Where we're going ...

While the number of prosperous palates in the world grows, New Zealand is in a grand position to be providing them with food that meets their stringent demands.

There are huge challenges worldwide facing human beings: population growth, climate change, increasing demands on and degradation of land and water resources, and the logistics of feeding this burgeoning population sustainably without further destroying biodiversity. For New Zealand, as a country that relies more heavily than any other trading nation on the export of agricultural products, our ability to have the highest standards of food safety, biosecurity and animal welfare is vital in order to gain access to the most valuable world markets.

Alongside this, the agricultural sector and its livestock production systems are undergoing major change. There is increasing integration of farming and processing, with the development of larger farming units expected to improve efficiency and economies of scale, when done well.

The demands for veterinary services are becoming more sophisticated and veterinarians are expected to provide services that are whole-farm based rather than merely dealing with the individual animal.  We are expected to have broader skills in farm consultancy and management and not just be able to provide technical skills and advice on animal health and welfare.

It is important that we move in this direction, as many veterinary procedures and associated products become commoditised. The science behind these procedures and products tends to be forgotten: they are so successful, we forget what life was like before we had them.  Who remembers hectic springs rushing around running calcium borogluconate into cow after cow with milk fever, before the days of magnesium supplementation, DCADs and ‘springer diets'!   Also with increasing herd and flock sizes, there tends to be more of a ‘one size fits all' approach. Nowadays, once the suitability of such interventions has been established for a particular herd or flock, its execution becomes a technical exercise.

Totally Vets' ambition is to provide our clients with outstanding value from improvements in animal health and management inside the farm gate.  We are also working with a wider audience including other professionals to maximise the value that farmers can generate from their own operations.

Totally Vets continues to work closely with Beef+Lamb New Zealand in hosting the Manawatu Monitor farms. The encouraging uptake by clients of sponsor-subsidised discussion groups is an indication of our commitment to translating science into practicality. Dr Trevor Cook is veterinary advisor to Wormwise, a national extension plan to manage drench resistance in New Zealand. Our research team of Trevor Cook, Ginny Dodunski, Greta Baynes and Charmaine Robertson is heavily involved in industry trials.

On the dairy scene, lameness, reproductive losses and milk quality remain New Zealand's biggest animal health issues. Tools to deal with these issues have been collated by DairyNZ, and Totally Vets has skilled veterinarians capable of assisting you to implement them on your farm and add value inside the farm gate.

Australia may be called the ‘lucky country' but the demand for food will outstrip the demand for iron, and New Zealand is in a prime position to be a significant supplier of the world's nutritional needs.

Totally Vets' challenge is to maintain traditional veterinary roles plus grow our contribution to securing and enhancing rural New Zealand's profitability, sustainability and competitiveness. We are hugely excited by this!