Don’t move carcasses ORC warns – Hamish MacLean:
Desperate farmers could be unintentionally sabotaging the release of the new strain of rabbit calicivirus in Otago.
Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said yesterday he did not want to point fingers, but he had heard “second-hand” that some landowners were attempting to remove carcasses of animals where the virus had been released.
And while “absolutely understandable”, it was a report the council was taking “very, very seriously”, as it could jeopardise plans to create a natural epidemic and knock back the pests’ numbers by up to 40%.
Otago Regional Council environmental monitoring and operations director Scott MacLean said the council’s release of 100 doses of the recently approved RHDV1 K5 (K5) virus was now “substantially complete” with only the “the last few” areas in Queenstown and Coastal Otago outstanding. . .
Decision time for Gita recovery – Annette Scott:
Taranaki farmers battling the ongoing challenges of the weather gods are facing a critical decision time.
While managing their way through the hammering of Cyclone Gita last month the region’s dairy farmers are also still recovering from the drought, Federated Farmers provincial president Donald McIntyre says.
“Our province was hit this summer with the drought first then we were served another big blow, literally, from the Gita storm. . .
Officials set up Cook Strait checkpoint to stop cattle disease – Gerard Hutching:
Cattle crossing Cook Strait will be checked from Friday in a bid to stop the disease Mycoplasma bovis travelling north.
Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity Damien O’Connor said farmers were not complying with their legal obligations.
“At the weekend I received the National Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme (Nait) Review report, which shows the system is not working well enough. Only 57 per cent of farmers who record their animal movements do so within the required 48 hours. I’m told overall farm-to-farm recording may be as low as 30 per cent.”
Fines of up to $10,000 can be issued for non-compliance. Nait was set up to rapidly and accurately trace animals from birth to slaughter or live export. . .
Tough times and tough cattle – Annette Scott:
With just a ute, a saddle, a rifle and some dogs as collateral, Rit Fisher walked into a bank in Timaru in 1978 seeking $1.2 million to buy Shenley Station. He told Annette Scott about his odd but fun 40-year farming journey.
Simplicity has been the key to success for Rit Fisher who grew up on Shenley Station, a 3500 hectare sheep and beef property at Albury, inland from Timaru.
Shenley, bought by his grandparents in 1912, has now been farmed by the Fisher family for 106 years. . .
Strong conservation values evident in Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards:
Manaia dairy farmers showing sustainable and appreciable biodiversity and conservation values have won the Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Grant, Dinny and Leedom Gibbs from the Gibbs G Trust were announced supreme winners at the region’s awards dinner at the Devon Hotel in New Plymouth on Thursday night (March 22). They will host a field day on their Sutherland Road property on Thursday April 5 at 10.30am.
The dairy farm, 3km south of Manaia on the south Taranaki coast, is among those supervised by Leedom Gibbs, one of Grant and Dinny’s three daughters. Half of the farm is irrigated with two centre-pivots and contains a wetland that was established as part of the farm’s development. Water for the irrigation system is taken by consent from the Waiokura Stream and stock water comes from the Waimate West Water Scheme, on which Grant is a trustee. . .
Whananaki Coastal Charolais owners win Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:
Whananaki beef farmers Greta and Craig Harman have won the Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
The awards were held at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands at Paihia, on Wednesday night (21 March). The judges said both the Harmans’ coastal hill properties, home to Whananaki Coastal Charolais, were a showplace of biosecurity and biodiversity management that combine cattle farming, bull breeding and community involvement. They said Greta and Craig have a passion for their stock, the land they farm and for the natural environments that exist within it.
“They show how farming and environmental stewardship can work hand in hand to protect and enhance natural biodiversity while maintaining a productive asset. “The Harmans have completed an extraordinary amount of environmental protection work on the property, not because they had to, but because it was the ‘right thing to do’.” . .