The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) is an applied research and information transfer organisation responsible primarily to New Zealand arable growers.

There are over 2,700 farmers in New Zealand involved in arable cropping activities, with combined farm gate sales of approximately NZ $1Bn, including cereal grains, pulses, maize grain and specialised seed crops for export and domestic markets. Annual crops are grown from the northernmost parts of New Zealand down to Southland, with maize being the dominant crop in the North Island whereas cereal grains (wheat, barley) and seed production (grass seeds, legume seeds and vegetable seeds) is carried out mainly in Canterbury and Southland.

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Latest Media & News

  • Arable Farmer & Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Awards 2018

    The Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group Executive is now taking nominations from members for the Arable Farmer of the Year 2018 and Biosecurity Farmer of the Year 2018. The Arable Farmer of the Year award is designed to recognise a Federated Farmers member who balances production requirements against environmental, sustainability and other compliance requirements. The Biosecurity Farmer of the Year is someone who has demonstrated intuition and motivation in addressing the potential risks posed by pests, weeds and diseases to their businesses and livelihoods. This award aims to promote and reward excellence in on-farm biosecurity practices in the arable industry

    The winners of these awards will be announced at the Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group Conference on Wednesday 6 June. If you know a deserving recipient for either of these awards or for more information, please contact Philippa Rawlinson (prawlinson@fedfarm.org.nz or 021512971).

    Closing date for nominations is the 25th May 2018.

    Arable Farmer of the Year - Nomination form

    Biosecurity Farmer of the Year - Nomination form

  • Mycoplasma bovis, dairy grazing and biosecurity

    FAR has initiated a conversation with DairyNZ with regard to what precautions can and should be taken by cropping farmers who are taking on herds for dairy grazing this winter. Staff at Dairy NZ along with those at the Ministry for Primary Industry are aware of our concerns and are working to develop an information package for all graziers.

    In the meantime, they have provided the following answers to questions we have posed:

    Can you be sure that cattle arriving on your farm do not have, or have not been exposed to, M bovis?

    • No-one can give that guarantee. However, the herd owner should be able provide the results of surveillance bulk milk tests. Negative results should provide some assurance.
    • If you have stock from more than one source on your farm, implement strict measures to keep them completely separate. That way, if a herd were to come under suspicion, the rest of the stock on the grazing block will not have been exposed.
    • If you must graze stock from two sources in one paddock, fence off a two metre strip across the centre of the paddock to separate stock.
    • If the neighbouring property has cattle, arrange for each farm to fence off a one metre buffer along the boundary. If you neighbour won’t co-operate, take responsibility and create a two metre buffer on your side. The feed in these buffer zones can be utilised when there are no longer stock on the other side of the fence.

    What biosecurity measures should you take for stock arriving on and leaving the farm?

    • The biggest risk for the spread of M bovis, is through nose to nose contact between cattle. For this reason, it is important to manage the arrival of stock onto the farm in such a way that herds from different sources do not get close.
    • Try to arrange for different herds to arrive on different days, or at least space out the time of arrivals.
    • Give yards a good clean out to reduce the build-up of muck, which will inhibit cow flow and will also reduce the effectiveness of any disinfectant spray that may be used. Time between the arrival of different herds should be based on the time it takes to apply a disinfectant spray (backpack sprayer) along the sides of the unloading ramp and yards, and the time it takes for that to work (most work in 10 minutes or so). Transporters will have to be involved so that you don't have trucks from different herds arriving at the same time.
    • Consider the use of portable ramps to allow unloading of cattle as close to their grazing paddock as possible, avoiding the yards completely.
    • As many treatments (tagging, drench, copper bulleting, selenium injections, vaccines, etc) as possible should be carried out before animals arrive to minimise use of yards.

    What precautions do you need to take while the animals are on the farm?

    • Have a biosecurity plan in place before the animals arrive. DairyNZ are working on some recommendations around personal protective equipment (PPE) and protocols. Effluent is a much lower risk for disease transmission than nose to nose contact.
    • Ring feeders can get quite ‘slobbery’. Disinfect them if moving between herds or paddocks.
    • Consider options for disinfecting hands/gloves between herds.
    • Leave machinery (bikes and tractors) outside paddocks as much as possible, because curious cows licking these vehicles is a contamination risk.

    What happens if cattle grazing on the farm are found to have M bovis while they are there?

    • This would be a matter for MPI, however, if you have implemented strict biosecurity protocol (can prove that herds have not had contact) it will be much easier for all concerned.

    What happens if, despite a contract being in place, the dairy farmer is unwilling to bring stock to graze because they are worried about M bovis issues?

    • Not covered by MPI compensation. Work it out with herd owner and try and find someone else to take up the grazing.

    What happens if, despite a contract being in place, the dairy farmer is unable to bring the stock to graze because M bovis has been detected in their herd and they are under movement control?

    • Contact MPI to discuss possibility of compensation.

    Further information about M bovis management is available on the followng wesites:
    DairyNZ
    MPI