Wintering on crop isn’t just a Southland issue. New National Environment Standards for intensive winter grazing will come into effect in November 2022. Farmers all over New Zealand are having to review their wintering crop practices now and put some thought into how they’re going to winter into the future. In this episode, we chat with Central Hawke’s Bay sheep farmer Ben Tosswill and Southland dairy farmer Ewen Mathieson about winter grazing practices now and what’s next.
0.51 – Ben: banking back to farming
2.32 – Ewen: third generation farmer
3.20 – Changing consumer/market expectations
4.14 – What’s different now compared to five years ago?
5.13 – Ewen’s move away from cropping
7.18 – Meeting new regulations
7.59 – Flexibility to cope with curve balls
9.40 – Wintering as a North Island sheep farmer
10.20 – Sheep farmers lifting their game
11.34 – What Ben’s changed on his farm
13.10 – Reducing risk to animals and environment
15.10 – Cow lying time
16.39 – Lowering stress on sheep and staff
17.39 – Team culture and wellbeing
20.34 – Benefits of a written wintering plan
21.54 – Team buy-in on the plan
23.55 – Preventing small issues from becoming big ones
26.13 – Protecting waterways: silt fences (Ewen), temporary hot wires (Ben)
28.52 – Ewen: keeping the power on
29.49 – Ben: sharing the wintering plan
30.17 – Final thoughts: one thing farmers can do now
Visit our website for more on wintering
It’s no secret that soil carbon levels on New Zealand farms are among the highest in the world. So, why aren’t dairy farmers being rewarded for it? Also, is it worth trying to increase your soil carbon stocks, if so, how, and what’s the best way to measure it on your farm? To answer those questions on this episode is Dr Jacqueline Rowarth, Adjunct Professor at Lincoln University, and a farmer-elected director of DairyNZ and Ravensdown. Jacqueline’s been deep into this topic for many years and she’s passionate about helping farmers get their heads around it.
0.48 - What is soil carbon and why is it important?
2.20 - How do soil carbon levels in NZ compare to other countries?
6.01 - Carbon captured in pasture - how does that process work?
8.25 - How are farmers in other countries being rewarded for soil carbon?
13.05 - Why aren’t NZ dairy farmers getting the same rewards?
14.52 - Management practices to maintain, or even increase, soil carbon stocks
18.43 - The effect the age and stage of soil has on soil carbon
21.09 - Soil carbon varying across a farm and even within a paddock
24.11 - How to measure carbon in your soil, and the change in those levels
27.19 - Details of the new study to monitor and measure carbon in soil at a national level
28.52 - What does this all mean for farmers, and what should they be doing?
Stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue and other wellbeing issues are a growing concern in the rural sector. Often, the conversations we have about it are focused on men. But what about rural women? They make up half of our sector, so why aren’t we talking much about their wellbeing too? Is it because we think they’re generally doing pretty well in this area? Dairy farmer and leadership coach Loshni Manikam says that’s not the case – many rural women are indeed struggling. So, what kinds of challenges are women facing, why don’t we hear much about it, and how does it affect us all?
Samaritans: 0800 726 666
Lifeline: 0800 543 354
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254
1:27 - Why should we all care how rural women are doing?
6:43 – Who is Loshni?
10:24 – Why are many rural women are struggling?
13:36 – Why we don’t hear more about it?
17:02 – What are rural women struggling with?
21:20 – Finding your ‘identity’
23:27 – The ‘ripple effect’ of when rural women are not feeling well
25:03 – Moving from struggling to thriving
29:17 – Prioritising yourself
39:10 – More info or get in touch with Loshni
40:38 – Support service contact details
Does fodder beet have a positive future as a feed for cows in New Zealand? What are some key things to consider when feeding beet through winter? And how do you put systems in place to maximise cow performance and animal health, while also minimising fodder beet’s risks? Here to answer those questions, and more, are DairyNZ scientist Dr Roshean Woods and veterinarian Dr Charlotte Westwood. Roshean and Charlotte have been involved in a three-year research project on fodder beet and they share the results with us.
Feed Checker calculator
Download the Feed Checker calculator
Published article: ‘A survey of fodder beet use and feeding practices on dairy farms in Canterbury, Otago and Southland’
DairyNZ fodder beet webpages
2:50 - Fodder beet background and current use
3:55 - Motivations for the latest fodder beet project and research
5:08 - Value of fodder beet to farm businesses
7:00 - Results of fodder beet farmer survey
8:16 - Key concerns to consider with fodder beet
10:37 - Measuring fodder beet for feed management
11:55 - Nutritional differences between fodder beet leaf and bulb
12:54 - Benefits and guidelines for testing your fodder beet crops
15:27 - Findings from fodder beet samples around the country
16:47 - Using the Feed Checker calculator
18:10 - Feed demands of pregnant dairy cows
18:56 - What happens to fodder beet crops over winter?
