Avoid distressing animals further
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.