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Dairy Farming

Dairy Farming

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Published by Gil Coombe

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Gil Coombe on Sep 23, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Lesson 3: Dairy Farming as a System

Key Questions: 1. What are the FOUR components of a system? 2. What is the difference between a natural and cultural input? 3. What are some of the inputs, outputs and feedbacks on a dairy farm? 4. How do inputs and outputs relate to productivity? Activity 1: Copy this diagram into your book under the heading ³A system´

Inputs - natural - cultural


Outputs - positive - negative


Answers: ACROSS 4. adviser 5. erosion 10. hay barn 12. fertiliser 14. race 15. rotary 17. herd tester 18. bull 19. cowshed 23. fertile (soil) 24. riparian (zone) 25. herringbone (cowshed) 27. effluent 29. contractor 30. bobby (calf) 33. veterinarian 34. clover 35. rye grass 36. heifer

DOWN 1. management 2. milk 3. pesticide 6. tractor 7. profit 8. fodder 9. hedge 11. nitrate 13. shelterbelt 15. rolling (land) 16. trough 20. sharemilker 21. mastitis 22. paddock 26. herbicide 28. water 31. silage 32. hay

Herringbone cowshed



Fact File: Most Important Natural Inputs 1. Moderate to high sunshine hours Need over 1800 hours per year to ensure fast grass growth. 2. Moderate to high rainfall The ideal amount of more than 1000mm per year for the grass to grow quickly 3. Mild temperatures An average of 15 degrees over the year for fast grass growth 4. Land Flat or gently rolling lowlands to make sure it is easy for cows to travel around so not to waste energy. 5. Fertile, well-drained soils Soils need the nutrients for grass growth. Volcanic and alluvial soils are ideal for this. A depth of 30cm is ideal.

Activity 1: Précis Sketch of Dairy Farming Areas in NZ

Turn to page 86. Draw a précis sketch of the dairy farming areas in NZ. You must include the statistics and place names in your drawing.

Activity 2: Cultural Factors that Influence Distribution within New Zealand

We have seen how the natural factors, such as land and climate, influence the distribution of dairy farming in New Zealand. This is because these natural factors are used as INPUTS into the dairy farm system.

Cultural factors also influence where farms are located. Quickly brainstorm what you think these factors may be«.

Decent roads access for milk tankers, stock trucks etc Nearby dairy factories e.g. Fonterra in Hawera Nearby towns farmers need supplies both for themselves and their farm Ports e.g Port Taranaki for exports Research facilities improved technology gives an advantage over others

Activity 3: Practice Paragraph Using your précis sketch and notes, write a paragraph describing the distribution of dairy farms in New Zealand. Include both percentages, place names, compass directions AND the natural and cultural factors that cause this distribution.

Fact File: Most Important Cultural Inputs 1. Grass A mixture of rye grass and clover so growth is maximized 2. Cows Friesians produce more milk, but Jerseys have milk with a higher fat content. These have been bred over many generations to maximize milk content. 3. Infrastructure Things such as races, water troughs, fences etc that help to increase productivity 4. Labour and Expertise People with good local knowledge and hardworking attitude 5. Items directly related to milking Milking machines, cowshed, effluent ponds etc are all fundamental to a farm.


The aim of a farmer is to MINIMIZE the inputs as much as possible and to MAXIMIZE the positive outputs. This is known as productivity.

In order to achieve this, the farmer needs to make sure the PROCESSES on their dairy farm are as organized and well-run as possible.

Processes are those actions (like milking, drenching, calving etc) that help change inputs into outputs.

Lesson 4: Processes on a Dairy Farm

Key Questions: 1. What are some of the important processes that take place on a farm? 2. How do these processes affect the productivity of the farm? 3. What are some of the possible problems associated with the processes on the farm? Skill: Field sketches and annotations


Rotary cowshed - milking

Activity 1: Field Sketch
Turn to page 92. Look at the picture at the bottom of the page. Complete a sketch of the photo showing and labelling all of the NATURAL and CULTURAL inputs. Write brief notes relating these inputs to the processes of milking and food management. Use the table I have given you as a guide.

Activity 2: Other Important Processes
Take notes on the following processes. Afterwards, try to explain how they increase the productivity of the farm (either boost milk production or reduce costs)
Process Explanation Effect on Productivity

Breeding Many dairy farms don t keep bulls on-site, but rather bring them in, or just their semen kept frozen in canisters when required, which is implanted manually by the farmer. Bulls are carefully selected to ensure the best possible calves are produced. After the artificial breeding (AB), a real bull will be put with the herd for a month or so to ensure that all the cows get pregnant.

Calving Cows are allowed to go dry over winter for about two months before giving birth. Newborn calves stay with their mothers for a day or two, and then they are taken inside and reared by hand. Male calves (bobby) are either taken away to the freezing works or sold as soon as possible. Calving is left to nature. Calves that are born prematurely or with deformities are often euthanized by the farmer. Farmer often has to feed the calves colostrum, the type of milk first produced by the mother, to strengthen the immune system.

