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Australian Dairy Farmers kicks SA out PAGE 8 BUILT FOR THE FARM Telehandler passes test Page 32


Rebuilding for the future Page 18 august, 2012 Issue 28

falling behind

Australia lags on world stage PAGE 5



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Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

news  // 3

Lion won’t budge on northern prices NORTHERN DAIRY farmers supplying Lion

SA farmer Andy Vickers has used soil tests to improve efficiency and cut costs. PG.20

Tasmanian farmer has been recognised for his low bulk milk cell count. PG.25

remain in the dark about this season’s prices as the negotiations between the processor and the Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative continue. Lion has released a Tier 2 price for July-September of 15 cents a litre, down from up to 23c/ litre last season. Tier 1 volumes have been cut by 9% in NSW and about 10% in Queensland. (Tier 2 price for milk comes into play when the region as a whole exceeds the monthly allocation agreed to by both parties.) This is less than half that being paid for manufacturing milk by processors in southern Australia. DFMC and Lion had to embark on the dispute resolution process in a bid to break the deadlock and are seeking “expert determination” as part of that process and are now awaiting his decision. DFMC chairman Ian Zandstra told suppliers the co-op hopes to confirm the milk prices in the

third week of August. Southern suppliers are paid at tier 1 prices for all their milk. They also have a guaranteed price model of 2 ½-3 cents a litre more than Murray Goulburn’s traditional payment. Southern suppliers are expected to receive $5.12/kg milk solids this season. Rumours abounded earlier this month that DFMC would create a new co-operative in a bid to free its members from the exclusive deal with Lion. However, Zandstra told ABC Radio that DFMC is looking to form a mirror cooperative to trade excess milk. It has been initially formed to help its former SA suppliers, who no longer sell to DFMC since Lion closed its processing plants at Jervois and Murray Bridge. “The DFMC is forming another entity because most of our relationship with our co-operative is through milk supply agreement to Lion,” Zandstra said.

“So if we ever wish to supply other processes as we did in South Australia, this is a natural structure to do so.” Zandstra told ABC Radio Lion was “clearly lagging”. “It’s losing market share, it’s losing big contracts, it’s clearly lagging, it wants to pay lower milk prices, well, negotiations are that it must pay a competitive milk price. “T2 is a different frame in terms of those agreements in the milk supply agreement. “It is milk valued at what could be achieved from the market place and I think we all know that the commodity markets values are going down and this milk is a long way from commodity processes, which are generally in Victoria. “Lion hasn’t got the factories in New South Wales to utilise this milk so it’s been a hard process for ourselves as well to wear this lower price that we have here.”

Victorian farmer John Watson has taken delivery of a new Fendt 822 tractor. PG.31

News������������������������������������������������������3-13 agribusiness������������������������������ 14-15 opinion���������������������������������������������� 16-17 breeding������������������������������������������18-19 Management������������������������������ 20-23 Animal Health�������������������������� 24-26 hay & silage�������������������������������� 27-30 Machinery & Products��������������������������������������� 31-33 motoring���������������������������������������������34

saleyards Cohuna farmers Chris and Keith Millar bought 18 cows for an average $1800 at the Fullard Holstein dispersal at Echuca this month. For sale results see pages 18-19.

Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

4 //  news

$200m factory upgrades to target home, Asia markets FRESH FROM delivering $100m of savings, Murray Goulburn will invest $200m over the next three years in leading-edge manufacturing facilities for UHT milk, butter, dairy spreads and cheese. MG managing director Gary Helou said the planned investment, which will soon be considered by the board, would better equip the co-op to compete internationally and deliver the best returns to suppliers. Helou said MG had made good progress towards lowering its cost base and identifying international growth opportunities over the past 10 months. He said the next phase in the coop’s development required significant investment in leading-edge manufacturing facilities that generate higher value products and enable greater innovation. “This is a significant initiative to rejuvenate and grow MG’s presence in consumer markets, in Australia as well as strategic international markets,” Helou said. Helou outlined the proposed changes for its UHT milk, butter and dairy spreads, and cheese lines. MG is currently the market leader in UHT milk in Australia, produced from sites at Leongatha, Vic, and Edith Creek in Tasmania.

“We have identified strong growth opportunities for UHT dairy products in Australia, Asia and the Middle East and we need to invest to double our capacity to approximately 500 million litres,” Helou said. “Liquid milk consumption in Asia and the Middle East is growing at 5-10% per annum. Demand for premium Australian fresh milk means that MG is ideally placed to leverage its scale advantage across the Asia Pacific region.” MG plans to establish world-class UHT facilities that incorporate onestep milk processing, the highest degree of automation, high speed lines and variety of pack formats. MG is Australia’s largest bulk butter producer and Devondale is the brand leader in butter blends. “We have been approached by several Australian and overseas customers who want additional consumer butter and blends supply,” Helou said. “To meet this demand, we need to significantly increase our consumer butter capacity to 20,000 tons per annum and rejuvenate our butter blends plant. “The board has approved the installation of a new butter packing line at our Koroit plant that will allow MG to become a leading supplier of butter pats

Murray Goulburn will rejuvenate its butter blends plant to meet increased domestic and international demand.

to fill existing and projected demand. “We will further review our total butter and blends facilities to enable production of innovative new butter blend products and to create consumer products directly from cream or use excess bulk butter produced in peak milk supply periods.

“Our goal is to produce the lowest cost consumer butter and blends in Australia and tap into the strongly growing retail and food service markets in Asia and the Middle East.” MG aims to establish a state-ofthe-art, highly automated cheese cut and wrap facility to produce more than

60,000 tonnes per annum of cheese blocks, shred and slices at the lowest cost. It will evaluate a variety of pack formats and processing technologies for this facility to launch a new range of consumer cheese products that meets the demands of time poor consumers.

Fonterra lifts prices as global picture brightens Fonterra suppliers in Victoria, Tasmania and SA have received a final step-up in their milk cheque. The processor has increased its price by 8 cents a kilogram butterfat and 20c/kg protein – backdated to July 1 last year. This brings the final full-year price to $5.45/kg of milk solids. The announcement follows the news last month that the company revised its anticipated final farmgate milk price for Victorian and Tasmanian suppliers for the full 2012/13 season to between $4.70 and $5.00/kg MS.

“This is an upwards revision from our indicative price guidance given to suppliers in May, which is pleasing given the current market conditions,” said Heather Stacy, general manager of Milk Supply. Dairy Australia has also revised its price forecast, with its manager of strategy and knowledge, Joanne Bills, telling a producer forum last month processing companies had bettered Dairy Australia’s early opening price prediction and she hoped it would step up beyond $5 this year. Bills told the forum there was light

at the end of the tunnel and that the recent oversupply problem caused by good seasonal conditions would start to correct itself over the next six to 12 months. The US is now experiencing widespread drought with higher grain and corn prices expected to bite. The view is matched by Rabobank analyst Hayley Moynihan, who believes the dairy commodity markets will firm later this year, and into 2013, with the recent heatwave-induced spike in US corn prices reinforcing that outlook. “We were talking first quarter 2013

for the recovery [in global prices] to get legs but we brought that forward to the fourth quarter of this year because of the US situation,” she said. “How soon it starts now hinges on how the season starts in New Zealand and in Australia. “If we get off to a rocky start then the [price recovery] will be sooner. If we get off to a bolter, then it could be pushed out a bit.” The Global Dairy Trade index rose 3.5% at the August 1 auction. The price of whole milk powder increased 3.5% to $US2675 a tonne,

despite larger volumes. Skim-milk powder prices increased 3 per cent to $US2805 a tonne, while the overall offering increased 3.5% with an average winning price of $US2797 a tonne. The rise follows a run of lower prices since April, with the exception of the June auction. South Gippsland-based Burra Foods has also announced a lift to last season’s price. It lifted farmgate prices by 10c/kg butterfat and 25c/kg protein and announced earlier this week it would close last season at $5.50/kg of milk solids.

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Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

news  // 5

Australia must expand or wither The Australian dairy industry must reverse its production decline and think on a global scale if it wants to secure its future, according to Murray Goulburn managing director Gary Helou. Helou says the Australian industry needs to lift production to 15 billion litres a year and he wants MG to supply half of that. Helou, addressing a Rural Press Club of Victoria breakfast this month, said Australia, New Zealand, the EU and the US are the world’s dominant dairy regions and Australia was continuing to fall off the pace in terms of production and global presence. The recent Rabobank survey of the largest dairy companies globally places New Zealand co-op Fonterra fourth (US$15.7b in turnover), behind Swiss company Nestle and French companies Danone and Lactails. There was no Australian company in the top 20. Helou said a country needed a company in the top 10 to garner world influence. Unfavourable comparisons with our nearest neighbour did not finish there, Helou said. Australian milk production has declined in the past decade from 12 billion litres a year to about nine billion litres a year while New Zealand has grown annual production from 10 billion litres to 19 billion in that time. This drop in production saw Australia’s share of world trade fall from 16% in 2000 to 5% last year, while New Zealand’s share grew from 19% in 2000 to 34% in 2010. Helou said this fall could not simply be attributed to production loss caused by the drought. He said the industry’s deregulation was handled badly – especially compared to the formation of Fonterra – but an oversupply of processors, a domestic focus and trade sanctions have been negative influences. The Government has to play a leading role in negotiating trade agreements and reduction of trade sanctions, like

former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark negotiated with China. New Zealand imports to China attract tariffs of 0-7% and this will fall to 0% in the future, he said. Australian exports currently attract a 10-15% tariff to China. China has lifted its imports from 309 billion tonnes in 2001 to 3831 billion tonnes last year. “The Government has an obligation to expedite trade agreements. They need to get off their bums and do something in Malaysia, in China.” He said MG had played its part by establishing offices in the regions where it wants to expand in and gaining a greater knowledge of the domestic markets in other countries. Singapore wanted alternatives of supply to the Northern Hemisphere dairy companies, he said. In 2001, Australia’s share of Chinese dairy imports was 12%, last year it was 7%. This is in stark contrast to New Zealand’s share, which rose from 25% in 2001 to 40% last year. Helou said the only way to double its size was to pay best possible price

to its suppliers and Murray Goulburn would seek to do this through efficiencies in transport and production, while targeting Asian markets with innovative dairy products. “Milk transport is an example of how stupid it is. We’re not a trucking company.” MG was in negotiation with three other suppliers in a bid to reduce the ineffective transport system, where five suppliers could send their own trucks down the same road.

Gary Helou, Murray Goulburn managing director.

MG pays $1.5m to secure new supply Murray Goulburn managing

director Gary Helou has said the cooperative has paid $1.5 million under its incentive program to attract additional milk. Addressing the Rural Press Club of Victoria, Helou said the scheme was necessary to fulfil recent contracts secured in Asian markets. The incentive has angered many existing MG suppliers. Existing supplier Peter Fitzgerald asked Helou whether the MG board had deviated from true cooperative principals in taking away equal opportunity for pricing at dairy farm level for all suppliers. “If you’re not bringing all your

suppliers with you, as a true cooperative should, how are you going to raise the $200m (to be invested in MG plants)?” However, Helou said the decision had to be made to help secure an extra 200 million litres required to service new markets. The extra milk would come from existing suppliers, with any shortfall topped up by new suppliers, he said. “We offered the short-term growth incentive to attract immediate milk into this year’s plans,” Helou told the audience. “We offered incentive program to existing suppliers as well as new suppliers. Murray Goulburn has tradi-

tionally sat back from a market point of view and said whatever the season produces, whatever our farmers produce, that’s what we’ll take. So we’ll sit back...and that then defines what we do in the marketplace. “I said ‘this is not the way. I’m not going to be a production led business’.” Helou said Murray Goulburn and the Australian market had to grow and that growth had to come from “market driven thinking”. As a result of the offices MG has established in Dubai and Asia this year, it has secured an additional 200 odd million litres of milk based business in the past 3-4 months, he said.

“I need security of supply and I know that I can’t get that from the existing pool of suppliers,” Helou said. “So the options were for me – walk away from the business or do something as fair as possible in the interest of our shareholders and the industry. “So we put in a growth incentive short-term to get sign up of additional milk. It’s low cost, big return. We spent $1.5 million. It’s a very small down payment. “The benefits are in favour of all shareholders and secured business this year. I can’t walk away from that.” It is believed MG has now stopped the incentive scheme but this has not been confirmed.

Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

6 //  news

Farm groups support foreign investment register The Federal Coalition would develop a national register of foreign-owned agricultural land. The register is part of its discussion paper on foreign investment announced earlier this month. The Coalition also proposes Australian regulators run the ruler over any foreign acquisition of agricultural land valued at $15 million or more. The current trigger is $244 million. The Foreign Investment Review Board would also scrutinise any proposals where investment represents 15% or more in an agribusiness valued at $244 million or exceeds $53 million. National Farmers Federation president Jock Laurie said the paper showed the Opposition, like the Government, was listening to the concerns of the community, and taking the issue

of foreign ownership seriously. “In April, the NFF and our members called for a national land register that makes it compulsory for all foreign persons or organisations that acquire or transfer an interest in agricultural land and water to report the sale – in order to gain clarity on the purchases of land and water and have the ability to monitor trends,” Laurie said. “In June, the Government responded, stating that they would establish a working group to consult on the development of a foreign ownership register. “The Coalition has proposed to go one step further, with their discussion paper outlining the establishment a national land register.” Laurie said the NFF did not wish to deter foreign investment, but wanted greater transparency. “We remain concerned about

foreign-owned entities purchasing Australian agricultural land for the purposes of securing their own future food availability, so we welcome the Coalition’s proposal of disclosure of any direct or indirect foreign ownership.” Laurie said the national land register had to be implemented to give a broader picture of foreign investment in agriculture. Victorian Farmers Federation president, Peter Tuohey, said the paper supported VFF policy of establishing a national register of foreign-owned interests, setting up a number of options on how this could work. “The biggest problem is we don’t really know what’s happening with foreign investment – there’s nothing established to measure it properly other than ad-hoc surveys,” Tuohey said. “A register would help allay fears and make sure we can

manage foreign investment in a way that’s in line with our national interest.” Farmers have been concerned at the high level of foreign ownership of farmland which has reached 11.3%, based on an Australian Bureau of Statistics survey. The Victorian Farmers Federation will analyse the discussion paper and consult its members to develop a submission in response to the options set out by the Coalition Government.

National Farmers Federation president Jock Laurie says the NFF did not wish to deter foreign investment but wanted greater transparency.

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CHINESE COMPANY Shanghai Pengxin is delighted with the Court of Appeal decision which will allow its purchase of the Crafar farms in New Zealand to go ahead. Hoping the decision earlier this month marks the end of the legal battle, spokesperson Cedric Allen said the company wanted to get on the land, put on the gumboots and start running the farms. The actual running of the farms will rest with Milk New Zealand Farm Management Ltd, a 50/50 joint venture between Shanghai Pengxin and Landcorp Farming. There are about 14,000 cows on the 13 dairy and three dry-stock farms. The size of the acquisition by foreign interests has caused concern throughout New Zealand. Each organisation will supply three directors and there will be an independent chairperson. The role of that company will be to run the overall ‘milk business’ and will include managing the sale of any surplus farms. Allen said while the company was effectively locked in to supplying milk to Fonterra until the end of the 2012-13 season, it planned to settle on a company or companies to process its milk for the following season. “We are putting together a team to deal with the processing side of the business to see if we can finalise an agreement with a processing company to produce the sort of products we want. “We may do a deal with Fonterra, or another processing company, or with two different processing companies. Alternatively we might set up a new joint venture as we can’t own more than 50% of a processing company.” Allen said as soon as it got the go ahead from its lawyers Shanghai Pengxin would sign the deal with the receivers. “We are itching to get going.” Meanwhile Michael Stiassny, a partner in KordaMentha, the receivers for the Crafar farms, told Dairy News he’s also delighted with the outcome of the Appeal Court. “This has gone on far too long. We would like to complete our job which is to realise the assets for the best price possible,” he said. But KordaMentha must wait until the appeal period lapses.


news  // 7

Complex payment systems confusing farmers RICK BAYNE

UNITED DAIRYFARMERS of Victoria president

Kerry Callow has raised her concerns about the increasing complexity of payment systems.

Callow was speaking at a Young Dairy Development Program workshop in Warrnambool last month. Her concerns reiterate those of other dairy farmers grappling with more complex payment options.

“Over the years as factories aimed to improve their own efficiencies they have introduced a number of additional incentives as market signals,” Callow said. These include seasonal, productivity and quality

Factories have introduced additional incentives over the years to improve their own efficiencies.

incentives in the form of premiums. Callow said factories had introduced a range of payment options designed to tailor a milk price best suited to individual farm businesses. Although she said this approach may not necessarily be wrong, she questioned whether the “increasingly complex payment systems” might have unintended consequences. “It is harder to compare –how do you know you have the best deal? “As we are faced with one adjustment after the other I wonder where we are heading and if we are really better off.” Callow said that a flatter production curve might make a factory more efficient but could increase the cost of production on farm as farm-

ers move to less seasonal milking patterns. She advised farmers to fully understand their contracts and payment systems and seek advice if they need to. “The UDV doesn’t set the farm gate price or the payment options but we are talking to the companies about pricing and encouraging farmers to treat any document that requires a signature as a contract. “If you don’t understand it, seek advice before you sign it.” Callow said many payment options came with obligations on the farmer and she warned that “a higher price does not always translate to more profit”. “I’m surprised at how many times people say `I didn’t know that was in the deal’,” she said.


