Unexpectedly, Fonterra dropped the 2011/12 season’s milk price by 30cents/kg, but anticipated the new season’s price in May 2013 will be the same as we opened with this year. This has trimmed $100k from the cashflow. Thanks to a good season and low interest rates, the “hit” is more frustrating than damaging, but we will need a good spring.
We are pleased to have paid the largest bonus ever to Andy for the record production. The races on the organic farm have been completely refurbished. And we have still got some painting and planting to do to pretty things up a bit before calving.
Andy had 20 cows develop mastitis on drying off, which was a really good outcome given no antibiotics have been used for five years now. In previous years, we have had in excess of 40 cows in need of daily stripping. Interestingly, the home farm had 26 cows, despite using dry cow therapy on cows with somatic cells over 100,000.
We have yet to find a suitable farm assistant/manager to work with Sharon. Despite high unemployment in towns, it is still hard to find good motivated people who wish to take a career in dairying. Local contractors are also looking for good drivers. New Zealand still offers wonderful opportunities to those with enough motivation to make it happen. And two of the three winners in this year’s Dairy Industry Excellence Awards were migrants from England and Ireland. I suggest googling dairyindustryawards.co.nz – it is great reading and shows what can be achieved.
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.