A milking season to celebrate

Carla Staples is happy after a successful 2020/21 season onfarm, but not so pleased with the continual criticism of the dairy industry.

Well, that was the end of our third season on our property and as we enter our fourth, we can look back and see what we have achieved so far.

The 2020/21 season was our second best to date and awfully close to our best, producing 430kgMS/cow and 880kgMS /ha. We are happy with these results considering we are a quite low input system, with a few tweaks and a better start to our spring weather. Hopefully we can improve on these, hopefully all the regrassing we have done over the last three years will really pay off this spring. Last winter we teat-sealed our heifers and had a great response with none presenting with mastitis as they entered the herd, and only one for the whole season, we will repeat this again this winter. Winter maintenance is underway with a few jobs on the go, a few concrete repairs in the dairy to keep the dairy shed inspector happy but nothing too major. All the cows have transitioned onto crop well and are enjoying the break.

World Milk Day has seen a few changes in our community, farm ownership and a few new 50/50 sharemilking positions, the road was busy with stock trucks, and people moving households. Hopefully all the Canterbury farmers were not too disrupted by the heavy rainfall the region experienced over the few days leading up to Gypsy Day, it would have made things very tricky trying to move stock, equipment and household furniture with roads and bridges washed out. We wish everyone the best on their new properties and for a successful season.

I was watching TVNZ’s Breakfast show one morning as they were talking about the new proposed movie ‘They are Us’ which as you all know would be focused on the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019 and in particular our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s role in the tragedy. Ardern was live on television saying she had not been consulted in any form of their plans about this to date, she also went on to say it is not up to the Prime Minister to say what filmmakers make their films about! I agree with this, but as she is the main focus of the alleged movie one would think she would have an opinion, as she seems to have plenty of opinions on what we as dairy farmers can and cannot do.

I think it would benefit a lot of people to reflect on how our industry coped through level four restrictions, it was work as usual for all of us and the cows didn’t know any different. Farmers didn’t take wage subsidy benefits or business top-ups, our sector carried on as normal. We contribute over $10 billion to the country’s economy and dairy are also the most dominant goods exports for New Zealand. Yet, we are still the main target for climate change and emissions policy. Come on, get real, we are not the only issue here but obviously seem to be an easy target. Don’t get me started on the whole electric vehicle (EV) and new vehicle tax debacle, it seems this Government has completely lost the plot! Then you see DoC workers charging their EV on Stewart Island with a petrol generator on TV, it’s absolutely mind-blowing.

Well, that’s enough ranting for now, by the time you read this calving will once again be underway for the North Islanders and not too far away in the South Island, we wish every farmer all the best for this season and fingers crossed the payout is as strong at the end of the season as they are predicting.