Livestock Farmer Focus: George Moss is busy on Gypsy day

The first day of June marked the start of the new season and closure of the old. It’s known as Gypsy day, the day when share-milkers, farm managers and owners normally move to new positions and properties.

For the organic farm it meant the start of the “new man”. Orientation day for our new manger Terry included introducing him to local businesses, giving key contact numbers, the records that will need to be kept and reaffirming expectations of the business.

June is also the month for review of the past and reaffirming targets for the coming year.

With milk prices looking good, focus on both farms is about getting cows to optimal calving condition with adequate grass to feed them. Financial focus will be debt reduction on both farms and some infrastructure improvements on the organic farm.

We have weighed replacement stock and are pleased to report that the two conventional lines of Holstein heifers were 49kg and 55kg above target or about 10%. The organic heifers were 22kg above target or about 5%. This makes me question whether this is the start of some slippage between the organic and conventional system or management.

Both farms have had their pasture assessed with the conventional farm having a cover of 2017kg dry matter a hectare and the organic farm having 1672kg dry matter a hectare. Depletion of feed reserves on the organic property is concerning. Again what is the cause, farm history, management or organics? These are questions we must answer.

We have applied 500kg/ha of reactive phosphate rock and elemental sulphur to the organic farm as a preventative strike against potential depletion of phosphate and sulphur. We are also going to apply an early application of compost giving a nitrogen boost. Here’s hoping.

For more columns from other Farmer Focus writers