It’s gypsy weekend, another time of chaos and mayhem for farmers moving onto new ventures, either to other farms or moving on to another stage of life outside farming. We are experiencing a taste of this ourselves this weekend as Bernard moves into a new sharemilking venture, oh so exciting and maybe a bit scary as he comes to grips with getting paid on production, farming on a different farm and coming to grips with a new boss!! Mind you, in time I’m sure he’ll get used to getting paid per kg and the new farm……We wish him, Jo and the boys all the best and celebrate 3 fruitful years in a positive working relationship that has resulted in both of us reaching the goals we set when we started back in June 2012.
As a smaller herd farmer, I am absolutely convinced of the value of a smaller farm in providing a stepping stone to aspiring younger farmers as a means of learning gaining experience in ALL facets of running a farm. What a buzz to see someone progress through the industry as many of us have in the past. The experience and wealth of knowledge that Bernard takes with him will no doubt be a huge benefit for the owners of his new farm, I’m sure they will be eternally grateful to me for the indirect value I am adding to their business via Bernard! I must drop some hints when I visit as to my preferred brand of beer or even my favourite restaurant!!
Sam is now the man on the farm, a Massey graduate with several years of “hands on farming” experience up his sleeve. He is also my nephew, so I know his family reasonably well. Sam used to come and stay with us in the holidays whilst he was a kid at school. He always showed promise as an aspiring farmer and got more and more useful the older he got! Now that he is in his 20s, he can prove to me how useful he really is!! I guess I will need to pay him for his services now though, free meals and baking from Aunty Bev and the odd trip to McDonalds and the movies probably won’t cut the mustard anymore!! I look forward to seeing him grow his skillset as he gains experience and adds value to our farming operation.
On farm, things are looking positive. Dried most of the cows off on the 29th of May after going on once a day on the 24th, which was a wet cold Sunday and I was on afternoon milking duty (and Bernard was away). We had passed last year’s production by then, so we were all happy. We still have a few empties and late calvers milking, cell count will determine how long they go for. I feel it’s my duty to give Sam a bit of experience milking in our dairy to get his hand in before the rush of calving!! A bit of milk in June will also provide a wee, tiny, miniscule bit of welcome cash in July!! The cows are in good condition and cover is going to be determined when Sam does his first farm walk. Maintaining condition and cover along with general maintenance should fill the brief winter break along with attending a SMASH conference, and spending 4 days at the fieldays to get a free lunch for all the family. I love those Ballance pies, and the muffins in the FMG tent are always worth a try!!
Enjoy your winter break.