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  • Writer's pictureWayne

Making hay while the sun shines - sigh. And the one million lambs/year target.

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Making hay is not want I wanted on this farm. In this high rainfall environment, the risk of rain ruining the quality is very high, but more importantly, we can make more profit by running more sheep than making hay. A lot more !!

However, as you know we are very understocked still and we have pasture coming out of our ears, despite not fertilising how I wanted to. So today I relented and a contractor came and cut down two paddocks and three 1ha ram paddocks for hay. The contractor thinks we'll make >300 rolls (5'x4') off the 17ha, but rain is forecast on Monday (today is Thursday), so it is going to be touch and go to make good quality hay.

Today, for the second time this year, we were in the yards tipping sheep and trimming their hooves. These are mainly the older girls we've acquired since we began. This time, we recorded the eID's of those we had to trim with severe problems. There were 92 out of 380 that will be culled over the coming months. Our elite ram, Cassius, is in with them at the moment so I might change my mind (because we still need to build sheep numbers and Cassius is one awesome looking ram with great ASBV's - Australian Sheep Breeding Values), but also because nearly all of the ones we trimmed were really nice looking ewes.

About 20 of them are 100-115kg (too big) and nearly all of the rest are >80kg. Still too big, but they would make great ewes for others where the ground is harder and drier, and they might be in lamb with baby Cassius's. Their structure is great, but their hooves grow too much for our environment.

We had three weeks of no rain in the last three weeks of October, and I am surprised how quickly our sand seam area died off (see the photo below). We were very wet before then. However, in the first four days of November, we've received 32mm of rain and everything is looking fresh again except on that sand seam. The kikuyu is looking very nice and lush underneath the ryegrass. More rain (~11mm at this stage) is forecast for Monday 9th Nov which will keep things green and fresh for longer.

I suppose I will need to show you a photo of hay bales next week. Sigh. That is not something I had planned on. Hopefully next year we will have our 5,500 ewes and 9,000 lambs eating the 185ha and we won't have the temptation again to ever make hay. 9,000 lambs x $150 each = $1.35m. Not bad for 185ha.

We've had many visitors wanting to have a look around and enquiring about investing into Caluka. I can't legally say much on this medium so if you are interested in investing, you are most welcome to come and see the farm and have a chat. However, please reserve a time as far ahead as possible as we are very busy with the farm work and showing many visitors around. I would love to show you around without interruptions.

This is year two of my aim to be producing greater than one million lambs per year by year 10. Financially things are looking much better for us to achieve that goal. My plan is that when we have enough scale, we will not allow in any more shareholders so as to protect the exisiting shareholders who have stepped out in faith to enable this venture to happen. Come and chat to me if you are interested while looking at what we are achieving.

Guess where our sand seam is! This side of the farm is the sandy side, but there is a very gutless white sand seam that couldn't cope with three weeks of no rain in warm, sunny conditions. Long term, I will mix clay into that area one day. The paddock in the foreground is ~24 days away from being grazed.

Something interesting we've noticed. This is the mob of ultrawhite weaners and 700 merino trade wether lambs. The ultrawhites like to walk on the gravel track and the merinos on the grass, in general. Interesting but I have no idea why.

This is why we cut this and other paddocks for hay. It is going to waste.

Lima (foreground) and Foxtrot (behind the tree line and on the left) paddocks were cut for hay today.

Romeo 4 paddock that has just been cut for hay.

I don't like opening gates at this time of year.

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