Farmer Focus: Good harvest for Bill Davey in New Zealand

We finished harvest on 8 March in nor’west conditions, with malting barley moisture down to 12%.

White clover seed gave 1.1t/ ha off the combine, so we are expecting a dressed yield of about 900kg/ha. Well done, bees.

We have had a generally good harvest, with yields and particularly values well up on last year’s. All looks good until we analyse our input costs, which have risen dramatically, fuel and fertiliser in particular but I’m sure New Zealand is not alone on that score.

With grass seed and fescue regrowth, we have had enough confidence to load up with store lambs, which have been a good buy lately.

Most of the 5300 that arrived this week, at an average of $34 (£13.50) a head, came from the Te Anau basin in Southland, where it has been very dry.

The first truck had 902 on board, so I knew they were not going to be very big. A month from now, given good feed, a triple combination drench and a shot of cobalt we will not recognise them.

A tractor pick-up hitch is quite rare here, as most farmers tend to rely on a clevis drawbar when pulling trailers, balers, etc. Having imported a new 14t twin-axle grain trailer this year, I was unhappy to see the drawbar under such load on one of our JD 7810s. I feel the debacle which followed is worth a mention.

An affordable alternative to the pick-up hitch, which is not available on an American-built 7810 here, is a Piton hitch made by several European companies.

Our John Deere dealer ordered two back in mid-January from a French firm.

They should have arrived a week later, thanks to DHL’s worldwide express service.

Last week, early March, the consignments arrived. Two boxes of white shirts and one of safety helmets.