Drenching This is the where a medicine is squirted down the throat of a cow or applied as a spray on the coat.. There can be a variety of reasons for using drench, but it is used mostly for getting rid of internal parasites or to protect from bloat. Farmers can check the dung of the cows for eggs to see if they need to drench them. Farmers may need to withhold the milk from cows that have been drenched. They also need to withhold of the milk of cows that have been given antibiotics.

Culling Dairy herds are constantly tested to make sure they are healthy and producing a lot of milk. They can be tested up to four times a year. Cows can be sent to the freezing works or sold if they are not producing enough milk; if their milk contains too little protein; if they have an illness that will be too difficult to treat (mastitis or footrot); or even if they have a poor temperament that makes them difficult to milk.

Fertiliser Application Fertiliser can be bought and applied to the soil to add essential nutrients for grass growth. Done by plane, this is called topdressing. This is usually superphosphate. Fertiliser accounts for about 14% of total farm expenditure on average. Nitrate fertiliser can also be applied using a tractor. Cow effluent collected from the cowshed can be stored in an effluent pond and sprayed back onto the pasture.

Drainage Digging ditches to ensure that rain doesn t flood flat land, and that the soil doesn t get too wet and soggy. Farmers can employ a contractor to do the work, or simply hire a drain digger and do it themselves.

Maintenance Day-to-day upkeep of the farm infrastructure. Fixing fences and sheds, clearing drains, cleaning and servicing milking machinery, trimming hedges and trees.


What do these numbers represent in terms of dairy farming in New Zealand?



Minimum rainfall needed for dairy farming (mm) Most suitable soil depth for a dairy farm (cm)

Minimum sunshine hours needed for dairy farming

Percentage of NZ farmland found in the Nth Island

Percentage of NZ dairy herd found in the Waikato region Percentage of NZ dairy herd found in the Taranaki region

Percentage of NZ dairy herd found in the Nth Island

Minimum average temperature for the year suitable for dairy farming (C)

Tell me something about:

the distribution of dairy farming in New Zealand the natural factors influencing the distribution of dairy farms in NZ

the cultural factors influencing the distribution of dairy farms in NZ grass growth over the year milk production over the year feed management over the year

Processes from the previous handout that I completed for you:

Milking Silage and hay making Rotational grazing Break-feeding
Processes from the table that was left blank and you had to complete the information:

Breeding Calving Drenching Culling Fertiliser Application Drainage Maintenance

Lesson 5: Environmental Problems and Solutions

Key Questions: 1. What is sustainability? 2. What regulations do farmers have to follow? 3. What are the common problems on a farm, the causes and the solutions? DO NOW: Do a quick sketch of the North Island, label the two major dairy farming regions and then add in the location of the Daniels farm in Helensville.

As you know, the farmer tries to increase productivity by minimizing costs and maximising (positive) outputs. However, they also need to make sure that in doing this, they also need to consider sustainability. To maximise sustainability, the farmer has to manage resources in such a way that they will be available in a suitable quality and quantity for use in future cycles. Farmers rely on their farm for their livelihood, so are as concerned about sustainability as they are about productivity.

However, actions that farmers take can have effects beyond their farm.

Therefore, there are also outside influences that have a say in how the natural and cultural resources are managed. Some of these are:
Resource Management Act (1991) ± promotes sustainable use of air, water, soil etc. MAF ± monitoring the health of cows and milk, as well as dangerous diseases Catchment Boards ± give water rights to farmers (removing water from streams and rivers)

So, the environmental problems on a farm will concern the farmer (not sustainable) and/or outside agencies (pollution etc), and thus need to be fixed.

Stream contamination by effluent

Stream contamination by sediment

Stream contamination by fertiliser

Stream contamination by milk


Soil compaction

Spray drift

Reduction in soil fertility

Soil erosion

Noise pollution

Today: Review and Recap Distribution, Yearly Cycle, Processes, Systems and Problems
1. Finish the problems worksheet from yesterday. Take an answer sheet to check your answers. Make sure you understand the information! 2. Draw the diagrams on page 95: Two-pond system and the Riparian Zone Management. Include all labels. 3. Take a copy of the blank systems diagram and yearly cycle. Without checking your notes, fill it in as best you can. Include any numbers you can remember, either generally or from Daniels farm. 4. Complete the review questions on page 92 (do only 1 to 5). Check your answers with me. 5. Play pictionary with someone else who is finished, showing either inputs or outputs, processes or environmental problems

Next week: Perspectives of Dairy Farming Gold Mining

Random Review Questions 1. What is the closest town to Mr. Daniels¶ farm? 2. What is the name of the dairy company Mr. Daniels sells his milk to? 3. What is the name of the river that runs through Mr. Daniels farm? 4. Explain why the Waikato and Taranaki regions have the greatest concentration of dairy farms. 5. Which organization is in charge of preventing disease outbreaks and monitoring the health of cows and the quality of their milk? 6. Explain the problem of pugging and give a solution. 7. Explain the process of drenching and how it improves the productivity of a farm. 8. Name the three most common breeds of dairy cows in New Zealand. 9. Why do farms use a combination of rye grass and clover? 10. Name TWO positive outputs, TWO negative outputs and TWO losses to a dairy farming system,

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