Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : March 2010 Contents 20 The Dairyman MARCH 2010
• from page 19
"No farmer likes seeing their cows in the
bottom paddock, up to their tits in mud, shiv-
ering to keep warm," Mr Heesen said.
He said Kiwi dairy herds had "an
absolutely fantastic genetic base" but cows
were like Olympic athletes in that they need-
ed to be fed properly to achieve their poten-
Cows could not reach their full potential
from grass alone, which was why dairy farm-
ers grew maize, feed barley, other grain
crops or fed other high energy supplements
like palm kernel to supplement straight pro-
tein from grass pastures.
"Some farmers are feeding cows for three
months just to maintain the status quo," he
said. "That's like heating your house with the
doors open. It's not sustainable.
"Are we farming sustainably and responsi-
bly by feeding them just enough to stay
To house cows indoors where they were
comfortable, had clean food and water, free-
dom to move around and did not waste a lot
of energy keeping warm was hardly bad
practice. "Now is that factory farming or is it
taking adequate responsibility for the well-
being and welfare of the animals?"
On the issue of environmental sustainabil-
ity, Mr Heesen went further.
Under current legislation farmers were
permitted to graze 500 cows on a paddock
for as long as they liked. There were some
limitations on nitrogen loadings but as long
as farmers stayed below those loadings on
average, they were doing nothing illegal.
Five hundred cows would generate about
20 tonnes of effluent a day, which would
have nowhere to go but to drain into perme-
Farmers who kept cows under cover or on
feed pads had total control over effluent run-
off and could spread effluent at between 5
and 15mm per ha at a time of year when the
temperature, bioactivity and micro-organ-
isms in the soil could digest it and convert it
into energy for grass growth. He said this
approach was more sustainable and environ-
Turning to the proposals by three compa-
nies in the Mackenzie Basin to house cows
indoors for up to eight months of the year,
Mr Heesen said he had no personal or vested
interest in the applications for resource con-
sents from Environment Canterbury.
However, he said it was obvious most crit-
ics had never been in a free stall and few had
taken time to read submissions on the appli-
cations. He said people should inform them-
selves before expressing an opinion.
He said the landowners held title to the
land, could run beef cattle on those farms
tomorrow and did not require resource con-
sents to do that.
While he had no qualified knowledge of
dairying in the Mackenzie basin, Mr Heesen
supported the applicants' approach to house
cows indoors. However, it was up to ECan to
decide if those proposals met its environ-
"If you are going to farm in an area like
the Mackenzie basin, or if you are going to
convert a farm in similar environmental con-
ditions, then that is certainly the way to do
it," he said.
"That is the responsible, sustainable way
of farming in that type of area. Doing it any
other way would be compromising on the
environment and animal well-being and con-
sequently on the results."
He dismissed claims that housing cows
indoors would damage New Zealand's clean,
green image on world markets.
The majority of this country's milk prod-
ucts were sold at auction as a commodity on
international markets and did not fetch a pre-
mium based on the country's image.
"What would damage our image is cows
suffering in the wet, up to their tits in mud
and effluent running into creeks and
streams," he said.
*Based on a daily cost of 9c per cow; a daily production response of 1 litre per cow; a 20kg improvement in
liveweight over a lactation; 3.3x reduced risk of ketosis post calving. Total benefits assessed were in excess
of 40c per head per day - a greater than 3 to 1 return. Bloat benefits not included in this calculation.
Elanco trial data available and on file at www.elanco.co.nz or call Elanco on 0800 352 626.
Rumensin will not only add volume, but value,
to your business with a proven beneficial ef fect
on dairy per formance and health. Improved
rumen feed efficiency provides more energy
to the herd with a proven 3 to 1 return*
and with over 2300 scientific papers to its name,
you can trust Rumensin to deliver.
Available in water Trough Treatment, drenchable Liquid, 100 day capsule and in-feed Premix, from leading animal health stockists. Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company (NZ)
Limited, 123 Ormiston Road, Botany South, Auckland. Helpline: 0800 ELANCO (352 626). Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997, No's. A3553, A5859, A7450, A8278 and A0907.
Tylan 200 Injection is a Prescription Animal Remedy (PAR) Class 1. For use only under the authority or prescription of a veterinarian.
Links Archive February 2010 April 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page