I have just read my journal from last year, in October we were well placed and full of optimism, only for October 2009 to be the coldest since 1906 followed by the worst summer drought Northland has ever had to face.
It seems we are here again, the weather is warm and mild, the nights are cool and it’s a little dry, but not enough to alarm me. We sold all the ewes in the summer 09 drought, so no lambing this year, currently we are about 2 weeks into calving our cows. We do calve late here, historically it was because of the ewes, but now they have gone I may bring our start of calving forward for next year. Although I must say it is nice weather to calve in during October. Southland farmers may not agree, all my thoughts are with them and I do hope the weather improves down there soon.
We went back calf rearing this year and reared 320 calves, 185 in the autumn and the balance in early spring. I did this because of the drought, our stock numbers were well down and this appeared to be the cheapest and quickest way to rebuild our stock numbers. The end of calving will find the farm with just over 1000 head of cattle on, which is fantastic.
We are carrying on with our fencing projects this summer, I am excited because the cell grazing is really working well, and this summer I will not be using up all my time looking after sheep. The other fencing project is to fence off more of the Peka Peka stream from the cattle. We have laid out about 3 kilometres of water pipes for cattle troughs, so we will be very busy fencing and planting indeed.
From a stock trading point of view once again we are facing huge pressure from our appreciating dollar, I am being more proactive this time and I am writing regularly to Alan Bollard (NZ Reserve Bank governor) trying to explain to him what his job actually is and how to do it. So as spring advances we will have to sell some of our cattle. The plan was to sell Rising 1 yr steers and heifers but now I am considering selling some of our bull calves we reared this winter, primarily because the United States market looks so sick. Watch this space.
The big plan is for the families 150 year reunion, 150 years since Samuel first brought the farm in 1860. Big party planned for mid November, with cousins coming from far and wide to celebrate with us.
I will write again in early December to tell you how it all pans out. Till then, eat more cake and stop every now and again to watch the grass grow, if we are lucky maybe this spring you will actually see it happening.