on growing demand in Asia. The plant, to be built in southeast Australia, will be the first Australian greenfields expansion in UHT in 10 years. Freedom’s wholly owned subsidiary Pactum Australia will run the plant. Some of its products will be sold in Australia. The company says given Asian consumers’ rising incomes and improving diets, demand there will grow for quality dairy products from low-cost production bases such as Australia, whose milk is well regarded. The new plant will allow Pactum to meet growing demand for UHT dairy milk, and add to capacity for valueadded beverages at its Sydney factory. Pactum is expanding its capabilities at the Sydney plant

to provide portion pack (200-330ml) configuration for beverage products. general The NSWGreen locationValley will provide access to the mostCorrie Den manager sustainable and economic Haring with fresh milk source of milk. Pactum hasto China. exported strong links to the Australian dairy industry and will expand its arrangements with dairy farmers for supply of milk. The new plant will increase scope for Australian milk supply – value-added, sustainable and export focused. Initially the plant will produce 250ml and 1L UHT packs from a process line capable of 100 million L. The processing and packaging plant will emit less carbon, use less water, and be more energy-efficient than equivalent UHT facilities in Australia and SE Asia. Pactum expects site preparation to begin in October 2012 and start-up by mid-2013. Pactum makes UHT products for private label and proprietary customers.

6/06/12 1:41 PM

ida has been boosted by the purchase of the 300-cow farm which begins supplying on June 1. “Our Chinese partners have invested in dairy farming and they are interested in the pasture to plate concept.” The Green Valley owners also owns Marphona farms milking 2000 cows and plans to raise this soon to 3000 cows. It also buys milk under contract from nearby farmers, as well as organic milk and cream from Fonterra. Mr Den Haring said Green Valley and Oravida are looking at moving the Chinese business into organic milk,

seen as another point of difference and ensuring consumers remain ‘close to nature’. But Oravida is unlikely to use organics as its main marketing tool in China. “We won’t sell it as organic milk…. We’ll say this is New Zealand milk and by the way it’s organic. It’s a point of difference but not the main selling point.” He believes organics help farmers reconnect with urban dwellers. “The farming community needs to understand the city people are their customers. You can sell them products

but you better have the right story on the product. “If you want to talk about pasture to plate you must tick all the boxes, not just the ones you want. Organics plays a part; it’s not the only story but it is one story we can put to the consumer – be it New Zealand or China.” Green Valley processes about 25 million litres of milk annually. The China fresh milk trade makes up only 3% of the business. Mr Den Haring said growing the domestic market in New Zealand remains its main focus.


MARKETS  // 15

Watching China as prices soften INTERNATIONAL DAIRY

commodity prices have weakened in past weeks, as milk supply picks up in the Northern Hemisphere, and New Zealand finishes off its bumper season. Futures prices and recent GDT (global dairy trade) auction results indicate the softening will continue through 2014. Of course there is no cause for panic, a supply response has been building for some time, and commodity prices are still well up on where they were a year ago, in fact to the tune of 30% in Australian dollar terms. On this basis 2014/15 farmgate prices look pretty solid. The question is, how long will the good times roll? Farmers will recall all too well the last time farmgate prices reached these levels in 2008. At that time rising commodity prices were largely based on supply shortages with modest supply growth in some exporting regions and falls in others and the elimination of intervention stocks in the US and EU. Subsidies (remember those?) had been removed and demand was pretty good, but it was mostly a supply driven peak in the international market. What followed was a major correction, production recovered strongly in New Zealand in particular, and of course the financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn cut global dairy prices in half. While no one is signaling a repeat of the

FRESH AGENDA JO BILLS wider financial and economic problems that caused the spectacular meltdown in 2008 and 2009, how does the current dairy market situation compare? In early 2014, there are some similarities – New Zealand has once again made a spectacular recovery from drought, and output in many EU regions is gearing up for next year’s production quota removal. We are starting to see buyer resistance at the high prices of late 2013. What is different this time it that so much depends on China’s continued appetite for imported dairy products. Looking back at this chart of Chinese WMP imports, it’s startling to see how low the volumes were in 2008 compared to today. Lower domestic milk output and the restructuring of China’s farm sector explain the surge in imports in 2013, and why demand is likely to continue well into 2014. The fundamentals for dairy in China seem sound, and there is plenty of investment going on in the sector to service this market. But could the party once

again be spoiled by broader financial and economic issues? Trade, investment and consumption figures have been disappointing – causing many analysts to cut their forecasts for economic growth. Reports of loan defaults, import orders for metal and more recently soft commodities being cancelled or refused, property price bubbles and credit crunches are starting to permeate commentary about China’s outlook. The truth is China’s rapid rise as an economic superpower has been unprecedented in history, its mode of centralised government and state-owned or influenced capitalism is not replicated anywhere else. We are all part of a very large experiment, and we are heavily reliant on the ability of China’s leadership to manage some major issues – credit blowout, corruption, pollution, massive urbanisation and the transformation of their citizens into consumers not savers. The task is mammoth, and the question marks over the transparency and accuracy of Chinese data just add to the discomfort

many commentators are feeling. There is no doubt that China wants dairy, but there has probably never been a better time to diversify markets at the processor level and focus on costs and margins on farm to capitalise on the good times. While many economies would be affected by a significant Chinese downturn, including our own, lower commodity prices combined with a softer Australian currency could allow the further development of demand in other markets that would still provide favourable returns to Australian dairy farmers into the longer term. Given the structural changes a full retreat from imports seems unlikely for China, even if trade is hampered by some adverse financial market developments in the short term. So the message is – be alert not alarmed, markets adjust – but it’s almost never smooth. • Jo Bills is a director of Freshagenda, a Melbourne-based consulting and analysis firm that provides food value chain insights and solutions to a wide range of clients from farm to retail.

Export index falls from record high AFTER HITTING a record in early February, Freshagenda’s

export index has been steadily losing ground with weaker commodity spot prices. The mood in the global dairy market has now changed with the expectation that there will be more product available at least in the short-term from the three biggest exporters – New Zealand, the EU and the US. Spot prices are still well above US$4,000/tonne and as you can see in the chart below, the index remains relatively high. The results of the latest GDT auctions highlighted the fragility in the market. The chart below also tracks GDT price movements against our own export index. GDT prices show sharper movements up and down – reflecting the large proportion of WMP in the sales mix, and price movements in US dollar terms. The Freshagenda index – based on Australia’s export mix and affected by Australian currency movements has been less volatile, and is weakening at a slower rate. The stronger $A in the past few weeks hasn’t helped the situation for Australian exporters. It has gained 6 cents against the US dollar for a host of reasons, including the belief that China’s government will stimulate their economy to protect it from a hard landing. Money flows into Australia would benefit from that move. The durability of China’s import hunger past the first quarter of 2014 are crucial to the outlook. The index is a lead indicator of average export returns - based on spot prices, currency movements and export mix. The index measures current market sentiment, but in reality it takes 3 to 6 months for prices to translate into actual returns, depending on the timing of contract negotiations. For weekly updates, visit

The Easiest, Quickest Way to Conserve Feed HOT DEAL

Power Your Fence Bonus SmartFix Faultfinder

Get more out of your pastures with Gallagher

For pure grunt try the MR5000, with 50 Joules of stored energy, it powers up to 120km of fencing and comes with a bonus SmartFix fault finder to save time during your busy Autumn period.





MR5000 Mains Fence Energizer

Reel and Braid

Try our Pre-Wound Geared Reel with our new transport lock. Braid is a great solution with cattle as it won’t overstretch or tangle. Most damage to reels happens when they fall SG61166 off the back of your bike, but this lock $ .00 stops them jumping off during RRP transport — or even falling Pre-Wound Geared Reel 400m High Conductive Braid off a permanent fence.


Offers available from your Gallagher dealer until 31st May or while stocks last. Phone 1800 GALLAGHER (1800 425 524) for more information.




Farmers getting mixed messages

MILKING IT... Cheese with that?

The ultimate farm

IT SEEMS every cause has its own day to shine. Some are worthy – take the International Day for Literacy, for example – while some are, well, more interesting, like the International Day for Happiness. One cause that we fully support – and we know we’re not alone – is Grilled Cheese. And because it originates from the USA, where everything is bigger, it lasts for a full month. Yes, April is Grilled Cheese Month in the US. Statistics show average annual cheese consumption in the USA is 10½ kilograms per person, up from 3½ kg in 1970. If they can’t add an extra kilo or two in the month of April alone, then Grilled Cheese Month may need to be extended.

TYPOS IN newspapers unfortunately happen despite the best intentions. This editor has been responsible for his share of clangers over the years. We laughed at one story recently where a missing word may have inadvertently convinced dairy farmers the holy grail of profitability was easier to achieve than they thought. The western Victorian paper had a DemoDAIRY spokesman say “we aim to dispel the myth that you have to milk cows to make profit”. No milking cows? So no associated problems, a sleep-in and a healthy bank account – tell us more! Unfortunately, it should have read: “We aim to dispel the myth that you have to milk MORE cows to make profit.” Bugger! Back to work everyone.

Wombat milk

Missing mail

WHAT DOES it take to fool people on April fool’s day? ABC Radio had the answer when they ran a story on an emerging wombat dairy industry. Links to the story were spread quickly on Twitter and throughout the web. The experimental herd of 30 wombats were milked by a new device with a “sensitive telescopic suction cap to reach into the single teat in the lady wombat’s pouch”. Hard work was worth it as the milk produced cheese planned for export to Europe, America and Japan with a starting price of $3226 a kilo. It wasn’t until later in the day that the good folk at the ABC alerted people to the date. Well played.

YOU THINK you’ve heard it all but then you’re left shaking your ahead again. Such was the case when we heard from a farmer contacted recently from a most officious official from Australia Post. For decades this particular family had sometimes received mail addressed with an extra “S” on the end of their road name. You would think correct family name, correct town, correct post code and a road name with or without a superfluous “S” on the end would be enough. No, they have been told any mail with the extra “S” will not be delivered. End of story. Clearly the postmaster has too much time on his hands.