Supply correction means $5/kgMS within reach RICK BAYNE

STRONG DEMAND and a slowdown in US production should lead to improved prices for farmers. Dairy Australia manager strategy and knowledge, Joanne Bills, delivered the message to a Young Dairy Development Program workshop in Warrnambool last month. Bills outlined the drivers of milk price and future predictions for demand and supply. Bills and representatives from Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, Murray Goulburn and Fonterra explained how commodity prices, world supply and demand and the high Australian dollar have

impacted on this year’s opening price. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, with Bills saying the recent oversupply problem would start to correct itself over the next six to 12 months. “Rebalancing the supply chain has started. The United States’ Jo Bills increase in supply has been a killer for international markets but the good news is that US production growth is slowing,” she said. “The US is more susceptible to rising grain prices, particularly

for maize, and these are starting to bite.” Bills said this change would be matched by a “very robust demand”. “The export market remains strong for the foreseeable future. There is a solid platform for price recovery, although some volatility will continue,” she said. Milk processor representatives at the workshop said they were keen to continue pursuing growth markets in China. “Imported product remains at a premium in China,” Bills said.

She said the high but fluctuating Australian dollar continued to play a key role in influencing the market and that a 21% fall in average commodity prices in $A terms since June 2011 and the growth in global supply had led to this year’s lower opening prices. However, she said processing companies had bettered Dairy Australia’s early opening price prediction and she hoped it would step up beyond $5 this year. “We are part of a global market which is very susceptible to supply-demand issues which leads to volatility but with significant population growth and an expanding middle class, the 10-year outlook predicts a 40% growth in demand for dairy exports.”

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8 //  news

ADF pulls pin on SA involvement SOUTH AUSTRALIA has been removed as

a member of Australian Dairy Farmers. The national dairy lobby voted to remove SA at a board meeting earlier this month, citing “conduct prejudicial to ADF”. The SA Dairyfarmers Association did not attend the meeting. In a statement, ADF

president Chris Griffin said ADF Directors and its constituent members examined information and deliberated whether SADA’s conduct caused injury, harm or loss to ADF. “Since the concern was raised in May, SADA has been given every opportunity to respond to the concerns in person or in

David Basham

writing and declined to attend today’s meeting,” Griffin said. “After careful consideration, the ADF Board resolved by an absolute majority that SADA did engage in conduct prejudicial to ADF and that they be removed immediately as a member. “It is ADF’s role to provide strong leadership and collective representation for all dairy farmers and so will continue to consult with all state dairy organisations for feedback and input and this will be reflected in our program of work. “ADF will continue to work for the collective benefit of farmers regardless of whether individuals or state organisations are signed up members.” Although Griffin did

not release details of these concerns, they include: ■■ SADA allegedly advising other industry bodies and the media of ADF’s internal matters. ■■ SADA reportedly engaging directly with processors. ■■ SADA’s failure to provide a replacement for the ADF board after SADA president David Basham’s resignation. SADA has rejected these claims. Basham has told media SA dairy farmers will not be disadvantaged and plans to work with the National Farmers’ Federation. It had also contacted Dairy Australia (DA) to become a class B member. ADF is also a class B DA member. Basham said if SADA

becomes a class B member of DA then it would be consulted on the DA strategic plan. Basham also said SADA split from ADF because it wanted to run a better campaign against the supermarket $1/litre price war. Basham said SA would now be able to open discussions with supermarkets on reversing the effects of the discounting war started by Coles. “A lot of pressure should have been put on Coles and Woolworths when the discount war began and now we need to be talking to the supermarkets about how to help them get out of it and lift the prices, because consumers are locked into the $1 price,” Basham told Adelaide Now.

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“The campaign was totally disorganised; and we are so far down the track, it is going to be hard to change. “We have written to the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Joe Ludwig, that we are out and want to work directly with him to cover the gap left by the federal organisation.” The schism has already caused problems with the proposed restructure of the ADF, with United Dairy Power saying it would no longer provide money on behalf of its suppliers to the restructure. Under the reform, 14 dairy processors would provide $1.125 million to the Australian Dairy

Industry Council for whole-of-industry issues. This would double the ADF funding. The state lobby groups will vote for a second time on the proposed changes this month. This comes after members failed to vote on the changes to the ADF restructure in May. The proposal includes a smaller board elected by members, with a national board sitting beneath it and policy advisory groups. If the constitution is passed, it would take effect immediately. However, if the changes were voted down, the ADF would be down-sized.


news  // 9

Buybacks still underpin Murray-Darling Plan

Daryl Hoey

anism, to ensure it delivers,” Anderson said. “They’ve got to give us the detail behind the adjustment mechanism to prove they’ve got it right. “Water savings and environmental benefits achieved through engineering and better river management will help reduce the volumes of water the authority proposes to slash from irrigation communities.” ADIC chair Chris Griffin said the dairy industry supported an adjustable SDL, but not the proposed formula. ADIC Basin Response Taskforce chair Daryl Hoey said the MDBA was trying to move the goalposts on environmental offsets and infrastructure savings at the 11th hour. “It is disturbing that the MDBA is refusing to assess The Living Murray environmental works as potential offsets, despite promising to do so in its hydrological reports in February,” Hoey said. “Equally concerning is that any additional savings from new infrastructure works or on-farm efficiencies won’t count as reductions against the 2750GL benchmark. “That leaves buybacks as the only option to close the gap. “The dairy industry is already facing significant pain of adjustment in water affordability and availability even if the Government did not buy back another drop,” Hoey said. “Yet here we have the MDBA coming up with a formula to support continued buyback tenders.” Hoey said the dairy industry supported: ■■ A 2100GL cap on water recovery in the form of entitlements, including


buyback; current and future infrastructure savings projects; and, current and future onfarm works. A Commonwealth

commitment for no further buybacks before the SDL adjustment review, unless the proposal is communityled, community-sup-


ported, and agreed by the relevant State. The Living Murray works fully included in the assessment for potential SDL offsets.


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The latest MurrayDarling Basin Plan remains an exercise in maximising buybacks, according to the Australian Dairy Industry Council. Irrigator groups and the Victorian and NSW governments have also dismissed the latest version of the plan, which follows the release of the third draft in May. State Ministers are trying to reach agreement on major points before referring it to Federal Water Minister Tony Burke this month. Burke can then make further changes or take it straight to Federal Parliament. Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh has expressed his disappointment that the MurrayDarling Basin Authority has not addressed issues raised by the Water Ministers. The new plan has included an adjustable Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) mechanism but both the Victorian Farmers Federation and ADIC have rejected it in its current format. The adjustable SDL mechanism recognises less water can be used to water wetlands, by using pumps, weirs and levees. “But we need far more clarity around how the mechanism will be structured and who approves and credits adjustment projects,” Victorian Farmers Federation Water Council chairman Richard Anderson said. The VFF has been lobbying for an Adjustment Mechanism to be incorporated in the plan since 2008. “Now it’s in the plan, we need the MDBA to put some flesh on the bones of this adjustment mech-


10 //  news Economists have analysed dairy shed technology to reduce power bills.

VICSTOCK GLOBAL Located in the heart of Geelong Victoria, this exciting new company not only sets itself as a global supply chain specialist in the Agribusiness industry and new player in the export market, it also brings with it years of experience and knowledge in the Agribusiness industry. Principal and Managing Director of Vicstock Pty Ltd, Mr Will Crozier has recently established Vicstock Global as part of the Vicstock group of companies to spearhead Australian agricultural products into Asia and the World Vicstock’s British Virgin Islands (HK) company Vicstock International Limited has opened the door to Asia and beyond by the hard work of directors Mr Bruce Tang and Mr Harold Sim. Vicstock Global Exports will be headed up by VGE director and partner, Mr Tom Hunt, who is keen to get the first orders confirmed and airborne by July 2012. The new supply chain venture will be backed up by our experienced livestock team on the ground servicing the livestock and dairying districts of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania and also our new and expanded role in the grain belt of Western Australia!!! For more information, please refer to our new updated and current website:



Your team of Dairy Specialists Bernard Atkins

North West / State Manager

Dairy, Beef, Stock advisor, Stud Stock specialist

Ph. 0417 593 158

Haydn Bean North

Dairy, Beef

Ph. 0438 678 206

Peter Collins

South / Southern Co-ordinator Dairy, Beef, Sheep

Ph. 0427 547 145

Adam Crawford North

Dairy, Beef

Ph. 0400 550 412 Anthony McDougall North East Dairy, Beef

Ph. 0438 502 188 Also find us on Facebook Head Office Will Crozier ( Director) Tom Hunt Bernard Atkins

Geelong Geelong Geelong Tasmania

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and thermal heat recovery systems could be the answer for energy conscious dairy farmers looking to save their farm business a dollar. In response to rising electricity costs and the Federal Government’s introduction of a price on carbon, economists from the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) have analysed five commonly used technologies in dairy sheds. DPI farm business economist Claire Swann said the potential for improving energy efficiency on dairy farms was often overlooked but on an average sized dairy farm there were technologies that could be profitable and reduce energy consumption. “To estimate the rising

cost of electricity on an average sized farm we set up a hypothetical case study farm based in South Gippsland,” Swann said. “Over 10 years we analysed a five kilowatt and 30 kilowatt solar panel system, a flat plate and evacuated tube solar hot water system, thermal heat recovery system, liquefied petroleum gas water heating and variable speed drives on oil vane and blower vacuum pumps. “Except for variable speed drives on new oil vane vacuum pumps, all of these technologies were profitable investments. “The most profitable technology was a 30 kW solar panel system, however access to the large capital outlay required for this system may be prohibitive to some farms. “We found that the

most profitable technology to reduce energy for water heating was to install a thermal heat recovery system to the refrigeration unit on the milk vat. “Solar hot water systems were also profitable, with the evacuated tube system being $2001 better off after 10 years than an equivalent sized flat plate system.” Swann said with the cost of electricity expected to rise, the dairy industry had a strong interest in understanding how onfarm energy costs could be reduced. “Before making any change to their farm business it is important producers understand the actual benefits and costs of any of these technologies on their individual farm and do their due diligence.”

Quad bikes most dangerous Quad (4-wheeled) motor bikes have

overtaken tractors as the leading cause of death on Australian farms. Dairy Australia‘s Dr Pauline Brightling, who manages The People in Dairy program, said quad bikes were very useful for many every-day tasks on dairy farms, but their safety could be dramatically improved by following a few simple steps. “The first is to think twice before jumping on the quad. Ask yourself, is the quad the most suitable equipment for the job? “Dairy farmers usually have several vehicle options – a ute, quad bike and a tractor at least. Don‘t just assume the quad is the best option because it is the most convenient,” Brightling said. “Select the vehicle that has the lowest risk in the given circumstances. For example, the ute is the option for transporting more than one person. “And the ute or tractor may be a better option for towing a heavy load.”

Brightling said quad bikes shouldn’t be overloaded and farmers should take particular note of the weight and stability of spray tanks. “Specify the jobs for which the quad is to be used, the conditions of operation including speed, load and tow limits and the areas on the farm on which the quad is to be operated; specify no-go zones.” Brightling said there were trends on farms towards safer alternatives, such as using quads fitted with a suitably tested crush protection device (CPD) or replacing quads with side-by-side vehicles. “Side-by-side vehicles are worth serious consideration. They may be more expensive to buy than quad bikes but they are more stable, more versatile and come fitted with seat belts, a small tray and an approved roll over protection structure. “They have all terrain tyres, suitable for a range of paddock conditions, and a lower centre of gravity.”


world news  // 11

Don’t punish dairy with ETS – Fonterra SUDESH KISSUN

DON’T ALLOW an emissions trading scheme to undermine the dairy sector’s global competitiveness. That’s the dairy industry’s message to the Government after it announced agricultural emissions will not be included in the ETS at least until 2015. Industry leaders warn that heaping extra carbon costs on New Zealand farming undermines the sector – a burden most overseas producers do not have to carry. Fonterra says it recognises the reality of climate change and that global emissions must be reduced. The co-op is targeting a 20% reduction in emissions intensity across its supply chain by 2020. But group general manager global sustainability Bruce Donnison says most of the world’s dairy producers don’t face extra carbon costs. “We have been concerned that applying additional carbon costs on agriculture here – when they

are still not faced by the majority of producers elsewhere in the world – simply undermine the competitiveness of the New Zealand agricultural sector.” He accepts the bulk of emissions are on-farm and it needs to tackle them there. “We have consistently held the view that providing information and supporting our farmers to reduce emissions will always have more impact than increasing carbon costs. “Our farmers have contributed nearly 25% of the $43 million being invested by New Zealand in mitigation research and they want practical solutions. “This work will continue, as will the efforts being made in Fonterra’s milk processing plants to drive down emissions, especially by energy efficiency.” New Zealand Fonterra dairy farmers were already directly paying their way in the ETS, with $3700 a year in carbon costs for fuel, energy and their share of the carbon costs being paid by Fon-

terra for processing emissions. This compares to a typical household’s costs of about $133 a year. If prices returned to the expected $25 per New Zealand unit, the ETS would have cost the average dairy farmer $8000 per annum from 2015, he adds. The Government says key changes to the ETS announced last week reflect a balanced and responsible approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Changes are keeping the one-for-two obligation in place until after this year. This means participants in the scheme will continue to surrender units for half the carbon they emit. Agricultural emissions will remain out of the ETS until at least 2015. DairyNZ says the Government decision is sensible and pragmatic. “We are pleased to see the Government taking a considered view of where our country sits, relevant to our trading partners, to ensure we can make progress while still being competitive,” says DairyNZ general manager policy and advocacy Simon Tucker.

“The dairy industry is committed to a strategy of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions intensity and maintaining its position as world leaders in low carbon intensity dairy production.” New Zealand’s dairy sector is finding practical ways to reduce emissions by spending heavily on research, Tucker points out. It is quite possible to make good progress by efficiency improvements on farms. “But we do not yet have a reliable silver bullet.” DairyNZ annually spends nearly $1m on research on reducing methane and other agricultural gas emissions via the Pastoral Green House Gas Research Consortium. A similar sum is going into a seven-year DairyNZ-led research project where dairy cows are being evaluated to see how efficiently they can convert feed into milk while reducing emissions. “DairyNZ maintains New Zealand’s dairy farmers should not face a price on carbon until our trading competitors face similar and equivalent obligations,” Tucker says.

NZ baby food sold into China A NEW infant formula, made from New Zealand

milk, has been launched in China. Canterbury-based Carrickmore Nutrition says New Zealand’s strong food safety and consumer demand for quality is the starting point for the new venture. Launched last week at the Shanghai Children and Baby Maternity Products Expo, the product highlights New Zealand’s food safety laws and clean, green reputation. It is being marketed as formula made from fresh New Zealand milk. Carrickmore Nutrition managing director Chris Claridge says there are Chinese owned and a few New Zealand owned milk powder companies selling New Zealand originated infant formulas. “However, the fact we’re selling formula made from fresh New Zealand milk to our children as well as those in the rest of the world, shows the confidence we have in our product. “We are pleased to have a New Zealand product which is safe, nutritious and truthfully labeled. Following a thorough testing process, Carrickmore Infant Formula has met New Zealand and Chinese regulatory requirements.” Milk for the infant formula is supplied by Fonterra and is packaged in Auckland. Strict quality control enables Carrickmore to guarantee the safety and integrity of our Carrickmore Infant Formula, says Claridge.

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12 //  world news

UK processors bow to farmers’ milk-price protests UK MILK processors

have bowed to farmer pressure and postponed cuts to the farmgate milk price. Farmers were due to face a price cut between 2.5 and 3.5c/L from August 1. However, farmer groups mobilised members and staged protests through-

out the country. The UK’s largest dairy co-op, First Milk was the first to announce it was backing down. Chief executive Kate Allum said it had a responsibility to farmers to show leadership in this situation and remove any uncertainty.

“On that basis, we have decided to immediately withdraw the planned August price cuts [resulting from] moves by our liquid customers. This has been a turbulent time for the whole industry, but unless we immediately grasp the nettle, the progress we are seeing right

now will be short-lived. “Dairy farmers have spoken with one voice over the last few weeks, and they’ve made it clear they reject the existing model where they are price takers and favour working together to gain an equal seat at the negotiating table. It is therefore

critical the whole dairy supply chain now looks to develop better structures and relationships for the short, medium and long term.” Arla Foods, Robert Wiseman Dairies and Dairy Crest also dropped plans to cut the farmgate price.


