August has been unbelievably wet but mild with only six frosts, which has put serious pressure on the soils and pasture use. Both farms are more than 50% calved, the home farm having the worst run of heifers calves and conversely the organic having the best run ever. Previously the reverse has been the case. Neither farm has lost a cow yet, and calving difficulties have been minimal.
The organic farm has been challenged with milk fever and somatic cell counts. The milk fever I think is a result of the very good cow condition and the somatics are a result of the wet weather. Most conventional farms have seen a large increase in mastitis. We have brought the herd test forward and we are literally waiting for the results as I write this.
Both farms are ahead for production, mainly due to the fact that the calves came ahead of due date.
The organic farm accounts came back and have been entered in Dairybase, an industry database that allows for comparisions of a farm financial and physical performance against an aggregate benchmark of 20 like farms.
The organic farm achieved an operating profit per hectare of $4,050. Operating profit is all income and costs before interest, drawings, taxation and capital expenditure. We are very pleased with this number as it includes the major upgrade of the races. I am confident it will be competitive with the high input farms in the area as well as the home farm.
George Moss and his wife Sharon farm a 74ha conventional dairy, milking 185 Friesian cows as well as a 70ha conversion organic dairy farm, near Tokoroa, New Zealand