Advertising Chris Dingle


Editor Stephen Cooke 03.9478 9779 or 0427.124 437

HeadOffice Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Auckland 0622, New Zealand

Phone+64.9.307 0399 Fax+64.9.307 0122

photographs are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior written

Publisher Brian Hight Production D  ave Ferguson Becky Williams SubEditor Pamela Tipa

Dairy News Australia is published by RNG Publishing Limited. All editorial copy and

PROCESSORS ARE giving farmers mixed messages. Export is the main game, they say. The domestic market place is too crowded. We have to capitalise on the growing demand for high quality dairy product in Asia. It makes sense, and the message has been sold as hope for better farmgate prices. So why has Fonterra followed Murray Goulburn’s lead by signing a 10-year contract to supply milk for a supermarket’s house brand? Last year, Murray Goulburn signed a 10-year house deal with Coles and is currently spending $120m dollars on new plants in Melbourne and Sydney. Just last month, Fonterra Australia managing director Judith Swales said an “increasing majority” of Australian farmers want to be part of the global food scene. This month they announced they had signed a 10-year deal to supply milk to the Woolworths label. It says it will make a profit on the deal, but it would be safe to say it’s not going to be profit on the scale of high-value high-end produce exported to Asia. There’s also the matter of how it plans to source the additional 100m litres it requires from south west Victoria. It may have a 10-year contract to supply domestic milk, which it says will offer farmers security to plan ahead, but will they offer farmers a 10-year fixed price? Or even a 3-year fixed price? That would give farmers security to plan ahead. The mantra of the dairy industry is now profitability, and rightly so. Don’t push for extra production at a higher cost, but concentrate on your margins and make your business work for you. It is now repeated by Dairy Australia. Farmers are becoming more reluctant to push too far beyond their profitable zone to produce more milk because they are the ones that will wear it when the milk price comes down. There is talk of the national interest in producing more milk, but all processors must lead the way by sharing the risk. It’s no good for them to say we want more milk (except for in spring, when we’ll pay less for it) but farmers must take the risk. When the farmgate milk price falls, global factors are cited. Farmers realise this, but a genuine partnership shares the losses in the aim to build a profitable future. Farmers need to be partners in the journey. And mixed messages don’t help.


Publishedby RNG Publishing Ltd Printedby PMP Print

permission of the publisher. Opinions or comments expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of the staff, management or directors of RNG Publishing Limited.


Postaladdress PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140, New Zealand


OPINION  // 17

Trying to find the middle ground JAN DAVIS

YOU COULD be forgiven for thinking there are parallel universes when experts speak about the state of Australian agriculture. The eternal optimists see nothing ahead but blue skies; the glass-half-empty brigade sees only doom and gloom. Clearly, the reality is somewhere in between. Attendees at last week’s Global Food Forum in Sydney, organised by the Australian newspaper and the Visy Corporation, had the opportunity to assess what “in between” means.  Interestingly, the audience was almost entirely comprised of city-based ‘suits’ – scarcely an Akubra to be seen. This is a reflection of the growing interest in agriculture from the more traditional business and investment sectors – largely focused at this stage on the food sector, but with some trickle down already spreading into the farming sector. But that’s a conversation for another day.  Covering the forum, the Australian’s rural reporter, Sue Neales, wrote:  “One scenario painted the Australian farming and food scene as the world flavour of the month; with investment bankers and local real estate companies being inundated daily with offers and glittering deals to buy Aussie farms, meat works, water rights, almond orchards and land by everyone from the richest man in Russia to Canadian pension funds and secretive Chinese quasigovernment companies.  “The second perspective had Australian agriculture as mired in red and green tape; beset with ailing, ageing or lacking infrastructure; bogged deep in drought and debt; and faced with whingeing farmers quitting the industry in frustration as profits and commodity prices failed to keep pace with high land values and soaring costs.” Somewhere in the middle of these extremes

of opinion, experts are trying to work out how to maintain our industry’s potential to help feed and clothe the world. In a business-as-usual response, farmers are gamely attempting to return a decent profit in the face of increasingly vigorous competition from the emerging world, from our friends across the Tasman and, further east, those across the Pacific in South America. Australian farmers are faced with a range of challenges beyond their control. They have to deal with the highest labour costs in the world; the perpetually high Australian dollar; and our Government’s seeming inability to reach a free trade deal with China – despite the fact that the New Zealand/China FTA will be celebrating its sixth anniversary next week.  While the Australian dairy industry is moving ahead with higher prices and significant expansion, particularly in Tasmania, it is losing market share. The forum was told that since 2006 Australia’s share of the international dairy and milk market has dropped from 12% to 7%, because that part of our industry has not kept pace with global productivity gains and has not always had its foot in the front door of the booming Asian markets. Who has? New Zealand.  If Australian dairy farmers want to meet their target of increasing production by 70% by the year 2050, they will have to use much the same area of arable land that they have now and increase their output by an average 1.75% a year, compounding. On my calculations, it is slightly less than that. At 1.75% growth a year, you would reach 70% after 30 years, but that’s dickering around the edges.  The dairy sector is actually improving its productivity per cow by 1.6% a year. The beef industry has an annual productivity growth rate of 0.8%. In the wool and sheep industries,

the annual productivity gain is 0.1%. The increase in the grain yield has slowed from 2.5% in the last half of the 20th century to just 1% now. There is one great incentive to increase yields and productivity: higher profits. Some farmers would settle for even just a profit. If a farmer can see a chance for a return, they

will do all in their power to grab it. If we are to achieve even a small part of the potential that so many experts are identifying for agriculture, everyone involved from paddock to plate needs to be focusing on ensuring that farmers can do just that. • Jan Davis is the CEO of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association.

Australia farmers are faced with a range of challenges beyond their control.

You can't manage... ...what you don't measure Cow friendly phenomenal production increases have been realised in Australia with the Lely Astronaut A4 Robotic Milking System. The Lely Astronaut A4 allows farmers to milk 24/7 with cows being milked as many times as they like through the day, often more than three times for high producing cows. For more information on how you can get more out of your farm, visit or contact Lely Australia on 1300 946 306. Call today to visit a Lely Astronaut robotic milking farm near you.


innovators in agriculture



Report highlights good and bad breeding decisions BETTINA AND JOHN McLeod’s herd ranks number 155 for profit

among Australian herdtested Holsteins. It also ranks well above the

national average for type, milkfat and protein. But the McLeods

Tierwil Miles Cindy

PO Box 7538 • Shepparton • 3632 Victoria Phone (03) 5831 5559 •

don’t spend hours studying bull catalogues. Their achievement of a high genetic merit herd has come through a successful partnership with their breeding advisor, Graham Heaver over the past 15 years. The McLeods dairy at Grasmere West, near Warrnambool, Victoria, with help from a fulltime employee and John’s parents, Neil and Penny. Their 350-400 cow herd is milked three times a day, averaging 11,200 L/cow and 770kg milk solids/ cow (306-day lactation) and achieving a conception rate of 78.5% over a 10-week joining period. A couple of times a year Mrs McLeod and Mr Heaver discuss the

priority on selecting for or overseas proofs – herd’s breeding objecfertility within the top tive, progress towards that ABV(i)s. sires,” Mr Heaver said. “About 30% of sires objective, and specific priMrs McLeod finds the orities for the coming join- are high genomic bulls as Genetic Progress Report we see this as the next big ing season. Mrs McLeod particularly useful for step in genetic progress,” trusts Mr Heaver’s bull identifying and learnMr Heaver said. selections, and her meticing from past misulous record keeping takes. allows them to keep “About 30% of sires “When I look a close eye on the are high genomic bulls at the graphs, I’m results. This year they as we see this as the interested to see have been able to use next big step in genetic the dips – because the herd’s Genetic they show where Progress Report to progress.” we made a mismonitor long term “Within those top APR take.” trends and the impact of For example in 2006, sires we look to improve specific decisions. when Graham was overspecific traits in the herd. “Graham understands Initially we looked at pins, seas on study leave, what we want to achieve another breeding advibut now that we’ve elim– improvements in the sor chose the sires, purely inated high pins, it’s no herd’s genetic merit for for type without considerlonger a priority. All the profitability and calvation of other traits. While bulls in the top for APR ing ease – and within that the report shows a subare pretty good for overbrief, I leave it to him to choose the individual sires all type so we don’t look at sequent peak in genetic progress for type, it was that specifically. We look we use each joining. We accompanied by dips in at components, mastitis, have always been happy teat length, rump and calv- profit, fat, protein, fertilwith the progress we’ve ity, and longevity. ing ease.” made and our Genetic “We now select our The Genetic Progress Progress Report confirms bulls well in advance, Report has been useful in we are heading in the while we both have plenty fine tuning the McLeod’s direction we want to go,” of time – the herd was selection criteria. Mrs McLeod said. “The report highlighted already above average for Mr Heaver selects type and those high type how much progress has sires from the Good Bulls bulls involved too much been made for mastitis Guide, focussing on profresistance in recent years; compromise in other traits itability - the Australian and as a result Bettina and that are more important to Profit Ranking (APR), us.” she said. I decided to place higher based on domestic ABVs




Overall Type


Pack & Genetic Check Price $


254 244 268 255 274

136 198 176 220 211

107 107 110 105 105

$42.00 $26.00 $24.00 $22.00 $20.00

$35.00 $22.00 $20.00 $18.00 $18.00




Overall Type


Pack & Genetic Check Price $


288 242

241 210

108 110

$28.00 $26.00

$25.00 $22.00


190 204

153 143

110 116

$24.00 $22.00

$20.00 $18.00



Protein %

Fat %


Pack & Genetic Check Price $


225 266 226 274 245

0.33 0.25 0.39 0.14 0.23

0.66 0.53 0.93 0.19 0.29

$28.00 $26.00 $26.00 $22.00 $18.00

$24.00 $22.00 $20.00 $20.00 $16.00

Daughter Fertility


Pack & Genetic Check Price $

$28.00 $26.00 $26.00 $30.00 $30.00 $30.00

$24.00 $24.00 $24.00 $25.00 $25.00 $25.00





187 154 129 206 205 170

136 92 88 161 156 172

106 101 104 108 107



Dam: Welcome Baxter Petunia, VG 88

PO Box 7538 • Shepparton • 3632 Victoria Phone (03) 5831 5559 •

Ray Kitchen






FREECALL 1800 454 694

Have your say on breeding FARMERS HAVE until the end of this month to influence the National Breeding Objective, with fertility and longevity among traits under the microscope. With the release of the Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) for dairy cattle earlier this month, dairy farmers will be thinking about the type of cow they want to breed for their future herd, and selecting the appropriate sire. Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) general manager Daniel Abernethy said it’s a perfect time for farmers to complete a survey about the NBO while they are focussed on their breeding priorities. “The survey, which can only be completed on-line at, uses a novel approach to enable dairy farmers to place a value on traits such as fertility, mastitis, lameness and feed conversion efficiency. “It will give us powerful information about the traits that are important to farmers. And it will enable us to better align the national breeding objective to farmer preferences.” Mr Abernethy acknowledged not all farmers have the same breeding objective. “Individual farmers will prioritise traits differently. The survey is part of a review to develop a national breeding objective that most farmers are comfortable with. It’s about getting the big ticket items right,” he said. Ray Kitchen, Carenda Holsteins, Bunbury, WA, said it was a good time to re-consider the amount of weight given to fertility in the Australian Profit Ranking. Lucas Licciardello, Marden, South Gippsland, said he filled in the survey because he wanted to see more weight given to longevity in the Australian Profit Ranking (APR). Bryan Dickson, Emu Banks, Terang, said the APR and Australian Breeding Values for fertility and cell count are good tools for us to use in achieving our breeding goals. “The survey is an important step in reviewing the national breeding objective to ensure it continues to serve the collective needs of Australian dairy farmers.” Brent Mitchell, Echuca, said he has strong views he plans to share. “There’s no shortage of opinions out there. I’ve heard them at the pub, at field days and at shows. “The survey is designed specifically to hear farmers’ views so that we can have a real influence on the evolution of the national breeding objective.”



