Swings and roundabouts – John van der Goes

Once again it’s time to reflect on the month gone by.  Looking back I wonder where the time has gone and what did I do with it? The list of jobs to be done is certainly no shorter and the things that I wanted to do haven’t been done either.

Still, it was the festive season and I needed to get set for the New Year. I have made a few changes to this year’s summer plan. Firstly, we had a bit of extra grass so I thought with the dry summer predicted I would try a longer round using the extra grass to stretch it out. Unfortunately, by the time I made the decision the grass growth had dried up and soon after changing to a 34 day round from 27 we started to run into a bit of a hole. With the hot weather we were having at the time the cows suggested it was time for once a day (they didn’t want to go to the shed, let alone get in the shed), so we agreed and put them on once a day a few days early. Not at all what you are supposed to do, so we have lost a little more production than normal. But still, with sending culls already and the use of some silage bales, we have made it through. The upside is the two lots of rain we had last week and this week which should set us up for January.

JVG cows Jan16

I have just been through the exercise of working out whether to feed the fodder beet early or not and found that if I leave it till its due date we will grow a lot more than the grass we will save. The fodder beet last year in the dry still grew 5 tonne of dry matter per ha per month. So I’ve decided to carry on feeding bales of silage as we need. I have put in an order for more, should we need them, as the silage was also earmarked to be fed with the fodder beet.

This week we had the first herd scan to see how our AB mating went. The results were very pleasing. Out of 157 cows we have 35 cows that need rechecking and a lot of those are in calf but too soon to age. So all-in-all mating seems to have gone well. We did find some of the recorded matings hadn’t come through, which I have put down to technology, as this is the first year I have used the smart phone app to record them. Not operator fault of course.

In the lead up to Christmas it seemed that nothing could go right. For a start the weather wasn’t playing ball so the grass growth that we usually can rely on didn’t happen. Then I drove our car home one night and went to go out the next day and it wouldn’t start. Took it into the mechanics only to find that, after a number of attempts, they couldn’t get the oil pump to work. The oil pump is buried deep in the motor somewhere and a new pump probably would cost more than the car was worth. I decided it would be better to replace it. So now we have a new car and the old one sitting out on the lawn waiting for me to place it on Trade Me so we can get rid of it.

JVG cars

The new car, nice as it may be, has different roof rails to the old one which of course has meant that the roof rack I had for my kayak doesn’t fit. I thought, “No problem I will get new legs to attach it to the new car”. But no, I need a complete new rack as the old one doesn’t have legs which will fit the new car. So now I have two roof racks to put on Trade Me as I still had another rack in the shed as well. What this means is that my kayak is still sitting in the shed roof catching dust instead of me sitting on it trying to catch fish.

JVG kayak

As per usual the hay came just before Christmas and I hadn’t cleaned out the barns. So the same old rush to get things ready before the first truck pulls in. Nice feeling to have winter feed put away though.

JVG hay Jan16

A few days after the hay came I went to use the tractor to clean out the calf shed and felt strange vibrations coming from the engine. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining things or not. Left it for a while but still could feel them. I decided not to use the tractor till after the New Year and call in the mechanic. He told me I was REALLY lucky as with another day of use the shaft between the motor and transmission would have broken and smashed up the transmission. I think I have used up all my luck for this year so don’t need to buy Lotto tickets.

Well that’s all from me, I hope you all had a good Christmas and the New Year goes well. Long may the rain keep coming!


1 Comment

  • Hallo John ,thank you once again for the up-date on your farm .As farmers we are exposed to many things and it seems at times that things at the wrong time brake down or go different then we had hoped . It is very good to read that you had some rain and that mating has gone well ,you are halve way through the season and i hope you will be able to finish well .Having the fodder beet up your sleeve will get you through a long way .
    I also hope that you find the time to get on your bike or do some fishing

    Greetings to you from down South, Invercargill ,Mark


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