Rain, rain go away!! – Brian Frost

We have had a few nice days, where the paddocks tried to dry out and the grass to grow. Unfortunately, more rain has come and we have flooded again, but hopefully there will be a few more sunshine days coming to keep our spirits up and the world looking good.

We are now reaching the end of winter sports too, so only a few more games of standing in the rain (or sunshine) watching soccer or lacrosse – until next year :).

Frostie is still hobbling around with a sore knee, and at times a sore hip, but is coping well now that he has a brace for the knee.

Things have been busy, with cows coming and going from the runoff, and now that all the cows are back on the milking platform things are starting to ramp up again with the heifers’ insemination program. Bridget’s Dad has been a great help, being the extra person to help sorting the cows to go back to the farm and now with the heifers.

BR bobby loadingGrant, our manager, was also able to host a school through the DairyNZ ‘find a farmer’ program a few months ago. It was rather nerve-wracking before the school arrived, but he did an amazing job and the children had a wonderful time. He even said he would do it again, so it must have been ok.

With the new regulations for bobby calf pens coming in we had many a discussion about how to attack this, and where it should go, or how we might adapt what we already use. We decided that we would dig out next to the calf shed to be at the right height for the truck instead of building something new – works like a dream and the trucking company loves it!

On the farm

Our production to date is 18,516 kg MS, compared with 17,930 kg MS at the same time last year, with current production 4.8 – 5.2 kg MS/ha/day and 1.4 kg MS/cow/day. Some of the winter milkers were really dropping off their milk, so the empty, low producers have been culled and the in-calf ones will be kept milking for the next 6 – 8 weeks, then dried off and taken to the runoff if they haven’t improved. Cow condition is 5+ for the dry cows and 4.4 – 4.5 for the milkers.

Feed

There are currently 346 cows on farm – all grazing 1.3 ha/day (50 – 55 day round). 265 milkers are grazing 1 ha/day, plus 5 – 6 kg meal, ½ – 1 kg molasses, 5 – 5.5 kg DM maize silage and 2 kg PKE per cow. 19 colostrum cows are grazing 0.1 ha/day plus meal and molasses. 62 springing cows are grazing 0.2 ha/day, plus ¼ bale of silage and some maize.

The average pasture cover is 2,000 – 2,100 kg DM/ha,with pasture cover targets of 2,200 – 2,300 kg DM/ha in late September and 2,400 – 2,500 kg DM/ha in late October. Holding to the rotation plan over the last six weeks has not been easy as the weather has continued to throw up some real challenges, but sticking to this as much as possible has set us up for a decent spring – as long as we get some sun!!!

The regrassing after the flooding is up and looking good – hopefully this will bounce back after this latest dumping.

Mating

Winter mating

Started on 25th May and finished on 6th July and the pregnancy test showed 72% in calf after 6 weeks of mating.

Spring mating

The heifers’ early calving has worked well and so we have done this again with mating started around 25th August. The first PG was done on 16th August and the second on 30th August. AB was for 7 days from 30th August – 5th September and will be done again from 18 – 23rd September.

The cows’ mating will start around 25th October with the aim to calve on 1st August next year.

Runoff

Thirty-three dry heifers (27 in-calf ones) plus 117 calves are grazing 1 paddock/day.

Cropping

The aim is to put 16 ha into maize this year, with the aim to sell 2 – 5 ha at harvest time.

New grass

Two of the worst chicory / annual paddocks will be sprayed out and sown into a Shogun or Bealey (22 – 25 kg/ha), chicory (3 kg/ha) and clover (4 kg/ha) mix.

BR heifers

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