Working For Us - Staff Stories

Ben Hodgson

Schering Plough NZ took a small team of Kiwis to the WBC in Hungary between July 6th-11th.

Alongside myself, practicing Vets Katrina Parker, Andrew Weir, Matt O’Sullivan and Tim Scotland also attended, with Andrew Millar and John Moffat doing an excellent job of looking after us.

budapestThe conference itself included a huge number of oral presentations (6 different session streams running continuously) starting at 8.30 and finishing at 6.30 each night. During the day there were also long breaks for viewing the thousands of smaller poster presentations. The course material tended to have a reasonably strong dairy focus but beef cattle, and to a lesser extent sheep, goats, buffalo and Camelids also featured.

For me personally, the applications for NZ farming systems and impacts on our export trade of the infections disease presentations were most interesting: The progress of exotic TSE diseases Scrapie and Mad Cow Disease and the impact of the Northern European Blue Tongue outbreak were interesting topics. A number of sessions were dedicated to Johnes disease and BVD, which have an even more direct impact on NZ.

Continuing research and changes to disease management and quality assurance overseas will mean we need to keep on the ball in NZ to remain competitive.

New Zealand was well represented in the presentations – I saw Scott McDougall, Cord Heuer and John Moffat speak, who all presented material of a much higher standard than average. Much of the research and trial work presented by overseas speakers had either a strong individual animal focus or involved animal numbers to small to be useful.

It must be stressed that by no means was the trip all work – we had plenty of opportunities to explore Budapest and enjoy some fine Hungarian hospitality. The Hungarian word for ‘Cheers’ is pretty much unpronounceable until you have had a couple of pints of Dreher, but we tried to get as much practice in as we could.

A big thanks to Schering Plough for sponsoring and organising the trip.

Ben Hodgson

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