Significant feed shortages across much of the country has seen government and industry bodies rally together to put support structures in place to help those affected get through winter.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand has been working alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries, Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Deer Industry New Zealand and AgFirst to set up and run an industry-resourced feed planning service to help farmers put together a winter feed budget.
B+LNZ has also commissioned case-studies from Northland through to Southland to show how farmers in areas affected by feed deficits are managing their resources and outlines their decision-making process and outcomes.
In addition, B+LNZ has commissioned a supplementary feed table, listing a wide range of supplementary feeds along with their feed value and estimated costs.
B+LNZ’s General Manager North Island Matt Ward says there are feed shortages right across the country and the whole sector is lining up to do the best for farmers.
Once farmers have contacted the feed-planning service, an initial stock-take is carried out and then depending on their situation, they could be referred on to other support services such as a local farm consultant to help develop a winter feed plan or Rural Support Trust.
Matt says well over 40 farmers have contacted the B+LNZ feed planning line, but beyond that there has been a big lift in the number of people accessing information and feed-related resources on the B+LNZ website.
Other industry organisations are reporting a similar trend.
“Farmers are going to their industry bodies and self-serving on the information and resources that are available.”
Hawkes Bay-based B+LNZ Lead Extension Manager Mark Harris is in the thick of the response, leading B+LNZ’s Feed Planning Service as well as looking after his area which is one of the worst affected in the country.
Working with MPI, Mark was instrumental in getting two Feed Coordinators in place; one in the North Island and one in the South and is also backing initiatives such as the “Rapa Feed Run” which has Wairarapa farmers donating precious feed to their neighbouring region.
“There were 330 bales of feed donated within four days by farming folk looking to help out their mates.”
Mark describes the role of feed coordinators as being “like a dating service for feed”.
This means they are matching people’s needs with the services and people who can help them.
He is also backing Poppy Renton’s very popular Hawkes Bay Drought Facebook page which has become a gathering place for farmers in the region.
He urges farmers to stay connected with friends, families and the support services that are in place to help them.
“Don’t get isolated, it is really important to stay connected at this time.”
He says while the government has supplied financial support for these services, the money is just covering the base costs, with many people giving a lot of their time, knowledge and experience to help farmers get through this difficult time.
Support contact information and resources
For either the Feed Planning or Feed Coordination Service call:
- Dry stock sector – Beef + Lamb: 0800 BEEF LAMB (0800 233 352)
- Dairy sector – DairyNZ 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 324 7969)
A range of other B+LNZ feed management resources can be found at: https://beeflambnz.com/news-views/covid-19-feed-management-check-list-farmers