Giving the spiders a fright – John van der Goes

Time has roared around again and I need to write about what has been happening here. In truth it feels like not much. Just the usual things that seem to keep us busy and leave no time for the things we want to get done.

Mating is over and the bulls are out. It looks like we have done quite well this year. We are very close to hitting all the required targets (just one cow short for both 3 and 4 weeks). And now, with the bulls out, not too many returns are coming back in. I am enjoying using the phone app to enter natural mattings, as I can do cows as I see them and don’t have to remember to enter them later (which I usually forget).

JVG cows Dec

The first silage has been brought home from the runoff, so now we just need to wait till next week for the rest to be ready, then we can bring that home and it will be all over. The big plan for runoff silage all turned to custard this year with paddocks not falling into line to be mowed together. So we needed to change plans at least once. This, of course, is par for the course as you all know.

Having got hold of a mower last year I have been able to reset my residuals (top) this year. With the weather being the way it was I did get a little conservative and chickened out on doing paddocks that I should have cut earlier. I have caught up now, pretty much, but lost a bit of production during the dry spell when our grass went all stalky.

JVG topping

The fodder beet has had all its sprays and a side dressing, so now all we have to do is wait for it to grow and then start to feed it at the beginning of February. It’s been quite an exercise getting everything organised and done in time. I’m glad I’m not a spray contractor, especially this year.

JVG fodder beet Dec4

Unfortunately, we have had a few cases of mastitis lately, which has been annoying since we did so well early on. Hopefully this is just a blip and we will not have too many more for the rest of the season. The target is still less than 10% clinical cases and less than 100,000 cell count.

Now is the time for me to do some of those off farm things I have been threatening to do since the end of calving. I managed to get all the cobwebs off my bike on the trainer finally last night and give the remaining spiders a Ferris wheel ride; at least I may not feel so bad when I venture out onto the road in the weekend. Unfortunately, my kayak is still collecting dust in the ceiling of the workshop. The plan was to go out fishing this week but our car decided to have a sicky right when the garage is at its busiest. So that plan has gone out the window, like so many before it.

On reflection I think we fared quite well over spring and I am quite pleased with how things went. We still have a few targets to try and achieve – these will be targets for next year.


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