Farmer Focus Arable: Bill Davey looks forward to World Ploughing Contest

The 57th World Ploughing Contest is scheduled to be held on the South Island next week at Methven, a small township nestling in the foothills of the southern Alps, and on some of the finest soil in the world.


It is deemed to be one of the most significant events New Zealand has ever hosted and organisers are predicting a good turnout of home and overseas visitors to this three-day event. No doubt this somewhat rural display will be overshadowed by the impending euphoria of the Rugby World Cup hosted by New Zealand in 2011.

Clocks went back an hour over the Easter weekend and mindful of shortening daylight hours, we have given all grass and greenfeed a final hit of urea, hoping the growth response will make up for the later drilling dates. I’m confident this application will be cost effective as soil temperatures are still high.

With many parts of the country dry and with limited feed stocks around, store lambs are becoming easier and cheaper to source. Once again, thanks to our irrigation, I hope we are able to take advantage of this situation.

The 50 Friesian bull calves my son Nick took on last August have reached the stage when they are not quite so cute and easy to handle. We have looked at the cost of rearing them from four days’ old to date and concluded that to lose the least amount of money we have to take them through to finished weights.

This exercise reminds me of an old saying: there are three guaranteed ways of losing money, slow horses, fast women and beef cattle. Slow horses being the quickest, fast women the most pleasurable, but beef cattle the surest.

• For more columns from other Arable Farmer Focus writers

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