In­done­sian farm­ers study­ing cow health

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY - By JILL GAL­LOWAY

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.

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