Once a day decision – John van der Goes

Once again it’s time to reflect on what’s happened in the last couple of months. Age must be catching up with me as time seems to go by so quickly it becomes hard to think back on what has happened.

While we were down south we took the opportunity to bike the Roxborough trail. A nice way to see some different country. Unfortunately, they had just had a big rain storm through (60 mm/hr in town, 170 mm in the land surrounding) so we weren’t sure if it would be open. Most of the trail is on the other side of the river and escaped the rain. It was an interesting ride. The gorge was great, but it was hot (at least 35 degrees) and it seemed like we were biking in a oven with the reflected heat off the rocks.

JVG Roxborough combined Dec17.jpg

We came home to a dry, and getting drier, farm. A quick look around confirmed what I had thought while we were away and the cows went on once a day on the 11th December. We had a reasonable amount of feed but could see that in 10 days – two weeks it would run out. Making the change then would impact a lot more on production. With the continued dry we lost the extra production we had made up and are now 3% down on last year. The dry weather also meant that only a couple of paddocks had a second cut of silage, so a bit less silage for the summer. For a while it looked like the fodder beet yield might be severely impacted. I decided to feed silage and extra meal to let the fodder beet grow more. Fortunately rain after Christmas and in the new year have meant it has grown a lot more. Its yield is about 20 t/ha (down from 29 t/ha previous years). However, more rain over recent weeks means it has improved markedly and should continue to keep growing as long as there is enough moisture. It looks like I made the right call for once. With the grass growing well I have pulled most of the meal and silage out and the cows are going well on grass and fodder beet.

JVG fodder beet Dec17 resize.jpg

This year I thought it was time to declare war on our weeds. I’m hoping that this will improve the pasture available to our cows. I have started by attacking the Californian thistles. I’m spraying them with a boom on our side-by-side so I only have to spray the patches.

JVG Californian thistle Dec17 resize.jpg

Early in the new year we had our first herd preg test – 75% in-calf rate, so down slightly on normal but quite pleasing. The vet could see a foetus in quite a few of the cows that were scanned without a pregnancy, but it was too early to age.

We have managed to get some more of the bathroom done but need to push on as we are hoping to sand the floor by the end of February. Will have to get a wriggle on.

JVG bathroom Dec17 resize.jpg

Still the jobs keep piling up and the want-to-does get left for later. Same old story. Hopefully some of the biking and fishing will eventuate – dreams are free.

Hope you are all well and the rain gods have been kind.

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