The cold weather has now set in and the autumn/winter livestock routines are well under way. This places quite a bit more burden on weekends so the need to get the labour profile right becomes paramount.
The weather generally has been fairly kind with a nice spread of rain/sunshine and cold and mild weather so crops look well and the forage is still of a good quality for the sheep still outside. The particularly wet and cold days when they occur do hold the stock back and the straw usage in the sheds (Roundhouse in particular) increases significantly.
All drilling completed in reasonable conditions and the crops are now fully emerged and looking very well.
No real slug or weed problems have emerged thus far, although weed pressure at this time is always mild and merely an indication of what may materialise at a later date.
Feed and milling wheat sales have gone very well, with little in the barn. The human consumption oats, barley and rye are all scheduled to start in February.
All ewes have been sorted through and given a prep up. These are now split into various groups, according to breeding requirement, and are on their respective tupping blocks. In doing this we’re are aiming to increase their metabolic rate by giving them much better pasture than they’ve had in the last couple of months since weaning (this keeps them fit and helps prevent mastitis).
With the better pasture comes and increase in body condition (vital to store fat for winter, maintain pregnancy and assist milk yield at lambing) and a corresponding increase in metabolism. This metabolic increase produces a ‘flush’ of eggs rather than one and thus a higher percentage of twins is achieved.
We have to closely match the availability of forage to the ewes body condition so that she does not go without but also doesn’t get too fat. We have to also ensure there is enough grass to see her through the first month after tupping.
The rams have also been gone through as they will be required to do their years ‘work’ over six weeks commencing 25th November to give a lambing period of six weeks commencing approximately 18th April.
The cattle are now all inside as the spring calving cows now come in for winter to protect the pasture and help the calves to keep growing well. The performance of all the young stock since changing the grazing regime and using better forage converting breeds appears to have improved immeasurably. Autumn calving has started in earnest with circa 25 cows now calved.