News & Advice


Grain overload in sheep

With the harvest season upon us, it is timely to remind ourselves of the potential dangers of grain overload (rumen acidosis). This usually occurs in sheep not being gradually introduced to a grain feeding regimen or being put onto stubble where there is substantial grain remaining or spills. Grain is sometimes used in late summer/autumn […]


Fly and lice

The most serious and economically damaging ectoparasites facing the NZ sheep farmer are fly and lice. The cost to our farming industry runs into millions of dollars annually. There are over 15 million dollars spent each year on chemicals alone. The farmer must consider a range of factors when designing an integrated ectoparasite control programme. […]


Lungworm in young stock

Recent rain around Christmas will lead to unprecedented grass growth. Unfortunately, the conditions promoting good grass growth also promote parasite survival. Parasites like moisture, warmth and shade which are the conditions currently prevailing on most irrigated pasture and on a lot of unirrigated pasture. Lungworm reared its head last autumn on some properties, and the […]


Faecal Egg Count Reduction Tests (FECRT)

Whether there have been previous resistance issues on the farm or not, this testing is a worthwhile investment. This is the only way to know if the drenches that you are using are actually effective on your farm. Parasite resistance to drenches is a continual problem, and once resistance to a drench has developed, drenches […]


Knockout Drench

Knockout drenching is the substitution of a routine lamb drench with a highly efficacious product prior to optimal climatic conditions for larval survival and development. This is in order to remove worms which have survived routine drenching and to prevent an autumn larval peak of resistant parasites. For example, after using a product such as […]


Salmonella, the ongoing re-emerging challenge – recognise it and vaccinate!

Salmonellosis takes many forms. Historically, our dairy cattle and sheep have been the focus of acute cases of salmonellosis – generally as single cases or at most a small cluster. Sheep emerged during the 1990’s to have flock wide florid abortions and acute deaths. This of course has been successfully managed by vaccination and/or management […]


Is your ram flock up for it?

With the ram sales already happening, it is time to have a sort out of your existing ram flock to ascertain numbers of new rams required. These new acquisitions should be from a brucellosis-free accredited flock that fits your farm’s management systems and goals. Care must be taken if getting cheap rams from saleyards – […]


The importance of a properly administered clostridial vaccination

Clostridial vaccines are one of the most researched and well understood vaccinations on the market. The cost-benefit ratio of a successful clostridial vaccination programme always works in the farmer’s favour. You only have to save one in six hundred lambs to pay for the cost, and the faster you grow your lambs the more you […]


TSE surveillance

      In December 1984, on a farm in Sussex, suspicions of a new disease in cattle began to develop. In the following year, a postmortem diagnosed Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, or Mad Cow Disease). This was the beginning of a public crisis in and for the United Kingdom. This crisis cost 177 human […]


Managing the ewe flock in the ‘dry’

Going into a dry spell, it is essential to make early decisions. Matching feed supply and demand in advance through feed budgeting is critical. Knowing what feed you have on hand, on a megajoules of metabolisable energy (MJME) basis, means you need to know the weight and energy content of the available forage types. These […]


Sheep abortion vaccines

On most New Zealand sheep farms there are “normal” pregnancy losses of around 1-2% from scanning to birth; any pre-lambing losses higher than this are abnormal and should be investigated to identify the cause of abortion. In any one year, up to 5% of the farms in New Zealand can experience an “abortion storm” with […]


Thinking of exporting cattle out of NZ?

Plan well ahead (1-2 years) with Vetlife so that your NAIT number qualifies on animal health requirements. The live exporting of both dairy and beef cattle to destinations such as China continues. Part of the strict legal requirements is for the exporting farm (NAIT number-based) to have suitable animals, based on the health status of […]



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