Dr Paul Dettloff is the consulting vet for the largest organic milk cooperative in the USA with 1,700 dairy farms.
In March this year, he held three workshops for vets and farmers around NZ about transitioning from the hi-tech methods of the modern dairy farm toward a more holistic and sustainable practice.
The workshops have been organised by the Organic Dairy and Pastoral Group, the national representative body for certified organic farmers across New Zealand.
One of the workshops was held at Mount Peel Hall, near Geraldine in South Canterbury.
In the morning session, Dr Dettloff talked passionately to 50 farmers and vets about how soil management and pasture management affects animal health – and as a result – human health.
Dairy support farmer Graeme Hay has driven up from North Otago to attend the event. He has always been interested in biological farming but putting the system into practice is challenging.
"It's believing in the philosophy, but then how do you transfer that into a practical sense and still stay viable farming?" he says.
In the afternoon an animal health clinic was held at Peel View Farm a couple of kilometres down the road (see the photos above).
A particular topic of interest for the farmers in attendance was Mycoplasma bovis.
Dr Paul Dettloff has come across the infection in cattle many times and predicts that it is going to be a struggle for some Kiwi farmers to eliminate the infection because they might have created the environment for it.