Page 1

Fonterra’s raw milk battle with small processors back in court Page 6

June 28, 2011 Issue 249

reward for innovation

moving poo to paddock

Page 9

Page 34

Keeping milk safe

Giving value to effluent

Licence to operate? “Stay ahead on sustainability or face regulation.” – Henry van der Heyden PAGE 3

Dairy News // june 28, 2011



‘Lift farming ethics or face more controls’ SUDESH KISSUN

Farm effluent spillage sparks debate.

LIC premier sire scheme turns 50

Quality of housing impacts calf health and survival.

Page 4

Page 18

Page 24

News........................................................... 3-14 Opinion..................................................... 16-17 Agribusiness..................................................18 Management...........................................19-21 Animal Health..........................................24-26 Effluent & Water Management...........27-38 Machinery & Products.......................... 39-42

DAIRY FARMERS may need a licence to operate unless they stay ahead of the ‘game’ in sustainability. Farmers must keep pace with rising consumer sentiment over sustainable food demands or be dragged along by regulation. This warning came June 10 from Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden at the Smaller Milk and Supply Herds Fonterra chairman (SMASH) conference at Henry van der Heyden and SMASH chairwoman Kerikeri. Fran Allcock share a joke More food is needed at Kerikeri conference. for a growing population but farmers face greater scrutiny of how they farm, he Laws including a licence to said. They must take sustainabil- operate could eventuate, he says. ity more seriously, van der Hey- More scrutiny now applies to efden told Dairy News. fluent management, animal wel“It’s about us changing, push- fare, inductions, milk quality, ing it along, rather than have ETS and carbon footprinting. legislation force us to change. The average New Zealander Legislation is the worst place for believes more milk production farmers to be.” means more effluent in water-

ways, van der Heyden says. Embracing sustainability will help keep urban New Zealanders onside with dairying. Fonterra recently appointed Bruce Donnison general manager sustainability for Australia and New Zealand. Its ‘every farm every year’ (EFEY) scheme

has independent assessors from AsureQuality or QCONZ visiting all 10,500 supplying farms, checking effluent management. But more improvement is demanded; the goalposts keep moving, says van der Heyden. “Farmers need to move with the goalposts rather than being forced to do so by regulation.” Keeping pace with sustainable farming is expensive, says SMASH chairwoman Fran Allcock, yet farmers cannot set the prices of their products or pass on costs. “Dairy farmers are coping as well as they can, and deserve and need support from the media and urban public instead of knocking and criticism. “Most farmers strive for sustainability, knowing if we don’t sustain our land and waterways how will we grow food?”

All Fonterra farms to face audit ANDREW SWALLOW

FONTERRA’S ‘EVERY-farmevery-year’ (EFEY) check

of effluent management is like a vehicle warrant of fitness, says director of supplier and external relations Kelvin Wickham.

“It’s a licence to operate,” he told Dairy News last week after the co-op said it had done a first check of every supplier. “If we can’t comply with minimum standards, we won’t have a licence to operate.” Though nearly 75% of the 10,500 farms visited were un-

likely to breach effluent consents, they will still be checked next year because situations onfarm, and in the regulatory environment, can change, he says. But the first priority will be working with farms identified as needing help – those in sensitive catchment situations.

Wickham knows of no farm where the combination of climate, soil, topography and location would dictate, long term, abandonment of dairying. “Whether there are some areas that need to [take the pressure off], that’s a possibility.” More on EFEY; page 36.


Dairy News // june 28, 2011


Crap flying over stock transport has provoked a fiery response from the Road Transport Forum. “Our guys are the meat in the mustard sandwich,” RTF chief executive Ken Shirley told Dairy News.

He says calls for legislation will be “fiercely opposed” as stock truck A VOLLEY of complaints operators have kept their from regional councils part of an agreement about effluent on roads thrashed out about 15 during gypsy week years ago, while farmers (Dairy News, June 14) and councils have failed. “One hundred per cent of trucks in the commercial fleet have installed tanks, at considerable cost.” Shirley says a MAF telephone poll of farmers, In contrast sevand a written survey of RTF members, about eral of the regional standing off stock prior to transport, produced bodies calling different responses. for legislative “The results [to the RTF survey] were change, notably alarming and there was quite a variance.” Environment Most farmers had told MAF they do stand Waikato and Envistock prior to transport, which was what ronment Southland, prompted the RTF survey. have “reneged” on Truck operators said most stock they a commitment to incollected had not been stood off feed. stall roadside effluent depots. ANDREW SWALLOW

Contrasting surveys

Stock truck operators say they are not to blame for effluent spills on roads.

“Southland said it would put in six. It hasn’t put in one. And I’ve just received an e-mail saying they are not going to waste ratepayers’ money on them.” Similarly Environment Waikato, which had promised to joint-fund depots with its nine district councils, has pulled the pin on funding. Shirley doesn’t debate effluent on the road is a problem. “We don’t like the mess on the roads either and recognise the concerns of other road users.” But the cause is farmers not standing stock adequately before transport, tanks

overflowing due to lack of roadside facilities, and flat-deck trucks being pressed into occasional service as stock wagons, usually by non commercial operators. “Some of them shouldn’t be on the road.” Shirley says DairyNZ and Federated Farmers are finally starting to take notice. “They’re realising it’s a becoming a serious problem and it’s not going to go away.” Besides standing stock for at least 4-6 hours pretransport, farmers could help by allowing trucks

to discharge effluent to paddocks or farm storage facilities, he suggests. Meanwhile, he is lobbying councils to stump up for dumps, which cost about $300,000 to install, plus running costs. “Yes, effluent disposal sites are expensive to install and maintain and this will be an impost on the ratepayer. However, farmers are significant ratepayers and it is their animals causing the problem.” Law change to make effluent leaks an offence under the Road Transport Act – currently effluent is

exempt from secure load requirements – won’t solve the problem, he adds. “It’s dealing with the symptom, not the cause.” Federated Farmers’ transport spokesman Donald Aubrey says farmers are responding to concerns and it’s getting better, though he reiterates the need to stand stock. “And farmers need to be told their stock are due to be uplifted. If there’s a delay in telling them it becomes impossible to stand stock ready for transport.”

More disposal sites needed ENVIRONMENT SOUTHLAND chair Ali Timms ac-

knowledges the province has no roadside disposal sites, but not for want of trying. And alternative arrangements have been made. The community rejected preferred locations for the first three of six planned dumps, so the council meantime worked

with transport companies to upgrade facilities at their bases. “We’re providing the money they need to upgrade so it’s probably a neutral cost to them,” Timms told Dairy News. “There are now eight sites and we’re looking to expand that to 12.” Farmers neglecting to stand stock is the root of the problem.

Timms commends the transport firms for their cooperation, allowing rival firms to use their premises. However, ES is still pursuing its call for an amendment to the Road Transport Act to make effluent spills an offence. “It will give us that little bit of teeth we need.” Environment Waikato policy

and transport group manager Vaughan Payne says the regional council hasn’t “pulled funding”. A list of sites has been made and the council in August will discuss their funding. The region now has one roadside disposal facility, on SH5 between Tirau and Rotorua. Saleyards must also provide effluent stations, he says.



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Dairy News // june 28, 2011



McKenzie for president? PETER BURKE


dairy executive Lachlan McKenzie is upbeat about his chances of gaining the presidency. Feds annual conference this week at Rotorua may give his presidential aspirations a home advantage. McKenzie, dairying in the hills at the northern end of Lake Rotorua, was once a sheep-and-beef man. He’s known for outspokenness, publicly calling a spade a spade. He’s also seen as a hard working, strong advocate for farmers, gaining praise from Environment Minister Nick Smith for effectively representing Feds on the Land and Water Forum. But he did himself a

disservice last year, when Agriculture Minister David Carter claimed he was “ambushed” by McKenzie at the Feds conference at Invercargill. McKenzie is a Feds director by virtue of representing the Dairy Industry Group. But this year he relinquishes that role to the new incoming dairy rep, Willy Leferink, Ashburton. For McKenzie the next option could have been vice-president, but he has chosen to by-pass this step and go for the top job. In theory the current vice-president, Donald Aubrey, should logically succeed the retiring president, Don Nicolson. But this time factions in the federation seem to want change: for the first

McKenzie sees himself as the front runner and has been working the phones and rallying his supporters ahead of the vote on July 1. time ever, four people are standing for president and three for vice-president. McKenzie sees himself as the front runner and has been working the phones and rallying his supporters ahead of the vote on July 1. He says he has the numbers to win, others think differently. Aubrey has worked in the shadow of Nicolson for three years. The vice-presidential task is not easy, attempts to raise profile risking getting the VP offside with the ‘boss’. Aubrey has done excellent work behind the scenes on property rights

and high country land tenure issues. Another presidential challenger is director Bruce Wills, representing the Meat and Fibre Group. His support is strong. He worked for the Rural Bank then held a series of positions at AMP before returning six years ago to farming. Full-time farmer Wills is promoted by Feds members wanting a more moderate-looking organisation working more behind the scenes and less in the glare of the media. Fourthly, former director Frank Bren-

Testy mediation on One Plan PETER BURKE

ATTEMPTS BY Federated Farmers

to help solve problems with the Horizons Regional Council One Plan have been found testy, says Feds director Lachlan McKenzie, who suggests the council doesn’t know what it’s doing. Formal mediation between Horizons and various parties unhappy with the Plan is now in full swing and will be for several weeks. But it has quickly got personal. McKenzie accuses Horizons of making lots of rules, whose consequences they do not understand. On

the indigenous biodiversity issue, Horizons lawyers refuse to negotiate and say they will see the Federation in the Environment Court, McKenzie says. “That was the regional council’s attitude, not the farmers’ attitude. The farmers want to sit down and talk the issue through and Horizons just says ‘no’.” Sadly the matter will end up in court, “astounding me how an organisation meant to represent the community is so arrogant in taking on the community. During the mediation our staff were effectively abused; it’s inappropriate.” McKenzie says it’s also inap-

propriate that when an organisation such as the Federation tries to develop some rules with the council, it [the council] has lawyers there in the mediation court. “I’ve never in my business career employed a lawyer to mediate a business transaction or any other transaction, including dealing with regional and district councils. I’ve always fronted up and talked them through the issues and I’m no lawyer. Lawyers should be banned from those processes.” McKenzie says the situation is a sad indictment on New Zealand society and needs to be fixed. • Editorial comment - page 16

muhl is having a go for the presidency, hitting the hustings for several months. A great advocate of Feds, he may not muster the numbers. It’s hard to pick a winner, given the competing factions. Some favour change, wanting a face of mainstreamed moderation, less reactionary and getting results without media publicity. Others see a high media profile attracting new members and putting farmers’ views to the public. It’s a mixture of personalities and ideologies.

Lachlan McKenzie

The race for the vicepresidency may be influenced by who gets the presidency. Stu Wadey, Matamata, William

Rolleston, Timaru and David Rose, Invercargill, are standing. Wadey and Rose are also believed to be seeking board seats.


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Raw milk battle resumes SUDESH KISSUN

A FIGHT between Fonterra and two small independent processors over access to raw milk is heading to the Supreme Court. The co-op confirms it has leave to appeal a Court of Appeal decision, but its spokesman declined to discuss the case, saying it was before the courts. The long-running battle is over Fonterra’s refusal to supply raw milk under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act’s (DIRA) raw milk regulations to Kaimai Cheese, Waharoa and Grate Kiwi Cheese, Auckland. Fonterra does not see Kaimai and Grate Kiwi as independent processors because the milk is processed by a third party – the co-op’s rival Open Country Dairy. Fonterra disputes a June 2009 ruling by the Commerce Commission that Kaimai and Grate Kiwi

Fonterra’s raw milk battle with Kaimai Cheese is heading to the Supreme Court.

are independent processors. This ruling forced the co-op to supply milk, and Fonterra was ordered to compensate the two companies. A High Court appeal last year by Fonterra resulted in

the commission’s decision being upheld. The co-op’s application earlier this year in the Court of Appeal also failed. Fonterra is still arguing Grate Kiwi and Kaimai have

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similar shareholdings and their milk is processed at the same plant. OCD processes milk on behalf of Kaimai and Grate Kiwi under toll-processing contracts. In the case of Kaimai, it pasteurises some milk for Kaimai to make into soft cheese. It also processes hard cheese for Kaimai. OCD processes all the milk into cheese on Grate Kiwi’s behalf. There is a shareholding link between the three companies. Dairy Investments Fund Ltd owns 30% of Grate Kiwi, 40% of Kaimai Cheese and 10% of OCD. Fonterra’s appeal in the Supreme Court will determine whether the Court of Appeal correctly applied the DIRA Raw Milk regulations. Under the regulations, Fonterra is required to supply other dairy companies with up to 600 million L of raw milk a year. Each individual processor is entitled to 50m L.

