with Bill Webb
Bill Webb Feed Solutions
We have been getting a bit of rain for the last few months now.
From July 1-20 we have had 183mm at the yard in Paengaroa, compared with 45mm last year for the same period.
Up at the farm at Ohauiti, we have had 336mm for the first 20 days of July, compared with 109mm last year.
Soil temperature is ranging from 7.3-13.5 degC but now we are getting warmer rain so we are getting some good grass growth.
Since May 15 we have had 565mm compared with 364mm last year at the yard and 907mm at the farm, compared with 596mm last year.
It is bloody wet and we are getting over 100mm most weeks. If you thought it was wet that’s because it is. At least we are a lot better off than those people further south.
The last few years has been dry but those water tables are well and truly built up now.
By the time you have read this all of our winter grazers will have gone home to their farms. It has been a hard winter for dairy grazers and getting condition on stock. Our efficiency has been pretty low because it has been so wet.
We have only just been able to maintain body weight because they use a lot of energy moving around the paddock when it’s cold and wet.
We have minimised pugging as much as we can by increasing break sizes and putting them on hillside stand-off areas and trying to give them the high ground areas.
It’s a real balancing act and that’s what most farmers are doing. It has certainly been a challenging winter for grazing.
We are still struggling with labour shortages as everyone is competing in the same market for labour – pickers and packers and even the construction industry and ports along with the farming sector.
I’ve spent four months trying to replace one staff member. It’s hard to get good staff and it’s going to be challenging for the next maize season ahead.
Fertiliser and chemical costs are still well up along with fuel and wages.
Foot-and-mouth disease is in Indonesia, including Bali, so people have to be very vigilant. All they have to do is track mud back in on their shoes and we are in big trouble. Australia has just had a scare with some imported pork from China testing positive for foot and mouth which was found in Melbourne. It is more likely to have come from imports than tourists but we all need to be very vigilant.
We are vulnerable so people need to be honest about visiting these places and clean their footwear.
Cows have started calving so farmers are gearing up for that. Continued wet weather will make it hard so people need to take care with their pastures because they take so long to recover after getting pugged.
There could be a feed shortage unless these mild conditions continue. I am still getting inquiries for feed. There is quite a shortage of silage and hay and straw still.
We will be making more by October but that is still a long way off.
We certainly don’t want the hot temperatures they have been getting in Europe. People just need to be mindful of what can happen and have a bit up their sleeve in case. If you don’t use it now, you will use it later and the cheapest option is to buy it out of the paddock on the day it is harvested.
You don’t want to be worrying about how to feed your cows and I’m going to be decreasing my stock numbers just in case.
We tend to follow Europe’s weather pattern and the forecasters are now saying we could be in for another hot and dry summer so be warned! It could very well happen. There are weather extremes happening all around the world.
It almost seems like there are only two seasons a year now – a wet season and a dry season.
People just need to be organised and plan ahead. If you get it ordered early it is money in the bank. In my opinion peace of mind is undervalued.