NZ Dairy Summer 2021

8 | nzdairy Leading the way on Kim Newth DAIRY PEOPLE » Kaiwaiwai Dairies At Kaiwaiwai Dairies Ltd, performance is not just measured in dollars and cents. Rather, a wide range of metrics are used on this high performing Wairarapa farm to ensure the whole operation runs profitably and sustainably. “We’ve got something like 90 data feeds online, not counting animal records and financials, for climate, soil, effluent, water, wetland and silo temperature,” observes Aidan Bichan, one of six shareholders in Kaiwaiwai Dairies. “This allows us to find more opportunities for improvement; our philosophy is to leave the farm in better condition than when we purchased it [in 2005].” Active as Dairy Environment Leaders and Climate Change Ambassadors, Kaiwaiwai Dairies was named as the Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards 2020 Supreme Winner and continues to innovate and model best practice in all areas. Along with the Supreme Award, Kaiwaiwai Dairies received the Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award and a host of other awards for water, soil and sustainability management. The farm has a 325ha milking platform - along with leasehold land in South Wairarapa and Carterton for young stock, winter grazing and supplements - and milks 900 cows at peak. As of early September, spring calving (600 cows) was almost finished. Since irrigation was installed across 120ha a few years ago, the bulk of calving has swung to spring with 300 cows calved in autumn. Aidan says cow condition is tracking pretty well currently, in spite of a dry autumn. Kaiwaiwai Dairies held a field day in February 2021 to celebrate their Ballance success, (postponed last year due to the lockdown). Some 150 people attended, enjoying a full programme that included stops at a wetland development, dairy shed and calf shed. “What makes the difference in our size of operation is the people: we totally rely on people to manage our farm, milk our cows, feed the stock and get them in calf. We’ve got a very stable and experienced team. Our culture is all about being a good employer, as well as being good stewards of the environment and good role models.” Sharing best practice with the wider community is something that Kaiwaiwai does very well. Photos: Dairy shed with solar panels (top). Kaiwaiwai’s Vern Brasell, Neville Fisher and Aidan Bichan. Some of the 150 attendees at a field day in February. “I’m keen to have a focus on Wellington and engagement there with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE). Vern Brasell [a fellow shareholder] also works locally through discussion groups. It’s a good structure that works well for us.” There is a strong focus on water efficiency, with water use halved in the dairy shed over the past six years to 36 litres per cow, (which is around half the industry standard). Water is monitored in and out of the shed. Water that goes through the milking plant and cooler is used again for stock water. Flood washing the yard, feed pad and entry off the race with green wash has also reduced water use – “and the way it is set up we can use that green wash twice if we want to.” This year a retention bund has been created in a low lying area next to the farm’s state highway boundary to capture floodwater and run off. A notch at one end enables the water to be slowly released over several days. It is effectively trialling a way to take sediment out of run off and manage flood peaks. It is also forming another wetland area and has been recently planted with Manuka, Coprosma and flaxes. Through their earlier wetland development project on the farm, Kaiwaiwai has discovered that planting rings of Manuka can be an effective way of suppressing grass growth and creating good conditions for wetland species to flourish. Kaiwaiwai Dairies established a wetland on nearly a hectare of former pasture land that is now removing 660kg of nitrogen a year from water flowing through it to the Wairarapa Moana catchment. Their latest project involves adding a retention bund to a well-established farm dam, again to capture run-off and slow water flow. Blackberry will also be cleared out of this area and natives established. Last November, Kaiwaiwai Dairies installed a 54 kilowatt solar panel system, designed to supply the farm rather than generating an excess for the national grid. This is now generating enough power to practically run the dairy shed most afternoons. Other environmental projects include reshaping stock tracks to prevent runoff from entering waterways, dung beetle trials and using crops to strip potassium from effluent irrigation paddocks. SOLVE EFFLUENT COMPLIANCE ISSUES - Large reduction in artificial fertiliser requirements - Eliminate effluent separating equipment - Minimise laneway & paddock damage - High flow rate for fast & efficient effluent discharge - Highly cost effective for emptying large ponds - Significantly less nitrogen loss to the atmosphere Contact Shane P: 06 379 5504 • M: 027 453 3505 E: ALL AGRICULTURAL SERVICES AVAILABLE Proud to support Kaiwaiwai Dairies Proud to be associated with Kaiwaiwai Dairies For all your livestock cartage needs Proudly supporting Kaiwaiwai Dairies