Farmer Focus: Dry spring sees great lambing and crops start well

Phil Collins’ third album, “No Jacket Required”, could well be the theme for our spring. We have put all the spring crops in and lambed the ewes pretty much without a wet day, which has seen a great lambing and the crops off to a good start.

We have started irrigators up during the past couple of days and found that as usual they never quite come out of the box working like they did at the end of last season.

So, after a few repairs and frustrations, we are getting water onto most of the farm. On the occasion that we do start in October, it requires little water to keep things ticking over until November, when the pressure normally comes on.

See also: Light land cereal grower always plans for summer drought

The winter lamb programme is coming to an end, with all lambs due to be gone by the end of October. We have the grass seed crops under control growth wise and the lambs are tracking well to all finish up in a 21.5-23.5kg export bracket.

Market pressures

The market for heavies has come under pressure, so we have been proactive in getting mobs weighed every 10 days to minimise the lambs going over 25kg, but that has seen us in the sheep yards pretty much solidly for three weeks.

Thank goodness for AutoSteer making nights in the tractor bearable.

Along with the dairy industry, the devastating drought in eastern Australia has helped underpin our grain markets.

Fortunately we had kept a line of milling wheat separate that would otherwise have ended up going to feed, which has found a market as milling at $485/t (£240) delivered Christchurch ($22/t), a $30 premium over the feed market and the least sort of spread we should be seeing for a premium grade grain.

We are busy bees at the moment, but it is exciting seeing the culmination of a winter’s work with the stock coming together and the crops looking well. Let’s hope next month I’m not playing Phil’s song “I wish it would rain down…”