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WelFarm GM takes next career step

Samantha Tennent, who has served as the General Manager of WelFarm for the past three and a half years, demonstrates the impact that networking and leadership can have on an organisation’s mission and objectives.During her tenure, Samantha has made significant strides in advancing WelFarm's goals, fostering a culture of collaboration, and implementing strategic initiatives to improve and grow the WelFarm programme. Under her supervision, WelFarm has grown to include 23 separate veterinary busi...

June 7, 2024

Veterinary evolution: data, technology and knowledge transfer

In the future, the role of a veterinarian will be more than solving problems, technology will be widespread making practical tasks less common, data interpretation more extensive, and transferring knowledge will be vital. This is a view echoed by many and explained by Callum Taylor from Coastal Vet Services in Opunake.“Consulting work will continue to grow, farmers already want to learn more about things like Staph and Johnes, when we diagnose, they want to learn more about it,” Callum says....

May 28, 2024

WelFarm workshop success

We held our inaugural workshop in Hamilton in early December 2023 to foster collaboration among WelFarm member clinics and across the sector. With attendees traveling from all over NZ for the day and many staying on for dinner with guest speaker the “Top 50% Farmer” Bart van de Ven.The theme of the day was 'Unlocking Value,' and clinics shared their valuable experience of farmers utilising WelFarm. The highlight of the day was a farmer panel, expertly facilitated by veterinarian Danielle Tho...

April 21, 2024

The domino effect: A farmer's perspective on WelFarm

Improving a lameness issue resulted in better body condition scores, enhancing reproduction rates. Which, in turn, allowed for more selective culling, resulting in a significant reduction in bulk tank somatic cell count. The positive outcomes stemming from the proactive monitoring system have been incredibly valuable for contract milker Maia McRae.“When we first got here there were a lot of lame cows,” Maia explains.“But we started using the WelFarm programme with Franklin Vets and they he...

March 11, 2024

The heat is on

The global impact of heat stress on the dairy industry is projected to cost a staggering $50 billion NZD by 2050, accompanied by a remarkable 137% increase in carbon dioxide emissions compared to 2020.Torsten Hemme, CEO and Founder of IFCN - The Dairy Research Network, revealed these alarming figures during a session at the 2023 World Dairy Summit focused on managing heat stress in dairy cattle. The model used by Hemme's team at IFCN is based on 15 studies from 12 countries and incorporates more...

February 20, 2024

Animal health impacts emissions

Better animal health leads to reduced emissions, a world-first report has revealed. Exciting messaging about the direct relationship between animal health and emissions was announced during the 2023 World Dairy Summit and builds on our work here at WelFarm.The report was produced for HealthforAnimals by Oxford Analytica and analyses the relationship between animal health and the economy, environment and society. Not surprisingly it highlighted globally animal disease significantly reduces produc...

January 17, 2024

WelFarm and Miraka integration supports farmers

Miraka and WelFarm have joined forces to reduce administrative tasks for farmers and empower them to focus on their core responsibilities. Recognising their shared goal, both parties decided to integrate their digital systems to support their mutual farmers.Through this collaboration, WelFarm's digital portal, which is widely used by veterinary clinics across the country, will be integrated with Miraka's systems that capture information related to their excellence programme, Te Ara Miraka.WelFar...

December 4, 2023

Chasing Cows and Conversations: A Kiwi's perspective on the 2023 World Dairy Summit

Bring up an international event, and Sam already has her bag packed before you finish talking. So, when the chance to attend the International Dairy Federation (IDF) 2023 World Dairy Summit in Chicago popped up, she eagerly seized the opportunity.Held in October in Chicago, being their fall (autumn) the temperature was similar to New Zealand’s attempt at Spring. The direct flight from Auckland took 16 hours - which sounds terrible but it was easier than landing in LAX and getting a connecting ...

November 21, 2023

Time-saving strategies: Cutting antibiotic use on farms

Considerable benefits arise from reducing the number of red cows, including saved time and decreased milk contamination. FMG reports that over 60% of their contamination claims are linked to antibiotics, emphasising the urgent need to address this issue. The solution lies in minimizing antimicrobial (antibiotic) usage to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, held from November 18th to 24th, is an initiative driven by the World Health Organisation. Its primary ...

November 6, 2023

Pain relief for lame cows: a game-changer

The traditional method to approach lameness involves corrective trimming of the affected area. For moderate to severe cases, applying a hoof block to the opposite claw is common practice. Strangely, though, the use of pain relief is often overlooked, even though lameness is undeniably a painful issue for cows.Lameness ranks among the most agonising conditions experienced by dairy cows. You can easily spot a lame cow as it limps down the track, experiences an immediate drop in milk production, ra...

October 10, 2023

Manage what you measure

Pressure from the economic landscape heightens awareness among farmers to monitor costs, but the challenge lies in determining what can and cannot be affordably reduced....

