Pleased so far with lambing progress

Signs of spring . . . Orphaned lambs are being reared by the Hay children (from left) Phoebe (11), Archie (8), and Charlie (13) at their farm near Herbert. PHOTO: JO HAY

Lambing in North Otago is going well so far, Federated Farmers says.

Federated Farmers North Otago meat and wool chairman Ross Hay estimated about 70% of lambing was complete across the district. A good season had been expected because feed was plentiful coming out of summer and scanning percentages had been promising.

‘‘Overall, the weather’s been pretty good,’’ Mr Hay said.

‘‘There’s only been one cold snap — but nothing major.’’

The feed situation now was ‘‘not too bad’’, although some places were experiencing a shortage, he said.

Tailing was becoming the focus for most sheep farmers. Tail-length regulations that took effect last year did not seem to be causing any difficulties locally, Mr Hay said.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand animal welfare and biosecurity senior adviser Will Halliday last week reminded farmers of the new regulations regarding the length of a docked tail — they must be ‘‘no shorter than the distal end of the caudal fold, which is the end of the flaps of skin that attach the underside of the tail to the lamb’s body’’.

‘‘This is the absolute minimum length under the animal welfare regulations and docking tails shorter than this can lead to an infringement fee of $500.’’

A hot iron or rubber rings are the only methods that can be used to dock tails.

Mr Hay said there had been plenty of information available about meeting the tailing regulations.

‘‘As far as I know, everyone’s been compliant.

‘‘A lot of the tailing contractors are doing a good job.’’

Farmers were so busy at this time of year with lambing, tailing, and tractor work that they had not been discussing local body election issues, he said.

The federation was likely to alert members to matters they could consider when voting.