Good – Dairy Farmers SHOULD be nervous!



Primary sector election fears
Primary sector leaders are nervous about the outcome of the election, reports KPMG New Zealand.

This is one of the key themes of the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, titled Facilitating Growth in an Uncertain World.

Good – Dairy Farmers SHOULD feel nervous! These leeches with their deep connections within the National Party have done all they can to manipulate the process for themselves while desecrating NZs environment. They had us sell our national Energy assets to fund their bloody irrigation programs!

They steal water for themselves, sell back to us a highly inflated product because they can sell it to the Chinese for astronomical prices and refuse to do a bloody thing about their pollution and offer up further intensification of cows as their solution.

Screw em!

The future of dairying is less cows and more sustainable production levels that in turn demand a higher price overseas. I’ve always felt that NZers pay a dividend already for dairy products because of that industry’s negative impact on the environment and as such we deserve a domestic subsidy in price that is paid directly by the dairy industry as a thank you to NZers for us allowing them to damage our collective environment for their wealth.

We need to invest the tax dollars into research and development, the stunning announcement by Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings last year that we are bloody 10 years behind Europe in sustainable farming practices should shock every NZer!

This current scramble to chop down as many forests and irrigate dry parts of NZ for Dairy throws any of that sort of moderation out the window. Dairy has become too powerful and too self centred and they risk being to NZ politics what the corrosive power of mining is to Australia.

They best throw everything plus the kitchen sick at the Left this election, because if the Left are in any position to form a Government, Dairy’s corporate welfare comes to an end! I’d like to see dairy farmers feel as vulnerable as solo parents, the disabled and state tenants.

TDB Recommends

Dairy is the backbone of our economy, it must be nurtured for all NZers, not just a small elite cabal of farmers whose interests are their own and for the National Party.


  1. Excellent blog! Several of my family members were dairy farmers, in the old days, when farmers really WERE “farmers”, and I admire their lifestyle, their work ethic, and their achievments very much.

    However, modern industrial dairying is NOT “farming”. It is unsustainable strip-mining of the environment. We are on a very steep slippery slope, somewhat akin to where the Easter Islanders were at when they made the decision to go ahead and cut down the remaining treees on their island. (See Jared Diamond’s book, “Collapse”, for details.) And, like them, if we continue to take the easy option, the “path of least resistance”, we will also suffer some very dire consequences.

    • “It is unsustainable strip mining of the environment.”

      That may be so, but we must tread carefully in our efforts to apportion blame. MOST dairy farmers are the dairy farmers of old that you refer to, and as such are not the ratbags that need seeing to. The real problem lies with the fact that most dairy farmers (92% at last count in Canterbury) are acting within their consents, and are therefore not breaking any rules. The answer therefore lies in tightening up the rules around nutrient discharge. It is important to understand that the present rules were drafted, enacted and enforced by a democratically elected body in the form of our regional councils… there’s your target, not the farmers.

      Three points to ponder;
      1) acting outside a consent is not always a bad thing. I know a dairy farming family that are presently acting outside their consent in a good way in my opinion. When they converted half of their 4th generation sheep and beef property to dairy they were told that according to the ratio template concerning dairy shed effluent waste (cow shit and wash water), in order to fertigate that waste back onto the farm through the irrigator, they needed to spread it over an area of 70 hectares so as to avoid runoff and/or ponding. Their irrigator, however, is of a length that covers 75 ha in one run. They are therefore technically in breach of their consent by spreading it over a larger area even though spreading effluent over a larger area is kinder to the environment by way of dilution. They have applied for consent to raise the area concerned from 70 to 75 hectares, but in the meantime are quoted by the media in the ‘breach of consent’ statistics and accused of being part of the 8% of farmers causing environmental harm by operating outside their consent.

      2) ECAN may presently have (undemocratically) appointed commissioners, but the rules are still the same as they were before they were appointed.

      3) Most regional councils in dairying areas are in the process of introducing new legislation around imposing (in some cases very restrictive) nutrient caps to limit the amount of nutrient discharge off ALL farms, not just dairy, although dairy farms will be among the hardest hit by these new restrictions. The process has now reached the stage of establishing what the current levels of discharge are and they will be fully enacted (at least for ECAN) by 2017. Other councils (eg, Horizons) already have theirs in place.

      This would suggest to me that we don’t necessarily need a left leaning government to impose restrictions on intensive farming. We only need the desire and a reason to impose them.

    • Last December there was a call for submissions from (I think…) Ministry of Primary Industries on farming of cows inside little units. Not sure what the outcome was.

      I encourage you all to keep an eye out for more this^^. I can’t imagine a worse development in terms of dairy impacting the environment (not to mention the horror these sacred and noble beast being treated in this manner).

