Southland farmer NAIT ready for winter grazing

Southland dairy farmers Pete and Olivia Blackmore will soon be drying off their herd in preparation for winter grazing. While their milking cows only move one kilometre to a neighbouring property, they still manage their NAIT obligations diligently

What is your farming operation?

There are 650 cows on a milking platform, 255 effective hectares, including 20ha of winter crop. We also have a run-off 3km away. It is a 72-hectare block for cutting silage and beef fattening.

How many NAIT locations do you have?

The farm and block are registered under one NAIT number.

How are preparations going for winter grazing?

We usually dry-off at the end of May, weather and feed permitting. The herd grazes at the property next door. All youngstock are sent to graziers at Wyndham and Ranfurly.

How do you record grazing movements?

We use LIC MINDA.  We arrange our cows into ‘four date scanned calving mobs’ and walk them down the road once they are ready to go on crop.  The selected group is transferred as a NAIT task within the MINDA Pro app. It automatically registers the grazing movements into the NAIT system. We use the same system to transfer in-calf heifers when they return pre-calving.

When do the mobs come back?

Usually early August.  We update the NAIT location of each group concurrently with the physical movement of returning them back to the platform. Because the MINDA software allows the stock to remain within the herd, we can transfer the stock back as whole groups or individual animals, if there is an early calf or death. This allows us to carry out NAIT requirements and update herd records ourselves.

Do you exchange an ASD with your neighbouring grazier?

The ASD can be generated automatically, sometimes we use a paper Animal Status Declaration (ASD). I wouldn’t know of any transporters willing to move stock without a completed ASD. It acts as a traceable tool for early detection of threats such as Mycoplasma bovis or TB.

Does your livestock undertake TB testing before going off-farm?

We have been on this property since 2012 and are C9. We TB test bi-annually. Fortunately, we’ve not had an issue with TB but are aware of the significant risk it poses to the wider industry. AsureQuality did testing and scanned every NAIT tag, which was a great way to capture any untagged animals. We drafted them out and replaced them. It is straightforward to assign NAIT tags to these animals.

The farmer - grazier relationship?

We have good relationships with our graziers. They are all NAIT compliant and motivated progressive farmers. This makes recording of stock movements easy. 

What is your message to farmers who haven’t updated their NAIT account?

OSPRI is supportive and can sort your records over the phone and talk through transfers.  It isn't time-consuming and puts you in control of your online stock locations.