Well things just aren’t getting any better with only 21mm rain in November and relentless Nor-West winds.
It is now evident that we will not have sufficient feed to carry ewes and lambs through to weaning at the end of the month and a decision is made to wean them early. Anything that is not killable will need to go as a store lamb. Early indications are that we might get $2.50/kg liveweight for store lambs but starts to drop quickly as every one in North Canterbury also comes to the realisation that they will need to quit stock early as well.
Singles are drafted on the 3rd November at 8 weeks of age, dressing out at 18kg carcase weight. Twins are drafted two weeks later in mid November and kill at 16kg carcase weight. Approximately 20% of our lambs are sold at stores for $2.40/kg liveweight. With all our lambs from the ewes now gone, apart from 200 ewe lambs for replacements, we have averaged $82/head compared with $98/hd the previous year so are back 16% on value.
November is the month when our hinds start fawning but there is little evidence of this until late in the month – some of the earliest ones appear to be the AI mob which we knew would start fawning on 20 November. It seems that even the hinds were holding back, or maybe the autumn had been just too tough and they had been late to get in fawn.
With the dry conditions a decision is made to kill some of our replacement yearling hinds – with 104 of the lighter ones killed in mid November at 48kg carcass weight. This is a very pleasing result in a year like this, growth rates have been very good.
We have drilled 13ha of kale into sprayed out paddocks for winter feed and hope for the best.
Lyndon Matthews is the farm manager and one of the directors of Puketira Deer.