6 Jul 2012

Dairy code revision continues

9:56 am on 6 July 2012

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) says it's pressing ahead with the development of guidelines for indoor dairy farming.

NAWAC began looking into that two years ago at the request of the Government, following debate over proposals for large-scale farms in the Upper Waitaki region.

Chairperson John Hellstrom says the committee has been busy revising several of its 16 welfare codes, which it's required to do every decade.

He says an increasing trend toward indoor dairying is putting more pressure on the committee to press on with its revision of the dairy code.

Dr Hellstrom says the dairy code at the time it was put out envisaged off-pasture housing primarily for climatic control.

But he says there's now an emerging trend of 24/7 dairy housing where animals don't go to pasture at all, except during their non-milking period.

Dr Hellstrom says it's quite a common practice in Europe and having looked at a small operation with up to 400 cows the welfare in these systems seems to be very good, but the issue will probably come down to stockmanship and other things.

He says NAWAC expects to release a draft document on indoor housing for dairy cattle, for public discussion later this year.

Meanwhile, two of the companies behind proposals for indoor dairy farming in the Upper Waitaki region have gone into liquidation, after failing to get water consents.