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Finely balanced: world urea markets are up the air, fertiliser companies say.

Fert market in balance NEW SEASON urea prices are up in the air despite no change in a recent list review by both major suppliers. Ballance and Ravensdown raised phosphate prices by similar amounts at June 1. Both are now offering DAP at $1050/t, and superphosphate at $345. Potash is down to $845/t, but urea was held at $711/t from Ravensdown, and $708/t from Ballance. (All prices exstore, bulk, paid by direct debit). Ravensdown chief executive Rodney Green says world urea markets are finely balanced on thin trade. What China does to curb exports, and when new factories in Qatar and Algeria come on stream, will be pivotal in coming months, he told Dairy News. Ballance notes the seasonal low point for urea demand has passed and South American and European buying will support price firming. International urea prices surged nearly 50% April to June, after China curtailed shipments with an early increase in export duty, intended to retain stock for domestic use.

in brief Capacity crowd at SIDE THE ANNUAL South Island Dairy Event at Lincoln University this week has drawn 600 participants – a capacity crowd resulting from the line-up of speakers, say organisers. Finance Minister Bill English will speak on issues facing dairying both here and globally. All Blacks coach Graham Henry will share his thoughts on the timely topic of developing highperforming teams.


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Dairy News // june 28, 2011



Cows scoring better PETER BURKE


DairyNZ says cow condition (BCS) is generally much better than last year. Regional team leader Chris Murphy told Dairy News condition scores are also better than in an average year. “The feedback from most people is we’re ahead of last year and still gaining. [The word is] we’re probably about

pasture in autumn and early winter has been translated into extra days in milk. So while the feed was there, people kept milking, the extra pasture translating to milk rather than body condition.” Murphy says pasture covers around the country are looking good. “One part of me is saying that’s terrific. Our concern is that if the pasture is not well managed that could

“Our concern is that if the pasture is not well managed that could impact pasture quality and cow intake at the start of lactation.” BCS 0.5 better than at this time last year.” Interestingly, little difference is showing between cows in the North and South Island. Feedback from Canterbury says things couldn’t be better in respect of autumn and early winter conditions, Murphy says. “Some regions, especially Waikato, are reporting that on some individual farms, as opposed to the whole region, cow condition is about the same or just slightly better than last year. “There, extra

impact pasture quality and cow intake at the start of lactation. “The positive side is that because of our poor spring in a lot of places, many farmers have lower supplement reserves than normal, and autumn growth has compensated for that.” Murphy says if the extra pasture is well managed that’s good news. But farmers must watch what that might mean for spring. Farmers at this stage of the season must be aware of what their pasture covers are and have a plan to manage through spring,

he says. “It’s important they’re not starting spring with pasture covers too high or [likely] to disadvantage cow intake. The pasture covers must be well, and flexibly managed when it’s wet… especially on heavier soils to reduce pugging.”

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China tariffs no surprise NEW ZEALAND should not be surprised at China

triggering slightly higher tariff rates on our dairy exports there, says the Dairy Companies Association (DCANZ). Chief executive Simon Tucker told Dairy News tariffs were built into the FTA with China, so it’s no surprise it has begun imposing the higher tariffs when our exports reach a certain level in a calendar year. “Somewhat surprising is that, given trade to China has grown so quickly, we’re reaching those trigger levels much earlier in the year than [expected Simon Tucker when] the FTA was signed.” Under the FTA, New Zealand pays a 6.7% tariff on whole milk powder exports; other countries pay 10%. At the trigger point the rate rises to 10%, but in January drops back to the lower rate until the trigger is again ‘pulled’. “With prices where they are now, the slight increase in tariffs is not going to stop trade,” Tucker says. “Of course we’d prefer not to pay any extra but it’s not a show stopper.” The FTA dictates all tariffs will be phased out by 2024, he says.

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Another milk probe? PARLIAMENT’S COMMERCE select committee is

Fonterra is facing questions on how it pays for milk at the farmgate.

considering yet another inquiry into the price of milk. Already the Commerce Commission has an inquiry running and the ministries of agriculture and forestry


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and economic development and the Treasury are also looking into the issue, although from a slightly different perspective. The commerce select committee now has a report from MAF on its work on the milk price, by a committee drawn from its staff, MED and Treasury. Helping the committee are experts in competition policy, competition law and regulatory economics. The MAF-led committee stems from investigations into the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) and Fonterra’s trading-among-farmers proposal (TAF). MAF in January began consulting on changes to DIRA that would allow Fonterra to introduce TAF. They heard concerns about the retail price of milk and in particular the way that Fonterra sets the price for milk at the farm gate. The MAF committee is investigating. This could take months, it says.

27/8/10 9:46:26 AM

YOU PROBABLY knew the autumn was good; just how good is hammered home in Rabobank’s latest Dairy Quarterly. The farmers’ bank reckons New Zealand pumped out 31% more milk in the three months to May than in 2010, with January to June output up 15%. Most of the extra went into whole milk powder (WMP) for China which, with China and Russia reducing demand for WMP, saw its price ease 13% by mid-June from its late March peak. “WMP prices were adversely impacted by the phenomenal spurt of growth in New Zealand supply, the direction of this milk to WMP and the eventual slowdown in Chinese buying,” notes the report. In contrast, skim milk powder supply was “shorted by the NZ focus on WMP” and SMP rose 14% over the same period. Argentine and Uruguayan production also surged, Argentina’s up 17.7%, but high feed costs and, in the EU, drought, kept a lid on northern hemisphere growth such that three-monthly output was up 1.9% in the US and 3.2% in the EU. On both continents supply growth is expected to slow in the third quarter and with growing domestic demand, US exports will fall, though the EU’s surplus will be higher than a year ago. Rabobank says importer activity will drive markets in the second half of 2011, notably China, Russia, Brazil and North Africa. Increased exportable surpluses may ease markets but price drops will likely be limited as buyers squeezed out of the market at recent highs return – “should product become even modestly more affordable.” Below-expectation buying by China or Russia is a threat, but increased demand from India could counteract that. A further decline in the US dollar is flagged as a “distinct possibility” which would drive up prices in that currency, though the NZ$ effect would depend on exchange rates. Earlier in the month, the bank’s Agri Commodities Monthly report appeared to have jinxed markets. The day it came out – saying history would suggest commodity markets are about to collapse, but “this time it really is different” – commodity markets crashed.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011



Rosie mooves crowd

Reward for innovation AN INNOVATIVE solution to a long-standing problem:

that’s how judges saw an automated teat dipping and flushing system in the National Fieldays innovation awards contest. Automatic Dipping and Flushing (ADF) Milking won the equipment category award and director Toby Green is understandably delighted. Green says he took new orders at Fieldays, “something we didn’t expect”. And the company’s Fieldays site attracted strong interest. “We had people coming back Saturday to place orders,” he told Dairy News. The ADF system launched here last year in an onfarm trial at Feilding. It recently gained approval from Fonterra. In use, at the end of milking the system delivers a calibrated dose of teat spray into the head of each liner as the cluster is removed, automatically covering all of each teat. After removal, the teat cups are rinsed by blasting a sanitised water solution around the liner in a scrubbing action. This is repeated six times in quick succession after every cow, ensuring liners are properly sanitised before going on the next cow. The ADF system also won the innovators award at the Australian Dairy Conference earlier this year. Green saysit cuts labour costs, reduces the incidence of mastitis and lowers somatic cell counts.  “The chief judge told me it’s an innovative solution to a long-standing problem. That sums it up.”





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leaves her farm to discover what makes the New Zealand industry one of the best in the world. Black-suited ‘minders’ – a VIB (very important bovine) protection squad – looked after her at Fieldays. “We created the concept of Rosie to promote cows to New Zealanders,” says Fraser. “There are 4.4 million cows and 4.4 million New Zealanders, but not enough people are familiar with them.” DairyNZ staff handed out 4000 Rosie packs around the Go Dairy stand during Fieldays. “She got a tremendous reception. Retired farmers said it was great to have something connecting their grandchildren back to farming, farmers saw her as an excellent investment of their levy, and mothers thanked us for the activity for their children.”

The new education website has curriculum-related teaching units, digital texts, and digital learning objects, all using dairying as a context for learning. The site will first offer curriculum level 1 and 2 material; level 3-7 content will follow. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says the Rosie project will show the best of dairy farming to the public, and present the vital role of dairy farming in the lives of New Zealanders. “It’s about the good things of the dairy industry, and ensures children can learn milk comes from cows, not the supermarket.”


DAIRYNZ HAS a new means of raising New Zealanders’ awareness of dairying. Rosie the ‘cowbassador’ was launched mid-June at National Fieldays and will show up next month on a new primary school education website. She was a Fieldays hit, DairyNZ says. “She was a huge hit with everyone from children to their grandparents,” says chief Rosie wrangler and DairyNZ communications head Sarah Fraser. Rosie is a three-year-old Friesian Jersey-cross who





Dairy News // june 28, 2011


Future bright, expansion prospects limited – MAF PETER BURKE

DESPITE A long-term positive outlook for dairying, a senior MAF official says natural constraints will restrict expansion. MAF’s latest Situation and Outlook for New Zea-

MAF’s Paul Stocks says the dairy industry faces ‘natural constraints’.

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land Agriculture and Forestry (SONZAF) predicts export revenue from dairying will earn $13 billion this season, $14.6b next season and more as time passes. The report also notes cow numbers – showing a marginal increase in the past year -- are set to jump from 4.68 million this year to 4.98m by 2015. But co-author Paul Stocks says despite what dairying offers, it will not develop an industrial ‘monoculture’ for a variety of reasons. “Firstly, some people just don’t want to be dairy farmers,” he told Dairy News. “It’s hard work and different from being a sheep-and-beef farmer. You talk to farmers and some say ‘yuk I’m never going to do dairy’. “Secondly, the land requirements are quite different from sheep-and-beef or forestry. There are some natural constraints relating to the environment, and

21/06/11 2:14 PM

• Offshore markets strong, especially Asia. • Strong demand for product. • 31% of NZ’s whole milk powder exports go to China, where market growth will continue. • Dairy exports likely to exceed $16 billion by 2015. • Adverse climate conditions hit production this season (estimated production rise 2.4% versus 14% predicted a year ago by MAF). • Cow numbers will rise from 4.68 million in 2011 to 4.98m in 2015.

not all catchments suit intensive dairying.” Think about the capital intensity of dairying, Stocks says. “It’s a one-way street. You can convert to dairying but it’s hard to re-convert. Farmers are now trying to de-leverage but that’s made harder as property prices fall.” Banks are reining in their lending. And alongside capital costs there are natural constraints, economic and environmental, Stocks says. Environmental issues must be in farmers’ minds all the time. Overseas markets care about the characteristics of New Zealand products, one being their environmental footprint. “There is also a high degree of concern about ensuring waterways are as New Zealanders expect them to be. “I’ve seen huge advances in this area by the industry. This has come quickly on to the agenda, in less than a decade; that’s fast in social-consciousness and policy terms.”