      • Done properly, the practice of dairy farming indoors (sometimes referred to as cubicle farming and by emotional activists as factory farming) has the potential to be better for the environment as well as animal welfare.

        Environmental; no more urine patches of up to 800kg nitrogen/hectare. Dung and urine can be contained, diluted if necessary and fertigated through an irrigator when soil and weather conditions suit. No more phosphate runoff carried via silty mud from cow winter runoff blocks as cows can be held off pastures and on concrete feed pads when soils are wet and vulnerable to erosion and runoff.

        Animal welfare; No more cows standing knee deep in mud, dung and urine in the pouring winter rain waiting for a feed. Less ingested mud, less nutrient runoff, less soil erosion, less wasted feed, warmer, more comfortable cows. No more panting cows standing in stifling heat drinking more than 90 litres of water a day each. A win win.

        Now….the question is…..hands up those who are sure that they trust the average dairy farmer to do it properly!

  2. I have often wondered why we are told we have to pay world market prices for our dairy products. Crude oil producing countries don’t pay our prices for oil products, even though I suspect the local environmental external costs to their tax payers are lower.

  3. I’d just like to to say “be careful what you wish for”.
    Corporations (i.e. Fonterra) have a nasty tendency to simply pass any and all extra costs to their industry on to the consumers of their products. So who do you think is really going to most feel the impact of higher prices of dairy produce in the supermarket? If dairy is such a great concern to the majority of NZers, why do they buy so much of it in the first place? Wouldn’t a boycott achieve the same thing (given that Fonterra is basically the provider of all dairy produce in this country)? Starve the beast.
    I would also like to add that dairy farmers are the most indebted people in the country bar none. Their pockets are not anywhere as deep as you and Greens apparently think they are – the costs WILL be passed along to consumers one way or another. I for one am not convinced that any taxation in this particular area would reduce total dairy farm emissions in any way shape of form.

    • Well – then take the Tory mantra – “Let the market fix it”. I’m happy to go without milk and butter if it means unravelling the National Party backers and Hollow Men. See how quickly Kiwis turned on Woolworths Countdown. If Fonterra try those standover tactics, they will lose valuable local dollars in lost revenue.

    • A boycott won’t achieve much in this instance and certainly wouldn’t starve “the beast” as it were. The domestic NZ market for Dairy is small fry for Fonterra and they could happily sell all their product globally. As far as supermarket prices go, the supermarkets markup is the big bickie there.

      It’s true that Dairy farms are heavily leveraged, but Fonterra makes a murderous profit. Actual “Farmers” now days are a rare creature, in so much as the people who own the farm work the farm. It’s almost entirely managers and labour employed by corporate owners – hence the leveraging, the over stocking, the calorie dense palm kernel, the pollution and resource snatching, and the general attitude of not giving a damn about anything but profit. Old school farmer is a different breed to corporate farmer.

    • What is commonly thought of as an “extra” cost for free range food is actually just the actual cost of refusing to abuse an animal.

      In this case it is the actual cost for refusing to abuse our ecosystem. (And FYI there are farmers caring for their environment and getting better yield so the cost is lower).

  4. I’d love to see the left somehow connect with dairy workers who have just seen their wages drastically cut.

  5. Totally agree with Bomber, those farmer weasels were the first to put their hands out because of the drought, etc. but they never lower the price of New Zealand’s milk when the price drops overseas.
    Bomber is right when he says Fonterra is running the Nats, always have, always will. And now Silver Fern Farms are trying to be another Fonterra, we’ll be paying fifty bucks a kg. for mutton if they have their way.

    • Sheep farmers are often lucky to break even, the returns just ain’t there farm side, despite the price of lamb being higher than ever – it’s the ticket clippers between you and the farmer that are making all the profit! I can’t begrudge meat farmers wanting to follow a successful business model such as Fonterra’s to get some collective clout with the meat processors and retailers – I thought we encouraged collective bargaining?

  6. You think the run off of overdosed paddock nitrates and cowshit in rivers and streams is the worst that dairy farmers can do to our environment ? Probably not even close…
    Remember all those toxic pesticides and weedkillers that they sprayed so freely ? So, where do you think they disposed of the drums and other containers ? What about oil and detergent containers ?
    I doubt there is a dairy farm in New Zealand that doesn’t have a toxic waste dump on it somewhere leaching into the ground water and water courses.
    So, the best is yet to come Townies…
    100% pure New Zealand ? Bahahahahaha !!!!