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tutes, backing the farmer While welcoming the campaign, said its memprocessors’ decisions, bers would also pressure farmers have vowed to keep pressing retailers and retailers. NFWI chair Ruth processors for a fair price. Bond said it wanted a fair milk price for British dairy Food sector unions have farmers. joined farmers in launch“We challenge milk ing the SOS Dairy Camprocespaign. Farmers have sors to NFU visibly president vowed to keep Peter Kendpressing retailers demonstrate all acknowlhow edges great and processors money successes so for a fair price is passfar, but says ing down the chain so that the battle is far from over. dairy farmers benefit from Farming leaders also the recent price commitwanted some guarantees ments of some retailers. from retailers that pay“We will be mobilisments for milk were not ing our membership to being balanced against put pressure on retailers payments for other dairy and processors to ensure products such as cheese, a fair price is paid to, and Kendall said. received by, British dairy “This is a unique farmers. The movement coalition and our sucwe have seen in recent cess to date in reversing weeks is welcome but the those planned price cuts problems with the supply for August 1 is a sign of chain are a long way from strength and solidarity. being solved.” However, there is a long way to go and we need to build on the successes of Next steps ■■ Putting the meat on the the past few weeks. We will be working hard to bones of terms agreed complete the contractual on the contractual code of best practice and code of best practice then we need to ensure between farmers and those key elements are processors. ■■ Ensuring pressure adopted. “Rest assured we will mounts on retailers continue to name and and processors still not shame retailers and other paying farmers a price buyers of milk who do not that reflects the costs pay their dairy farmers a of milk production. ■■ Checking that monies price for milk that meets the cost of production.” promised by the supply The UK National Fedchain are making their eration of Women’s Instiway back to farmers.

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Staffordshire farmers and their tractors protest against planned milk price cuts.


world news  // 13

US opens protected land US AUTHORITIES are opening up protected land to help farmers hit by a crippling drought. Financial and technical help is also on offer now that disaster areas have been declared in 29 states. The US Department of Agriculture says it is opening opportunities for haying and grazing on lands enrolled in conservation programmes. To help farmers and ranchers affected by drought, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is using his discretionary authority to allow extra acres under Conservation Reserve Programme (CRP) to be used for haying or grazing under emergency conditions. CRP is a voluntary programme that provides producers annual rental payments on their land in exchange for planting resource conserving crops on cropland to help prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitat and improve the environment. CRP acres can already be

used for emergency haying and grazing during natural disasters to provide needed feed to livestock. Vilsack says given the widespread nature of this drought, forage for livestock is already substantially reduced. “We will allow lands not yet classified as ‘under severe drought’ but that are ‘abnormally dry’ to be used for haying and grazing. This will increase available forage for livestock.” The USDA has designated 1297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. Increasingly hot and dry conditions from California to Delaware have damaged or slowed the maturation of crops such as corn and soybeans, as well as pasture and rangeland. According to the most recent US Drought Monitor report, 88% of US corn and 87% of its

soybean crops are in drought-stricken areas. The resulting increase in grain prices is threatening livestock and dairy operators with high input costs. Feed costs make up 50% of total working expenditure for the average US producer, and corn is in general about 60% cent of total feed inputs. The US is the largest

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

world exporter of corn, soybeans and wheat;

prices are already rising. Economists says the knock-on effect of such soaring prices was already being felt around the world, where drought has also hit other grain exporters who are starting to cancel previous sales and leave hungry countries in the Middle East and elsewhere scrambling. However, the US corn growers claim there are

“numerous inaccuracies and exaggerations, especially about the impact on food supply and retail food prices”. National Corn Growers Association president Garry Niemeyer says corn, even at its current price, is an inexpensive food ingredient. “The corn in a box of cornflakes only costs about a 10c, and there’s just over 25c worth of corn

in a pound of beef,” he says. Corn is also widely used in ethanol and other biofuels production in the US. Niemeyer says corn users are responding to market signals. Ethanol production and exports are down. In addition, there is currently an ethanol surplus in the US and that will further reduce demand on the 2012 corn crop, he says.




Dairy snag in trade deal talks DAIRY REMAINS a sticking point in a free trade deal

between New Zealand and India. But Trade Minister Tim Groser said farmers in India, the world’s largest producer of milk, should not be concerned that allowing New Zealand dairy products into the country would affect their livelihoods. Speaking last month at ANZ India Viewpoint Launch and Business Forum in Auckland, Groser expressed frustration at the time being taken to finalise the deal. The last round of negotiations in June in New Delhi saw useful progress but New Zealand was still waiting to complete the exchange of revised goods offers with India, initially scheduled for March, and necessary to enable progress. Indian dairy farmers are wary of allowing New Zealand milk into the country. But Groser pointed out New Zealand produces the same amount of milk as the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. New Zealand milk would be used to develop sophisticated food ingredients rather than compete directly with farmers in Uttar Pradesh, he said. “So our milk will not be competing with milk supplied by Indian farmers.” Groser later said the dairy industries in the two countries were like “talking chalk and cheese. We are interested in the high end, developing sophisticated food for upper and middle class income earners.” He also said an FTA would also allow Fonterra to invest in dairy farm technology in India as it does in China. Fonterra plans to have at least 30 dairy farms in China within five years. “A free trade deal will allow Fonterra to give long term commitment in India,” said Groser. ANZ India chief executive Subash DeGamia said India’s economy was slowing with annual growth of 5-6% expected this year. But it remained one of the fastest growing economies.

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Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

14 //  agribusiness

Fonterra ranks fourth in world

Top placing: Fonterra is the fourth largest dairy company in the world.

FONTERRA IS the fourth-largest dairy company globally in Rabobank’s rankings released last week but the bank expects vigorous competition in the coming year as companies ‘jostle’ to position themselves for changing markets. Although the Global Dairy Top 20 chart was still dominated by OECD companies, the ‘biggest strides’ were made by Chinese giants, says the bank.

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FrieslandCampina (Netherlands) US$13.4b


Dairy Farmers of America


most top global dairy Yili, which joined the top companies are in the 20 only last year, moved OECD, most growth lies up four places into 15th, beyond OECD boundarand Mengniu, moved up ies. “The ability of these two places into 16th. companies to respond to They were ‘riding the changing global market wave of domestic market dynamics will determine sales growth’, the bank their prospects for sursays. vival and Mergers success.” and acquiAlthough sitions have Economic companies prompted growth in have been some China should respondOECD comsee prices ing for panies to some time strengthen improve to these their posi- towards the tion, and end of the year. trends, “an increased Rabobank sense of expects the urgency has entered the trend to continue in the game of late”. Market next 12 months. trends have accelerated But as Rabobank and each new acquisition reports “increasing or merger narrows the urgency” in the fight for remaining field of targets, market position, Westpac’s latest report says the it says. There has been a biggest news in commodwave of merger and ity markets is the worsacquisitions over the last ening US drought and skyrocketing grain prices. 18 months, much of it “For grain reliant dairy cross border, with most of the companies in the top [and meat] producers 20 having bought other in the US this will feed companies or entered through to higher costs, further squeezing margins joint ventures. “Rabobank expects to for dairy producers,” says Westpac senior economist see companies continue to vigorously pursue Anne Boniface. merger and acquisiThe Black Sea region important for wheat mar- tion targets in the next 12 months as they jostle kets, and India, have to position themselves reported adverse condifor growth and profit in a tions, says Boniface. A changing market environpossible El Nino weather ment.” pattern in New Zealand Significant moves would also make it difficult to repeat last season’s have included: Nestle’s takeover double digit growth in of Pfizer’s nutrition milk production. business; Lactalis’s Boniface says there takeover of Parmalat; could be further shortFrieslandCampina’s term falls in price but takeover of Alaska Milk lower growth in supply in the Philippines; Arla’s and improved ecoplanned merger with nomic growth in China should see prices improve Milk Link (UK) and Milch-Union Hocheifel towards the end of the (Germany); Saputo’s year. (Canada) takeover of US But meanwhile Rabobank is warning that while cheese maker DCI.

Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

agribusiness  // 15

Weather will impact Export demand remains strong NZ growth

Dairy NewS aUSTraLia june, 2012

agribusiness // 17

International dairy With season 2011/12markets only a few

have inweeks recent months been characterfrom ending, attention is now ised byfocused dramatic growth in milk output, on 2012/13 milk prices as farmthe result which strategies has been afor significant ers of consider the coming retreatyear. in commodity prices. In some domestically-focused Thisregions, has directly affected farm gate global impact renegotiated contracts incorJohn Droppert gLobaL impacT pricingporating in Australia’s dairy lower prices andexporting reduced ‘tier JohN DropperT regions, where opening milk prices are one’ access are undermining farmer some 8-10% lower than those announced confidence and supply stability. For Shifts indairy private label contracts and promarkets are currently in manyof 2011/12. farmers in export-oriented Global at the start cessor rationalisation have seenHemimilk a lower outlookofrelative phase as the Northern For regions, an insight intoprice the causes such toa transition companies their intake requirethe worldwide current season not only addslast to thesphere season adjust winds down and the Southdramatic supply growth and pricing meet the changof doing business, seemsernments Hemisphere rampstoup. seasonchallenges and an indication of what but might ing demands of a highly retail to contradict positive medium term Despite the drought in pressured the US, and the come next, we needthe look no further than marketplace. Lower contract pricesmany and of Asia-driven dairy demandeconomic challenges in Europe, across outlook the Tasman, to New Zealand. a lack ofawaiting alternative supply opportunigrowth. are indications of how the When it comes to the international traders present in a market with Dairycommodities, Australia’s indicative season willchallenges shape up before committrade in dairy NZ is aoutlook key NZties manufacturing capacity. Despite to forward sales or purchases. player. for southern farm gate milk prices –tinglimited theseanalysts challenges, the underlying domespublished in the recenttraded Dairy 2012: expect NZ to experience Over 20% of the world’s dairySit- Few tic market with steady per-capuation and Outlook report, is for angrowth of theis stable, same magnitude again in commodities originate from our neighita dairy consumption and a growing opening range of $4.05-$4.40/kg2012/13. bour across theprice ‘ditch’. population a degree of concerMS and year average price range Having hadproviding favourable seasonal Whilst NZ aisfull a relatively small dairy taintyfor beyond the current adjustments. between $4.50toand MS. Theditions two seasons in a row, the likeproducer compared the$4.90/kg powerhouses thea2008 report considers theUS, wider nearseasons perfectfollowing weather for third of India, Europe and the itsmarket limitedpic-lihoodInofthe financial turemarket and summarises many95% factorsseems low. crisis and subsequent comdomestic means thatthe around modityindications price recovery, in at play; the key theme of the current suggestfarmers the North of what it produces is exported. Withsit- Early export-oriented regions uation being of re-balancing is experiencing wethave and seen coldsolid coninternational tradethat representing suchinatheIsland global supply chart) - with dairy supplyofchain. that maygrowth lead to(see pasture damage small proportion the volume of dairy ditions higher-cost competitors in the NorthIn regions of Australia focused on products produced around the world each – but any effect this may have on producHemisphere amongst those expandproducing drinking milk, many remains to be seen. year, 95% of 18 billion litres gives NZfarmers sig- tionern ing output as their margins increased. face a re-balancing market in the form Farmers themselves are increasingly nificant clout on the global dairy market. This season, favourable weather conof renegotiation of supply contractscautious, with a recent Federated FarmNear perfect seasonal conditions over and reduced access to ‘tier one’ supply. ditions have further enhanced milk the 2011/12 production year have allowed ers of NZ survey finding 39% expect genNZ’s farmers to maximise their pasture eral economic conditions to worsen in the next 12 months, whilst 40% expect their production. As NZ dairy production systems are own farm’s profitability to suffer. As in Australia, falling dairy commodity almost wholly pasture-based, this has been the magic ingredient for a big year, prices have resulted in a reduced farm gate with production growing by over 10% in price outlook for the season ahead. Thus, the incentive for NZ farmers to the year to May 31. austraLian DairY, ASEAN-Australia-New This equates to an extra 1.8 billion litres retain livestock in the face of still-lucrarice and wine exporters to Zealand FTA (AANZFTA). that, given a flat domestic market, was tive export opportunities and to invest fur“Protectionist sentiMalaysia are the biggest virtually all destined to find its way onto ther on farm to support continued growth ment over agricultural winners in a free trade is reduced. world markets. goods is rife and growagreement (FTA) signed Whilst events such as the drought in Trade figures show this unfolding: NZ ing across the globe, so between the two counthe the euro zone debt crisis are exportstries of WMP grew by 3% in the year to in this contextUS, it isand pleaslast month. under careful watch, the scale and timing May, while SMP grew 5% and cheese by ing Australia has managed The deal, signed after of a dairy commodity price recovery is 9%. China is the biggest destination, as to forge an agreement seven years of negotialikely to hinge on the production decisions NZ enjoys preferential access due to the with Malaysia that has tions, allows a liberalised these NZ farmers make, and the weather China-NZ Free Trade Agreement. dealt with some sensilicensing arrangement conditions under which they make them. Other major destinations included the tive agricultural issues for Australian liquid milk • John Droppert is industry analyst with Philippines, the US, Australia and Venezunot effectively covered by exporters and allows Dairy Australia. ela. access for higher value AANZFTA,” says Fraser.

incremental change in milk production (year-on-year)

flows. 2012 milk production in the US is up around 4% on 2011 for the year to April (leap year adjusted), whilst early data suggests EU-27 milk production finished the March 2012 quota year up 2.3% on the previous year. New Zealand production is widely expected to finish this season up 10% on last year - a huge market influence given 95% of NZ milk is exported. Argentina is also enjoying solid production growth, but a significant supply gap in Brazil prevents much of this additional milk from leaving South America. Despite wider economic uncertainty, demand has remained resilient as importing countries like China and

those in south-east Asia and the Middle East maintain consistently higher economic growth rates that support increased dairy consumption. However, the surge in supply has outpaced demand growth in the market. This situation has seen the scales tip in favour of buyers in dairy markets, with commodity prices retreating steadily over recent months. Butter prices are down some 30% from their 2011 peaks, whilst powder prices have lost more than 20%. Farm gate prices have subsequently been reduced in most exporting regions. The average basic farm gate price for milk in France for example, dropped 12% from 32 Euro

cents/litre in March (AUD 41c/L) to 28 Euro cents/litre (AUD 36c/L) in April. Profit margins are under pressure in the US, and in NZ Fonterra has announced the final payout for the 2011/12 season has been cut from NZ$6.75-$6.85/kg MS to NZ$6.45-$6.55/kg MS (AUD$4.96$5.04). Effectively, global dairy markets are rebalancing. Lower prices will both slow production growth and stimulate demand, and as this occurs we will ultimately see a price recovery. Key factors to watch on the global scene will be the rate at which milk production overseas slows in response to lower prices, the impact of the current financial worries on consumer confidence, the path of China’s economic growth, and the value of the Australian dollar. Demand for exported dairy products remains a positive and will continue to grow with the middle class in large emerging markets such as China, with changes in diet and with increasing urbanisation - and also in conjunction with global population growth. Locally, the domestic market is supported by a growing population and stable percapita consumption. Whilst the dairy market is currently a challenging place to be a seller, all signs indicate that balance will ultimately return.