Dairy News // june 28, 2011



China gobbles co-op bonds FONTERRA SAYS the suc-

cess of its bond issue in China recognises its financial strength. The co-op last week raised $56 million through an issue of Chinese yuan deliverable in Hong Kong (CNH) denominated bonds. The issue was closed almost six times oversubscribed. Fonterra will pay interest at 1.1% on the June 2014-maturing bonds, the lowest coupon yet achieved for an international corporate issue in the CNH market. (CNH is a new currency code that represents the ex- Fonterra is looking to Fonterra looking to expand its China business. itsisChina business. change rate of the Chinese expand RMB in trades offshore in Hong Kong.) General manager treasury this economy.” The bond issue shows FonterStephan Deschamps says the He says the decision to enter ra treasury further diversifying. strong interest shows investors the CNH bond market reflects It already has debt denominated recognise Fonterra’s financial the growing importance of Chi- in US and New Zealand dollars, strength. na to Fonterra’s business. euro, sterling and Japanese yen. “China is an increasingly “As our business with ChiFonterra China president important market for Fonterra nese expands, it makes sense Philip Turner says funds raised and the CNH market is likely to seek a greater alignment be- in the CNH bond issue will to grow as companies seek tween our treasury borrowing support the growth of Fonterra’s funding for their investments in and our business activities.” China business, based in

Shanghai. “Fonterra is growing fast in China. We have a history of working with local customers in China to grow and develop the dairy industry.   “We see huge potential to expand the breadth of products we offer in China, as well as the geographical distribution of our consumer brands and foodservice dairy products.” Fonterra will increase marketing, advertising and distribution of consumer brands from seven to at least 15 cities in China during the next three years. It is rapidly increasing distribution of its foodservice products into tier 2 and 3 cities there. “We’re also exploring opportunities to produce and sell a range of premium value-added dairy ingredients for key customers.” Fonterra is also developing its farm business in China.

Outlook firm long term IN THE week MAF released its latest Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture and Forestry (SONZAF), the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and OECD released a joint global agricultural Outlook report. It says higher commodity prices are here to stay, but a sharp correction in dairy is tipped before a gradual rally to the end of the decade. Vegetable oils, sugar, meat and dairy products should experience the highest increases in demand with global farm output tipped to rise only 1.7% annually, compared to 2.6% over the past decade. Despite this slower growth, production per capita is still projected to rise by 0.7% annually, with per-capita consumption expanding most rapidly in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, where incomes are rising and population growth slowing. FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf says coherent policies to reduce volatility and its negative impacts are needed. “The key solution to the problem will be boosting investment in agriculture and reinforcing rural development in developing countries, where 98% of the hungry people live today and where population is expected to increase by 47% over the next decades.” The report reinforces a recent inter-agency report to the G20, Price Volatility in Food and Agriculture Markets: Policy Responses, that suggests, among other things, that G20 countries act to reduce or eliminate trade-disorting policies.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011


Arla issues bond to fund growth strategy DANISH dairy co-op Arla Foods seeks to raise $290 million via a bond issue to professional investors, in Swedish kroner. The money will fi-

Arla plans to raise $290m from investors.

nance growth in turnover from current $9.4 billion to $14.5b by 2015. Arla sees potential in a number of markets, financed by owner capital and borrowed money.


The owner finance will be by consolidation approved last year by farmer shareholders. Farmers are doubling their investment in the co-op. The borrowed funds will come from the Arla’s lenders, including banks and other financial institutions. Arla chief financial officer Frederik Lotz says the co-op has solid backing from farmer shareholders. But it also wants to have broad borrowing and financing opportunities to pursue acquisitions and investments in keeping with the growth strategy, he says. “This is why we have decided to issue bonds as an investment for institu-

tional investors.” The bonds will be listed in Swedish kroner on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, with a maturity of five years and with Danske Bank and Nordea as lead managers. ”We’ve chosen to issue the bonds in Swedish kroner because Sweden, one of our core markets, is a highly effective market for corporate bonds,” Lotz says. “The target group for the issue is primarily institutional investors in Sweden, but I won’t exclude approaching other target groups later.” Arla’s owners confirm the company will remain a co-op and not a limited company, with external investors as co-owners.

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AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST dairy co-op, Murray Goulburn (MG), has a new managing director. Gary Helou, chief executive of Ricegrowers Ltd, will join on October 3, replacing Stephen O’Rourke, incumbent for 25 years. Chairman Grant Davies says Helou has a background in agriculture and fast moving consumer goods. Says Helou, “As global food demand grows Murray Goulburn is well positioned with a strong balance sheet, diversified product range and customer base and ownership of processing, transport and brands. This allows maximise returns for farmer/shareholders.” Davies acknowledged O’Rourke’s “outstanding contribution during 25 years with the business”.

Lactalis bags Parmalat

FRENCH DAIRY company Lactalis has got EU approval to buy for $6 billion its Italian rival Parmalat, resulting in the world’s biggest milk products maker. The Italian stock market regulator cleared the deal last month. Privately owned Lactalis has offered $4.60 a share for the 71% of Parmalat it does not own. The combined entity would not be able to restrict competition in sourcing raw milk or by extending its product offerings, the EU competition watchdog says.

China’s dairy woes CHINA’S DAIRY industry has the lowest quality standards in the world and much of the blame is down to the large companies that dominate it and the rock-bottom prices they pay farmers for raw milk, says an industry expert. “Milk processors and farmers all know that the problems of low protein content and high bacteria counts in milk are easy to solve with money but they have instead reduced investment because of the low profit margins,” says Wang Dingmian, the former vice-chairman of the Guangdong Provincial Dairy Association.

Four good reasons why you ® should use Mamyzin first time, every time, all-year-round There’s often more to mastitis than you can see.1 That’s why using a systemic treatment first line allows you to take control. Mamyzin® is the easy to use injectable that treats all four quarters and is effective against clinical and sub-clinical mastitis.1,2 Mamyzin® contains Penethamate Hydriodide, the active designed specifically for mastitis, allowing it to cross the blood-milk barrier to penetrate both the infected udder tissues and milk in all four quarters. 3 With its widespread activity, Mamyzin® injectable helps prevent further spread of infection to other quarters of the mastitic cow and to other cows in the herd. Mamyzin® from Boehringer Ingelheim. To effectively manage your mastitis problem, it’s the smartest first line choice.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011

opinion Ruminating


The meaning of mediation

Ice cream bugs officials

milking it... Support locallymade? Yeah right!

THE FED’S decision to go into competition with locally-owned farming publications has gone down like a cup of cold sick, if the scuttlebutt at Fieldays is anything to go by. Determined to create their own farmer-funded soapbox, the Feds have effectively subsidised the foreignowned APN to publish to the rural sector in direct competition with local publishers who have long served New Zealand farmers. The mood at the Fieldays media centre spoke volumes about how poorly Fed’s have judged the fall-out from this decision. The Feds strenuously deny they’re competing with rural publishers, saying they want to build good relationships with farming media. The consensus among the rural publishers: “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”

A PUBLIC health official in central Missouri has asked an ice cream shop to cool it with the cicada ice cream, even though customers apparently can’t get enough of it. Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream, in Columbia, sold out of its only batch of the insect-filled dessert within hours of its June 1 debut. The Columbia-Missourian says employees collected the cicadas in their backyards and removed most of the dead bugs’ wings. They then boiled and covered them in brown sugar and milk chocolate. The base ice cream has a brown-sugar-and-butter flavour. Gerry Worley, an environmental health chief with the Columbia County Department of Public Health, says the agency’s food code “doesn’t directly address cicadas” but he has advised against their use as an ingredient.

Super cow with no name

AL AIN Dairy, one of the largest dairy farms in the Middle East, has about 6000 high yielding cows. But one cow who doesn’t even have a name - just number 4307 - is unique. Farmhands affectionately call her ‘The Super Cow’. According to Al Ain Dairy officials, it is the most productive cow in the company, which can give about 100 L/day if milked three times a day. “This cow is known informally as super cow. The nine-yearold has already produced 1,040,000 of milk,” says marketing manager Kingston Fernandez. The black-and-white Holstein from The Netherlands at first produced volumes similar to other cows, but after a few years began increasing production.

Hats off to Barry

HATS OFF to a small group of New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay shareholders taking the fight to conglomerate Olam International. Led by Barry Brook, former chief executive of PGG Wrightson, the shareholders are not ready to give up their stake because Olam’s offer is “too low”. Olam already has 84% of NZFSU but must reach 90% to complete a compulsory takeover.

Write and Win! WINNING a new pair of Skellerup Red Band boots has just become easy. The best Letter to the Editor published in Dairy News each issue will receive a pair of boots. So, put your pen to paper and let your views and comments be known through the most widely read farming publication. And you may end up bagging the Skellerup Red Band boots. Send to: Letter to the Editor PO Box 3855, Auckland 1140. Email:

‘Super Cow’ 4307

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WE WOULD have thought mediation to be a somewhat gentlemanly business. Not so in the case of Horizons Regional Council and some organisations opposing parts of the controversial One Plan. Reports of acrimonious clashes and allegations of bullying and pressure to sign agreements are not in keeping with public expectations of a regional council – a body supposed to treat all people respectfully and even-handedly. We can understand that Horizons staff who concocted the One Plan feel passionately about their work and threatened when others challenge this. That came out in the original hearings, but the time for advocacy has passed and mediation should be solution focused and not acrimonious. The council and staff must be ready to listen to the ideas of the public. The One Plan is not the council’s plan: it is the community’s plan. The council’s job is to research the issues thoroughly and impartially then let the community decide. They have no right to take a position and defend it to the death. Too often staff in local authorities take on the mantle of elected representatives and effectively try to run the organisation as they set fit. But they are advisors, not decisionmakers, and need to step back from any such position. Advocacy for their position is fine, but when this degenerates into abuse and bully tactics they need to be stopped. We might ask, where is the leadership? The One Plan mediation is not easy, and it will soon get harder as the water quality issues come up for debate. If the council is not careful to manage its side of the mediation process better, it will find itself in the Environment Court facing appeals. Then will come a hefty bill for ratepayers and submitters, many of them farmers. Horizons keeps claiming it’s improving it relations with the rural community. To be fair they do some good things. But some of their actions in the One Plan suggest they have some way to go to convince farmers the leopard has changed its spots.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011



TPP’s state of play...

Trade Minister Tim Groser expects solid progress on TPP.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be discussed by Trade Minister Tim Groser as he visits Asia this week. Allowing New Zealand dairy products into the US remains a sticking point. In a recent speech Groser explained TPP’s state of play. “Let’s quickly review the negotiating history. If you don’t understand where you have come from, you won’t understand where you are going. The real roots of TPP lie two election cycles ago: the New Zealand/ Singapore FTA, started in the late 1990s by the National Government and brought to a successful conclusion by the previous Government. I was the chief negotiator at the time. The point of this negotiation was almost purely ‘strategic’. It was only a small overstatement to say there were no trade barriers to negotiate. Any economist trying to model the ‘gains from trade’ using traditional general equilibrium modeling would have been left scratching their head no matter what assumptions they fed into the computer. At the time, I deliberately and provocatively called the FTA a ‘Trojan

horse’, designed to gain entry to trade fortresses elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region. It infuriated the extreme left, opposed as they are fundamentally to trade liberalisation. Unfortunately, there are people in this country, as in all countries, who have never seen a trade agreement they liked. They never will. The strategy – explicit in background papers published and unpublished – was to provide a bridge between two small, open economies and two big strategic ideas. The first big idea was to merge the two geographically contiguous FTAs to which our small economies belonged – the CER for New Zealand and the ASEAN FTA (AFTA) for Singapore. That led, ten years down the track, to exactly the result: the AANZFTA. Job done, signed, sealed and delivered, the collective good work of many people and different

governments. Trade policy is not a field for people into instant gratification. Consistency of policy across the electoral cycle is vital since these initiatives frequently take more than a decade to accomplish. The second big idea was for the deal to be a bridge to what we called ‘P5’-- ‘Pacific Five’-- NZ, Singapore, Chile and Australia. The fifth economy was the real target: the United States. At that stage (late 1990s) none of the original Asia Pacific economies had an FTA with the United States. It has taken 10 more years – and two intermediate negotiations, one called P3 (New Zealand, Singapore, Chile) and another called ‘P4’ (Brunei wanted to join) – but finally we are there. TPP is P5, just a bigger and brighter version of it, with nine, not five, APEC economies. The strategic concept is exactly

the same: to expand the opportunities for all our economies by wider and wider concentric rings of freer trade and investment. Freer trade, by the way, is not the same as absence of regulation. I would say exactly the same with respect to the investment side of the equation. We still need effective regulation of markets – and that is a moving target as markets develop and new technologies emerge. That is why there is still a legitimate basis for ensuring such trade agreements allow ‘policy space’. It comes down to a balance between allowing flexibility on one side and certainty of the regulatory framework so as to encourage trade and

