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Asia Pacific: Fonterra, four Japanese dairy farms to undertake study on grassland farming in Japan

Fonterra is seeking four Hokkaido dairy farms to take part in a study to increase the efficiency and profitability of grassland dairy farming in Japan.

The study, which will begin in December 2014, will involve the collection and monitoring of physical, production and economic performance data from four Hokkaido grassland dairy farms.

The analysis will take place over one production season and include data collection over summer outside grazing periods and during indoor winter housing.

The project will be run in conjunction with the New Zealand Government and Japanese agricultural equipment provider Farmage with the focus on helping lift the efficiency of pasture utilization by grazing cows improving milk production and quality, and increasing economic productiveness.

President of Fonterra Japan, Yasuhiro Saito, said knowledge sharing between Japan and New Zealand dairy industries was crucial to ensuring the continued affordability of dairy products and choice to local consumers, and further strengthening confidence in dairy as a foundation of good nutrition.

“Our project in Hokkaido is about dairy farmers helping dairy farmers. New Zealand and Japan share strong agricultural bonds, and we see working together with other pasture-based dairy industries playing an important role in keeping grass-fed dairy production at the forefront of global dairy innovation and supply,” says Saito.

“At a local level, dairy is becoming an increasingly larger part of Japanese diets, but in order for the Japanese dairy industry to continue to support its own consumer base, it needs to address issues with falling raw milk production and high production costs that are pushing smaller operators out of the industry.

Fonterra has appointed Keith Betteridge to lead the three-phase project.

He has more than 42 years of grassland dairy farming experience including time spent in Japan conducting pasture research and understanding the effects of continental climate on grassland farming.