Focus now goes on biosecurity on the farm
As we head rapidly towards the end of the season it is time to take stock of the farm situation and take time to reflect on the season just finished and the new one about to start.
For those of you moving to new farms it is also time to establish if the contractual conditions have been met on both properties.
This will be in terms of farm pasture cover, supplementary feed and cow condition but also repairs and maintenance and the house. Remember if you believe that there is a shortfall in any of the conditions then you have 10 days to appeal and get an independent assessment on what any deficit may be.
It is very important that everyone starts on the same page and that no party is disadvantaged. In what can be a stressful time with moving, the recent M. Bovis scare has also alerted us to looking for best practice going forward in terms of on farm bio security. As I write this the decision regarding eradication has not been made but the lessons learnt to date is about making sure that any people visiting the farm need to adhere to rules regarding cleanliness. So being able to wash and disinfect people and vehicles will become more commonplace.
And the key message for me from the farmers meeting was do not forget about the people directly affected, they all need our support in what is clearly a very stressful time. The start of winter is also a good time to plan what feeding strategy may be used on farm next season. There seems to be a good supply of supplement arty feed on many farms which will help potentially lower feed input costs for the New Year. Make sure all farm staff know the feeding plans and how to implement them. Do not waste feed as it will be needed at some point. Try and make time to do a cow condition assessment also as there is still some time to put weight on cows although the window of opportunity is slowing down.
There needs to be a balance between desired feeding levels and average pasture cover. Regular farm walks will help the farm team make accurate decisions regarding this and the feed budget will guide the management over this time.
-James Thomas is a FarmWise consultant