A winter of contradictions - Farm Focus

A winter of contradictions

A winter of contradictions

August 2021

2021 has been a winter of contradictions with June temperatures being the warmest on record and then July started out really cold – suffice to say we all have our own opinions dependent on where we live across the country!

There has been a drought recorded as agents report a shortage of heifers coming to market. They say this has had a roll-on effect with some farmers keeping older cows longer to cover this lack of replacements which in turn could affect calving rates next season.

Weather and stocking challenges are not new for farmers, and for every challenge, there is usually a silver lining or none of us would be in the business!

As one of the thousands who got along to National Fieldays earlier this year I noticed an increase in optimism despite some tough times mostly associated with COVID. While many continue to be affected by labour shortages, and a lack of replacement parts and machinery caused by holdups at the border, the atmosphere was one of optimism with farmers more positive than they have been in a while.

Events such as Fieldays are an important date in rural calendars because they are one of the few opportunities for farmers and their families to get off the farm and catch up with others in their community. This simple break in routine provides a respite from the daily grind plus a refresh and reset for the season ahead.

Lastly a big pat on the back for farmers in the deep south. Their efforts to mitigate pasture damage and run off while improving health outcomes for stock have earned praise from regional council, DairyNZ and Lamb NZ groups who reported good buffering and critical source area management is in place following a recent audit in the region.

This should be great news for all farmers working hard to protect waterways and mitigate soil damage during the winter months, and another reminder for the few stragglers yet to get up to speed to not let the sector down.

Regards, Brian