It's been 8 weeks since our last rain that stayed long enough to penetrate the hot ground. On 31st October to 2nd November, we received 24mm. It's been hot and dry since then, but the kikuyu is still growing very nicely. From a distance, the paddocks look rather brown, but up close, you can see the green kikuyu underneath. Because of the lack of rain since the pastures browned off, the quality of the dry pastures are still good.
As for our sheep, we have sold some cull ewes and some weaners, with ~1,600 trade merinos and weaners still to be sold. Our trade merinos suffered some worm problems and needed drenching again, though our ultrawhites are still having low egg counts. So we are waiting for the ESI period to end before selling the merinos. The merinos are vastly inferior to the ultrawhites. They are so much slower growing, are so much more susceptible to worms, and need constant attention to fly strike. The ultrawhites on the other hand need much less attention and have no problems gaining weight.
As you can see in the photos below, the ultrawhite ewes are well fleshed out. I am looking forward to selling all of the trade merinos.
One mob of ultrawhite ewes are lambing, with the majority being twins so far. Our other ewes in lamb are being scanned on the 6th January. Green tag ewes in that mob will be given a second chance if they are dry, but older ewes will be culled. And our third mob of ewes are our smaller green tag ewes we are fattening up for joining in late February.
We now have 5 alpacas in with the lambing ewes and we are baiting (1080) around the farm to control as many foxes as we can. Crows are in abundance but at the moment are not causing significant lamb losses like they have done previously.
When we sell the remaining trade merinos, we will have bought and sold ~3,300 of them. The first ones arrived in April this year, and the first sales were in June. We have done well financially with these, but could have fattened up at least 2,000 more of them. All this on 185ha, plus our own ultrawhite ewes and rams. We currently have ~4,300 sheep on the property plus new lambs arriving each day.
In the photos below, the Bravo paddock is still performing substantially better than all others. This is the paddock that received a much higher dose of fertiliser in May. The lambing ewes have not been able to eat it down at the time of writing (28th Dec). All paddocks in 2020 will be fertilised more, like was done to Bravo, to grow the extra feed needed for the higher numbers of sheep that we intend to have on the property.
We are still waiting on the lawyers advice and as soon as it arrives, all shareholders will be sent a detailed letter of our plans to grow from here. We have some exciting growth news I look forward to sharing with you ASAP.