The winter is closing in fast this week, with more heavy rain in the forecast for most days and ground conditions getting tougher with each downpour.
We have the in-calf heifers in the shed for the last week, and the weanling heifers are spread out as much as possible, but they are still very unsettled.
These younger girls look to be thriving reasonably well still and are in good condition. They are just in bad humour and grumbling most days when being checked, and just getting tired of the wet grass and wet ground.
If they start walking too much this week, we might have to house them as well.
We will feed the in-calf heifers 1kg of meal every day for the next few weeks and hopefully they will stay on target. We are used to them spending a few more weeks out grazing, so we will just hedge our bets a little bit to make sure they don’t have to go back inside for a few more weeks.
The cows will move to drier paddocks this week to try to keep them out of the shed for another while.
We have plenty of grass on the farm, and there’s no need to supplement with silage for the moment as long as they can keep their heads above water.
Hopefully, we will get through this week and maybe get a dry week or two at some stage before the end of the year.
Lack of positivity
It’s a stressful time on farm, with input prices where they are.
With the weather making everything a struggle and with milk price under pressure, there’s not a whole lot of positivity out there this year, and while those cycles will hopefully turn, the pressure from derogation changes and media criticism seem to be here to stay.
With the weather making everything a struggle and with milk price under pressure, there’s not a whole lot of positivity out there this year
Hopefully, the milk purchasers can show a bit of solidarity this month, and hold milk prices where they are and support their milk suppliers as commodity markets start to turn into a more positive direction.
We could do with a lift to encourage the younger generation of dairy farmers, in particular, that they have made the right decision in staying home to farm.
We could be at a crossroads over the next few years in terms of encouraging the next generation of farmers to take up the baton and keep milk flowing into our co-ops.
Farmers are a resilient bunch, and they’re prepared to work hard and take a bit of hardship, but if there isn’t a return from this effort, there are plenty of other options for young people with a good education and work ethic.
We have been jumping over hurdles on sustainability and environmental measures for over 10 years now, and were promised a return for our efforts and a premium for our clean, green image down the road.
If these plans are ever going to deliver that premium, the time is now. We can’t keep increasing our standards and accept the same price.
We can’t keep increasing our standards and accept the same price
There is inflation in every other product and service in our economy, except the most vital products of all: the food that we need to eat to survive. Farmers need to get a lot more positive signals from our Government, our media and our co-ops, in particular.
We produce the food and are custodians of the land, but we can’t be expected to do it on a voluntary basis.
Productive, profitable farmers sometimes look down their noses at part-time or hobby farmers, but unless the signals improve, we will have a lot more of the latter in the future.