Easy way to Brazilian farmers rapidly adopt IVF spot cows in heat LUIZ PORTO

and climate. “Over the next three years the product was developed to contain additional micro instruments; with more sophisticated software developed to collate, analyse and interpret the additional data. “In parallel with this was development and trialling of enclosures to be small, strong and durable enough to withstand the rugged service conditions.” Mr Low said the final product has exceeded expectations in small scale trials. They are about to go into a trial involving 4000 cows. Mr Low said success in a large trial will enable him to quote its durability and reliability with statistical accuracy. If the results are successful, he will look to manufacture it commercially. To register a herd in the next phase of the trial, visit





MGD: De-Su 7012-ET EX-92

devise that flashes lights when the cow’s activity shows that she is ‘on heat’.” The Heatstrap is a small electronic unit that is attached to a cow’s rear ankle by a velcro strap. It records all of a cow’s movements and rests; and uses proprietary software to analyse this data to reliably detect when the cow’s behaviour changes. This activates lights that cause the Heatstrap to glow red and alert the farmer to the cows that are ready for insemination. After each detected heat event the Heatstrap automatically resets before continuing to monitor the cow for the next heat. It is designed to work for well over 16 weeks; long enough to cover premating heats, three rounds of mating and a post-mating round. It can be furnished with new batteries and strap and reset to be used over again. Mr Low said the Heatstrap was initially conceived as a particular form of pedometer; however early field trials were not able to achieve the targeted accuracy for all types of farms; considering cows, terrain

Dam: Ladys-Manor Pl Shandra-ET VG-87

farmer Robert Low has won $10,000 to finance further development of his Heat Strap device that identifies cycling cows. The device, which helps farmers determine when their cows are ready for artificial insemination, won Rural Finance’s Great State of Ag’s 2013 Seed Fund program. Mr Low was presented with his giant cheque at Farm World last month. Robert and his wife, Karen, milk a mixed herd of 239 cows at Trafalgar. The genesis of the idea began four years ago when many of their herd failed to conceive as expected. “I contacted a company that has a type electronic device that goes on the cow’s leg and is hooked up to a complex computer system through readers placed in the dairy,” Mr Low says. “This tells you when the cow is ‘on heat’ as they are more active during this period. The price was very high and out of my price bracket. “I thought to myself why ‘can’t there be a simpler version of the same sort of device, one that doesn’t rely on being linked to an expensive computer program, a

Dam: Ms Gold-N-Oaks Maybaline-ET VG-87


THE LAST 50 years have seen enormous changes in the area of assisted cattle reproduction. Artificial insemination (AI) caused a revolution when it first appeared in the 60s. It has become progressively more popular since and today we cannot imagine a dairy farm that does not use AI. In the 80s multiple ovulation embryo transfer (MOET) became available as an alternative reproductive method for cattle. The animal is given multiple hormone injections to stimulate and multiply her ovulations, after which she undergoes multiple inseminations. In the late 90s the appearance on the market of sexed semen created a sensation, because it allowed the farmer to produce only female calves. This development was especially important for the dairy industry.

Then in 2000 the production of bovine embryos in vitro left the research laboratories and became a commercial proposition. This happened first in Brazil. By 2003 IVF had been recognised by most Brazilian farmers as an important additional method of animal reproduction. Initially it was the preferred choice only when sexed semen was being used. However, over time the economic advantages of IVF generally became apparent. One dose of semen can fertilise 150 eggs using IVF, whereas using MOET the same dose would yield a handful of embryos at most. I see the same trend occurring in Australia, but in a much shorter time. It is my prediction that within the next two to three years, every dairy farmer in Australia, like their Brazilian counterparts, will recognise the critical importance of IVF to their business. • Luiz Porto is business development manager for Inventia Genetic Technologies.

29HO17503 Pen-Col

29HO16997 Furnace-Hill M

29HO16887 De-Su 11620

gTPI +2370

gTPI +2347

gTPI +2404

MERRICK-ET (Mogul x Man-O-Man x SHOTTLE x Morty)

• Excellent Udders RU Height +5.49, FU +4.09 • Outstanding Feet & Legs • High Production, plus for Fat & Protein % • Excellent Overall Type



(Mogul x Planet x SHOTTLE x DEBUT)

(Mogul x Planet x SHOTTLE x O Man)

• Excellent Fore & Rear Udders • Combines Great Overall Type & Production • Exceptional cow family – same as SHOUT & DODGE • Calving Ease • Excellent Productive Life

• • • •

Very Good Production & Type Excellent Health Traits & PL Plus for Fat & Protein % Great Udders

29HO16909 Larcrest


(Mogul x Observer x Ramos x SHOTTLE)

• • • • • •

Outstanding Udders +4.72 RU Height High Milk, plus for Fat & Protein % Great Open Framed Cattle Excellent Health Traits Correct Feet & Legs Exceptional Larcrest Cow Family

Larcrest Cale-ET VG-89 (pic: Beth Herges)

Bakombre Rosel

PO Box 7538 • Shepparton • 3632 Victoria Phone (03) 5831 5559 • l l Ph: 03 8358 8800 Fax: 03 8358 8888 l Semen orders only, freecall 1800-ABS-BULL

ABS0414_DNA148x220-FINAL.indd 1

8/04/14 3:45 PM



Feed pads come under question RICK BAYNE

THE NEED FOR feed pads on dairy

farms is coming under question with farmers advised not to be distracted from growing their own pastures. A Perfect Profitable Pastures workshop at Hawkesdale heard the costs of establishing and running a feedpad might outweigh the benefits for some farms. Constant use of a feedpad might also impact on a farm’s ability to optimise direct grazing of home-grown feed. Speaking at the workshop, John Mulvany of Onfarm Consulting, said he was “suspicious” of the benefits from feed pads on some farms. “I’m not damning people who have feed pads,” Mr Mulvany said. “A feedpad if necessary on a farm can be very useful but don’t let it distract

you from making sure cows consume as much grass as possible and make sure you don’t waste fodder and create a problem which then has to be dealt with.” Mr Mulvany said farmers could be tempted to overuse feed pads at the expense of home-grown pasture. “You don’t have to use a feed pad all year round,” he said. “Just because it’s there doesn’t mean it has to be used. The more tools you’ve got, the more temptation you’ve got and the more you will use them.” While saying farms need an area to put cows when it is wet to avoid pugging and paddock damage, Mr Mulvany said he was not convinced feed pads were a year-round option. He said the industry was pushing concentrate levels to the limit but low fibre was affecting milk components and rumen health. “We need a newsletter telling people

Farmers at a Perfect Profitable Pastures workshop at Hawkesdale.

how to deal with low components,” he said. The problem is exacerbated by the development of rye grass low in fibre and high in fat which means additives are needed to overcome unhealthy rumens. “We need to add fibre at a cost and high substitution ratio and we then need a feedpad to feed our fibre. We then need to clean our feedpad which takes time, and we then need dollars to turn fibre waste into active compost and spread it on pasture,” Mr Mulvany said. “That doesn’t seem real smart to me.” He questioned whether some farmers would get a return on their investment, depending on their winter paddock conditions. “You will need extra production to get that money back.” Mr Mulvany said at one recent

discussion group a farmer had a feedpad with “OK” quality silage that cows sift through. “When we get out in the paddock, the cows are not eating grass as well as they were. “The cows will manipulate you. You’ve got to create a world where they will not manipulate you. “I wonder whether the wastage on the pad counterweighs any loss in the paddock. You can’t waste feed at 40 cents a kilo.” Peter Notman, for Notman Pasture Seeds, who also spoke at the workshop, said his 550-cow farm has a feed pad but his 1000-cow farm does not. “As a farmer myself, I would look

closely before I implement a feed pad. I’m not saying farmers who put them in have made silly decisions, but you want to question it first and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons,” he said. “You’ve got ask is your ground firm enough to drive on in winter to feed out and think about those sort of factors.” Mr Notman said farmers also needed to consider effluent control, how to get rid of waste and if the system is efficient, fast and easy to clean, feed pads offer advantages in wet soils and undulating terrain. “I believe a farm that doesn’t have one can be just as efficient as one who has and there’s less work.”

DemoDAIRY axes high production focus production by adding this prod- the improved milk prices, the margin,” he said. Mr Groves said the first step uct, ask does it make me more farm would have lost $150,000 this year. “The changes have in achieving profit was looking margin? “This farm had a history of improved the business by at costs and making sure they putting in more feed to get more $210,000 at today’s milk price, are under control. and will result in He said on the a profit of over DemoDAIRY farm, “Before you listen to a sales $60,000.” costs were brought For similar under control by reduc- rep saying you will get more farms to coming the stocking rate by production by adding this pare to Demoabout 75 cows to 220 product, ask does it make me DAIRY they need cows, from 2.5 to 1.9 more margin?” – Paul Groves to remove finance cows per hectare. and labour costs. The farm was achieving more milk solids per production, but it didn’t make The DemoDAIRY profit in hectare than profitable farms, more money. You make more 2013/14, excluding finance and 1248 kg of milk solids per hect- money if you use more home- labour costs, will be more than are compared to more profitable grown grass but, more cows does $260,000, or $1,155 per cow. Before the changes were farms producing 775, but produc- not always mean more grass is consumed. It’s very difficult to made, the farm was paying tion costs were prohibitive. “For this farm it all came to achieve high per cow produc- $211,103 for feed above industry adopting a reasonable stocking tion, it is almost impossible to do averages for the amount of milk rate and reviewing costs, particu- high production and high stock- coming off the property. “Because of the heavy stocklarly feed costs,” Mr Groves said. ing rate.” Mr Groves said if the 2011-12 ing rate, the farm had been “Before you listen to a sales rep saying you will get more costs were repeated, even with pushed into the corner to have

0102_0513_OFSDairyNews_80x265AU_FA.indd 1

Spreadeagle leg spreader Flexible spray arm



Moves under the udder

Consistent coverage of all four teats

Self cleaning nozzle

No blockage worries

Sprays from close to the udder

Very economical spray

One spray nozzle and solenoid

Few operating parts

Stationed on platform at exit bridge

Better coverage because cow is stationary


The Teatwand 400 is placed at the exit bridge and uses it’s own movement along with the movement of the platform to produce an ideal spray pattern.



