NAIT a priority for all farmers

Date 1 February 2019

Bernadette & Alistair Hunt run a drystock operation north of Gore.

When it comes to livestock disease management and on-farm biosecurity, NAIT should be priority for every farmer says Southland beef and sheep farmer Bernadette Hunt.

“Whether it’s your farm, the farmer next door or at the other end of the country, recording all livestock movements in NAIT is essential and protects us all.”

Being at the centre of a mycoplasma bovis scare was a traumatic experience for Bernadette and husband Alistair and reinforced the value of livestock traceability, after they introduced 13 bulls onto their grazing block unaware they had originated from an infected property

While the slaughtered bulls tested negative, a movement notice was placed on their farm until all the animals were tested for mycoplasma bovis.

After a few months the restriction notice was lifted, and they were able to open their farm for business.

In hindsight, Bernadette says this highlighted example of where all livestock movements had not been recorded and as a result, changed their mindset around the importance of traceability.

“We were grazing stock for a dairy farmer who had sent the bulls to get those animals in calf.  We farm over several locations, and although some of our properties had no contact with those bulls or any connected animals, our entire farming operation was implicated.”

The Hunts have since decided to register all their farm locations separately to avoid the stress and inconvenience of having their entire business locked down in the event of a livestock disease outbreak.

“We’re currently offloading stock and introducing new animals. This is a good opportunity to ensure the animals coming on-farm are registered at the correct location. We had a situation where a stock agent recorded cattle in NAIT being moved to one of our locations, but not the right one. 

“The OSPRI contact centre managed to sort it out and without much fuss,” says Bernadette.

The Hunts believe there is a sea change in farmer attitudes to NAIT. Rather than ignoring their NAIT responsibilities because of past indifference or negativity about the system, farmers now are realising the benefits and how important it is. 

“It’s the system we have, and it may not be perfect, but when the sender and receiver record and confirm all animal movements in NAIT within 48 hours - it builds the system’s capability and that helps us all.”

The Hunts2

Bernadette and Alistair Hunt