The countdown to Christmas is on!

with Bill Webb
Bill Webb Feed Solutions

The countdown till Christmas is on. Lamb prices are looking good, averaging $9 per kg, which is an all-time high; and bulls are just tipping over $6 per kg so the sheep and beef guys are on a roll. It looks like dairying will produce mid $7 per kgMS – this is indicates a good payout, good news for these industries going into Christmas – and it’s certainly good for the rest of the community and related service industries too.

The mad rush is on to get things done before December 25. For those growing turnips and maize crops it means getting weed spray on before the break and also a side-dressing of nitrogen. Try to do this just before rain or before row cover and weeds get too big. If you do it too late the maize will be covering the weeds and the spray won’t get to them. Any spring-sown pasture should have been sprayed for weeds already, if not, you’ll have weedy pasture.


Farmers should also be topping in front of the cows to cut that seed-flowering head off ryegrass and weeds, This ensures the next round is a good even cut or bite of quality pasture. Plus, this can provide room for eczema spores to get into the material, so try not to leave too much dead matter behind. Farmers need to be mindful that wet and hot humid weather can exaggerate eczema spores if too much dead matter is left behind.

The weather pattern could be leading into a weak El Nino or neutral phase. So we may see increased temperatures and drier and warmer conditions in the east, and it could be slightly windier too. So we might get some hotter days, but we’ll also get some cooler days as well.

We haven’t had a lot of rain in the last month or so. We’ve had showers and bits and pieces but they haven’t amounted to a lot, so things will be slowly drying out. If we get hot scorching days leading up to Christmas, things might soon turn dry….. we need more follow-up rain.

Monitoring crops for white butterfly and weeds is key at this time of year as well. To keep pests out you may need to do a follow-up pesticide or insecticide spray in early January. Pests can certainly do a lot of damage.

Swede crops planted in November-December will need a weed spray at about the same time. You may think not much is happening on the farm – but the weeds don’t stop growing!

Busy roads

If you’re planning on making some hay or silage, book your contractors early, so they can have a  break on the public holidays and know what days they have work on when they return. Here at Bill Webb Feed Solutions, we will close for the stat days but will still be contactable by phone if you require any feed on the working days. We’ll also be making hay by then, so get your orders in early and secure it straight from the paddock. This is the cheapest option as its removes double-handling, eliminating extra loading and delivery arrangements. We also have straw and silage available now too.

Please, everybody to be careful on the roads over the summer season, especially with a lot of harvesting machinery on the roads in the Central North Island. This is their peak season unless we don’t get good amounts of rain in early December.

The team at Bill Webb Feed Solutions would like to wish Coast & Country News readers a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. We hope you all get a well-earned break. We need one!


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