September 5, 2023

WelFarm TAG turns one

The WelFarm Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was established about a year ago.Members include WelFarm Governance Board member, Stephen Hopkinson, as Chair with vets Greg Lindsay and Ben Finlayson, and technicians, Laura Dalzell and Tai Ibbetson, from WelFarm member practices. Soon after it was established it invited Mike Shallcrass from Fonterra to join to provide an independent and wider dairy industry perspective.The role of the TAG is to provide advice to the WelFarm board and general manager w...

August 21, 2023

More info, better results on BOP farm

Following recommendations from her vet has been a game changer for Janet Poihipi. She is managing 400 cows near Hawai on State Highway 35 on the East Coast of the North Island and has seen great gains in the herd’s performance after signing up to WelFarm."I see the cows every day so it’s been valuable having someone else come in and highlight what is really happening,” Janet says....

July 19, 2023

Bang out BVD

A BVD outbreak could be costing the average herd nearly ten thousand dollars per season, with the latest research suggesting the direct losses are at least $22.22 per cow. BVD affects reproduction, milk production, and calf health and growth rates, and the symptoms can look similar to other diseases. But the great news is that BVD has several unique characteristics that make it much easier to eradicate than diseases like bovine tuberculosis (TB) or Mycoplasma bovis. Almost all new BVD ...

June 27, 2023

Telling tails

It is not uncommon for vets to tell us that some of their farmers are reluctant to have a tail score performed on their herd. It is a sensitive subject that is probably driven by the number of prosecutions that have occurred in recent years....

May 3, 2023

Canterbury farmer loves the data

We caught up with Todd Portsmouth from Oxford Farming in Canterbury to find out what he thinks about WelFarm....

April 11, 2023

Target next season

The most common reason for not reaching BCS targets is not allowing enough time. If cows don’t achieve body condition score (BCS) targets at calving;They will produce lessIt impacts their reproductive performanceAnd impacts their health and welfare...

March 16, 2023

Proactive beats reactive

Regular dentist check ups can hurt the pocket at the time but they can prevent a much bigger spend and a lot more pain down the track. Proactively monitoring a herd can offer the same protection and with rising costs, public perception pressures and competitive markets, more farmers are seeing the value in proactive herd health and welfare monitoring.There are a raft of benefits that can appeal to any type of farmer and align with everyone’s unique values:...

February 13, 2023

WelFarm saves time for assessment prep

Exciting news from us here at WelFarm - we have just established an automated link that allows us to notify Fonterra when a farm has completed their Animal Wellbeing Plan with their vet through the WelFarm portal. This means one less piece of paper Fonterra suppliers will need to gather when preparing for their on-farm assessment. And the plans are stored in the portal so when farms do want to want to refer to them they can easily log in to find it, which saves sifting through emails or requesti...

December 5, 2022

Help your vet help you

The veterinary sector has been under the pump long before the pandemic took hold but now the pressure is mounting. There are high levels of under-resourcing nationwide, with the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) estimating a deficit of around 123 veterinarians. Although there are a number of actions being taken to alleviate some of the pressure the problem will be around for a while. So what can you do to help reduce the impacts being felt in your farming business?...

September 29, 2022

How’s your heat detection strategy?

Heat detection is only one piece of the puzzle towards good reproductive performance but it is easily influenced on farm and the whole team can contribute. The results we are seeing in WelFarm and in Dairy Statistics suggest there are opportunities for dairy farmers to improve their reproductive performance. And with the mating season approaching it is a good time for farms to review their heat detection strategies....

August 17, 2022

Reducing the impact of NEB for mating

A negative energy balance (NEB) is when the energy demands for lactation, maintenance and activity are not met by dietary intake and the cow is forced to mobilise its fat and muscle to provide energy to meet the deficit. All cows enter into a state of NEB for six to eight weeks after they have calved and some condition loss is inevitable. It’s important to minimise the body condition score (BCS) loss to a maximum of 1.0 otherwise it will significantly impact health, production and reproduction...

July 18, 2022

Wellbeing plans to your advantage

Now we have a season under our belt, vets and farmers are starting to get a handle on what it means to develop and implement a wellbeing plan for a herd. So how do we keep the momentum and take it beyond compliance and take advantage of a must do for our benefit?...

May 12, 2022

Draw the line with selective dry cow

Antibiotic use is under increased pressure because any time we use antibiotics there is an increased risk of bacteria developing resistance....

April 26, 2022

What can we use BCS data for?

As the season progresses, our focus needs to shift towards next season. How you manage the herd will have more impact on their performance next season than the current one. There is sound science behind the value of body condition scoring (BCS) but what do we do with the information when we have it? How and when to dry-off, determining mitigation strategies for potential feed deficits and creating plans for dry-cow management are good examples of decisions supported by BCS info. Achieving BCS ta...

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