The Teatwand 400 has 400mm reach on a flexible arm (further than the original Teatwand) allowing the nozzle to position closer to the front teats and so gaining ideal spray coverage on all four teats.



buy-in feed. The production cost per hectare was very high because of $1200 per cow of brought-in feed; it should be about $500 for the level of production that was achieved,” Mr Groves said. “With this stocking rate we have more control. This autumn we’ve got the decision to feed more because we have a good milk price or feed with the feed we’ve got. Mr Groves said the high stocking rate had impacted on repair and labour costs. “The repairs and maintenance bill was almost double the best performing farms, which is systematic of a high stocking farm.” The total farm costs/kg in 2012-13 was $5.90 compared with a five-year average of $6.40. The total kg of milk solids production in 2012-13 was 102,000 compared to an aver-

A FOCUS ON profitability and cost control rather than high production has helped DemoDAIRY to reverse its financial situation. The Terang farm has reduced its stocking rates and implemented strict cost controls to achieve savings of more than $530,000 this year. It has turned substantial losses of the past two financial years into a profit of about $60,000 due to big savings in feed costs, herd costs, repairs and maintenance, and labour costs. The farm is now sharing its experiences with the dairy industry. DemoDAIRY farm management consultant Paul Groves told a `Focus on Profit – how to cut costs and achieve profits’ workshop on April 2 that “margin is king”. “You can cope with good and bad years provided you have that




age of 140,220 in the previous five years. Mr Groves said this meant a $240,000 drop in income but that was balanced by the drop of more than $500,000 in costs. He said farms would benefit from monthly budget reviews. “If people spend too much money in one month they should try to make it up in the following month. You need to control your business and know where your expenditure is.” The farm expects to increase to 260 cows this year as more land becomes available due to trials finishing on about 20ha. Mr Groves said the stocking rate would remain about the same. He said he did not believe the farm could achieve much more in cost cutting but could increase production from appropriate feeding and improved calving rates.

The Teatwand controller now automatically adjusts the timings of the system as the platform speed is changed. Visit

For further information call 1300 767 596 or visit to check out our other products.

6/05/13 11:16 AM



Farmers should aim for $2 shop RICK BAYNE

DAIRY FARMERS should stay seasonal and make sure they get in the “$2 shop” when it comes to feed costs, a workshop has been told. Speaking at a Perfect Profitable Pastures workshop at Hawkesdale, John Mulvany from Onfarm Consulting, said feed costs are the major outlays on any dairy farm and they can get out of control very easily. “The daily feed cost per kilo milk solids can be a really good guide to how much grass you’ve got in the diet and how well things are working on a daily basis,” Mr Mulvany said. “You can use a simple calculation – kilograms of milk solids being sent from the farm divided into the daily costs of feed. You need the daily feed cost divided by the fat and protein being sent off the farm to be less than $2. “To be resilient in the long term with lower milk prices when they come back, you want to be in the $2 shop for a significant proportion of the year.” Mr Mulvany said that farmers liked to quote margins and this year would likely have good figures because of the higher milk prices. “Everyone should have a good margin this year because the milk price is carrying a very big chunk of that margin. But don’t assume a $6 plus milk price. Before people get too chest puffy, they should look at feed costs per kilo milk solids and if they are in the $2 shop then they can get chest puffy and be ready for when the price inevitably comes down.” Mr Mulvany told the workshop that producing home-grown feed was still the best option for controlling costs. “When you look at the cost of $78 per tonne of dry matter pasture compared to $380 per tonne constitutes, you’re

not in the hunt unless you’re consuming direct-grazed pastures,” he said. “March and April is the time to get your act together with your pastures.” While getting their grass right and constantly monitoring feed and labour costs, Mr Mulvany advised farmers to stay seasonal but to throw out their traditional thoughts about the meaning of seasonal. “We need to change our traditional understanding of seasonal meaning single calving just before spring. That’s an old-fashioned definition that no longer applies,” he said. “You need to define seasonal for what suits your farm. “People have split calving and are calving all over the shop. The term seasonal implies that you are calving to suit a pasture growth curve on the farm. That doesn’t have to be just before spring; it is calving and producing milk to match the pasture/forage growth

curve on a farm, plus hopefully other natural factors such as soil type and aspect.” Mr Mulvany said seasonal should refer to a farm that tries to have as much direct harvest feed, pasture or crop, down a cow’s throat for as much of the lactation as possible. “The ways of doing that and the time of doing that will vary from farm to farm right through the state. Each farm can have its own season.” In south-west Victoria, for example, the Stony Rises will have good winter growth; Timboon will be better in spring and everywhere will struggle over summer. “There are hundreds of low risk seasonal calving farms throughout Victoria, all with individual milk production patterns. This is the foundation of an efficient and equitable dairy industry,” Mr Mulvany said. There was no statistical difference

in annual feed cost per kg MS of well managed seasonal herds that calve in autumn, spring or split calve. However, he said milk processors have to come to the party and adopt payment systems that encourage farmers to produce milk in the most efficient manner and at a time to suit their natural resources. “There is enormous variation in natural resources on dairy farms within all supply regions,” he said. “The current range in milk price between farms is causing farmers to change from their most efficient pattern for their resources to a higher cost pattern, in an attempt to increase net revenue. “There are far greater variables than seasonality of production that determine cost of production and profit.” Mr Mulvany said studies showed annual farm operating costs are

poorly correlated with off peak milk production. He urged processors to think long term and reduce complexity and encourage efficiency. “The evidence, based on farm costs, supports a differential of $1.00/kgMS maximum in Western Victoria between spring and non-spring months. This would lead to a “seasonal” farm variation of 35c/kgMS on an annual basis. The current differentials are spring zero, summer+ $0.45, autumn/ winter +$1.48. This is not efficient, not equitable, and not justifiable.” Mr Mulvany said Fonterra had acknowledged the inequities and would introduce a more transparent and fairer system from July 1. “The seasonal differential will be more equitable. “There will be no complex seasonal ratio payment system and every month will be independent. Hopefully the wheel is turning,” he said.

AIM FOR QUICK FEED THIS SEASON THIS SEASON farmers should aim for quick feed because of higher out-

side feed costs and stick to evidence-based proven options, says Peter Notman from Notman Pasture Seeds, speaking at a Perfect Profitable Pastures workshop at Hawkesdale. He recommended annual ryegrass for farms needing quick feed for low cost, Italian ryegrass for those needing quick feed and full year growth out of their investment and good quality perennial ryegrass for long-term investment. Mr Notman emphasised the need to do soil tests and add fertiliser if needed with nitrogen applications as early as moisture permits. Getting pastures right is a key part of any farm business strategy, he said. “We have to optimise pasture productivity. If you don’t utilise pasture then clearly it is going to make it hard to have a profitable farming system,” he said. “It’s about making sure things are done well…weed control, pest control and fertility and putting in genetics at the right time.” Mr Notman said timing was important for autumn sowing and farmers should use their observational skills, discuss pasture renewal with those knowledgeable in the area and recognise what works. “Your past experience counts,” he said.

John Mulvany, Bruce Johnstone and Peter Notman.

START SPREADING THE NEWS Muck Runner’s range of manure spreaders match the needs of farmers and contractors looking for heavy construction and high quality spreading.

Standard equipment is, for example: ❱❱ Capacities from 9.3m3 to 23.6m3 ❱❱ Fully hot-dipped galvanised structure ❱❱ Commercial axle with 10 studs ❱❱ 420 x 180mm hydraulic brakes

❱❱ 1035mm diameter beaters are the largest on the market ❱❱ 46 reversible blades, sprung drawbar, rear gulliotine door, hydraulic floor chain tension and hydraulic jack Slurry stirrers (5m, 7m, 10m)

Galvanised solid spreaders (9-24 cubic metres)

Large volume solid spreaders (up to 40 cubic metres)

Slurry tankers (up to 30000L)

Available for sale and hire from the leaders in muck machinery! Still Australian owned. Servicing Australian farmers for 18 years. Tom 0419 851543 | | |



Drastic calf rearing changes RICK BAYNE

IN JULY 2012 the

McDowall family farm at Childers Cove in south-west Victoria had a calf mortality rate approaching 30% and

many surviving calves were being treated for illness. Calf rearing had been a problem on the farm for many years, but it was getting worse and with a need to increase cow numbers after establishing a second farm, dramatic changes were needed to reverse the trend.

Following advice from Dr Gemma Chuck of The Vet Group, the farm totally revamped its calf rearing system, from feeding to housing to health management. The turnaround has been amazing and has given great relief to the family. Today the farm has a mortality rate of less than 2% in pre-weaned calves and

Paul McDowall and vet Gemma Chuck.



McDowall family WHERE:

Childers Cove WHAT:

Calf rearing changes

morbidity of 5%. “It is a headache that we no longer have, which is a major relief for the family,” family spokesman Paul McDowall said. The McDowalls had explored many options before but none had worked. “It had been a problem the family had been trying to fix for years but it was snowballing and getting out of hand. It was becoming more costly because there are so many more animals.”

The farm had been bringing vets on site each week to monitor the problem. Dr Chuck, who is undertaking additional research into calf rearing through the University of Melbourne, said the farm had been desperately trying to solve the problem. “They worked really hard to keep these animals alive, it wasn’t through lack of trying,” she said. “The 70% who lived were a credit to them but they were in a sticky spot because they had some very virulent pathogens on their farm. “When you’ve got a combination of different pathogens such as multiple strains of Salmonella, E.coli, Rotavirus, and coronavirus, it was a recipe for disaster.” It is believed the problem escalated when the farm bought in cows to increase the herd size.

