Bloat problem in organic cows at George Moss’ farm

Both farms and most of the area are on the edge for feed, but cows are milking particularly well. Both farms have produced their highest per cow production ever; we put this down to the colder weather maintaining grass quality. The organic farm is 15% ahead for the season and the conventional 6%.

The weather continues to be unsettled with lots of wind, rain and cooler temperatures and a sprinkling of sun.

Andy and Tracey are preparing to host their first discussion group and Andy’s stated aim is to “beat the bosses” best season which is great. Hilary our farm assistant, who was due to leave to go and study engineering, is now seriously considering staying on with us.

The organic farm has had a serious challenge with bloat resulting in two cows stabbed and a lot of extra work for Andy “cow sitting” This is very stressful.

One of the nonsense organic rules is there is no effective preventative that can be used. I have done pasture analysis across both farms to try to understand why one farm bloats badly and the other not.

We are still waiting on results, but I suspect the organic grass is slower growing, but is more potent.

We hosted a group of farming students, who came to the farm to get an understanding of what are the main drivers to a successful operation and we had a good discussion on planning, budgeting and the frugal use of capital and that being cash positive is a non-negotiable.

George Moss and his wife Sharon farm a 74ha (183 acres) conventional dairy, milking 185 Friesian cows as well as a 70ha (173 acres) conversion organic dairy farm, near Tokoroa, New Zealand

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