Removal of slinkies will cost

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Farmers have been notified there will be costs associated with removing slinkies and calf carcasses from farms, following a fall in international market prices.

The value of the carcasses, primarily used for pelts, was not covered in the collection and processing of them.

Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury provincial president David Clark said it was even unlikely there was going to be a service at all to collect them.

“There’s a cost and a question mark about whether there’s even going to be collections this year, with international markets “just falling to pieces” with the upheaval of covid.

“It’s just another knock-on effect of the disruption and upheaval in the world currently.”

It was likely most farmers would compost their own slinkies (lambs), but there were some organisations going to collect calves and send them to landfill or farmers could compost them down with sawdust, he said.

“Numbers will vary on farm, casualty stock obviously you try to keep to a minimum but it is a reality,” he said.

He said bobby calves also had very little value, but Federated Farmers hoped farmers would take a long term view in supporting the bobby calf trade so the markets were kept open for when the world recovered and values recovered.

“This is just a one-year blip,” he said.

He encouraged farmers to follow best practice (disposing of any slinkies) and, where possible, continue to support the bobby calf market with their surplus calves if they have no market for rearing calves into the beef industry.

In other news, Mycoplasma bovis eradication was making good progress, on the face of the numbers being made public, he said.

It has been three years since the disease was first identified in New Zealand and the 10 year eradication response was well under way.

The latest figures from MPI showed 250 total confirmed cases; with just three active (two in the North Island and one in the South Island), 28 notice of directions nationwide and 172 active surveillance properties.

Mr Clark said he was response to the disease was making good progress but mindful it had left a trail of destruction in its path.

“It is a nasty disease so the decision was made to go down the eradication path.

“However that has come at significant, emotional, financial and personal cost to the farmers who were impacted.

“And in some cases those costs have been unreasonably high.”

There were still cases overdue – that have not had claims settled, including those in Mid Canterbury.

“That is wholly unacceptable at any level, (they) should have been sorted out.”

The impact on individual farmers has been far higher than it needed to be, he said.

“The process of MPI to begin with was disgraceful. Massive progress was made in sorting those systems out but it has left a trail of destruction along the way and I find it hard to celebrate the victory against bovis when I know of people still going through the pain of the process.”