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Topic-icon Drought!

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1 year 3 months ago #537321 by Ruth

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.

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1 year 3 months ago #537325 by WillNZ

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!!!

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1 year 3 months ago #537333 by hilldweller

Sounds like you've done all the right things Sue. Hoping you get some rain out of this current weather system. And when you've had enough, send it this way please.


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1 year 3 months ago #537337 by muri

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

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1 year 3 months ago #537341 by Ruth

muri wrote: ...And Ruth I do find we tend to get our average rainfall more or less each year ...

We're more likely to get more or less than the average.

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1 year 3 months ago #537345 by Sue

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!!


Sue
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1 year 3 months ago #537346 by Ruth

Half the people are below average intelligence.

Does that mean extra time for the calves before weaning, or just enough to feed everyone once weaned?

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1 year 3 months ago #537347 by Sue

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!


Sue
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1 year 3 months ago #537350 by ZummersetGirl

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 :angry: 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.

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1 year 3 months ago #537352 by Sue

Yay, the baleage arrived this afternoon, and so did the rain.



Light and steady for the last hour-yipee!



and don't the cows love it too


Sue
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1 year 3 months ago #537354 by Ruth

It looked like a blue blob over your place and I hoped that really did mean rain.

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1 year 3 months ago #537368 by ZummersetGirl

It rained! The tank gauge has moved and approx 1000l went in the tank. Will check the ground when I come home from work to see if it has made any difference. Sue, did you get much rain?

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1 year 3 months ago #537369 by Sue

Looks like we have had 14 mm since 4pm yesterday but a wild and windy night.


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1 year 3 months ago #537374 by Stikkibeek

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.


Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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1 year 3 months ago #537384 by Sue

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!



We opened another bale of gold dust and forked on a Ute load for the 19 animals in the run-off mob, who have had no added supplementsyet and are now down to munching the reeds beside the creeks. 8 heifers, 5 of the youngest cows and their calves and the bull.
They came when called!


and are now happily munching


So relief all round for cattle and humans!


Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.
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