Freedom Malaysia FTA benefits dairy They’ve taken the time to come

retail products. It guarantees Australian wine exporters the best tariff treatment Malaysia gives any country. It also allows open access arrangements from 2023 for Australian rice with all tariffs eliminated by 2026. The National Farmers’ Federation says the trade deal will improve international market access for Australian agricultural goods. “After seven years of negotiation, the NFF is under no illusion of how

“While under the AANZFTA agreement most of Australian agriculture’s key interests had tariffs bound at zero, dairy and rice are two sectors where incremental market access improvements have been negotiated under the Malaysian FTA. “This trade deal was also particularly important for sectors such as dairy that have been facing a competitive disadvantage in Malaysia compared with New Zealand which already has

plant “ and understand Foods our business targets Asia ” The Newton Brothers Orchards Fruit growers, Manjimup WA.

to provide portion pack (200-330ml) configuracompany Freedom Foods For years Newton Brothers Orchards was growing faster thanatheir business tion for beverage prodGroup Ltd is to build infrastructure could support. They needed to invest back into plant their business so ucts. new milk processing they could expand domestically and compete internationally, Thethat NSW location will to cash in on growing with a bank understood their vision. Today, their progressive approach them grow access to the most demand in Asia. has seen provide into one of the best fruit orchards in WA. The plant, to be built in sustainable and economic southeast Australia, will be source of milk. Pactum has µ To learn about their success, watch the fullthe story strong links to the Austrafirstat Australian greenSealing the deal: Malaysian trade minister Mustapha Mohamed fields expansion in UHT in lian dairy industry and will with Australian counterpart Craig Emerson after signing the deal. That’s Seriously Happy Banking 10 years. expand its arrangements with dairy farmers for Freedom’s wholly but also through technical Despite the compleers through streamlining supply of milk. The new owned subsidiary Pactum or so called ‘behind the tion of this agreement, of rules-of-origin decplant will increase scope Australia will run the much remains to be done border’ restrictions.” laration processes and plant. Some of its products for Australian milk supply The FTA was signed on for Australia’s farmers to improved marketing – value-added, sustainable will be sold in Australia. May 22 in Kuala Lumpur tap into the full potential arrangements for certain and export focused. The company says by Australia’s Trade and of the Asian region and commodities. Initially the plant will given Asian consumCompetiveness MinisThe Malaysian market beyond. produce 250ml and 1L ers’ rising incomes and ter Craig Emerson and his He says the NFF will is worth about A$1 bilUHT packs from a process improving diets, demand Malaysian counterpart now throw its attention lion in Australia agriculline capable of 100 milthere will grow for qualtowards ensuring agricul- Mustapa Mohamed. tural exports – including lion L. The processing and ity dairy products from Emerson says Australia ture remains front and being its fourth-largest low-cost production bases packaging plant will emit centre in completed FTAs will be as well-positioned sugar export market and less carbon, use less water, such as Australia, whose in the Malaysian market fifth-largest wheat export with South Korea, Japan, and be more energy-effimilk is well regarded. as Malaysia’s closest tradChina and Indonesia as market. cient than equivalent The new plant will Bank of Western Australia Ltd partners ABN 22 050 494 454 AFSL / Australian credit licence 236872. BBB0269-FPC-1505 ing in ASEAN, immediate priorities. With an annual economic UHT facilities in Austraallow Pactum to meet “These are all markets and in some cases better. growth at about 5%, lia and SE Asia. Pactum growing demand for austraLian FooD

Happy Banking

Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

16 //  opinion OPINION Ruminating


Permeate-free a double-edged sword

milking it... Serve of common sense

It’s always refreshing to hear someone talk common sense. In this case, Mildurabased chef Stefano de Pieri saying that both sides of the MurrayDarling Basin debate should meet somewhere in the middle. de Pieri is a darling of the country’s restaurant scene, many of whom it is fair to say live in our cities and are out of touch with actual food production. It’s important that his message will carry some weight. Essentially, he’s saying a healthy river system is important but this can be achieved without the removal of water from productive use. It’s one thing for a president of a farm lobby to say this, another for someone with such a high-profile in the cities. His message makes sense – hopefully more people will listen.

Hills no longer alive

AN AUSTRIAN court has banned the use of cowbells as they are disturbing residents’ sleep. Judge Erich Kundergraber ordered a farmer in the state of Styria to remove the bells after locals complained they couldn’t sleep because of endless clanging. Initially the owner refused to remove his cows’ bells, arguing they were an Austrian tradition and helped to calm the animals. However, Judge Kundergraber visited the field near Stallhofen, in the foothills of the Alps and ruled in favour of the farmer’s neighbours. The cows were left free to roam the field at night but could be heard clearly throughout the village, especially as the cowbells banged and scraped against their metal feeding trough.

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

Permeate with that?

Seems you can’t buy any milk these days without being reminded, usually via a sticker on the carton, that it is permeate free. It’s a reminder of how powerful the tabloid current affairs shows are – beat-ups on the “industry’s secret additive” have been featured on A Current Affair and Today Tonight and news outlets followed. Now, all milk in the country is virtually permeate free. Hopefully a positive story on Today Tonight will have a similar impact on milk consumption. Dairy Australia generated extensive media coverage, including a slot on TT, saying there was no need to skimp on full fat dairy foods. If this leads more people to stock up on extra milk, then do we declare these shows friend or foe? Looks like it depends on who’s feeding them.

Cream with that?

Full-fat latte drinkers should no longer feel guilty with new research suggesting there is no reason to avoid high-fat dairy foods and they may actually offer health benefits. For decades dietary advice has recommended the consumption of reduced-fat milk and dairy products based on the belief saturated fat in dairy foods increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But a world first scientific review challenges these recommendations concluding there is no compelling reason to avoid dairy fat. Dairy Australia said the study reinforced the importance of taking a whole food approach rather than looking at single nutrients in foods. It reminds us of a sign in a cafe once that said anybody that orders cake with a serving of whipped cream will not be served a skinny milk latte.

It would seem “permeate-free milk” is the new black. You can’t go near a carton of milk these days without reassurance that no permeate will cross your lips. It didn’t take long for Coles and Woolworths to join the party after seeing their rivals adopt the marketing strategy. The move to have various milks processed without any added permeate has been described by the Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation as a double-edged sword for the industry. They believe it will increase costs to the processor as the quantity of permeate previously used in processing those milk products will have to be replaced by full priced raw milk from the dairy farm. While this will increase processor cost, it will also create an increased demand for raw milk. The QDO hopes this will be reflected in increased tier one milk requirements in dairy farm supply contracts for the year ahead. It’s unclear what impact the new fascination with “permeatefree milk” will have on farmers, but if recent dealings involving supermarkets are anything to go by, it’s hard to believe it will be overwhelmingly positive. Now the supermarkets have joined the program, will they pay the extra cost that is required to produce this higher quality milk product? In a fair marketplace, those who want to be supplied with a product of higher quality with higher specifications must expect to pay more for that product. It’s not a fair marketplace though. Will the extra cost of this product be returned to the processors and from there on down the value chain to the farm gate, as it should? Or will the large supermarkets use their position of dominance in the marketplace to get things all their own way, without any additional return to the fresh milk production and supply chain? If supermarkets want permeate free milk for their customers then they need to pay the processor more than current rates which are below cost of production. A higher quality product at $1/litre would be obscene and would further erode industry confidence. If our consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, was more than a toothless tiger, they could ask questions about the extra cost required to produce permeate-free milk. The processors that supply the milk for the supermarketbranded cartons stole a march by offering permeate-free milk first. Now that their masters have followed, and could demand more milk for little or no extra costs, have they made a rod for their own back?

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Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

opinion  // 17

Seeking catalyst for change In the food world, we can often pre-

dict what is going to happen in the future here by monitoring what is going on in the UK right now. Think about the growth of private label brands – it happened in the UK 10 years ago; Australian supermarkets even imported key staff from UK retailers to replicate their programs here. It didn’t work there; and it won’t work here – but that’s a story for another day. Recent research in the UK has shown that people are buying less Brussels sprouts, lettuce, leeks and cauliflower; and British farmers are producing fewer fruit and vegetable crops, tomatoes, cucumbers and spring onions. Food tastes are so changing and the economic relationship between farmers and the retailers they supply so out of kilter, that farmers are looking to grow other crops, do other things. In a report just released, Catalyst for Change, the National Farmers’ Union says Britain’s self-sufficiency in vegetable production fell from 73% in 1998 to 60% in 2010; and it is only 38% self sufficient in fruit. Poor returns are driving fruit, vegetable and potato producers into more lucrative cereal production. The report blames “poor supply chain practices and a short-term approach to relationships between

opinion jan davis

growers, intermediaries and retailers” for removing the financial incentive for the growers to continue growing. NFU deputy president and potato grower Meurig Raymond said: “This is not about growers versus retailers, but we have to bring an end to damaging activities or risk losing huge swathes of British horticultural production. “Some retailers are making efforts to invest in the future of British farming, but our report shows that all too often this good work is being undone in pursuit of higher profits. “Unless action is taken now we could see less home grown fruit and vegetables on supermarket shelves. This will mean more imported produce, less choice and ultimately higher food prices due to a lack of investment on farm.”

NFU horticulture and potatoes board chairman Sarah Dawson said: “British growers want to do business with retailers, yet the sector is being driven to its limits and is evidently not coping with the strain. Against a backdrop of higher costs, lower profits and a falling market share we desperately need to find better ways of doing business …” Sound familiar? Australian farmers are facing exactly the same pressures. They are being squeezed by a duopoly-dominated retail market, where the prices they receive often don’t cover the cost of production let alone provide them with a margin. Yet the mark-up at checkout still delivers high profits to the retailers and cheap prices to consumers. The Australian Bureau of Statistics tells us so. The latest consumer price index gives us an annual inflation rate of 1.2%, the lowest for 10 years. While there was a slight rise in the price of vegetables in this quarter, this is off the back of a massive drop in fruit and vegie prices over the past year. According to the ABS, the price of fruit and vegetables plunged nearly 22% in 2011-12. I like to think that most Australians are fair-minded and not totally driven by price; that they expect to buy food

that, by default, is grown in Australia where possible and at a price through the supply chain that allows the producer to make a living. No sensible person really believes that food prices can continue to fall when everything else goes up in price. Like everyone else, farmers’ input costs are continually rising – but farmers have no way of passing these increases on. f they really stop and think about it, most people realise that $1/litre milk is unsustainable; and that the end result of a ‘down, down, down’ type strategy will be to drive Aussie farmers out of business. Both major retailers announced their half year results last week – and, surprise surprise, both reported increased profits. Retailers and processors say that they want to support Aussie farmers – it is now even a key theme in marketing programs. They say that they only import fresh produce when Australian products are unavailable. But what does ‘unavailable’ actually mean? Generally, it doesn’t mean that there is no Australian product in the marketplace. In normal times, we can grow pretty much everything somewhere in Australia, pretty much all year round. More often, it means that the retailers

and processors are not willing to pay a price that allows farmers to cover costs of production or – heaven forbid – even make a profit. Imports of fruit and vegetables have doubled in the last decade and now make up more than 20% of what we consume. Australian farmers are being driven out of business as we speak. In the last few months, at least three major mainland fresh produce growers have been placed into receivership – and that’s just the big ones that make the news. Many smaller growers just shut up shop with no fanfare, as their farms become uneconomical. The British report makes a number of recommendations for change, including ■■ long term supply contracts to inject stability into the supply chain; ■■ greater price certainty for growers through price formulae, market trackers and fixed prices agreed in advance for a specified volume of crop or for the season; and ■■ supermarket promotions linked to actual production. We should take note. It is already happening here. • Jan Davis is CEO of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association.

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Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

18 //  breeding

Fullard Holsteins top at $2600 A SALE top of $2600 was reached three times at the dispersal sale of the Holstein and crossbred herd of the Fullard family of Bamawm Extension, northern Victoria, earlier this month. The complete milking herd dispersal of Bruce,

Doris, Shane and Faye Fullard averaged $1679 for 209 head including fresh cows and heifers, springers and dry-cows. The sale grossed $350,900. A sale top of $2600 was reached three times, firstly to a 4-year-old. The ABS Roy freshly-calved

cow sold to L.Culton, Deniliquin, NSW. Also fetching this price was a pair of freshlycalved 2-year-old. The heifers, both by USA sire Ralma Focus, were purchased by Ben Kincaid, Leitchville, Vic. Other noted sales

included a fresh 2-yearold by Coldsprings Gabe and a 3-year-old by ABS Tennyson, both for $2400. A Holstein by Gran-J Oman McCormick sold

for $2300. Fresh cows sold mainly from $1600 up to $2300. Most in-milk heifers sold from $1700-$2000. Dry-cows about a month away from calving

sold to $2500, some springing heifers in-calf to a Holstein bull sold for $1700 while cows due to calve in the next month mostly sold from $1300$1700.

Buyers were from all parts of Northern Victoria from Swan Hill to Strathmerton and Southern Riverina of NSW. The sale agents were Dairy Livestock Services.

The Dairy Livestock Services team put cows under the hammer at the Echuca Saleyards this month.

John and Matt Haitsma, Rocherster, bought 14 cow for their expanding herd.

Cedar Vale Jersey dispersal tops $10,000 Jerseys sold to $10,000 at the

Cedar Vale second stage dispersal sale of Winnie and Shane Oslear at Gerringong, NSW last month. The 62 lots averaged $2348 and grossed $145,550. In the breakdown, 22 cows av $2686, 5 joined heifers av $3340, 9 unjoined Jersey heifers av $3189, 4 bulls av $1350 and one embryo package sold for $1600. Sale top of $10,000 was paid for the 9-month-old heifer Cedar Vale Action Belle. This imported Canadian ET heifer is

from Giprat Belles Jonquil EX94, a well known daughter of Duncan Belle and full sister to noted sire Belles Jade. She was purchased by Homelands Jerseys of Invergordon, Victoria. Next top of $5200 was the outstanding joined heifer Cedar Vale Blackstone Poppy from an EX 91 Jace dam, purchased by K & M Atkins of Johns River. The Atkins also bought Cedar Vale Astound Melys VG88, backed by one of the breed’s deepest pedigrees, for $4000. The Henderson Family of Epping,

NSW, paid $5000 for the outstanding young cow Cedar Vale Astound Violet EX90. A.Salway of Cobargo selected Cedar Vale Astounds Countess, backed by another very deep pedigree, for $4700. Local breeder Robbie Wilson, Jamberoo, selected Cedar Vale Babe (ET), a Ressurection heifer from the Kaarmona Babes, for $4500 while Pat Buckley of Singleton paid $4000 for Cedar Vale Ressurection Sally backed by 2 EX dams. Outside vendor Stuart Lockhart sold the successful Ayrshire show heifer Sha-

dyglen Mods Toff backed by 5 generations of EX & VG dams for $5300 to the Eagles partnership of Goolagong. Selling agents were Dairy Livestock Services. Tarantella The Plunkett Family of Tamborine, Queensland, dispersed their mostly unregistered herd of Holsteins, Jerseys and crossbreds last month. Sale top of $6000 was paid for an outstanding young cow, Tarantella Reece Paula, who had a PI of 121 and was due again in January to Shottle.

She was purchased by Moxey Farms of Goolagong, NSW, who bought a further 60 head, including the top-priced joined heifer, a Bolton from a Gordon dam with a PI of 118 for $3200. S & S Paulger of Kenilworth, Qld, paid next top price of $4250.00 for Tarantella diehard Pansy, a Semex on-farm winner due again to Shottle. Local breeder Jodie Love of Beaudesert, Qld, paid $4000 for Tarantella Pay Hokeypokey. Selling agents were Dairy Livestock Services.

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Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

breeding  // 19

Inseminate heifers for genetic gain Dairy farmers who want to speed up the rate of genetic gain in their herds should consider inseminating their maiden heifers. Michelle Axford from the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme said inseminating maiden heifers helps in two ways. “Firstly it increases the number of replacement calves available, and that allows more opportunity for culling,” said Axford. “Secondly, it reduces the generation interval, that is

the number of years between mother and progeny. Heifers represent the most modern genetics in the herd, and their progeny are available a year earlier if they are inseminated and their calves kept as replacements.” However inseminating maiden heifers relies on excellent calf rearing and heifer nutrition so that they achieve their target mating weight by 14 months of age, or even younger for later born calves. “Inseminating maiden heifers is a good strategy for speed-

ing up genetic gain, but it may involve planning ahead to improve heifer growth rates,” she said. Another important step to fast tracking genetic gain is to ensure enough quality replacement heifers are reared, and that starts with the number of AI straws ordered. “Most people think in terms of ‘how many straws do I order?’ but the more important question is ‘how many replacements do I need in three years time?’,” she said. Axford recommends farm-

Inseminating maiden heifer is a good way to fast track genetic gain, but it relies on excellent calf and heifer rearing practices.

ers look three years ahead and decide how many replacement heifers they’ll need entering the herd. “The number should include any extra heifers to expand the herd size or for sale

or export,” she said. “Then it’s just a simple rule of thumb – allow six straws for every replacement heifer,” she said. “If you use some of those straws over maiden heifers

you’ll not only have enough replacements, you’ll have the added benefits of speeding up genetic gain and having a larger pool of early-born calves to keep as replacements,” Axford said.


a b s r i s i n g s ta r s

Sensei cows top $16,000

Goldwyn x LUCKYSTRIKE x Igniter

Vindicate Photo: VG-85 dtr owned by Harris family, Vic.

Cows sold to $16,000 and 67 lots averaged

$3510 at the Sensei Holstein dispersal at Warragul last month. In the breakdown, 26 cows average $3758, three joined heifers av $4433, 33 yearling heifers av $348 and seven 2012 born heifers av $2443. Toolamba buyers Geoffrey and Christine Peatling of Moonshay Park, picked up the top-price Holstein Fairvale Damion Josie 4-ET for $16,000. Calved two weeks, the 2-year-old was fourth in the All-Australian heifer competition at International Dairy Week last year and recently classified VG85. She is a daughter of Melbourne Royal Winner Fairvale Gibson Josie 10 (ET) VG88 and was praised for her great size and udder. Unmated heifer Sensei Damion Cordellia-ET sold for $12,000 to a Gippsland buyer. The Peatling family also bought freshly calved Pooley Bridge Goldwyn Posey 2 IMP-ET GP84 for $9000.

