Thursday, 09 December 2021 10:55

Southland farmers urged to plan for feed after challenging winter

Written by  Staff Reporters
Annie Leadbeater, GrainCorp says sorting summer feed must be a priority for Southland farmers. Annie Leadbeater, GrainCorp says sorting summer feed must be a priority for Southland farmers.

A challenging winter for Southland dairy farmers has affected cow condition coming into mating, which may impact calving spreads next season.

However, GrainCorp Feeds' new territory manager in Southland, Annie Leadbeater, claims there is still time to do something about it, but sorting summer feed must be a priority.

Leadbeater is a farm girl from the Waikato/Bay of Plenty, but has made her way down south to be closer to family. Now in Southland, her job is all about helping farmers maximise the productivity of their herd and profitability of their farm business. And from what Leadbeater has seen this year, they could use the help.

For Southland dairy farmers, 2021 has been a struggle. They’ve endured a terribly wet winter, with paddocks constantly under water and looking after stock in atrocious conditions, noted Leadbeater.

“Little wonder many farmers went into survival mode during those months. Their cows did likewise,” she says.

“Waterlogged grass is difficult for cows to harvest, and this winter’s pasture was low in energy and protein. That puts huge pressure on an animal’s metabolic system. She has to eat more just to maintain standard functions, which is why many animals have struggled to gain optimal conditioning this winter.

“You can see the effect when it comes to mating. The gap in pasture nutrition has meant that some of the girls haven’t had the energy to keep cycling. When this happens, there will be noticeable gaps in calving spreads next year. The challenge now is to get your summer feeding regime sorted to keep cows in milk for longer and improve their body condition.”

While Leadbeater’s job is to give farmers advice on feed, she says her first priority is understanding what’s happening on the farm.

She’s working with farmers now to identify any feed and nutrition gaps and help farmers bridge them with the right supplementary feed and custom blends. Accuracy is key. The more precisely she can define a herd’s feed issues, the higher the nutritional response she can help a herd achieve.

To understand the feed gaps, she needs to get on farm.

“Farmers are up to their necks in work right now. They aren’t happy when a product rep shows up unannounced, so I always call ahead to make sure it’s okay to come over. I had a farmer on the line the other day who said, ‘Are you happy talking to me while I go round in circles on the tractor?’ So, we were able to chat while he worked.”

More like this

Editorial: Let's get the real picture!

OPINION: Just as Southland farmers were receiving praise from local authorities on their improved winter grazing practices, new photos surfaced of cows knee-deep in mud.

Air survey shows good compliance

A recent surveillance flight over the Southland region has shown farmers in the region are well-prepared for the season, according to the local regional council.

National

Plan makes co-op competitive

Fonterra's proposed capital structure will allow the co-operative to compete with other processors based on its milk price and overall…

Elite herd offered online

An elite Southland Friesian herd is set to become the biggest single livestock offering sold online so far.

Machinery & Products

Solution for rowdy cattle

Having walked away with a Fieldays Innovation Award and a useful cheque back in June, Springarm Products has recently signed…

Next generation swathers

Claas' latest generation of seven, dual-rotor central LINER swathers are said to offer numerous innovative features and functions to ensure…

Below ground fert server

Bavarian fertiliser spreader manufacturer Rauch is testing a prototype unit for depositing fertiliser in row crops to depths of 10…

Press screw separator

Probably best known for its chopping units that form an integral part of many manufacturers’ umbilical effluent spreading and injection…

Hydrogen power to cut emissions

While the automobile industry heads full tilt down the electrification route, heavier industries such as trucking and construction appear to…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Seaweed saviour

OPINION: Scientists in Ireland are going underwater to solve their dairy sector’s methane conundrum.

Due recognition

OPINION: National's new leader Christopher Luxon’s first speech after his elevation to the top job included one important line about…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter