Spring has finally arrived … along with some more rain, wind and sun! Thankfully the growth has kicked in over the last couple of weeks and we can get the spring burst of pasture we have been hanging out for. Another good lift in the GDT last week was also a nice spring boost!!
On the farm
Currently we have 347 cows on farm all grazing 3 ha/day (25 day round). The average pasture cover is 2,063 kg DM/ha – and rising!!! The pasture cover targets for the next six weeks are 2,300 – 2,400 kg DM/ha in late October and 2,400 – 2,500 kg DM/ha in late November. The grazing round has followed the rotation planner closely since the start of calving, this has been key to getting through quite a difficult winter/early spring period.
The cows are getting 7 kg/cow/day of meal and ½ kg/cow/day of molasses. Production to date is 43,993 kg MS, compared with 41,381 kg MS at the same time last season. Current production is 9.2 – 9.5 kg MS/ha/day and 2 kg MS/cow/day. Cow condition is 4.2 – 4.3.
Even though the payout is down, growing good summer crops is still important to ensure we have good quality feed at a good price through the summer months. We decided to add the effluent pond paddocks to the mix to lift up to 9 paddocks (13ha) to put into turnips this year. We are using 100% Barkant with the aim to get it sown ASAP. We are also going back to the paddocks we did two years ago, as the fescue did not take well that year (because of the Poa annua), so we will try them again!
Again we took a slightly different approach for this season and mated the heifers three weeks earlier (15th September) than the cows. We chose to do a 14-day PG program with the heifers and mated 95% in five days with this. We have now got four bulls with them.
AB for the cows started on 5th October and will go for 6 weeks before the bulls go out. We have chosen to do no intervention for the cows as we will milk through the winter with those that are not in calf.
The fescue planted this year has established well (the contractors did a great job of sowing it) but unfortunately so has the Poa annua! This year we followed a different spraying program to try to eradicate this problem, but it hasn’t worked, so we are going back to the original plan of planting the fescue, clover and chicory together, as this has worked best for us in the past. We have had conflicting advice as to why the Poa annua is such a problem, and also what is the best way to deal with it, so hopefully our decisions will work out – we will keep you posted!
All the calves are weaned and at the run off now, along with 113 yearlings and 4 bulls.
16 ha has been sprayed out in preparation for the maize – 2 paddocks (4 ha) in an early variety, 11 ha in Corson longer maturing seed and 1 ha in Pioneer longer maturing seed (to compare).
There are 6 paddocks currently shut up for silage.
Because this land used to be a bull farm the contour in places is “interesting”, so development is happening at the same time. Fences and troughs have been taken out and some trees are being removed at the moment.
Taking a break
The boat has been to the workshop and is now ready to go – the kids are hanging out for water skiing and Brian is hanging out for fishing, so hopefully in the near future everyone’s wishes will come true (along with another lift in payout to pay for the petrol in the boat!!).