Saturday, January 25, 2014

Good start to the lamb season

So far so good, certainly a better start to the season than last year when the three months leading up to New Year were so dry. This Jan have had nearly 90mm rain and the place is hanging on pretty good despite a heap of drying wind the last week.
We're 100 lamb sales ahead of same time last year, and at a bit over $93 gross per, nearly $20 ahead on price as well.
Even so, to be really comfortable over here, you need to achieve at least $100 per head.
Our annual draft of 15 month heifers made a couple of dollars less than last year, at last weeks local store female cattle sale, and were actually about 5kg lower av lwt as well, so the market's pretty consistent, $753 av gross for 336kg lwt.
Have been seriously comparing the merits of the commercial ewe flock vs same su's in beef cows, and although the annual gross with a beef herd is a lot lower, the net profit is nearly double.
Will be keeping these surplus heifers next year and putting them to the bull with the others, with a view to at very least, increase the beef herd size.
Past experience has shown they'll get in calf here at 250kg and up, at yearling stage, and this years 2 yo's calved 100%, with no assistance necessary, a really good achievement coming out of last summer's drought.

Draft muster, New Year 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

More on the Quad Bike Issue

Another child's lost it's life in a quad accident, 6 year old, rolled into a ditch and pinned under the machine, had a helmet on but that's no protection against water, and the weight of a quad on a small body.
Public reaction's reached a crescendo with one recent letter to the editor of the DomPost stridently advocating policing and fining of farmers not obeying OSH recommendations, that should be made into law, and policed whatsmore.
Just how he thinks that's going to happen worries me as a land-owner. Are police going to run spy drones over farmland or what?
If this is an indication of Wellington sentiment, then Prime Minister John Key only got it half right when he said, in a misquoted context, Wellington was dying. I'd say its already brain-dead, particularly when you add into account the ongoing NIMBY saga's of resistance to any change, the Basin Over-pass, the Kapiti Expressway, and the preference to impose on one farmer's life with the Transmission Gully project instead of the cheaper re-location option of the 75 or so householders to upgrade the existing highway route.
Fortunately, a voice of reason appeared on Friday in another letter to the editor, from none other than the Operations General Manager, Work Safe NZ, who reiterated the four principles; always wear a helmet, choose the right vehicle for the job, be trained and experienced enough for the task, and no kids allowed.
Although it conflicts statistically with a coroner investigating 5 quad related deaths, she also said there was only one quad related workplace death in 2013, and the message was getting through.
People like Gerry Cuneen who advocate getting tough on farmers need to realise just how severely bureaucratic attitudes affect employment, I won't employ people, full-stop, if I'm to be responsible for every foible of their character.
And as for kids on quads, I got sick to death years ago, of visiting townies turning up here with undisciplined kids whose ingrained belief was that they could have a burn around on somebody else's $15,000 machine, then look at me like I'm some sort of shit when I wouldn't refill the fuel tank for them.
Those days are long past.
I saw a statistic some time ago, that 45% of farm related bike accidents were actually ocurred by visitors.
Thankyou for your comment Work Safe Ona de Rooy.
I've had bikes on this place since 1965, I dont wear a helmet all the time, but I always do if the task might eventually include risk.
I do service and maintain my machinery regularly, and generally look after them, always have.
I have a range of machines to select for different jobs.
I rarely let anyone else drive or passenger on them.
My father was an ag contractor/farmer, an artisan at his ag work, and a stickler for looking after machinery.
That's my grounding, he put me in control of a tractor in my early teens after riding with him since primary school age. I got severely reprimanded for the few minor accidents I had, and touch wood, have never had an incident of import since, mainly due to never exceeding around 20kph, I think.
I've noted recently, OSH personnel saying theyre targeting older farmers for their arrogance on this point, and that we're just as likely to be involved in serious incidents.
I'd say that's more a quirk of the farmer demographic being loaded to the over 50's age group end.
I'm just waiting for the day OSH turn up here to give me the once over, probably female, half my age, getting paid twice what I make off my humble "square", and telling me how to suck eggs.
But I hope its Ona de Rooy, or someone she's trained to be as realistic.
Just read that 8 people died last year in bicycle accidents on the road. I wonder if the Wellington PC police are going to start preventative surveillance on townies.
So far as us rural folk are concerned it would be far simpler to deny ACC payout on any claim where breach of the 4 quad safety rules was evident.
In the meantime, we should do a lot better at being safe on quads, not so much to avoid personal injury, but simply to avoid the attention getting focussed on us by, and any further growth of, the PC police.