“It is likely that they also brought in pathogens without knowing,” Dr Chuck said. Apart from the unacceptable death rate, the surviving calves never reached their full potential because they had such a long period of sickness which reduced their growth rate and rendered them more susceptible to other illnesses later in life. With bleak survival rates in July 2012, the farm undertook holistic change to correct the problem. “It was attention to detail in all areas,” Dr Chuck said. “You can’t just change the feeding or the housing and expect everything to get better. It is all part of a larger puzzle.” The new system was adopted in the existing farm shed and then replicated at the second farm. The calf shed underwent a dramatic change with an automatic feeder replaced by individual

lock-in head bales at the front of newly configured, self-contained pens. “I’m not against automatic feeders but it wasn’t working in their system because there were too many calves of different ages in a big pen. Younger calves weren’t using the feeder. They have a tight calving pattern and could only use the feeder for about 10 days before making room for new calves coming in,” Dr Chuck said. “It wasn’t good use of the shed space so we changed the configuration and changed the method of milk feeding.” Dr Chuck said it was important to have an individual feeding system for calves when feeding fortified milk (see story below) to ensure that each calf is getting its correct controlled volume each day. Self-contained pens were installed featuring TO PAGE 25

your calf ScourS Problem

Understanding the pathogens that are causing scours in your calves is vital. Coopers® Animal Health can offer a testing program that delivers immediate identification of most scours causing bugs in newborn calves. These results can then be used by your veterinarian to prepare action plans for the calf shed and future vaccination programs to help prevent future outbreaks. Call Coopers on 1800 885 576 for more information on this FREE testing service

VALU AT $1 ED 50 ® Registered trademark.

Fortified milk boosts calf health CHANGING THE feeding system was a key ingredient to the successful transformation of calf rearing practices on the McDowall property. The farm started using fortified milk, which involves adding calf milk replacer to whole milk. Calf milk replacer is usually mixed with water but in this system it is mixed with whole milk from the dairy to create a high energy, high protein feed. The mixing rates are consistent and very specific to avoid any nutritional upset in the calves. “The system was used so we could feed the calves once a day with a smaller volume of fortified milk without compromising nutrient intake,” Dr Chuck said. “Because of the pathogens, we didn’t want to flood their gut with milk twice

a day. The calves still grew but we could keep the balance in our favour when we had such virulent pathogens present. “If you try to feed high volumes of milk in a challenged environment where there are a lot of pathogens, their gut can’t cope with it.” The same level of nutrients in eight litres of normal milk can be achieved in about 4 1/2 litres of fortified milk. The fortified milk is transported in a milk cart from the dairy, and a trigger pump is used to fill each individual drinker. Dr Chuck hopes to start trials later this year to support the theory that fortified milk can be used to achieve the same growth rates as conventional accelerated growth programs in the US.



reap benefits FROM PAGE 24

piped-in water, solid partitions between each pen to avoid nose-to-nose contact, improved ventilation from installation of whirly birds in the roof, and a three-layer bedding system on scoria, shade mesh and woodchip on top. This allowed drainage and warmth and calves can stay in the pen until weaning without the need to top up bedding in between. It also reduces creation of dust and aerosolising of pathogens when bedding needs to be topped up or removed when calves are still in the pen. Soiled bedding can be easily removed and cleared within half an hour using machinery. There is a six-pen shed at the new dairy and a four-pen shed at the home farm. Each pen houses 20 calves. The set up means 200 calves can be fed in just over an hour. The hastily established first trial of the new system was a failure with only three calves surviving from the first pen, but the second pen was substantially better with only two deaths and since then the farm has been virtually without loss. The farm has also adopted a strict vaccination and biosecurity protocol. “Vaccination has been an important health management piece of the puzzle. We strategically vaccinate for various pathogens to help control disease,” Dr Chuck said. The changes have also improved the biosecurity of the herd. “They don’t

have to buy-in cows now and can operate a much more closed system.” Mr McDowall said the farm, which has about 1050 cows across the two properties, was purchasing high quality Holsteins but constantly having major issues with rearing calves that were progressively getting worse. “We had bought top 10% of cows but couldn’t rear the calves as successfully as we wanted even though we put a lot of work and a lot of money into it. Unless we can carry on with that quality and keep the calves and progeny from those cows it’s a waste,” he said. Mr McDowall said the farm had unsuccessfully tried for years to fix the problem. “Gemma explained her research. We were a bit sceptical at first about changing everything but if we lost 100 calves that’s potentially $100,000 and the problem was beyond that with so many sick calves. “When we brought in cows for the new farm they brought in pathogens and the problem grew. We are fortunate we now know the problems and can deal with it. “We started vaccinating the cows for the different viruses and diseases Gemma had found and in spring 2012 segregated them into pens of 20. It was a complete turnaround. It was the system Gemma uses that made us successful.” Dr Chuck also conducted autopsies on dead calves to find the cause of death.

The changes have been profitable for the farm. “Up until last year we were still buying replacements, now we will have an excess within the next six months. That has never happened before. We’ll get to the point that instead of buying heifers we will be selling heifers.” That has helped to make the investment cost effective. The McDowalls spent about $10,000 updating the old shed and

about $60,000 on the new shed. “It‘s really only the cost of the head bales to make feeding individual to ensure the volume is right. It is far less stressful as well because the calves aren’t jumping all around the place,” Mr McDowall said. Mr McDowall and Dr Chuck spoke at the recent Australian Dairy Conference about the calf rearing changes.

The McDowall family built a new calving shed for $60,000.

Teatseal . Real stories, real savings. ®

Ben McKenzie – Cobden, VICTORIA “Since using this product I have almost totally eliminated mastitis at calving and effectively removed mastitis issues from my herd… I have more than saved the cost of the Teatseal, antibiotic dry cow therapy and associated application labour by the massive reduction in lost milk, medical costs, time and culls.”

Mark Williams – Toolamba West, VICTORIA “The use of Teatseal is now an integral part of my herd management. The initial cost is far outweighed by the time and money saved treating clinical mastitis. Less stress on cows, staff and in particular management.”

Peter & Jeanette Clark – Korrine, VICTORIA “250 cows treated with Teatseal costs approximately $4,000. Milk from each cow saved - 7,000L at 35cents/L equals $2,450. So in our case, two cows saved [from being culled] more than pays for the Teatseal.”

Times are tough. Don’t make things tougher by dropping Teatseal from your drying off program. Get real results by treating every cow, every dry off. ®

Zoetis Technical Information: 1800 814 883 © 2013 Zoetis Inc. All rights reserved. Zoetis Australia Pty Ltd ABN 94 156 476 425. 38-42 Wharf Road, West Ryde, NSW, 2114. AM960 03/13 PAL0846/DN. Automatic feeders were placed with individual lock-in head bales at the front of newly configured, self-contained pens. PAL0846_DN_260x187_v02.indd 1

3/05/13 9:51 AM



Farmer role critical in preventing superbugs I AM WRITING from the beautiful Hunter Valley in NSW where I have just spent a couple of days touring the manufacturing facilities of Jurox, one of the only manufacturers of animal drugs left in Australia. Living in Shepparton, I have a good insight into the challenges facing the manufacturing industries in Australia, and to see an

Australian owned company manufacturing veterinary drugs and chemicals to world’s best practice, and undergoing such impressive expansion, was inspiring. In addition to the plant tour, and partaking of the Hunter’s fine produce, myself and some other vets representing some of the biggest dairy practices in Australia had an open

ANIMAL HEALTH ROB BONANNO and interesting discussion with the key staff and

the owner of Jurox about where things are heading regarding the use of veterinary medicines. One topic discussed was the vexed question of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and the challenges that agriculture in Australia, and worldwide, faces as the regulators look for ways to prevent AMR creating “superbugs” for which there may be

no effective antibiotic treatment. Superbugs have been receiving a lot of media attention lately, and with good reason. Because animal agriculture, by volume, is probably the largest user of antimicrobials, a lot of scrutiny, and a lot of the blame for emerging resistance is being placed at our feet.

These Dairy farmers have DiscovereD The missing piece of The calf scours puzzle – Have you?

and vec Corona ta o R d se u “I re my calves a I’ve noticed er for it. a lot strong none Out of 300 nd a got scours ck only 2 got si at all. rona is Rotavec Co at really a product th rs.” helps farme C Producer, Heyfield VI Neil Missen, Dairy

“I noticed a significant re duction of scours in my calves. We had some late ca lvers that w eren’t vaccinated, and their ca lv es became sick – that made it even more evide nt to me tha t the product wa s effective.” Gerard Myers, Da iry Producer, Rocheste r VIC

The only calf scours vaccination against Rotavirus, Coronavirus and E.coli available For further information visit our website at or call us on TOLL FREE 1800 226 511 ® Registered trademark.

Vaccinate now before calving

In Australia in the year 2010, it was estimated that 359 tonnes (that isn’t a misprint) of antibiotics was used in Animal production in Australia. Admittedly, dairy farmers make up only a tiny proportion of that, but none the less, it is important we look at ways we can better manage our stock to reduce the use of antimicrobial products. It got me thinking about how responsibly I actually prescribe antibiotics for the animals in my care. As a veterinarian, I am bound by the law to follow the prescribing rules outlined in the relevant acts of parliament. As a member of the Australian Veterinary Association, I also strive to uphold the ethical obligations that come with being a member. This relates to not just lawfully prescribing medications but to providing adequate education and instruction to my client to ensure prescription animal medicines are used responsibly. This is still a work in progress because many times I am too busy or otherwise occupied to fully explain the reason why I have prescribed a certain medication. This can lead to people accidently misusing a medicine which can have serious consequences. I don’t think I have ever been on a dairy farm anywhere and not seen shelves, boxes or rusty old fridges with half used bottles of various drugs lying around. Did the vet prescribe more of the medication than was needed, or did the farmer just give one or two doses and just stop when the cow looked better? The other concern is the illegal or unethical supply of veterinary medicines by veterinarians, or increasingly by nonveterinarians who have minimal, or sometimes even no valid clientpatient relationship with a farm.

These lawbreakers have no respect for their role in hastening the emergence of superbugs and the risk that unregulated supply of veterinary medicines is to our local and international trade. The bottom line is this: As an industry, dairy farmers and the veterinarians who service them can either pro-actively address responsible use of antibiotics issues, or rules will be imposed on us as has happened elsewhere in the world. In parts of Europe, the use of antibiotics is so restricted, farmers cannot even administer them, instead they must use a veterinarian or licensed person to administer all prescription animal medicines. Our industry could not bear a cost imposition like this and hence I would encourage all farms to review their own antibiotic use, and ensure they are compliant with not just the law, but achieving best practice standards before regulation is imposed on us. This isn’t a joke! The World Heath Organisation is calling for critical action on AMR and antibiotic resistance is estimated to cost the Australian community up to $500 million each year with the potential for that to grow exponentially. The WHO has listed a number of antibiotics of critical importance to human health which include such commonly used antibiotics in dairy practice as Penicillin and Excenel. Imagine if we were no longer able to use these antibiotics. Maybe it is time for all readers of Dairy News Australia to take a look at their own use of antibiotics on their farm, and to make an appointment with the local dairy veterinarian to discuss how you can help to prevent the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacterial “superbugs. • Rob Bonnano is a past president of the Australian Cattle Veterinarians Association and a director of the Shepparton Vet Clinic.



