Home' Northern Outlook : October 13th 2012 Contents 6 October, 2012
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TOWS MORE, CARRIES MORE, SEATS THREE
Let's Talk Dairy
4257018AAMilking slightly behind 2011
By GERALD PIDDOCK
FEED ISSUES: Many Central Canterbury dairy farmers were forced to use supplementary feed in August to protect
CENTRAL CANTERBURY dairy
farmers have overcome a tough
start to the milking season to be
well placed as they come into the
peak milking period.
The region suffered from heavy
rain in August causing flooded
paddocks and pasture damage.
Farmers had to work around the
clock, with calving under way in
Lack of precipitation since the
August rain had dried the
pastures out and allowed many
farmers to resume with their
grazing management, Federated
Farmers South Canterbury dairy
chairman Ryan O'Sullivan said.
We're still three weeks off peak
and anything could happen yet.''
Temuka dairy farmer David
Lister is currently at peak flow
and his production sits 3 per cent
behind where it was at the same
stage last year.
The drop was a result of feeding
out baleage due to the pasture
damage occurring during August.
That baleage is not as sweet as
new grass and that will be why
we're back,'' he said.
He was confident that the
production loss would be
recovered through the season.
His average cover was lower
due to pasture damage. He had
been busy oversowing 35-40
hectares of damaged pastures.
The cows haven't suffered in
their body condition and they
haven't suffered in any other way.
It's been the pastures that
have suffered,'' he said.
Feed levels were currently tight
at the Lincoln University Dairy
Farm, executive director Ron
We're just about in the position
we want to be, but we need a week
of nice, warm weather and
hopefully we'll get it over the next
Milk production was slightly
ahead so far because of greater
milk production in August. The
farm had fantastic growing
conditions then, whereas
September was dominated by
early morning frosts and more
variable weather that stunted
growth, he said.
It's sitting there ready to hum.
It's ready to go, there's a lot of
high quality pasture there that's
not quite at that peak growth
period, but it will hit its straps
DairyNZ South Canterbury/
North Otago consulting officer
Chrissy Williams said farmers
had recovered well after the tough
start to the season. They have
had a quick turnaround. I would
say that farmers are quite happy
and things are progressing well,''
While the rain was heavy,
temperatures had still been
relatively warm. It was followed
by a patch of frosts before
warming up again.
Milk production varied among
the farmers she had talked to.
Some had reported good
production on the back of good
mating last year and the cows
being in superb condition.
Production hasn't really
suffered and most of them are
quite happy with their production
levels. I think that's due to the
fact that cows came in quite
quickly this year because their
calving spread was a little more
Cow and calf losses following
the heavy rain were minimal
apart from some issues relating to
mastitis, lameness and calf
Many farmers faced challenges
getting access to paddocks and
feeding the cows.
The balance date for grass
growing equalling cow demand is
usually around the first week of
October. At this stage of the year
if you got through that tough first
six to eight weeks things are
always on the up.''
At the processing end Synlait
milk supply manager David
Williams said the season had gone
well so far, although processing
levels were down compared with
this time last year.
We're about 16 per cent ahead
of where we were last year but a
lot of that is because we have
He said they were pretty much
bang on budget'' in terms of where
they were placed at this stage of
the milking season.
Fonterra would not comment on
milk processing levels for the
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