Feed gets tricky

with Bill Webb
Bill Webb Feed Solutions

 Rainfall has been patchy around the North Island but we have had some good drops of rain to keep us going in the Western Bay of Plenty. From May 1-20 we had 66.6mm at our yard in Paengaroa and 83.5mm at the farm in Ohauiti

On May 19, our soil temperature was 16.5 degC at the yard and 15.2 degC at the farm. A week earlier, it was not so good and got down to 11.2 degC at the yard and 9.6 degC at the farm.

So with the nice rain and higher soil temperature we are back growing grass again but it’s been a tough year so far, especially in the Waikato and parts of the South Island which are in drought.

Farmers I have talked to who should be at 2300kg dry matter per hectare farm cover are reporting 1400kg and another at 1700kg – way down for this time of year.

The dairy pay-out has had a bit of an adjustment down but it is still going to do well which is good as it means farmers can afford to buy in supplement.

Our last lot of hay went out of the yard on May 18. We have been bringing it in from outside but that is running out too. We had 22 inquiries about it on one day last week and that is probably more than we had in the whole of last year.

We are buying feed in from the South Island but we are struggling to get it on the ferry, so there are other problems than just grass growth. Feed is sitting down there but we can’t sell it because we don’t know when it will be delivered.

Our winter grazers have started arriving and it’s a welcome relief for farmers.  Our blocks are in good shape and we have plenty of grass so even though the price of grazing is up quite a bit this year, my clients are happy to have the cows off their farms and well fed over winter.

We all need to keep a vigilant eye out for nitrate poisoning at the moment, especially after the long dry spell. New grass, winter annuals and other plants take up the available nitrates. Test first before putting stock in and watch out for wet and overcast days. Sunshine will reduce the nitrates and remember never to put your stock onto new pasture when they are hungry. It’s a good idea to fill them up on straw first.  Call your vet immediately if you suspect any issues as nitrate poisoning can kill animals very quickly

We can celebrate the eradication of Mycoplasma bovis. From 272 farms that either had it or were under watch we are down to just one in Canterbury. There has been a lot of hard work by everyone involved and it has paid off. It has been particularly hard for those farmers affected by it. Well done to all concerned.

We have to be careful though as there is now Foot and Mouth in Indonesia. With international travel starting to increase again and diseases able to spread more freely, we must be vigilant. We don’t want Foot and Mouth in the country!

We still have a bit of feed in supply for those who aren’t in a hurry but you will need to be in quick to order as it is being snapped up despite the transport delays.


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