The start of a new season – Brian Frost

BF Canada

Mr. and Mrs. Frostie have returned from their wBF halibutanderings around Hawaii, Alaska and Canada and the children are all still alive and the house is standing, so we are on a win:win!!! We had a wonderful time with great friends, amazing sights and fabulous weather, and came back to use our thermals here! We once again have to say New Zealand is the best place on earth though.

The first day back Frostie went straight out to the farm to catch up with what was happening there while Mrs. Frostie stood in the freezing cold and rain to watch soccer and netball then that night left the houseful of people watching the rugby to pick up the youngest child and get her broken leg attended to – welcome home!

Well, as we start a new season we can only hope the financial challenges of the past season get better. As our farm consultant has said ‘the next 6 months are probably going to be some of the most financially challenging that we have ever experienced! Keeping good focus and a mind for the longer term is such a key at times like this.’

On the farm

We currently have 197 cows on farm – all grazing 0.6 ha/day (120 – 130 day round).

  • 138 milkers are grazing 0.43 ha/day + 7 kg/cow/day of meal + ½ kg/cow/day of molasses + 2 kg DM/cow/day of maize silage.
  • 15 colostrum cows are grazing 0.05 ha/day + meal + maize.
  • 44 springers are grazing 0.1 ha/day + 2-3 kg DM/cow/day of maize silage.

Production to date is 5,429 kg MS compared with 3,967 kg MS at the same time last season. Cow condition is 4.5 – 4.6 for the milkers and 4.7 – 4.8 for the dry cows at the runoff. Causmag is going on the maize for the dry cows and the triple mix for the milkers. Causmag is also being dusted for the dry cows.

The average pasture cover is 2,555 kg DM/ha, an amazing turnaround from the 1,500 – 1,600 kg DM/ha that was around in early/mid May with the undersowing work coming through very strongly now. The pasture cover targets for the next 8 weeks are 2,300 – 2,400 kg DM/ha in late July and around 2,100 kg DM/ha in late August.

The grazing round has extended with the spring cows starting to be dried off. The spring rotation planner is the key to grazing management from the start of calving so we hold to the target grazing areas over the next 3 months.

With all the stock on the farm, grazing no more than:

  • 1/70th of the farm/day on 1st August = 1.06 ha/day in total for all stock.
  • 1/60th of the farm/day on 10th August = 1.23 ha/day.
  • 1/50th of the farm/day on 20th August = 1.48 ha/day.
  • 1/40th of the farm/day on 1st September = 1.85 ha/day.
  • 1/30th of the farm/day on 10th September = 2.47 ha/day.

To reach these goals, we try to keep to the following grazing areas:

  • Springers –hold at 20 m2/cow/day + hay.
  • Milkers – aim at 40 – 45 m2/cow/day until 20th On 20th August, these can lift to 50 m2/cow/day and up again to 55m2/cow/day on 1st September. On 10th September lift up to the 30ish day round.

A load of hay is coming to use for the springers when the maize stops.

The maize silage feeding level dropped from 4 kg DM/cow/day down to 2 kg DM/cow/day last week. With the pasture cover being so good, this will drop out over the next 1 – 2 weeks. This will leave around 100 t DM to have on hand for the milkers from February.

Run off

The run off continues to improve very quickly and is set up very well to grow a lot of spring pasture that will provide some really good silage for the dairy farm. 90 weaned 2015 calves are now getting 7 days/paddock + grass silage. 146 dry cows are getting 3 days/paddock + 3 – 4 kg DM/day of maize silage.

The plan is to graze the new grass and then shut this for silage. Over the next 3 – 4 weeks we will start thinking about other paddocks that can be left to cut for silage also. We will keep following with PhasedN over the whole block in the next 6 weeks.

In general

Over all, the farm is looking a picture with lots of grass and at the moment the sun is shining. We have had large amounts of rain over the last few weeks and the work that the council have done on the drains have so far keep the flood waters off the farm – so long may this last. Most of the heifers have calved and the cows have started calving so the fun of the new season has begun! The holiday is becoming a distant memory.

BF Canada2

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