Was the cost really worth it – ODT editorial:
Albert Einstein once said, “I don’t need to know everything, I just need to know where to find it, when I need it.”
In the case of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ response to the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak, it plundered on, ignoring those with the practical knowledge it desperately needed, and leaving a path of trauma in its wake.
A two-year University of Otago-led study has recently been completed on the psychosocial impact of the bacterial cattle disease on rural communities in the South.
Excerpts make harrowing reading, including the farmer interviewed who struggles to remember the birth of his fourth child in the midst of the outbreak, and the dominant theme of the “intrusive, inpractical and inhumane” nature of the MPI eradication programme. . .
The human side of M bovis – Nicola Dennis:
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Many South Island farmers got a very good look at that road as the Government “helped” them through the Mycoplasma bovis (M bovis) eradication programme. So far, there have been over 171,600 cattle forcibly slaughtered from 260 farms.
A recent University of Otago study found that the “poorly managed government response to the 2017 Mycoplasma bovis outbreak inflicted significant and lasting trauma on farmers”.
If you farm in the South Island, where 75% of the culled properties were located, then this finding is no surprise. The heavy-handed, whole-herd eradication strategy that MPI adopted cast a very wide net. In addition to “depopulating’’ farms, a further 2000 properties were thwarted by movement restrictions and many more were under the scrutiny of “active surveillance”.
If Southern farmers weren’t directly involved, or consoling someone who was, then they were at least feeling it via the sluggish cattle prices over the past three years. . .
Nurturing New Zealand’s future farmers – Steve Wyn-Harris:
I want to tell you about a great initiative out there because it’s a good idea and it’s an uplifting story.
Like many industries, the sheep and beef sector has struggled to get enough quality young folk to enter the industry as a career choice.
Near here we have Smedley Station, which has a two-year cadet training programme and has 13 cadets graduate from the course each year.
Up in Gisborne is the Waipaoa Station Farm Cadet Training Trust, which sees five young people graduate from their course annually. And there are other worthy cadet courses scattered around the country too. . .
New business hits spot at right time – Toni Williams:
Lucy Gilbert has a bounce in her step and a shine in her eyes.
She and friend Tash Andrews, of Timaru, started grazing table and platter business Fern & Feta Platters, bringing joy and wonder where it matters: via clients’ stomachs. And business is booming.
It belies a turbulent ride the 31-year-old has been on over the past 18 months.
While married to dairy farmer Nick Gilbert, Lucy has gone from being a top-performing travel agent, managing Flight Centre Ashburton, to losing her job as a Covid casualty then welcoming a much-loved newborn into the world but suffering postnatal depression. . .
Truffle hunters are putting nose to the dirt as the harvest for the elusive fungus gets into full swing, with some expecting to find more than they can sell this season.
According to the Tuffle Association, there are over over 300 truffle farms, known as truffières, in New Zealand, including dozens of growers who supply to the hospitality industry.
Maureen Binns, husband Colin and trained truffle-hunting dog Jed collect the fungus from beneath more than 200 trees on their Paengaroa property near Tauranga.
Binns said the harvest started weeks early this year due to requests from a prominent Auckland chef – and supply might outstrip demand. . .
As cattle producers rebuild their herds, many are looking towards the promising potential emerging from fast-growing and lucrative global grain-fed beef demand.
Those turning off steers producing some of the best daily weight gains in feedlots say the unfolding dynamics in export markets at the moment are presenting some of the best opportunities for grain-fed beef they’ve seen in their lifetime.
Producers who entered steers in this year’s Royal Queensland Show Paddock to Palate competition notched up average daily gains in the late 2 kilograms and some in excess of 3 kilograms. . .