Sights set on St Peter’s

Lincoln University’s partnering with St Peter’s School to turn its 446-cow dairy farm into a top-performing demonstration farm is a further push into the upper North Island.

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Another first for dairying

National winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, Mid-Canterbury dairy farmers, Mark and Devon Slee, are proud champions for sustainable dairying and irrigated agriculture.

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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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Conversion met succession goal

For the Hamill family in Southland, dairying was the way to make sure they could pass the farm to their children. They may have been reluctant, but the merit award winners in this year’s Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards have created a successful business, protected the environment and assured the future of Folly Farm.

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  • The system that’s best for you

    With nutrient loss limits now in place in a number of areas, and more expected, dairy farmers have a number of options to reduce their farm’s environmental footprint and remain compliant.

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  • Stream banks boost sediment levels

    The majority of identifiable sediment entering the Waituna Lagoon during 2012 and 2013 was from stream banks, a study prepared for Environment Southland has found.

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  • Another first for dairying

    National winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, Mid-Canterbury dairy farmers, Mark and Devon Slee, are proud champions for sustainable dairying and irrigated agriculture.

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  • Dairy farmers give record support for levy

    Dairy farmers and sharemilkers have given record support for continuing the annual milksolids levy to fund ongoing research and development, environmental work and other industry initiatives.

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Simple system pays off

Keeping it simple is Mike and Maree Horgan’s philosophy on calf rearing.

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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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  • Staying within the law

    Dairy NZ began a series of workshops for farmers on calving issues within two weeks of the Government announcing changes to the code of welfare for dairy cattle to cover the humane destruction of calves on farms. How to humanely slaughter stock and stay onside with the law was among the topics covered.

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  • Organised, efficient calf rearing

    Ray Morreel rears 700 calves on 12.7ha in the Bay of Plenty every spring. Last year, he lost only six.

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  • Best practice from overseas

    Everyone knows the golden rules for colostrum feeding – quantity, quality and quickly – for best results. But if best practice only focuses on testing immunoglobulin (IgG) content, as a measure of quality in terms of antibody concentration, US calf and heifer specialist Dr Sam Leadley believes that a vital characteristic is overlooked.

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All in the achievement

Getting feed right over winter sets the herd up for a productive future, while getting it wrong can have a long-term effect. Anne Lee talked to Brendan and Katya Caird about their strategies for ensuring the best result possible.

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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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  • Keep in mind key pointers

    John Moreland of Landmore Agri has been installing feed systems since the early 1980s in Australia, and early 1990s in New Zealand. He has seen plenty of systems, and offers some valuable technical insights on what to watch for when considering installing one. He holds the NZ agency for Big Dutchman feed equipment used in the pig, poultry and dairy sector.

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  • In-dairy systems meet many demands.

    Thanks to the availability of grain, in-dairy feeding systems are nothing new in the South Island. However more farm dairies are having palm kernel feeding storage and delivery systems retrofitted alongside them.

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  • Making the system work for you – and the cows

    Few new farm dairies would be built today without an in-dairy feeding system being installed as part of the project. A significant number of existing farm dairies are also having systems retrofitted, with installers at this year’s Mystery Creek Fieldays reporting full order books.

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Variety is everything

We all know that vegetables are a vital part of a healthy diet, but did you know that applies to cows too? Anne Lee talked to Jeff and Kelly Gould about value a varied diet has for their herd’s production, and about life in the barn.

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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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  • Through the eyes of a cow

    Anyone can be a cow whisperer if they pay attention. If you know what you’re looking for cows will be a wealth of information, telling farmers about race or yard design, how well indoor systems are set up and a whole raft of animal health issues.

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  • Provinces need priority

    Lachlan McKenzie, immediate past chairman of Federated Farmers Dairy, is among farmers drawn to a fledgling political party, Focus New Zealand. 

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  • Hone first woman to win dairy trainee award

    Ruth Hone, representing the Central Plateau region, is the first woman to take the New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the year title.

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Look after cows through calving

The change from being a late pregnant dry cow to a calved lactating cow is a major event in a cow’s life. There are huge energy demands of calving itself and for producing milk after calving.

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  • Looking through the shelterbelt

    While top dairy farmers are recognised as being extremely good at benchmarking against their counterparts making some quick comparisons with other agricultural sectors is always useful. That’s particularly true when looking at how they’re viewing their industry’s future and their plans to get there in the best possible shape.

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  • Dairy Diary July

    *July 21* – Applications close for associate directors on DairyNZ's board. Two non-voting positions serve for six months consecutively to gain experience in governance. Applicants should be dairy farmers with a proven commitment to governance. To apply, send a covering letter and curriculum vitae to the Company Secretary, DairyNZ, Private Bag 3221, Hamilton 3240. For more information email lynne.wagstaff@dairynz.co.nz[mailto:lynne.wagstaff@dairynz.co.nz].

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  • The perils of recipe farming

    Last month I discussed the problems created at the Stratford Demonstration Farm by the exceptionally dry months of February and March.

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  • All the better to see you with

    Someone asked me what I did with myself these days now I don’t have to get up early to milk cows and am supposed to be retired. Or should that be two words as in tired again?

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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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Environmental excellence on offer

Since its conversion six years ago, a 417ha Dannevirke farm has been developed with the future in mind, from its comprehensive infrastructure to the genetics of its herd.

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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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  • West Coast award-winner

    Three houses, numerous barns and a grass-fed system producing about 130,000kg milksolids (MS) are part of the 172ha dairy farm for sale near Hokitika at $4.25 million.

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  • The team’s already there

    A 310ha dairy farm for sale with seven titles close to Melbourne comes with a highly-skilled management team capable of continuing its high production.

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  • Lovely lifestyle in Victoria

    Situated on the banks of the Murray River in the Perricoota district, this 526ha dairy farm offers great return on investment and the lifestyle option of being located only 18km from Moama-Echuca in northern Victoria.

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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

    *Feet*

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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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