Rain a blessing, but beware nitrate poisoning Vigorous ryegrass (especially annuals) can create problems, as can cereal green-feeds. Nitrate concentrations are generally higher in new plant growth and decrease with age. Stalks are highest in nitrate content, followed by leaves and then grain. Notably, young pastures (eg those re-sown in the last 1-2 years) generally present greater risk to grazing “Nitrate poisoning livestock than sets in rapidly after older pastures. “Nitrate an animal eats poisoning pasture or feed with progresses quickly and has no ready excessive nitrate cure so prevention levels.” is important. Testing pasture and feed for nitrate is one option but “When the rain finally there are other ways to arrives, roots suck up mitigate the risk.” nitrate rapidly, with the Farmers who suspect pasture accumulating high levels in the stem and they have a high nitrate risk can use the following leaves,” he said. strategies: “After a drought■■ Split nitrogen applicaending rain, it could be two weeks before nitrate tions late in the season levels in pasture stabilise to distribute nitrogen at safe levels, provided better. Apply nitrogen environmental conditions after grazing. ■■ Don’t put hungry stock are favourable. “Hail or light frost on high-nitrate feeds. can also damage plants, Give them a low-nitrate affecting photosynthesis feed first, preferably and leading to elevated one that takes a while nitrate levels.” to digest (such as straw Mr Stafford said or hay) so they are less plants usually absorb soil likely to gorge themnitrogen as nitrate and selves on risky pasconvert most of it into tures. ■■ Dilute high-nitrate ammonium and amino acids. feeds with low-nitrate But weather conditions feeds. This helps in late autumn and winter microbes in the rumen can sometimes interrupt adapt to high nitrate the conversion process, feeds. Adjustment increasing the risk of can take three to four nitrate poisoning. weeks. ■■ Pasture nitrate levels All ruminants can be affected. Cattle are are highest overnight the most susceptible and in the morning.  with young stock more Where possible restrict vulnerable than old. stock access to pasNitrate poisoning sets ture (particularly in the in rapidly after an animal morning grazing) until eats pasture or feed with animals have been supexcessive nitrate levels plemented with low (0.21% or 2100 parts nitrate feed.  This could per million and above is involve in-shed feedconsidered ‘at risk’).  ing, use of feed pads or Mr Stafford said rape laneways, or fencing is known for high nitrate off areas on pasture to levels, closely followed by feed out supplementary other brassicas. feed and reduce pasture RAIN IN autumn and

winter can come with a sting in the tail as the risk of nitrate poisoning of stock increases when a dry spell is followed by rain or a run of moist, overcast days. Ballance Agri-Nutrients science manager Aaron Stafford said after a dry period, lack of moisture stops plant roots from absorbing nitrate.


access. Minimise stock intake of pasture in the first 1-2 weeks following drought-breaking rain. This requires adequate supplementary feed to cover this most at-risk period.



Stock lightly, so animals can selectively graze and avoid hard grazing - the lower part of stems have the highest nitrate content. Provide a lot of clean drinking water for stock on high nitrate forage.

Send all liver fluke packing, including the difficult to control 2-week-old stage, with Flukazole C. Flukazole is a registered trademark of Virbac (Australia) Pty Ltd.

Customer Support: 1800 242 100



Cell count sensors MEPUNGA FARMER

Paul Smith with his parents, Barry and Andrea.

Paul Smith couldn’t live without the latest major piece of technology added to his farming system. In late 2011 the Smith farm in south-west Victoria installed Jantec Systems’ CellSense in-line cell count sensors. With extra cows and a

desire for extra production, the farm needed to better monitor inputs and outputs and herd health. Two and a half years later the investment has proven worthwhile, especially in a year with better milk prices. “I couldn’t imagine milking what we do

Increase water efficiency. Save time, money and effort.

now without this sort of system,” Mr Smith said. The farm has been able to reduce its mastitis rate, increase milk production, save on feed and herd test costs, and mostly maintain premium cell count levels since introducing the system. It uses CMT chemistry to provide a cell count measure, and is combined with a YieldSense+ sensor that measures volume, fat, protein, temperature, lactose and conductivity. Mr Smith said the farm had been able to better target its feed as a result of the daily flow of information from CellSense. “When you’re feeding for production you need to know how many litres a cow is producing each day. We can feed to production; higher cows get fed more, lower cows and


Smith family WHERE:

Mepunga WHAT:

In-line cell count sensors

stale cows get fed less,” he said. “We don’t have to herd test to that. We can do it all in-house which is much better and much less hassle. “We save a lot of money on grain. Stale cows don’t need to be fed as much as fresh cows and once you’ve got that under control you’ve got a big saving.”

Change pasture allocation for robots SOME FARMERS may be able to milk an extra

We design and install fully automated, individually programmed monitoring and irrigation control solutions for dairying. Our innovative electronics and software systems can help you improve water management practices, saving you time and money and a substantial amount of effort in operating your irrigation. The operating signals in our automated systems can be handled through radio, cable or the internet, which means that you don’t have to rely on inconsistent mobile phone networks.

To find out how ‘iNTELLiTROL’ irrigation solutions can increase your water use efficiency, contact Mait Industries on 1300 739 920 or call Dean Taylor on 0428 994 716

10 cows per robot by changing the amount of feed offered in the early evening, according to recent research conducted by FutureDairy postgraduate student, Alex John. Most of Australia’s grazing based automatic milking systems (AMS) operate with voluntary cow movement: the cows move by themselves from the paddock to the dairy and around the farm. Grazing cows tend to be less active after midnight, so robots are often idle during the early hours of the morning. Better cow movement is achieved by offering cows three allocations of pasture a day rather than two which is typical of a conventional milking system. Mr John studied two commercial dairy farms with consistently good voluntary cow movement. On most AMS farms, cows receive about the same amount of feed at each allocation but both of these farmers offered less during the evening. One of the farms achieved more evenly distributed milkings, which meant better robot utilisation and less time spent fetching cows. In addition to the labour saved in fetching cows, Mr John said the results suggest this system may enable AMS farmers to milk more cows per robot, achieving a better return on investment in milking equipment. This study is the first evidence of being able to achieve an evenly distributed milking pattern over a 24-hour period with a reduced need for fetching in a commercial, pasture-based automatic milking system.



help lift milk production Before the CellSense was installed, the farm was blanket feeding all cows. “The fresh cows and the stale cows were all getting the same which wasn’t efficient,” Mr Smith said. Now fresh cows up to 150 days are getting a basic feed of about 9kg from different sources. After about 150 days they will switch over and get fed according to how many litres they are producing. As they start to dry off, the feed will again be cut. Every fourth bale has a meter which means every cow gets read once a week. “As soon as a cow gets read it gets logged on the computer and depending where she is, we decide how much she gets fed,” Mr Smith said. The technology is contributing to the farm’s improved production over the past two years.

“We are about 2000 litres a day up on last year; we are milking a few more than this time last year but only 20 or 30 more. We’re having a good year,” Mr Smith said. “We want to push it to what the farm can hold. While the milk price is up, why not go for it?” Mr Smith said a lot of factors contributing to the improvement. “It’s hard to put it down just to cell count. Whether it’s the season or we’ve done better on irrigation, there are a lot of variables.” The system has also helped with health management. “When you have 850 cows going around and different workers in there, it’s hard to keep on top of things like mastitis,” Mr Smith said. He said the farm’s mastitis rate per cow had

dropped since installing the system. “It will pick up what cows have a high cell count and throw up an alert on the computer. It identifies those cows with high cell count so you can strip test them, see what it’s like manually and then treat it accordingly. “If we find a cow with a crook foot we manually put it in and it will auto draft it for us once we log it. After it’s treated it will remind us to retreat it and tell us how long she is out of vat as she comes on the platform. It is much easier than checking more than 800 cows. It helps a lot.” Mr Smith said the system had led to time and expense savings in herd tests and book work. “We were doing herd tests every six weeks, which is a hassle. You also save on a lot of book work

Barry and Andrea Smith.

because it is done automatically on the computer.” The farm is keeping its cell count well controlled and is mostly in the premium milk level. “We teeter on the edge of going from premium

into first grade which I put down to our wide calving pattern,” Mr Smith said. “We start calving in December and go right through till September. If you’ve got a lot of stale cows out and fresh cows at the same time, the cell

count is hard to keep under control. We manage mostly to keep in premium and I think CellSense helps a lot.” The system cost about $50,000 but Mr Smith said it had been a good investment and

was leading to significant savings in herd testing and feeding time and costs while contributing to higher production. Mr Smith runs the farm with his brother Stephen and parents Barry and Andrea Smith.


Have you previously used these great DFM products and were told they were no longer available in Australia?


WELL THEY ARE AVAILABLE!! They’re reformulated, better priced and on your doorstep through your local reseller!!

