So much for plans!
It seemed to blow Nor-West throughout November with daily evapotranspiration rates exceeding the little rainfall we did receive. The deer that we were intending to carry through to January ended up grazing a Lucerne paddock intended for balage before going for the venison processor early in December . This was 5 weeks earlier than intended, thankfully our co-operative Alliance was able to find space for us and the animals were up to weight, averaging 100kg liveweight. With the tightening feed situation we would have only one opportunity to get lambs up to killable weights – the period leading up to weaning. So the ewes and lambs ended up going onto the remaining paddocks of Lucerne that had been earmarked for balage. They are looking good and doing well (see photo of ewe and her two lambs on Lucerne). On the 12th of November we had the privilege to host a delegation of 20 Swiss farmers to view our property and enjoy a delicious meal of venison prepared by Waikari School. The fact that the people serving the food also spoke Swiss was an added bonus!
Fawning is now underway but is appears to be a slow start – perhaps 10 days later than we would have expected (or liked) so it seems mid point of fawning this year may not be until 30 November. It seems strange given the hinds came out of the winter in good condition and went onto good cover for fawning. Perhaps it was the cold October that caused them to be slow.
Lyndon Matthews is the farm manager and one of the directors of Puketira Deer.