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Friday, 24 July 2020 15:24

DIRA changes get the green light

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Fonterra will no longer have to accept all applications from dairy farmers wanting to become shareholders and supply milk to the co-op. Fonterra will no longer have to accept all applications from dairy farmers wanting to become shareholders and supply milk to the co-op.

Parliament has removed the open entry and exit provisions of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill (DIRA).

This removes the requirement on Fonterra to accept all applications from dairy farmers wanting to become shareholders and supply milk to Fonterra, or re-enter after leaving the cooperative.

Fonterra had been pushing for this change while independent processors like Open Country Dairy and Miraka wanted the provisions retained. Fonterra wanted the provisions changed to have more flexibility not to accept milk based on sustainability and environmental factors.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the primary production select committee recommended that the open entry and exit provisions be removed.

“I agree with the committee on this point,” he says.

O’Connor says the dairy sector has changed considerably since 2001.

“The amendments we have made to this very aged legislation ensure this regulatory regime puts the sector in the best possible position in a post-Covid world,” O’Connor said.

“The Government is committed to building a modern and productive economy, and that means having fit-for-purpose legislation. We want to ensure the DIRA remains fit for purpose in a changing economic and social environment, and continues to deliver benefits O’Connor says the Government is determined to ensure the industry moves milk up the value chain. 

“This change will enable Fonterra to invest in that higher-value end. 

“The new and improved DIRA Bill will serve our dairy sector, and New Zealand, well for many years to come.”

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Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

Lely claims the Horizon application unburdens farmers from routine decision making and helps them optimise their workloads, using integrated routines based on easily scheduled cow ‘touches’, create logical and more efficient workflows. It is also possible to assign a certain task to an employee and to schedule a time slot for the cow touch, rather than analysing different reports and filtering long lists.

Horizon is also able to connect and combine data from non-Lely sources into a complete solution for the farmer removing the need to enter the same data twice, while scrutinising individual data streams in different applications will no longer be necessary. Currently, connections with farming applications such as Dairy Comp, Uniform-Agri, CRV and Herde already enable farmers to synchronise information about calving and inseminations between applications. Lely’s ambition is to connect with more partners over time, to hand the farmer more smart data.

To ensure full support in the migration to Lely Horizon, existing Lely T4C customers will be personally informed by their Lely Center before the end of 2020.

The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

Also launched at the event, Lely Exos is an autonomous concept for harvesting and feeding fresh grass to the herd.

The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

In operation, Exos also collects field data as it goes about its job, giving framers live data on grass supply and lending itself to a further concept of delivering a targeted liquid fertiliser as it passes over a harvested area.

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