becgreaves : I also think she writes really well!
I grew up in HB and it's not uncommon to be very dry in the Bay at this time of the year - but this year seems to be particularly bad from the photos I have seen. Though my parents did get some decent rain this week, which was good to hear. Droughts are so challenging as you don't know when it will end - I think getting off farm, talking with mates and making time for hobbies/other activities is really important. You are never alone in the drought situation either.
becgreaves : @Phoenix you might find this article I wrote for Country-Wide useful - it's about a year-round hogget grazing operation https://farmersweekly.co.nz/topic/crop-and-stock-management/view/building-a-better-two-tooth-ewe
Anna : @Morgan-Farms-Ltd Hi Wayne, great to have someone with your experience here! For those who are new to heat detection or just looking to brush up on their skills, how could they best access resources such as yours? Would you advise them to contact DairyNZ? Also, just out of interest, how do you feel about the use of interventions such as CIDR's, synch programs (PG) etc? Do you feel they have a place? Lots of people are aiming to shorten their calving spread, what would you recommend to them?
waikura : @Abi @administrators @Annie @becgreaves @Joanna-Purdie Hi there everyone, new to Rural Community (and it looks great), so here goes. Lots of great information shared above. As mentioned above management of this hideous disease does come down to personal farming goals which I guess will differ for everyone. Most goals will however most likely revolve around sustainability, profitability, environmental protection and ethics. That being said, breeding for tolerance is really the only strategy that covers all of the above. There are many ram breeders around the country that have highly FE tolerant sheep, and this doesn't mean that is all they have been breeding for. Fertility, growth etc are just as important in these flocks just as they are for everyone. Anyway, great to see the conversation being had and more information and where to find FE tolerant genetics can be found at www.fegold.co.nz
Annie : Cooking up a few lambs tails on the fire at the end of a big day...
Due to the lack of feed over winter we are considerably down on ewe numbers so thankfully we have had a good lambing. Really good survivability due the kind weather and improving feed conditions.
Anna : We have had this before, and in agreement with the herd owners, we took the 'direct' route so to speak, i.e. only mated for 10 weeks (we've since reduced that to 9 weeks). Whilst it was expensive for the herd owners due to the higher empty rate and the cost of interventions, they fortunately had enough replacements and it has paid for itself quickly as there has been much more milk in the vat/more days in milk every season since. We used CIDRs as a tool to help get those later calving cows cycling earlier; Vets can advise as to whether CIDR's or a PG/synchronisation programme could help, but from what I understand it is better to do those sorts of treatmnents earlier rather than later to get the best results.
Now with our own herd, we do 9 weeks mating (4 weeks AB, 5 weeks bulls) and strongly believe that a compact calving has many benefits.
James Annabell : Hi Rapheal, apologies if I came accross as bad mouthing other bee keepers, was certainly not the intention. We are from a sheep and beef farming background ourselves and we are aware (not just pub gossip) of honey companies bringing in the lawyers if farmers decide the relationship is not working and they want to look at other options.. As a result we opt for short term contracts and back ourselves to be invited back the next season knowing that we do as we promised. The intention was more to inform farmers of my thoughts, opinions and our model on the varying options that exist. Best of luck for the honey season ahead. James
Annie : Our Next Stage of Training
We start introducing our pups to stock quite young. James lets them see sheep and gauges their reaction. When they are showing an interest and wanting to chase stock he starts the next stage. This varies from pup to pup, but generally anywhere from 5/6months +.
A small mob of training sheep, maybe 5 quiet ewes, in a small paddock or large sheep yard is ideal. You want a fairly controlled environment where where you can easily intervene if the pup has any misdemeanours, ie. biting or cutting sheep off. It can be quite handy to clip a long rope on their collar so you can easily correct their behviour.
James encourages them to work the sheep, hopefully they will do it naturally. Ideally they should keep the small mob together and you need to correct them if they cut sheep off. There are no real commands at this stage, it's all about encouraging them and building their confidence. He probably does this with his young dog a few times a week at the end of the day, maybe more (generally dependant on if there's jobs to do at home... ), and for as long as they show interest. Any sign of disinterest (yawning, wandering off, going to the trough) it's time to stop. Quite often if they are getting bored he will clip them to the fence and work another dog in front of them for a while before putting them away. It can help to keep their interest up and keep them keen.
I'd love to hear what you do to start training your dogs?