... it comes down to dairy As always in trade negotia-

tions, for New Zealand the most difficult issues come down largely to dairy. Dairy is, after all, about a quarter of our total merchandise exports. One prominent American official – a great and deep thinker who has moved in and out of academia and administrations over decades – has a great joke about New Zealand. He calls New Zealand ‘The Saudi Arabia of Milk’. It’s a great line and an affectionate line. But it is also profoundly wrong. We are nowhere close to the Saudi Arabia metaphor. We are the “Algeria of milk” – Algeria has about 2.5% of world oil production which is about what New

Zealand has of world dairy production. We have no capacity to ‘flood the American market’ with our milk. We can’t even keep up with

agricultural scientists in Hamilton at the LIC, if you have any doubts. And I have no doubt that the drive to improve environmental outcomes, and reduce the

“The US dairy industry is – let me be blunt – looking in the rear vision mirror.” the opportunities in China. I am a great believer in metrics. Let me put some numbers to this. New Zealand produces some 17 million tonnes of WME (wholemilk equivalent). Think – take out the water and you have 17 million tonnes of product left. We can increase our domestic dairy production by 2-3% per annum. Go and visit our wonderful

carbon intensity of this output, will continue. So by 2020 we might have another 4-7 million tonnes of dairy products available for export. This is equivalent to about 18 months of the likely growth of dairy consumption in India alone – forget China, Indonesia, the Middle East, Latin America. In quantitative terms the New

Zealand dairy industry is a small player. It is the United States dairy industry, not New Zealand, that is poised to take the major share of this growth. In the three year period 2005 to 2008 US dairy farmers captured some 60% of the international growth of dairy commodity that this vast and positive paradigm shift produced. The US dairy industry is – let me be blunt – looking in the rear vision mirror. They need to look at where they are going, not where they have been. This is not easy, I understand that political perceptions lag way behind reality.

investments on the other. There is no precision or set of inflexible rules here; it is a matter finally of political judgement where the balance should lie. For example, I remember well the political conversation on putting the first ‘Treaty of Waitangi’ clause in a Trade Agreement. We put it into our first set of services agreements in the Uruguay Round in 1994. Why? Because it was clear politically that New Zealand needed policy space in that domain. The domestic debate then – and probably now – was not sufficiently mature or settled to wrap the Treaty unequivocally in the Korowai, or coat, of international economic law.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011


Sire scheme turns 50 THE ‘GODFATHER’ of

herd improvement’ was honoured at National Fieldays, as the industry celebrated the sire proving scheme’s 50th anniversary. Patrick Shannon 50 years ago oversaw the introduction of the industry’s sire proving scheme. This ‘billion dollar man’ and ‘godfather of herd improvement’ joined Prime Minister John Key at LIC’s Fieldays site to celebrate the event. Shannon, 83, works two days per week at LIC’s Hamilton base. LIC chairman Stuart Bay says Shannon is a key figure in the success of the sire proving scheme. “Without doubt the breeding scheme is the largest, most complex and most efficient in the world. It has put 16 billion dollars into the national economy.” Before the scheme, farmers had no accurate way to assess the fertility or genetic merit of bulls they were using. The scheme reassured farmers, using bulls proven able to sire fertile productive cows on commercial dairy farms.

Tip Top serves a winner

Sire proving pioneer Patrick Shannon, Prime Minister John Key, LIC chairman Stuart Bay and CEO Mark Dewdney at the celebration.

Before Shannon’s employment in the 1940s New Zealand had 1.8 million cows, less than half today’s number. To get those cows in calf, to breed replacements, required 60,000 bulls, Bay says. “Along comes Pat, with a world-first we’re honouring today because without it we would have been driving blind.” Since 1961, the scheme has increased the rates of genetic gain in the

RUGBY AND ice cream are a winning combina-

Payback to the industry has been about $300 million per year, $16 billion in total.

national herd. Payback to the industry has been about $300 million per year, $16 billion in total. “The resulting transformation of this industry and the country has been extraordinary. Cows have since tripled

milksolids production.” Prime Minister Key encouraged productivity gain to keep New Zealand competing in world markets. “We can’t survive those changes unless we keep looking at produc-

tivity, keep improving and keep adding value. Ultimately this is what LIC and this technology are doing.” The graduates of LIC’s sire proving scheme join an artificial breedingbull elite team -- Premier Sires – responsible for four out of five dairy cows grazing our farms. These drive the industry, their genetic gain 60% of farm productivity improvement annually, says Bay.

‘New finance companies unlikely’ THE ECONOMIC environment

is not conducive to new finance companies, says PGG Wrightson chairman John Anderson. With high risk for investors, the launch of new finance companies is unlikely for some time, he says. “We’re not even thinking of

our own finance company again,” he told Dairy News, commenting on the sale of PGW Finance to Heartland New Zealand. The sale, likely to fetch $100 million, will be finalised August 31. As part of the deal, PGW Finance will transfer $96.5m of loans to a wholly owned PGW

special purpose business. It will realise or refinance these loans in the short-to-medium term. Heartland will become the issuer of the debt securities currently issued by PGW Finance PWF and would take over all aspects of PWF’s business, including its loan book and staff. 

A distribution and services agreement allows Heartland to offer loans and services to PGW’s farmer clients. Anderson says PGW Finance will be forming part of a larger financial institution specialising in many markets PWF operates in.

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tion for Fonterra. Its ice cream subsidiary Tip Top has broken a five-year sales record with its latest offering – All Blacks Trumpets. Consumers bought 534,412 in the product’s first eight weeks, the greatest number of sales, in that time slot, during the last five years for any ice cream. Tip Top managing director Brett Charlton puts the success down to three iconic ingredients – All Blacks, hokey pokey and the Trumpet call. “Everyone loves a Trumpet, an affair dating back to when Rachel Hunter first graced our ads. “Then there’s Hokey Pokey, unique to our country and Kiwis’ second-favourite to vanilla in ice cream flavours. “But most of all, Kiwis want to show support for our boys in black.” Second to the All Blacks Trumpet, in the last five years the company’s Memphis Meltdown Rocky Road was the most-bought ice cream during its first eight weeks, followed by the M&M Trumpet. The Trumpet’s success fits perfectly in this exciting year for the company, Charlton says. “This is a big year for us – we’re celebrating Tip Top’s 75th birthday – and for the All Blacks. “We wanted to recognise this. Combining three New Zealand icons seemed the perfect fit.” This is the first time Tip Top has made a hokey pokey Trumpet. It comes in All Blacks branded packaging. The company worked on this All Blacks-licensed promotion with the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Dairy News // june 28, 2011


management ‘Supplements good, necessary’ Supplements are both good and necessary today, Donal Blackwell says. “We’re looking at the consistency of cow performance from day 1 in lactation through to day 300. “Milk production requirements vary from day 1 to day 80; they increase to a peak and, obviously, taper off. Ideally you’d like to see a production drop post-peak at or about 2.0-2.5% per week.” Changing weather patterns affect pasture growth and supplements help balance a cow’s diet in a way grass cannot, he says. Many cows, espe-

A cow’s feed intake needs to be fine tuned, says nutritionist Donal Blackwell (inset).

Cow mechanic tunes them fine PETER BURKE

A STRONG element of guesswork prevails in New Zealand cow feeding methods, says animal nutritionist Donal Blackwell, of Keenan, Rakaia. He questions whether anyone truly knows how much feed cows eat daily while grazing pasture. Hence the importance of a nutritionist to fine tune cows’ feed intake so they produce to their potential. Blackwell says though milk production is one indicator, it is not subtle enough to tell whether the cow has been fed well during the preceding 24 hours. “There’s an element of guesswork. It comes down in many cases to invaluable years of experience of what pasture intake is being consumed. “Depending on wet or dry days, pasture dry matter intake is going

“A cow having a nutrionist is like a car having a mechanic – there to fine tune the engine.” to vary, so it’s hard to get consistency.” Is retaining a nutritionist overthe-top for a farmer? No, it makes perfect sense, Blackwell says. “A cow having a nutritionist is like a car having a mechanic – there to fine tune the engine. That’s the same for a nutritionist with a cow. “Nutritionists fine tune cows’ engines at different stages of lactation and gestation, and ensure their diet is balanced. “In New Zealand we try to optimise and maximise the grazed pasture depending on stocking rate and weather – the latter liable to change. It’s about fully feeding

a cow on any day during the year because, like any engine, it needs to be fully topped up.” Blackwell hails from Ireland where his folks are dairy farmers near Limerick. He arrived here 10 years ago when very little supplement was being fed to cows. But in the last few years this has changed. Now he’s amazed at the amount of supplementary feeding. “There’s been a significant shift over the past ten years in how farmers feed cows and their willingness to try different feeds.” The feed mixes Blackwell puts together are usually specific to the farm involved. “That could reflect on the amount of pasture available per head, per day. So we customise diets to reflect production requirements at different stages of the year or an annual production requirement for that herd. The variation in what’s in the mixes around the country isn’t huge.”

cially in the North Island, because of the bad weather late last yeat, have taken to regain condition. He measures this by a ‘happy line’ around a cow. “It’s a sort-of line of subcutaneous body fat that builds up mid-rib on cows. Generally it tends to, or should, turn up after a cow has been in milk about 100 days. This year this did not happen until about 200 days in milk. “Cows were unconditioned for two thirds of their lactation and were on the back foot the whole time. They lost quite a bit of production.”


Dairy News // june 28, 2011


Getting the best out of people WORKING WITH teams both sides of the Tasman enables me to see various approaches to getting the best out of people. So I’m thinking about

Effective leadership helps fully release staff potential.

teamwork, in particular the merits of different leadership styles. This is relevant now in New Zealand as we celebrate ‘Leadership Week’.


People respond to leadership challenge in different ways. Managers and supervisors commonly ask why staff are not simply self-motivated. They are often mystified that employees don’t perform at levels natural to business owners and farming families. Many believe that when people are paid well they can be expected to perform. But this mindset falls short of what is needed to fully release potential through effective leadership. It contrasts autocratic my-way-or-

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with deeper appreciation of each individual’s personality, learning and work style. This style recognises training and systems development secure gains from a culture of continuous improvement. Transformational leadership is about helping people change to better meet the needs of the operation. Leaders mentor and collaborate so that their people better understand what is expected of them and how they can contribute to results. Each method has its place. The transactional (more functional) focus is valid for short term projects or situations where results from operational tasks are unlikely to benefit from development of wider skills and capabilities. But such output focus tends to limit growth potential within the business.

11/15/10 10:01:06 AM

the-highway leadership style with more democratic, consultative and collaborative management methods. These two extremes of the leadership spectrum we may call ‘transactional’ vs ‘transformational’ leadership. Transactional leadership says staff are paid to do as they are told. It assumes employees are there to work and the boss is there to give instructions and monitor results. In return the business rewards agreed performance outcomes; it rewards an employee’s compliance with requests and his/her working within agreed systems. Here the leader’s time is mostly spent refocusing people on the desired outcomes from their role. Now contrast the transformational leadership style. This typically grows the skills and capabilities of team members. Though focused on performance outcomes, it gets results by developing people,

Transformational leaders recognise that by developing their team they can delegate more, so reducing time they must spend on management, and instead work more on entrepreneurial or business development activities. Striking the right balance in these aspects of people management is as much an art as a science. A fundamental is for leaders to truly understand themselves, including continuously improving their selfawareness and emotional intelligence, the better to ‘read’ what is going on for individuals and the team. This, in turn, engenders motivation and enthusiasm for developing people and a team culture to get best business performance: sustainable profits and delegation to protect the business focus and lifestyle of team leaders. • Kerry Ryan is an agribusiness consultant.


Dairy News // june 28, 2011



Getting smarter in the milk shed MILKSMART HAS been developed to: • Increase labour productivity in the milk harvesting area. This will allow farmers to reallocate saved time to other parts of the business. • Reduce stress on cows through improving stock handling skills and infrastructure design. By reducing stress levels it is expected that cows will milk faster and often produce more milk. • Improve the working environment for milkers.

This will be achieved through better shed design and raising awareness of good milking techniques. • Promote understanding and encourage the adoption of technology that will increase labour efficiency. Operations on farm can be streamlined through the use of technology allowing farmers to reallocate time or reduce overall labour inputs.

