Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : August 2010 Contents 8 The Dairyman AUGUST 2010
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"Funny, cool and positive and they have a
passion; I thought right away, I have to learn
everything I can from them," he said.
To Yoichi's surprise, after just two weeks
on the 240-cow Manawatu farm, where
Hamish was the sharemilker (Natalie man-
aged the neighbouring farm), Hamish asked
Yoichi to look after the farm for the day
while he went out of town.
"I was young (23) from overseas - I
thought no one could trust a person so soon,"
"I was very, very excited and I did it,
[Hamish] gave me confidence."
The other thing Hamish taught Yoichi was
to smile while he worked. "Because I am
Japanese I work hard, hard, hard."
But he learnt that to "work with a smile"
was a great way of thinking.
Before he left, Hamish and Natalie told
him if he was interested in working overseas
he should return to work on their farm.
"I couldn't believe that. I was happy. So I
decided to work at their farm," he said.
On his return the couple, who were the
winners of the 2010 Farm Managers of the
Year title, had relocated to the South Island
to work a 1500-cow operation on 465ha near
For Yoichi, milking 1000 cows was
"crazy". "Calves are everywhere. It's an
impossible view in Japan. It was like har-
Here, he was in charge of feeding out. He
said he gained a lot of experience due to
Hamish and Natalie's kindness.
The insight into New Zealand dairy sys-
tems made Yoichi reflect on why Japanese
dairy was in such a difficult situation.
"My parents were struggling," he said.
Japan's dairy industry is not profitable and
farmers are heavily subsidised.
"I looked at Japan from New Zealand;
why Japan has a big problem but New
"So I found the answer. In New Zealand,
your country, you just use your strong point
very effectively, pasture and climate.
Following pasture and climate you have the
calving breeding very efficient and silage is
"I was so so impressed on New Zealand
But Yoichi soon realised that because of a
lack of available land in Japan if he tried to
implement systems he learnt in this country
they wouldn't work.
Instead, he thought about what his strong
point was, and realised what Tokyo lacked in
space, it gained in population.
There are 13 million people in Tokyo.
Passionate about the importance of milk
(for which demand in Japan is shrinking) and
with a genuine respect for cows, Yoichi
decided to reach out to his community.
"I think people are misunderstanding. I
have to tell more and more people that milk
is important and dairy farming is a great
job," he said.
He invited the primary schools and kinder-
gartens to come to his farm. "At first, they
didn't know milk was from cows, and some
didn't know that cows were all female. They
also didn't know that cows start milking after
they are calved," he said.
But they knew cows were "so pretty and
so peaceful animals", he said.
"Cows eat what we can't, and change it to
what we can eat, and beef is so precious too.
We should eat them with the best regard," he
Through removing the distance between
his product and the consumer, Yoichi created
his own market, which now he intends to
provide with milk from his farm.
"I milk cows and my wife will make gela-
to from the milk that I make," he said.
He is opening a gelato shop in March next
year. "New Zealand taught me an important
thing - find your strong point and use it," he
told the delegates.
"I could find the strong point because of
your country - so I love your country."
ESTABLISHING a brand in Japan is
expensive and the market is diffi-
cult, so New Zealand dairy giant
Fonterra has opted to supply existing
brands with ingredients.
Andrew Maude, business develop-
ment manager at Fonterra co-operative
group in Japan, spoke to a delegation of
50 young New Zealanders involved in
agriculture at the New Zealand
Embassy in Tokyo about how the dairy
giant was successfully profiting off the
Rather than establishing itself as a
milk products provider, it focuses on
specialty ingredients, and creating
value-add components, an example of
this is C21 (cheese for the 21st century)
one of these products is a mozzarella
cheese which ripens in 24 hours rather
than three-four months.
Cheese is around 50 per cent of
Fonterra's business in Japan, and some
cheeses are mainly made up with 80 per
cent Fonterra milk solids.
Mr Maude said the opportunities in
Japan were linked to their demograph-
ics and there was real opportunity to
break down to various fractions.
He said a quarter of the population
was eating dinner in their car two times
a week; the population was going to go
from 128 million to 85 million by 2050
and that health and wellness were of
concern to the market.
Organics was not so big in Japan, he
The Japanese market was centered on
cheese and functional nutrition such as
whey products and food with protein
• Rachael Breckon was a delegate on the
2010 Special Fields Counterparts --
agriculture trip to Japan paid for by
the Japanese government
By RACHAEL BRECKON
Fonterra cracks Japanese
market with ingredients
Packaged milk in a Japanese supermarket.
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