It is all go for next week’s East Coast Farming Expo, albeit with plenty of attention on ensuring everyone is kept safe.
The gathering is held mid-week to make it easier for sheep and beef farmers from the East Coast and Hawke's Bay take the time out and chat one-on-one with industry leaders.
This year, there will be a big focus on tools for stock handling, with many allowing farmers to work more efficiently, safely and for good gains.
Sean Blenkin is the man behind Stock Ezy. He says he thrives on face-to-face contact with farmers and trying to solve problems.
"I love the feedback from them," he says.
He drew on his own experience when inventing the company's Flow Control Gate.
"I would be the one at the back of the drafting race to stop them jamming and keep them flowing. I went into the yards two years ago and saw the same problem still there. It is common sense really," Blenkin says.
The gate was released at the 2021 South Island Field Days where it was runner-up in the innovation awards.
"I was really chuffed with that," he says.
Blenkin has more products in the pipeline that he says will help farmers with their stock handling.
Harmen Heesen is chief executive of TechniPharm NZ, a company with 30 years of experience in design, build and servicing.
“We have seen our systems in many farm systems and situations so have developed a very good understanding of what is required for the farmer to achieve what they set out to do,” says Harmen.
“There are so many tools, it is hard to determine which is best. Many stock handling tools and systems work as part of a total, with very few – if any – are a total solution. The tools and on farm skills and experience can make stock handling so much easier than what most farmers currently have or are doing. Cattle handling systems are a crucial part of getting one thing right when it comes to handling stock.”
One of those “critical” tools is a well-designed cattle handler.
“They are often a critical part of getting the job done – mouthing, drenching, weighing, pregnancy testing, AI, and calving are just a few of the jobs. The smoother and faster this work happens with the animal contained, the better it is for reducing stress levels.”
Those stress levels can create the hormone cortisol which while take less than a few minutes to be released into the animal’s system, take up to 48 hours to disappear.
“While that is happening, the animal doesn’t behave or grow, so a big part of a handling system focus is to keep that hormone at bay.”
He says shouting, yelling, sticks and noise are all things which should be avoided so the animal is comfortable in the environment.
“There are still many thousands of farms where cattle and stock handling happens with systems and facilities designed 100 years ago. Many of these systems are unsafe, bad for stock stress and inadequate for modern cattle farming,” he says.
“Many of our clients who have invested in our systems say 25 years ago are upgrading with what we have on offer today.”
Fenemor Innovations most popular product is the Vetmarker lamb docking chute, invented by John Fenemor.
Gillian Fenemor says it is a standout because of its ease of use with less stress on lambs, who are released onto their feet. It is easy for staff and has the option of an automatic flystrike application.
“Our focus is on making farm jobs easier and safer for staff and stock,” says Gillian. “Once a person has used a Vetmarker they never want to go back to old docking methods.
“The Expo is small and dedicated to farmers, and those who attend are more relaxed. They are not rushing with a time frame to get around the entire field day and find they can spend time with each business to discuss how something works.”
Where and When
What: East Coast Farming Expo
When: February 23-24 2022
Where: Wairoa A&P Showgrounds
More Info: www.eastcoastexpo.co.nz