Temperatures are mild, but moisture is now excessive with soils saturated and significant surface flooding. After a wet May and June, we are now into our ninth straight day of heavy rain and thunder storms.
Last season, despite the drought prior to Christmas, was the wettest year in 17 years for us, with almost 2.1 meters of rain, most of it falling at the beginning and close of season.
Pasture utilisation is very poor with cows pushing grass into the mud and feed values have fallen due to lack of sunshine. Both farms are pulling cows off the pastures after four hours grazing and standing the cows either on the yard or drier knobs. Grass growth has all but stopped due to “drowning”.
Feeding hay and silage onto the pastures is problematic as tractors cut in and cows walk in the feed. People, particularly staff, get very stressed in managing such adverse conditions, compounded I’m sure by lack of vitamin D. We take one day at a time and readdress again each tomorrow, keeping a critical eye on the stock, which are close to calving.
The internet is a wonderful tool in allowing us to see weather hours and days ahead.
What is pleasing is that cow condition on both farms is acceptable and providing we can get maintenance feed into the cows, they will be OK.
Discussions will inevitably move to merits, or otherwise, of feed-pads, but I still believe despite the current trauma, the cost-benefit will not be there.