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Sheep, beef & deer speakers

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Ben is a sheep and beef veterinarian with North Canterbury Veterinary Clinics, in the Hawarden/Waikari region. Prior to this he was a technical veterinarian for PGG Wrightson in the South Island where he was involved with several projects looking into the role of phosphorus, vitamin D, dietary protein levels and animal management, on growth rates in young cattle on fodder beet crops, osteomalacia lesions in dairy cattle fed fodder beet, and the incidence of metabolic disease in dairy cows transitioned off fodder beet wintering systems. Research for these projects led Ben to a published observation of a potential role for Vitamin D deficiency in the susceptibility of women to pelvic floor disorders and this work set him on the road to setting up a clinical investigation exploring the relationship between injectable Vitamin A, D and E and vaginal prolapse in North Canterbury sheep.

Geoff graduated with a BSc in Zoology, Botany and Geology. He went on to receive a MSc (Hons) in Zoology from Victoria University and a PhD on the reproduction of fallow deer from Canterbury University. Geoff spent 13 years working as a scientist in the Research Division for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries before taking on the role of Senior Scientist and AgResearch Ltd. Geoff has spent his entire career researching aspects of the biology of cervids, principally Red deer (Cervus elaphus) and Fallow deer (Dama dama), as a farmed animal within the New Zealand pastoral environment. His main focus has been on reproductive biology, including endocrinology, reproductive success and artificial breeding technologies, and he has published over 130 peer-reviewed papers in these areas. Geoff’s work has also included aspects of nutritional biology, genetics, health, environmental management and venison quality of farmed deer. Since 2001, he has been project leader for all farmed deer projects pertaining to general deer biology and venison production systems within AgResearch. This portfolio of work includes over 20 scientists and technicians across AgResearch campuses throughout New Zealand. He is the principle liaison with the executive of Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) based in Wellington, and reports to the DEEResearch Board, an AgResearch/DINZ joint venture governance structure that guides the portfolio of research to improve the financial productivity and environmental footprint of the New Zealand venison industry.

Sam has been Farm Business Manager of Rangitaiki Station for seven years. Rangitaiki Station is an 8300ha intensive Sheep, Beef, and Deer property located on the central plateau of the North Island. It is home to the largest commercial deer farm in New Zealand. Sam’s passion for deer and livestock farming began at a young age. He grew up farming and after completing his Ag Commerce degree Sam began a career driven by scale, people, and success. Prior to managing Rangitaiki Sam worked on two other deer properties. Commercial deer farming is a relatively young industry and he has enjoyed being part of developing the skills required that strive towards sustainable high performance.

Sue is acknowledged as a leadership trainer and consultant across Australasia in the areas of practice and organisational development, strategic planning, communication excellence and staff development and management. Sue has a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Human Resources and Marketing, as well as her Diploma in Company Directorship (GAICD) and a Masters in NLP. Sue invests time working as Business Manager and consultant for AIRC/CCG whilst maintaining a role in a quality veterinary practice in Brisbane. Sue has a practical hands-on approach and brings with her a wealth of both corporate and small business skills, having been the founder of the much respected AIRC and CCG. Sue commenced her career in the UK as a veterinary nurse in 1982 and has gained invaluable global veterinary knowledge having worked in a variety of roles including animal welfare, general practice, emergency and university settings in the USA and Hong Kong. Sue frequently visits countries such as NZ, UAE & Malaysia to lecture, coach and consult.

Andrew graduated in 1993 from Massey University with a BVSc. Coming from a farm and the dry of Central Otago and then working on the East Coast of the North Island quickly proved that having grass is not everything. The impact of trace element deficiencies, fungal diseases and parasites, both internal and external kept farmers busy and vets thinking about how to manage them best. He is now with PGG Wrightson Ltd and studying the impacts of liver fluke on diary cattle.

