Nicola Johns and Ice on a gun dog adventure.

Worth a shot

Annabelle Latz What started as fun family holidays has turned into a passion, sport and lifestyle for Nicola Johns. Gun dog trialling runs in the family, her dad Graeme Johns has a few decades under his belt. So it was love at first sight when eight-week-old black Labrador Ice arrived at Christchurch Airport for Nicola, seven years ago, so she …

The FBI shook the family tree in GEDmatech database and the Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo, fell out.

Testing the two-legged animal in the top paddock

Genetic testing has yet to take off in a big way for agriculture, but humans are flocking to the service, geneticist Nicola Dennis writes. It is 10 years since I hit the streets as a youthful and hopeful science graduate. It was the dawn of the genomics age and it was time to change the entire world with genetic testing. …

Prevention better than cure

Rebecca Harper When it comes to flystrike, prevention is better than cure, and there are some practical steps farmers can take to guard against it. In what could be shaping up as a bad year for flies, farmers should be particularly vigilant in a warm, humid summer, when soil temperatures reach above 12C. Maintaining regular shearing and crutching, and keeping …

Tulips from Balfour

The blaze of colour from a leased block of tulips on Blair Drysdale’s northern Southland farm lifts his spirits in a moist and miserable spring. Quite often when farmers share their frustrations about the weather in conversation with others, we’re accused of just being a “whinging farmer”. But for farmers and horticulturalists alike among others, it dictates our day-to-day operations, …

Farm forestry: Seeing taxation through the trees

Farm forester Denis Hocking sifts through the Tax Working Group’s Interim Report for scant mentions of forestry. Back when I was young and overwhelmed with enthusiasm, forestry was a regular target for changes in tax regimes and/or various changes in government support. In the mid-1980s then New Zealand Farm Forestry Association president, John Mortimer pointed out that there had been …

Breeders: bury your differences and work together, Edward Dinger urges.

Greater collaboration needed

Edward Dinger won numerous sheep industry awards during a 45-year career breeding Coopworths near Cambridge. Now retired, but still with a keen interest in ovine genetics and in particular facial eczema, Andrew Swallow asks what he sees as the challenges for breeders today and in future. Sheep breeders and their societies need to work together more nationally, if not internationally, …

Worms: Reduction test reluctance remiss

In the second part of a series, Andrew Swallow investigates how a scientist, vets and sheep farmers are fighting back against drench resistance. Worms resistant to one or more class of drench are probably present on most sheep farms and production losses will be eroding returns long before visible symptoms of excessive worm burdens are seen. That warning comes from …

Richard Power, left, and Hayden Churchward.

Preview: Success for simplicity

A North Canterbury couple’s simple lamb finishing policy has won top honours in a national competition. Sandra Taylor reports. Richard and Mez Power’s sheep operation is strikingly simple. All lambs, prime and store along with cull ewes are sold by late November irrespective of the season. This means all feed can be partitioned into capital stock giving them the ability …