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Leading NZ farmer showcases practice in Mexico

Leading New Zealand farmer showcases farming best practice at World Dairy Summit in Mexico

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Photo of Abe and Anita de Wolde at the World Dairy Summit in Mexico.

Leading New Zealand farmer showcases farming best practice at World Dairy Summit in Mexico

Southland dairy farmers Abe and Anita de Wolde have recently returned from the World Dairy Summit in Mexico City, having attended as the winners of Rabobank’s World Dairy Summit competition.

The de Woldes’ won the trip after their name was drawn from over 1900 entries that Rabobank received for the competition.

The World Dairy Summit is an annual event run by the International Dairy Federation (IDF). This year’s summit was held from November 11-14 and hosted approximately 900 delegates and 80 speakers from around the world.

During the summit an array of sessions were held on dairy industry issues including nutrition and health, dairy economics and policy, marketing and primary production.

Mr de Wolde also provided a presentation during the summit after event organisers were informed of his attendance and extended an invitation for him to discuss dairy farming sustainability best practice in New Zealand.

Upon his arrival home Mr de Wolde said he found the event to be very worthwhile and that the sessions he attended helped to confirm his view that the medium to long term outlook for the dairy industry was positive.

“Attendance at the summit helped to reinforce the messages that we receive in New Zealand and to illustrate how well the New Zealand dairy industry is set-up to compete with international competitors.

“One of the sessions I attended looked at the worldwide average production of a dairy farm and suggested that the average farm consisted of two cows producing around 11 litres of milk per day, this is quite a contrast when many dairy farms in New Zealand produce in excess of 50,000 litres on a daily basis.

“There was plenty of time to network with other summit delegates and I found it very interesting chatting with other attendees and learning more about the dairy scene in other parts of the world,” he said.

Rabobank’s senior dairy analyst Hayley Moynihan also attended the event to chair two sections during the summit’s economics and policy session. Ms Moynihan said that she too thoroughly enjoyed the event and that the interaction with other delegates proved invaluable.

She also praised Mr de Wolde for his presentation saying that he had provided a great overview of how he and Anita have successfully adapted their dairy farming operation to suit the New Zealand environment following their move from the Netherlands in 1990.

During his presentation Mr de Wolde addressed the topic of sustainability and the couple’s decision to build an indoor wintering shed where their cows are housed and fed over the colder winter months. Mr de Wolde told delegates that while indoor sheds were common in Europe they were still relatively rare in New Zealand. He went on to say that the move to the indoor sheds, which was made in 2005, had brought a number of benefits including an increased lactation length and lower feed requirements amongst their cows as well as proving to be a success from an environmental viewpoint reducing nutrient loss and bacterial contamination of surface water.

“Abe’s presentation was very well received by all those present, he addressed a number of issues that were very relevant to those in attendance and his discussion of the couple’s innovative methods and the total return on investment, both financial and non-financial, from the indoor wintering shed sparked a number of questions from interested audience members,” Ms Moynihan said.

The summit also included a number of other speakers from New Zealand with Fonterra and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) providing presenters who addressed delegates during the four day event. Representatives from these organisations were also on hand at the New Zealand trade stand which was used to promote the 2010 World Dairy Summit that will be held in Auckland during November in 2010.

Ms Moynihan said that Rabobank was pleased to run the World Dairy Summit competition as it provided the chance for a local farming couple to increase their knowledge of the global dairy industry and demonstrated Rabobank’s continued support for the dairy sector.


Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has over 110 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank has a AAA credit rating and is rated one of the world’s safest bank by Global Finance magazine. Rabobank operates in 43 countries, servicing the needs of more than nine million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1500 offices and branches. Rabobank is one of New Zealand’s leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the country’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 29 branches throughout New Zealand.

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