To enjoy the benefits of these world-class products again, please contact Tiffany Gordon at ProviCo on

0448 331 555

All-round performance for all around your operation

From material handling to cutting and baling hay plus high-speedtransport, the John Deere 6M and 6R Series Tractors are big machines built to take on big challenges. With a John Deere PowerTech™ engine, a variety of transmission options, and an available John Deere loader, you can choose the performance you want for the work you need to get done. And you’ll do it all comfortably in the ComfortView™ Cab with air-ride seat. Go with the Triple Link Suspension (TLS™) and hydraulic disk brakes for even more comfort and control. Best of all, these tractors are available at your local John Deere dealer. Stop in and get a great all-round deal today and see why Nothing Runs Like a Deere.™ Allrounder



Effluent push drives expansion A RECENT INCREASE in farmers interested in composting their on-farm waste has led to a Western District contractor purchasing their second purpose-built rear discharge manure spreader. Aghire Contracting, based at Naringal, just east of Allansford, handles pit silage and pasture renovation among other jobs, but effluent management has become a key element of the business. The Membrey family, Bruce and Maureen, run the business, with Bruce being a third generation farmer on the property. One son, Brett looks after the dairy, milking 800 cows on an automated 60-unit rotary, and Travis, who spent seven years as a diesel mechanic with a John Deere dealership, has the responsibility of maintenance. As he says, “Making sure everything is ticking along.” For effluent management they have a 17,000 litre Garcia vacuum tanker, from Spain with a German-built Nevada PTO pond stirrer, imported from New Zealand, to pump out and distribute the manure. They originally purchased a Bunning Lowlander 120HBD spreader in December 2012. G.T. Bunning & Sons Ltd are based in Norfolk, UK, and have an established reputation for manufacturing manure spreaders. Travis likes it because it is low to load, the bin basically sits inside the wheels and they can load it easily with a JCB 513-70 telehandler. It has scales and an automatic rate control with electronic monitor. Their second Bunningsspreader, which is a similar model, came on board in February this year, as part of an expansion in the effluent management area of the business. “More farmers are going to composting,” Mr Membrey said. “It has really increased in the last two years, spurred on by the high cost of fertiliser. You have to use your waste, putting it on to the paddocks is an obvious solution.” An interesting element is, unlike most ag equipment, customers can choose the colour of their new Bunning machine. The original one was blue, because it was already in stock in Victoria, but for the second one, because Travis is a dyed-in-the-wool John Deere man, they went for green. The machine was supplied through Landaco Equipment, based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Mr Membrey said the Bunning spreaders are great for carrying up to 16 tonne and are used mainly for compost and lime. Lime is spread at about 3 tonne/hectare and compost at 4 tonne/ha. “Lime


Membrey family WHERE:

Naringal via Allansford WHAT:

Bunning manure spreaders

will get busier; we can do 15 tonnes per load.” The Bunning Lowlander 120HBD has a carrying capacity of 14.6 cubic metres and uses large diameter spinning discs with multiposition spreading blades. Blade angle is adjustable to achieve the correct spread patterns for a wide variety of materials, spreading from 12m to 30m, depending on the nature of the product being spread. Horizontal beaters are dynamically balanced and fitted with removable hardened Boron shredding blades to process tough materials and deliver a consistent flow to the spreading discs. Full width floor slats clear the whole floor eliminating the possibility of bridging – a problem sometimes encountered with multi slat floor systems. Travis Membrey said maintenance on the spreaders hasn’t presented any problems. “A set of paddles lasts a season, running them at 1000 rpm creates wear particularly with big rocks in the paddock.” He said the machines are very

and air seeder, easy to use, they plus a four furrow have had a varireverse mouldety of drivers; up board plough. For to five during the their own on-farm year, so swapping work, they have a around hasn’t Bogballe spreader, seen any issues. The fleet of Duncan drill John Deere tracand a GoldAcres tors at Aghire WORKING CLOTHES sprayer with 3000 CHRIS DINGLE Contracting litre tank and 18m encompasses a boom. A Keenan JD7200R, two 7730s, a 7920, a mixer wagon is used at the feedpad. 6150R, a 6430 and they have just “We are utilising a lot of our taken delivery of a 6125M. All the own compost and this year we used tractors have come from Windmill 1400 tonne, we’re much more conAg in either Terang or Hamilton. scious of preserving manure,” said The spreaders are usually operated Travis. ”Instead of washing it down by one of the John Deeres between the drain, we pick it up and take it 170 – 200 hp, with GPS guidance. back, including scraping the tracks Other equipment in the con- twice a year. Anything can get comtracting side includes three posted, including all the calf bedSchuitemacher silage wagons, a ding.” rake and tedder, Roterra harrows

Travis Membrey with his daughter, Taylor, and new calves.

Travis and Sasha Membrey and their daughter, Taylor.



Feed tested in 24 hours NEW FEED TEST analysers based in Toowoomba, Shepparton and Charlton will give dairy farmers a 24-hour turnaround in assessing the feed quality. The new FOSS NIR DS2500 machine based at Feed Central’s laboratories is described as a major breakthrough for farmers. Feed Central managing director Tim Ford said the quick turnaround time would allow farmers to use the information while it is still relevant. “This allows farmers to implement any changes as a result of the feed analysis results before any production implications have occurred,” Mr Ford said. “Feed rations are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Even on a traditional 200 cow family dairy farm knowing that your hay or silage is 10 Metabolisable Energy (ME.) or 9 ME can make a massive difference to your milk production. It will allow you to change other ingredients to maximise milk in the vat the very next day so it is critical to have the information we provide within 24 hours.” Feed Central has secured the exclusive Australian licence with USA-based laboratory Dairy One for the FOSS NIR (Near Infra-red) machines that produce more than 30 key parameters for each sample. Feed analysis is currently available on hay, grain and silage with calibrations only weeks away for TMR (Total Mixed Rations), and pellets. All information is emailed to customers on a Feed Central Quality Statement for their records. The machines deliver precision results in under a minute, with analyses fully calibrated with Dairy One.



Consistent weight gain anywhere on farm GIPPSLAND DAIRY farmer Ian Hooker had problems with calves gorging on pellets and developing grain overload. It’s a serious condition that can leave stock with damage to the rumen, or even kill them. The dilemma Mr Hooker faced was how to spread rations out over the full day without having to visit them constantly. He purchased a Lely Cosmix M mobile feeding station, which is designed to tow to wherever the calves are and left in the paddock. The electronic scanner reads a calf ’s ear tag and dollops out 50 grams of pellets. The calf can come back as often as she likes, until, over 24 hours, she’s received her full 2kg ration. Mr Hooker bought the Lely Cosmix M for his 190ha dairy farm at Loch, Vic. He’s had up to 80 calves feeding from it though he reckons a maximum of 70 is better. “They get a set diet and I only have to fill it up once a week. The

Ian Hooker with his Lely Cosmix M mobile feeding station.

animals take to it once they know it’s there. It has a stainless steel tray and the feed makes a rattle so all the other animals put their heads up and they quickly cotton on.” Power for the Cosmic M comes from solar-charged batteries, allowing farmers to put the calves wherever the best feed is on the farm.

It takes one tonne of feed and is easy to load. Just roll back the canvas top and bucket it in with the front-end loader. The Lely Cosmix M can feed out grain – straight or mixed – but Mr Hooker always uses pellets. The Cosmix M can be set up to give different sized rations to different animals.

Livestock around any feeder make a mess so Mr Hooker moves his Cosmix M every time he fills it. He also puts rubber mats down to minimise the pugging and will eventually put in a concrete pad. Mr Hooker bought his Cosmix M two years ago from sales rep Daniel Upston at Traf Tractor and Machinery in Trafalgar.

Schuitemaker Loader Wagons

Are you sick of running and expensive mixer wagon with a lot of horsepower and high fuel consumption?

The most simple heavy duty built machine on the market. -Aggressive Beaters -Scales -Variable speed control -Tandem axle -Conveyor extension  6XLWDEOHIRUHYHU\VL]HIDUP:DJRQVLQ VWRFNIRULPPHGLDWHGHOLYHU\


-Can handle round and square bales silage -Can handle all sorts of hay -Low investment -Low horsepower requirement

MODELS AVAILABLE -Feedo 80/13 m3 -Feedo 80/18 m3 -Feedo 160/23 m3 -Feedo 170/30 m3 -Feedo 200/37 m3

Come and see us at Farm World, Warragul Field days 27th—30th of March 2014 on site Traf Tractors and Machinery

Traf tractors & Machinery Pty Ltd– Gippsland Greg Allan Farm Machinery Pty Ltd– South West VIC Cobram Farm Equipment– North VIC & Riverina

Rapide sizes 28 to 60 m3 Beaters, conveyors, steering axles and hydraulic breaks. TAKING ORDERS NOW FOR SPRING DELIVERY

Calypso Spreaders Manure Muck and Compost Lime and Gypsum

Hibbet Machinery– North West VIC

O’Connors Farm Machinery– Shepparton– central VIC

Shipton PTY LTD– Tasmania

For more information about the Schuitemaker range contact your local dealer or AG Machinery Australia Phone: 0411529531 Email:




Waikato extends global reach NEW ZEALAND DAIRY

manufacturer Waikato Milking Systems recently supplied a 54-bail Orbit Concrete Rotary for North East Victorian dairy farmers Peter and Rachel Romans, Kergunyah. The Romans also selected a range of products designed and manufactured by Waikato Milking Systems, including SmartECRs electronic cup

removers, the SmartDTECT automatic mastitis detection system and SmartWASH for an excellent clean every milking. Mr Romans said he wanted a system that would be efficient, reliable and future proofed, and he went with Waikato Milking Systems because of its excellent reputation. Waikato is now also

supplying top-end systems to several Chinese farms with high yielding animals, milking several thousand cows up to 22 hours per day, every day of the year. Waikato Milking Systems and automation partner Afimilk have contracts to supply a large number of total milking systems to a number of China’s biggest dairy entities, including

Mengniu Dairy and Bright Dairy. One customer has purchased 12 80-bail rotaries and one 40-bail rotary and is expecting to milk over 50,000 cows through these systems. Each rotary will milk several thousand cows, three times a day. Waikato Milking Systems says its products are exceptionally durable and reliable with very little

maintenance needed – ideal for withstanding the rigours of 24-7 milking environments. Design innovations unique to Waikato Milking Systems include extra strong and lightweight composite rotary platforms. “Waikato Milking Systems specialises in rotary milking systems for quick and efficient

milking of large herds. Our state-of-the-art rotary technology makes herd management easier, more accurate and more efficient,” said international sales manager, Grant Wisnewski. The company is operating in more than 30 countries with expansion plans underway for the Australian, UK and

Chinese businesses. Waikato Milking Systems partners with international herd management experts Afimilk on many installations around the world. Afimilk’s extensive range of products includes milk yield, fat and protein measurement, auto sorting, feeding, weighing, and heat detection.

Aitchison’s First Pneumatic Disc Drill

Hardi makes spraying easier


SEEDMATIC AIRPRO® 4132 D DISC DRILL ● 4m sowing width ● Narrow 125mm (5”) row spacing ● 32 independently mounted large concave disc openers ● Only 2.75m overall transport width ● Excellent contour following abilities

● Huge 18” cutting discs ● 1 tonne seed bin, 1.5 tonne fertiliser bin, can fit. Optional small seed box. ● Direct drive dispensing units for accurate sowing ● VERY COMPETITIVELY PRICED!!!

