Ready for Moving Day
Autumn is a busy period for dairy farmers and aside from calving and drying off, there is Moving Day. Award winning Manawatu contract milker Jarrod Greenwood is finalising plans for his move and kindly took some time out to discuss how preparations are going.
Manawatu dairy farmers Jarrod and Nikki Greenwood are relishing the prospect of progressing from contract milkers to 50/50 sharemilkers.
This lifetime aspiration means buying their own herd and switching from Palmerston North to a 115 hectare farm near Whanganui on Moving Day (June 1).
“It’s a good step up, but farming is our passion and we’re in it for the long-haul. We love being around animals, working outside, and the business of farming itself."
The Greenwoods recently sourced a herd of 270 cows from the Waikato and brokered the deal through a trusted agent they have known for a long time.
Jarrod says it’s important to check the history of your herd, and whether it has been mixed with other livestock in the past 12 months, including at wintering.
“Obviously the M Bovis situation is a concern and we’ve been taking all the necessary steps to minimise that risk. That means doing your due diligence, such as recording all animal movement on NAIT and completing the Animal Status Declaration [ASD] forms.
“We’ve also made sure that our new herd was tested for M. Bovis and, we got the all clear.”
Jarrod says recording animal movement on NAIT was “not hard” and should be considered a priority when farmers are thinking about moving animals.
“It’s fairly straightforward, once you’ve logged on. There are no excuses now. Getting on board with NAIT is in everyone’s interest. You don’t want to be compromising your livestock’s wellbeing or our overseas reputation as a safe food producer.”
Accurate record keeping including tagging, registering animals and recording movements in NAIT is vital for the tracing of animal diseases and for effective disease preparedness, prevention and control.
Jarrod was especially mindful of cattle diseases like Theileria and Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) and the importance of staying vigilant and managing that risk.
“When you’re buying cattle, you have to be sure about what you’re potentially getting into. It only takes one crook calf bought from the sale yards or another farm that could turn into a major problem for you and your business.
“We’re really lucky in the respect that we are buying a herd from a “self-contained” farm. From what we know, they rarely move cows’ off-farm and the heifers have their own grazing block.”
The success of OSPRI’s TBfree programme had otherwise provided grounds for optimism towards controlling, manging and eradicating diseases.
Farmers though had an obligation to maintain the progress made by checking the TB status of all cattle before you decide to purchase or graze the animals as required.
If relocating livestock on Moving Day, especially from a ‘Movement Control Area’ make sure you have done a pre-movement test, this is generally valid for 60 days prior to movement.
“Book your test now to ensure any required follow up testing can be completed well before transport is required,” says Jarrod.
For farmers moving cattle for grazing, it was equally important to know about the location, the grazier, and what on-farm biosecurity measures they employed.
Check what other animals are on the grazier’s property and how they are be going to be kept separate as key questions to assess the risk to your stock.
Jarrod says, “I’ve not encountered that type of transition yet. To be honest, it’s going to be a big learning curve. But I know I would be thinking about NAIT and even checking that the farm boundary in relation to neighbouring properties is secure.
“After-all, traceability starts at the farmgate.”
When undertaking Moving Day, consider all possible scenarios. Whether you’re moving farm or cattle, plan carefully for a stress free day.
“There’s bound to be a lot of stock trucks coming on-farm. I would be checking they are all fit for purpose for transporting herds and been thoroughly washed beforehand.
“At the end of day, anything new coming on-farm is a biosecurity risk, and you don’t want to be the one suddenly having to manage a cattle disease outbreak, “Jarrod says.