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Dr Clive Dalton

Dr Clive Dalton

Clive did a Ph.D. in sheep breeding at the University of North Wales at Bangor. After lecturing at Leeds University, he came to New Zealand to do research with MAF. Because of his communication skills, he moved to the Ruakura Agricultural Research Centre to be fully involved in interpreting science for practical application by farmers.

After 14 years he moved to teach at the Waikato Polytechnic where he taught young future farmers. He won the 1993 Landcorp Communicator of the Year award and the 1999 Sir Arthur Ward award for agricultural communication.

rodeoHow we treat our farm animals in New Zealand daily becomes more important, as our customers around the world who buy our animal products, increasingly want to know how we treated the animals that produced them. That's fair enough, as is the millions we spend skiting about our clean, green and 'humane' environment.

lambsWith today's sheep breeds, inevitably there are more lambs born, and most folk think it's a good thing and will mean extra income. But there are management downsides with an increasing number of ewes lambing triplets.

theileriaThe cattle tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) is well established in New Zealand. They are more active in the warmer areas but have spread to other parts of both islands with the movement of cattle. Blood-sucking ticks in low numbers on their own are not a serious threat to big healthy cattle, but animals in poor condition and calves can be seriously affected through loss of blood. But an increasing number of farms are now carrying a protozoan parasite called Theileria, which is adding to the health problems caused by ticks.

Drench promotions are hotting up in the both the print media and on primetime TV, especially with three new drench chemicals on the market, which are being pushed as the solution to preventing drench resistance. They may be, but caution is needed to prevent history repeating itself which it surely will with promotions increasing.

The promotions are relentless and now include, iPods, golf clubs, clothing, travel vouchers and the inevitable Christmas ham – hopefully from welfare friendly pigs.

The advertising hype pushes the fact that there's always masses of worm larvae on your paddocks that will hatch to create mayhem in your stock – so drench your stock to be prepared – you never know. Some of this is true but a lot is not, so beware.

longacreThe spring flush was a bit late in many areas and this has pushed a lot of stock on to grazing 'the long acre', with some very worrying implications judging by the standard of fencing seen on many highways and byways.

The need for extra feed also coincides with the increased holiday traffic and daylight saving means stock are out grazing for longer each day. Police and animal control officers are now getting very nervous about wandering stock, especially on busy roads fringing busy city boundaries.

FECowFacial Eczema (FE) is the last thing you want to think about over the Christmas holidays, as it's an autumn disease and you thing that's a long way off. Not true – as summers get drier the disease seems to be starting earlier (in December in some areas now) and ending later into May. So January 1 is action day to get organised for FE.

 

burglaryPolice crime prevention officers say that criminals who prey on rural properties are often the same ones who cause mayhem in town. Often a team of criminals will leave the big smoke for a couple of days cleaning up rural properties, sorting their ill gotten gains in the car on the way home, throwing what they don't want out of the window.

RamheadwSheep farmers with small flocks regularly leave decisions about rams far too late, and end up at the February ram sales, expecting to get a decent ram for under $50. Or, they swap one which has been a pet lamb from their neighbour, and which should have been wethered.

 

haymakingSilage and hay contractors work hard and are under great pressure around Christmas, due to people on small blocks wanting to have their silage and hay made to fit their holiday break, or before they go away. All this has to fit in with the weather, which nobody can control.

bullnoseringwThere have been some alarming recent cases of bulls causing injuries and even deaths to folk on farms. It's a no-go contest for a human against a 500+kg beast that can easily go from zero to 30km/hour in just a few seconds.

On too many farms the bull is still working into December and over the Christmas holidays, and bulls are always a health and safety hazard to farm staff, who they are familiar with. But the bigger danger is to strangers, such as friends and family visiting over the holiday period.

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