21:24 - Practical take home points from the latest fodder beet project
24:08 - Where to go for further fodder beet information
Methane is a big topic and it’s a pressing concern for our sector. We need to reduce our emissions, while improving profitability – but how? In this episode we dig into the research DairyNZ’s doing in this area. Senior research scientist Dr Jane Kay, who leads the Less-Methane Team, joins us to explain what tools offer the most promise and when those tools might be available to adopt on farms.
Keep up to date on this work
Contact Jane Kay at email@example.com
1:10 - Jane’s role and areas of expertise
2:00 - Overview of DairyNZ’s Less-Methane Team
3:47 - Why are we talking about methane?
5:25 - What we’re trying to achieve
6:04 - Three main areas of research
8:30 - Deciding what to invest in
10:40 - What the research looks like
12:26 - Challenges of our pasture-based system
14:53 - Early-in-life intervention
16:23 - Automatic in-paddock feeder
17:29 - Slow-release capsules
18:40 - Feeds that produces less methane
20:05 - Solutions for as many farms as possible
21:47 - When will farmers see options?
23:17 - Feeling optimistic
24:11 - What holds the most promise?
24:50 - How to find out more
How do we find skilled, capable and enthusiastic farm staff when they just don’t seem to be available? In this episode, Lee Astridge, a leading agriculture recruitment and HR specialist, shares actionable tips to help you navigate the recruiting process and make your farming business an attractive option in a tight labour market.
DairyNZ people resources
1:55 - How can a recruitment agency help farmers?
3:50 - How does dairy recruitment compare to other industries?
7:02 - Why is it so hard to find staff right now?
11:19 - Best time to post your vacancy
13:32 - Contract start dates
15:15 - Writing a job vacancy ad to attract the right people
16.55 - Being clear about your workplace culture
18:44 - Tailoring job ads to your audience
20:53 - What are the hardest roles to fill?
22:11 - Key things to offer to secure good candidates
24:45 - Will the increase in minimum wage affect recruitment?
25:22 - What to do if someone pulls out of a role
30:14 - Advice for interviewing candidates
36:05 - Being honest with those hard-to-attract roles
37:52 - Top three things to consider to retain staff
What kind of technologies are farmers already using, why, and what are the next big things that could deliver value on-farm? In this episode we cover the likes of robotic milking and virtual fencing, but also a new device that could help prevent back injuries, and some technology aimed at helping us reduce heat stress in cows. It’s an exciting topic, but also a wide one, so to help us make sense of it are DairyNZ researchers Callum Eastwood and Brian Dela Rue. Also joining us is Will Burrett, General Manager of Ngāi Tahu Farming & Forestry, and a Director of Trev. Will talks about the technologies they’re using and thinking of using at Ngāi Tahu Farming, how they decide which ones to invest in, the outcomes they’re seeing, and any challenges with implementing their current tech.
New workplace design
New Dairies and Technology
Ngāi Tahu Farming
How can we lift the national average six-week in-calf rate from its current position of 67%? Two exciting new traits have emerged – age at puberty and AGD (distance from anus to genitals) – that could serve as early-in-life predictors of fertility performance. DairyNZ’s been investigating these traits, and others, by following 5000 cows in 54 herds. To find out what we’ve learned and what those findings mean for farmers, we're joined by DairyNZ senior scientist Chris Burke and DairyNZ PhD student Melissa Stephen, and Taranaki farmer Tracey Berquist.
Read more about the research here
How effective is plantain at both reducing nitrate leaching and helping to fill the feed supply in warmer months? In this episode, we’re exploring the benefits and challenges of incorporating plantain into the farm system, specifically in the Tararua District. Our guests are sharemilker and DairyNZ extension partner Francesca Bennett and Tararua Plantain Project manager Adam Duker.
The Tararua project is funded by DairyNZ, MPI, and Nestlē with many supporting partners including AgResearch, Agricom, Massey University, Fonterra, and Horizons Regional Council.
Tararua Plantain Project
DairyNZ Plantain webpage
Plantain Potency and Practice Programme
What prompted the Lincoln University Demonstration Dairy Farm’s move to full-season 10-in-7 milking? And what impact has it had on animal health, fertility, production and staff wellbeing? We speak with demonstration lead Jeremy Savage. Also on the episode is DairyNZ scientist Paul Edwards, who shares what the research is telling us about the effect of different milking intervals on milk production, fat and protein yields, and even sleeping patterns for farm staff.
Better workplaces through flexible milking podcast
DairyNZ flexible milking research
DairyNZ flexible milking content
Lincoln University Dairy Farm data
Does selecting bulls that have a high Fertility Breeding Value really improve your herd’s fertility? In this episode, DairyNZ senior scientist Susanne Meier talks about what we learned from studying a unique herd of heifers with high and low Fertility BV, during rearing and their first and second lactations. We also explore what prompted Dairy Holdings Limited to prioritise the fertility trait in their breeding programme, and what kind of results they’ve seen since.