  7. School trips should go and see an intensive dairy farm during calving or during a freezing winter or boiling summer eg (Canterbury) where the cows suffer and have no shelter. The farmers there lose many more cows than the Waikato due to stress. This has been ‘normalised’. Do you want to take your kids to see baby bobbie calves being thrown onto trucks off to the meat works? Do you want your kids to see baby calves smacked in the head with a hammer? Do you want your kids to see battery farms for pigs and chickens or go for a trip to the meat works? I saw many of these things as a child. Intensive farming is just wrong! Stop acting like idiots and plugging your head in the sand. This country is doing things that are seared on my mind forever having witnessed. I never put milk on my corn flakes. Or coffee, you are part of this rotten system if you do, it is a horror story on industrial farms. The workers are exploited and have to do things that should never have become ‘normalised’. Take your kids to see reality, not a petting zoo, see what they think of how our ‘food’ is treated. Animals are treated worse than vegetables, how revolting and low as a species can we go? I feel really sorry for the old fashioned small Herd farmers who cared about their animals and are upset when a cow dies on their farm. They are upset with this monster that is taking over. Will anyone do anything about it? Not with the mighty $ being more important than an animals worth or life.

    • “I saw many of these things as a child.” Maybe you need to go back and have another look.

      There are people alive today who saw atrocities committed to Jews during WW2, but they were not so closed minded as to think that we still behave in the same way. To offer just one reason to go and take another look, or at least talk to a farmer and reacquaint yourself with the industry is to note that ‘euthanasia of a cull animal by blunt force trauma’ has been illegal for quite some time. Times have changed, Kate.

      I too am frustrated by the alleged practices of factory farming, but attempts to spread unsubstantiated allegations based on naive childhood memories or uninformed over-the-fence observational conclusions will achieve nothing for the cause. We need to use science to prove our allegations, not use the Green Party alternative agenda to discredit the work of scientists. We need to get closer to the rural sector and have a better understanding of dairy farming and the dairy industry before shooting from the hip from the safety of the urban jungle. And above all, we need to walk the talk. Almost every person commenting on this thread ‘complains’ of the high level of profitability in the dairy industry. I would have thought that would be the best catalyst for some of your readers to go out and buy a dairy farm and show these ‘dirty dairying, animal abusing, labour exploiting, non-tax paying, National supporting rich Tory pricks’ how it’s done.

      If you think you have the answers, show them how it’s done. I am not interested in no-it-wouldn’t-be-convenient-and-here’s-why-excuses. Walk the talk. Make us proud. There is no time like the present.

      • Actually Mike I am a recent refugee from the dairy industry my husband having worked in the industry his whole life until five years ago. It has turned into bullshit literally, asshole bosses, force feeding calves with a tube into the guts with cold milk on a freezing winter morning. It was horror in every way imaginable. Not feeding the bobbie calves in order to save the milk. My husband took a firm stand on this issue and the whole situation became so untenable we had to quit. For god sake never be fooled as a young person into this psychopathic industry. I can go on and on about what had happened over the years and it just got worse and worse. Until we left totally disgusted, revolted, angry, and disturbed at what we had had to live through, and what we knew was wrong. And what was horrible is that one asshole boss my husband had on a farm in Canterbury knew absolutely nothing about how to do things humanly eg warm up the bloody milk for the calves and take the time to teach them to suck the milk from the teat. This stupid fuckwit had only learnt his trade from big industrialised cowherd farms. My husband was used to doing thing properly having come from smaller well run farms in the North Island. Not farms run by an accountant to ensure maximum shareholder profits from utter misery! PS Mike, these big farms cannot do things humanly, also the last farming job my husband went for an interview with in Inch Clutha he found out before he took on the job that the grinning lunatic was expecting to slit the throats of the calves in the same paddock as their mothers, this issue is only just coming to light in the news now. These people are lunatics and psychopaths, assholes and they don’t care about staff, animals or anything other than the toys they can get from the fieldays. Hence we ran from that interview vowing NEVER EVER again! It is a heart breaking life with many lunatics for bosses and breeds no EMPATHY. And I have horror stories my husband and I have lived through, many of them thanks to this life destroying industry. These are not quaint hobbit like farms, but a completely unregulated and mechanised one. Think of the movie the Dark Crystal, the Pod slaves having there vital essence extracted by the Skeksis that is what it does to the cows and the staff, fuck that!

        • Wow, that is not what I expected as a reply! I am sorry to hear that there are bosses like that around…I knew that there was the odd idiot, but had no idea that some could be that bad.

          The interesting thing for me is that, 1) I am a supplier in the form of dairy support, so deal with those in the dairy industry every day. I can honestly say that I have only ever met two ratbags in my time, and I have a feeling that another one may have just moved in next door on gypsy day (holding adult cows on a postage stamp sized mud puddle on the edge of a paddock letting the cows out on to a section of the roadside to graze the rough grass among the gorse, only to lock them back on the mud puddle for the night). They may be empty cows, but that’s no bloody excuse. And 2) NOBODY of any profession can avoid going broke if they are making a poor job of what they do. These dipsticks will probably move from farm to farm making the same mistakes. How are they still in business?!