Andrew works at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. Growing up on a sheep farm in New Zealand Andrew has maintained an interest in animal production and animal health and welfare. Upon completing his undergraduate and post-graduate studies at Lincoln University Andrew then spent two years in a post-doctoral position at Moredun Research Institute, Scotland before returning to Lincoln in 2008 where he is currently a Senior Lecturer in Animal Science. Andrews’s research interest primarily focus on gastro-intestinal nematode parasitism in sheep and cattle and mitigating the impact of disease on animal performance. Recent investigations range from manipulating the immune response to parasites in sheep, targeted nutritional strategies, parasite epidemiology, selection for resistance and resistance to parasites, targeting parasites outside the host to provide an epidemiological benefit and targeted selective treatments (TSTs) in both sheep and cattle.

After graduating from Massey University with a BVSc (Distinction) Kate worked in mixed clinical practice in rural New Zealand before returning to Massey’s School of Veterinary Science in 2015 as a Lecturer in Pastoral Livestock Health. Kate’s primary areas of focus are sheep, beef cattle and deer health and production, and she is part of the international sheep research group based at Massey University. She is currently completing her PhD, investigating wastage in New Zealand commercial ewe flocks.

Richard graduated from Massey in 1990 and is in large animal practice in Waipukurau. He is a shareholder and director of Vet Services (HB). Despite recently graduating to the role of General Manager he does like to stay involved in clinical work. However, five clinics, three dozen vets and about sixty staff demand more time than the local herbivores now. Richard’s main veterinary focus is flock and herd health, working closely with clients on all manner of farming and stock decisions and issues, without ever making it as a real consultant. He is an original veterinary sheep scanner, having scanned about 1.5 million ewes before his wrist gave up. He instigated and completed the POP Group ewe vaginal prolapse study in 2001-2002 with Ron Jackson, involving about 40000 recorded ewes. Richard is a past member of the committees of the Deer Branch and the Society of Sheep and Beef Cattle Veterinarians. He was awarded the Alan Baldry Memorial Crook in 2015, an award from his peers that he was most humbled to receive. Richard facilitated a Deer Industry Focus Farm for three years, helps host the BVSc V Deer Special Topic and Sheep & Beef Special Topic groups every year, and is currently facilitating the very successful Hawkes Bay Originals Advance Party for DINZ. Richard and his wife Karen (also a vet) run a sheep, deer and beef farm of 220ha in Central Hawkes Bay. The deer herd of 700 animals includes a fully recorded herd focussed on growth rates and velvet. The sheep are also a keen focus, lambing 150% and complementing the deer operation. Much of Richard’s ideas around integrated grazing and management of sheep, cattle and deer come from making most of the mistakes at home first.

John graduated from Murdoch University in Western Australia. Initially worked in mixed practice in Gippsland Victoria prior to moving to California to complete specialty training a residency in large animal medicine at the University of California Davis. Following the residency went on to complete a PhD, working on the prevention and control of Salmonella on large dairies. Returned to Australia in 2002 to join the University of Sydney to head up the livestock clinical training program. Research activities have had an applied clinical focus predominantly directed at the diagnosis, management and prevention of infectious diseases including pink eye in cattle, salmonella in sheep and cattle, and mycoplasma in dairy cattle.

Peter has worked as a mixed clinical practitioner at Clutha Vets for over the 30 years, before relinquishing small animal work to take on a coaching/advisory role in InCalf six years ago. He is also a velvet auditor for DINZ (ten years plus) and latterly a deer shed inspector under MPI as well an obsolete Tb Assessment Officer! Three years ago, he was invited to be a facilitator for the DINZ South Otago Advance Party group which fits well with his interest in deer and has enjoyed this immensely. Peter has a small deer farm just north of Milton where ably assisted by his wife Ainslie: they embrace the ‘Good Life” concept and grow most of their own food, and are applying Regenerative Agriculture principles to their farming operation in the hope of a more than ‘sustainable’ future. He is currently working part-time at Clutha Vets (3 days a week), a retiree in training!

