The season ended early for me with drying off on the 26th April. The dry summer/autumn encouraged this decision, and I feel it was the right one, with covers now over 2500 two thirds of the way through May.
For the record, final figures were 28,759 kg solids, 368 kg per cow, and 1027 kg per hectare. Although well down on last season, I feel profitability will be similar, or better, because I managed to cut right back on PKE input. The girls are looking good and I am already looking forward to calving and the prospect of all season OAD.
Travel was in our plans once again. This time to Tasmania for 6 days for a Lincoln Dip. Ag. 1975 reunion and tour. We started in Hobart and the highlight there was a visit to Lark distillery where we were taken through the process of whiskey making. We tasted the product as it went through its various phases. One interesting aspect was that all the employees were under 30 years, except for the main whiskey maker and he was only in his early 30s! The product was good and sort of put us in a good mood for the rest of the trip!
We were lucky that one of our number is a farm adviser in Tassie, so as we travelled he discussed the methods of farming, the soil and climate to give us a close understanding of conditions.
We visited a 60,000 acres sheep and beef farm, well run with a run-off in the highlands. The highlands are cold and stony and are used in the summer when there is more rainfall at elevation and no snow. The east side of the highlands, which is dry, hard country, is in marked contrast to the west, which had lush bush, and as we went down into the valleys, we saw plenty of good-looking land supporting dairy farms.
We next stayed at Devonport, which is the ferry terminal to cross the Bass Strait to Melbourne, a 12-hour trip. We visited an opium poppy farm and were intrigued by the security and the uniqueness of the crop. The opium is retrieved from the shell of the flower capsule, so it takes a lot of flowers to make up a kilo! The poppy seed is sold for our buns and for bird seed.
Trowunna wildlife sanctuary was a chance to be close to and pat a Tasmanian devil and a wombat, and we learnt about their life cycle and survival. We viewed echidna and ran out of time to walk through a snake enclosure, such a pity ( not! ).
The next visit was to the only salmon farm attached to land, in the Tamar river, which has huge tidal flows to maintain the health of the fish.
Back to Hobart for the final day, and just enough time to visit the Salamanca market, which is very big. The day was heating up and by the time we boarded the plane it was 40 degrees and a very hot wind. I could then see why irrigating during the day would be an exercise in futility!
As you can see, with all my travels not much milking was done by me, but my relief milker was doing well. To put myself out of contention for the rest of the season I then had a full knee replacement, from which I am still recovering.
Since then I have given another talk for SMASH at Awakeri, and finally spent some time on the farm.
Other things have been happening, but I will save that for the next instalment.
Roll on the Fieldays!