This freshly calved cow was from the renowned Windy Knoll View PAla family and had several top daughters sell. They included Sensei Shottle Posey at $5000 to Louden Farms, Modella; Sensei Sanchez Posy (ET) at $5000 to Kevin Gass, Cooriemungle; and Sensei Sanchez Posey to Ben McInnes, Gunbower. Sensei DAmion Satin (ET), a daughter of Leader RJ Satin, sold at $6500 to Mitch Holsteins, Bamawm. Krishlaye Densel Pacify, a show champion heifer, sold for $6000 to A.Harrison, Leongatha. Carisma Gibson Cathy, the IDW All Breeds Youth Show Champion, sold for $6000 to P & J Price, Leongatha. Dumbarton Damion Perfection, a top young cow from the Shotimes family, sold for $6000 to Wildwood Dairies of Lardner. Eclipse Goldwyn Tabaret sold for $5000 to Brodie McGilvray, Cohuna. The sale agents were Dairy Livestock Services.

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Jace x Alf x LESTER


Photo: Merseybank Eltons Claire EX-92 owned by Hazelwoods, Tas.





Aug 30

Early Spring Spectacular Sale

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Day-Jen Jersey Dispersal Sale

Shepparton Selling Ctr, Vic

Oct 8

D&B Kallady 2nd Stage Dispersal

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Oct 15

Gippsland Spring Jersey Spectacular Sale

Warragul Selling Ctr, Vic

Oct 19

McNamara Dairying Special Spring Sale

Colac Selling Centre

Oct 23

Almervista Jerseys Dispersal Sale

on-property, Drouin Sth, Vic

Nov 23

Globull Fusions First Edition Holstein & Jersey Sale

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Nov 29

Midway Park Ayrshires Final Sale

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Nov 30

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20 //  management

Soils tests aid dairy expansion rick bayne

Surrounded mostly by non-dairy

farming operations, the Bloomfield dairy farm near Lucindale in south-east South Australia is showing what can be achieved with a bit of ambition and some soil nutrient tips. The farm was converted from a beef operation three years ago and is building towards a goal of 1000 cows producing 10 million litres of milk a year. Share farmers Andy Vickers and Belinda Wright came on board when owner Russ Robinson decided on the conversion. Vickers had been share farming at Callendale Station some years earlier, and also helping out with the Tumbe Munda beef operation. The owners were looking for more return from their land and thought dairy would be the answer.

After three years they are starting to realise their ambitions. “Things are starting to roll now; this is the first year we have heifers coming in,” Vickers said. The farm has a dairy block of 540ha, including about 170ha under irrigation. The property averages about 28 inches of rain a year and irrigation is important to their success. It started with 800 Holstein Friesian cows, but because there were no heifers coming through, dropped back on that number before growing again to almost 900 this year with the influx of heifers. “The goal is to have 1000 cows producing 10 million litres,” Vickers said. “This year we’re about eight million litres with an average per cow production of about 10,500 litres, so with the heifers coming through we should be able to achieve that.”

Andy Vickers (left) in discussion on the Lucindale farm he share farms.

“We want to breed more heifers rather than buy in more cows so we know what we’re dealing with,” he added. The per-cow production has improved over the past few years from around 9000 litres as management practices advance and the herd has settled in. The farm has a perennial ryegrass pasture-based system and brings in wheat as first preference, or barley if wheat prices are too high. Each cow is fed a little over 2.2 tonnes. “The farm’s biggest asset is its dryland because of the yields we can get,” he said. “We’ve got up to 12 tonne utilisation which is a great result.” Vickers and Wright are joined by three full time staff, plus a part-timer and a casual. The farm benefits from new infrastructure, including a 60 stand Rotary platform, 32,000 litre vat capable of holding daily milk production in peak periods, four centre pivots for irrigation, a 100 per cent recyclable irrigation system and well built cow tracks and fenced laneways, pivots and paddocks. The dry land is strip grazed to ensure adequate grazing measures for both cows and pastures. The farm has also benefited from a soil nutrient project run by DairySA for more than 40 dairy farms in the mid and upper areas of south east South Australia. Soil tests were paid for on Bloomfield as part of the project and revealed

Soil test results were used to adjust the fertiliser regime to make it more efficient and economical.


Andy Vickers and Belinda Wright Where:

Lucindale What:

Dairy expansion

huge variations in nutrient levels between paddocks, often including neighbouring plots. “I guess the soil type changes very rapidly in south-east South Australia,” Vickers said. “We’ve got about 20 different paddocks and the tests showed us we needed to make some changes to our nutrient management to get the balance right.” The farm had phosphorus levels down from 70 and some as low as 20 and very high levels of potassium. “On one pivot we had three different phosphorus levels even though the grass grew the same and you couldn’t really see the difference,” he said. “Some paddocks had high P, some had none. “We had to adjust the amount of fertiliser to level it out.”

The test results were used to adjust the fertiliser regime to make it more efficient and economical. “Off the top of my head I’d say we’re using about a third less phosphorus now,” he said. “Nitrogen has stayed about the same but there has been a big saving in phosphorus.” The success of the tests and the resulting savings prompted Vickers and Wright to pay for similar tests on their own cattle rearing farm. “In today’s economic environment it’s another tool to help you save some money,” he said. “It has given us a true indication where we are going. If it helps you grow more grass, the more profit you can make.” Follow-up soil tests have been carried out on the farm but the results are not yet available. “It

Andy Vickers

will be interesting to see the changes in the soil after we adjusted our fertiliser rates,” he said. “It’s definitely worth doing the program. The potential for dairy in this area is huge. There’s no magic thing to make it work but anything like this helps to implement changes for the better. It looks like being a good season for us.” He added that the soil test program would benefit from more follow-up work to ensure necessary changes are implemented on farms. “It would be good to go one step further and have an agronomist come in behind the test results and give professional recommendations on what you should do about them to fix up any problems,” he said. Project coordina-

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tor Kylie Boston said the three-year and $300,000 Reducing Soil Acidification Through Nutrient Management in SA program was helping dairy farmers to reduce salinity and the risk of nutrient loss while maintaining fertiliity. The program is funded by the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry: Caring for Our Country and runs till 2013. “It sets the scene for farmers to adopt management strategies to improve their soil acidity and their productivity,” Boston said. In total, 42 farms have been involved in the project. Its next phase involves assessing the impacts of changes to farm nutrient application and fertiliser plans. “This summer we will do more soil tests, which will be about two years after the first tests, to see what improvements have been made from their change nutrient management,” Boston said. The project is due to finish in June 2013.


management  // 21

Colemans crack top 100 The Coleman family has been placed in the 100 lowest bulk milk cell count levels in the country this year – twice. Brothers Jim and Matt Coleman run separate herds of 200 cows on two Gippsland properties – at Maffra and Denison – in partnership with their parents, Gerald and Teresa. Each farm is managed as a separate entity – Jim at Maffra and Matt at Denison - and the business also has one full-time and two casual employees. Such is the attention to detail by both brothers that both farms received the highest accolade in the Countdown Downunder BMCC awards. Both farms are located in the Macalister Irrigation District, about 15 minutes apart, running 200 mainly crossbred cows each. The cows graze predominantly on irrigated perennial rye grass and clover mix all year round, with grain, silage and hay supplements. Jim and Matt said they strive to produce the best quality milk day in day out and to maintain premium quality standards set by the milk company. The Colemans’ farming business works on the theory ‘prevention is better than cure’ and attention to detail in all areas of mastitis management is critical. They devised their strategies to manage mastitis through consultation with local veterinarians. When they identify clinical cases they take samples to understand what bacteria they are dealing with. Matt has been involved in trial work which has exposed him to different methods of testing and he regularly reads farming publications for the latest information in treatment and management. General milking hygiene is important in managing mastitis so teat dip is used with an iodine based mix at the end of each milking using a teat dipping cup.

However, Matt believes that the introduction of a teat sealant is responsible for the significant change in how farmers manage mastitis. Both farms undertake a blanket dry cow of the herds at dry off and use Teatseal on maiden heifers at 23 months of age before their first lactation. Matt started using Teatseal on the maidens after overseas and local trial data showed that Teatseal worked on heifers and took the instance of mastitis down from 20% to 2% in the first lactation. Matt said the extra workload of teat sealing heifers may be off putting to farmers but his results have been outstanding and set up his heifers for a low cell count lactation cycle. During lactation, mastitis is treated as soon as it is found with an intramammary treatment. Intra-muscular antibiotics are used in more severe cases. In a bid to reduce the incidence of mastitis, the brothers: ■■ Use green filter socks to help locate the usually white mastitis lumps ■■ Regularly serviced milking plant ■■ Rubber inflations changed at the recommended 2500 milkings ■■ Well maintained cow lanes ■■ Stall gates fitted at the dairy to assist with cow flow and comfort ■■ Avoid over milking the cows ■■ Maintain the cows body condition and general heath at all times, with support from agronomist/herd health advisor ■■ Take time not to rush the cows when bringing them into milk ■■ Strip test the herd when needed ■■ Herd test regularly ■■ Cull cow or dry-off infected quarter of the cow after she has had three clinical cases in the current lactation in the same quarter


Jim and Matt Coleman Where:

Maffra and Denison What:

Jim, Gerald and Matt Coleman have finished in the top 100 of the dairy Australia low Bulk Milk Cell County milk quality awards.

Low cell count

Feed contracts: it’s all about security Increasing grain prices make secure feed contracts even more important for good farm management. Contracts with feed suppliers need not be a legal minefield with unnecessary administration. They can be very useful instruments that go a long way to managing quality, supply and price risks. A verbal contract over the phone is a legally binding contract, it does not need to be written down and signed. However, it is much better to convert it to writing in some form so there is some documentation to refer to if later clarification is needed. A letter, an email or a fax will be suitable. Remember to store the paperwork in a safe place. What should the contract contain? The details to cover include the price- don’t forget to specify the GST, the quality, the amount and delivery and payment methods. Here’s an example: “A total of 100 tonnes of ASW grade wheat at $420/tonne plus GST delivered on-farm in four 25-tonne loads in the first week of March, April, May and June. Payment will be on 30-day terms from the end of each week of delivery.” Seek to negotiate payment terms with your feed suppliers to suit your cash flow, your milk cheque and your overdraft arrangements. Is your agreement or contract solid? Put it to these tests: Will your supplier stand by the contract if the market prices rises $100/tonne above the contract price? Will you stand by the contract if the market

price falls $100/tonne below the contract price? Does it guarantee supply only if the season is OK? If any problem arises, who manages it – the buyer or seller? Are there well-defined quality specifications or will you need to feed test post-delivery? A useful tool for tracking feed prices is the fortnight Hay and Grain report available for free on the Dairy Australia website. This report provides an independent and timely assessment of grain and hay markets in each dairying region. Visit Stay in contact with the supplier during the season. You also have the option of using an agent. Even when the contract has been drawn-up, someone needs to be responsible for ensuring and monitoring the delivery of the feed. Among these tasks are: arrange pick-up trucking schedule and ensure necessary equipment (eg auger) is available • arrange feed lab analysis • weigh loads and get weight certificate • arrange payment schedules for supply, freight and storage • monitor supplier/buyer risk in the event of a major price/supply shift.

This is one of the many examples of the dairy service levy at work. For more information on this and other levy investments visit

Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

22 //  management

Tests open eyes to soil acidity the years to monitor soil fertility” Nigel explained, “and the soil test results for phosphorus and sulphur were well on target, with only potassium needing some attention in some paddocks”. The key nutrient results for phosphorus on McConnell’s farm were generally high, with many paddocks in excess of an Olsen P of 30. Potassium levels were varied with some zones marginal to adequate and two zones where Colwell K levels were less than 100 (deficient). Sulphur levels (KCL-40 test) were generally high across most of the farm with levels above 18. However, the surprise was in the seriousness of soil acidification. Levels below pH 5 (CaCl2 test) are considered marginal for good pasture growth and could respond to lime but McConnell’s paddocks ranged from 4.1 to 4.7. Of similar concern were the alu-


Glenfyne dairy farmer Nigel

McConnell was surprised when soil test results showed alarming levels of acidification in some of his paddocks. The tests were done as part of a soil acidity project in the Timboon area funded by Corangamite CMA and Heytesbury District Landcare Network and managed by WestVic Dairy. They showed soils across McConnell’s farm were desperately in need of attention because of acidification. Each of the 10 dairy farms in the pilot project was given the opportunity through a range of soil tests to obtain a snapshot of their soil pH status and soil nutrient levels and to develop nutrient maps for phosphorus, sulphur, potassium and soil pH. “We have been fairly vigilant over

minium saturation levels on the same areas which ranged from 4% through to an alarming 15.5%. Local soil advisory services at DPI in Warrnambool suggest that levels of less than 1% are desirable, and at levels below 3% most pasture species are unaffected. “We had done some tests before to check fertility but not for acidity,” McConnell said. “It was a bit of a surprise to see the aluminium levels so high but doing the program was very beneficial because we identified a problem and could do something about it.” He said soil acidity and aluminium toxicity were the main limitations identified in limiting his pasture production. After attending a workshop at Timboon as part of the project, McConnell ordered 300 tonne of lime to address the acidification and strategically apply it at rates up to 2t/ha.

Western Victorian farmer Nigel McConnell says he could justify the expense of lime after soil tests revealed his paddocks had high levels of acidification.

“Because we had the soil test results, I realised the importance of lime and could justify the expense,” McConnell said. “It won’t fix the problem overnight and we may have to apply a little more lime but it will pay off in the long term.” Project facilitator from WestVic Dairy, Jeff Lawes, said that while lime

and liming is an inexact science, as general rule of thumb, local soil advisory service providers suggest that applying 2.5t/ha of lime (incorporated will give a quicker response) will raise pH (CaCl2) by about pH 0.7 - 0.8 in sandy soils, about pH 0.5 – 0.6 in loam – clay loam soils and about pH 0.4 in heavier clay soils.

Repair pugging by spring sowing Spring sowing is a great way to

establish than an autumn sown pasture,” Rowe said. “It’s also going to give farmers better control of winter germinating weeds and allow for better establishment of perennial clovers.” Clover growth in winter is always slow compared to ryegrass, meaning clover seedlings tend to get shaded out, Rowe said. “On the other hand, sowing down clover in spring generally has a greater success rate, primarily because the clover is establishing in warmer conditions, which are better suited to its growth. “So rather than trying to establish clover seedlings in winter, plants established in spring will go through the next winter season as an established and productive plant.” In dairy pastures with clover con-

repair your damaged paddocks, according to Wrightson Seeds agronomist Darrel Rowe. Traditional autumn sowings can fail in a cold and wet winter and wet paddocks are easily damaged by stock and machinery. Spring sowing is a viable option to either establish new pastures or to improve existing pastures that have underperformed or been damaged. Rowe said that spring sowing of perennial pastures is gaining momentum and support across a wide range of dairy operations and is delivering real success for farmers. “Especially if you have access to irrigation or if you’re in an area that has good spring rainfall, warmer soil temperatures in spring will mean a spring sown pasture is going to be faster to

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tent around 30%, nitrogen fixation can be as high as 200kg N per hectare per year, contributing savings of $100-200 per hectare in nitrogen costs. Clearly, getting your clover strategy right can really pay off; and a part of this is looking at sowing your clover down in spring. Rowe said those looking to renovate their pastures after winter could follow these steps to ensure a successful oversowing of pastures this spring: ■■ Soil test to identify any nutrient deficiencies that may affect pasture establishment and production ■■ Assess level of damage and determine best pasture mix and strategy for the situation ■■ Graze existing pasture hard to reduce trash for drilling and to set back existing plants ■■ If heavy pugging has occurred, con-

sider using heavy harrows or railway iron to level out the paddock for more accurate sowing depth ■■ Over-sow pasture mix with a starter fertiliser (NP) blend, roll under ideal conditions or if drilling has left a rough result ■■ If conditions are dry, consider drilling deeper into moisture but do not cover as this will bury seed ■■ Use Ultrastrike treated grasses and Superstrike treated legumes for protection against key pasture pests such Red Legged Earth Mite ■■ Graze new pastures as soon as plants can withstand pulling as this will restrict growth of existing pasture and allow new seedlings to establish. Rowe said spring sowing presents a great opportunity to renovate paddocks damaged by pugging.

If not managed properly, pugging can result in pasture production losses of up to 25%. It also can leave pastures susceptible to invasion by weeds as they will happily fill in the bare patches. As a guide, Wrightson Seeds recommends the following remedial actions: ■■ < 10% damage – heavy roller or smudger bar ■■ 10 - 20% damage – over-sow with diploid perennial blend at 15kg/ha ■■ 20 - 35% damage – over-sow with diploid medium term blend at 20kg/ha ■■ 35 - 50% damage – over-sow with diploid short term blend at 25kg/ha ■■ > 50% damage – new pastures: Over-sow with diploid perennial blend at 25kg/ha Old pastures:  Spray out and sow either turnips or a high quality forage rape as a brassica crop.

Get the most from your pasture with.. Molafos 15 / 15S, Molafos M Dairy, are products designed specifically to fill the nutritional gaps found in some pastures. Molafos Dairy Transition and Molafos GT (Grass Tetany) are two more specialised products for Dairy Production. Molafos Dairy Transition is designed to aid dairy cows in their rest period prior to calving, building mineral reserves needed after calving. Molafos GT includes magnesium and anionic salts which help reduce the risk of Grass Tetany.

Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

management  // 23

Dancing with your animals PETER BURKE

MILKING COWS is just like dancing, says a leading dairy consultant, Josh Wheeler. It might sound odd but Wheeler says there are similarities such as learning the steps, repeating them until you are used to them and maybe unlearning some steps that aren’t really right. In essence he says, milking and dancing are

about routine and about it becoming second nature. The key message is, establish a routine in the shed that works for you and the cows – and perhaps some special music. Wheeler is an expert in milking management among many things, and says dairy farmers need to take time out to review their work patterns and the environment in which they work. He made his comments at a recent seminar organised

by the Smaller Milk and Supply Herds (SMASH) in Manawatu. “The first thing farmers have to realise is that the dairy shed is just a factory and the task is harvesting milk from a cow and putting it in vat. So farmers have got to look at the most efficient ways to do that. If I was working as a kiwifruit packer everything would be built around me for my comfort so I did a good job.

“So farmers need to stand back and look what they are doing within their routine and how they can uncomplicate it to reduce the effort they have to make to get the milk out of the cow.” Wheeler illustrated his point with a series of graphics showing how time and effort could be saved or wasted by making relatively minor adjustments to the layout in a typical herringbone shed.

“ It’s about having a routine.” – Josh Wheeler These included the location of the backing gate switch and where teat sprayers are located, which might sound small but can turn milking into a more satisfying experience. Some changes will be inexpensive, others may cost a bit more, he says. “What I’m trying to challenge people about

is to sit down and draw their routine for milking the cows. What points do I have to go to and how many steps and how many times am I going to have to do it?” he asks. The benefits can be significant: he’s seen cases where the milking time has been cut by 45 minutes. “But it’s not only time; it’s about having a

Josh Wheeler

routine and a workplace more comfortable for the person doing the milking.”

FutureDairy researcher, Dr Cameron Clark.

Utilising data to improve pasture Advances in technology are allowing dairy farmers

to use a combination of data from their own farm and climate records to ‘learn’ from seasonal yields. This new learning function will enable farmers to determine the causes of poor pasture performance and to identify ways to improve yields. FutureDairy senior research fellow, Dr Cameron Clark, highlighted some of the opportunities offered by new technologies for improved pasture production at the Dairy Research Foundation’s annual symposium, held at Camden, NSW, last month. “Technology is transforming pasture management from an approach of ‘working from averages’ to dealing with individual paddocks,” Clark said. “This is important, given the large range in pasture yields between paddocks. For example, the best paddocks typically yield double that of poorer performing paddocks on the same farm. “Advances such as automatic pasture meters have greatly increased the amount of data available to farmers but the challenge is to convert this data into meaningful information for making management decisions.” Clark said software programs had been developed to ‘learn’ from pasture data collected across a farm, also drawing upon climatic records. They can help determine the cause of low pasture yields and define areas for similar management. “This is likely to be an ‘add-in’ function to the pasture management or feed budgeting programs currently used by many dairy farmers and their advisors.” Clark said these advances allow dairy farmers to place greater focus on soil: for example, customising soil testing and fertiliser application at the paddock level and selecting the most suitable paddocks for cropping. “The application of these technologies on farm is in its early stages but it has the potential to dramatically change the way we approach pasture management on dairy farms,” he said.

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Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

24 //  animal health

Discussion groups vital The last few months

have been pretty busy for me. I have been to the Hunter Valley for the Australian Cattle Veterinarians annual conference, to Canberra for the Australian Veterinary Association’s annual conference and to Lisbon, Portugal for the World Buiatrics Congress (WBC). The WBC is held somewhere in the world every two years and countries bid for it similarly (but less corruptly) to the Olympics. It is a chance for vets from all around the world to get together and hear about the latest advances in the cattle veterinary world. In 2014, Australia will host the WBC in Cairns and I am lucky enough to be on the organising committee for that event. Attending conferences is one of the many ways that veterinarians keep abreast of the latest advances in diagnosis and

animal health rob bonanno treatment of disease. On just about any day there are dozens of online tutorials, email list serves from all over the world, Webinars, face to face meetings, conferences and visits from the drug manufacturers representatives to tell us about new products and services. In a large practice like mine, we share information from all these sources, plus discuss the clinical cases we are seeing out in the field. On top of that, we connect with other local vet clinics at meetings, via the local DPI vets and we call each other up if we see something out of the ordinary, even if

only to gloat. How is this relevant to dairy farmers? Over the years of my career, I have been asked to speak at many farmer discussion groups and meetings and have delivered content for Murray Dairy and Dairy Australia. Often these events are free, or at a very minimal cost, and they are usually paid for from Dairy Australia funding, which is your dairy levies at work. Unlike veterinarians who must perform a minimum number of hours of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in order to maintain registration to practice as a veterinarian, dairy farmers have no such obligation in order to be able to milk cows. There are so many things to do on a dairy farm that I can understand how hard it can be to get away to all of the farm discussion groups

Rob Bonanno says there are many farm owners and staff who would benefit from attending discussion groups.

etc available, but I believe it is absolutely essential that you make the effort to continually grow the knowledge base with which you farm.

IN UDDER WORDS... Protect your most valuable cattle Often Coopers are asked whether the full two shot program is required in young calves – the graph below shows the typical protection gained after 5 in 1 or 7 in 1 vaccinations and shows the risk you take if you don’t give booster vaccinations:

Annual Booster

Cattlevax 7 in 1 is highly effective in preventing leptospirosis in cattle and reduces the risk of transmission of infection to humans – helping to protect your family and workers. With Leptospirosis, Sensitising 2nd Dose (1st Booster) Annual 1 Dose 2 After 4-6 weeks 3 Booster it is vital that producers break the cycle early and vaccinate young 2 3 stock before they pick up the 6 weeks safe protection level 52 1 disease. weeks Sensitising Dose Booster Dose

Spring is the time many young dairy stock are susceptible to a variety of parasites and diseases. Planning prevention programs during spring for these highly valuable stock can greatly reduce longer term productivity issues. In young calves that are transitioning to pasture based diets, the maternal antibodies they received from colostrum will be declining and without an effective vaccination program these cattle may be susceptible to disease. Older yearlings will now require annual boosters against these same diseases – including clostridial disease (especially pulpy kidney and blackleg) and leptospirosis. The benefit of controlling Leptospirosis in cattle is that it helps to prevent infection in your family and farm workers – infection is passed from cattle to humans in urine. Clostridial and Leptospirosis vaccines require two initial doses four to six weeks apart for full protection of cows and calves, followed by an annual booster – although some require more frequent vaccination against pulpy kidney or Leptospirosis, depending on when they are first given.





16 20


28 32

36 40

44 48

52 54


The booster dose gives sustained protection, keeping antibody levels above the protective level until next year’s annual booster. Leptospirosis can be a serious threat to cattle as well as a risk to humans. Prevention of Leptospirosis in humans relies on vaccination of cattle to minimise the shedding of Leptospires in the urine – using a 7 in 1 vaccine will also protect cattle against the major clostridial diseases. Coopers have recently relaunched Cattlevax® 7 in 1 to the Australian dairy market.

Coopers Cattlevax 7 in 1 is now available at your local vaccine stockist. For further information on your vaccination programs, talk to your local Coopers Animal Health Representative on 1800 885 576. ® Registered Trademark

Honestly, I have become quite frustrated when I go to speak at these discussion groups. It always feels to me that it is those who are the best farmers in the district already who are attending, when I know there are many other farm staff and farm owners who would, in my opinion, benefit more from going along, if only they would make attendance a priority. I was lamenting this with one of the drug company representatives the other day, and I asked her how she maintains her enthusiasm when it seems that the only ones listening and attending are the best farmers already anyway. She answered me so simply that I sat back on my chair and drew breath. She said: “Did you ever think that the reason why they are the best farmers in the district is because they are attending the discussion groups, listening to the vets, taking advantage of the great resources available to them from Dairy Australia, drug manufacturers, the local government services etc.” It really hit home to me that the farmers who seem like they least need to attend the discussion groups, the calf workshops, the breeding forums, the pasture walks, the lameness workshops etc are actually in some ways the ones who need it the most. They already know that

for them to stay ahead of the curve, to strive for better production and profitability, they must always seek the next bit of knowledge to help them in their quest. For those of you who already are regular attendees at industry functions, keep it up.

Talk to your milk supply manager or field officer about discussion groups or field days that they may know about, and ask your vet if they are holding any farmers meetings. The successes you are enjoying are related to your ability to assimilate information from many sources and implement it on your own farm. It gives you the jump on the others and hopefully your dairy vet is striving to do the same by regularly attending conferences, taking the time to meet with the reps and listening to, and responding to your concerns. For those of you who don’t make the time to invest in your own self development or that of your staff, for heaven’s sake, get out there and

make sure that you get to as many field days, discussion groups and vet talks as possible. You will enjoy the company of like minded farmers, facing their own struggles, get an opportunity to learn about some new ideas or strategies and soon you too will be one of the district’s best farmers. Get online and surf around for what is happening in your area, read your milk factory newsletters and put those reminders up on the calendar (or in your iPhone for the younger ones), talk to your milk supply manager or field officer about discussion groups or field days that they may know about, and ask your vet if they are holding any farmers meetings, or even better, suggest a topic and get a few dozen farmer mates together and I am sure your vet will be happy to run a farmers’ night. Also check out the resources available for dairy farmers from Dairy Australia. They are worthwhile, and it is your money that has been spent putting the information together, it is up to you to make sure that you benefit from that investment. I hope to see you soon around the place at a meeting, conference or discussion group. • Rob Bonanno is the past president of the Australian Cattle Veterinarians Assocation and a director of the Shepparton Veterinary Clinic.

Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

animal health  // 25

‘Fussy’ cow health routine slashes bulk milk cell count Rick Bayne

Steve Fowlie’s

name has become a regular fixture in the annual Australian Bulk Milk Cell Count awards. For the past five years the northern Tasmanian farm run by Steve and his wife Sharon has made the top 5%, including a top 1%

ranking in 2011. They have again made the grade in 2012, a success he attributes to diligence across a range of measures and following the advice of experts. Fowlie has farmed the 120ha property at Forest South for the past 16 years after moving across from a dairy career in New Zealand.

Changed practices on Steve Fowlie’s farm have resulted in a reduction in average cell count from about 150,000-170,000 a year to an average of 70,000-80,000 a year, and even lower in spring.

It’s a good farming location but has the challenge of a wet and muddy spring which makes the property prone to mastitis. “It gets very muddy underfoot and most farms around here would have a mastitis problem of some degree,” he said. While his farm didn’t have an excessive mastitis issue, Fowlie was deter-

calving time” which expose cows to higher risk Who: of infection and greater Steve and Sharon Fowlie prevalence of leaking milk Where: Forest South around calving, aggravatWhat: ing the threat of mastitis. Mastitis control “We’ve got to keep on top of it, so we started drying the cows and using the times we’re about one- Teatseal and then we used mined not to let it get out Teatseal on the maiden third,” Fowlie said. The of hand and enrolled in a heifers which made a huge Fowlies supply Cadburys Countdown Downunder difference,” he said. factory which has a cell program about five years After talking to vets count cut off of 250,000. ago. and confirming the sucAfter completing the “If farmers want to cess of the process, it was Countdown Downunder reduce mastitis and extended to all 370 crosscourse and consulting his improve their cell count, breed Jersey that’s where and Friesian I recommend As part of his milk quality cows on the they start,” he campaign, Fowlie regularly farm. said. “I basically “You learn uses teat spray, takes apply Teatseal so much and as special care during cup at drying off long as you pracremoval and tries to avoid which gives a tice what you letting the cows get wet after natural seal at learned on your the end of the farm, you won’t cups are removed. teat,” he said. have a big probHeifers get lem.” local vets, he implemented Teatseal; cows get Teatseal He also advises workand dry cow therapy. a range of measures to ing with local vets to keep Reducing mastitis has ensure ongoing good milk up-to-date with latest had a positive impact on quality. information to ensure the business. “We are “I’d say it is multi-faccows remain in good more productive and tored. You need to get a shape. we’re culling less,” Fowlie The course and consul- range of things correct,” said. “Our production has tations have paid off, lead- he said. gone up year after year High on the agenda ing to changed practices and we’ve cut down to was the use of teat sprays that resulted in a huge only culling two or three and Teatseal on cows and reduction in average cell a year because of high cell count from about 150,000- heifers at dry-off time in counts.” conjunction with dry cow 170,000 a year to an averFowlie says all farmers therapy. age of 70,000-80,000 a should keep a close watch “We reduced mastitis year, and even lower in by 75% in our heifers in the on mastitis, including spring. looking out for symptoms first season,” Fowlie said. “We didn’t have a such as swelling, heat in He describes the farm massive problem but we the quarters, sickness or as having “constantly wanted to target half the muddy conditions around discomfort, and decofactory average. A lot of

loured or lumpy milk. If a problem is detected he isolates the cow from the herd and starts treatment, which includes intra-mammary infusions and, if needed, muscular injections. As part of his milk quality campaign, Fowlie regularly uses teat spray, takes special care during cup removal and tries to avoid letting the cows get wet after cups are removed. He admits he is “pretty fussy” about maintaining healthy cows and a healthy environment for them. For example, he changes the rubber liners in the shed three times per year at the correct time in his 30-a-side cowshed. “I am pretty fussy, but you have to be if you want healthy cows and better production.” He also adjusts feeding patterns to ensure a healthy herd. “We feed them more dry matter, cut back on the grass and give them more hay. We feed about 800kg of grain per cow, which is working pretty well. “At point of calving we reduce feeding with more hay and less grass to stop cows bagging up too much.” The farm has a ryegrass pasture-based system. The Fowlies are supported on the farm by his teenage sons and two parttime workers.

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Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

26 //  animal health

Profit from mineral shots Dairy cows injected with trace mineral supplements can return significant production gains, including a reduction in mastitis, new research conducted by the prestigious Cornell University in the United States shows. The study, which was presented to veterinarians and scientists at the 27th World Buiatrics Congress in Lisbon, Portugal last month, demonstrated several benefits of injectable trace minerals on the health and production of dairy cows. During certain critical events dairy cows are under considerable stress, which can reduce the amount of trace minerals they can absorb through the normal dietary process or via daily oral supplements. These trace minerals, including zinc, selenium, manganese and copper, can help bolster a cow’s immune system and increase overall health. In the Cornell University study, 1416 cows were selected for a field trial involving three large commercial dairy farms. The cows were injected with Virbac’s Multimin Injection for Cattle, a trace mineral supplement, at critical

times including: at dry-off; 30 days prior to calving; and 35 days in milk. Multimin Injection for Cattle is an injectable source of zinc, manganese, copper and selenium, which bypasses the rumen for direct uptake through the blood. (The US Multimin product used in the study contains 20 mg/mL more zinc than Multimin in Australia.) The aim of this study was to see whether the Multimin injection would provide any production benefits. None of the cows in the study had been treated with Multimin previously. Each of the participating farms had well-managed dairy herds with good oral mineral programs in place. All participating cows were fed a diet that had been formulated to meet or exceed the NRC nutritional requirements for lactating cows. The most significant result of the study was a reduction in the somatic cell count from 299,660 to 218,964. This reduction indicates better overall health in the cow and higher quality milk. Clinical mastitis was reduced by almost 5.7 cases per 100 cows in cows that had calved more than once. The less severe but still production-reduc-

A Cornell University study has shown dairy cows injected with a trace mineral supplement can return significant production gains.

ing subclinical mastitis was reduced by 1.6 cases per 100 cows. The incidence of endometritis – an important cause of reduced herd fertility – fell by 5.6 cases per 100 cows to 28.6%. Stillbirths decreased from 6.1% to 4.3%. These two results demonstrate that an injection of trace mineral supplements can increase overall fertility in dairy herds. Lead researcher, Dr Rodrigo Bicalho from the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences

at Cornell University, said “Our motivation was to use a trace mineral supplement to boost the immune system of lactating Holstein cows, improving overall health, milk production and reproduction. “As an academic, I went into the study with a neutral view of what results we would see and I was very pleased when we found a significant reduction in somatic cell count along with reduced incidences of mastitis, endometritis and stillbirth calvings in the herd.

“This translates to greater dairy production and herd numbers, with a reduction in treatment costs for dairy producers.” According to Dr Rodrigo Bicalho, different benefits appeared at different times, with calf survival the first benefit to be seen, followed by improved uterine health and then improved udder health. Rob Bonanno, a director of the Shepparton Veterinary Clinic and a former dairy farmer, said the results of the study were of great interest to Australian dairy farmers despite the test conditions being different from standard Australian dairy cattle conditions. “Cornell University is a leader in its field and this study is clearly extremely rigorous,” Bonanno said. “The numbers within the study show that there is only a 0.005% chance that these results occurred naturally rather than as a result of the Multimin treatment. “That’s an extremely low chance thanks to the rigour of the study itself – so we can be confident that the Multimin treatment was the cause of the improvements.”

