It’s been a season out of the box so far for Bruce Wilton.
The Tatuanui dairy farmer estimates he will have to regrass and undersow as much as 20 per cent of his 97 hectare farm because of damage over spring from cow pugging.
“If someone had said to me I would be growing two tonnes a hectare less this year, I would believe them. I haven’t seen a year like it,” he told farmers at a Small Milk and Supply Herds field day held on his property.
“I look at all of the regrassing I have done in the last 10-12 years and I have destroyed that in the last five months. It’s been a pretty tough season. One I wouldn’t want to go through again to be fair. We’re still here.”
The farm’s soils are a mix of silt and sandy loams with the latter suffering bad pugging damage in some places following the wet spring. This weather also prevented Wilton from planting any summer crops.
“We have just decided that we will get our way through to the early summer and we’ll just do what we have to do.”
The lack of a feedpad, barn or standoff pad forced him to use a sacrifice paddock to stand the stock in. He may now look to improve the cow yards by installing rubber matting to avoid similar difficulties in future seasons.
Bruce is the fourth generation of his family to run the farm which this season is calving about 300 cows and is targeting 130,000 kilograms of milk solids.
As a director of the Tatua Cooperative Dairy Company, he is often off the farm and has herd manager Cain Burt keeping an eye on the operation.