Rural round-up

Shearing king David Fagan calls time – Libby Wilson:

Shearing king David Fagan had a fitting send-off to his competitive career last night, cheered on by a capacity hometown crowd in his final shear in Te Kuiti.

Having shorn 26,000 sheep in the course of his 640 open wins stretching back 37 years, the 16-time national champion put down the handpiece after contesting the Running of the Sheep in his Te Kuiti home.

His final contest came against his nephew James Fagan, whose father John beat David to second place in the 1984 Golden Shears. . .

Running of the sheep craws big crowd to Te Kuiti – Mike Mather:

A mob of hundreds of determined sheep made their way down Te Kuiti’s main street on Saturday, flanked by thousands of cheering humans.

The ovine athletes were the unwitting participants in the Running of the Sheep, an annual event that is part of the town’s Great New Zealand Muster, held to celebrate its claim of being the country’s sheep capital, and which also includes the New Zealand Shearing Championships.

Although a tad skitterish at the start of their run, the flock behaved in a very un-sheeplike manner, running straight and true down the centre of Rora St, through the centre of the town.

Waitomo District Council community development co-ordinator Donna Macdonald said she was very impressed with the behaviour of both the 342 four-legged runners and their two-legged audience. . .

Nitrate absorption trialled – Allison Beckham:

Scientists are trialling a filter system which they hope will provide dairy farmers with a simple and cost effective way of removing nitrates and phosphorus before they reach waterways.

A nitrate catcher was commissioned recently near Waituna Lagoon, southeast of Invercargill, and a phosphorus catcher will be built nearby soon. . . .

Blazed a trail in sales – Sally Rae:

Looking back, Katrina Allan wonders how she ever managed to juggle motherhood with work and tertiary study.

But, with a determination to finish her university studies before her son started his, Mrs Allan (44) did manage, finishing a year before he started, although she joked that she never wanted to see another textbook again.

Mrs Allan has the distinction of being the first female salesperson at Alliance Group, having worked for the company for 17 years. . .

Securing Glenfern Sanctuary’s future:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has announced the Government will contribute towards a joint bid to buy Glenfern Sanctuary on Great Barrier Island for the nation.

The Nature Heritage Fund, which is allocated at the Minister’s discretion, will put a significant amount of funding towards a consortium including the Auckland Council and Great Barrier Local Board looking to purchase Glenfern.

The sanctuary, in Port Fitzroy in the north of the island, was founded by the late sailing champion Tony Bouzaid in 1992 and is now for sale. . .

We don’t know how lucky we are – Chris Lewis:

As New Zealand Dairy farmers we often take for granted the sophistication of our industry and the relative ease we have in producing food for the nation and the World. April will not be one of those months for me.

I received a phone call last month from a Tear Fund organiser about this woman who was coming over from Sri Lanka to talk about the benefits of a project that has been designed and supported by TEAR Fund and the New Zealand Government, with Kiwi expertise to improve milk quality.  She is Selina Prem Kumar and is the Director of the successful dairy project in Sri Lanka. Her story will shock and move you.

The Wanni Dairy Regeneration programme she heads, started during the protracted civil war in Sri Lanka, has brought together both Singhalese and Tamil small hold dairy farmers for the common purpose of raising their incomes and revitalizing the dairy industry which stalled during the conflict. . .

A hill lambing made simple:

Zan Kirk, from Low Kilbride, in Dumfries, has struck upon a novel way of making hill lambing that little easier if you are dealing with small numbers, perhaps on the scale that smallholders deal with.

‘There comes a time in everyone’s life when things need to be made easier, computers help in many ways, but not with lambing. So here is the fail-safe way to a simple, stress-free lambing – keep your pet lambs and lamb them!
We have been doing this for some time now and most of our flock started out life as pet lambs. This removes the inherent fear that most sheep have of humans and means that, as we are getting on and still lambing outside, if we need to catch a ewe, most respond to a ‘shoogle’ of cake. They can then be caught, popped into the transport box and taken up to the shed to be lambed in comfort, and with warm water.
On Sunday, my most pet ewe lamb from last year lambed, albeit not in the best place – right in the middle of the field! I wandered up, asked her if she needed some help and she just sat there pushing. I helped lamb her, saw the lamb was breathing fine, told her how clever she was, gave her an hour and brought her into the shed for her tea and toast. . .

5 Responses to Rural round-up

  1. Gravedodger. says:

    Lambing made simple.

    Sorry Zan you are denying My old Mate Mr Darwin, and you see your tale about the one you assisted possibly adds another uptick to my mate Charlie.

