Plan will take the pres­sure off in dry times

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY / NGA¯ KO¯RERO TAIWHENUA - By JAMES THOMAS Far­mWise Con­sul­tant

At the time of writ­ing this the coun­try­side is be­gin­ning to dry out ap­pre­cia­bly, though there are some ar­eas still hold­ing on after get­ting some re­cent rain­fall.

This may mean the third dry sum­mer in a row for many ar­eas, and this, com­bined with the poor pay­out, is putting some pres­sure on farm­ers. Ob­vi­ously it is too early in the sum­mer to over-re­act at this stage but plans must be put in place to en­sure that the farm is proac­tive not re­ac­tive.

Be­cause the eco­nomics are not as good as last sea­son it is not worth sup­ple­ment­ing poorer pro­duc­ing cows and keep­ing cull an­i­mals on farm.

Th­ese an­i­mals must be iden­ti­fied through herd test­ing and preg­nancy test­ing. This will then en­able a culling guide to be drawn up and im­ple­mented when con­di­tions dic­tate.

This will also al­low an­i­mals to be booked in ahead of time to the meat works and there­fore avoid­ing any lengthy holdups that can oc­cur.

Con­sider also chang­ing milk­ing fre­quency to ei­ther 16 hour or once a day (OAD) sys­tems. This is best done while the farm still has feed on hand.

Some an­i­mals may also be dried off if need be although con­di­tion score (CS) should not be a lim­it­ing fac­tor on farms at the mo­ment.

Once you have achieved the ‘tidy’ up of the herd then look to do a sum­mer/au­tumn feed bud­get so that the vol­ume of sup­ple­ment re­quired can be as­sessed. Feed­ing level of the cows will also change on a weekly ba­sis if pas­ture al­lo­ca­tion starts to de­plete.

The most im­por­tant thing is to keep the cows milk­ing un­til con- di­tions im­prove. Ev­ery sum­mer has dry spell and maybe we are get­ting this one out of the way early.

The most im­por­tant part of man­ag­ing now is to keep up­dat­ing the fi­nan­cial bud­gets as well as the feed bud­gets so that there will be no sur­prises for the cash­flow side of the business.

At­tend dis­cus­sion groups and field days and most im­por­tantly keep talk­ing to friends, fam­ily and neigh­bours. Don’t think that this is your prob­lem alone.

The ru­ral support line is also avail­able for farm­ers un­der stress.

Things will im­prove. It is a ques­tion of when, not if.

Lastly make sure that you get off the farm as well. Even in times of belt tight­en­ing it is pos­si­ble to go to the movies, a pic­nic or use some of the bike and walk­ing traks through the coun­try­side. So, in sum­mary: Make a plan that is up­dated weekly Con­sider some early culling En­sure that there will be sup­ple­ment avail­able for when the rain does come

Mon­i­tor feed re­serves and cow CS

•Look at chang­ing milk­ing fre­quency Talk to peo­ple Have some time off farm

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