Farm Reports

The farm recovered well from the drought of 2014/15 with a mild winter and few frosts. However, the early spring had wet and cold periods that slowed growth and the flats went under water in a one-in-ten year flood. Supplements on the feed-pad were needed to assist the dairy herd.

After mild weather going into summer, there were good rains over December and January – a welcome change from three droughts in a row.

Dave Milne

Dave Milne, Sheep and Beef Manager

Ample feed over summer allowed more lambs to be finished and cattle taken on to heavier weights before slaughter.

Lambing results from the ewes was pleasing as feed had been short over mating, and this was the second consecutive year that 140 per cent was achieved.

There was an abortion issue in the hoggets that no amount of veterinary investigation was able to resolve.

Docking 2015

 

Stock

No.20
Ram

Sold
Culled

Ewes
Kept

Dry/
Dry

Wet/
Dry

Deaths
Culled

Wet
Ewes

 Lambs

 %

MA Ewes 5,712 0 5,712 -44 -237 -370 5,061 8,027 140.53
2th Ewes 2,460 0 2,460 -16 -120 -180 2,144 3,370 136.99
Rec Ewes 235   235 -5 -10 -5 215 371 157.90
Total 8,407 0 8,407 -65 -367 -555 7,420 11,768 139.98
%       -0.77 -4.37 -6.60 88.26    
 

In
Lamb

 Dry

Wet
Dry

 Deaths

Wet
Hgts

 Lambs

 %

Lambs docked from Hoggets 1,847 0 237 41 1,569 1,834 99.00
Total lambs docked           13,602  

Hogget scanning results for the last ten seasons are summarised as follows:

  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Twins 388 382 649 1,019 1,372 2,054 1,008 861 952 1,003
Singles 478 512 903 1,982 1,571 1,829 1,989 1771 895 1,038
Drys 284 259 326 1,496 567 544 838 778 1,165 867
TOTAL 1,150 1,153 1,878 4,497 3,510 4,427 3,835 3,410 3,012 2,098
Percentage 73 78 83 67 84 88 78 77 61 70
Pregnant                    
Twinning 34 33 35 34 39 46 26 26 32           35
Percentage                    

Sheep & Beef Sales & Purchases

These are summarised as follows:

Cattle Sales

  • 391 Steers at $1,631
  • 246 Cull cows at $1,182
  • 29 Heifers at $800

Cattle Purchases

  • 204 Calves at $536
  • 400 Reared Calves at $300
  • 217 Cull Cows at $800

Note:  The cull cows and reared calves are transfers from the dairy operation.

Sheep Sales

  • 462 Ewe hoggets at $123
  • 2,390 Cull ewes at $77
  • 1,304 Store lambs at $59
  • 8,972 Works lambs at $84

Sheep Purchases

  • 1 Ram at  $3,500

Wool Sales

  • 65,884 kg  at $4.41

A wet and cold early spring with flooding on the flats proved a challenge. Supplements were fed on the pad and, with hindsight, more should have been. Falling cow condition proved a challenge at mating time.

With ample summer feed, the herd gained weight. Given weather conditions, facial eczema proved a real challenge with zinc injected into the water supply and added to supplements.

In line with the requirements of a dairy-beef project being undertaken at Limestone Downs in partnership with Beef + Lamb NZ and Massey University (see below), no replacement calves were reared while cows and heifers were purchased for the dairy operation. This allowed some culling of low-producing and high cell-count cows.

farm reports

Dairy Sales & Purchases

These are summarised as follows:

Sales

  • Bobby Calves 82 at $31
  • Reared Calves 400 at $300
  • Cull Cows 2 at $1,565
  • Cull transfers 217 at $800

Purchases

  • Heifers 47 at $727
  • Cows80 at $1,619
  • Heifers transferred 29 at $800

Milk Sales

  • Milk solids 221,921 kg at $3.53

 