DairyNZ’s Milksmart workshops give on-the-spot tips to improve milking efficiency.

Bunny hopping helps milking SEVERAL CHANGES to his processes

have sliced 45 minutes off Hamish Johnson’s milking times, making it all much easier. Johnson had struggled with the length of milking times since the beginning of last season when he moved to his contract milking position at Geraldine; his first experience with a herringbone shed. There Johnson and one worker spent at least three hours milking 550 cows through the 40-bail shed. They were always tired. “We were fast and efficient at most things on the farm. It drove me crazy we weren’t quick in the shed. “Constant battling to get the cows to come in and get in position took us a lot of leg work.” Then a breakthrough. Johnson asked his mate Josh Wheeler for advice. Wheeler, helping run DairyNZ Milksmart workshops, gave Johnson onthe-spot tips to help improve his milking efficiency. He promptly made changes then attended a Milksmart workshop in December at Ashburton for more ideas. Adopting the bunny hopping method in the shed (two milkers cupping alternate batches of four or five insets of cups as they move along each row of cows)

and using the backing gate more often has boosted cow flow in and out of the dairy. “We were amazed how much time we saved from the start. No more wasting time pushing cows up and out of the shed. “We now open the gate when we reach bail 20 and the finished cows walk out by themselves while we cup on the rest. “Now we hum along. We fly through milking without feeling we’re going fast. It’s real easy.” Also saving time is permanent marking of slow-milking cows. They are cupped on early and milked out with all the other cows mornings, then milked only for a limited time at night. “This has worked well. If the slow milkers have a little left at night we leave it and get it in the morning – no effect on production or cell counts.” Changing to two-hand cupping eases pressure on Johnson’s arms and back. He found this awkward in the first week, but now it feels natural. “I’m stoked at how much more efficient Milksmart has made us,” Johnson says.

Rural News What task on my farm would I get the greatest results from using a TracMap GPS System?

Have you thought about the quality of your replacements?




The game is up. Your replacements bench is a good indicator as to how well you’ll finish the game. On the farm the heifers you bring into the herd each season will have an immediate impact on your bottom line – for better or for worse.

The freshstart® calf development program is based on the simple premise that you cannot prepare a calf for grass (fibre) by feeding a non-fibre product. It’s a common sense approach to stimulating full stomach development in animals (ruminants) that spend a lifetime consuming pasture.

Farmers who have weaned and reared their calves on the freshstart® calf development program report better quality animals from weaning right through to herd replacements. The new milkers are introduced at the peak of their game and contribute strongly to your milk returns from day one. Additionally, indicative evidence suggests these heifers carry superior genes which can be passed on from generation to generation (Phenotypic Plasticity).

Better still, the freshstart® calf development program is not expensive. In fact, it is about the same cost as any meal based programme. So get your profits over the advantage line. Check your biggame strategy online at and come away a winner with a strong replacements bench.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011

animal health Meeting housing needs of newborns QUALITY OF housing can greatly

affect calf health and survival, and so impact.the season’s success. Preparations for calving should include checking calf housing: is it up to scratch? And hygiene routines shouldn’t be forgotten, no matter how good your shed set-up is. Shelter and ventilation Calf housing must keep newborns warm and dry, protecting from rain and prevailing winds. And it must have adequate airflow to minimise build-up of gas, especially ammonia. Getting both right requires reducing draughts at calf height and ensuring adequate airflow above calf height. Check the airflow above calf height by looking for condensation on the ceiling: zero or minimal condensation indicates good airflow. In warmer areas, slatted external walls from 1.5m above calf height may improve ventilation. Check draughtiness at calf height with a lighted match: it shouldn’t blow out. Reduce draughts by building solid sides on pens up to 1m above calf height (in addition to external walls). If flooring is slatted (e.g. the house is a converted shearing shed), reduce

under-floor draughts with windbreak material or timber to block gaps. A long overhang on the open side of the shed will reduce rain drift entering the house. Facility safety Check there are no sharp edges, nails or steel at calf height to injure the stock. Make sure permanent cladding and roofing is well maintained and temporary coverings/windbreaks (e.g. tarpaulins) are secured. Check that no newly tanalised wood is accessible to stock. Lying surfaces and space allowance Access to comfortable lyGood quality housing helps calf health and ing down area ensures calves survival. can rest as needed. Ensure bedding is topped up regularly or replaced, depending on the system used. A minimum of 1.5m² per calf is A floor gently sloping higher back recommended. Keeping numbers beto lower front will enhance drainage, low 20 per pen is helpful for ease of but must have adequate collection monitoring and observation. along the front of the building. Check Drinking water regional council rules for effluent Clean, fresh drinking water must collection. be available at all times for all calves.

Position troughs so calves can’t soil them easily. Pens for sick calves Set aside an area for segregating sick calves, to minimise risk of disease spreading. Locate the sick pens to one side of the shed, or at the

back, so no healthy calves need pass through. Solid sides on sick pens help reduce contact between healthy and sick calves. A separate air space is even better (e.g. by using solid partitions to roof height). On identifying a sick calf, remove it immediately to the sick mob and, if contagious, disinfect its pen and closely monitor pen mates for signs of ill-health. To avoid cross-contamination, feed and care for sick calves after all other calves have been attended to, or assign a different person to run the sick pen. Bobby calf collection pens The needs of calves waiting for collection are no different from any other calf. See to those calves’ needs while they await pick-up. They need shelter from prevailing wind and rain, and from under-floor draughts. Deal with sharp edges and gaps in floors/walls/ramps: any gaps must be smaller than a newborn’s hoof. Provide fresh drinking water in collection pens so calves can stay hydrated until their journey. Article supplied by DairyNZ.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011


animal health


Plan with your staff before calving starts.


MANY THINGS affect the success and

stress of calving. Things like weather we can’t control, but lots we can. To get control, first review your last calving. With your staff, decide what worked and what did not. What could the whole team do differently? Now use this as the basis for planning this calving. Ask these questions: • What was the rate of metabolic disease? • How many grades did we get, if any? • How did the calf rearing go? • How was milk production? • How organised were we? What hours did we work? • Did anyone leave during calving and why? Armed with those answers, ask: • What things must we stop doing? • What systems or processes need improving? • What is going well and should be continued? To get a result different from last year’s, planning is the key. Get the team together and work out a plan. Do what you can before calving starts (be proactive). Give new staff a good orientation, get-

ting them up to speed quickly and safely before calving. See the DairyNZ HR Toolkit for tips and suggestions. Re-energise existing staff by giving them a good break over winter. Prepare your team by identifying the skills needed during calving and matching those against the skills the team currently has. Use training to fill the gaps. Involve the team in planning; you might be surprised at their ideas. Make sure everyone agrees on systems and what role they must play. Once calving has begun: Keep communicating – vital when time is short. Meet the whole team regularly; innovate to make this happen? Perhaps have breakfast together each day, so everyone starts the day well fed and knowing the priorities for the day. Make sure staff get enough time off, suitably rostered. Monitor each person’s hours; excessive hours can affect health and safety, and risk costly mistakes. Review Review your systems; easy-to-follow systems make life easier for everyone. Review at the end of calving: what worked and what did not. Much easier to remember what you’ve just been through. • Sarah Watson is DairyNZ developer, people and business.

Best practice in calf rearing All calves, including

bobbies must receive adequate fresh colostrum within the first 24 hours of life and should be fed colostrum, or a colostrum substitute, for at least the first four days of life Always handle calves gently and with care. Do not allow anyone to throw, hit or drag a calf at any time. Electric prodders must not be used on calves Calves that are not with their dams must be provided with shelter so that they can stay warm and dry Calf pens must be fit for purpose

and well maintained. Bedding areas must be comfortable, clean and dry, with adequate ventilation to ensure that ammonia gas does not build up. Exposed concrete, bare earth and mud are not acceptable Calves should be fed at the same times each day to minimise stress Always ensure your calves have access to large quantities of clean water Feed calves well to rapidly achieve weaning weight with a well developed rumen.


Making stress-free calving a reality

Anyone who has lived through a calf scours outbreak knows the devastating toll it takes on your stress levels, family time and finances. Even when the outbreak is finally over, the negative effects on your business can be felt for years. Scours is a real risk, not to be taken lightly. It can even happen to farmers who are using best practice methods. And because rotavirus is prevalent across New Zealand, it can strike farms with no previous history. With Rotavec® Corona, only one shot to pregnant dams is required to help provide the protection needed to prevent infectious

scours caused by rotavirus, coronavirus and E. coli common on New Zealand farms. Maximise herd coverage by vaccinating the whole herd at 3 weeks prior to planned start of calving. Or individual cows can be vaccinated any time between 12 and 3 weeks before they calve. Rotavec Corona: the flexible, one-shot way to help you avoid the hell of calf scours – and reach your full dairy potential.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011

animal health/breeding

New gain in breeding AUSTRALIAN DAIRY farmers attending industry

Gabriel Bo

seminars have been told fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI) improves breeding outcomes compared to natural joining. FTAI eliminates the need for heat detection and utilises oestrus synchronisation to create a tighter calving pattern as well as follicle-stimulating hormones to increase conception rates. Hosted by industry leaders Bayer Animal Health and Bioniche Animal Health, the seminars at Shepparton and Warrnambool were presented by Argentinean vet Dr Gabriel Bo.

Bo is a research professor and bovine reproduction specialist with experience in cattle reproductive technologies, including large scale commercial breeding planning and implementation using artificial insemination, embryo transfer and oestrus synchronisation. Fertility is declining in dairy herds worldwide. All the more interesting that Bo told his audience reproduction performance is crucial in dairying, and that close calving patterns are paramount to breeding success. Bo showed a broad spread of findings across many research programmes, to measure and compare in-calf rates (ICRs) across a number of breeding protocols. Two of these studies were done in Australia. Two products from Bayer Animal Health relate to FTAI programs. One is Cue- Mate, an intra-vaginal device that releases progesterone to synchronise oestrus. The other is a hormone treatment that helps stimulate follicle development for a larger, more dominant follicle. Heat synchronisation with Cue-Mate ensures cows and heifers are cycling together and can be joined in a shorter time frame, resulting in a tighter calving pattern. This enables labour needs can be better planned. And, in the long run, a tighter calving pattern means earlier milk profits, Bayer points out. Also, stimulating the development of a larger follicle is more likely to result in first service fertilisation, the company says. This improved conception rate at first service saves time and money, and helps achieve the desired tighter calving pattern. Bayer says its recent research shows only 8% of dairy farmers using a FTAI program or variation. This protocol gave greatest gains in reproductive efficiency in research by David Beggs, a cattle vet, lecturer and researcher from western Victoria. His data showed oestrus synchronised FTAI achieved 68% six-week ICR, a percentage well ahead of all other breeding protocols, including natural joining, Bayer says. Bo’s presentation also emphasised the need for repeatable results. “Dairy producers want predictable results from breeding programs,” he says. Overall, he stressed that predictable breeding programmes improved conception rates, increased tighter pregnancy rates and calving patterns, streamlined labour requirements and saved time and money.

‘Farmers use antibiotics responsibly’ FARMERS ARE using antibiotics responsibly with

vets’ advice, says MAF. The comment follows a survey on antimicrobial resistance to important and commonly used antibiotics among bacteria found in freshly dressed carcasses of calves and other animals. MAF public health principal adviser Donald Campbell says the survey indicates farmers are using antibiotics responsibly in compliance with vet advice. There are no worries about human health. ”Although the survey detected some resistance to certain antimicrobials from particular bacteria found in the targeted foods, it is pleasing to see that the resistance has no direct implications for human health.” A comparison of results from this survey with limited data from earlier New Zealand studies on bacteria from animals suggests no increase in resistance in food-producing animals. Antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria – which do not respond to antibiotics – are increasingly associated with human illness and death. Most are due to use in human medicine, but there is also a potential for transmission via the food chain. The year-long survey done in 2009-10 focused on antimicrobial resistance to important and commonly used antibiotics.

