Muri, I keep reducing stock numbers because of climatic shift but in the end you don't think it's going to get as bad as Sue's place now looks. How was that predictable after the wet? Averages are somewhere in the middle of things; the wetness, or ordinary rainfall, could easily have continued through spring and summer. This year didn't have to hit an average figure by not raining for several months. That is not a given.
Those of us who breed over a long period will never simply destock; we can't do that without entirely changing what we're doing.
I think the only thing predictable about the weather lately is it's unpredictability!
In 2016 we had nearly 3m of rain here [west coast near Raglan], 2017 was heading in the same direction, [not as much but certainly was going to exceed 2m], until November when the big rain switch was pulled and we went from flooded, soggy paddocks to nothing.
The other thing was that our rainwater tanks remained almost full from towards the end of 2015, right through 2016 and almost through 2017 due to continuous regular rainfall. Previous seasons we always had to be careful in summer as they would get very low or run out due to the 'normal' dry summer conditions.
I have been monitoring weather for more than 20 years via an electronic weather station which stores data every minute [yes, tons and tons of data], and the one thing that stands out over that time is the weather events are becoming very much more intense. Total rainfall has increased a little over that time, but the intensity of events has dramatically changed. Daily rainfall often is now hourly rainfall. Who knows where we are heading?
I think trying to read anything into what has gone before to predict the future is like stabbing at getting lotto numbers right. Mother nature is a cranky old lady who will always strive to be unpredictable just to keep us mere mortals on our toes!!!
No Sue, nothing personal in my comments, I feel we may need to re-think stocking rates based on the possibility of climatic extremes becoming more prevalent.
And Ruth I do find we tend to get our average rainfall more or less each year so it seems logical to me if we have already had the average by sept, then we can expect drought ahead.
It seems a pattern that is quite regular.
Culling animals you want to keep is never easy but it can be less stressful than trying to take them through a situation with insufficient feed.
Hopefully everyone will get rain from this storm, we are just getting our first rain in a month and it is very welcome
It is really humid and overcast here at present-28C. The forecasted 18 mm for up to midnight Thursday has progressively lessened during the day and now the forecast stands at 4.2 mm.
We will be lucky to get anything at all out of this at this rate!
Baleage bought is now on the truck and being delivered shortly-then we will all be happy again, for at least 2, possibly 3 months.
Re the dreaded 'average' it doesn't conveniently fall as an average-but one would expect that in a reasonably reliable climate that you might get at least 50% of an average months rainfall, not 10%!
My current stocking rate is 2 acres per adult cattle beast, which is rather low for this area on good quality farmland with a supposed average rainfall between 900 and 1400 mm supposedly falling throughout the year!!
I think it means we can feed the cows adequately but will still wean the calves earlier than normal, starting soon with the heifers, which will give the cows to resort to maintenance rations rather than milking rations-and the calves can have ad lib baleage and 'Fibre fresh'. My plan is to fill the feeders with baleage and feed the cows in one paddock while the grass attempts to recover in the other 7, once we get some rain of course!
With the amount of rain we had last year and our clay soil being too wet to prepare I decided not to plant any new trees and, oh boy, am I pleased about that. Whilst we have had rain (according to the weather forecast) the amount hardly moved the rainwater tank gauge. It seemed to evaporate before it hit the ground or went around the house It is cloudy, hot and humid here at present. I have doubts that we will get any meaningful rainfall based on recent experience of promised rain never arriving:( I feel for you Sue as having to move on an animal that you have spent time and effort into rearing can be heartbreaking esp. in circumstances like no rain.
Yay, the baleage arrived this afternoon, and so did the rain.
Looks like we have had 14 mm since 4pm yesterday but a wild and windy night.
Howling gale blowing here with a smattering of horizontal rain. No trees down I can see from the house, but I'm about to step out and feed the chooks so might get a different perspective then.
After mainly wind, but 14 mm of rain since 4pm to 7 am we were back to blue skies this morning. Pleased to say it is clouding over again!
After lying awake listening to the wind and imagining the cows all clustered round the feeder filling their guts all night-I imagined going down and finding them either dead or bloated this morning!
No, a very contented bunch of 23 sitting around chewing cud and the calves were able to access the remaining feed in the feeder, even though it is adult cow size, because it was still half full!