Usually I get a gentle reminder one week, followed by a more persuasive reminder, then eventually a pretty blunt email!! What I am referring to is the pains that our esteemed SMASH secretary Louise has to go to in order to extract a monthly blog from me! It’s so easy to get caught up in the “I’m too busy” frame of mind as an excuse for not getting things done. However, being a new year and all, I am trying to be more organised and focused to stay on top of things and run to schedule on as many matters as I can.
Today’s the day that I have seized the opportunity to put pen to paper, or should I say index fingers to keyboard and write a few thoughts. All is quiet here, wife and daughter at work and young Hayze nowhere to be seen. I suspect he’s thinking that I believe him to be sleeping, it is only 9.00 AM, but in truth I imagine he has his Ipad under the covers and is engrossed in a game of ninja something or the like…. If I finish my blog and he still remains unseen, I will need to do the old stealthy creep up the hall and burst into his room similar to how the FBI do it on “Criminal Minds”!
Another hot day is on the cards, as has been the case for many weeks now. This El Nino summer is shaping up to be a summer to remember. I think it’s fair to say that in most areas, like here, there was good rainfall throughout January at least. Most of the rain was in heat shower form, some in large amounts falling in a very short time. Everyone I come across has had more rain than they anticipated, and many have had their good fortune carry on into February. We have had lesser amounts this month, but still have some feed ahead of us, even though this heat is sucking out any remaining soil moisture and post-grazed paddocks are starting to look similar to sprayed out paddocks that are prepared for cropping. However, I’m sure we all agree now that it’s mid-February a bit of a dry spell is acceptable, providing we get autumn rains sometime in March.
We still have maize on hand to feed for another week or two, then it’s into grass silage. We did give strip grazing our maize a go for a few days last week. The results weren’t surprising, given the size of the crop!! We pulled the pin before a week was over. The wastage was too high, even though we manged to mow it ok. If we had forced the cows to eat it, production would have suffered. The plants were very tall and physically demanding for the cows to eat. I liken it to me eating Bev’s yummy stewed rhubarb on my Weetbix every morning, then one day suddenly having to chew on some uncooked rhubarb stalks……Fortunately we can exercise plan B and leave the maize to mature for another month or so, and then harvest it as silage. Oh how sweet that will be, the cows will love me forever for chopping it up for them once again! I’m sure they will respond as only cows can…milk in the vat and cr…p in the dairy!! This maize will be so tasty I may even try some on MY Weetbix!
These tightish times are lingering a bit longer than we all hoped. Fortunately this recent growth has helped us all keep our feed costs down. This goes a long way in helping us to keep a positive attitude. We are now in a position of having more feed on hand to date than we have had for the last three years. Depending what happens going forward, we will endeavour to carry as much feed into next season and use that feed to keep out costs down with maybe less wintering off or the likes of milking into June.
Our regrassing will consist of the maize paddocks going back into permanent high endophyte cultivars and next year’s maize paddocks being under sown with a high growing annual to give us a bit more feed through the winter. These paddocks had Shogun planted in them 3 years ago and whilst that did a fantastic job, it has now thinned out a bit. We may look ahead and undersow poorer paddocks with Shogun in anticipation of planting maize in them in 2 or 3 years.
We haven’t done a PD test yet and don’t intend to in the near future. As long as we have feed on hand we will keep milking most of our cows in the foreseeable future. At this lower payout we will look hard at any obvious empties or other culls that may be old, lame, blind, two titters etc, and get rid of them while the schedule is still reasonable.
Zinc has been in the water for 6 weeks now and the youngstock have had their first bolus. Whilst this is a costly exercise, it sure beats having stock with eczema!
Speaking of youngstock, I need to sign off, as an hour has passed and still no sign of Hayze! I need to mentally prepare myself to get into “Agent Noldy” mode and go bursting into his room. I guess sleeping late has its advantages though…. We save on a meal as he can have lunch when he gets up!! So, with that cost saving tip of the month, I will sign off, wreak some havoc in Hayze’s room, then go get my cows out of the sunshine and into the shady standoff paddock. Then it may even be time for my first swim of the day!!
Happy farming! Noldy