Indonesian farmers studying cow health
Indonesian dairy farmers are learning about cow health in their four weeks in New Zealand.
The 12 are on a Fonterra scholarship that gave them two weeks learning practical dairy farming at Masterton-based Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, where they learnt about milking machines and management.
They are a few days into their two weeks at Massey University.
There are 10 farmers and two government advisers or field officers here as part of the Fonterra Dairy Farming Scholarship Programme 2014.
Farmers mostly had 10 to 20 cows but one was working on a 300-cow farm.
They photographed each other in front of a Fonterra tanker because most of their milk was delivered in cans.
Massey University’s Professor Danny Donaghy said the first course had been about New Zealand dairying but this one concentrated on production systems in Indonesia.
‘‘Generic stuff can be the same, whether cows are in pasture or housed in the tropics. Animal welfare is the same.
‘‘ Growth and management is generic whether it is a rye grass or elephant grass, so we’re focusing on looking at their systems, and what they can take home.’’
Donaghy said last year Massey ran a pilot with 12 farmers mostly from one region but this year they were from a wider area in Indonesia and are a mixture of farmers and people supporting the farming industry.
‘‘ Most of the cows are inside and kept tethered, with the feed brought to them.
‘‘They often have more- complex systems than us.’’
He said at Massey they would talk about mastitis, lameness, condition scoring, growing young animals and managing the dairy cows.
‘‘ Most of these people don’t own a lot of land, so the feed comes from other people. We discuss how they need quality feed, how they manage the effluent. It’s more than just cows, soils and feed, we look at their whole business structure.’’
And Donaghy said they also discussed how Fonterra, Massey and Taratahi could keep in touch with the farmers and advisers to see how things might have changed.
LOOK AND LEARN: Indonesians on a Fonterra scholarship check on the welfare of cows at Massey University’s No 1 dairy farm.