The poor spring has taken it toll on livestock and ewes and dairy cows have lost body condition, says a farm advisor.
Feilding-based Gary Massicks from BakerAG said it had been two steps forward and one back, as cold weather and rain hit farms in the region and pasture growth had been slower than normal.
He said many dairy farms were alright because farmers were feeding out supplementary feed, such as grass silage, which they had on hand and some of them were feeding palm kernel.
However, cows had lost condition because of slow pasture growth, he said.
“A dairy farmer I talked to said he was growing 30 kilograms of dry matter per hectare at the moment, and at this time would usually be growing 40 kg/DM/ha and meeting his cows’ needs.”
Massicks said lambing was underway on Manawatū and Rangitīkei hill country.
“Feed is tighter than that on dairy country. Lamb survival has been good, as there have been no storms, but the grass is slow growing away.”
There has been a couple of cool nights and that had lowered grass growth even more, he said.
Richard McIntyre, a dairy farmer near Foxton, said his farm was wet and many other farms were ion the same position.
“It has dried out a little and we have some fine days which helped.’
He said pasture growth was down on usual, which meant most people were feeding supplementary feed to cows.
“At least we have the money to pay for it this season”.
He said dairy farmers should have passed the balance date, when cow intake and pasture growth meet each other, but because of the poor season it was still “a week or two” away.
Source: NZ Farmer