Friday, 14 August 2020 07:08

Taking NAIT seriously

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
North Otago-based calf rearers Jared and Meriana Ovens. North Otago-based calf rearers Jared and Meriana Ovens.

North Otago calf rearer Jared Ovens believes the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak has led to more farmers embracing animal traceability.

Ovens says farmers are now realising the value of traceability and it does not pay anymore to take shortcuts.  

“I think those who are less willing to change are the minority and some have since got out of the industry as a result.”

For Ovens, calf rearing is a part-time job. 

He’s an animal health territory manager for the local veterinary centre looking after 120 dairy farms.

Now into his fourth year as a part-time calf rearer, Ovens runs a 10ha and a 2ha block in partnership with a local dairy farmer, both blocks under the same National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) location number.

The small operation has about 40 grazing dairy heifers right now. During the year they rear calves – mainly Friesian bulls, Hereford bulls and heifers.

Ovens grew up on a dairy farm and the industry has been a big part of his life. 

“I didn’t want to run a fully operational dairy farm and the calf rearing started off small and has just kept growing.

“We’re looking at around 300 and we’ll start bringing them on-farm from around late July right through to September.”

He used to source them from four different farmers, but now has one local client. 

“We’re in a partnership and I also look after his heifer replacements. It’s just easier to go and pick them up from one location and you know then what herd they’ve come from.”

When it comes to managing their NAIT obligations, Ovens and his business partner use livestock scanners. 

“When he’s moving the calves on to the truck at his farm, he’ll scan them, and when they arrive at my end, I scan them off. 

“He’ll make a sending movement on the same day and I’ll confirm in my NAIT account.” 

Ovens looks after the NAIT account.

“If we’re bringing calves on-farm, I’ll do it regularly and check in once a week to ensure it’s all up to date. My wife Meriana is in charge of feeding the calves.”

The calves are sent away between August and December. 

They never finish calves. The majority are contracted and private sales and they’re long-term relationships we’ve built, says Ovens.

“Occasionally we’ll send some to a saleyard.”

Ovens recommend having a livestock scanner so you scan the calves every time they come into the yard or at weighing time. 

“That way you can keep track of any lost tags or animals. It’s better to keep on top of things at the time rather than leaving it to when the truck comes to take them,” he says.

More like this

Have your NAIT account up to date for calving

From early July, it will be all hands-on deck for award-winning dairy farming brothers Manoj Kumar and Sumit Kamboj as they start welcoming their first winter calves of the season.

National

Guy standing for Ravensdown

Former Agriculture Minister and Horowhenua dairy farmer Nathan Guy is standing for election to the Ravensdown board of directors.

Nats new first woman of Ag

The National Party's new agriculture spokesperson says she'll be working from the grassroots up, rather than the top down, as…

Machinery & Products

Helps tame the wind!

Amazone's recently released WindControl System automatically monitors and adjusts the spreading pattern to compensate for the effect of the wind…

First Claas patent hits a century

While Claas has registered more than 3,000 patents during its 108-year history, the company is currently celebrating the 100th anniversary…

JD invests in robotics

Global giant Deere and Co has acquired Silicon Valley start-up company Bear Flag Robotics, which specialises in autonomous driving technologies…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Too many hits?

OPINION: Well-known professional protestor, John Minto has run off at the mouth without checking his facts.

Good question!

A mate of the Hound's thinks it was more than a bit dodgy when DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter