A leading British ruminant nutritionist believes New Zealand sheep farmers are throwing money away by putting up with high lamb mortality rates when there is a proven scientific solution.
Dr Cliff Lister, who sits on five national committees representing the UK feed industry, is undertaking a series of farm tours around New Zealand this month to challenge traditional thinking.
“You don’t have to settle for the lamb losses often considered to be part and parcel of sheep farming in New Zealand, in particular with multiple births,” says Dr Lister.
“There are practical ways to address the key issues of lamb survivability, sleepy sickness/dystocia, ewe live weight at weaning, ewe hogget tupping weight and autumn ill-thrift and mineral deficiency in lambs.
“If you look after the ewes’ nutritional needs, we can address the historical problems of fertility, survival of lambs and good growth rates in lambs.”
Dr Lister is not sniping from afar. He is a regular visitor to these shores and is keen to impart knowledge that will help local dry stock farmers make the most from the feed they’ve got.
He will discuss local issues and mitigation strategies in an open forum, and answer questions, and is keen to chat one-on-one with farmers during the refreshments afterwards.
Dr Lister was last here in February for the launch of the Crystalyx processed molasses block range from the UK, marketed and supported by Summit Quinphos.
He obtained his doctorate from the University of Newcastle (UK) and is acknowledged to be an expert on sheep nutrition. His PhD thesis into “The Metabolic Effect of Polyhydric Alcohols in the Ruminant”, investigated how specific sugars (polyhydric alcohols or sugar alcohols) were metabolised and used by ruminants.
Dr Lister is a member of the steering committee for a major UK government-funded research project on nutritional regimes to reduce methane and nitrogen emissions from ruminants.
Dr Jamie Blennerhassett, Summit Quinphos Commercial Manager, says Dr Lister is well versed in our conditions, and has a good understanding of how to translate key learnings from the UK into NZ's unique systems.
“He has nutritional management strategies to bring to our farmers, covering key issues dealing with dry stock winter management and nutritional management, particularly for sheep.
“The events will be educational for all dry stock farmers. The focus is on helping dry stock, sheep & beef and deer farmers get the most out of their feed, and therefore their stock.”
The new Crystalyx products are Forage Plus, Extra High Energy, and Dry Cow (for dairy and beef pre-calvers). There is also an organic product for sheep that provides similar benefits to Extra High Energy that is BioGro certified as a restricted item.
Summit Quinphos has listed the venues and dates for the May tour on its website www.sq.co.nz
Locations include Amberley, Methven, Tokanui, and Gore in the South Island and Hastings, Gisborne, Pukekohe, Taumarunui and Pio Pio in the North Island.
6 May 2010