Animal Health and Welfare
Dry conditions cause a raft of deadly problems for stock farmers. Nick Page from Rolleston Vet services says the top of the list is Nitrate poisoning caused by plants suffering from dry conditions suddenly taking up some rain and becoming very toxic. He says it isn’t just brassicas that can cause the problem, grasses can as well. Nick suggests caution after any heavy rain and to ensure stock is feed hay or straw before grazing suspect fodder, and to restrict access to affected plants.
Algal bloom in still or stagnant water can kill dogs in about 20 minutes. Nick Page agrees it is hard to keep dogs out of water, but it is vital you do. He says you can normally see the bloom floating on top of the water, and if so ensure your dogs are kept away. Even some rivers will be attacked by the bloom so the risk is very high.
Expect massive internal parasite pressure in a long hot summer. Nick Page reports that stock under stress will shed huge volumes of eggs that will infect other stock. He says internal parasites relish in the heat and extra care is certainly needed to keep on top of them.
Pigs are also at risk in hot weather. If they don’t have fresh water and lots of it, they will suffer from what is called Salt poisoning. Nick says fresh water is the key to keeping the problem at bay.
The North Island can also expect a problem with facial Eczema. Again a spore based problem, facial eczema will be rife this summer (Watch Interview)
Horticulture and Cropping
The drought will certainly affect a lot of pastures and crops, but producers have a very positive option in getting nutrients into their plants. Jan Meinel from Wuxal says their foliar Nutrition products, of which there are about 170 types, will be taken up by the plants when solid fertilisers become useless due to the lack of moisture in the ground. Jan says the worldwide company can adapt any of the range to fit any requirements by adding whatever the crop is lacking at any one time. (Watch Interview)
Young Farmers are taking their message to the mainstream school subjects in a move to make agriculture and farming an option for a lot more people. Terry Copeland says, for example, schools are taking on genetics as part of their maths lessons, and other subjects will end up with a rural flavour. He says the main focus is to show people that agriculture isn’t just gumboots, and there are many other areas that can be exciting for young people to get involved with. (Watch Interview)
Rural Women NZ have just had their annual conference and one of their main focusses was reducing speeds past schools. It seems there are a lot of different rules in different areas and Rural Women want a standard 40 ks past urban schools and 70 past rural schools. (Watch Interview)
Joanne Taylor who started a business printing a glossy magazine because her hairdresser wanted somewhere to advertise, has won this year’s Enterprising Rural Woman of the year award. Sponsored by Rural Women NZ the award rewards rural women who are running their own business in rural areas. (Watch Interview)