What a season! – Matthew Zonderop

Woow, what a season it has been.  Rain, wind, sunshine, and for once we aren’t being driven back indoors due to the heat.

The spring was a precursor to what I believe had to be the wettest start to the summer in a decade. Our own records show that this was the case, by the 2nd of April we have had  a whopping 533 mm.

During January we managed to get off farm for two weeks to bask in the sun and the glorious surrounds of Coromandel, but this was one hell of a month for the North Island, Auckland Anniversary weekend brought the first rain of what was to be the second wettest January on record for us..by a mere 3 mm – 255mm was our total.

Many were plagued by foot issues and broken down races, including ourselves. By pure luck a second-hand Veehof cattle crush came on the market and I scooped it up. Some WD40 and new ropes and we were in business. What a time saver that was! Under 5 minutes per cow – hooves cleaned, treated, and blocked with a new pair of Jimmy Choo’s.

Speaking of time saving, a while back I had ordered a Giltrap silage wagon with scales. This has also saved us an incredible amount of time and feed. Previously, running two herds and a tractor with loader scales took up to two hours per day (depending on location) feeding the ensiled feed we have here on farm. Loading up for each herd and ensuring they received the required amount was taking up a large part of the morning for us. With the new wagon we are able to load up once and with the onboard scales on the wagon we can feed out accurately and quickly. This has saved us almost ten hours a week.

And so, here we are at the tail-end of the season, with PSC the 12th July the “Juniors” have been dried off. The factors used to determine dry off were: BCS, calving date, and litres based on the last herd test. They were transitioned with some good hay, and we reduced their grass down to maintenance levels and topped up with some maize silage.

All of our regrassing has been completed, just in the nick of time, and we are now onto our autumn fert plan to help us set up for another season and before some rowdy ‘Teenagers’ arrive home. They will eat you out of house and home if you aren’t careful, so some much needed fence repairs and specially selected paddocks are ready to be grazed on their return.

Next on the list is some much needed R’n’R for US ALL. No two seasons are alike so it’s time to sit down, work out what worked, and what didn’t, and why, and gear up for next season – it’s only just around the corner.

Leave a reply