Handling the heat – Matthew Zonderop

The 21/22 season has been the perfect storm from our farm’s perspective. We were firing on all cylinders until mid-November then the humidity hit, our grass went into a reproductive state and production crashed. All while we were making grass silage, had hay locked up, and were topping. But more to come in our ‘storm’ – breakdowns!! Not due to a lack of maintenance, just things that you’d never expect to break down did.. hanger bearings on tractors, front differentials, roller/shafts on the bale feeder, two air con unit evaporators, swash plates on a hydrostatic gearbox. In short, all this wasn’t really planned in the budget. Should I put down $50 k as R&M next season? The bank manager, let alone the accountant, would be asking a lot of questions. Thankfully, Fonterra has come through with a fantastic forecast and retro payments have paid a few repair bills and some much needed debt reduction.

So now we are into the thick of summer and it’s meals on wheels, running two herds here on farm and using turnips as part of their diet, along with maize and grass silage, takes time out of the day so ensuring our gear is all running is ‘mission critical’ for us.

The calves are also on farm. These precious ‘loveable characters’ are on a 24 day round of chicory, grass silage, and maize. So far, so good. The hardest part is to actually keep them in their break..


Going forward, our farm goals are getting more effluent lines in this summer, increasing the troughs per paddock, and, the bane of every dairy farmer, finding that bloody short in the electric fence – with a mixture of concrete and wooden posts this is always a mind-boggling task.

But, let’s be honest, I’m over this heat, no sleep, and of course the perfect storm, my mind goes back to the 13/14 season.. I really hope that we are able to benefit from these prices and we all get some much needed rain relief and cool nights.



  • Well we have got the rain but still very humid, perfect for FE.

  • Hi Graeme: As we monitor our spore counts over the past few years we’ve noticed a trend..this farm is hotter than a gas bbq..so we have to spray as a precaution..some of the paddocks are in the millions..and no amount of zinc in the water will help our cows..since we have started doing this our FE out breaks are virtually zero..of course that we can see..? cheers Matthew

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