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The Deer Farmer Tuesday 14th October, 2008
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Fewer possums could mean less greenhouse gas

02-11-2007 | webmaster

TDF was intrigued to hear the Department of Conservation described as "exacerbators" during a presentation by Animal Health Board CEO William McCook at the October NZDFA branch chairmans' meeting in Wellington last week. "They own the possums," he told the chairmen (on behalf of the Crown).

Later, West Coast chairman Ken Ferguson remarked that if DOC owns the possums, they should contribute towards reducing their methane gas emissions.

It sounds a bit of the wall at first, but we checked this out with Nick Hancox from the AHB who says that in fact the Board is investigating the benefits of possum control for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "It would be another benefit of the Tb control strategy, given the extent of possum control carried out. It‘s a potential benefit to a group other than farmers. We're trying to get some sort of measure of that."

The possums clearly create a bit of havoc over on the Coast: a series of slides showing the impact of a full bovine Tb eradication programme - one of four models the AHB has developed - shows that while every other area would be clear in 2030, there would still be Tb on the West Coast until 2035.

Ever a step ahead, the AHB is seeking a review of its long-term strategy and to help with the process has developed four possible options for farmers to consider. They're sending a discussion document to farmer associations later this year and then will consult with farmers around the country in April/May next year.

Other speakers at the branch chairman's meeting included John Tacon from DINZ on animal welfare and Bill Rolleston the chair of the velvet research group VARNZ, and by special request James Guild from Velexco and PPCS marketing manager Glenn Tyrell spoke to the group.

We're pleased to report there were no punch-ups during the two-day meeting.

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