How does heat stress affect cows, what are some warning signs, and what can you do on farm to make life more comfortable for your cows? In this episode, Tom Buckley, farm manager for Owl Farm in Cambridge, goes into detail about the strategies they’re using to combat heat stress. Meanwhile, DairyNZ’s Jac McGowan talks about the science behind heat stress: how it affects cows, the warning signs, and what current research is underway.
Owl Farm’s heat stress strategies
DairyNZ’s heat stress info
How do you hold onto more of your profit when the milk price is up? We’re chatting with DairyNZ business specialist Paul Bird and Waikato farm owner Stephanie Gudgeon about the spending habits of high-profit farmers. Paul covers DairyNZ’s analysis of about 500 farm businesses, while Steph shares how she and husband Andy make their business work to achieve what’s important to them as a family.
Mark and Measure course
On Purpose podcast
Elevate Your Life podcast
Cooking The Books podcast
The Fed and Fearless podcast
The Barefoot Investor
Rich Dad Poor Dad
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The 5 Love Languages
Budget Case Studies
‘Hold onto your profit’ Inside Dairy article
Two agriculture emissions pricing options, alternative to the NZ ETS, have just been released by He Waka Eke Noa. How do the options work and how much will farmers end up paying for their on-farm greenhouse gas emissions? To help you get your head around the options and have your say, we put some questions to agriculture industry leaders Bruce Thorrold (DairyNZ strategy and investment leader) and Dave Harrison (Beef + Lamb New Zealand general manager policy).
When it comes to breeding decisions, which animal traits matter the most to Kiwi dairy farmers? Should environmental traits should be part of the Breeding Worth index? Farmers were recently asked what they want to see in the cow of the future. Here to explain the findings is Dr Peter Amer from AbacusBio, with valuable insights and questions from Canterbury dairy farmer and genetics-enthusiast Tania Riddington.
Is agriculture going to be brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)? And what role does the He Waka Eke Noa partnership have to play in reducing agricultural emissions? In this episode, Waikato dairy farmer Sophia Hunt joins the podcast to ask DairyNZ principal policy advisor Roger Lincoln some questions on this topic.
Looking for some fresh ideas to reduce your nitrogen fertiliser use? On this episode, we chat with Waikato sharemilker Chris Numan, who with wife Rachel has made a bunch of changes to reduce both their N fertiliser use and N losses. Find out what motivated them (not regulations), what strategies they’re using, and the results they’re seeing. Plus, on an interesting tangent, we hear about Rachel’s new-found fame as a published author.
Could reducing the number of milkings in a week help the dairy sector attract new staff and improve work-life balance? One farmer who’s gone to a flexible milking schedule is John Totty in Canterbury, currently starting his second full season milking 10 times in 7 days. What were his reasons for changing his milking schedule, and what kind of outcomes is he seeing?
How did we arrive at our current wintering practices? What’s next for wintering animals on crop? And what kind of changes can you make on farm now? Find out in this episode with DairyNZ senior scientist Dr Dawn Dalley and Southland dairy farmer Rob Dingle.
Stepping back from the day to day running of the farm is an exciting stage in life, but one that can be complex. What are the big things to consider? What are the common pitfalls and how can you avoid them? And for farmers looking to step back next season, what are the three key things you can do now to be in the best position? Find out in this episode with James Allen, agribusiness consultant and managing director of AgFirst Waikato.
Good weather forecasting helps farmers to make better decisions. But how exactly do meteorologists come up with their predictions? Will forecasting become more accurate? And what kind of weather can farmers expect for the weeks and months ahead? Let’s find out from Chris Brandolino, NIWA’s Principal Scientist of Forecasting and Media.
Are your calves getting the colostrum they need? How are you supposed to know and what can you change to make sure they do? And what are some of the common myths about colostrum? Find out in this episode of Talking Dairy, featuring veterinarian and researcher Emma Cuttance.
Once cull cows are on the truck for transport, they can be a bit out of sight, out of mind. But our responsibility for their welfare doesn’t end at the gate. In this episode, DairyNZ animal care specialist Jac McGowan joins a local truck driver for a day to see first-hand the ins and outs of transporting stock, and what challenges you’re preparing them for.
Where do dairy farmers fit in the climate change discussion? Can farmers have confidence that emissions targets won’t keep shifting? And what support can farmers expect from the government? Climate Change Minister James Shaw sits down with us to talk it through.
Taking over the National Party leadership was meant to be Todd Muller’s dream job, but instead, it thrust him into a season of intense anxiety and crippling panic attacks. In this episode, he candidly shares his mental health story, including everything he’s learned about recognising the symptoms and staying well.