Paul is the Professor of Sheep Husbandry at Massey University, New Zealand. He also has research interest in beef cattle. Specific sheep-based research programs include: maximizing ewe lamb breeding performance, twin- and triplet-lamb survival and growth to weaning, effects of body size and body condition on efficiency of production, alternative feed types to improve performance, maximizing lamb growth post weaning. These research projects cover the range from basic biological science to the applied level and where appropriate include systems modelling. He has a number of research linkages and programmes nationally and internationally, including Australia, and works with farmers, industry and veterinarians throughout New Zealand.

Phil is an independent farm consultant based in the Wellington / Wairarapa region and he has worked in many regions throughout NZ and overseas. He has extensive agribusiness experience and specialises in helping farmers co-design and implement strategy. A key focus is on strategy that enables the growth of profitable and sustainable farming businesses. Currently contracted to Deer Industry New Zealand as Environment Project Manager, Phil has been building on existing successful programmes at Deer Industry NZ to bring together groups of deer farmers, and by facilitating positive conversations, use peer to peer learning and support to enhance existing systems.

Neil is Professor of Farm Animal Practice at the University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. He qualified with BA and VetMB degrees from Cambridge University in 1984 and has subsequently gained considerable practical experience of farm animal veterinary practice, working with beef cattle and sheep. He has interests in planned livestock production, health and welfare; and his list of about 220 scientific publications in refereed journals and similar number of grey-literature articles mostly refers of the diagnosis and management of production-limiting diseases of ruminant livestock. Neil became a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons while working at Massey University, and holds the RCVS specialist Diploma in Sheep Health and Production. He has written a reference textbook ‘Sheep flock health – a planned approach’, outlining a practical and rational approach to the diagnosis and management of sheep diseases, and has also edited, co-authored and contributed chapters to several other small ruminant, cattle and veterinary parasitology textbooks. Neil’s principal research interest and primary undergraduate teaching responsibilities encompass veterinary parasitology, small ruminant production and veterinary education; reflecting the importance of these topics in global food production, animal welfare and public health. He was awarded a PhD by the University of Edinburgh in 2009. Neil’s current parasitology research includes studies of population genetics of helminth parasites; Haemonchus genomics; anthelmintic resistance in gastrointestinal nematodes; roundworm control in farm animals; management of fluke parasites; antiprotozoal drug resistance; and control of small ruminant ectoparasites. Additional small ruminant research includes studies of sheep production in harsh environments; neonatal lamb survival; goat health and production; lamb losses on Scottish hill farms; small ruminant and wildlife interactions; and management of infectious abortion in sheep. His education research and outreach are focused on the development of veterinary, paraveterinary and livestock keeper education methods in developing agricultural economies, with current programmes in rural India and Malawi. Neil is the current President of the European College of Small Ruminant Health Management and a former president of the Sheep Veterinary Society. He was the Scientific Organiser for the highly successful 9th International Sheep Veterinary Congress, held in the UK in 2017 with the theme of ‘sustainable global food security through efficient small ruminant production’.

Preet is a senior lecturer in School of Veterinary Science, Massey University. His research interests are pharmacology and pain mitigation in farm animals. His current work focuses on strategies for pain relief for significant surgical procedures in goats, sheep, pig, cattle and deer. Some of these strategies include research on drug discovery and innovative drug delivery techniques.

David is a Senior Scientist in the Farming systems team at AgResearch Ltd, New Zealand’s pastoral agriculture research institute. He specialises in the discovery and application of animal nutrition and pasture management information in dairy, red deer and sheep farming systems. This includes researching the interaction between seasonality and animal genetics on voluntary feed intake and its effect in determining deer performance, and the systems impacts of management practices, nutrition and forages in the sheep, deer and dairy industries. He is currently part of a team investigating the variations in the seasonal growth genetics of red deer. They are testing the potential mechanisms for these differences and associated sexual dimorphism variations that have been observed.