          I do still stand by the comments made in my previous post, re. Closing the rural/urban gap, using science to further our cause and holding the good operators up in high regard. It is interesting to look through any free rural publication and note the bias toward the dairy industry in the advertising and articles alike. It would be at least 5 to1. And the award ceremonies and feel good sessions they run, they are constantly publicising the success stories to give the impression that they are a cohesive, vibrant, profitable and environmentally clean industry.

          Personally, I lay the blame in two places. Firstly the farmers obviously. But secondly the regional councils. Someone (the regional councils) had to make the decision, at great expense no doubt, that each and every dairy conversion, regardless of soil type and location, was environmentally sustainable. They would have looked at irrigation supply, waste management, soil type, location in relation to rivers and domestic water supplies, stocking rates and concentrations, fertiliser use, stock movement on roads (re.the need for an underpass, etc), riparian planting and amenity planting to name a few. Somebody said YES to all that. Somebody said that each and every dairy conversion was economically and environmentally sustainable.

          Now that the shit is hitting the fan (literally!) who are we charging to manage the cleanup? The Regional Councils. The very same people that indirectly caused the problems in the first place through lack of due diligence before granting consents. I don’t hold out much hope of a fair and effective solution.

          • During our time farming we have also experienced great examples of ethical farming. But they have all been on small family based farms in warmer climates. Many of these farmers are in the industry for the life style rather than just pure profit. The shame is that the good farmers like my husband are leaving the industry, the idea of small well managed herds is a thing of past. Also the main issue is regardless of regulation their is no monitoring of farm practice. With a shortage of farm workers, many are relying on migrant labour. These migrants don’t have a great understanding of workers rights and are often subject to abuse. The other place farmers are looking to in order to cover this labour shortfall are our prisons. There have been record numbers of ex convicts introduced into the farming industry again with no monitoring. What happens on a farm stays on the farm, it can be a very insular business that presents only its best face whereas what is going on behind the scenes can be very different. It is the same issue as what is going on board South Korean fishing boats. As to your neighbour, I wish you the best of luck with that. I was confronted with a similar situation where a group of cows were neglected by an absent farmer. I contacted MAF but unfortunately, one of the cows had died. The farmer didn’t even live in the area so wasn’t even able to observe what was going on. Thankfully MAF responded quickly and sorted this issue out.

            • P.S In the South Island, my experience was that the mortality rate for newborn calves was three times greater than that of the North Island. If any cow gave birth during the night onto the freezing cold ground, the calf would be dead by the morning. We once followed a dump truck in Ashburton filled with dead calves, almost to the point of overflowing. Because of the pregnancy cycle, cows are giving birth during the coldest time of the year, something made worse in the south when you factor in both sleet and snow!
              As for the farmer in Balclutha, he told us that the practice of slitting bobbie calves throats with a knife was a COMMON practise in that area! The reason was to save money. I hope you are in a position to make sure these horrendous practises don’t continue, including breaking cows tails. My husband would encourage anyone in the industry to read up on their rights, don’t hesitate to ring MAF if there are any animal welfare issues you don’t feel comfortable about, and lastly join the Dairy Farmers union. Don’t let yourself feel isolated because there are great networks out there. The more the public are aware of these issues the better for the industry as a whole. Personally, I would love nothing better than if the farming industry cleaned up its act. The true environmentalists in this country should be farmers as they have a deep connection with the land, and understand best practise born out of direct experience. Unfortunately, many of these intergenerational farms have been sold on to overseas investors or farming syndicates.

              • The real solution is so simple it makes me weep. For a slightly increased cost, farmers could use sexed semen, which determines the sex of the calf. With guaranteed heifer calves there would be no more male bobbie calves to be taken on the trucks and pointlessly killed.

                • Absolutely right. I have a theory about why South Island farms are often worse that North Island farms.

                  1) dairy farming is in a way a victim of its own success. One thing I envy the dairy industry for is the clear and positive pathway to promotion and farm ownership. That unfortunately attracts a certain type of ratbag who is prepared to exploit the farm resources in the short term for long term personal gain. If I am going to have trouble with a dairy farmer over a deal to supply (not paying, paying very late, pulling out of the deal, running a Dutch auction, etc), the offender is almost always an ex North Islander, moved down here to try to make a quick buck and under the impression that nobody knows him so he can act with impunity.

                  2) the trouble with sharemilking is that the sharemilkers don’t normally stay in one place for long. This means that the less caring types don’t get a chance to bond with the district and its people and never have to look at the farm or the way they run it on a long term basis.

  8. My vote is contrary to your other readers in that I don’t think this is one of your better posts.

    It does not come across as a constructive media observation, but rather as a radical left wing, uninformed, unsubstantiated, envious diatribe that will ultimately do your cause no good by only appealing to like minded uninformed idiots.

    But if uninformed idiots is your target audience, by all means feel free to treat this article as a winner.

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