So many things have changed in the last six weeks, hence the delay in getting a blog written.
The plan was to put another house on the farm for either ourselves or the farm manager. After missing out on a couple we were able to secure a fabulous home. With the best site chosen and Geotech report done we were excited about the new season to come.
The farm sold, bringing lots of changes to our plans for the future. The house has been delivered and is sitting in the front paddock waiting for its next move to the runoff when its piles are ready. At the moment the house site is covered in maize!
Things have been busy on the farm over the last few months with all the normal farming things: calving, AB, harvesting, sowing maize, applying fert, spraying etc. etc. and we are extremely grateful for the family helping us on in so many ways. Unfortunately, because of covid, like many people we have had to postpone or cancel things – Staf’s 21st bonfire is still waiting to be lit but the cows are happy to graze around it. We also said goodbye to Oscar after 14 yrs., very much part of the family and is very much missed.
On the Farm
Summer has arrived and so far, things are set up really well for the next few weeks.
There are 354 cows on farm grazing 2.25 ha/day = 30 – 35-day round.
- 337 milkers grazing 2.25 ha (1½ paddocks / day), plus each cow is getting 6 – 7 kg meal and 12 litres P8.
- 17 dry cows are also on farm cleaning up behind the milkers.
Production to date is 107,297 kg MS (compared with 99,812 kg MS at the same time last year). Current production is 8.1 – 8.4 kg MS/ha/day and 1.75 – 1.8 kg MS/cow/day.
Cow condition is 4.7 – 4.
General multi minerals are going through the water and zinc should start at low rates in early January and build as required through the summer. Causmag, lime flour and salt are going in the meal.
Average pasture cover is around 3,000 – 3,100 kg DM/ha (on the December plate meter equation). The pasture cover targets for the next 6 – 8 weeks are 2,900 – 3,000 kg DM/ha in late December (on the December plate meter equation), and 3,100 – 3,200 kg DM/ha in late January.
Urea / SustaiN – 3 tonne has been applied at 65 kg/ha. 1.5 tonne on 5th November, 1 tonne on 12th November,, and ½ tonne on 20th November. From next week onwards we are aiming to cover the farm again with SustaiN at 85 – 90 kg/ha (this includes going over the chicory area as well).
The grazing round is 25 – 30 days going into summer. The plan is to hold to this round / grazing area through to when the turnips start, at which point it should get out to a 45ish day round for the rest of summer and into autumn.
The chicory started being grazed on 1st December. The weed spray was done on these paddocks on 11th November but the kill rate on the weeds hasn’t been as good as we would have expected so we may need to look at a second spray of this area to get control.
The turnips have all been sprayed and had nitrogen and are looking really good. These will be ready to graze from mid-January onwards with the plan to offer 3m/cow/day initially – until the cows are eating all the leaf and bulbs properly. At this feeding rate, the crop should last nicely though to late March or potentially even a little longer.
Autumn drying off / calving
The autumn calving is due to start in mid-March so the main group of early calvers will be due to start being dried off from late January / early February onwards. Some low producers are being dried off before this time.
- Heifers – The bulls went in with the heifers on 7th October and came out on 29th
- Cows – AI started on 23rd October and finished on 3rd All but 1 cow was mated in total to AI.
Pregnancy testing is planned for six weeks after mating finished.
The next six months are going to be full and fun!! In other exciting news we have another grandee arriving in July! – it will be busy in that household with only 15 months between them J. Our oldest daughter is planning to return to the States in Jan/Feb, Staf is back to TGA to continue his degree in teaching, Dee, our youngest, will be flatting and doing her second year nursing training and Mr. and Mrs. Frostie will be getting the farm sorted for shifting off, remodeling and decorating the new house, shifting to the runoff, and then ready for a rest.
We wish everyone a fabulous Christmas and end to 2021 and may everyone find some time to have a rest. We hope that 2022 we can finally get back to some form of ‘normal’ that we will be able to live with in the year ahead.