Regular rains and mild conditions have seen good growth of pastures that combined with water for those that have irrigation, has transformed the spring, feed wise.
Silage contractors have been busy harvesting the surplus, that is a month early in Southland, and even in the lightly stocked areas of North Canterbury, many will have feed to save for supplements.
Many North Island herds have not fared so well with too much moisture affecting pasture growth, milk yield and cows welfare in trying conditions.
Nationally, milk flows are well back, lead by the important Waikato catchment, and with Fonterra reducing volumes at auction, this had a positive effect on prices at last week’s event.
Overall values jumped by 11.4%, lead by whole milk powders at nearly 20% which was it’s biggest lift since 2014, and now all the banks are suggesting a forecast of $6/kg ms is a possibility.
NZ is the only country in the world with whole milk powder stocks and when the market decides there will be a shortage rapid price rises are achieved.
New grass paddocks are soon to be grazed and advisors suggest very lightly until well established, and make sure weed control is done early.
They also report some yellowing of pastures appearing in those areas suffering from the wet, and this could be shortages of sulphur and nitrogen which should be addressed as soon as soil conditions allow.
Submission rates and body condition scores of cows up north are well back, but South Island cows mating prospects look good.
Dairy advisers reflect that since induction has been banned calving patterns have lengthened, and suggest using a 1:30 bull ratio with two teams of bulls, and consider short gestation semen to tighten the calving spread.
Harvard University continues its investment into NZ’s dairy industry with a purchase of more land in Central Otago, and issues of stock theft remain with a reported 50 calves stolen in North Canterbury.
A2 Milk reports good growth in Australia and China and some in NZ will be wondering whether this is still an opportunity for a percentage of NZ herds.
This could especially apply to Westland suppliers whose company nearly made the change, but now it is reported 20% of West Coast dairy farmers are in serious financial trouble and need much better returns from their company to survive.
The Ministry of Primary Industries have won an appeal against a bobby calf abuser who now faces imprisonment for his offences against these animals.