I hope everyone has had a merry Christmas and is about to have an enjoyable New Year!
Well, I will take you back a month or two to mating… I think my mating has gone very well this year with a 90+% SR at 21days – with a little intervention. We did a CIDR synchronization on our 54 R2 heifers, so to get best value out of the CIDRs we then used them in the non-cycling cows. The other thing we did this year is used a single shot PG program on cows that had cycled between 14 to 7 days and 7 to 1 days pre-PSM, thus short cycling them to be mated in week one and two of mating. With zero inductions and the plan to milk empty and late calvers through the winter we decided to reduce our mating from 12 weeks down to 9.5 weeks, with 5 weeks of AB and then tailed off with bulls. We used 9 bulls separated into 3 groups, with one group in with the cows and the groups rotated every two days. I find this gives us great results as the bulls are not overworked and it reduces the risk of bulls going lame. The bulls were sent to the works on the last day of mating this year making good money. Now, back to the point I made above on milking the empties and late cows through, we are doing this for a number of reasons:
- We want to maximize the days in milk.
- We want to reduce the wastage of good cows.
- We want to utilise Northland’s winter growth.
- We have a fantastic covered feed pad to use
- It increases cash flow through the early spring.
Overview of the season to date
So far this season we are about 2% behind last season. I put this down to a reduction in cows and the very wet spring (1 metre in 3 months), with good growth from then till mid-November, when we started to get dry. So on with the irrigation for 4 weeks till mid-December when the sky opened and over a week approximately 190ml fell. Not really what we wanted, with the river getting right to the top of its banks and almost flooding and me becoming very worried that the 8ha of maize on the river flats was going to be wiped out. However, it’s a small risk for the 30t/ha crops we grow. With that threat passing it was time for some family time and a bit of R&R so off to Ngawi, Cape Palliser we went for Christmas and a spot of fishing and diving. It was good to get away, but as always it is great to be home again and back in control. Remember, we all need to get off farm and have some stress relief, especially in a low payout season!! Currently the cows are doing 1.65MS/cow and we are feeding a mix of 2kgDM bread/potatoes, 0.65kgDM balage and 1.4kgDM PKE per cow on the feed pad.