Two weeks of strong Nor-west wind and no rain forces us to make decisions for the winter. We try to find grazing for our hoggets which we hope will be in lamb. After enquiries to Mid Canterbury it becomes clear that that they may not be fed as well as they need to be so a decision is made to keep them at home and we purchase standing grass from Mid Canterbury to truck back to our farm in North Canterbury to wrap as balage for the winter. We think we can do this for about 45 cents/kg dry matter – a rate not too dissimilar to what we would have had to pay for the grazing. This is expensive feed but we are able to purchase on a dry matter basis so no guess work as to what weight is in a bale. Its quite a logistics exercise to co-ordinate the mowing, baling, transport and wrapping to all happen on time. We are very pleased with the professionalism and service of Quigley Contracting, GVT transport and Hoban Bale Wrapping.
Meanwhile we continue to cart in barley grain, barley straw, meadow hay, cereal silage and palm kernel. Not a week goes by than another 2-3 unit loads roll into our farm. You don’t appreciate how much feed your farm grows until you have to purchase it all in. When will it rain?
May passes as another low rainfall month with only 16mm for the month, and the 2 weeks of Nor-west wind at the start of May negated most to the 25mm rain received at the end of April. It seems like nothing works this season.
We are able to get our sheep shorn towards the end of May, the wool is bright , of good colour, and surprisingly little vegetative matter despite all the straw and hay fed to them. For the first time in 20 years the wool is strongly sought after and the price received even exceeds what we used to get from mid micron corriedale wool. It makes a nice change.
Lyndon Matthews is the farm manager and one of the directors of Puketira Deer.