The wrong start to the new season

The West Coast was hit hard in April by the remnants of Cyclone Ita. Karamea farmers Darryl and Julie Simkins were right in the firing line, and they told Anne Hardie the damage was challenging.

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  • More than $1 billion going into two major Fonterra projects

    Fonterra is investing more than $1 billion in two major deals to produce and sell more milk powder.

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  • China’s milk thirst will grow

    China’s thirst for imported dairy products will expand over the next five years to equate to New Zealand’s entire annual production, Agrifax senior dairy analyst Susan Kilsby says.

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  • GMP takers may be in the money

    A big under-subscription to Fonterra’s June offer of a guaranteed milk price (GMP) means farmers who signed up will be getting $7 a kilogram of milksolids (MS) this season, as concern grows that the dairy giant’s amended $6 forecast might be in peril.

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  • Outsider’s eyes made it reality

    For two generations of the Wallace family, the view of an independent person coming in to look at the succession plan they were formulating was a very important step.

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Challenging the winds of change

A search for greener pastures brought the Hoggard family to a Manawatu farm. Now Andrew Hoggard has a national role with Federated Farmers. He talked to Erin Hutchinson about the challenges of juggling jobs.

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A whirlwind five years

Taking out the 2014 national Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title caps off a whirlwind five years in the dairy industry for variable order sharemilkers Charlie and Jody McCaig.

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New goals set

As well as working to reduce the impact of their own farm on waterways, Suzie and Brendon Bearman told Karen Trebilcock they have encouraged other local farmers to establish a catchment group to benefit the wider area.

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Time to tweak

How can we do it better? That is the management philosophy driving sixth-generation dairy farmer Steve Holdaway.

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  • Lifting our game

    Meeting legal requirements as a minimum and then going on to create a desirable workplace must be a key focus for improvement, DairyNZ’s strategy and investment leader for people and business Mark Paine says.

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  • Feeling the heat

    Putting the right cows up for mating at the right time is like putting dollars in the bank.

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  • A No Bull policy

    Sharemilkers Paul Gow and Sonia McKerchar, who milk 1200 cows near Culverden, have used short gestation semen to get rid of bulls on the farm.

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  • Research fights phantom menace

    A trial studying the reproductive outcomes of phantom cows provides some insights to how prevalent the issue is, and the challenges farmers and veterinarians face in getting them in-calf.

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No more cows but double the returns

Keeping it simple is the guiding philosophy for Reporoa farmers Euan and Sarah McKnight. They told Steve Searle that it has led to a sustainable and profitable operation.

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  • Questions deliver the right solutions

    Dairy effluent systems are a substantial investment and increasingly monitored by regional councils, but farmers’ knowledge and product technology have increased to create systems that suit individual needs.

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  • Ask to find out what works well

    As my husband is an AI technician for LIC, I tag along with him for a few weeks each year as his tech assistant.

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  • Solving two problems at once

    Taieri equity manager Gavin Russell and his staff were becoming worried about cows slipping when getting on and off the farm’s 40-bail rotary.

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  • Concentrating on cow flow

    After I started working on my father’s farm I spent many enjoyable hours pondering ways to make farm tasks easier. Not that I was particularly lazy, I just felt that life should be perfect.

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Top result in a top year

The re-vitalisation of the Candy dairy farm at Okaihau in Northland has been hailed by local rural professionals as the best focus farm project in a decade.

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  • Feeding to be in control

    Paul and Robyn Lindsay have always been involved with dairying but that’s grown from a minor to major scale in the past 15 years. In 2011 they were judged the best dairy business in Australia.

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  • Lucky in the lucky country

    Being born the second son of a Swiss dairy farmer and therefore having little opportunity to inherit the farm always seemed like bad luck to Werner Lang.

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  • Vaccinating and screening best options

    Any control measures to reduce the impact of bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) on a dairy farm are better than doing nothing, Eltham vet Andrew Weir says.

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  • Upping the trucking in the south

    The return of cows to milking platforms from winter grazing starts in the next few days, with numbers on the move overtaking the Gypsy Day June 1 ritual in the south.

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In the show ring at three

Showing Friesian cattle is what Kate Cummings, of Wyndham, regards as her summer sport. While other teens are playing softball or tennis, she is clipping coats and combing out tails.

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  • Beware of peaks and pitfalls

    If you can’t sit down and have a drink with your equity partners then you shouldn’t be doing business with them, Justin Geddes of Crowe Horwath says.

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  • Topping up the emotional bank balance

    People productivity may be the final frontier for New Zealand farming, Joan Baker, of Baker Hawes Consultants, says.

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  • Their heads weren’t in the clouds

    Richard and Pauline Kean weren’t farmers when they bought Jetstream Farm in Waikato, but as they told Steve Searle, hard work, expert advice and happy sharemilkers have turned their property into a productive farm that has won environmental awards.

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  • Talking seriously about farming

    It wasn’t until Atiamuri dairy farmer Karen Forlong went to her first Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) meeting at Rotorua in 2002 that she felt she was taken seriously as a farmer and as a businesswoman.

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Elephants in the room

The New Zealand dairy industry has always been very good at measuring what it does – its processes and its outcomes. Because of that it has always had good, efficient production, and has been amongst the leanest of the dairy industries globally.

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Opinion – Serving up milk on a plate

*Fairlie dairy farmer Leonie Guiney is visiting Ireland. She looks at the Irish and our dairy industries, makes some comparisons and draws some conclusions.* 

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Majestic views and picket fences

Bush-clad mountains shouldering the Southern Alps are a majestic backdrop to the fertile flats of Harihari on the West Coast where a 154ha dairy farm is for sale at $3 million including Westland Milk Products' shares.

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  • Rare grazing opportunity

    A 214ha farm at Cannington in South Canterbury that has been used for dairy grazing and cattle finishing for a few years is now for sale.

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  • Buyers confident despite volatility

    Buyer confidence in the rural economy has trumped concerns over commodity price volatility and pending stricter environmental rules, research on Canterbury farm sales has found.

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  • Dairy farm sales have stalled

    Dairy farm sales have come to a standstill and prices and volume of farm sales have eased, Real Estate Institute rural spokesman Brian Peacocke says.

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  • Great improvements and good prospects

    A 74ha dairy farm for sale at $2.7 million near Edendale in Southland has a forecast production of 90,000kg milksolids (MS) this season and is well set-up for investors and sharemilkers.

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Lab passes 30-year test

In July 1984 young Waikato scientist Roger Hill left a small soil testing laboratory in Cambridge to launch his own in Hamilton.

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It’s all in the planning

While most New Zealanders soaked up the warm weather, Dairy Exporter Associate Editor Anne Lee spent the summer shivering in a UK winter investigating wintering options developed in a cold climate. 

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  • Animal health


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  • Slurry cleaning systems

    Passageways or scrapeways both indoors and outside can be cleaned by automatic scrapers. Most common were hydraulic scrapers that require a raised, covered track to be installed in the centre along the length of the passageway.

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  • Effluent management

    Storing and managing the slurry from a housed cow system or scrapeways on an outdoor pad can require a significant capital outlay for storage and handling.

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  • Quantity makes the difference

    Moorepark has carried out several experiments on crop wintering diets and found that how much the cow is offered makes more difference than what it’s fed.

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