Climatic challenges coupled with significantly reduced processing capacity due to the COVID-19 crisis has farmers in many parts of the country staring down the barrel of feed shortages.
Joint media release by with Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, Deer Industry Association, AgFirst, and Federated Farmers
To support farmers, the Ministry for Primary Industries together with Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, AgFirst and Federated Farmers is providing remote feed planning support to farmers including a feed budgeting service and professional farm systems advice.
In the first instance, farmers will get a free assessment of their feed planning needs by their relevant industry or levy organisation, from there they can have access to an advisor who can discuss management options and avenues for practical support.
For farmers who require more in-depth support, they will be referred to a farm systems consultant, but there will be cost to this service.
Mark Harris, who is leading B+LNZ’s response in this initiative, says farmers are dealing with a number of compounding factors including keeping themselves, their families and staff safe during the COVID-19 crisis while trying to run their businesses, keep stock flowing and setting their farms up for winter and spring in the face of climatic-driven feed shortages.
He says reduced processing capacity along with the cancellation of traditional stock sales forums such as calf sales and weekly stock sales means many farmers are carrying more stock than they anticipated going into winter.
This is putting a huge strain on already stretched feed resources and farmer morale.
A feed budget can help farmers consolidate their thinking and make a plan for the weeks and months ahead taking into account various scenarios, says Mark.
“This is a service that the government along with farmer organisations can provide to farmers who may struggle to do one on their own, particularly given this time of stress and uncertainty.”
As well as crunching the numbers, they will act as a sounding board and offer practical advice and support decision making.
To access this service there are three toll-free numbers:
- Dry stock sector Beef + Lamb New Zealand: 0800BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352).
- Dairy sector DairyNZ: 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 3247969).
- AgFirst: 0508 AGFIRST (0508 243 477).
This service will be available until 30 June 2020 at which time farmer need will be revised.
There are a number of farmer-specific tools and resources on the B+LNZ website about COVID-19 and feed and stock management. Go to https://beeflambnz.com/knowledge-hub