Animal Health
Salmonella Brandenburg is hitting hard this season and producers are being told to vaccinate against it now or lose stock. Nick Page, from Rolleston Vet Servicessays it is hitting all types of stock, but is bad in dairy heifers. The bacteria spreads quickly through flocks or herds and  can do a lot of damage in a short time. He says it also affects humans so personal hygiene is vital and should include regular hand washing and gloves when handling any affected matter. 
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The need to drive all over the farm to see if the water tanks are full is over. RX Plastics can provide a system that monitors the levels in a tank and send the information to a screen by a totally wireless system. Phil Gatehouse says thesystem can show levels in up to eight tanks and most farmers put the monitor in their kitchens of offices and can tell at a glance if there’s a problem and where it is. He says it fits onto many tanks that are in place already, but his company have revised their “max tanks”  so that the devises can be fitted with total ease.

How do you make a tank better than before? You make the manhole bigger, you add tie down lugs, you cut out air gaps so the wine industry can use them, you make the construction stronger, and you add a point where a wireless water level monitor can be added. Then, as RX Plastics did, you keep the price the same as it was before. They are very good at listening to the end user and filling the needs of their clients.
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Facts and figures coming out about the North Canterbury drought are horrific. More than 100,000 sheep have been shipped out of the region and more are on the border of starvation. 650 farmers have been visited by support people and it’s thought that’s the tip of the ice burg.  At this point support people are saying theBanks are still being supportive and MPI are joining with groups such as the Rural Support Trust to help those in need. With some sheep and beef farmers paying out more than $200,000 on supplements so far, and no relief from rain being forecast, it is crunch time for many of the producers. The area is getting bigger by the day and now covers the area from Amberley north to the Conway, and from the sea back into the hill country.

Help is coming thick and fast for the North Canterbury farmers but sadly it is only a moral boost. Money, stock feed and even cooking is flowing into the area to try to ease the pain. Others are organising functions for the locals to get them off the farm even for a few hours. Doug Archbold from Rural Support Trust says he is astounded where the support is coming from and the generosity of people from other regions and those in the cities and towns. He says the there’s thousands of dollars worth of transport costs being donated and in one case an elderly city woman turned up at his home and gave him a cheque for $5,000 plus clothing to be distributed.
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On a brighter note, The dropping dollar and lower interest rates has led to better returns for wool. As the new season starts John Dawson from NZ Wool Services says the strong wool indicator is up 10 percent. He says the future for NZ wool is Niche rather than commodity and that is the direction we need to head for. He says China is still an important market for NZ as they buy and process 50 percent of the world clip but we are well placed to cash in on the value added markets as we produce the world’s top product.
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The Canterbury A&P show is expected to attract the country’s top riders this year as they enjoy competing in the Equine Royal Event. Geoff Stone says horse numbers were up 10 percent last year but the Royal Event will bring even more interest. The Christchurch show is already seen as the second largest horse event on the calendar.
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While sheep, beef, cropping and dairy farmers are bracing themselves for another dry year, wine growers will be relishing the dry. James Shand who owns Straight 8 Estate winery says the dry conditions after a winter with heavy frosts is ideal, but he hopes the spring will be kind and not throw late frosts in to the mix.

He says last season produced less wine that the market needed because of weather conditions, so there's high hopes that nature may pay them back with a good year this year.
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Minister of Primary Industries spoke at the Pipfruit NZ Annual Conference and talk about the healthy state the industry is in. "It’s an exciting time for your industry which is having a really strong year. Let me give you a few highlights worth mentioning:
• Apple & Pear export revenue exceeded $570 million last year.
• Fruit exports are worth $2 billion
• Horticulture exports are now worth just over $4 billion, and have grown 17 percent growth over three years.
Overall, I believe your industry’s success doesn’t get the coverage or kudos it deserves."
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Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy say around 100 more people will be trained to help farming families across the country access the support they need.

The commitment is the first part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities announced by the Ministers at Fieldays.
“We recognise that some farmers are under considerable stress. The physical isolation as well as the uncertainties of being reliant on the land creates different pressures to those living in an urban setting,” says Dr Coleman.
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