Tuesday, 03 May 2022 09:55

Tricky season for Naki farmers

Written by  Peter Burke
Taranaki farmers says slow pasture growth and bad weather have hampered milk production. Taranaki farmers says slow pasture growth and bad weather have hampered milk production.

It's been a very challenging season for Taranaki dairy farmers, according to local DairyNZ consulting officer, Ashley Primrose.

She says farmers are describing the season as one where they are just keeping their heads above water.

She says it's been quite hard for them in terms of the unusually slow pasture grass growth which has seen some farmers taking up to a month later than normal to reach balance date.

Primrose says this was not the best way to start the season.

"As a result of the inconsistent pasture growth, not as much supplement - especially silage - was made as might have been expected," she told Dairy News.

"We have had periods of dry, which is pretty uncharacteristic for Taranaki, and then we had some massive rainfall events. The heavy downpour at Waitangi weekend was followed by another big rainfall event the following weekend with a result there was quite a bit of damage to farms around the coast," she says.

Primrose says what was unusual was that the whole of the province was affected by the weather events. She says, for example, Midhurst, which is known for its rainfall, suffered an unusually dry spell in January.

"The summer was odd," she says.

The heavy rain did a lot of damage around rivers with some riparian plantings washed away and bridges and culverts damaged. Primrose says some crops that were planted in February were damaged and some maize crops were affected by wind.

Covers around the province are a bit of a mixed bag, she says. She notes that some farmers started feeding out supplements that had been earmarked for winter use.

"This is a bit of a worry but people seem to have recognised this and have been buying in extra feed to make up that which they have used. Hopefully everyone has recognised the need to have sufficient supplements to last them through winter and have done something about this," she says.

Primrose says there has been quite a lot of chat about the price of supplements for next season - especially the likes of PKE.

Ashley Primrose DairyNZ FBTW

DairyNZ consulting officer Ashley Primrose.

Despite the challenges around pasture growth, it appears that like most farmers around the country, few Taranaki farmers have dried off their herds and are milking on. This maybe because of the wait to get cull cows into the works. Primrose says the waiting time has been as long as six weeks.

"Some have managed to get stock away and DairyNZ has been encouraging people to make sure they had stock booked in ahead of time. But people have definitely had to hold onto stock longer than they would have liked," she says.

DairyNZ has also been encouraging farmers to get their cows condition scored and it would appear that across the board the scores are somewhere between four and four point five.

"Our key message to farmers is to make sure they have got feed for winter and into early spring before the grass starts to grow again and just keeping their cows in good condition," she says.

More like this

Focus on wintering well

Farmer Ewen Mathieson is working hard to protect their stock and the environment by wintering well during the coldest months of the year.

Sold out?

OPINION: Your old mate wonders how both Beef+Lamb NZ and DairyNZ are feeling about their 'wonderful relationship' with the Government following the announcement of a FTA deal with the EU.

National

Genetics focus boosts herd

A strong focus on genetics and DNA has paid dividends for Fernside dairy farmer Julie Bradshaw with four of her…

Machinery & Products

A baler like no other

While baler-wrapper combinations have become the backbone of baled silage production, one machine stands out from the rest in the…

Small bales in demand

While round or large square bales have the dominant shares in the rural landscape, small square bales still play an…

Amazone's one-pass operation

Ag machinery maker Amazone has paired up its Precea precision air seeder and Combi-Disc 3000 compact disc harrow to deliver…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

$1m remains unpaid

OPINION: A group of New Zealand farmers who collectively sold $1 million worth of cattle to a live export company…

Too close for comfort

OPINION: One vet believes the threat of foot-and-mouth entering New Zealand is much higher than what authorities tell the public.

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter