Today is Saturday the 7th of March and the dark clouds that have been looming all day have started to deliver the long awaited, overdue and very welcome rain that is so sorely needed for our parched countryside, as no rain to speak of has fallen here since early February.
Yes, the dry weather has certainly had an impact on pasture production, for the third summer in a row, resulting in vast quantities of grass and maize silage plus PKE being fed to the herd. I am obviously in a bit of a buoyant mood as I write this as I hear the rain pelting against the window, but I had better write fast lest it all come to a grinding halt, resulting in language that may be unsuitable for print!!
With the lack of pasture resulting in all this feeding, there has been little time on farm to do much other than a bit of maintenance and general farm chores. However, as I wrote in my last blog, the herd PD that we eagerly awaited has been and gone, and alas, we are not going to any exotic location, Bev will have to cope with no more jewellery and Bernard has been spared the drama of getting his knighthood. Instead of being Sir Bernard, or Lord Bernard, he will just be given the title of Bernard Kelly NBMR, which stands for “not bad mating result”. This honour is a fair reflection of his efforts in helping us achieve an acceptable 75% 6 week in calf rate and 8.5% empty rate. Of course, we all hope for an 80% 6 week rate and empties under 5%, but you always need something to strive for….
Our on farm the maize was harvested four days ago as it was suffering from heat stress and lack of moisture, but still looked to have an impressive yield. Two local contractors combined to do the job, one providing the chopper and one trailer and the other providing another trailer and the bagging machine.
For those of you that are considering bagging your maize, it certainly has its merits I can tell you. Although it may cost 2-3 cents more per kg, there is very little waste, the maize is perfectly sealed, there is only a small face to work from and importantly, there are no tyres to throw, which minimises cut hands, wasp stings, muddy showers and rat fright, let alone potential shoulder injuries! The other benefit was it freed up time for us to go over and help the neighbour chuck tyres onto his stack as his maize arrived on the same day….bit ironic really!! We started feeding last year’s bag about 10 days ago and once we got the knack of loading up without ripping the bag, we have found it to be a great way of storing maize that doesn’t fit in the bunker.
That’s the first 4 hectares in, the 12 ha on the maize block is getting chopped as soon as this wet spell passes, so I assume it won’t be here for another week (live in hope!!). That lot will be stored in the bunker, so we still get a chance to throw some tyres around and give the good old neighbour next door a chance to pay back a favour. Also it gives our kids the chance to come and help to repay all the kindness we have shown them over the years…….
Recent trial results show that there is no benefit in waiting for the right conditions to get our grass seed in, so regardless of how much rain we get, Bernard Kelly NBMR will be giving the maize paddocks a spray with Glyphosate and getting them power harrowed, ready for the roller drill to come and plant our Trojan in one paddock and One 50 in the other two. I expect to post some pictures next month of new grass blowing in the wind, a full maize bunker to go with the bagged maize, and report a lengthened rotation of 40 days plus as we head further into autumn.
I feel a dose of unprintable language coming on as the rain has eased and, heaven forbid, the sun seems to be poking its way through the clouds. Thunder has been forecast, and if it doesn’t rumble from the heavens then there may be thunder in my print so I had better sign off until we speak again…
Yours in farming, Noldy WFR