    When we moved to 700 acres of NI hill country we also moved from intensive lambing in N Canterbury where we tried to save every lamb possible but did not cull all those that required assistance.
    So a ewe with a prolapsed uterus that possibly, no make that probably, had an inheritable weakness in the structures that many generations built up to prevent such a horrendous failure, we saved the ewe (very good) then her ewe lamb might well come into the flock to breed more ewes with a likely heritable weakness.
    On arrival in Bideford it was impossible to do two or three daily lambing beats and Charlie took over the culling with his well proven system of if it survives it is highly likely the off spring would also.
    Of course we purchased Rams from breeders who still saved every lamb and therin lay the strength that Marshal and later Daniel and now almost all breeders embrace with allowing Charlie Darwin to do his bit. By all means save a life where you can but don’t breed from them.

    My very first hand contact with the theory was on my first farm where we bred some Suffolks and South Suffolks and it just happened they were lambed in a very sheltered paddock beside a stream.
    A particularly fine young ewe delivered a set of twins near the stream bank one night and the poor little beggars slid into the water and drowned. So sad but she was a very fine looking ewe so we did it all again next year and low and behold the same outcome in exactly the very same spot in the five acres available for maternity duty.

    Needless to say it did not happen a third time and prevention was instituted and of course her stupidity was of little consequence as the results of her breeding were never going to matter with all her subsequent production finding a trip to the meatworks before Christmas in the year of their birth.


  2. Mr E says:

    How heritable are prolapses? You would think very inheritable given the failure often leads to the death of sibling and sometime parent.

    If it were strongly heritable don’t you think extensive properties would have reduced the problem to almost nothing by now?


  3. Willdwan says:

    I’ve always struggled with them. Got my first breakthrough with a tip from Ashley Cole’s work. She found that farms with high K levels ( like mine) get lots of bearings. The theory is it prevents them from metabolising elements like Mg, C, and Na which makes them gassy and uncomfortable. Not much room for bloating when you have twins on board. A few of us are experimenting with salt and Calmag etc. My vet doesn’t think much of it but I’m thrilled with the results, about a 90 percent reduction. Such a cruel wasteful thing, it’s too soon to say we’ve got it solved but I’m really excited.


  4. Gravedodger. says:

    Fair comment Mr E.
    Willdwan very interesting, has my interest although no longer able to do other than read about it.
    Certainly is a very sad and horrible problem and always some of the very best ewes suffer.

    When we started adding Finn blood lines to composites in the 90s tail docking length was a suspect and we wondered if short tail docking led to an additional trigger but multiple births and too much bulk feeding in late pregnancy are pretty viable suspects.

    I never did any research into a heritable factor in prolapse but it is not unreasonable to consider such a factor plausible?

    All that said I think culling for any problem is in my ever humble opinion worth using in the light of Charlie D’s theory.

    Breeding from progeny with any proclivity to abandonment as the delightful tale above might suggest would be something I would avoid but the theory of placid acceptance of close human contact does have a positive for getting involved. Using an eye dog to assist capture of a reluctant mother is so far beyond my physical condition in2015 as to be totally humorous.

    Ah those were the days though, so rich are the memories.


  5. JC says:

    “Ah those were the days though, so rich are the

    I remember my sister’s (30 year) sabbatical to outback Australia starting in the 60s. Initially her horse background limited her to mustering the nags in the “horse paddock” which turned out to be 100 acres.

    Then the cultural shock on a sort of lambing beat when she jumped off to help a lambing ewe and was curtly ordered to leave it as there was no time or money to waste on a problem mother.

    And then accompanying the station owners wife to town and getting bogged in a rainstorm and carrying the kids on the red road ankle deep in mud trying to avoid the snakes that slithered onto the road.

    There was every bit the culture shock here in the 1980s when what Ele describes as the “Ag sag” hit. My MIL was President of the WFF at the time and I was shocked at the suicides that were occurring but never fully hit the headlines. Young men and women were buying into farms in the early 80s with just 15% equity and were way off the old standard of 3000 ewe equivalents on some blocks. I can recall MAF field days to properties where young guys thought they could make it with sheep on 150acs and a Lincoln education.

    And in your old stamping ground I can think of a field day or two where a young guy was fencing down to 5-10acs to control weeds on the hard hill country of Tinui, mob stocking and all the rest.. I wonder if he survived.

    Incredibly there have been at least three major changes in farming and forestry in just my working lifetime as we puzzle how to best work our unique combination of climate, geology, biology, markets, isolation and politics.

    Despite all we have done extraordinary well..

    Click to access 2015%20SOCIAL%20PROGRESS%20INDEX_FINAL.pdf

    100% on water and sanitation and 6th overall.



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