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Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

hay and silage  // 27

New dairy presents fresh challenges for grain grower “a lot of grain growers all think they’d like to own a dairy,” Jarrod O’Sullivan says with a laugh. The difference with O’Sullivan, the Australian Fodder Industry Association chairman, is he decided to have a go, purchasing a dairy farm at Mooroopna with his family two years ago. O’Sullivan, his parents Greg and Aileen, and his brother Damian are grain and fodder growers based in Goornong, cropping on properties in northern Victoria and NSW. They grow oaten hay for the export market and other grains as the season, and markets, dictate. More canola has been sown this year to capitalise on attractive opening prices. All fodder is sold to the export trade through WA company Gilmac, which has established an export plant in Goornong. They made 500t of oaten hay last season, with 95% sold for export. Anything too high in moisture is sold to the dairy market, which as of two years ago, includes their dairy farm. (The dairy farm is a mirror company so all feed is purchased at market rates.) They will milk 340 cows this year under the management of Jarrod’s partner, Mel, who oversees two full-time staff and casuals.

O’Sullivan said grain growers assume they’d make good farmers because they have surplus grain and fodder on hand that fails to reach premium grades. “They still tell me that now when I see them. I say to them, if it’s that easy, why can’t you sell that quality to dairy farmers now?” O’Sullivan milked a cow for the first time when they bought the farm and it has been a steep learning curve. They had to stock the farm with equipment and cows from scratch, although it came with a 30 head swingover dairy. The farm uses a Partial Mixed Ration (PMR) yearround and calves three times a year to capitalise on the more lucrative winter market. Utilising a PMR and a feed pad near the dairy enables O’Sullivan to capitalise on his knowledge of producing and preparing high quality feed. The PMR is a maize/ silage base with medium/ high grain component, usually canola meal, adding lucerne or vetch for protein. When there is pasture, the same ration is provided minus the lucerne. “There has been good synergy between the businesses. Knowledge on the feed side is the main one, knowing what the dairy


Jarrod O’Sullivan Where:

Ardmona What:

Mixed feed

wants and what the herd needs. “A good understanding of nutrition is helping on the other side of the business as well. “It helps us understand what quantity of fodder or forage we need to make.” They calve three times a year – 60% in March to capture the winter milk market, 30% in July and 10% in December to keep milk flow going. The batch calving also helps them manage their staff time and his time. Although the property wasn’t stocked when purchased, it did have a 450 cow feed pad, which was on the O’Sullivan shopping list. “The feed pad was on the shopping list, we needed somewhere we could run this sort of system. A pure grassbased farm didn’t appeal as we wanted to utilise our knowledge.” The mixer wagon, feed pad and PMR suit the off-

peak contract favoured by more processors, who want to flatten the supply curve. They are currently milking 280 cows and will peak at 340 this year with a final target of 450 in mind. Quality feed is purchased wherever cheapest and not necessarily from the family. They are currently

growing their maize requirement in summer on the dairy farm and cows graze on annual ryegrass in spring, although they enter the feed pad year round. The ration is changed to accommodate spring pasture. They spend more time in the feedpad from the start of summer, with access to some nearby

holding paddocks. The herd comprises mainly Holsteins but they also purchased some crossbred cows because of the price and O’Sullivan said they have been fantastic. “We will stick with a mix of Holsteins and crossbreds now as it has been going well.” They will plant more

lucerne this year. O’Sullivan will purchase more cows when time to boost herd numbers and is aiming to maintain and lift production through better quality feed and management. With the current herd now settling down after the initial move two years ago, he is looking forward to some stability and fine

tuning the feeding system for now. They are importing half their feed but will renovate more land this year to grow more maize silage and expand the areas for rotation. “The dairy industry is certainly challenging, it’s not an easy industry to make money in, but there is money to be made in it.”

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Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

28 //  hay and silage

Maximising your silage return SILAGE IS PICKLED pasture. When pasture is ensiled, its sugars are converted into lactic acid by bacteria. It is the lactic acid which pickles the pasture, allowing it to be preserved for a lot longer than it would have been if left in the open air. For good silage preservation, we need a rapid drop in pH to a level where there will be no butyric fermentation, so the silage is stable until it is needed. This DairyNZ article describes the preservation process which makes pasture into silage. Understanding this helps us understand what we must get right to make high quality silage. Aerobic respiration The first phase takes place while pasture is wilting in the field, and while there is oxygen in the stack. Plant enzymes, and bacteria, use the oxygen to turn sugars and proteins into energy.

This produces heat, an increase in numbers of bacteria, and a loss of nutrients from the pasture. Sugars and proteins are lost from the silage when left too long in the field or not covered in the stack. They are not available for cows to eat later on, and the loss of sugars can have a big bearing on how well the silage preserves. Compaction and quick covering of the silage to remove oxygen is a key to minimising respiration losses. An American trial showed that immediate sealing of a silage stack saw all oxygen used up after 5 hours. A similar stack left unsealed for 48 hours took 90 hours before all oxygen was used. The potential respiration losses are huge. Lactic fermentation Once all the oxygen has been used up, anaerobic lactic bacteria (which only function when there is no oxygen

A rapid drop in pH is needed for optimum silage preservation.

around) begin to multiply in numbers. As they do so, they turn sugars into lactic acid, which results in a drop in silage pH. This is shown as the solid line in the diagram on the next page. A low pH preserves the silage, by preventing butyric fermentation. If butyric fermentation is prevented, the pH will stay low. The silage will be stable and well preserved. The pH needed for stable silage changes with DM% (water content) of the pasture. • Very low DM pasture (<15%) is unlikely to reach a pH low enough to become stable. • As DM% increases, the pH needed for silage to become stable also

increases. For 25- 35% DM pasture, a stable pH is 4.3 – 4.6 , but for 35-45% DM pasture a stable pH will be 4.6 – 5.0. Butyric fermentation If the pH is not low enough for the silage to become stable, then butyric fermentation will occur. It is shown as the dotted line on the diagram on the next page. Butyric fermentation results in the breakdown of nutrients in the silage, and a drop in the palatability of the silage for cows. Butyric fermentation is caused by other anaerobic bacteria (Clostridia), which live in higher pH conditions than the lactic acid bacteria.

They turn lactic acid into acetic and butyric acid, to get energy. They also get energy by breaking down protein into ammonia. The reduction in lactic acid and increase in ammonia during butyric fermentation causes the pH of the silage to rise again. This makes the stack more suited to further butyric fermentation. The only way to prevent butyric fermentation is to avoid soil being harvested with your crop, wilt pasture to about 30% drymatter which is also important to prevent seepage and have a silage pH which is low enough to stop Clostridia functioning.

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Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

hay and silage  // 29

Watch out for hay quality With hay consumption at its seasonal peak and supply tight, dairy farmers are warned to be wary of highly variable quality and are advised to make a visual assessment and obtain a nutritional analysis of the hay prior to buying. Dairy Australia’s Feed2Milk program manager,

Dr Steve Little, cautioned dairy farmers to carefully consider hay quality before buying as a lot of hay currently available was from the 2010 season with highly variable quality, particularly if it has been stored outside. “Many dairy and beef producers across south eastern Australia are cur-

rently sourcing hay supplies which they expect to be feeding into August.” When buying hay in a tight market, doing a feed budget will prevent buying more or less than will be required. Dr Little suggests doing a feed budget based on realistic estimates of daily cow maintenance energy

requirements, feed already on hand, expected pasture growth rates and likely wastage at feedout. “Look at the nutritional value for money rather than just the price tag. Start with a visual assessment, looking for signs of mould and checking the moisture content,” he said.

High moisture feeds are more susceptible to mould growth before harvest or during storage. “Various types of moulds produce mycotoxins which can be harmful to cow health and productivity. Avoid buying any mouldy hay, grain or other feed,” Dr Little said.

“If you are happy with the visual assessment of hay, the next step is to send a sample to the lab for nutritional analysis. The results will allow you to decide if the asking price is good value, given its nutritional content.” For those in a hurry, the RAPID Feed Analysis Service generally provides

results in one to two working days (available through dairy companies in Victoria and southern New South Wales). “Yellow bags for feed samples can be obtained from your factory field officer or transport office.” Visit www.dairyaustralia.

“I use Silotite... anything else is stretching it” “We’ve used Silotite film for years and it has lots of advantages that I really like. It can be stretched up to 70% from its original length, you’d hardly believe it, but the film pulls the bale in tighter than the twine does. The UV protection is formulated for Australian conditions and that means that it will last longer on a wrapped bale in the paddock or the shed. It takes the worry out of the job.” Composting spoiled hay can return benefits to the farm.

Mark Crozier, Newham, VIC

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Composting spoiled hay might not be up there with the London Olympics in terms of big events but over the past year people have been turning out in droves to field days at places where you don’t usually find a crowd. Held at Bridgewater, Pyramid Hill, Terang, Macarthur (near Hamilton) and Glen Alvie (near Wonthaggi), the field days attracted more than 400 people. Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Productive Soils Specialist Declan McDonald said the field days were popular because at the time tens of thousands of hay bales had been spoiled in the 2010-11 Victorian floods. “We wanted to help producers recoup some of their investment so we looked at using hay bales to fill old gullies, spreading hay over the surface of paddocks and allowing pasture to grow through, and composting the spoiled hay but the demand for the field days still exceeded my expectations,” Mr McDonald said. “Of these options, composting had the greatest potential to return benefits to the farm so this became the focus of the field days and a step-by-step guide which we have just released.” DPI Senior Research Scientist Kevin Wilkinson said he was aware of about 50 dairy farmers in South West Victoria who were on-farm composting and using the compost on their pastures to complement their traditional nutrient management program. “Anecdotal evidence suggests these farmers are managing to maintain productivity by using less inorganic fertiliser but it’s important for us to scientifically validate this,” he said. “While the field days were a great way to get science out into a paddock and show people the opportunities and limitations of using on-farm composting, people have been asking what’s next. “We are joining forces with Monash University to trial and demonstrate on-farm composting practices in South West Victoria using dairy effluent and manure. “In time, we hope our work will create a reliable source of evidence based information that dairy farmers can use to make informed decisions about how to increase carbon in their soils and reduce fertiliser inputs on their farms.”

Call Tapex Pty Ltd on (03) 9361 8100 for the name of your nearest reseller email:

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18/07/12 8:12 PM

Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

30 //  hay and silage

Making the best silage Frank Mickan

Many questions

are asked every year about making and storing silage. Following are answers to some of the more common questions but bear in mind that there are often many factors to be taken into account when answering silage related questions. What is the correct DM content for each form of silage? Stack silage: Long chop silage (loader wagon)

30–35% DM. Precision chop silage 30–40% DM. Baled silage: Round bales 40 – 50% DM. Large rectangular bales 45 – 60% DM. How can I tell if the forage is too wet to ensile? Stack silage: If moisture drips/runs from a handful of forage (chopped into 2 – 3 cm lengths) and squeezed for about one minute, it’s way too wet. Moisture oozing out of a silage cart during transport or from the stack during rolling. Slight

dampness on rolling tractor wheels indicates correct DM content. Baled silage: Tractor blowing exhaust smoke. Baler has trouble turning in chamber. Bale ends blackened during baling. Perimeter of bale glistens in sunlight due to moisture on the bale exterior. Bales (1.2 m x 1.2 m) are almost impossible to stand on their ends by one man. If my silage is not wilted enough, and rain is coming, can I still ensile it? Yes, but to ensure a good

fermentation (pleasant, sweet smelling silage), apply an inoculant (or other appropriate silage additive) from reputable companies. Apply at the recommended rate per tonne fresh weight acknowledging extra cost due to extra weight of the water. If my hay is not quite dry enough, and rain is coming, can I make silage out of it? If the crop has been on the ground for many days (eg. 4+ days) and/or has been severely affected by

rain, the crop will be probably depleted in plant sugars, essential for ensiling. Wrapping may/may not allow a crop to be salvaged as high DM silage. Applying a buffered acid silage additive (or other appropriate silage additive) at baling may assist the fermentation process. Applying an ordinary silage inoculant probably won’t assist due to lack of sugars, their food. Baling as hay using a hay preservative and not wrapping is now an option with these preservatives becoming



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available. How do I know if the stack is rolled enough? The forage will not be depressed by the rear wheels more than a few centimetres as they pass over the stack. Rolling slowly rather than quickly aids compaction. Fingers can be pushed into only the first joints into an opened stack face. How do I know if the bales are baled tightly enough? Bales should hold their shape some time after baling when left on their round side. Fingers can only be pushed into the first joints into the ends of bales. Should I cover the stack during harvest? Ideally, yes. The rolled stack will contain a certain amount of air, no matter how tightly compacted, allowing plant respiration and microbial bacteria activity to occur, resulting in DM and quality losses. Carbon dioxide + water + heat are given off and rises as hot air! This heated air rises out of the stack to be replaced by cool air. A plastic sheet dragged over the stack and with tyres placed around its perimeter, will greatly slow down this cycle. When should I cover the silage stack after harvesting is finished? As soon as rolling is completed. Cover with plastic and place weight such as tyres, sand bags or dirt over the entire stack surface and seal edges airtight. Are there alternatives to using tyres for sealing and weighting plastic sheets? Ideal: A thin layer (3 – 5 cm) of soil over the plastic over the entire stack surface and 5 – 10 cm over the plastic edges. Painful to remove soil but consider throwing some grass seed on top to act as handles to easily remove soil at feed out. Make “sausages” containing dirt, sand, pea

gravel, etc. out of last year’s sheet plastic and lay in overlapping rows along plastic edges, at overlaps and in rows across the stack surface. When should bales be wrapped? Within reason, as soon as possible after baling to several hours later. Never leave them unwrapped overnight and, if unavoidable, stand bales on their butt to make wrapping possible the next morning. How many layers of plastic on round and rectangular bales? Four layers ALL over the bale at 55% stretch with NO underlapping. Six layers are recommended if transporting bales, if being left in paddocks on stubble or if bales are to be carried over to give two years safe storage. When can I open my silage after it is made? Stack silage: Silage requires at least 6 – 8 weeks for the whole stack to ferment if compacted tightly and sealed airtight within hours after harvest is completed. If material is too dry, not rolled well, only covered and not sealed, etc. fermentation will take several weeks longer. If opened earlier, the open area of the stack will be flooded with air and fermentation will be affected with loss of dry matter (DM) and nutritive value. Baled silage: Individually wrapped bales can be opened anytime as long as the bale is consumed within the day. Fermentation won’t be complete but won’t matter. By day 2, it will be heating and starting to go mouldy. Treat large square bales under sheets of plastic as a stack and don’t open for 6 – 8 weeks. When can I send silage samples for feed analyses? After the above opening periods and, ideally, several weeks longer in case the fermentation is taking longer which commonly occurs. The results will be incorrect if sent earlier. • Frank Mickan is the fodder and pasture specialist with the Victorian DPI, based at Ellinbank.

Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

machinery & products  // 31

Total solutions for dairying GEA Farm Technologies

Smooth Fendt has all the extras for Cobram farmer “The hardest thing about the Fendt,” John said, “and in the this tractor is to stay awake while end the dealer played a big part. you’re driving it”, says John Watson The package from Cobram Farm of Cobram East in northern Victo- Equipment was too good to turn down.” ria. The Fendt 822 uses a 6.056 litre “The comfort, quietness and smoothness have far exceeded six cylinder engine, rated at 200hp, which ramps up to what I expected.” 220hp if needed He is talking under load. about the brand “The big thing new Fendt 822 of people say is that which he took delivit is expensive, but ery in mid-April, when you contrading in a 3-yearsider the extras old CASE Puma that come with it, 180. This tractor Who: to build up other represented a huge John and Hayley tractors to this change in technolWatson level would be ogy, even in that relWhere: more expensive. atively short time, Cobram East It even has a GPS he said. What: Fendt 822 system, including John and Haylee autosteer, which were milking 260 can come on line Holsteins out of a total herd of 400 when we visited in September. Working at night, the in June and putting 6000 litres per lights are far superior to what we’ve been used to,” said John. day into the vat. “This will only be operated by Last year they ran 550 cows but moved 210 of them about 4km away me, Haylee and my dad, Peter. I am when they started up another dairy going to spend 90% of the time in on another property. That other it. I wanted the most comfortable and quiet unit. I hadn’t driven one farm is now up to 300 cows. “When we build back up to before I owned it. There’s so much 350 cows on this farm,” John said, room around you compared with “we’ll do 200 to 230,000kg of milk our previous tractors. And the visibility is great. So far it’s done 130 solids.” With their expansion plans, hours.” Fendt says the ease of operathey discussed the machinery options for a couple of months tion in the cab owes a lot to the before making the purchase deci- new touch screen ‘Varioterminal’ sion. “I was yet to hear anybody which unites all the tractor, implewith any negative comments about ment and Variotronic functions

tor, and Watson in one terminal to explained they need make demanding the horsepower for work more managedeep ripping for able. lucerne and the They claim a Case tractor wasn’t huge reduction quite big enough. in the number of “We need it hand movements each working day as working clothes mainly for ground chris dingle work and it doesn’t operators make all matter what load is settings and adjustments from one central operating on it – if you want more speed it doesn’t range change, because of unit on the right-hand armrest. The 800 series Vario tractors the variable transmission. There’s no jerkiness through the are equipped with a headland management system, so that drivers gears. You just set the speed and it can activate automated operating holds it, regardless of hills, slopes sequences at the headlands with up and down, sideways. There are the touch of a button. The sequence very few moving parts compared can be edited and adjusted individ- with other tractors. “We do a lot of deep ripping and ually when the tractor is at a standheavy work that loads the transmisstill. “It has absolutely incredible sion up. The main work for it will transmission and the fuel economy be cultivation, running the baler/ is unbelievable,” added Watson. wrapper, and it has been brilliant “We recently baled and wrapped 45 with our trailed boom sprayer. We bales an hour over three days, using plan to laser 300 acres on the other the McHale Fusion baler/wrapper. farm, that’s one of the reasons that We used 11½ litres of diesel per we went as big as we did. We’ll get a laser bucket when we need it. hour.” John Shannon, from Cobram Everything is going bigger these Farm Equipment, explained that, days, like air seeders and fertiliser with Fendt’s Selective Catalytic spreaders. “In the long run it will save us a Reduction (SCR) technology, the exhaust is treated with Adblue, a lot of hassles. We haven’t bought solution containing urea which much else in the way of big gear converts 95% of nitrous oxides into from Cobram Farm Equipment, non-toxic nitrogen and water to other than the McHale Fusion, but comply with emissions standards the service that we get far exceeds anything that we’ve had from and lowering fuel consumption. The Fendt 822 seems bigger anyone else – and that plays a big than your average dairyman’s trac- part.”