Dairy News // june 28, 2011


effluent & water management

Keys to maintaining effluent systems TREVOR FOLEY

YOU MAY have the time and energy

– before calving begins – to ‘spruce up’ your farm’s effluent pump and applicator gear. Here’s what to look for. Start at the sand trap; thoroughly clean it. Use a digger to clear out the sediment trapped in corners. A clean trap does its job better, slowing effluent to about 2km/hour, allowing sediment and objects to settle in the trap and stay out of your system. If this takes work with a shovel, consider a redesign to allow a front loader to do the job instead. Store the solids in a concrete bunker or other sealed area where the liquid can drain back into your effluent system. Now the pump: most are the vertical type. Lift it out and check it for wear and tear, especially on the impeller. Look for wear on the metal blades, easy to see if your cows have

A clean trap does its job better, slowing effluent to about 2km/hour, allowing sediment and objects to settle in the trap and stay out of your system. been on coarse supplement feeds such as PKE. A badly worn impeller will cause a big drop in liquid pressure and volume to your applicator. If it’s badly worn fit a new one. Check the pump motor coupling – a steel base and top (resembling fingers) that lock together and drive the pump. Between these is a rubber-star coupling that protects the pump from vibration and shock. Check for cracking or wear on the rubber. A new one costs about $40 (part and labour). If cracked it can se-

verely damage the pump. Also on the pump check the motor covers and cooling fans. A faulty fan can’t cool, so the motor can overheat and burn out. Inspect the pump delivery pipework, usually alkathene. If it’s crimped and damaged it won’t deliver enough pressure and volume of effluent to your irrigator. Check irrigator hoses and draglines. A season or two of dragging them over races and around fence posts with the ATV can be hard on them. Hose clamps and the CamLock levers on the fittings can get damaged and wear can make them come loose. Some farmers line up all their hoses after irrigating, strap them together and tie old sacks over the ends of them to protect the fittings. Doing something like this and replacing worn fittings is a cheap fix. $200 or so will buy a few spare fittings as an emergency irrigator repair kit. Bring your traveller or stationary irrigators back to the shed and give

If your sand-trap is too small for the bucket of a front end loader, like this, it may be time to invest in a new one.

them a good hose-down; check their condition. Check the feed wire on your traveller for fraying. Use a grease gun on the traveller’s nipples, drive cam and other moving parts. Greasing regularly, ideally every time you move the irrigator to a new paddock, prevents wear, keeps maintenance bills down and keeps it travelling freely and at the right rate. Nozzles are important. They must not be missing, cracked or cut. A quick-lock fitting can save hassles when you need to remove blockages.

Same goes for pods and other static irrigators: each nozzle must be clean, moving parts should move freely. Walk around the effluent block and check anchor points. Rotten posts will lead to ‘donut’ action if you’re operating a traveller. On this note, it may pay to fit a high/low pressure switch at the pump. A device like this will shut off the irrigator at the pump if there’s a build up of high or low pressure indicating your traveller’s in trouble. • Trevor Foley is a DairyNZ environmental extension specialist.


Dairy News // june 28, 2011

effluent & water management

From storage to spread A SYSTEM to effluent from storage to spreading is clean, efficient, cost effective and environmentally sound, says developer Plucks Engineering, Rakaia. Such systems begin with the company’s Enviro Saucer offered in a range of

sizes 50,000-700,000L. Used with Plucks’ stirrer and pump system, this component blends effluent into a smooth mix, sending it for screening with a constant texture – no big lumps to clog the system. Constant

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The Enviro Saucer can be made in a huge range of sizes.

blending greatly reduces smell and hard build-up of residue, leaving less crud sticking to catchment area outer edges. At screening Plucks’ rotary screen sifts rubbish, allowing only pure effluent to the catchment pond for irrigation. The screen extracts fibre, hair and leftover feed from effluent wash from the dairy shed via the Enviro Saucer. It is strong enough to cope with e.g. syringes, hoofs, rubber gloves, tails, etc. It screens down to just under 1mm. The screen consumes only 0.40kW power, and is maintenance free and self cleaning. Every two hours it washes itself for three minutes with fresh water. It is close to impossible to block, the maker says. Screened effluent then flows to the catchment pond for extraction for irrigation. At the pond a further effluent stirrer keeps the effluent biologically in ‘good order’ and

w!ADR 500 Effluent Screening Plant


r The screening unit uses very low electricity: 0.4 kW.


r Self cleaning screen, with fresh water five minute wash cycle at end of cycle (approx 2 hours/milking).

crust-free and no sludge at the bottom. Keeping the pond contents in suspension is critical Plucks says. Constant aeration and sunshine keeps effluent in good biological order so that when spread it leaves no dark sludge on the ground. The company says its pond stirrer gives continuous contents movement, but at very low power consumption. “It would have been easy to create a powerful machine to do the job, but this would result in a massive power bill. Cost-effectiveness was top priority.” This system is patented by Plucks Engineering as the Processing, Screening & Filtering Dairy Effluent Twin Pond System. This system is completed by Plucks patented LP35E Effluent Irrigator, “the most accurate and even spreading effluent irrigator avail-

able in New Zealand.” Plucks’ effluent irrigator has a flat rain curve right across the wetted width of 30 m. It can apply as little as 5mm coverage. This leaves no dark strips up and down a paddock because it doesn’t have the standard travelling irrigator design fault of putting most of the water on at the outside edges of the wetted width, and little in the middle area of each run. Says Neil Pluck, “Also it will not create a doughnut like mark because of the evenness of the rain coming from the new boom design. “Also, no ponding is left behind after each run because the rain rate is too light and even. Most times it is hard to see where the irrigator has been after each run, keeping the farmer in line with current environmental expectations.”

Tel. 0800 758257


r Self cleaning ponds, because of Plucks EPS pond stirrers. r All plant and pumps very low kW: the complete set up needs a total of less than 18 kW to run, that’s both pumps, both stirrers and screen combined, but of course they don’t all run at the same time, so even less power per hour is used.

Check out Delivery Times

r Nothing for you the farmer to do but bog out the bunker once a month or so.

Pluck’s can adapt our ADR 500 and twin pond effluent system to work with your current effluent set up, regardless of its age or pond sizes, keeping your upgrade costs down.

r Effluent is clean enough to be pumped into a pivot system if required. r Screens out everything bigger than 1 mm.

• • • • • • • • • • •

Our reputation is built on quality of construction and componentry Low power requirements Unique one position control of filling pump site levels and shut off Fill from front or rear Automatic shut off of pressure/vacuum safety valves Visible sight glasses 11 metre suction hose Internal baffles Corrosion protection paint on inside Inspection/cleaning manhole Hydraulically operated opening valve

Dealers throughout New Zealand For more information call us at Plucks

0800 PLUCKS 0 •










Main South Road, Rakaia 7710 • Mid Canterbury

For more information Phone 07 533 1259 or 07 533 1417 Fax 07 533 1560 RD9 Te Puke or see your dealer

Dairy News // june 28, 2011


effluent & water management

EFFLUENT OVERFLOW containment ponds are a speciality of Irri-Max Ltd, experienced in installing Firestone EPDM liners in dairy effluent ponds. Overflow ponds are a suitable alternative to rigid structures such as tanks and prefab slab ponds. The ponds can be supplied for installation by the buyer. Typically a containment would be 100,000250,000L, allowing up to four days for system repair on 400-1000 cow farm (based on 60L/cow/ day). Versatile sheet size of Firestone EPDM means no on-site joining or seaming are needed. Irri-Max Ltd will supply the rolls of Firestone EPDM, PR25 underliner & Solpac gas drainage, plus all fasteners, and will include an excavation dimension drawing and easily followed instructions. Subject to correct installation, the buyer may apply for Firestone’s 20-year material warranty. Cost of a 250,000 L kit (supplied) is $7500+GST to “many” North Island farms. Tel. 0800 42 62 96

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Praise for irrigation plan an acceptable funding model will help

irrigation schemes off the ground, says the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda 2011. The report, prepared after interviews with 80 farming leaders, says third parties need certainty to invest with scheme users to build a multi-generational asset. It sees as positive the Government’s decision to provide $35 million over five years for the Irrigation Acceleration Fund to help schemes develop proposals to an ‘investment-ready’ prospectus stage.

It also praises the proposal to find $400m in funding for the Crown to co-invest with third parties for regional schemes. “Acknowledgement by the Government

that the Crown has an investment role in these important economic assets will undoubtedly give third-party investors greater confidence to co-invest,” it says. Commenting on the Government proposal, Fonterra says the natural competitive advantage associated with New Zealand’s water-rich status can be turned into more wealth for our country. “Any investment in infrastructure to store water is a good step towards this goal,” it says.




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Dairy News // june 28, 2011

effluent & water management

Simple but effective effluent spreader RX Plastics managing director Shawn Cawood, Tony Atwool and Phil Gatehouse with one of the new K-Line Effluent pods and sprinkler unit.


from 30 years of reliable service 3,000 farmers cannot be wrong CONVERSION KIT AVAILABLE


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Now NZ distributors for Trailco – full range of gun and hard hose irrigators

A NEW, low-cost means of spreading effluent, developed by RX Plastics, stems from the company’s popular K-Line irrigation. The pod-and-pipe K-Line Effluent range, which had its first ‘national’ showing last week at Fieldays, comes in four ‘sizes’ so a farmer can find the right system regardless of farm area or budget. “We knew there was massive potential for a New Zealand-made solution based on the K-Line concept,” RX Plastics sales and marketing manager Phil Gatehouse says. And the system designer, Tony Atwool, the company’s manager for irrigation and effluent says though effluent disposal is a new area for them “we’ve covered all types of farm setups with our solutions.” Whether a farm has only a stone-trap filter or a big filtration system, K-Line Effluent presents a suitable option. The range includes K-Line Std, K-Line Mid, K-Line Max70 and KLine Max80. Each addresses a different need, depending on a farm’s resources. The system simply comprises plastic pods connected by flexible polyethylene pipe.  The pods and pipes are easy to install and move, and may easily be adapted as a farm expands. Central to each pod is a revolving sprinkler. Less time and effort to manage effluent disposal translates directly to a lower cost, RX Plastics says. K-Line Mid and K-Line Std are

K-Line Effluent pod unit in action.

for farms with developed solidsseparation systems, such as twopond storage (for the K-Line Mid) or a weeping wall (appropriate for the K-Line Std). These help retain nutrients in grass, reducing fertiliser needs.  Notably, liquid quality need not be especially fine. Large sprinkler heads in the K-Line Max70 and Max80 can dispose of effluent containing some solids.  

Says Atwool, “Application rates of 2mm/hour – quite low – can be achieved using K-Line Effluent, allowing soil to absorb nutrients and bacteria before the liquid enters waterways.” A further benefit, according to RX, is the low application rates offered by the system – effectively meeting the demands of resource consents and reducing run off to streams and waterways.

Bigger calves, less work, less cost – PERFECT!

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011

effluent & water management

ISD Ltd managing director Richard Tyree (left) and sales manager Robert Meister, at National Fieldays.

‘Do it once, but do it right’ NEIL KEATING


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“It comes down to treating effluent to capture two ‘streams’: nutrients and water,” Meister says. “Our systems can deliver dewatered nutrient-loaded solids and fine particles in one stream and, if required, in another stream, inert

“No more of this just adding a pump and adding an irrigator; a new approach is needed. The crucial issue is to do the right thing by the farm as well as meeting regulations.”

Designed for thick dairy effluent, not just dirty water, the DODA PTO effluent pump in combination with our Uni Sprinklers along with the required lengths of layflat hose, will help get you sorted Get more out of your dairy effluent and your tractor. To find out more call the team that dairy farmers trust, or contact your nearest dealer.

