Support lifetime traceability this calving season

Date 25 June 2020

Tararua dairy farm manager Nick Bertram is gearing up for a busy calving season. He stays on top of his NAIT obligations using the MINDA Live app.

What’s your current set up?

We manage around 460 animals over 200 hectares. We’re 50/50 herd owning.

How many NAIT locations do you manage?

We’ve got the main farm and a run-off block 2km away – both under the same NAIT number.

Who is the PICA?

I am. We have a staff of three who help with tagging at calving. They text me as soon as they’ve tagged a new-born, I’ll then update this in LIC’s MINDA Live app. I’m also responsible for recording future calf movements in NAIT.

When do you start calving?

The heifers are due to calf around July 18 with the cows expected later in July.

How many calves are you expecting?

All going well, about 450.  We’ll hold on to around 300 for selling or rearing and offload the others as bobby calves.

Where do you order your tags?

I get them through LIC and use birth tags along with NAIT tags for my calves.

How do you register your calves?

I manage all my livestock records through MINDA Live. For calves that have a pre-assigned NAIT tag with their birth ID it is simple.  For calves that don’t have pre-assigned NAIT tags, to ensure the tags match in both systems, I make the last four digits on the NAIT tag the birth ID. This helps too if you must quickly update information about a dead animal or movement.

How do you know the records are in NAIT?

After I’ve tagged the animal and recorded the tag number in MINDA LIVE, I’ll get an email notification confirming the registration has been transferred into the NAIT system. It’s important you get this email, as that will mean the animal is NAIT registered and has lifetime traceability.

Do you use a livestock scanner?

No, we choose to use the Protrack drafting gate instead at the main shed. It captures all the animals coming in for milking and helps identify missing tags in the herd.

Where do you sell your calves?

While we have 100 Wagyu calves on contract, I do most of my selling on Trademe. Occasionally, I’ll go through saleyards. If you are buying calves online ask the seller for their NAIT number.

In your opinion, is the NAIT system improving?

Yes, it is. The functionality and connectivity with MINDA have improved and it is more accurate and faster, with notifications now confirming your animals and movements are in NAIT.

Also, compared to other countries traceability systems we have cutting edge technology. I recall working in the UK and they had a clunky and laborious passport system for every individual animal. I would like to see us move away from a paper-based system for ASD forms, and be able to link a NAIT tag with a birth tag or primary ID tag online in both systems.

Any NAIT tips for calving farmers, this season?

Don’t forget your Animal Status Declaration (ASD) to your transporter. I’ve usually got one handy in the shed or the ute. There is also a new section now on the form for you to declare all your animals are tagged and registered before sending off-farm.  If you’re still using an old ASD book or waiting on a new one, you can download the livestock transporter declaration form from the OSPRI website. When sending your calves off-farm, remember to do your NAIT or herd movements within 48 hours - this helps traceability and disease management.

More information for calving

NAIT tips for calving brochure

Nick Bertram website

Tararua farm manager Nick Bertram