Feed issues are the big focus for dairy farmers in Northland as the region tries to recover from the double whammy of a severe drought and, latterly, major flooding.
GrainCorp Feeds general manager Daniel Calcinai reckons farmers are moving away from bulk, lowest cost commodities, to feed solutions best suited to individual farms.
He says they are offering farmers nutritional expertise and the product range they need to keep their herds healthy and productive.
“Today’s farmers are looking for access to high quality, innovative and cost-effective dairy feeds they can tailor to suit the nutritional requirements of their herd,” Calcinai says. “Pasture remains the key ingredient, followed by home-grown supplements.”
The company says it will work with farmers to help maximise feed utilisation, by recommending the right supplement at the right time.
“What worked last season may not be the best solution this season. That is where our team can help.”
Calcinai says farmers are diversifying their feeding regimes and using a combination of both dry and liquid products – often with additives such as trace minerals, toxin binders and bypass fats, to help enhance the health and performance of the cow.
“More and more farmers are making feeding decisions based on factual information and hard data,” he adds.
“They’re also turning to technology and unique monitoring tools like our Tracker programme to help them.”
Tracker is an online tool developed to help make fact-based farm and feeding decisions, while providing the ability to monitor outcomes.
“It helps take away the guess work and makes decision making easier,” Calcinai says.
From its new plant in Washdyke, Timaru, GrainCorp Feeds products include crushed grains, proteins, such as DDG and soybean meal; fibre and energy-based products, such as soyhull pellets; and dry matter replacements, such as PKE.
Calcinai says soyhull is low cost and contains a good level of protein and energy.
“Being low in starch, it is safe to feed ad-lib, making it the ideal complement to PKE in bulk or in-shed feeding situations during spring.”
He says the company’s focus is on feeding dairy cows and Timaru, with its port facilities, is an important dairy feed hub within the South Island.
“It also complements our existing liquid feed storage and blending facilities at the Port of Timaru, where we have been situated for several years.”
Timaru's top man
Martin Wynen has been appointed as GrainCorp’s new Timaru facility supervisor.
“Martin has significant experience in feed storage and handling, enabling a quick set up and peace of mind in our blending operation,” Calcinai says. “With Martin’s knowledge and experience, we look forward to working farmers to deliver the very best products and services across the Central and Upper South Island.”
He adds that the company has a proven model to help farmers meet their production and reproduction goals.