Rural Supplies
Bull Sales
13 May 2019

National Bull Sales Set to Commence

This year’s national bull sales are on 13 and 14 May, signaling the start of the bull selling season.

PGG Wrightson Livestock National Genetics Manager Callum Stewart says rising two year old Angus and Hereford bulls will feature, consecutively, over the two days. 

“Our National Angus Sale is on 13 May at Palmerston North’s Orlando Country Club, followed by the National Hereford Sale on farm at the Strahan property, Kiwitea, on 14 May.

“All bulls are offered by prominent North and South Islands studs. The Angus bulls were brought together in November, since when they have gained excellent condition, while the Herefords have been on the Strahan property since February and are similarly looking great,” he said. 

Although numbers are down slightly on last year, Callum Stewart says quality is at a high level.

“We have 21 lots offered at the Angus sale, followed by 15 Herefords, which is fewer than last year, in part due to the success of on-farm sales,. Buyers are monitoring data, and targeting the most effective way to improve herds. Breeders are motivated to keep on advancing genetics, and the bulls on offer testify to their success with that. We therefore look forward to good clearances at each sale,” he said.

Immediately following the National Hereford Sale, a complete dispersal for Panorama Polled Herefords will be conducted online, starting at 2.30pm on 14 May.

“This will launch online sales in genetics. Every Hereford in the stud will be offered for sale, including the bull calves and rising two year old bulls. We are using our ‘bidr’ platform for this sale. Bidr is a virtual saleyard operating an easy-to-use, real time auction. This eliminates much of the stress on animals, as well as reducing the sale’s environmental footprint. Bidr is easy to use, from anywhere in the world, backed up by strict listing and accreditation protocols. 

“We are looking forward to the response to this offering, the first of a new kind of genetics sale. Bidr gives our clients an exceptional way to reach farmers, therefore growing their brand more effectively than ever before through the breadth of online coverage,” said Callum Stewart. 

13 May 2019 External Supplier

Time is up for tripod fuel tanks

Tripod fuel tanks were common on New Zealand farms. The fact is, they no longer meet WorkSafe requirements and should be replaced.

In 1996, the Department of Labour (now WorkSafe) cancelled the approval to manufacture tripod (three-legged) stands on fuel tanks. The reasons were that there had been “numerous accidents due to the failure of the tanks’ supporting structures and stability”, and that the tripod fuel tanks did not meet the design standards of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) 1996.

The intention at the time was that farmers could continue to use their existing tank until they reached the end of their working life and then be removed from service at that point. The expectation was that, by now, most if not all tripod tanks would no longer be in use. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

With the implementation of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Hazardous Substances) 2017, there is a requirement to assess and remove risk from the workplace. As tripod tanks do not comply with HSNO design standards and are inherently unstable, then they also don’t comply with the Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Hazardous Substances) 2017. There is a responsibility with the equipment owner, but also with fuel suppliers, who may choose not to fill these tanks.

It is also important to note that when a design has had its certification cancelled, they in turn cannot be altered, reconditioned, relocated or on-sold for fuel storage. When considering decommissioning an existing tripod tank, it must be disposed of correctly and in an environmentally friendly manner. We recommended that a suitably qualified fuel removal expert is used.

If you have a tripod tank for fuel storage, please contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative for advice around replacement.

Supplied by Allied Petroleum

External Supplier

8 May 2019 Andrew Dowling

Badly behaving ewes

This is a reminder that all may not be what it seems, and the thief may not be the guy with the mask. The following is based on a true story. 

A farming family were concerned that  triple combination resistant worms were causing problems on their high-performing lowland sheep property, with different brands of triple combination drenches seeming to be more or less effective. Drenching practice seemed tobe good with a sample of lambs being weighed and drench gun accuracy checked, however post-drench faecal samples had parasite eggs present.

A Faecal Egg Count Reduction Test (FECRT)was carried out. The great news for the farmer was that the parasite worms on the farm were highly susceptible to the drenches. The good news for the drench manufacturers was that all three triple combination orals used worked very well. We now had drench susceptible worms and a confused farmer; why had the drench appeared to be failing? What to do next involved a cup of tea, scones and a good talk about what was happening on the farm. On reflection they thought that the sheep performance wasn’t as good as it could be. Faecal samples collected from the ewes showed significant worm burden after weaning from January right throughtill March (317 to 361 eggs per gram (epg)). So it appeared that instead of the ewes reducing the number of parasite larva on the farm, they were adding to the population.

