Rural round-up

June 18, 2018

Boffins want green tax on meat – Neal Wallace:

A suggestion from Otago University academics that a tax on meat is needed to highlight to New Zealand consumers the environmental cost of production has been rubbished by the meat industry.

Consumer and food science researcher and PhD student Garrett Lentz said research shows many NZ consumers are unaware of the environmental impact of meat production, which could lead to high rates of consumption and accentuate the cost to the environment.

A team of researchers found retail cost and potential health benefits are the greatest motivation for reducing meat intake, with the environmental impact of production one of the weakest. . .

Mycoplasma bovis – how long has it been here? – Keith Woodford:

A key question for MPI and Government to address is how long has Mycoplasma bovis been in New Zealand. The answer to that question, together with MPI’s capacity to upscale their operational capacity, will largely determine whether or not eradication is going to be successful.

If, as the Government now believes, Mycoplasma bovis first arrived here around December 2015 or January 2016 on the Zeestraten property in Southland, then it is reasonable to hope but not necessarily expect that the eradication program will be successful.  But if it was here prior to that, then eradication becomes an increasingly long shot.

Another way of describing it is that, in the battle between Mycoplasma and MPI, it is the head-start that counts. For each year that the disease has been here, there will have been an exponential spread of the little stealth bombers. . . 

Insight: The blight of Mycoplasma bovis – Conan Young:

The government has entered the fight against Mycoplasma bovis all guns blazing with a promise to spend almost one billion dollars trying to eradicate the cattle disease. Whether it will succeed remains uncertain.

While a technical advisory group said eradication was “technically feasible”, its decision was hardly unanimous.

The group of mostly overseas experts brought together by the government came out six to four in favour of the move.

Its chair, Scott McDougall, told Insight the dissenting opinion was based on the uncertainty surrounding just how many cows could be infected. . . 

Protect your beef herd from Mycoplasma bovis:

Regardless of the clinical impacts of Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis), now that phased eradication is being pursued, beef farmers need to treat M. bovis extremely seriously.

If infection is detected in your herd, it will be accompanied by whole-herd depopulation.

Importantly, if you have a beef breeding herd and also rear bull beef or dairy beef steers, you are strongly advised to keep your breeding herd entirely separate and run as a closed herd.

Keep very good records of herd separation so that if infection is introduced with animals purchased for rearing, then response measures may only apply to those animals in contact with the purchased stock.  . .

Stepping out: Researchers seek genetic information in cattle that travel to graze – Carrie Stadheim:

Derek Bailey and his cohorts have been wondering – do your cows like to hike in the mountains?

This is just one aspect of research that the New Mexico State University professor and researcher, along with others has worked on since the 1990s to help determine if there are genetic variances between cattle that are willing to “work for their dinner” and those that aren’t. He will present his latest findings at the Beef Improvement Federation annual convention in Loveland, Colorado, June 20-23. Fellow grazing distribution researcher Milt Thomas with Colorado State University will also talk to BIF attendees.

Bailey uses GPS collars to record the movements of cattle in rugged terrain to learn which cows exhibit one or more of three characteristics: . . .

Half point loss brings winner back – Annette Scott:

A dare from his brother to change sheep breeds led Richard and Mez Power to top honours in the national ewe hogget competition.

The North Canterbury farming couple took out the Romney section finishing just 0.34 of a point ahead of runners-up Mathew and Amy Middlemiss of Rocklands Station, Outram, before going on to win the overall breeds supreme honour in the 22nd annual ewe hogget competition in Christchurch. 

The Powers have farmed the family sheep and cattle stud at Hawarden for the past 28 years. . .

Tourist Tax must address more than toilets, car parks:
The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network said a Tourist Tax needed to reflect that tourism was now placing real stress on delivery of rural health services.
The NZRGPN is the national network representing the doctors and nurses of rural medical practices across New Zealand.
“Tourism is a great thing for the New Zealand economy but managing its impacts goes beyond more toilets and car parks,” said Chief Executive, Dalton Kelly. . .


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