An MPI reminder on stock welfare

Stock welfare critical

Stock welfare critical

WELFARE REMINDER: The Ministry for Primary Industries this week asked farmers around the country to ensure the welfare of their stock as winter draws to a close and spring approaches, and to get the right advice if they need it on how to do that most effectively. File picture

WET and muddy conditions around this district and elsewhere can be expected on farms at this time of year, with slow pasture growth and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has reminded pastoral livestock farmers to ensure the welfare of their animals.

The reminder this week was around caring for animals on crops and pasture and to seek advice if needed.

“We recognise that this time of year brings many challenges, and managing stocking densities, pasture, break feeding on crops and minimising soil damage are just some of these,” said MPI director of animal health and welfare, veterinarian Dr Chris Rodwell.

“But farmers must be vigilant to not compromise animal health and welfare during these challenging months of the year.

“New Zealand’s codes of animal welfare generally require livestock to have access to areas free of surface water and mud, and appropriate protection from adverse weather.”

Dr Rodwell said rest and lying time was important to the health and welfare of livestock, not just feed availability and body condition.

“Welfare issues may not be immediately obvious,” he said.

“Amongst a number of issues, prolonged time on mud can also cause distress and discomfort, bring on significant and painful animal health issues such as lameness and mastitis, and reduce production and resistance to disease.”

MPI recognised that the use of winter crops as a source of good nutritional support to pasture and other feeds during winter was an important part of livestock feeding in New Zealand extensive farming systems, he said.

“However, there is a point where animals are adversely impacted by muddy paddocks and MPI continues to receive complaints.

“We urge farmers to seek expert advice and follow good practice to avoid problems.

“There is some really good advice available from vets and your sector groups.

“Spring is stressful for people and animals alike — do not add to your stress with animal health issues caused by mud,” said Dr Rodwell.

WET and muddy conditions around this district and elsewhere can be expected on farms at this time of year, with slow pasture growth and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has reminded pastoral livestock farmers to ensure the welfare of their animals.

The reminder this week was around caring for animals on crops and pasture and to seek advice if needed.

“We recognise that this time of year brings many challenges, and managing stocking densities, pasture, break feeding on crops and minimising soil damage are just some of these,” said MPI director of animal health and welfare, veterinarian Dr Chris Rodwell.

“But farmers must be vigilant to not compromise animal health and welfare during these challenging months of the year.

“New Zealand’s codes of animal welfare generally require livestock to have access to areas free of surface water and mud, and appropriate protection from adverse weather.”

Dr Rodwell said rest and lying time was important to the health and welfare of livestock, not just feed availability and body condition.

“Welfare issues may not be immediately obvious,” he said.

“Amongst a number of issues, prolonged time on mud can also cause distress and discomfort, bring on significant and painful animal health issues such as lameness and mastitis, and reduce production and resistance to disease.”

MPI recognised that the use of winter crops as a source of good nutritional support to pasture and other feeds during winter was an important part of livestock feeding in New Zealand extensive farming systems, he said.

“However, there is a point where animals are adversely impacted by muddy paddocks and MPI continues to receive complaints.

“We urge farmers to seek expert advice and follow good practice to avoid problems.

“There is some really good advice available from vets and your sector groups.

“Spring is stressful for people and animals alike — do not add to your stress with animal health issues caused by mud,” said Dr Rodwell.

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