When the lambs are given an effective drench, eggs do not appear in the faeces until at least 21 days later whereas these ewes are passing parasite eggs every day and in huge numbers. A ewe with an egg count of 361 epg produces more than 3,610,000 parasite eggs every day. On this farm the ewes had become parasite contaminators. This could have been a result of their immune system being unable to manage the worm burden (genetic factors), a poorly functioning immune system (stressed,  mineral deficiency) or excessive parasite pasture larval challenge due to ineffective worm control in the lambs overwhelming the ewes’ immune systems. 

Mineral levels and ewe body condition can be monitored and remedied. Faecal egg count monitoring can be undertaken to ensure that lamb drenching is effective and allow the ewes to manage their worm population without the need to drench. If faecal egg counts indicate that the worm burden in the ewes is high again, then drenching with a capsule or an effective oral triple combination maybe  beneficial.

A study on the farm was set up to compare triple oral drench at monthly intervals. Centramax capsules were given to lambs, this was compared to a group of lambs given no treatment. Centramax capsules were also given to ewes, this was compared to a group of ewes given no treatment. Both groups of lambs grew at comparable rates. The capsuled ewes were two kilograms heavier than the undrenched ones, so removing the parasite was clearly beneficial. Even when the capsule had run its course, the worm burden of the ewes stayed undetectable. The problem was worms all along,but not for the reasons the farmer  suspected. Effective worm control is the answer here and this relies on the use of triple combination oral drenches, refugia management and the option to use Centramax capsules where they are needed.

If you suspect worms are impacting your performance on-farm, discuss your situation with your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative who will be able to  offer some recommendations.


Andrew Dowling

8 May 2019 Jason Leslie

Mid pregnancy management of ewes

Scanning, which usually occurs at about 80 to 90 days post ram introduction, is often the last opportunity to assess your ewe flock body condition. Make the most of it so you have time to influence outcomes heading into lambing.

We know that the optimum Body Condition Score (BCS) of 3.0 to 3.5 at lambing results in increased birth weight of lambs and maternal drive to nurture lambs, increasing survival. Ewes produce more, higher quality colostrum, and peak lactation volume is increased leading to faster growth rates and heavier weaning weights of lambs. Also, the weaning condition of ewes is better when they lamb at optimal condition.

Assessing each individual ewe at scanning time means lighter ewes can be identified, which are those with a BCS of less than 3.0. Match this up with scanning status to develop a preferential plan for the lighter ewes. By separating them, acting on a plan and where possible increasing nutrient intake, these ewes have a chance to get closer to the target BCS.

Pasture covers help to ensure that the ewe is able to consume the specified amounts easily to meet the energy demands of pregnancy. The average twin bearing ewe needs to have a liveweight gain of approximately between 14 to 18 kg  (this is the gain in foetus and fluids) during the pregnancy to maintain her starting point at mating. Providing good quality pasture (an average length of 1 to 2 cm) up until scanning provides ewes’ maintenance requirements. This then needs to increase to 2 to 3 cm length pasture to meet the increase in foetal demands in the last four to six weeks of pregnancy. 

Realistically you have approximately four weeks to achieve his in the light ewes that were mated in the first cycle, before rumen size is affected by the rapidly growing foetuses. This results in a reduction in dry matter intake in the last two to Three weeks prior to lambing.

Feed availability, farm and flock characteristics, along with current climatic conditions, mean each farm may require a different solution for the light ewes. The preferential feeding of these light conditioned ewes is crucial. This could be targeted supplementary feeding of light multiple bearing ewes with feed blocks, nuts or crops that are available as long as good transition occurs. Another  solution could be to hold single bearing ewes on maintenance feeding, including rougher pasture, for longer, or grazing these ewes behind the multiple bearing ewes which have priority feed  demands. If you have triplet bearing ewes,it may be beneficial to run them on another block with better quality feed. These light ewes should also have a faecal egg count done to determine parasite  challenge and, if required,drenching done. 

Remember, the ewes are in the yards at scanning so run your hands over each one. It doesn’t take much extra work and can bring you great rewards. The key is to have a  plan to do something once you have identified the light ones. Knowing  and meeting your ewes’ requirements at the main stages of the production cycle are essential for optimal performance and welfare  of your flock, but most importantly it influences your bottom line financially. 

To discuss feed requirements or any drenching requirements, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field  Representative or store. For further tech tips on body condition scoring your flock, visit the PGG Wrightson YouTube channel.  


Jason Leslie

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