Tackling parasite challenges and the isolation of farming in the Chatham Islands

Tackling parasite challenges and the isolation of farming in the Chatham Islands

Seasoned veterinarian and Wormwise Programme Manager Ginny Dodunski delves into the unique challenges faced by farmers on the isolated Chatham Islands, focusing on parasite and worm control issues.

Having recently visited the island, Dodunski shares her experiences with REX host Dom George, highlighting the struggles local farmers encounter due to limited transportation options and the difficulties in getting livestock off the island. 

"The big challenge is getting stock off the island on that boat and at the moment the boat's been really patchy," she said.

This results in the overpopulation of livestock, which in turn exacerbates worm and parasite issues. She also discusses the limited access to veterinary services on the island and notes that vets travel from the mainland to provide care. However, this service is sporadic, leading to gaps in medical attention for livestock. 

Dodunski suggests that more direct extension activity from Beef and Lamb would benefit the farmers. Highlighting the resourcefulness of the Chatham Islanders, Dodunski introduces an innovative initiative by a local, Del Wintour. 

He aims to reestablish a processing facility on the island to ease the burden on farmers, an endeavour Dodunski fully supports. 

She urges listeners to back this initiative.

"I'd say sign up to Chatham Island Food Co, buy some fish offDelwyn Tuanui... in the end that will help the farmers hugely if they can process their own stock over there." 

Dodunski also emphasises the importance of early detection of drench resistance in lambs. She encourages farmers to conduct fecal egg counts after the first or second drench to identify any remaining parasites, and then formulate a management plan accordingly. 

"It's much, much better to know if you're facing that situation now and then be able to make a plan to manage it, rather than letting that situation run," she advises.

The podcast provides an insightful glimpse into the challenges of farming in an isolated setting, along with expert advice from Dodunski on managing parasite threats, offering invaluable information for farmers in similar situations.

Listen to the full chat between Ginny Dodunski and Dominic George above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Rova or tune in to REX Mornings live on Magic from 5 am to 6 am every weekday.

Visit the Rural Exchange Facebook or Instagram page for more information and regular updates from the REX team.