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John Watson with his new Fendt 822.

Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

32 //  machinery & products

Farm-specific telehandler FARMING IS clearly

in view in the design of AGCO’s new Massey Ferguson MF 9400 series telehandlers. Such features as a boom-float function for floor scraping or uneven surfaces, a curved rear window (patented), and a short and wide chassis, distinguish this farm materials-handling machine. The boom-float function engages as required, and the option of boom suspension looks set for popularity – protecting

the machine and operator from jarring, particularly during transport. The series has two models: MF 9407 (100hp) and MF 9407 S (130hp) – both ‘clean sheet’ design with new technology and features “from the axles upwards,” says MF’s general marketing manager James Lang. “The design offers the best visibility on the market through the unique curved rear screen. They are also very compact, agile and manoeuvrable. The short,

wide chassis (2.87m wheelbase) provides stability, while the laterally, side-mounted engine offers access for service.” Land says the “completely new” boom design and mounting pivot, and powerful new hydraulics, make the series ideal for purpose. A newly designed boom and mounting further optimise loading efficiency. The boom configuration has a low rear pivot point for a clear view of the rear righthand side; up to 190L/min

closed-centre load sensing (CCLS) hydraulics with proportional joystick control and boom float and boom suspension option. MF offers a choice of tool carriages to fit existing attachments from a wide range of manufacturers. Both models are powered by Perkins 4-cyl. Engines mounted laterally and to the side, giving good access for cooling and servicing, the maker says. A cooling pack, which folds up for cleaning, is mounted at the front

of the engine compartment, above the hydraulic pumps and the fan can be reversed for cleaning. Four-wheel steering is standard and dual-range hydrostatic transmission gives true 40km/h road speed. Both models take wide tyres. The patented, curved side and rear window (no can pillar) in the MF 9400’s new cab, coupled with its low (1.75m) boommounting position means no restrictions to views to the rear right side. Air conditioning and

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splitter for each speed. A new 190 litres/min closed centre, load-sensing (CCLS) hydraulic pump provides best in class flowrates, MF says. www.masseyferguson.

Hayden Mills is pictured with Silvan’s new Broadacre Fieldmaster trailed sprayer.

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LARGE TANK capacity and various fit-out options on Silvan’s new Broadacre Fieldmaster trailed sprayer make this suitable for large farms and contractors, the company says. Silvan business manager Hayden Mills said this unit can be set up different ways with a large variety of components. That results from customers saying they needed a bigger sprayer to suit larger properties and more complicated jobs. Hence the 1000L and 2000L tanks and options for bolting-on numerous components and/or switching gear to enable the sprayers to suit a number of tasks. For example, boom options can range from a 6m field boom to a 12-15m hydraulic folding boom. Users may also choose to attach a manual or electrically controlled pump, both capable of 121L/minute at 2000kPa. Mills says the sprayer is capable of handling agricultural sprays or liquid nitrogen. And it can mix urea and water for spraying. “There’s plenty of room at the front of the sprayer to take a water transfer pump,” says Mills. “The transfer station will take water from the bottom of the tank and blow it back in to help mix any solid fertilisers you put into the liquid.” Single and tandem-axle models are available, depending on users’ needs to limit impact on paddocks. But, says Mills, with a dry weight of only 440kg its impact should not be great. The sprayer was launched early this year. Since then modifications – requested by customers – have included extra valves and electronic controls. Tel. 07 849 6030

Dairy NewS AUSTRALIA august, 2012

machinery & products  // 33

Improve nutrient supply with ‘protected’ amino acids Rick Carter

IMPROVING THE precision of nutrient supply will help cows produce milk and milk components more cost effectively. Balancing the amino acids in protein in the cow’s feed intake is gaining increased attention and interest to lift milk production, improve milk composition, and increase herd profitability. Protein & amino acid supply The protein digested and absorbed from the cow’s small intes-

tine comes mainly from rumen bacteria that pass out of the rumen with the normal flow, along with feed protein that for various reasons has not been used by the micro-organisms in the rumen and so has also passed out of the rumen. This portion of feed protein is called ‘bypass protein’ or rumen un-degradable protein (RUP or UDP). Limiting amino acids Lysine and methionine are the two amino acids in protein that are most often limiting for milk production. Protein meals with

varying levels of rumen ‘bypass’ protein are fed to try and meet the cow’s need for amino acids, but these meals may not be the most cost-effective way to provide lysine and methionine to the cow’s small intestine for use in milk production. Rumen ‘protected’ lysine (LysiPEARL) and methionine

machinery distributor PFG Australia will showcase its range of hay, silage and cultivation machinery during two days of working demonstrations in Shepparton. The event, PFG in Action, will be held over two days from Wednesday, August 29 from 10am to 4pm at New Dookie Rd, Shepparton. Billed as Australia’s largest working field days, it includes Taarup, Vicon, McHale, Great Plains, Simba, Maschio Gaspardo and Drillrite machinery. Tractor power will be provided by Deutz-Fahr, SAME, Yanmar and Kioti. Commentary at each on-field working demonstration will be delivered via a mobile sound system. PFG Australia’s Tim Lawrence said

small intestine. This can offer a number of potential benefits including: ■■ Increased milk and milk component yield, eg. a recent Australian trial resulted in an increase in milk yield from 39.8 litres to 41.9 litres per day in early lactation cows, ie. +2.1L

Table 1. Cost comparison per unit rumen ‘bypass’ lysine & methionine Protein meals Soybean Cottonseed Canola

Indicative Price, S/ tonne

Typical rumen ‘bypass’ lysine, g/kg meal

Cost/kg ‘bypass’ lysine

Typical rumen ‘bypass’ methionine, g/ kg meal

Cost/kg ‘bypass’ methionine $361.90/kg















* cost/ kg rumen ‘bypass’ lysine from LysiPEARL is $37.55 * cost/ kg rumen ‘bypass’ methionine from MetiPEARL is $26.17

Shepparton hosts PFG Australia in action Independent agricultural

(MetiPEARL) are costeffective sources of these limiting amino acids (table 1). Rumen ‘protected’ lysine & methionine The use of these specific and targeted nutrients can enable the correct amino acid balance of the protein being digested and absorbed from the cow’s

the field days offered a fantastic opportunity for buyers, potential customers, dealers, manufacturers and agronomy specialists to compare machines and share opinions in the run up to the season. “We’ve got a brilliant range of machinery from around the world on a 50 acre site which includes paddocks sown with grass,” Lawrence said. “You will see some great machines in action and great results. We will also be offering some very attractive deals over the two-day period. “These top-selling brands are well known worldwide and the best way to find out why is to see for yourself.” Enquiries and registrations from around Australia already indicated a high level of interest. Tel. (03) 9368 8888.

TYM 903 gives value for money The new TYM 903

model is designed to give performance, productivity and comfort to farmers and growers looking for real value for money. From the Perkins power plant with its torque and efficiency, to the tireless Power shuttle which is ideal for front end loader work, the new TYM 903 and 1003 models offer a great package. The 100hp model also offers Powershift changeon-the-go and Bosch 3-point linkage precision control system as standard; features normally only seen on higher priced tractors. The TYM 903 comes with a large, flat platform air-conditioned cabin,

KUHN Fertilizer Spreader


nutrition may be improved by considering the adequacy of supply and the ratio of the amino acids, lysine and methionine. Rumen protected lysine (LysiPEARL) and rumen protected methionine (MetiPEARL) are more cost-effective sources of lysine and methionine than protein meals. Improved precision of protein nutrition can increase the production of milk and milk components and/or improve the cow’s efficiency of protein use. • Rick Carter is technical services manager with Kemin AgriFoods.

Increases in milk protein % and milk fat %, eg. a recent Australian trial resulted in an increase in milk fat from 3.45% to 3.64% in fresh cows, ie. +0.2% ■■ Potential to lower the crude protein content of the cow’s feed intake ■■ Environmental advantage by reducing nitrogen excretion by the cow ■■ Possible fertility and health advantages ■■ Improved cost-effectiveness and increased financial returns In summary, the costeffectiveness of protein ■■

radio/CD player, roof hatch and integrated front end loader joystick for an uncluttered and easy-to-use cabin. Operator friendly features such as finger light buttons controlling PTO and 4WD functions, hi-back seat with adjustable suspension and power shuttle ensures a TYM 903 will meet all the requirements of the most demanding farmer in comfort. The TYM 903 is powered by the latest Green Tier-III 4-Cylinder 4400cc Perkins engine diesel engines producing 91hp. Power Shuttle transmission is standard with three mechanical range ratios, all

synchronised to the four speed box, giving speeds from 1.1 to 40 km/h at rated engine revs; practical and progressive speeds suitable for a wide variety of uses. The separate shuttlelever duplicates all speeds in forward and reverse, ideal for loader work and headland manoeuvring. Creeper provides speeds as low as 0.4 km/h. The TYM 1003 (100hp) has a versatile three-speed

PTO providing 540 rpm in “economy” mode which maintains PTO speed at 25% lower engine revs, when less power is required, saving 15% on fuel and creating a quieter, more relaxed, driving environment. The entire TYM range of Tractors come standard with a 3-year 2000 hour warranty plan for peace of mind. Tel. (02) 4389 1477

Prices starting from only


incl GST *


(03) 9982 1490

forage harvesting I farms l crops l arable landscape

be strong, be KUHN

*conditions apply

Dairy News AUSTRALIA august, 2012

34 //  motoring

New Ford Focus hits road in October The new Ford Focus

ST, which will be sold in more than 40 countries around the world, goes on sale in Australia from October. The Focus ST is equipped with a 184 kW 2.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine. The frugal EcoBoost unit also means Focus ST is expected to return 7.4 litres/100km and deliver CO2 emissions of 172 g/km; a 20% improvement over the previous European Focus ST. The Focus ST is powered by a 184 kW version of Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine that delivers the power of a larger displacement unit with the fuel efficiency of a smaller unit. It achieves this through a combination of high pressure direct injection, low-inertia turbocharging, and Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT), as well as redesigned intake and exhaust systems, and unique calibration. The engine also offers strong torque levels in a broad, flat curve peaking at 360 Nm. The Focus ST’s six-

speed manual transmission produces maximum punch from each gear shift using specially-revised gearing. The sixth gear helps drivers achieve excellent fuel economy on longer runs. A newly-enhanced sound symposer relays the engine sound directly from the intake into the cabin. The exhaust system, with unique twin hexagonal centre exhaust tailpipe, has also been tuned to deliver the right sound at the right time, refined at lower revs and a purposeful growl as the revs rise. The new Sport Steering System variable ratio steering rack helps to reduce steering sensitivity when driving in a straight line and increase sensitivity when cornering. The steering wheel can be turned to almost full lock without the driver needing to remove either hand to change position; providing more control through tight corners and hairpins. Torque steer is managed by the Electronic Power Assisted Steering

(EPAS) system that is specially calibrated for the new Focus ST and detects and counters torque steer using a more aggressively pitched version of Ford’s Torque Steer Compensation (TSC). The Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) offers three distinct settings drivers can turn DSC on for a tuned version of the system found throughout the Focus range; a reduced or wide-slip mode disables traction control and activates DSC only when absolutely necessary; and finally, DSC can be switched off altogether. The new Focus ST will be available in Australia as a five-door hatchback and adds a muscular presence to the kinetic design of the standard Focus. It will be available in five colours Tangerine Scream, Spirit Blue, Race Red, Black, White and Silver are also available. The Focus ST features a specially-designed steering wheel, gearshift and pedals. The darker headlining and trim on the interior pillars, an integral part of the ST’s design DNA, adds to the performance driving feel.

Lowered partial leather seats offer exclusive premium features includ-

ing length adjustment and cushion tilt. An all-new bench, made with special

foam, makes sure there is no compromise for rear passenger comfort.

The recommended manufacturer’s list price for the new Focus ST is $38,290.

Hyundai Veloster adds brawn to beauty

L A I C E SP T R O P E R NEXT ISSUE: SEPTEMBER 2012 ABVs Genomic-based breeding values have dramatically increased the speed with which farmers can improve their herd. In a special report next month, we examine the August ABV release for the genetics that can help improve your production and productivity. This will run in the September issue of Dairy News, distributed free to all dairy farmers.

The new Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo is starting to arrive in Australian showrooms. Echoing Hyundai’s ‘New Thinking. New Possibilities’ philosophy, and demonstrating the company’s Fluidic Sculpture language, the Veloster’s unique design and packaging has become an instant success in Australia. The Veloster has been leading the sales race in the competitive Sports segment each month since launch. Now, the naturally aspirated Veloster range is joined by the allnew Veloster SR Turbo delivering enhanced levels of performance and specification. Powered by the all-new Gamma 1.6-litre four-cylinder twin-scroll Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection (T-GDI) engine, the Veloster SR Turbo delivers 46% more peak power (150 kW @ 6000 rpm) and 60% more maximum torque (265Nm @ 1750 - 4500 rpm) than the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre GDI engine found in the Veloster and Veloster + models. The Veloster SR

Turbo is available with the option of a six-speed manual gearbox or sixspeed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Other dynamic enhancements include 300 mm ventilated front disc brakes (+20 mm over naturally aspirated Veloster models) and a recalibrated suspension package to ensure maximum stability while maintaining exceptional comfort. The motor-driven power steering calibration is unique to Veloster SR Turbo and a quicker rack (2.78 turns lock to lock). Designed at Hyundai’s Namyang R&D Centre in Korea, the Veloster range challenges conventional design theories, offering a unique forward-hinged third door for easy rear-seat access located on the passenger side of the car and a single door on the driver’s side. The exterior treatment of Veloster SR Turbo ensures it’s a real head-turner when it comes to onroad presence. An aggressive front grille and

round front fog lamps are complimented by 18” alloy wheels with chrome inserts, sweeping side skirts, rear diffuser, rear spoiler and twin circular exhaust outlets. A panoramic glass sunroof is a standard fitment. Inside, the Veloster SR Turbo is fitted with leather/leatherette sports bucket seats and Hyundai’s satellite navigation system is integrated into the 7” touch screen LCD display. The system incorporates SUNA live traffic, lane guidance, junction views, speed limits, speed warnings and camera alerts and includes a complimentary three– year NAVTEQ MapCare plan. The Veloster SR Turbo will be available in one trim level and is available in six colours, including an exclusive Marmalade (a chameleon colour that changes depending on the visual angle), Young Gun (matte finish) and pearl-effect Phantom Black, Veloster Red, Battleship and Storm Trooper White. Storm Trooper White (pearl) is a standard colour – no cost option.



Spotting that unhealthy cow in the milking shed requires your full attention. Human error costs farmers thousands of dollars a year – not to mention the wasted time spent chasing false positives.

Best of all, because the Alpro™ system is modular, it paves the way for adding future management applications – like  in-shed feeding, milk recording, sorting cows and more.

Take the risk out of your operation with the DeLaval blood and conductivity solution. Upgrade your shed now to give you topof-the-line herd management, and another aid to help the detection of mastitis.

Talk to your local DeLaval dealer today and start imagining more. Call 1800 817 199 or visit

Damage control starts with Cydectin® Pour-On


* Victorian Department of Primary Industries † Based on nil meat and milk withholding periods. ^On four major species. See label for more details. ®Cydectin is a trademark of Virbac (Australia) Pty Ltd

Customer Support: Tel 1800 009 847

Dairy News Australia August 2012  

Dairy News Australia August 2012