6 Oct 2010

Storms over but stock losses continue to mount

1:52 pm on 6 October 2010

Some Southland farmers are continuing to lose lambs and calves as the effects of last month's spring storms linger.

A Southland veterinarian, Dr John Smart, from Clutha Vets, says arthritis and liver and lung abscesses are now the biggest animal health concerns on farm.

The Ministry of Agriculture estimates more than 500,000 lambs may have perished in the bitterly cold and wet conditions in Southland and South Otago last month.

A large number of ewes and calves also died, but it'll probably be next month before a definitive figure of losses emerges.

Dr Smart says farmers continue to find dead stock in paddocks because of bacteria that newborn lambs and calves picked up during the storms.

He says farmers shouldn't worry about meat company concerns with using antibiotics to treat lambs as it is better to save stock, than have losses continue to mount.

David Clarke who farms at Glenham, east of Invercargill, says he has noticed a number of his lambs with arthritis, and is opting to treat them. He says he's already lost hundreds of lambs and tens of ewes in the storms.