Farm Income 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016
Sheep Surplus 868,729 1,170,284 1,010,895 1,097,134 1,042,468 1,068,473
Cattle Surplus 1,273,120 1,292,490 836,291 481,456 843,337 548,862
Wool Sales 148,679 263,650 196,027 222,048 228,417 291,038
Milk Sales - - - 1,079,033 1,015,487 780,716
Dairy Cattle Sales - - - 137,332 101,198 140,569
Sundry Income 37,052 41,155 40,362 43254 77,489 82,400
Total Income 2,327,580 2,767,579 2,083,575 3,060,267 3,308,396 2,912,058
Farm Expenditure 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016

Farm Working Exp.

Repairs &Maint.

Vehicle Expenses

Sheep & Beef

902,949

152,841

43,276

902,949

1,124,836

704,551

32,045

1,124,836

965,923

117,947

38,111

965,923

-

-

-

747,022

-

-

-

740,638

-

-

-

802,138

Dairy - - - 1,069,302 1,093,243 1,073,500
Administration Expenses 31,928 38,095 38,520 100,099 57,937 61,991
Standing Charges 48,627 51,581 60,746 72,267 76,869 80,863
Total Expenditure 1,179,621 1,951,108 1,221,247 2,128,540 1,968,987 2,018,492
Net Farm Surplus $1,147,959 $816,471 $862,328 $931,727 $1,339,709 $893,566

Note: From 2013-2014, Farm Working Expenses, Repairs and Maintenance, and Vehicle Expenses apportioned to Sheep & Beef and Dairy.

Occupational Health and Safety

Hazard Co was employed to independently audit systems and processes on-farm. Some minor issues were identified and these have been acted on.

On-farm Research and Extension

The farm continued to have heavy usage for training, research and extension.

Schools, including Pukekohe High School and Te Kohanga Primary School, visited to support their agricultural courses, and visitors were hosted from a range of institutions including the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre. Soil Science students from Massey University also stayed for a week-long course. The farm also hosts bike treks, tramping clubs, Probus groups and Scouts who camped in the shearers quarters to experience country living.

On-farm research which was supported included:

  • Ongoing work on hogget lambing with Veterinary Science staff from Massey University;
  • A predator-free area that has been established in the bush by Massey University researchers to study forest regeneration;
  • A major project funded by the Ministry of Primary Industries to develop techniques for precision application of fertiliser;
  • Ecologists monitoring environmental issues associated with the dairy conversion.

The Trust has joined with Beef + Lamb NZ and Massey University to undertake a major research project to explore the use of beef bulls in a dairy system. The whole herd will be mated to selected beef sires to assess aspects including ease of calving, gestation length and meat characteristics. This means that herd replacements will be purchased for the duration of the project.

The project is now in its second season with some interesting results which will be discussed at the Open Day in February 2017.

The 2015/16 drought ended early enough to provide a good feed position going into the winter. However, the spring arrived with continuous wet weather and little sunlight until mid-October, resulting in poor grass growth and quality as well as poor utilisation.

The dairy herd was particularly affected with falling production and cow condition, alleviated to some extent by feeding on the pad.

Although ewes docked 140 per cent, it had been hoped to achieve more as they had been mated in good condition and had good scanning figures.

farm reports b

Lambing Results 2016

 

 

No to Ram

Sold/

Culled

Ewes

Kept

Dry/

Dry

Wet/

Dry

Deaths/

Culled

Wet

Ewes

 

Lambs

 

%

MA ewes 5,205 0 5,205 185 277 347 4396 7383 142%
2th ewes 2,563 0 2,563 126 135 137 2,165 3,472 35%
Total 7,768 0 7768 311 412 484 6561 10,855 140%

 Hogget Lambing

Twins 1,003
Single 1,038
Dry  867
Total 2908
% Pregnant 70
Twin % 35

In total, 13,763 lambs were docked.

Click on image to enlarge

Map thumbnail