Avoid dis­tress­ing an­i­mals fur­ther

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By JAMES HOUGHTON

With this sum­mer’s dry con­di­tions con­tin­u­ing to place pres­sure on Waikato farm­ers of ev­ery stripe, I ex­pect sa­le­yards will be in­un­dated with cull cows and ex­cess stock over the next few weeks.

I hope farm­ers take time to think about what is best for th­ese an­i­mals, which will no doubt face a sec­ond stress­ful jour­ney to the meat­works af­ter a hot day in the pens. Farm­ers have a duty to do the best by our an­i­mals. Surely it would be bet­ter to cut out a re­dun­dant leg of the jour­ney for th­ese an­i­mals, min­imise their stress lev­els and just sell them straight to the pro­ces­sors.

There is a lot of talk about im­prov­ing the meat in­dus­try’s pro­cesses and the po­ten­tial ben­e­fit to farm­ers. We also need to look at how we deal with sur­plus stock, not just in terms of the in­dus­try but in terms of what is bet­ter for the an­i­mals.

I can­not see the point of send­ing cull cat­tle which are bound for the works any­way, through the added stress and strain of trav­el­ling to the sa­le­yards. Do the right thing by th­ese an­i­mals and save them an un­nec­es­sar­ily stress­ful ex­tra trip.

When trans­port­ing stock, make sure they have been stood off from brown pas­ture for at least four hours be­fore be­ing loaded on trucks. This makes the an­i­mals trans­port bet­ter and stops trucks hav­ing is­sues with ex­ces­sive ef­flu­ent.

It is frus­trat­ing to look at the 10-day lon­grange fore­casts which say the right kind of clouds are on the hori­zon and headed our way but which seem to evap­o­rate be­fore the promised rainy day.

The small doses of rain to­wards the end of Jan­uary and the start of Fe­bru­ary have staved off drought but Waikato and many other parts of the North Is­land had record low rain­fall over Jan­uary.

The whole of the up­per North Is­land is start­ing to get a bit des­per­ate for rain and farm­ers hope the Niwa pre­dic­tion of nor­mal to slightly above av­er­age rain­fall from March on­wards prove ac­cu­rate. In fact, nor­mal rain­fall may not be enough and we may al­most be hop­ing for a sig­nif­i­cant weather event to get us back to where we should be.

Farm­ers need to use all of the re­sources avail­able to them. Talk to DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, get some good ad­vice around plan­ning and stick to it.

It is in­ter­est­ing to see farm­ers have voted over­whelm­ingly in favour of the Farm­lands and CRT merger. Tues­day’s vote saw 82.5 per cent of Farm­lands share­hold­ers say yes and 85 per cent of CRT share­hold­ers.

This was the first of two votes on the deal, the sec­ond of which will be fi­nalised on Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 27.

Given that the fees awarded to the con­sul­tants pub­li­cis­ing the vote and en­sur­ing it went off smoothly were linked to a suc­cess­ful vote. I would say they will be toast­ing a suc­cess­ful cam­paign.

I do won­der though, what in­flu­ence did this success fee have on the in­for­ma­tion given to the farm­ers?

Should we ex­pect more im­par­tial­ity from the peo­ple who are dis­tribut­ing the vi­tal in­for­ma­tion we need to make up our minds?

The Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Dairy Coun­cil is hav­ing its meet­ing this week in North­land’s Bay of Is­lands. I hope they will be able to keep their minds on the ac­tual busi­ness at hand, rather than giv­ing into the temp­ta­tion of tak­ing in the area’s nat­u­ral beauty.

With the lat­est Fon­terra Sus­tain­able Dairy­ing: Water Ac­cord due out in the next few days, I hope some more jour­nal­ists take the op­por­tu­nity to see the scenery and more with the op­por­tu­nity to visit a few of North­land’s dairy farms and learn a bit about what they do and why.

There are some road­shows planned in early March to in­crease the en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness among farm­ers.

Dairy­ing is a highly com­plex busi­ness, which can be hard to un­der­stand from the out­side, so this is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity for me­dia to gain valu­able in­sight into the in­dus­try’s chal­lenges and how it is deal­ing with them.

It is not of­ten that a United States pres­i­dent’s state of the union ad­dress con­tains an an­nounce­ment which means much to New Zealand farm­ers, but last week Barak Obama stated his in­ten­tion to com­plete the deal that will see the US join the Trans Pa­cific Part­ner­ship be­ing ne­go­ti­ated be­tween New Zealand, Aus­tralia, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, Brunei, Viet­nam, Chile, Peru, Mex­ico, Canada and the US. Ja­pan and South Korea are also ex­press­ing in­ter­est.

Get­ting this agree­ment un­der way would be a huge step to­wards lev­el­ling the play­ing field for Kiwi prod­ucts and cre­ate the big­gest mar­ket­place on the planet – worth US$21 tril­lion (NZ$24.9 tril­lion). That is a huge op­por­tu­nity for us.

Over the week­end I was vis­ited by some lo­cal low-lifes who de­cided to have an un­in­vited tour of my shed. I promptly in­ter­cepted them be­fore harm could be done.

To­day’s tech­nol­ogy meant I went armed with my cell­phone and not a firearm. The po­lice re­sponded well and ap­pre­ci­ated the de­tails and pho­to­graphs I gave them. We all need to be aware of se­cu­rity.

Take care: Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Waikato pres­i­dent James Houghton hopes farm­ers will save cull cows un­nec­es­sary stress this sea­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.