We are in the final 10 days of lactation for both farms. The organic farm will finish about 2% up on last season, but significantly behind opening target thanks to the spring drought.
Organic cows were on a 50-day rotation plus silage. The conventional farm should make par, the cows are on 35-day rotation and are getting Palm Kernel Expeller. Pasture covers are significantly ahead of last year, but are starting to fall as the odd frost bites.
The manager on the organic farm left by mutual agreement on 31 March and I will run it until a new manager starts next month. In the next two months, I hope to insert mineral dispenser into the water system, get the inside of the manager’s residence redecorated, the races capped and the electric fence operating more effectively. The somatic cell count which was an issue now seems to be inline.
Simone, our farm assistant on the dry-stock unit and conventional dairy, has left to be with her fiancée in Hamilton after three-and-a-half years with us. We knew this was going to happen when she found suitable employment. We will miss her efforts and ability. I am doing the dry-stock unit again till further notice.
In advertising her position, we came across a young couple who we think will be suitable as managers for the organic dairy. It will be a big step up for them, but with support it should work. We are backing their attitude more than experience. We tested out five people in the shed milking – unfortunately all except the candidate for the manager’s position had no affinity with or for the cows – something we think is critical to get high performance from a smaller herd. The assistants’ position is still open and won’t be filled until the right individual appears.