MEDIA RELEASE: 24 FEBRUARY 2022
Forum urges farmers to plan for processing disruptions
The Farm to Processor Animal Welfare Forum is urging farmers to plan ahead for disruption at processors due to COVID-19.
Forum chair, Dr Lindsay Burton, said it was critical that farmers book space at meat processors well in advance and be prepared to potentially hold stock on farms for longer.
"We have seen overseas the disruption that Omicron can cause to supply chains – particularly meat processing. It is important that farmers talk to their stock agents, processors and transporters if they aren’t already, and have a plan for what they would do if they need to hold onto stock for longer.
"Make sure you consider this in your feed planning and talk to your levy body or a farm adviser if you need support."
The forum is also reminding farmers to ensure their stock are fit for transport.
"Animal welfare during transport should remain a focus. Transport is stressful, and it is important that animals are prepared well for the journey," says Dr Burton. "Lactating cows, in particular, need careful preparation and management. Stand them off pasture for 4 to 12 hours before transport, and provide water and dry feed, supplemented with calcium (lime flour)."
Dr Burton encourages farmers to be aware of where their stock is going, especially as COVID-19 may mean they're transported to different processing plants than usual.
"Farmers nationwide should be prepared for their animals to have extended journeys, or for collection times to change.
Everyone across the supply chain – farmers, veterinarians, transporters, stock agents, saleyard operators, and processors – has a role to play in protecting the welfare of animals."
For advice on preparing dairy cattle for transport talk to your veterinarian.
Farming under the current pressures can be tough and farmers can seek support from Rural Support Trusts and a range of providers.
The forum is an operational group combining Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI) staff and industry professionals. We work together to improve animal welfare across the production supply chain – from on-farm to transportation, sale yards to processors.
The purpose of the forum is to:
- improve livestock welfare
- strengthen relationships between core livestock production industry groups and MPI
- consider how to improve livestock welfare strategically, based on:
- public concerns
- international trends
- the expertise of forum members
- risks to the primary sector's reputation as a whole.
What the forum does
The forum supports MPI's Safeguarding our Animals, Safeguarding our Reputation Programme by:
- identifying risks, issues, and suitable solutions
- working together on opportunities where possible
- sharing information on industry initiatives
- acting as a reference point to check how feasible, accepted, or available the alternatives for initiatives and priorities are
- providing a coordination point for initiatives
- monitoring the progress of MPI and industry initiatives
- promoting positive change by identifying and removing obstacles in the system.
Membership includes representatives from many groups, including:
- Beef + Lamb NZ
- Dairy Companies Association of NZ
- Deer Industry New Zealand
- Egg Producers Federation New Zealand
- Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand
- Federated Farmers
- Meat Industry Association
- NZ Petfood Manufacturers Association
- New Zealand Pork
- NZ Stock and Station Agents Association
- NZ Veterinary Association
- Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand.
- Ministry for Primary Industries.