An update from each of the Vet Services Regions.
Camille Flack, Production Animal Veterinarian Group Leader
We start the year quite differently compared to this time last year. Last year the first cases of Covid-19 were being confirmed in New Zealand and we were starting to get concerned about the dry. This year while it is dry in CHB at least there is something covering the ground.
Mating for sheep farmers seems to be shaping up to be a good one as ewes look to be in really good condition. Beef and dairy cattle scanning is underway and results will hopefully be positive considering the feed we have had available.
Here in CHB Surfing for Farmers has been featuring along our coastal beaches. It has been a great mental health initiative which many have been getting involved in.
We are happy to welcome Alyse Hansen to the team as a mixed practice vet. Alyse is from Lower Hut and recently graduated from Massey University. She’s jumped straight in-to things and may have already met you in clinic or assisting on farm visits. Hamish Grant also joined our production animal retail team last spring. He may be familiar to some of you as he had previously worked with PGG Wrightson. Predominantly based in Waipukurau, Hamish brings with him plenty of practical farming and product knowledge along with his exceptional customer service skills.
Here’s hoping autumn will make an appearance this year as it seems to have evaded us for a few! However the downside of autumn turning up means we will need to be extra vigilant on the disease front with facial eczema being number one on that list. Unfortunately we can’t have one without the other, a marriage like no other.
HASTINGS / NAPIER
Clare Ryan, Production Animal Veterinarian & Hastings Clinic Manager
It has been a busy summer in our clinics, and we are thankful that the latest COVID scare was a short one. Hawke’s Bay has had some dry spells with long, warm days and farmers across the region welcomed the few
days of rain we received in mid-February. Some areas reported up to 120mls, but we know others weren’t so lucky.
Our facial eczema monitoring programme is well underway, and spore counts have been low so far. Be prepared that spore counts could now lift. You can check the weekly updates on our website or keep in touch with our retail team for the latest results. Bring in samples from your farm if you want to check paddocks.
Pregnancy testing in cattle is well underway and sheep scanning is just around the corner, please start sending in your scanning numbers. Ticks continue to be a problem in some places. They survived through mild winter in2020 and are prevalent in the long rank grass. Come and talk to the team if you have issues.
Many of you will know Roger Mckinley retired in November (after being with Vet Services for a whopping 27 years) and Holly Spurrier is now on maternity leave as she looks forward to starting a family. We wish them both
all the best in their next chapters. Garry Jones and Gill Beaver joined our growing in store teams late last year. Both bring a wealth of product, client & farming knowledge. New graduates Sal Bredenkamp and Mitchell Lowe, and 3rd year Henry Yule have joined our growing mixed practice vet team and we look forward to having Anyika Scotland back in our production animal vet team this March. She has spent a number of years based in our Waipukurau clinic and been on maternity leave.
Sara Sutherland, Veterinarian
It’s been a long grass summer in the Wairarapa, unusual for our area! Some of our farms had several falls of rain since Christmas, others only had the very welcome 40ml in mid February. Wasn’t that a nice rain! Farmers are telling me that stock condition is good. No cases of Salmonella yet but with fat sheep and lots of grass everyone is looking out for it.
We are very happy to have Keri Giles join our team as a mixed vet with an interest in sheep and beef. Keri is from Southland and her partner is farming in the Wairarapa. Some of you have already met her on farm as she
has wasted no time in getting out and getting her hands dirty! Aimee Alexander has also joined us, her interest is mainly on the small animal side but you may see her on farm from time to time as we try to persuade her
that sheep and beef work is way more fun.
Facial eczema spore counts were high for a couple of weeks, then the cooler nights dropped the counts significantly. Warm weather is forecasted to return soon and we are anxiously waiting to see what effect that
has. The fungus likes warm weather overnight and a bit of humidity – a heavy dew is enough humidity, they don’t need lots of rain. Remember the way we would like farmers to use the regional counts is that when you
see these are rising (which means there is potential for that fungus to grow), get your scissors out and bring a grass sample from your farm. Spore counts are the only way to tell what is going on on your farm. You want to
know what is happening before costly liver damage has occurred. By the time you see peeling skin and drooping ears it is too late to avoid production losses (which can be significant). Read Kathryn’s article below
for more on this.
We did see a case of brucellosis this year. This is a reminder that the disease is still out there. This farm was not one that got us to palpate rams annually – they probably had the infection for years without being aware of it.
A reminder this disease is contagious from ram to ram and causes infertility. It can be a very costly disease – if you haven’t had Sara or Keri out to palpate rams yet this year then give us a ring as soon as possible. You won’t make any money from a ram who can’t do the job.
Keri and Sara between them have done a heap of teasers this year, remember if you need more teasers you should do the surgery 6 weeks before you want to use them. We have done about 10 faecal egg count reduction tests so far. Normally it gets too dry in February for egg counts to get high enough to start the test. That may not be the case this year, so if you haven’t done a reduction test in the last 3 years then give us a ring!
The next big job on our calendar is cattle scanning – please book this in to make sure you get the date and time you want. The summers seem to go by faster and faster each year – it will be autumn before we know it.
Simon Marshall, Veterinarian & Clinic Manager
The region has grown a lot of feed over the last few months and a lot of it has ended up in silage stacks, baleage bales and hay bales. I have talked to a number of contractors that think this will be up on most years. In saying that things had definitely started to dry out until we got some rain mid February. I measured 19ml in town and know that there was more the further east you go. This will help but with the predicted high temperatures coming again next week it could burn off again shortly.
We haven’t seen too many major animal health issues apart from young weaner calves of dairy origin not growing as well as they should be. This has been replacement dairy heifers and Friesian bull calves. When they have been investigated the issues have ranged from some to all of the following: Internal parasites, Lungworm, Coccidiosis, Selenium deficiency, and Yersiniosis. We only found out the causes by investigating them with examination and various samples being taken. Once this is done we can treat the issues and hopefully get them going again.
Pregnancy testing is in full swing with the majority of the dairy herds nearly done. It’s a bit too early to tell of any results but we are seeing the usual range of highs and lows. The next thing to get underway is milk quality reviews pre-drying off.