Winning or losing? It’s all in the eye of the beholder – Noldy Rust

There are winners and losers in every situation, we all know that. This thought comes to mind this morning as I sit here and tap away at the keys. I guess it depends on how you define “winning and losing”. Am I winning today because I am sitting in my office and I’m not on milking duty this fresh Sunday morning in autumn? Was I losing yesterday because I was milking? Is Sam winning today as he is on milking duty, or does he wish he was winning this morning by still being tucked up in bed?? As far as I can tell, I think he must be winning as there is no audible admonishment towards cows and dog, but I do hear traces of music wafting through the air, picked up and carried by the slight breeze in the air. All must be well.

However, the big winner that comes to mind this morning is my effluent pumping man who has just turned up to pump our pond out once again. We have a storage pond off the end of our feedpad and get this pumped out by a contractor on a regular basis, whenever it reaches the “full” indicator….No, not when it starts seeping into the paddock, but when it hits the bottom leaf of the strategically planted flax bush on the edge of the pond. In the last few years we haven’t seen Mark, the pumping man, from early January until around May, but this year, oh boy, we’re becoming best buddies! I don’t know how he made any money in the dry summers we experienced over the past few years, but this year, man oh man, he must be rolling in it! The rainfall we have had since January has certainly helped keep Mark’s bank balance in the positive and put a dent in mine! We even set up an automatic payment to pay him! The fact that he’s here pumping early on a Sunday morning is an indicator of how busy he must be! Wonder where his winter holiday will be this year??? I guess I’ll get a postcard from some exotic location from way across the world somewhere, funded partially by me! Unless he invites us along as well of course!!??

NR effluent pumping

Fantastic autumn growth is helping to keep the cows milking. Regular rainfall, albeit too much at times, and warm conditions are such a plus this year, especially when I think back to previous autumns. Unfortunately, a slight negative has been a later maize harvest, but we can’t have it all ways. Our maize is now all stacked and bagged and the new grass should be poking it’s head out any day now. As I speak, it looks like Finch Contracting are also flat out, heading down to my neighbour’s place to harvest his maize at this bright early hour.

NR maize harvest

I attended a SMASH seminar back in November where Emma Cuttance spoke on the topic of facial eczema. We have always used zinc hepta in the water via our Dosatron, starting early January and going right through until May. In times of severe challenge, we also added some oxide to the maize. Now, according to Emma, this method of prevention can be dubious and erroneous at best. I disagreed, saying that we don’t get eczema. Long story short, we agreed that maybe we do get it but see no obvious signs. “Right”, I thought to myself. “I’ll prove her wrong”. Emma spoke of a zinc level needing to be 20 plus in the blood during the course of zinc dosing, so this year I decided to blood test several cows and prove to her that we are protected. I also decided that we would add zinc oxide into the feed every day to further lift the levels. I waited in anticipation for Steph the vet to get my blood test results to me to prove that my levels are ok. To my dismay we only averaged around a level of 14, which is below the “safe” zone! I argued the case with Steph the vet as I reckon she did it all wrong…..But then again how could you get it wrong? As a result, I have to eat humble pie (yuk, I hate that!) and admit that maybe our zinc dosing needs more scrutiny! Unless of course Steph mixed my blood tests up with some other farmer who may not be onto it as much as I am….. yeah, could well be the case! But then to top it off, I had a young cow suddenly dry off and get all skinny for some reason…She got in the drain twice too (through the fence of course) as if she was wanting to cool off. Then she died. Grrr, is this an eczema case from last year that may have got a touch again this year?? I must say, it does look a bit that way. Blast, I had to make the $30 phone call to J D Wallace. I still blame Steph the vet though, she lives in the other house on the farm, the least she could do is keep a close eye on my cows when they’re grazing around her house!!

NR Steph the vet

On a positive note, the season end is looming and all looks to be well set up for next season. Winter grazing is organised, feed budget in place, autumn soil test is about to happen to get an idea of where we may be deficient, and Sam is staying on for another season. By the way, Sam is now engaged and getting married to Alice in October. October?? What?? To make matters worse, the day before mating starts, to be exact. Coincidental I’m sure!! It’s pretty cool though and we’re really happy for them both. I expect him to be of a happy and cheery disposition well into the future as a result!!

Happy autumn, may the sun shine, the grass keep growing and the effluent that is constantly being pumped give some return in the extra feed that it grows!

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