Covid free calving – Graham Smith

It’s a great little country that we live in! As I watch the rest of the world struggling to cope with Covid I really do appreciate this slice of paradise.

The cows are just starting to calve and at time of writing there is plenty of grass and it has been mild weather. Cover is at 2215 kg DM/ha. Growth rate is 17 kg DM/ha/day, which is better than the budgeted 12, and the girls are at 5.2 condition score, about as good as I could want.

With only 14 frosts so far this winter the pasture is looking healthy and unburnt, which should translate into good spring growth rates. To ensure this I am about to start applying Ammo 36 at 80 kg/ha.

Five days into calving and already 25% of the herd calved! I guess I could expect that with the effect of OAD on fertility.

As usual at this time of year, I am busy fencing up new strips to plant Paulownias, and I am down to my last 40 trees to plant. It will be a relief to have that job behind me. I have, at the same time, been felling trees and carting the logs to the mill to ensure sawn timber stocks for orders. I have also been grading the dry pieces and cutting out knots and blemishes to ready them for sale. After lockdown I had a busy month catching up on wood orders and have only now caught up.

It has not been all work. Tess and I travelled to the far north in June to get in some fishing at Doubtless Bay. The weather was exceptional and I enjoyed warm weather whilst it frosted at home. Flat calm seas, good company, and plenty of fish, made for a great holiday.

We have rented the tourist accommodation out on a permanent basis due to tourism being a lame duck currently. We may stay permanently in that mode if we find it suits. Of course, that requires us to read the regulations to ensure we are good operators. Heating and insulation are the main requirements, but the buildings are relatively new, so no issues there. We will miss the variety of people that have rented over the last four years, and a lot of them have become very good friends, but one cannot have everything.

It was good to catch up with our family after the lockdown. One thing I have noticed is that there were less loopies ( tourists ) on the road as we went visiting. It is something I could never get used to, tourists stopping in the middle of the road to take photos! It has been good to see New Zealanders able to access and enjoy their own country. I know there are a lot of unemployed because of this but I am sure people will adapt into new employment. I wonder how big the outflow of NZ’ers to other parts of the world will be once this disease is brought under control?

Hope calving goes well for you all and that you have an abundance of grass.

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