Fo­cus now goes on biose­cu­rity on the farm

Piako Post - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES THOMAS

As we head rapidly to­wards the end of the sea­son it is time to take stock of the farm sit­u­a­tion and take time to re­flect on the sea­son just fin­ished and the new one about to start.

For those of you mov­ing to new farms it is also time to es­tab­lish if the con­trac­tual con­di­tions have been met on both prop­er­ties.

This will be in terms of farm pas­ture cover, sup­ple­men­tary feed and cow con­di­tion but also re­pairs and main­te­nance and the house. Re­mem­ber if you be­lieve that there is a short­fall in any of the con­di­tions then you have 10 days to ap­peal and get an in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment on what any deficit may be.

It is very im­por­tant that ev­ery­one starts on the same page and that no party is dis­ad­van­taged. In what can be a stress­ful time with mov­ing, the re­cent M. Bo­vis scare has also alerted us to look­ing for best prac­tice go­ing for­ward in terms of on farm bio se­cu­rity. As I write this the de­ci­sion re­gard­ing erad­i­ca­tion has not been made but the lessons learnt to date is about mak­ing sure that any peo­ple vis­it­ing the farm need to ad­here to rules re­gard­ing clean­li­ness. So be­ing able to wash and dis­in­fect peo­ple and ve­hi­cles will be­come more com­mon­place.

And the key mes­sage for me from the farm­ers meet­ing was do not for­get about the peo­ple di­rectly af­fected, they all need our sup­port in what is clearly a very stress­ful time. The start of win­ter is also a good time to plan what feed­ing strat­egy may be used on farm next sea­son. There seems to be a good sup­ply of sup­ple­ment arty feed on many farms which will help po­ten­tially lower feed in­put costs for the New Year. Make sure all farm staff know the feed­ing plans and how to im­ple­ment them. Do not waste feed as it will be needed at some point. Try and make time to do a cow con­di­tion as­sess­ment also as there is still some time to put weight on cows although the win­dow of op­por­tu­nity is slow­ing down.

There needs to be a bal­ance be­tween de­sired feed­ing lev­els and av­er­age pas­ture cover. Reg­u­lar farm walks will help the farm team make ac­cu­rate de­ci­sions re­gard­ing this and the feed bud­get will guide the man­age­ment over this time.

-James Thomas is a Far­mWise con­sul­tant

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