The big wet that seemed to go on relentlessly through the end of September right until mid-October certainly seemed worse than ever before. Contractors couldn’t get silage off; groundwork in preparation for cropping was extremely difficult, if not impossible, in most cases; and feed utilisation on farm was a real challenge. However, a few weeks down the track the sound of rain on the roof doesn’t make me cringe as it did earlier, quite the opposite in fact!! A bit of rain would be nice to soften the surface as the ground has gone rock hard on top in most places, and walking across a paddock is similar to walking across a dry, rocky riverbed, being ever so careful not to break an ankle!
Yay for November, it’s so good to get the busyness of spring largely behind us. AI is now into its fourth week, meaning the non-cyclers that we ran separately for three weeks are now together in the herd again and the bulls are having a well-earned break. It also means that our technician has less cows to inseminate on a daily basis and his 7.25 arrival time is creeping forward to closer to 7.15 every morning. Keeps Sam on his toes anyway, nothing like a strict timetable to stay disciplined! Most farmers I have talked to have said mating is going ok, which is a relief after a tough spring. We achieved our 90% submission target in three weeks after just running the non-cyclers with bulls for three weeks and using plenty of tailpaint. We have a vet flatting with our daughter in our other house and she was watching with interest to see how many in this mob were coming on heat as they grazed the paddocks around her house. As we got nearer to the three weeks being up, we took the liberty of applying some orange tailpaint to most of the cows, even if they hadn’t cycled, just to convince her that our strategy was working…..didn’t want to have to listen to “I told ya so” from her!!
Growth rates are in the 60s to 70s now, after an ammo application over the whole farm. Covers are lifting, so spraying out the maize paddocks has helped keep the pressure on the rest of the farm. Sam is mowing in front of the cows. We figured it’s a small cost and we have a lot to gain by keeping those residuals spot on. Nitrogen will be applied at 25-30 kg N/ha to help boost the regrowth.
We closed the maize pit down yesterday as we are only feeding a small amount and the big face of the stack meant we couldn’t get across it fast enough to avoid mould growing. We will open up the bagged maize now as this has a much smaller face and is ideal when only feeding small amounts. The feed inventory is still good, with about half a ton of feed on hand per cow going forward, plus a PKE contract to fill any gaps and as a backup for what the weather may throw at us. Owing to having this maize and PKE on hand, I opted to sell our grass silage from the maize block. No cost to bring it home and money in the bank from the sale….will this decision come to haunt me later in summer?????
Nothing major or exciting planned from now through to year’s end. The calves are gone and looking good at grazing, the heifers are looking fantastic up there too. The maize should be planted this afternoon if all goes according to plan. We are trying direct drilling this year so still looking for a bit more rain this morning to soften the ground before the planter gets here. The paddocks have been sprayed out for close to a month to try and get rid of the trash and the bugs prior to planting. However, slug bait will be a must as I don’t want these eating my valuable maize…..they can stay in the garden where they belong!
Nice to see a good lift in the auction today. We managed to lower our costs considerably last year, but not all the savings are sustainable so there will be a bit of inevitable catch-up spending this year. I shouted Sam a new seat for the quad the other day, so he doesn’t have to wear his wet weather trousers in fine weather any more. The high pressure pump at the dairy was replaced last week so no more jokes about hosing or peeing! However, with all the extra pressure, Sam needs to remember to brace himself again as he turns the tap on to avoid being flung around like a deflating balloon! We will also need to get a digger in to attack a few springs around the place that have appeared and to tidy up some races. We will stay very cost focused though and try and farm as efficiently as possible going forward, keeping one eye on production and two eyes on costs.
Summer, swimming, Christmas and holidays are all looming. What great time of year! Till next time.