6 Aug 2013

Unusually mild conditions for calving

1:41 pm on 6 August 2013

Dairy farmers say unusally mild winter conditions and an absence of mud are a great relief following the drought are a great relief during calving season.

Farmers in most of the North Island are already well through calving and in southern areas they are just be starting.

Dairy NZ's regional tream manager, Craig McBeth, says the warmth has been good for the nutrition of the animals and also been pleasant for the farmers and their staff to be getting out on the land.

The National Institute of Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is forecasting mild conditions to continue through the late winter period in its seasonal climate outlook for July to September.

Farmers who inadvertently fed their calves milk contaminated with the potentially harmful bacteria - Clostridium botulinum - are being told the risk to their animals' health is low.

Calf feed milk replacer is the calf equivalent of infant milk formula.

Fonterra's animal feed subsidiary, NZAgbiz, has recalled 65 tonnes of Ancalf and Brown Bag calf milk replacers.

It contains the same contaminated whey protein as an ingredient in it as the infant formula and other products being recalled around the world.

NZAgbiz believes the nearly all of the product, about 60 tonnes, was still on the shelves and not out on the farm.

The General manager Justine Pearce says she's been working with rural retailers to identify the farmers who have bought contaminated stock.


IN:......We were able to take product off the shelves

OUT:...with this exercise


Justine Pearce says NZAgbiz doesn't don't know yet whether the strain of the bacteria Fonterra has found would be a direct threat to the calves - but it's putting safety first.


IN:......We believe there's a very low risk

OUT:...quality product to their calves