Feeding Stock this Winter – Greg Tattersfield
Feeding Stock this Winter - What Stock
This season has been extremely challenging for all farmers in the Hawkes Bay, the prolonged dry spell and lack of Autumn growth, difficulty in finding supplementary feed, delays in killing space, and cancellation of sales have all had a massive impact. The feed requirements of livestock are well known and can be easily found in a text book but at present it is much more of a challenge to find the feed to give them. No doubt you have already “pulled the levers” to increase supply or decrease demand and have re-set your wintering plan 3 or 4 times so what else can you do? Talking amongst your team about how the winter is unrolling keeps things in perspective and helps with decision making, we are here to help if you want an outside perspective or information about feeding uncommon supplements.
It’s tough, but it’s not your fault, talking to the trusted people around you is a good start and for those needing a bit more there a bunch or rural professionals able to help. The rural support trust has been busy this year and have been provide extremely value support to a number of farmers who thought they would never need it. Beef and Lamb NZ have employed a feed co-ordinater and have a feed planning service and are there to support the levy payers
It’s been amazing how the rural community has banded together to support each other, to the extent of posting nude pics on facebook!, providing connectedness during a period of isolation for thousands of people, but think about those that may not of engaged or have retreated, maybe it’s time to drop by or give them a call.
It is a year when big calls may need to be made, reality is you may need to dig deeper and sell more stock. It could well be a better call to sell down while stock are still saleable than risk losing excessive weight, losing lambs at birth, poor milking ewes, potty lambs and higher deaths rates than normal. Cattle will be particularly hard to winter on pasture, we may not see good cattle feed until October.
Those that managed to establish a winter crop will be pleased with their investment, even at reduced yields. Well timed Spring Nitrogen may provide some relief to lactating ewes with the benefit coming from better condition ewes at weaning are higher weaning weights.
If you want to talk through your situation and gain perspective from a professional outside of your business, please call one our Production Animal Vets a call