With one of the driest Junes on record, what will July hold for us? For those that received big early rains, the dry spell in June was well received and gave the diesel junkies a chance to get back onto cropping paddocks.
For the pasture lovers what does it all mean? In most areas we are still very well placed for the season with pasture growth rates well above average up to this point. The star performer in our travels has undoubtedly been Holdfast GT Phalaris. For the regular readers, you will know that i have always been a big fan, but this year that plant has taken it to a whole new level. It opens options, and every person i know that has it on their farm is raving about it. Keep it in mind for the future.
With great pasture growth rates, achieving target feed on offer for lambing has been much easier this year. But don't slip into complacency. A dry July could see things start to tighten up later in the season. I have been told plenty of times that "you only ever get one spring in a year" and i am pretty confident in saying that much of southern Victoria has already had one this year. So my message is to stay on your toes. Don't relax too much as one of two things is probably going to happen.
a) it will rain in July/August/September and we end up with the best season ever recorded. If that happens you will be dealing with rampant pastures and the risk of poor feed quality from early in the spring. That can be just as damaging to lamb growth rates as not enough feed. So don't relax too much if that happens!
b) things tighten up, and the spring is barely ok, or shit house. With the stored soil moisture that most have, i suspect we would still get through ok, but it will take some juggling to keep lambs charging along.
Either way, you will need some agility in your management. The worst thing you can do is get too comfortable, and right now things are heading that way for many producers. I hate surprises, but I have a feeling this year will deliver some. "Gee i thought they would be doing better than that" is not something I want to be hearing from you.
Weather is the one thing you can't control. There are a million other things you can. Whether the season gets better, worse, or just plods along, keep working hard to manage it the best you can. Relax at your peril.