Farmer Focus: Hedge trimmers causing a mess, says Bill Davey

First-time visitors to New Zealand, especially the Canterbury Plains, often ask us why there are so many tall pine shelter belts, and how are they kept so beautifully trimmed?

The answer is pretty obvious once you’ve witnessed a Norwest gale, but seldom do you see the hedge trimmers themselves.

These guys are professionals and take great pride in their work. The only trouble is the mess they make – and then send you a bill. We have just finished clearing up the last of the trimmings, which is a great relief as they block water races, culverts and cause surface flooding as a result.

Last of the spring crops to be sown, apart from a late drilling of vining peas, will be phacelia. An oilseed, and, if we get it right, a profitable spring option. This will follow grass, drilled into a stale seedbed, similar to our linseed.

We have managed to strike a deal for grass silage as dairy farmers begin to realise they really have to feed their cows something during the winter. Maize silage, however, is a non-runner given the high growing costs compared with the price they are prepared to pay. This is unfortunate as maize growing took the pressure off the combine come harvest.

On a sad note, our farm consultant, David H. Lamb of Christchurch passed away last week after a short illness. A true gentleman and great support to our business, our thoughts are with his family.

As if we aren’t busy enough, Nick has decided to rear bull calves this spring. He has sourced 50 Friesians from a local dairy farmer. His plan is to move these on at around 300kgs live weight by April to be finished in the North Island on the Techno grazing system.

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