Food Conversion Efficiency is often misunderstood and overlooked, despite its role in profitability.
New Zealand country manager Trina Parker says although BEC has a sound base in Australia in beef, pigs and poultry, the dairy side of the company is almost unique to New Zealand.
In fact Parker and NZ technical services officer Jen McCarty are taking some lessons learned about BEC’s Bolifor magnesium range back to Victoria to teach their colleagues about their experiences with the product and how to use it in the Victoria dairy industry.
BEC Feed Solutions NZ is celebrating its first birthday and Parker, experienced in ingredients procurement in the poultry industry, has led the company since its inception last year.
BEC was prompted to set up in New Zealand as a standalone because of our thriving dairy industry and our growing preference for supplementary feeding over a solely pasture based system. BEC saw this as a platform from which to sell its animal pre-mix nutritional products. Previously it had supplied some key NZ manufacturers, but saw potential to grow and extend that business by setting up here.
Parker says in Australia BEC is big in beef, poultry and pigs. In New Zealand the dairy operation is more prominent, supplying premixes, feed additives, supplements and feed commodities.
Business growth has been steady in New Zealand, each product growing in its own right. The Bolifor magnesium range has been particularly popular. While traditional magnesium products are pasture dusted or dosed in water, Bolifor products are consumed directly. BEC claims they are more palatable than traditional, bitter-tasting magnesium products.
“With the Bolifor we identified a gap in the market and in this first year it has been well received – the gap being in the operational efficiencies and the nutritional benefits of good uptake of magnesium by dairy cattle,” says Parker.
“The Fieldays was when we kicked off the Bolifor range and the highlight was people bringing the Dairy News article along and asking about this product. They were actively seeking out a new product at our launch, so that obviously met a need in the marketplace.”
Parker says BEC offers premix ingredients; the full range of minerals and functional fibres for calving through the Opticell range will be launched officially this year.
“We have the ability to make premix minerals and add them into feeds via feed blends and also go through feed mills. So all the ingredients that are used, like sodium bicarb, DCP, phosphorus, lime, etc, we have the ability to supply. We deal business to business primarily, working with feed mills, feed blenders and integrators and large dairy farms. We can access all dairy products apart from grains.
“We also work with consultants, vets and nutritionists, depending what their needs are.”
Among trends she has noticed is increased awareness of the availability and the need for phosphorus pre-calving. “That is an area we will focus on this season and use our learnings from Australia where phosphorus is a vital element in beef and dairy production; but it is not as well recognised in New Zealand.
“It is one of the essential macro minerals. Every litre of milk that leaves a farm has phosphorus in it so you need to replace that on farm. That is where we are using our learnings from Australia and our nutritionists in Australia to concentrate on and provide solutions in New Zealand.”
Another trend is most farmers using supplementary feeds throughout the year, so pasture dusting with magnesium is no longer needed because nutritional ingredients can be added to the feed. “No farmer is sad to stop pasture dusting, we’ve been told.” says Parker.
Parker is based south of Auckland and says the growth in business can be seen in BEC’s six distribution points throughout New Zealand.
Parker agrees she and technical service officer McCarty are working in a 95% male dominated industry, but says as BEC NZ we offer a complete perspective to the use of our product range. “We work a lot with the delivery of products and formulating and calculating dose rates and making it easy for our customers to use our products. It is a good industry with good people. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the industry to another woman.”
As country manager she deals with the general running of the business and a diverse range of people from farmers to graphic designers to warehouse management and trucking. “Every day is very varied; it is an exciting industry to be in.”