Drystock farmer is NAIT smart about bulls management

Date 23 October 2019

If you are buying bulls privately, ensure the animal is registered in NAIT and the vendor has recorded a sending movement before buying, says Northland beef farmer Roger Ludbrook.

“Don’t take their word for it. If they can’t provide a NAIT number or evidence that the service bull is registered, walk away, don’t risk your livelihood, support disease management and traceability.”

Roger has experienced at first-hand the change in attitudes around NAIT, after a stock agent notified him that a farmer was not going to pay for the bulls, he sold him - until he recorded the movement in NAIT.

“It was certainly a spur for me. I had never encountered that before, in terms of someone wanting the animal movement confirmed in NAIT within 48 hours.”

Managing one NAIT location at Ohaewai, in the Bay of Islands, Roger is PICA for around 1100 beef cattle including an Angus herd. He rears bull calves with an estimated 95 per cent going to the works.

For private sales, he records and confirms farm to farm movements directly into NAIT courtesy of a NAIT app linked up to his scanner.

While he concedes his NAIT account is a work in progress, “I’m due a stock take”, he now views NAIT obligations more positively and a necessity.

The purchase of a Tru-Test scanner was a game changer and made his bull calves rearing operation more cost effective with less time spent matching animals to lost tags.

In the past, when sending animals to the works, he would often get penalised because around 10 per cent – mainly old bulls would be missing NAIT tags or they were not readable.

“This was annoying, and it was costing me. If you’re sending through say 450 animals weighing in at 300-kilos that’s effectively $30 a head I was getting pinged, and so annually I was incurring around $1500 in charges because they were not scanning through.

“When the works called about missing tags, I would have to go through the old weigh box to try and work out what bulls were actually sent. Now with the scanner, you can go through the tag file and find the tag number and match it against the kill sheets the works has," says Roger.

More information on bulls management 

Roger Ludbrook website4

Roger Ludbrook