with Bill Webb
Bill Webb Feed Solutions
Quite a few of the farmers I've spoken to say production is up as much as 40 per cent for March because we've had the extra rainfall in La Nina.
From January 1 to near the end of April, we had had 134ml of rain and this year we had 343ml – a difference of 209ml. So farmers are have had a good March and April.
The ones who have silage and other supplementary feed will be able to milk right through to June because they’ve got quite a bit of grass ahead of them that’s growing well. They’ll be able to get good condition on the cows which is always a good thing.
With that, as well as the good pay out, it seems the stars have – finally – aligned.
Getting a good advance next season will be certainly beneficial for confidence in the industry going forward.
The La Nina phase we are in is predicted to swing back into a neutral phase, which means winter should be reasonably mild – but of course there are no guarantees.
In discussions about environmental issues, palm kernel keeps cropping up.
It is hard on the environment and on the countries that supply it. And yet, in New Zealand we are selling milk and produce that uses palm kernel under our clean green image, which is a bit of a contradiction.
That’s my comment, from a business who doesn’t want to sell it – but I can see why farmers want a bargain on cheaper feed that offers results.
We will no longer be able to grow maize in the Rotorua/ lakes area, as part of new water regulations that have been introduced.
You can apply for consent, however we were not approved due to the nitrogen fertiliser used on the crop, which they don’t want polluting their catchments.
It’s a sign of the times, so farmers need to make sure they are up to date with the changes, and try to keep ahead of them.
Winter crops are also a touchy subject at the moment. Have standoff areas set up ready to go where the cows can get off in the wet to avoid pugging, damage and sediment ending up in the waterways. It’s not just about the damage to the farm, it’s about animal welfare, too.
Care for the pasture
Moisture and humidity is good for growing grass, but it’s also good for growing bugs and critters like army caterpillars, too, so it pays to keep an eye on them.
Keep touching up on the nitrogen on your new grass after each grazing because until clovers are established, natural nitrogen isn’t being produced. Keep on top of the weeds, too – it’s all about taking care of your investment. It will pay dividends down the track.
We have good quality milking silage available, and hay and straw in the shed.