And finally, for lovers of bad poetry everywhere: Davo's annual Christmas poem . . .
|Oh did it rain dear
Planting rice would have been nice
Gee it got wet
A record I bet
The water has stopped
Time to harvest some crops
I’ll say hello to Santa and
Have a few of Dad’s Fantas
18/11/2022 - Flood damage
From the end of September to late November we have had a lot of rain and a lot of water sitting over the farm. It's made life challenging, to say the least and no doubt we will have lost a lot of lucerne as well as the newly sown Front Bush and beautiful stand of vetch that was destined for silage. We had a drone operator fly over and the photos were fascinating.
6/11/2022 - AI
Two days in a row without rain and the water has now stopped running over our road and the paddocks are starting to dry out. We have been able to run our modified, cut down AI program, although A) 19 doesn't seem like a very cut down version of the usual program (Davo, looking at you) and B) it was still very sloshy and muddy. Although the bulls went in at the normal time, the AI mob have been set back two weeks to allow things to dry out a bit but we got there in the end. We are now looking forwards to some lovely AI calves next year from Bottlesford Mocha as well as tried and tested Mount Major Peregrine and Mount Major Quixote. In the paddocks Mount Major Strzelecki, Mount Major Skipper and Eylwarra Sands Qualifier are working away and are holding up under the wet muddy conditions.
6/11/2022 - Silage making
With the flooding all the paddocks we had locked up for silage are stuffed: either too wet or we can't get on them or there's too much lodging and pasture damage. There was a tight window of opportunity in late September where we might have been able to make silage from the lovely vetch crop we had grown. We tried to cut the high parts of paddock but there was just too much moisture underneath for it to cure properly and get it off before the next rain. And then it just kept raining, the vetch lodged and then by the time the rain stopped, it was past its best anyway and unusable as hay or silage. If the vetch goes to seed it becomes bitter and unpalatable. We are now aiming to turn it into green manure if we can get on the paddock and we'll get some benefit out of it over the next 3-4 crops. I was very happy growing vetch though and am keen to have another crack at it.
16/10/22 - Joining
With the wet conditions here at Yabba North and another 50-100mm due later in the week, we’ve had to readjust our plans for joining. The synch program was supposed to start today for half our herd. The AI technician is booked (if he can get here), and there’s some exciting new genetics in the AI tank. But we really don’t like the idea of running 30 cows and calves through the boggy yards multiple times. So as a compromise, we’ve settled on a more targeted joining program. We’ll AI fewer cows and push AI back another week, giving us the option of bailing out (literally?) if conditions get too much worse.It wasn’t much fun trudging around in the mud, especially for Ted who had wet feet all day but I’m pleased to report the silage tape worked a treat on my leaky boot, and at least we are all set up for joining now. New young sire, Mount Major Skipper (aye, aye cap’n) is ready for action and there was no need to ask Where’s Wally? (aka Eylwarra Sands Qualifier). Mount Major Strzelecki has also been retained as our heifer bull.
October 2022 - Flood
The rainfall for October was up 500% on average.
I feel like we've got some really good bull calves out there, including a couple of Echuca and Quixote sons. There's a good mix of sires but there are some standout sons from each and they are all very even. I've already had quite a few people comment on I'm looking forwards to
September 2022 - Ted's mix
The "Ted's Mix" that we sowed in the newly renovated Front Bush paddock established really well with a fantastic amount of clover and grasses. We got the first grazing off it which was superb. The grasses in the mix grew so well, they were starting to lodge so we gave it a light grazing just to manage the growth.
12/06/22 - Seedlings
Seeding was a lot later than normal this year due to having to wait for contractors. But acouple of days after sowing we had some rain which has allowed good germination. Ted’s Mix is up and I was very happy to see the number of clover seedlings. In NS1&2 we are trying something new. We have sown vetch which will allow us to clean up some barley grass that has stated to creep into the paddock and hopefully it will allow us to make some top quality hay for summer when things dry off. There are also plans for a new hayshed – watch this space!
Back Bush dam
The dam in the Back Bush paddock has been silted up for a long long time - our neighbours used to call it a puddle. So we've cleaned it out and put some timber in there are a coral where we will establish some combungi. This will be good for wildlife and should help to keep the water clean. It's nice and deep now, and we are looking forwards to seeing what wildlife it attracts. The turtles have already made themselves at home around the timber and a pair of shelducks have moved over from the neighbouring farm.
Our neighbour Chas Dickins came over to sow the Front Bush paddock for us. This paddock has now been brought into the 21st century with subdivision, good seed, fertiliser and, from now on, better grazing management.
Ted worked at SeedForce over the busy period, mixing and bagging seed during his gap year. So this year we sourced our seed from SeedForce and Ted helped to design the mix for the Front Bush. It’s Phalaris, cocksfoot and clover, and Ted picked out the appropriate seed treatments. That paddock is subject to inundation and has heavier soil type and should be very well suited to Phalaris which is more tolerant of waterlogging than other species and Dave has been keen to get more clover established to improve nitrogen in the paddock. It won’t be grazed until after the Phalaris seeds this year to allow it to establish.
We got some paddocks levelled that were getting waterlogged where they held onto water and while the laser unit was here, we took the oppprtunity to get the Front Bush paddock levelled. We are doing a bit of renovation work on this paddock to get it into full production and gain another 15 ac of productive pasture. Where the stumps had been removed, there were whoops and hollows, the ground has been extremely rough and with a bit of rainfall the paddock ended up being a series of puddles. The laser unit just gave it a rip and a smudge so that it just levelled it out to improve drainage. The paddock will also now be much more trafficable and productive.
April - flushing
Davo has decided to flush a couple of our elite cows, Delvene N8 and Lucy 24. Both have outstanding structure and conformation along with elite EBVs. Delvene N8 is also the dam of Quantum who joined the bull team at Woodbourn last year. The aim is to lift the bottom end of the herd and produce more elite bulls. We’ve had an order to supply embryos to Mexico but also I’d like to keep some embryos in the tank as a biosecurity insurance policy.
Usually we don’t get around to preg testing until later as we get good conception rates and we really just need to identify empties to cull. So June is the usual time, and then the vets do rectal palpation to give us a rough estimate of foetal age, allowing us to pick out culls and plan calving groups. But this year we did an earlier preg test than normal to try and get some more accuracy with calving dates. Plus, this way it is easier on the vet and the cows (using only the wand, no rectal palpation), and more accurate. Davo was pretty excited about the technology, as it's the first time he’s used it, and enjoyed seeing the calves on the screen and got excited about which ones might be bulls and which ones heifers. Thanks to GV Vets for a very professional job!
Davo has had all of the stumps removed on the property that have been cut off below bonnet height on the ute so safer to drive around and for machinery to navigate. Still got a lot of dead trees to drive around but it’s the ones that have been cut off at awkward heights that damage machinery. This was part of bring the front bush into proper production.
21/02/2022 - Rod & Helena Hoare's visit
We were delighted to welcome Rod & Helena from Cadfor Murray Greys over the weekend. It was a great opportunity to talk all things cows and lovely to see them again.
We were open for Beef Week again this year. It was good to see some new faces and some familiar ones. We had a steady stream of visitors throughout the day. Ted helped hosting - one of his first farm duties as he starts his gap year - and enjoyed showing off his bull Royale who has been collected by AgriGene.
I (Sarah) broke my wrist in mid-January, falling off my horse, which made life a bit harder for a while but turned out to be a good way to get the easy job at weighing and vaccinating time. Dave was pleased that the best bulls were gaining 1.6 kg/day.