Good rains in late January gave us opportunity and confidence to plan the discretionary expenditure for the remainder of the season, with two-thirds of the budgeted production already sent and only about 12 weeks of milking left. The rains give us a fair degree of certainty over February’s production, plus time inside.
Milk prices have stabilised at about $6/kg milk solids plus or minus 5%. The decision on the home farm is to use discretionary cash on race (laneways) upgrade, increased fertiliser, cash buffer and debt reduction. On the organic farm employees dwelling will get a make over and an upgrade will also be made to the vat stand.
Given the good rain we’ve had, production across both units is disappointing with conventional cows producing 1.58kg milk solids a cow a day and organic cows producing 1.53kg milk-solids. Cows are daily down 3% and 7%, respectively and 4% and 11% season to-date.
Part of the problem is grass growth has failed to leap away as we would have expected. This is a common complaint in the district at the moment, so we are looking to do a one off soil test to identify the limiting factor. The motivation for is also because when we can grow another 500kg/ha of grass that equates to about 35t of feed on each farm, which could save or earn between $9000 and $17,000 (£4011-£7576).
Cull and problem cows will be removed from the both farms over the next month. Building feed covers for winter on the organic farm will now become critical. Rotation lengths on both farms are about 30 days and will increase as we move into autumn, hopefully with the organic farm hitting 60 days by May.