Not cows… – John van der Goes

I’ve now started my final season of milking cows. I thought that maybe I would be struggling with motivation saying, “I don’t need to worry because this is the last time.” But it doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment.

Things are still full on at the moment – getting ready for a new milking season. This winter I said I wouldn’t think about taking it easy for a bit because usually I found the spring would be here before I could get started. So we pushed on, trying to get as much done as possible.

The bathroom is finally finished and looking good. It only took a little over a year, but a nice feeling to cross something off the list.

JVG bathroom Jun18

A bit of excitement on our road the other night as a mini tornado came through the farm next door on its way into town. It knocked down some trees across the road and broke four power poles, also breaking a pole on another neighbour’s farm. This meant no power for 12 hours while the mess was cleaned up and poles replaced. Not so good for the three farms that winter milk on our road as this all happened at three o’clock in the afternoon. At the time I was inside completing the nitrogen pages for Fonterra. It sounded like someone was driving a truck up into our house. I looked outside and saw leaves way up in the air and thought this was strange. Then heard a crash as the trees came down, and waited for a big gust of wind to hit the house. This didn’t happen. I looked across the road and saw a row of trees getting knocked around, then a swirl of debris above the tops of the trees, and realised it was a tornado. Unfortunately, I had one page of the report to finish which had to wait till the next day because there was no internet.

I have been focused on getting the deer on our runoff sorted this last couple of weeks. Usually the fawns are weaned near the first of May but this year we didn’t wean till the 20th because of the wet weather. Part of weaning is sending the leased stag home, and with it being so wet I couldn’t get the truck in, let alone out. In the end I decided to wean anyway and shift him later. The fawns have done really well this year and are not far away from being as big as the hinds. This year I decided to farm them on (normally I would sell them all soon after weaning) as most of our deer are getting quite old and I want to start replacing them with hind fawns. I thought I might operate a bit like the dairy herd, preg test the hinds and sell off all the empties. A new experience for both me and the vet. This seemed to work quite well and gives me plenty of scope to cull and bring in the 10 hind fawns for next year.

During May a friend of ours was knocking down a building to make way for a new expansion for his firm. I said I would take some broken concrete to put in on some bends of the stream that runs through our place, to stop the banks being eaten away during high flow events. We got two truck and trailer loads while everything was sopping wet. Had to tip trailers on the tanker track and truck outside the calf barn – the only places we could get to that were kind of out of the way. As soon as it dried a little I started cutting off and removing any reinforcing and carting concrete down to the stream, a bucket load at a time, with the tractor. Have done the worst one, the others will have to wait for a digger.

JVG concrete stream Jun18

Another job that’s been on the list for a while is dealing with the silage wrap. I bought a bin for it a few years ago but was unhappy with how much I could squeeze in. So have come up with a system of putting folded wrap between two pallets with a big concrete block on top. This squashes them flat. Once they are flat they go into the bin and I have another concrete block that just fits inside to squash them in the bin. Seems to be working quite well at this stage. Better than the previous systems I have tried. Means more wrap in each bin full so less cost of disposal.

JVG silage wrap

I had photos of all the things I wanted to write about on my phone. I use this as a tool to remind me of things to write about. I went to start this the other day only to find somehow the photo gallery had been wiped clean. So I have had to run around taking them all again.

On farm all is well, been a kind autumn, cows look well and in good nick, grass cover almost too good, and now things have dried out all’s good till it rains again.