On the up – Noldy Rust

The big wet that seemed to go on relentlessly through the end of September right until mid-October certainly seemed worse than ever before. Contractors couldn’t get silage off; groundwork in preparation for cropping was extremely difficult, if not impossible, in most cases; and feed utilisation on farm was a real challenge. However, a few weeks down the track the sound of rain on the roof doesn’t make me cringe as it did earlier, quite the opposite in fact!! A bit of rain would be nice to soften the surface as the ground has gone rock hard on top in most places, and walking across a paddock is similar to walking across a dry, rocky riverbed, being ever so careful not to break an ankle!

Yay for November, it’s so good to get the busyness of spring largely behind us. AI is now into its fourth week, meaning the non-cyclers that we ran separately for three weeks are now together in the herd again and the bulls are having a well-earned break. It also means that our technician has less cows to inseminate on a daily basis and his 7.25 arrival time is creeping forward to closer to 7.15 every morning. Keeps Sam on his toes anyway, nothing like a strict timetable to stay disciplined! Most farmers I have talked to have said mating is going ok, which is a relief after a tough spring. We achieved our 90% submission target in three weeks after just running the non-cyclers with bulls for three weeks and using plenty of tailpaint. We have a vet flatting with our daughter in our other house and she was watching with interest to see how many in this mob were coming on heat as they grazed the paddocks around her house. As we got nearer to the three weeks being up, we took the liberty of applying some orange tailpaint to most of the cows, even if they hadn’t cycled, just to convince her that our strategy was working…..didn’t want to have to listen to “I told ya so” from her!!

Growth rates are in the 60s to 70s now, after an ammo application over the whole farm. Covers are lifting, so spraying out the maize paddocks has helped keep the pressure on the rest of the farm. Sam is mowing in front of the cows. We figured it’s a small cost and we have a lot to gain by keeping those residuals spot on. Nitrogen will be applied at 25-30 kg N/ha to help boost the regrowth.


We closed the maize pit down yesterday as we are only feeding a small amount and the big face of the stack meant we couldn’t get across it fast enough to avoid mould growing. We will open up the bagged maize now as this has a much smaller face and is ideal when only feeding small amounts. The feed inventory is still good, with about half a ton of feed on hand per cow going forward, plus a PKE contract to fill any gaps and as a backup for what the weather may throw at us. Owing to having this maize and PKE on hand, I opted to sell our grass silage from the maize block. No cost to bring it home and money in the bank from the sale….will this decision come to haunt me later in summer?????

Nothing major or exciting planned from now through to year’s end. The calves are gone and looking good at grazing, the heifers are looking fantastic up there too. The maize should be planted this afternoon if all goes according to plan. We are trying direct drilling this year so still looking for a bit more rain this morning to soften the ground before the planter gets here. The paddocks have been sprayed out for close to a month to try and get rid of the trash and the bugs prior to planting. However, slug bait will be a must as I don’t want these eating my valuable maize…..they can stay in the garden where they belong!

Nice to see a good lift in the auction today. We managed to lower our costs considerably last year, but not all the savings are sustainable so there will be a bit of inevitable catch-up spending this year. I shouted Sam a new seat for the quad the other day, so he doesn’t have to wear his wet weather trousers in fine weather any more. The high pressure pump at the dairy was replaced last week so no more jokes about hosing or peeing! However, with all the extra pressure, Sam needs to remember to brace himself again as he turns the tap on to avoid being flung around like a deflating balloon! We will also need to get a digger in to attack a few springs around the place that have appeared and to tidy up some races. We will stay very cost focused though and try and farm as efficiently as possible going forward, keeping one eye on production and two eyes on costs.


Summer, swimming, Christmas and holidays are all looming. What great time of year! Till next time.


  • Hi Noldy ,great to read things are on the way up .It can be rely tough to have a too wet a Spring .We had unfortunately 2 in a row the last two years here down in Southland ,it seemed never ending the wet and cold .This year the Spring been exceptionally good ,don’t know what has hit us ; wondering when the storms come .I think we are far enough trough now and has given us all a big boost .

    Reading the SMASH blogs has greatly encouraged me and made me get in-touch with Nathan Nelson from Dairy NZ to see weather there would be an opportunity to meet up with smaller herd owners down here .We organized a field day on our farm last week and had 22 farmers turned up .It was very positive and I believe we made a start for more meetings to come .

    Hope your maize is up by now and some regular summer showers to keep everything green and healthy .
    Just like you we look forward to Summer ,swimming Christmas etc

    Thanks once again for sharing ,Kind regards Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your positive comments regarding our blogs. We all share some of the joys and sorrows of farming as we are in this together. I am pleased that we have inspired you to get together with other local farmers to have a fielday. Good on you. All the best for this great time of the year and enjoy all it has to bring.

      Regards, Noldy

  • […] Last month I wrote about the joys of getting to November and being over the big rush on the farm, with calving, mating and cropping being behind us, leading to a much more carefree and relaxed period in the farming calendar. I also wrote of summer coming, and swimming and bbqs looming. Hmmm, as I sit here in my cosy little office I think it’s safe to say that summer is still coming as it seems quite cold again this morning and my feet seem a few degrees above frozen! The new bbq hasn’t been put to the test yet, and the pool has had all the frogs and the dead hedgehogs removed but hasn’t had any white bodies of all shapes and sizes plunging in to date! As to the rush on the farm being over…..well yeah, maybe so, but we seem to replace one rush with another. It always bemuses me that while we are in November things are relaxed and there’s no rush to get too much done because it’s not December yet. Then suddenly, December turns up and “oh my gosh”! All you hear on the radio is Jingle Bells and Snoopy’s Christmas, “only so many more sleeps till Christmas”, and “have you done your Christmas shopping yet?” and suddenly you do the maths and somehow you got it wrong and all that you had planned to do before the big day isn’t gonna fit!! To top it off, every second email you get is from someone wanting something done by yesterday, blog included!! Welcome to December!! […]

  • […] to get over the last three months? Most of us expected, with a little trepidation, that after the bucket-loads of rain that fell over the winter/spring period, we would be in for a rather dry summer……and rightly so. Well, thankfully, that wasn’t the […]

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