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“future-proofing” dairy farms facing more stringent environmental rules. So says Whangarei manufacturer ISD Ltd, whose “intelligent engineering” approach to effluent involves “understanding the drivers” of effluent treatment, “then

doing it once and doing it right,” says sales manager Robert Meister. “Farmers know they need to future-proof their operations with effluent treatment that’s ahead of the rules. “No more of this just adding a pump and adding an irrigator; a new approach is needed. The crucial issue is to do the right thing by the farm as well as meeting regulations. “And the main drivers vary from farm to farm. A farm may need to begin simply by separating solids and liquids, others may want to reduce and recycle water or stop large ponds from filling up with solids – it just depends on the need.” ISD’s big-picture approach is summarised in its “E2W (effluent to water)” catchphrase emblazoned on its prominent National Fieldays site.

water (free of all suspended solids and macronutrients i.e. N, P and K, pathogens and bacteria and suitable for return to natural waterways or pasture). ISD Ltd, previously known as Industrial Stainless & Design Ltd, was recently acquired by investors led by managing director Richard Tyree, most of whom have key roles in the business. The company specialised in mechanical separation for dairy factories and food processing and more latterly is known for its screw press separators for effluent. ISD’s product range for dairy effluent includes screw press separators, the Centrifier fine particle separator, the Purafier, and the Forsi water treatment system. Tel. 0800 473 001


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Dairy News // june 28, 2011


effluent & water management

Bacteria switch aids clean-up TONY HOPKINSON


disposal of dairy shed and feed pad effluent has moved in several different directions, not always opposing but all wanting to achieve the same result. The oldest method -direct spraying to pasture -- carries the worry of whether nutrients will enter streams or waterways. Then there’s sending the effluent to separators, screens or weeping walls to remove solids for spreading on pasture, and spraying liquid direct. New on this scene is an additive for washdown water which rapidly alters the composition of the pond contents, resulting in material which, when sprayed, enhances the soil and is quickly as-

similated by pasture. One such product is Impact, from Biomagic NZ Ltd, Auckland. Biomagic sales manager Clive Breeds told Dairy News the product is imported from the US in 20L containers. In use it is simply tipped onto the yard once monthly in measured amounts during wash down, following initial treatment of the pond contents. The quantity depends on herd size, pond size and whether or not it contains feed pad effluent. Understanding how an effluent pond works is important, Breeds says, as is knowing what Impact does to change and improve effluent composition. A pond normally has anaerobic bacteria slowly digesting waste. Or-

ganic material build-up over time results in foul odours. So ponds need regularly cleaning, often with diggers.

Clive Breeds

Impact turns the pond contents to aerobic (from anaerobic), resulting in faster digestion. Faster action by aerobic bacteria dissolve surface crust and bottom sludge; more complete digestion helps prevent clogging in irrigation lines. “Aerobic bacteria can do in six hours what may take anaerobic bacteria 60-70 days,” says Breeds.

From starting treatment with Impact, the surface crust disappeared within two weeks.

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‘Scum has disappeared’ ENTHUSIASTIC IMPACT user Emma Dingle, of the original pond built for 300 cows. The pond had Rangiriri, says their pond condition is now way dif- gone so solid that adults could walk on it. This ferent from the ‘bad old days’. needed frequent digging out, most recently in sum“What used to amaze me was, within a week of mer 2009-10. the stuff being dug out the pond would Dingle heard about Impact and quickly revert to no improvement.” Biomagic sales manager Clive Breeds The farm, family-owned 18 years during a visit said they could fix the and converted to dairying 14 years problem. He first cleared five holes ago, has been share milked by Emma around the edge of the pond and poured and her husband for 11 years. First it Impact in. milked 300 cows then, adding extra Says Dingle, “He said it would work land to 170ha (eff.), it grew to 500 cows and it did. The pond now has no scum in a 36-aside herringbone. The land is on the top, there are no islands of grass flat with 80 ha irrigated in summer. and solids, and after two months most Split calving suits soils, management Emma Dingle of the stuff on the bottom had lifted.” and seasons. Pond contents are now of even consistency. DinThey grow maize for silage and buy some in, gle adds Impact monthly, tipping it into wash-down feeding via feed pad April to October-November. water. The maize has PKE added. They also make grass The pond has an irrigation pump in the centre silage and hay. with an inlet from the shed at the side. They spray Effluent had been sprayed direct to pasture from 2-3 days weekly depending on weather.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011

effluent & water management

Turning effluent into valuable spread NEW AT Fieldays, a 20,000L effluent tanker from Giltrap was one of the bigger bits of kit seen. It weighs 7700 kg (tare) and nearly 30 tonnes fully loaded. This large Giltrap slurry spreader has many advantages on-farm. It can be used in most areas, often in places not accessible with an irrigator, and can be easily used by one person. It’s fast, accurate and efficient with filling times of between 4 and 8 minutes, and has controllable spreading rates to manage Nitrogen application. Six-wheel hydraulic

braking aids performance, as do triple axles with radial low ground pressure tyres. The front and rear axles steer to eliminate scuffing on pastures. Both axles lock for reversing and working on hillsides. It is mounted on an integrated chassis running the length of the tank, giving a low centre of gravity for safety in the field. A convenient option is a hydraulic suspension draw bar which prevents shock loading on the tractor draw bar; this can also lift the front of the tank to assist emptying. The tank has three

internal baffles which reinforce the tank cylinder, and reduce liquid surging. Internally the tank is painted with a three-pack epoxy resin as a corrosion inhibitor, while externally the surface is first garnet blasted, followed by a high build etch primer and a polyethylene finish coat. “We get occasional comments about having our tanks galvanised, but this treatment offers protection as good, if not better against the effects of effluent,” says Sales Manager Eric Crosby. The tank is filled and

emptied using a Battioni Pagani PTO-powered 12,000 L/min pump. Intake is through a 200 mm rubber suction hose. Two 4m lengths are supplied to connect to the pond intake, plus a 3m galvanised steel probe for in the pond. Filling can assisted by a hydraulic impellor pump to reduce filling times. Auto shut-off prevents over-filling. During emptying the tank is pressurised. A fan-type distributor at the rear is remotely opened, sending product as far as 12 m, depending on its composition. Side deliv-

Giltrap Engineering managing director Craig Bellamy (left) and sales manager Eric Crosby with the effluent tank at National Fieldays.

ery and reverse mounted spouts are available. For an environmental advantage the tank can also be operated with a trailing shoe applicator from Giltrap which will significantly improve the levels of Nitrogen recovered from the effluent saving thousands of dollars in Urea expenses, and reduces odour and run-off or ponding.

Tel. 0800 80 44 58

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leading design” in effluent pond stirrers, the company says. This design gently and continuously stirs the effluent, ensuring crust doesn’t form on the top of the pond, and there isn’t a thick layer of sludge at the bottom. It’s all about oxygen. Ample oxygen supply in a waste water pond is the key to rapid and effective dairy effluent treatment. Without sufficient oxygen, bacteria cannot quickly biodegrade the incoming organic matter. In the absence of oxygen, degradation must occur under septic conditions – slow, odorous and yielding incomplete conversion of pollutants. For example, two stage ponds designed to biodegrade waste water pollutants without oxygen must hold the incoming waste water six months or longer (without any further waste water coming in) to achieve acceptable levels of pollution removal. This is because the breaking down of organic matter in the absence of oxygen is a slow process. Adequate stirring or mixing, to keep the pond contents in suspension, is also an important element. With mixing, incoming pollutants and waste water are better distributed through the entire pond volume.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011


effluent & water management

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Manawatu River accord paves way for clean-up PETER BURKE

THE INITIATIVE to clean up the Manawatu River reached finality last week with ceremonies at the headwaters and mouth of the river to mark the occasion. Horizons Regional Council (HRC) instigated the move about 18 months ago to try and clean up the river. The initiative has been clouded in controversy. Scientists claim the Manawatu is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, a statement whose accuracy highly suspect. And claims that dairy farming was the main cause of pollution have also been labeled inaccurate. Federated Farmers initially refused to sign up to the ‘Manawatu River

leaders forum’, but have since relented and signed and were represented at the ceremonies. HRC chairman Bruce Gordon says the ceremonies began with a dawn service at the headwaters of the river and concluded with another ceremony at Foxton. Signatories to the accord attending the event included local politicians, iwi, industry organisations and farmer groups. Land and Water Forum chairman Alastair Bisley and Environment Minister Nick Smith were among guests. As part of the initiative, Gordon says a 47-page plan has been prepared; each participant will take responsibility for some action to clean up the river. Smith says the plan is a major milestone in a healthier future for the

Manawatu River. “The Accord and its action plan build on the spirit of collaboration in dealing with the difficult issue of fresh water management pioneered so successfully by the Land and Water Forum. ‘We’re now seeing that collaborative model being used elsewhere, such as in the Rotorua Lakes.” Smith says it is pleasing to see the HRC,

farming community, iwi, industry and environmental groups committing to work together to look for solutions to the water quality issues facing the Manawatu River throughout its catchment. Gordon says the Manawatu Accord is a positive initiative and says it’s possible that in time similar accords for other rivers in the region may be developed.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011

effluent & water management

Suppliers will stick to effluent rules – co-op FONTERRA SAYS all its 10,500 farmers will fully

Fonterra has completed a check of all its supplier farms.

comply every year with effluent rules. This assurance follows the co-op’s first ‘every farm every year’ (EFEY) check of every supplying farm, the checks made by independent assessors. Director of supplier and external relations Kelvin Wickham says EFEY would turn the compliance tide

over time. “We will not achieve 100% compliance overnight. Even farms doing well now are always at risk of gear failure, or storage problems caused by long, heavy rains. That’s the nature of farming and we’ll just have to maintain the effort.” Farmers recognise the need for year-round compliance and better understand the risks in areas such as effluent storage capacity, irrigation systems and feed pads or standoffs, Wickham says.

“Even farms doing well now are always aware of risk of gear failure, or strange problems caused by long, heavy rains.”

Effluent dispersal

“EFEY showed those farms doing well and those needing help. Most are doing well and we give credit where it’s due, he says. “Now we’re concentrating on those who need help; the support is being welcomed.” Since EFEY began last August assessors from AsureQuality or QCONZ have visited all 10,500 supplying farms, checking if effluent infrastructure is compliant, non-compliant or at risk of non-compliance. Fonterra had 2800 farms referred to its sustainable dairying advisors -- some with compliance problems or risks, and farms where shareholders asked for advice. Advisors visited 1940 farms. By last week 1200 farms had effluent plans; 600 plans are complete. Wickham says EFEY check on each farm had sorted out where Fonterra needed to get busy first. Referral numbers were higher than first forecast because Fonterra widened its scope to include farms at risk of non-compliance. “[So] we’ve told farmers it might take us longer to help them develop their effluent plans. “Not all councils can get to every single farm in their area. And [though] farms can and do pass compliance spot checks, they may then run into problems. If there is a long wet period they may have to defer irrigation and their effluent storage may be temporarily inadequate.” Also, council expectations can change year-on-year, “for example, feed pads and entry and exit races have been recently included in monitoring; this is positive, but means farmers can have risks they weren’t aware of under their existing consents. “That’s why we’re identifying farms at risk of noncompliance – a heavier workload but giving a clear picture farm-by-farm for the first time.” Fonterra has hired more people to work the scheme.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011


effluent & water management

Hefty fines for effluent breaches WAITUNA DAIRY farm manager Kevin Belling and his wife Rhonda Raymond-Williams have been fined $61,000 for four breaches of the Resource Management Act last year. Two of the charges related to separate incidents where dairy effluent had ponded on their property after being sprayed from a travelling irrigator, and may have entered a watercourse. Another charge related to sludge and effluent from a concrete race flowing through a hole in a wall into a ditch, which fed into a tributary of the Waituna Stream. The fourth charge concerned dead cows being dumped in a hole in circumstances where they would have contaminated groundwater. Belling accepted responsibility for the offences and Judge Jane Borthwick, Invercargill District Court, fined him $60,000 plus court costs. Raymond-Williams, who owns the property and holds the resource consent for discharging effluent, was fined $1,500 plus costs on each charge. Environment Southland brought the prosecutions and its solicitor Barry Slowley says the property had been found to be significantly non-compliant on five out of seven inspections, and had achieved a marginal pass on the other two occasions. The experienced compliance officer who inspected the property said “the environmental state of the property is one of the worst, if not the worst, he has seen in the Southland Region,” Slowley told the court. Belling told the court he accepted their “management practices in hindsight have been risky” but submitted the effluent system on the farm complied with the conditions imposed in the resource consent when it was granted in 1994. Judge Borthwick was unimpressed with Belling’s submission that his effluent pond had insufficient storage, and that he had chosen to irrigate when ground conditions were unsuitable in preference to letting the pond overflow. The consent conditions for effluent storage were a minimum, not a maximum, she ruled. “The succession of poor results from inspections should have made them realise their system was inadequate.”

