As we head into the last month of the calendar year we try to make some hay from the second cut of Lucerne – we do so eventually but it’s a drawn-out process as the weather remains overcast, and showery. In hind sight, we should have simply made it into balage. Velvetting of stags continues every 10 days and we steadily work through the 3 year old then the 2 year old stags doing about 10 a session. We have a new freezer for storage of the velvet this season, and the annual assessment by the vet passes without incident.
Early December sees a visit from the Balance Environmental Awards judging team – its quite a short visit that coincided with a sharp shower of 12mm rain! However, they obviously found something we are doing of interest as we have made it through to the next round, which will be judged in January. Its 10 years since the last time we entered the Awards and now the standard is considerably higher. When we last entered Nitrogen leachate was barely a consideration, now we farm to limitations on Nitrogen loss to water.
Prior to Christmas the Hoggets are weaned of their lambs and some of these lambs are good enough to go for processing – approximately 1/3 are able to go with an average carcase weight 17.2kg.
A further draft of weaned lambs averages 18.2kg and we hope to kill all other lambs this season at least at this weight – if the weather permits.
Last job before Christmas is to get a digger back to lift the concrete panels we had poured, into place in the sides of the new self-feed silage pit. Apart from one panel cracking when being “bumped” as another is swung into place the job goes reasonably well. However, the last panel that was poured appears to have been of weaker strength concrete and simply fell apart!
The night before Christmas Eve it rained – and we were amazed to find 29mm in the rain guage the next morning. Surely that could not be correct? An enquiry to Mel, our manager, confirms that the gauge had been emptied previously and that she had tipped out 54mm at her place that morning. Smiles all around.
Lyndon Matthews is the farm manager and one of the directors of Puketira Deer.