GrassFed in the city

4 million kiwis telling our story

Stupid Horrible Staggers

March 28, 2020

So, it would be one thing to just post all the pretty pictures of farming.  Spiderwebs on a sunny frosty winter morning.  A purple sunset over the hay paddock.  A set of happy healthy quadruplit romney lambs (incidentally, there’s not much cuter).  I promise to take lots of these pictures this year – there is much gorgeousness in farming.

But what would be the point in only talking about the good bits? I can’t help but think that if food producers want to bring consumers closer to their food, then its time we share more about our farming lives – the good, the bad, and sadly sometimes, the ugly.

We’ve got rye-grass staggers in a mob of weaner bull calves at the moment.  These are young bulls, about 6 months old.  The drought has resulted an endophyte fungus at the base of our pasture which basically poisons young stock.  It’s causing our cattle to stagger – they have lost co-ordination, and easily fall over.   Its horrible, and you don’t want to go near them in case they feel under pressure – you definitely don’t want to try and move them into another paddock.  And we’ve had two die 😦 .  It sucks alot.

So what do we do?  We have bought in some grain meal for them for a couple of weeks, and are feeding hay as roughage.  Its not our ideal, we like to run a grass (pasture) only system.  However animal health is more important, and a concentrated feed, alongside not trying to move them, is the best thing we can do for them right now, and doesn’t make me think our farm is any less pasture based than what we were last week.  Maybe a bit like a family that tries to avoid junk food as much as possible, but then has a week where they end up with takeways twice – it’s ok.

Our kids are home from school due to the COVID-19 rahui.  And our 14 year old in particular is relishing in the opportunty to make himself an indespensible part of our team.  So far, we have a quad bike trailer rebuilt, and old motorbike being put back together, and a heap of loose fencing tightened and repaired.  A win for everybody so far, but I’ve no idea how I’m going to get him to the kitchen table for 9am online schooling in two weeks time.




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