A two week family holiday in early April certainly had its merits for us this year. Great times, building memories as a family and visiting some well-known places in the western United States.
However, the thrill of coming home to green grass and lifting covers certainly added a buzz to what is normally a bit of a flat feeling after a fantastic time away. Patchy rain in early March gave way to more consistent falls as the month wore on and I think we can safely say that we have a more “normal” autumn this year, with grass cover up and cows not having to solely rely on supplements to survive.
Bernard has done a fantastic job of getting covers up by using two sacrifice stand-off paddocks during the day and only giving the cows a small area of grass at night. This was only possible because of the sufficient amount of grass silage, maize and PKE we had available to feed. We are on a 70 day round at present, with the cows now getting fresh grass morning and night. Cover as of mid-April is just shy of 2000kg/ha, a first for three years.
The two stand-off paddocks have now been sown with an annual grass for the winter months, before they go into maize next November. This year’s maize paddocks were roller drilled on the 20th of March with Trojan and One 50 and are growing at a fantastic rate, which is so good to see. However, there are quite a few weeds coming up in these paddocks, so there will be a need for a spray prior to the first grazing by the looks.
I must say that it’s a good feed position to be in for a change as we head towards winter. Cow condition is where we need it to be, just a handful that look a bit light on once a day and may need drying off in early May. Looking forward to the month ahead, we will have heifers coming home for three weeks before they move onto the maize block for wintering for 6 weeks. The little holiday break that they will be getting here, en route to greener pastures, will be an ideal time for them to get used to coming to the feedpad every day, followed by a walk through the dairy on their way back to their paddock.
It will also give us a chance to teat seal them prior to them going off again. Our vets have been booked to come and do this happy task alongside Bernard. Seems to happen every year, but I have a meeting on again that day…
Bernard has been busy getting organised for his new sharemilking position, starting June the 1st. Cows to buy, plus machinery, tools, reels and standards, the list goes on. He knows that he can’t leave until we pass last year’s production, so he is busy calculating what day dry off may be. Looks like June the 1st could be quite a busy day at this stage…..!!!
Dairy prices are still very suppressed and the future is looking reasonably tough in the interim. However, I found beef prices are high when I culled two fat carryovers the other day. Far out, I’ve never sold any culls for a four figure sum before!! With this recent lovely rain and growth we are experiencing, it would be nice to think that we can farm efficiently and cheaply by utilising grass grown and trust that the winter ahead will stay nice and mild, as predicted by the owners of Hermann the tortoise. According to Hermann’s owners, Hermann has hibernated a few days later than usual, which is a sign that winter will be milder than average. (Waikato Times, Saturday April 19th). Let’s hope Hermann’s right, otherwise there may be a bounty on his head!!