Until recently, if asked I would have said the biggest threat to the dairy industry was the availability of good, well-trained, highly skilled labour. Well I have to admit to a change in mindset here. Even now, with all the vacancies filled at the new farm, we are still receiving more keen, highly qualified candidates eager for work, and students looking for placements. While unexpected, it’s still great for the industry.
On the home farm it’s the calm before the storm with most of the herd dry, and as I write with 10 days to go until the start of calving it’s time to finish all the fencing and track building work that’s been taking place during February, or repairing the fences destroyed in the track building.
By contrast, the end of February saw well over half of the 400 new heifers calved and milking on the new farm and hopefully by the time you read this they will perhaps even be out to grass.
The new team of four are now settled in have got into a good routine, early indications would suggest they all seem to get on well and have made an excellent start to what will be a challenging learning year for us all, not least myself and new business partner as we develop our roles in the new venture.
First Milk, our chosen milk buyer for the new venture, started collecting the first high solids milk from the newly established NZ herd in early February, so mid-March should see our first milk cheque in the bank and will herald a welcome change in cash flow direction. Following six months of development and expenditure, it’s good to see product leaving the farm and grass starting to grow.