I’m sure that the weather would have cooled by the time this article goes to print.
Summer has rained highs and lows on us
Murray Dairy has resources to help avoid haystack fires. Photo by Ray Sizer

What is usually a short sharp reminder of summer heat at the end of February turned into what felt like a lingering month of hot afternoons in March, something the cows hated more than me.

It’s not all bad though — earlier summer rainfall and low water prices have meant that this year’s summer crops (maize in particular) came in below budget, coupled with a dry harvest period, there weren’t many excuses for underperformed crops.

Hay, however, was a different situation.

In a typical swings and roundabouts scenario, the rain which we welcomed on our crops, also caused some serious moisture and subsequent combustion issues for hay growers.

This year saw a huge amount of haystack fires. Murray Dairy has put several quick glance, snap-shot type guides for managing haystacks, have a farm table sit down with your crew — even something as simple as someone noticing the smell which is commonly described as sweet tobacco should be enough to trigger some protocols for checking the stack.

The Murray Dairy Young Dairy Network (YDN) has a fantastic selection of workshops running — it’s great to see the next generation participating in what are ‘foundation basics’ of farming.

If you’ve got a young person on your farm, please talk to them about joining a YDN in your neighbourhood — make it a night out and meet some other like-minded young people.

Contact Pheobe Dillon on 0438638676 or head on over to their Facebook page: Murray Dairy – Young Dairy Network.

Dr Nollaig Heffernan is heading our way again this year in early May.

Nollaig is an independent consultant from Ireland who specialises in leadership and organisational psychology.

Her events are always booked out when she is over here — she has a real passion for helping employers to become ‘employers of choice’.

I see this year she has also included an evening for young farmers to help with strategies to help them on their career path in dairy.

Keep an eye out on eNews and Murray Dairy communications to book your spot. She’ll be in Echuca-Moama on May 1, Barooga on May 2 and Tallangatta on May 3.

Lastly, I hope your autumn sowing programs are well and truly in full swing or close to completion, and you’ve got a strategy for the next few months that covers every weather scenario, because no-one seems game to commit to any solid predictions at the moment.

Either way, we’ll be managing mastitis from mud, or a dry winter.

Rachael Napier is the Murray Dairy chair.

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