We look to be back to decent weather this week after the series of storms that hit the country put everything under a bit more pressure.
We were grazing dry ground with the cows for most of it, so we got away with just 24 hours on cubicles to avoid the worst of the conditions and to get through the week with minimal damage.
We had a choice with the maiden heifers of whether to re-house them and risk respiratory issues or take a bit of pain for a few days, so a small section of a paddock that was due to be re-seeded will need less cultivation when the time comes, but the heifers are still out, healthy and in good condition with no disruption to their routine as they progress towards breeding in April.
Calving continues very well, with a big burst of calves brought on by the storm reducing numbers in the dry cow shed to double figures and pushing us quickly over 80% calved.
The last of the cows will switch to predominantly beef calves next week
The number of heifers to calve is reducing very quickly this week as we see the progeny from the Aubrac beef bulls start to appear. Most are still calving on their own or with very little assistance with some very nice quality calves coming from these bulls.
The last of the cows will switch to predominantly beef calves next week, with some Aubrac, Speckle Park and Angus calves due all the way through March.
Hopefully the strong demand for these calves holds through the rest of the Spring and we can get them moved quickly off farm when they are ready.
Demand for good-quality beef calves has been strong this year
We sold some Friesian heifer calves this week and will sell a few more next week, as we tidy up numbers for the coming season.
With labour at a premium, a fairly full herd of cows milking, grass to manage and cows still calving, we will try to minimise the number of surplus stock in the yard over the next few months.
Also with milk replacer, feed and fertiliser costs where they are this year, there is just no room for excess of any kind of stock on farm.
Demand for good-quality beef calves has been strong this year and if we continue to use AI and the Dairy Beef Index over the next few years to produce the type of calf that beef farmers locally can work with, hopefully that demand remains and calves should continue to move out of the yard quickly when old enough.
Storm related delays
Our fertiliser plans were disrupted by weather last week so the bags are still sitting in the yard waiting for a few dry and calm days.
Maybe this is just as well considering how much water has passed through soil in the last week. We should get it spread this weekend, with 20 units planned still for this first round.
We will get back to slurry again if conditions allow next week and try to cover all of the grazed paddocks to assist the bag fertiliser and keep re-growths strong.
It’s a little bit like a good sportsperson in that you really only see how good they are when the pressure comes on
The first application of slurry in late January has delivered great returns on the early grazed paddocks with re-growth there as strong as some of the paddocks still to graze that have been growing since November.
The modern ryegrass plant has that wonderful characteristic of responding very well to grazing pressure in the spring by activating itself to grow even stronger. It’s a little bit like a good sportsperson in that you really only see how good they are when the pressure comes on in the last quarter and the game is coming right down to the wire.