Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 2 May 2013 Contents Fiordland Advocate
Page 24 | 2 May, 2013
University of Canterbury forestry
professor David Norton believes
New Zealand farmers should be
responsible for looking after native
bush on their land.
Professor Norton has just
released a book on the issue,
Nature and farming: Sustaining
native biodiversity in agricultural
landscapes, co-authored with
Professor Nick Reid of the
University of New England, New
He said farmers were best
placed to look after conservation
on private land and said a
new approach based on trust
and respect between farmers,
conservation interests, scientists
and officials was needed if native
biodiversity was to be sustained
on agricultural land.
Conservation interests needed
to recognise that most farmers
wanted to do the right thing and
protect native biodiversity, subject
to time, money, feasibility and the
likelihood of success.
“Farmers are in the best position
to manage significant native
biodiversity assets on their land.
Farmers are not afraid to be
innovative. Society will applaud
new initiatives that achieve their
intended objectives, including
novel solutions that might raise
eyebrows in traditional farming
and conservation circles.”
However, he noted that critics
on both sides of the fence would
need to allow the new approaches
to be trialled and evaluated for a
reasonable period of time – years
rather than months.
“We need a new kind of rural
advisor trained in ecological and
agricultural science whose role
would be to provide biodiversity
information, management and
planning advice to farmers, and to
help them apply for funding,”
he said. “Rural ecologists
would help farmers sustain
the most significant natural
assets on their farms, but
would also work with farmers
in better understanding their
matrix management and its
implications for biodiversity.
“These ecologists would be
best located in existing local
management structures such
as district councils and thus
be close to the farmers they
are working with.”
Farmers as native guardians
University of Canterbury conservation biology expert Professor David Norton
believes farmers are best placed to look after conservation on private land.
PHOTO: Professor David Norton
Over the Boundary Fence
Workshops aimed at helping
farmers get the most out of their
critical resource of feed will be
held at Mossburn on May 28 and
Gore on May 29.
Facilitated by “Mr Feedsmart”
Tom Fraser of AgResearch, the
workshops are designed for
sheep and beef farmers and
will run through the principles
of feed budgeting. This will
include calibration of farmer feed
assessments using both their eye
and a pasture meter.
A feed planning programme,
Feedsmart 2, is aimed at assisting
sheep and beef farmers to improve
their feed supply for the demand
and to also improve the utilisation
of the feed. It also aims to
enhance the value of the feed to
be consumed. Participants will
be given the tools to learn how to
create their own personalised feed
budget and will be given a USB
stick that contains the Feedsmart
programme to keep, including
Feedsmart workshops have been
run throughout New Zealand
and have proved to be very
popular. Attendance is free to
the workshops, which run from
12.30pm until 4.30pm, but
registration is required to Theresa
Laws on (03) 448-9176.
•Beef and Lamb NZ Southern
region regularly emails 1700
farmers their e-diary containing
details of upcoming events and
workshops. See www.beeflambnz.
com to sign up.
Are you Feedsmart?
Recent rain has eased the fire
danger in the northern parts of
Southland, allowing the Southern
Rural Fire to revoke the remaining
areas still under a total fire ban.
The northern parts of Southland
have experienced a warm dry
summer and, until this week,
Tuatapere, Eyre, Aparima,
Northern, Gore, Blue Mountains,
Naseby and a portion of Hokonui
zone north of SH 96 between
Mataura were still covered by a
total fire ban.
Principal rural fire officer for
Southern Rural Fire, Mike Grant
said a restricted fire season
would be put in place across the
province, meaning a permit must
be gained to light an open fire.
Some burning could occur without
a permit – including camp fires,
barbecues, incinerators, offal
holes and hedge trimmings –
however people still needed to
Anyone who lit a fire in the open
was responsible for making sure
the fire was safe and did not
spread, Mr Grant said.
Southern Rural Fire staff were
available to help with advice for
landowners on fire safety and Mr
Grant urged people to consider
possible risks and the impact of
their fire and to take all necessary
precautions to ensure it was safe
at all times.
Total fire ban revoked
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What do I need to do with regards
to trace elements prior to winter?
Riversdale, 101 Berwick Street
Lumsden, Flora Road
Te Anau, 133 Govan Drive
Mossburn, Devon Street
It is very important to consider the
trace element status of stock on farm
prior to winter.
The two key questions are:
1. Does my herd/flock currently
have sufficient reserve to meet
demands over winter?
2. Is there a current trace element
If you wish to determine whether
stock have sufficient levels to meet the
demands over winter it is important to
take samples from the storage organ
of the trace element in question.
The main storage organ for both
copper and Vitamin B12 is the liver. It is
best to assess liver stores prior to winter
so that there is time to supplement
prior to a period of increased demand.
Dairy cows in late pregnancy and
fast growing youngstock are most
likely to be deficient over winter. The
copper concentration in blood does
not reflect liver copper levels until the
storage organ becomes depleted and
is therefore not reliable in predicting
potential shortfalls in the future. It is
highly recommended to take liver
biopsies if your objective is to prevent
copper deficiency developing over
Selenium does not have a storage
organ and so it is possible to assess
the concentration in both liver and
blood. Selenium levels are most likely
to be lowest in spring.
The storage organ for iodine is
the thyroid gland (which is not very
accessible) so blood is usually
taken to determine iodine status.
Brassica crops have goitrogens that
interfere with daily iodine uptake.
It is recommended therefore to
supplement all pregnant animals with
iodine if grazing brassica crops.
What does a liver biopsy involve?
A liver biopsy is a relatively quick
procedure performed under local
anaesthetic. The biopsy is taken by
inserting a trochar into the right hand
side of the animal to obtain a sample
of liver. This is sent to the lab and can
be used to measure copper, selenium
and cobalt/vit B12. Five animals are
initially chosen at random and should
represent the age and breed structure
of the herd in question. In subsequent
years these same animals can be
used to determine the trend for a
What about using liver samples
from the works animals?
Works animals are commonly used
as a source for liver testing of copper,
selenium and vitamin B12. This
method is good if the trace element
status of the animals presented to the
works represents those left on farm.
Please call the clinic to discuss an
appropriate trace element testing
and supplementation programme
for your farm.
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