Cattle management deemed success

Cattle can be managed at an agricultural show.

Canterbury A&P Association president Chris Herbert said the success of last year's New Zealand Agricultural Show showed cattle competitions could survive in the wake of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak.

The show committee developed a biosecurity protocol and changed its processes for last year's show to manage the risk of spreading the cattle disease.

''We decided if we didn't run a cattle show last year it would be hard to get it going again,'' he said.

''We break animals in as yearlings. You don't just take a 4-year-old and take it to the show, it doesn't just start like that.''

He said the cattle section would be bigger this year.

''I've done a fair bit of ringing round and we will have cattle numbers up on last year.

''We've got our regular breeders from Southland returning, who didn't come last year, and a few coming because it's my year, so they're supporting me, which is pretty humbling.''

Under the protocols, there was an empty pen between each exhibitor to separate the cattle, each exhibitor was assigned their own wash bay, and dairy breeders had their own milking bays.

There was also ''one-way traffic'' out of the shed and into the ring.

''The important thing is, there is no nose-to-nose contact,'' Mr Herbert said.

The success came thanks to cattle committee convener Anne Rogers, who had ''a pretty good contact'' at MPI, he said.

''MPI had someone at the show for the whole time to make sure it was going to work and we've tweaked a few things this year to make it better.''

''MPI has been extremely supportive. They could have said 'no, that's it, there's no showing of cattle','' Mr Herbert said.

''Every A&P show in the country now has access to our protocol, so it is over to them.''

Mr Herbert said the process had been ''an enlightening experience'' as the show committee realised ''we weren't up to speed'' on the Nait protocols in checking the recording of cattle movements.

While the cattle section would continue, there would be no calves at the show, apart from ''calves at foot.''.

 

CATTLE AT A&P SHOWS

  • Cattle will make a welcome  return at the Selwyn Spring Show at Leeston in October.
  • The Ellesmere A&P Association has made the decision to include cattle at its 149th annual show, at the Leeston Showgrounds on October 19, after cancelling last year’s  cattle section following the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. 
  • The Courtenay A&P Association is also reinstating its cattle section for its show at Kirwee in November, but the Northern (Rangiora) A&P Association and Ashburton A&P Association have decided not to hold cattle competitions for their respective shows in October and November.
  • The Southern Canterbury A&P Association has not yet confirmed whether it would have cattle at its October show in Waimate. The North Otago A&P Show will continue to have cattle classes in February. It was one of the few shows not to have banned cattle since the M. bovis outbreak, secretary Katrina Kelly said.

Ellesmere A&P Association president Tim Schmack said there had already been plenty of interest from both beef and dairy cattle breeders to enter in the show.

 

‘‘We’ve worked through the guidelines with MPI [Ministry of Primary Industries] and we are satisfied we can manage the risk.

‘‘Our exhibitors have been good enough to bring their animals to our show, so we’ve got to protect them.’’ 

Northern A&P Association president Malcolm Wyllie said there would be a focus on young people, with the junior stock judging competition  taking centre stage instead  of the cattle judging.

‘‘There’s just too much risk. It’s just too hard to keep the cattle separate and to be compliant,’’ Mr Wyllie said.

‘‘But the junior stock judging was a success last year and the young people loved it.’’

Courtenay A&P Association secretary Anna Seaton said while the cattle section was returning, there would be no calf classes. Pet calves would be judged before the show.

-By David Hill

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