'They'll be completely different cows': New superfood for cows could boost GDP

A new research project could boost production in the dairy industry to the tune of millions of dollars.

Dairy farmers were dealt a blow this week with another low payout from Fonterra, but a simple feed supplement for calves could help offset those losses.

The seven year research project has found calves reared on the organic supplement grew bigger than those reared on normal industry practices.

Queen of Calves was invented on a Manawatu family farm and developer Stephen Bell-Booth says his family discovered the formula after feeding it to calves on their own farm.

"Cows that are grown on this programme of ours for the first 11 weeks of their life, they will produce about 30 kilograms more milk solids per cow, per year, for the first five years," Mr Bell-Booth told ONE News.

Dr Jean Margerison, a Massey University Lactational Physiologist, says high growth rates during the milk feeding phase mean that farmers will get more milk yeilds from these animals.

If 10% of the national herd were raised on the supplement programme, it could mean 25 million more tonnes of milk solids. That would equate to an additional $150 million in farm-gate income.

Bell-Booth says New Zealand farmers can get more with less and "so it's got terrific upscale for the New Zealand economy."

One in five of the national dairy herd don't survive past the second lactation phase.

"We think that if you can grow them better in the early stages, they'll be completely different cows. You'll get better production, and better survival from them," Mr Bell Booth said.

Dr Margerison said they want to make sure that the cows survive and that they reproduce.

"So we're actually getting the combination of both of those. And we're certainly seeing much higher survival rates in first and second lactation animals in comparison to industry."

These dairy cows could boost New Zealand's GDP by $340 million. Source: 1 NEWS


Secret discovered on old NZ flag

The name of a soldier written on the flag has been revealed thanks to help from police. Source: 1 NEWS


'Sometimes I've felt really, really blessed': Campbell Live with big finish after years of decline

John Campbell's final show at the helm of Campbell Live had more viewers tuning in than ever before.

About 484,000 people watched the show as it went to air at 7pm last night.

"Dear NZ, last night's show was our most watched, EVER," Campbell Live tweeted today.

"TV3's biggest show of 2015. THANK YOU!"

The final Campbell Live show started with the whole team standing before the camera, several with tears in their eyes, before a video montage of stories from the show.

Campbell gave his final address in the last moments of the show and praised his colleagues.

"Sometimes I've felt really really blessed."

He thanked many, including people in Christchurch, the Pike River families, those who had opened their homes for stories on child poverty, viewers, and those who approached the show "thinking we could make a difference".

"I started here age 27 in the suit I borrowed from my dad. I could never believe what was to happen here.

"Ka kite ano and a very good night indeed."

The show ended followed a network review after it reported some of its worst ratings in 10 years, often pulling an audience less than half that of TVNZ rival Seven Sharp.