NZ dairy farmer shares tips in Sri Lanka

February, 19, 2016

Northland Fonterra shareholders' Councillor Murray Douglas is one of four dairy farmers from New Zealand who will travel to Sri Lanka and share his knowledge of the industry.

Mr Douglas has been chosen to participate in a new farmer volunteer scheme where Sri Lankan dairy farmers would be taught skills in animal nutrition, prevention and treatment of mastitis, and how to run a farm as a business.

The dairy farmer, his wife Marcelle and their sons Tim, Roger and Ian milk about 950 cows on 600ha at Titoki, 350ha of which is effective grazing, with the balance in forestry, native bush, runoff land and a lake put in for irrigation.

While planning family succession five years ago they decided to invest in Brazil, where they have since developed a farm milking 700 cows on 106ha they own in the Central Highlands and are building up another 225ha of leased land in the South American country to milk 1600 cows.

Mr Douglas, Troy Doherty from Bay of Plenty, Tim Phillips from Waikato, and Marloes Levelink from West Otago, will spend a month at Fonterra's new demonstration and training farm in Pannala, near Colombo.

The new farm and scheme are part of Fonterra's Dairy Development programme which supports the growth of sustainable dairy industries in key markets where the dairy giant operates by sharing its expertise and working with local farmers, governments and industry players.

Managing director of Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka Sunil Sethi said the co-operative has been operating in Sri Lanka for 38 years and is committed to creating stronger farmer families by sharing its knowledge and expertise.

"Fonterra has over 100 years of dairy farming experience and our co-operative structure is built on innovation, an attitude of working together, and a willingness to try new things," Mr Sethi said.

Mr Douglas is in Brazil and could not be contacted for a comment.

- Northern Advocate