What a busy month is has been. It started off looking very encouraging, then the winds came and it blew Nor-west for two weeks. All of a sudden the spring peak had gone and we were faced with rapidly declining feed position. One mob of 108 ewes with 199 lambs at foot is sold and we are able to send 190 yearling deer to the works at good weights at the height of the schedule. This is very pleasing as we have worked really hard all autumn, winter and early spring to ensure that these deer do come up to weight in time to meet the chilled market. These deer were growing at 467 grams/day during October with some of the better yearling hinds growing at 700gms/day! Its been great year for spiker velvet and this has generated a further 50 cents/kg on every kg of venison sold in October, putting our return to $9.25/kg for spring venison.
In the midst of it all we even have a small feed surplus and are able to take 11 ha of Lucerne for balage – yielding 52% dry matter. Who knows, this may be the only feed we get to conserve this season as the cereal triticale and barley are really struggling from a lack of moisture.
The 26th of October sees the hinds all set stocked on their fawning blocks, including 31 maiden hinds that did get in fawn despite the dry autumn conditions. Now we will eagerly await for the appearance of the first fawns, normally by the end of the first week in November. Hinds numbers are back from 530 to 367 hinds due to the drought last autumn. However, with the way this season is shaping up 367 may be quite enough.
The news is all talk of an El Nino summer – and what that might mean for farmers. The reality is we are already in the midst of it and having to make early decisions. The end of November will be our next key date – with all lambs needing to be weaned from ewes and those that are not able to go off as prime lambs will need to go immediately as store lambs. This will not be a season to carry stock on.