Warning for farmers not to over-milk

JILL GALLOWAY
Last updated 12:00 20/05/2014

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Many dairy farmers are milking for longer than usual as they take advantage of good pasture growth and record milk prices.

"In areas where they haven't suffered drought, such as Kimbolton, Apiti and through Wairarapa, many farmers are still milking," said DairyNZ's regional manager James Muwunganirwa.

But he said most were likely to stop milking in the next few weeks as they aimed to get cows in reasonable condition for next spring's calving.

Muwunganirwa said dairy farmers in coastal areas of Horowhenua and around Otaki stopped milking four weeks early as they were hit by a dry period they said was worse than last year's drought. He and Rangiotu farmer Robert Ervine said it was warmer than normal and soil temperatures remained higher than expected, so pasture growth had kept going.

"It's about 30 per cent ahead of where it would normally be at this time of the year because of warm temperatures and adequate rainfall," said Ervine.

But Muwunganirwa warned farmers to be careful about milking for this year's record prices.

"Cow condition is reasonably good, but farmers have to now think of next spring's production, and they need to get cows to the right body condition to calve."

Ervine said while dairy farmers might milk on this season, they could easily compromise the higher producing spring.

"It's an awesome payout but farmers need to look at cow condition realistically."

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- Manawatu Standard

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