Contact your local Reese Agri Aitchison dealer for details or freephone 1800 140 196 Brendon Prentice 0400 540 300

SPRAYING IS such an important process that today you just can’t take chances. You have to comply with the label requirement, use the right droplet size and observe no spray zones. It’s not easy, but Hardi is making it easier with the Ranger 2500. It has a 2500 litre main tank, 19 litre personal hygiene tank, 1203 PTO diaphragm pump, three-stage filtration and boom options from 12.5m to 21m. There are many additional optional features available. Farmers can unfold and fold the boom without getting out of the cab and can adjust the boom height on the run which is great for those paddocks where you need to get the boom up out of harms way quickly. The boom has coil spring suspension so it won’t fall apart while you’re bouncing around the cab. The nozzles are protected behind the boom so you won’t knock them off the operator misjudges things. The 2500 litre tank is integrated into the chassis with low centre of gravity, and a single axle with 14.9 x 24 tyres easily carries the load with floatation and plenty of crop clearance. A ChemFiller is also available so the operator doesn’t have to climb up the tank to tip it in the top. The standard SprayBox in-cab control gives the operator boom section and pressure, or there is the option of application rate controller. The options available for the Hardi Ranger 2500 are there to make spraying easier and more convenient. Hardi has provided the following spraying tips: ■■ Visit the Hardi website and use the nozzle calculator to find the best nozzle for the spraying task at hand. Click on the red nozzle cap to access the nozzle calculator page. ■■ If not sure about which nozzle type to use then consider Mini-Drift. This produces a coarse spray quality which most labels are moving to. ■■ Read the label as there is a lot more information on them today that you should be aware of. ■■ Boom suspension is a must. Tel. 1300 042 734



Breaking up the thickest effluent ponds LOGAN CONTRACTING, at Ecklin in Victo-

ria’s Western District, has recently expanded its agricultural contracting services to dairy farmers to include effluent management, pumping out effluent ponds and spreading the manure over farm paddocks. Glenn Logan said he was originally looking at a vacuum tanker, but spoke to John Moloney from GEA Farm Technologies at the Sungold Field Days in 2013. A consideration was that vacuum tankers are slow to load and unload when the effluent gets too thick. If the effluent is very thick, sometimes they cannot load at all. So he purchased a Houle EL 44 6D tanker and manure spreader with a capacity of 23,300 litres, along with a Houle Super Pump, just prior to Sungold 2014, where they were on display at the GEA stand and were put to work straight after. The Houle effluent management products are part of the range offered in Australia by GEA Farm Technologies. The Houle EL 44 6D has a triple axle with steering on the front and rear wheels and air brakes. “Both machines have performed very well in the month or so since Sungold,” Mr Logan said. “We have worked on about 15 farms with most effluent ponds being between one and two megalitres, up to 4 ML. It takes 43 loads per megalitre. A two megalitre pond takes about 18 hours to empty, depending on the distance that we have to take it to the paddock.”

The stand-alone Houle Super Pump is powered by a 180hp John Deere 7530 tractor to agitate the material in the effluent pond, break down the solids and pump it into the manure spreader which then spreads the manure onto the paddocks in a 12m swath. Mr Logan has a 7 series John Deere 7280R to operate the tanker. The Super Pump is designed to pump thicker manure, with shredder blades to break up large chunks. The manure is transferred to the tanker through a 25 foot aluminium loading pipe. The Super Pump takes about five minutes to set up at the pond and it is easy with its levelling legs. The tanker can then arrive and start straight away. “The thicker the effluent gets, the harder it is to pump. The Super Pump is down in the pond and pushing the effluent up into the tanker. The 23,300 litre tanker fills in about 2½ minutes.” Mr Logan said once on the paddock it takes just two minutes to spread the manure. The throw width and volume of the manure dispersal from the tanker is constant and the degree of coverage is governed by the forward speed. They run at between 4 and 8km/h. “We’ve had no problems with the tanker in the paddocks in the work that we have done so far. It is very manoeuvrable with front and rear wheel steer and it leaves a light footprint.” The whole operation of the Super Pump and the tanker/spreader is han-

dled from the cab of the JD7280R by a remote control hand-controller sup-

plied with the Houle set-up. Tel. GEA Farm Technologies 1800 789 100

The Houle EL 44 6D super tanker and manure spreader.




Dairy farmers who want to breed for improved fertility and workability will be keen to investigate the April release of the Australian Breeding Values (ABVs). The new fertility ABV is a better indicator of the fertility of a bull’s daughters because it draws upon the data for for several traits, including lactation length, mating and pregnancy data. This is something farmers have been asking for and Dairy News Australia will investigate how it can impact on-farm breeding programs. We’ll also examine the bulls with the highest Australian Profit Rankings and how they could influence your breeding program. BOOKING DEADLINE: April 30 AD MATERIAL DEADLINE: May 6 PUBLISHED: May 13 CONTACT: CHRIS DINGLE | T: 0417 735 001 E:



Deutz Fahr DX ahead of its time JOHN DROPPERT

THEY SAY YOU can take the boy from the farm, but not the farm out of the boy. That probably best explains how a lot of us who grew up on a farm but work in offices find ourselves running a few acres on the side. And if you grew up ‘digging’ heavy machinery like I did, those acres are also a means to an end: owning

some diesel-burning steel of your own. Whether you drive tractors for fun, a living, or both, the Deutz Fahr DX series would have to be one of the classics in the midsize segment. In many ways the answer to the Case 5100/5200 Maxxums and the John Deere 6000s before these even appeared. You don’t have to go far in most farming areas to find a DX, yet they hardly ever turn up for sale

in any numbers. That’s got to say something. So what is it about these machines that make them worth holding on to? It can’t be the looks - I mean they do grow on you but a DX will never look as smooth as a Case 5250. The hydraulics are slow, and the gearbox - without a shuttle - is nothing to write home about (even if they finally sorted out the early issues by the third series). The legendary air-

John Droppert and his Deutz Fahr DX.


Watch the machine on YouTube at

cooled Deutz engines are something special though. Solid and reliable - you know you’re getting every one of those horses promised in the brochure. It’s a terrible shame they don’t fit them to tractors anymore. Maybe that limited edition feel is part of the appeal. In terms of an operator experience, tractors have certainly come a long way since these machines were built. Placement of the various controls seems more to do with where all the mechanical linkages can be routed than it is with ergonomics. The only suspension is in the seat, and sticking the exhaust and air cleaner directly in the field of vision obviously wasn’t considered an issue. Furthermore, my DX is the only tractor I’ve ever driven where the engine

The new Seymour Composter 3000 is the ideal machine for you to create compost on your own farm. • Designed for tractors from 75 hp • 1000 cubic metres/hour, turning compost windrows • Solve your problems of improving pastures without the high cost of fertiliser

Demonstrations arranged

w w

SR11523_SRE_100x148_SR.indd 1

To find out more about this innovative machine Contact Colin Stray, Seymour Rural Equipment, Seymour VIC 03 5792 1100 or 0418 576 660 email:



noise seems louder inside the cabin than outside. But they get the job done. And these days they still fill many roles as well or better than a much newer equivalent. Maybe no longer the best tool around for a long day on rough paddocks, but more than tough enough to handle utility work around the place.

Rough and reliable, simple but powerful, noisy yet frugal on fuel, these tractors also appeal to those who don’t mind a bit of a racket, and secretly enjoy crashing around the cabin as part of the experience. And after all, any control placement seems ergonomic compared to reaching over your shoulder to wrench on the ropes

Case IH expands CVT offering CASE IH HAS announced its Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) technology is now available for the Maxxum tractor line up, on the Maxxum 110, 120 and 130 CVT models. First introduced into the Australian market with the Puma family in 2008, Case IH says the CVT simplifies tractor operation while also delivering the best balance of power and fuel efficiency. “Case IH continues to deliver on customer requests by taking the multi-purpose Maxxum tractor, which is known for its ability to handle large workloads, and furnishing it with technology to improve engine performance and fuel efficiency,” said Case IH product specialist, Peter Elias. “And customers tell us they really appreciate how easy the Case IH CVT is to use, even for inexperienced drivers. There’s no programming required; you set the speed and direction you want to go and the tractor does the rest.” CVT combines the stepless speed variability of a hydrostatic transmission with the mechanical efficiency of a traditional gear transmission. “It delivers power to the ground efficiently at every speed, for the ultimate in smooth, stepless shifting—from creeper speeds as low as 30m per hour all the way

up to 50km per hour for transport operations,” Mr Elias said. Case IH offers an active stop feature that is especially popular, according to Mr Elias. “You simply pull the MultiFunction Handle all the way back, and it will stop the tractor without having to push the clutch. This makes it easier to operate the tractor, and it makes starting and stopping simpler than driving a car.” This functionality also applies to the foot throttle and is especially useful when backing the tractor up to hitch to implements. Not only is this process easier, it’s also safer. All Maxxum CVT tractors are equipped with standard Power Boost, which provides additional engine power of up to 20 horsepower to maintain working speeds in tough crop conditions or on inclines, and to provide more power for roading or for mobile hydraulics or PTO applications. Maxxum CVT tractors also feature increased hydraulic capacity for more responsive implement and steering control. Adding to the ease of operation for new Maxxum MultiController models is an updated Case IH Multifunction Handle that simplifies operation.

6/04/14 5:44 PM

With the best boom ride in its class and booms from 12.5 to 21m, RANGER 2500 delivers outstanding performance that will boost your application efficiency and productivity.

See your local dealer for all available configurations. Visit or call 1300 042 734

of the old Buttsworth scoop I’ve got on the back to build my laneways and drains with...but that’s another story. • John Droppert has no mechanical qualifications, but has been passionate about tractors since before he could talk and has operated many different makes and models in a variety of roles for both profit and fun.

Apply Liquid Urea at the price of

Granular Urea


How it w orks

Get the benefits of UAN by dissolvin liquid g normal g ranular U re in the To w and Fe a rt.

Only tak es dissolve 10mins to us Tow and ing the Fe agitation rt ’s powerful technolo gy!

Tow anD Fert

- 3 Models to choose from; 1000, 1200 and 4000 litres - 3 point linkage model or trailed verions available - Up to 24 metre spray width - Dissolves granular Urea in minutes - Mix fine particle suspension products easily with no blockages - Mix biologically active products without harming the microbes - Cover 1 hectare in less than 3 minutes

Call us now for a free DVD or on-farm demonstration 1300 630 279


At Ecolab, hard-working proven products come with the territory. And a Territory Manager. For independent, qualified and free advice on all your farming sanitation and milk quality requirements, contact one of our 10 Ecolab Territory Managers. We work harder so you can work smarter. WWW.ECOLAB.COM

Dairy News Australia April 2014  

Dairy News Australia April 2014

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you