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5 June 2019 External Supplier

Pre-lamb vaccination matters

Clostridial bacteria are everywhere, including on your farm and in your animals.

Lambs are born with a low number of antibodies and rely on  antibodies in the ewe’s colostrum for protection against clostridial diseases including pulpy kidney and tetanus. In most cases, it is difficult to ensure that every newborn lamb gets sufficient amounts of fresh colostrum within the first few hours of life. So, your goal becomes maximising the concentration of antibodies in this colostrum, something you can control with a good pre-lamb vaccination programme.

The gut of the newborn lamb is best at absorbing these antibodies within the first 6 to 12 hours of life. Ideally lambs should get 50 mls per kilogram of liveweight of colostrum within the first two hours of birth, and another 200 mls per kilogram of liveweight in the next 12 to 18 hours¹. For an average four kilogram lamb, this equates to 1 L of colostrum within the first day of life and as early as possible after birth.

There are three aspects to getting your pre-lamb programme right:

  1. Timing: It is about stimulating the ewe at the right time so her antibody levels peak when she is forming her colostrum. Ideally this is about two weeks ahead of lambing, but different farms have  different management systems and lambing spread varies, so the flexibility to vaccinate earlier can be important.  Remember, not every ewe lambs on the first day of lambing. 
  2. Vaccine: The choice of vaccine used can influence how many antibodies are available to go into the ewe’s colostrum. How much is sufficient can vary depending on whether the ewe has one, two or three lambs suckling, and how much disease challenge a lamb may face. Immediately after birth, the udder only contains 1 to 1.5 L of colostrum, so if this is shared by twins or triplets the volume is divided and there are fewer antibodies(and a lower volume) present for each lamb to drink. 
  3. General wellbeing: Ewes that are in poor condition, parasitised or under severe feed stress at the time of vaccinationdo not have the energy to form many antibodies or enough quality colostrum. Making sure ewes are in good condition over the late pregnancy period is  directly linked to the success of your pre-lamb programme. 

If your flock has a higher number of multiple bearing ewes, or you vaccinate earlier (for example, to reduce the likelihood of sleepy sickness), or you want longer protection of lambs (up to fourmonths) to reduce losses through until weaning, then NILVAX® would be a preferable choice for your farm. NILVAX is the specialist pre-lamb vaccine, formulated with a powerful 5-in-1 plus an immune booster. 

If it is convenient to vaccinate the flock two weeks ahead of lambing, and you have a large number of single bearing ewes, then a pre-lamb 5-in-1 vaccine like MULTINE® or MULTINE B12® is suitable. It gives a good antibody response, and when used closerto lambing (two to four weeks), provides protection for the lambsfor up to three months. For advice planning your pre-lamb programme, contact  yourlocal PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative. 


¹S.Peterson et al. Grazing behaviour and milk available for twins and triplets, NZ Society of Animal Production, 2006

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Peter Newbold Live on The Country - Rural Real Estate June 2019

01 June 2019

Peter Newbold says he has noticed some "interesting" developments in the burgeoning forestry market over the last "six to eight weeks" as more sheep and beef land is considered for conversion to trees.

The GM of PGG Wrightson Real Estate told The Country's Jamie Mackay that interest is growing in a specific type of land.

"The interesting thing at the moment is that the quality they're looking for is up on the past ... location becomes important, access to ports, rainfall, all those things".

Definitely what they're doing is they're honing in on better quality land and they're prepared to pay more money that they were traditionally."

Newbold warned that this trend may have an unfavourable outcome for pastoral farming.

"You've got to be careful in this space that it doesn't gain too much momentum because we're going to lose a lot of good pasture."

Also in today's interview: Newbold takes his month look at the rural property market which sees horticulture performing strongly and interest in grazing properties leading to positivity in the sheep and beef sector. It's a different story for dairy however, with M. bovis continuing to cause buyer caution.

PGG Wrightson Livestock Roundup - June 7

12 June 2019

Mark Leishman talks to Bidr General Manager, Tania Smith this week. This interview focuses on what Bidr is and how it works and the official launch of the platform at Fieldays.

What is Bidr and how does it work?
Bidr is an innovative rural trading platform, different to the likes of TradeMe in that Bidr has a partnership with Agents and Agencies. Agents will be trained to become accredited assessors, adhering to the strict listing policies Bidr has.

Bidr is an alternative sale option to saleyards.

Anyone can sign up for a Bidr account, view current and upcoming sales and register for auctions. All stock will be listed 48 hours prior to the auction starting.

Currently there are 3 weekly sales happening on Bidr. Upper North Island will run on Tuesday night, Lower North Island will run on Wednesday night and South Island will run on Thursday night.

Bidr also has the option to run feature sales for big OnFarm Sales or Stud Stock Sales.

Official Launch at Fieldays
A couple of pilot runs took place prior to Christmas with the soft launch taking place in March. This gave Bidr the chance to sort any technical issues.

Since the soft launch, Bidr has had 11 successful sales with a clearance rate of 72%. 

Bidr will have their official launch at Fieldays, the team will be set up in the Innovation Centre as well as in the PGG Wrightson tent.

Demonstration auctions will run every hour and people are encouraged to stick around to see the platform in action.

There will also be the opportunity to sign up on the day.

Win the lice challenge

13 June 2019

Lice can be a frustrating challenge for sheep farmer as they reduce fleece weights and severely damage the quality of the fleece, reducing the value of the wool clip¹. Off-shear treatment is the best time to manage lice burden. 

The signs of a lice infestation include: rubbing against fences and  other objects in the paddock, wool left on fences, matted fleece,  organic matter in the fleece or discolouration of the fleece.


Lice can be identified by taking a series of wool partings down to skin level in ten sheep from the flock. It is important that these are carried out right across the body as lice can be found in high concentrations in localised areas on the fleece, so can be easy to miss. 

Lice control relies on a whole farm solution and plan, not just concentrating on the specific mob affected. For maximal control, sheep should be treated off shears. Use the correct dose rate and T-Bar applicator with application being in straight lines from the poll to the tail of the sheep. This insures that the highest effective concentration of active ingredient spreads right across the sheep. Other classes of sheep on the farm should be treated at the same time as they can act as reservoirs for re-infestation. If this cannot be done immediately, untreated stock must be kept separate from treated sheep.

Breeding ewes should not be treated within three weeks of lambing so that young lambs do not act as this reservoir for re-infestation. New Zealand farmers have used Magnum® for lice control in sheep for nearly 20 years. Magnum continues to deliver consistent results with all classes of sheep. It gives lice control off-shears for up to three months in strong wool sheep, and has a rain fast claim to give farmers greater confidence when using it. Magnum contains Diflubenzuron, an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) in a water base. IGRs prevent lice from completing their life cycle rather than killing the adult lice. Over 14 weeks the adult lice die of “old age”, and female lice are not able to produce viable offspring so the population dies away. 

If sheep with long wool have to be treated and can’t be shorn, Vanquish® is an ideal emergency lice outbreak treatment. Vanquish contains alpha-cypermethrin and can be used in sheep with up to ten months wool growth. These treated sheep should be treated again once shorn with a knock-down product. The same rules for application apply to Vanquish, but lice control treatment of sheep with long wool should not be relied upon year on year. Talk to your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative about the Coopers 10 Point Lice Management Plan. It is a good place to start when planning for lice control on your farm. 

¹ Wilkinson et. al. Growth of populations of lice, Damalinia ovis on sheep and their effects on production and processing performance of wool. Veterinary Parasitology, 9 (1982) 243-252.

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