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Cycles and re-cycling

We have learned a lot in this long drought; stuff we have never had to do before. We load round and square hay bales with ease, pick up one tonne bags of pellets and scoop up mountains of cotton seed. We also have a special regime for small calves who have been early weaned from their mothers to give the cows a chance to recover.

In February this year we took off more than 400 calves. We had never early weaned before. In the past some of our weaners were huge and did not need any supplements at all; we sent them off to a paddock. But this year we had to seek help and expert advice and bring in special grain mixes and minerals to get the tiny calves through. We fed for months and only lost about 5. We did not anticipate we would have to do this again…so soon!

But now we have 150 small calves to feed. The supplier cannot give us the special grain mix so they are all on hay and pellets. However, they seem happy and quietened down after a few days. Their mothers are a few paddocks away and we feed them every day with hay and cotton seed. A load is soon to be sold.

No one thought this drought would last so long. Despite all our management we have no paddock with any feed at all and our creeks are muddy, dry puddles.

Even today as we fed the calves, the skies looked dark and there was a change in the air. But like all the weather cycles this year, it moved off, leaving no moisture at all, and dampening hopes.