Lifting dairy’s footprint A PLAN to reduce dairying’s en-

vironmental footprint while raising productivity was launched at field days this month. Three Tararua dairy farms are chosen for DairyLink, comprising dairy farmers and representatives of DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Fonterra and Horizons Regional Council. Lower North Island regional leader and DairyLink chairman Scott Ridsdale says information from the farms will give the region’s dairying community opportunity to discuss issues about increasing efficient nutrient use. “Farms will be assessed on, for example, effluent, fertiliser application and riparian management. Opportunities to improve productivity and reduce the impact on the environment will then be identified and action taken,” says Ridsdale.

Three farms have been chosen for a trial to reduce dairy’s environmental footprint while raising productivity.

“We don’t want to interfere in management decisions but instead go on the journey with these farmers as they focus on good environmental management, while at the same time increasing productivity.”

DairyLink will help dairy farmers keep pace with evolving environmental rules. “As part of the Horizons One Plan, farmers in the sensitive zone – in the higher rainfall, higher leaching areas – will have

to have a nutrient management plan for their farm. DairyLink will help farmers with that process on their own farms,” says Ridsdale. In view are natural resources – soils, pastures, waterways – and livestock.


Dairy News // june 28, 2011

effluent & water management

Keeping water ‘world-class’ GOOD IRRIGATION management will keep the rural heartland going and ensure water is world-class to drink and swim in. Good irrigation is quite simple: if an irrigation system is well designed, installed, operated and maintained, managing water will go well. Irriagtion involves some science: making sure each farmer has the right system can be tricky without the correct background knowledge. Irrigation accounts for 18% of farm gate earnings (1% of national GDP). This exceeds 3% if the addedvalue component is included. So IrrigationNZ keenly promotes good installation and design of irrigation systems. Many problems arise from design. What has your farm got and what does it need? An IrrigationNZ design support package ( walks the reader through aspects of a correctly designed system. Basics differ from farm to farm: climate, rainfall and potential evapotranspiration – all these differ hugely from Alexandra to Canterbury to Northland. Then, soil: how much water does it hold and how fast can water enter into it? Deeper soils store more water and need less frequent watering; shallow soils YM-Pump+SepAd_p 18/06/2007 3:33 PM Page 1 have low water holding capacity and need watering little and often.

What plants are being grown is also improtant: different plants have different water needs at peak summer and all season. Future plans also affect the basic bulding block of system design. Many farmers tend to fall into a trap: they first buy a cheap system which costs more to run than a good system would. Don’t shortcut capital cost. Compare the capital cost with operating cost of a design that truly suits – especially in respect of energy. IrrigationNZ has developed the National Certificate in Irrigation Design. A good number of irrigation companies are comitting to this design training. IrrigationNZ will push farmers to ask if their irrigation designer holds this certificate. If not, think twice about using him. This benchmark qualification gives the farmer confidence. A National Certificate in Irrigation Management is now also being proposed, covering regulatory compliance, soil/crop/climate understanding, system trouble shooting, irrigation components knowledge, maintenance and emergency procedures. Specific skills will be developed for individual systems including manual move, borderdyke, pivot/linear, guns/booms and drip/micro. • Article supplied by IrrigationNZ

Good irrigation practices help water quality.

Tick for accreditation IRRIGATIONNZ THIS

month published a list of companies ‘blue ticked’ (accredited) to market water measurement and reporting under the official scheme. IrrigationNZ championed the Water Measurement & Reporting Industry Accreditation Programme to enable irrigating farmers to meet the new water measurement and reporting regulations. The scheme promises

irrigating farmers they can be 99% sure of getting appropriate, quality service from accredited providers. It cuts the need for, and cost of, regulatory compliance visits. About 65 companies sought the ‘blue tick’ to sell services; an independent panel then assessed them by questioning and reference checks. Of these, 61 made it – to sell installation, verification, data

hosting or open channel services, or combinations (see their names at www.irrigationnz. To get the ‘tick’, service providers had to show they would complete suitable training during the next 12 months, and show they can provide a good service. They will be audited and told to lift their game if they fall short, or lose accreditation.

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011


machinery & products

Motorised mix saves time NEIL KEATING

WITH MOST milk destined these days for the vat – it’s about the money – milk powder and supplements will be on the menu for most calves, says Stallion chief executive Grant Allen. Himself a dairy farmer, Allen saw the need for a mixer transporter for calf rearers, and set about making it. His company’s new MultiMix milk tanker/mixer allows you to mix and get out to the calves pronto. And when you arrive the dinner’s ready to pump to trough or feeder. Simply load the required milk powder, colostrum and supplements, add water and start the Honda petrol motor for pump-through (i.e. circulatory) mixing.

The model pictured (with Grant Allen) is the MT800 tandem axle unit that holds 800 L. A 450 L model is available with single axle. Maximum mixing or dispensing rate is 320 L per minute, using a dispenser gun. A calibrated float level indicator protrudes from between the hatches. For cleaning, click a hose onto a fitting atop the tank. The frame is galvanized. Also new this season is the Stallion OT 60 L open trough on tandem axles with 60 teats spaced so 60 calves really can get a suck together. The tank holds 800 L. Then there’s the MG 80 L with 80 teats.

Tel. 06 356 8816

Grant Allen, Stallion Plastics.

RIGHT ON BALANCE With EasyCut balance, there is always the same vertical pressure on the mower bed across the entire working width – longer mower life through less wear, better regrowth and less soil contamination.

15% more juice LAUNCHED AT National Fieldays was Gallagher’s Electromax high-conductivity electric fence wire. This is up to 15% more conductive than standard gauge wire. The wire is imported and coated with zinc-aluminium to give higher corrosion resistance in all regions – good for farmers close to the sea. The wire is high tensile and the coating is ‘self-healing’, which enhances the working life of the wire even when it is

cut or damaged. Importantly it is no more expensive than standard 2.5 mm high tensile wire. “Its unique properties enable it to carry more power over a greater distance and resist corrosion in harsher farming areas,” said Gallagher’s national sales manager Peter Nation. Price $108.50 incl. GST. Minimum 620 m per coil.

Tel. 0800 731 500

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011

machinery & products

ATV carrier makes fencing easier A NEW carrier/auto fencer launched at Fieldays by Taragate attaches to the front carrier of an ATV. It can carry three electric fence reels and with a special clamp can carry Taragate tread-ins or normal electric fence standards. Other times it’s good for shovels, spades, etc.

The carrier enables a farmer to lay out either single or multi-strand electric fencing while sitting on an ATV moving slowly. “The carrier makes laying out and winding up electric fencing easier and quicker,” says Taragate co-owner Barbara Powell. Elsewhere on its Fieldays site the company displayed a retractable gate: using this, electrified tape need not be thrown on the ground where it risks trampling by stock or ATV wheels. The braided tape suits gateways up to 12m wide. It can be electrified by the insulated handle being attached to a ‘hot’ wire or the power can be attached to the unit. The mounting brackets are fixed to a post; the tape holder can be lifted out and used elsewhere. The large handle minimises the risk of shocks. Also new, an ingenious in-line wire strainer tightens and tidies fences. It comes as a pack containing a handle and 12 galvanised strainers. The user fits the strainer to the wire, each rotation tightening the strand to a desired tension. Powell says the device tightens wire “in a few seconds, contrasting with getting out and setting up conventional wire strainers”. Tel. 07 843 3859

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011


machinery & products

Jim and Wendy Oliver, Steelworks (2008) Ltd.

Compact mixer clicks with tractor SINGLE-TRACTOR farmers are offered a new feed

mixer/transporter that links easily to tractor threepoint linkage. Jim Oliver, of Steelworks (2008) Ltd, of Walton, Waikato, says his new Mixit sets up easily on a tractor, “like a bale feeder”. “The pto and hydraulic motors are inter-linked. There’s no getting down off the tractor to connect.” The mixer is designed to suit farmers with herds from about 150-300 cows. A conveyor fitted neatly under the mixer outlet drops the mix into the feed trough. Steelworks’ first Mixit has been in use eight weeks, and all’s well, Oliver says. A mark II version is now ‘standard issue’. Price $16,000+gst. Steelworks also makes auger and bulk maize buckets, and muck scrapers.

Tel. 07 888 3765

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Dairy News // june 28, 2011

machinery & products

Dairy data firms partner up CRV AMBREED and MilkHub are

to jointly offer dairy farmers a management system – operable from any location – that communicates with the National Dairy Database. This means farmers need only enter cow data once. The partnership integrates MilkHub’s online management system with CRV AmBreed’s benchmarking of animal evaluation and herd improvement. The data will help farmers make decisions in their day-today operations and longer term, say CRV and MilkHub managing directors Angus Haslett and Ross Nilson. Haslett says opportunities from dairy automation and information gathering are immense. “We may not fully realise it yet, but automated data management that produces reports and farm [operating] interventions – in many cases also fully automated – will drive productivity increases, reduce costs and help dairy farms comply.

NZ AGRITECH Global is the name of a new business planning to market New Zealand’s farming gear to the world. Behind it are NZ Agritech Inc. and Fieldays International Marketing Ltd, seeking to “expand the scope for New Zealand agriculture companies to participate in off-

“The demand for many New Zealand agriculture companies offerings has never been better.”

Peter Berney, Angus Haslett and Ross Nilson at Fieldays.

CRV Ambreed is part of the world’s third-largest artificial breeding company. It set up in 1969 to gather and sell dairy semen to New Zealand dairy farmers. Milkhub collects data about each cow, each milking, each day. This includes milk yield and mastitis predictions, to quickly identify high- and lowperforming cows, management of animal health and, now, improved breeding solutions.

“The solution is to collect and integrate data through open and easily shared systems that are not complex to manage and that improve management and profits. This is where MilkHub fits closely with the CRV strategy.” Nilson says MilkHub was developed as a comprehensive dairy management system for

key areas of dairying. “We have a powerful system for in-shed operation and management decision making. This new partnership with CRV AmBreed allows us to bring together key breeding events and provide access to the National Dairy Database on a single integrated platform – a new level in information access and use with large, direct benefit to our customers”.

MilkHub uses sensors at milking bails to measure cow performance, the aim being to optimise individual and whole herd productivity throughout a milking season. The system gives milkers and managers fast, easy access to realtime cow health and productivity data. Components include auto drafting, auto feeding, in-shed displays and automatic weigh scales. Heat detection is coming.

NZ firm cheers US patent on prebiotic VITALAN LTD, Auckland,

has gained a US patent on its dairy animal feed prebiotic. It already holds NZ and Australian patents on products to increase digestive function without antibiotic or ecotoxic preparations. The patent is an important addition to the company’s IP portfolio says managing director Rowan Lane.

Relaunch by agritech exporters’ ‘friend’

Only about 30% of patent applications are granted in the US because of rigorous examining. So a US patent enhances the status of claims in other countries, Lane says. Similar applications for patents in Canada and EU are in the final stages and are expected to succeed. Lane says US dairy farmers are returning to grazing to cut costs.

Vitalan’s product is said to improve digestion in cows, for greater nutrient uptake. Feed conversion improves and supplement use may be reduced. The company says its products have been shown to cut supplement feed costs 20% and to result in production increases of 15% during peak season.

It says the technology offers “a fundamental solution to the sustainability issues now facing the global dairy industry.” “It helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making better use of nitrogen in feed and reducing nitrogen in animal waste streams.” Vitalan will now get busy selling the products and working on exports.


shore marketing opportunities.” The new business will “be the principal driver of market initiatives and development for agribusiness exports in the private sector,” say NZ National Fieldays general manager Barry Quayle and NZ Agritech chairman Jim Grennell. “The alliance will work on additional market development options for interested companies in selected global regions, where the application of New Zealand products, technologies and services can be developed. “This new entity will provide the resources and strength for exciting export development for the agriculture sector while the world is seeking technologies and products to increase agriculture productivity.” Fieldays and NZ Agritech say they have independent brands and strengths globally and together “can provide leverage agribusiness exports.” Quayle says the new organisation will bring increased benefits for exhibitors at Fieldays and NZ Agritech members and get more companies into export.


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Profile for Rural News Group

Dairy News June 28 2011  

Dairy News June 28 2011

Dairy News June 28 2011  

Dairy News June 28 2011

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