Farmer Focus: Wheat in, lambs on, flights booked

With the harvest behind us and clover and grass crops established, our focus has changed to drilling wheat and getting the winter lambs on farm.

We have about 15km of shelter trees on the farm which we try to trim every two years, but getting to both sides of each row is a staged process with paddocks only coming clear of crop at certain times, so we try to have the tree topper here three times a year.

Getting the last of the Graham autumn wheat drilled has been slightly delayed while we cleared trimming from two fields.

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Fortunately a forestry grab on the JCB and a root rake on the excavator have meant the pitchfork was not required!

Here at Valetta we finish 8,000-10,000 lambs annually and over the past few weeks this season’s lambs have been purchased at around 30kg liveweight from breeding farms further south.

Essential income

We will take them through to an average of 50kg on a mixture of last season’s grass seed crops, kale, swedes and new season grass crops in spring.

It is a very integrated system with the income essential to bolster crop returns.

We are watching with interest (and concern) the African Swine Fever sweeping through pig farms in China.

Sadly one farmer’s crisis may turn to a benefit for another, if global meat prices surge.

Through my involvement with Federated Farmers in NZ I have had the opportunity, albeit self-funded, to attend the International Herbage Seed Conference in Corvallis, Oregon.

Jayne and I have tagged on a few days travelling down through Oregon to San Francisco on our way home.

I have never been to the States, but have heard many reports of how advanced the production of ryegrass is in the Williamette Valley, so we are really looking forward to this trip.

I will report back in detail in my column next month.