Believe it or not this is a story about growing grass.
Rolling green hills, seascapes and briescapes ( not that I think either of our processors make soft cheeses out of our milk – what a shame).
Recognise the backdrop
Four days earlier it looked like this
This wedding was in November and the bride and groom and the photographer Peter Merison did a rekkie for wedding photos at Clover Hill in late September.
When Peter knocked on the door and asked if he could take wedding photos in the front paddock little did he know how much preparation would go into the timing of the cows eating the paddock off in order to have the grass at the perfect height (and manure free- well almost) to provide the best experience for all parties concerned including most importantly the cows .
The weather was perfect, the grass was perfect, the photos look superb and if the wedding blog is anything to go by the wedding was perfect.
Now back to the finely tuned art form of growing grass for best practice pasture based dairying.
Looking back from the west to the dairy and the paddock in front of my house – can you see it?
This picture was taken in the spring and the grass in the forefront of this paddock is almost perfect. A nice blend of oats and annual rye grass at just the right height, with high energy (carbohydrate) levels and balanced protein content.
Good dairy farmers know their grass so well they can pretty accurately estimate the energy and protein levels of the grass just by looking at it at any given point of the year. Take my word for it this grass is short and sweet and the cows quicken their step when they saw it.
During spring our rotation (number of days its takes the cows to eat off every paddock on the farm) is approximately fourteen days and thanks to the temperate weather and high rainfall this year our current rotation is still 14 days as the ryegrass is still hanging in there. As ryegrass is a cooler climate grass normally at this time of the year it would be too hot and the ryegrass will have died out or gone to seed (grass loses 40% of its energy content when it goes to seed) and the kikuyu will have taken over.
Good dairy farmers are always casting their eyes over their paddocks on a day to day basis to pick the best grass for their cows. If one paddock has got away (the grass is past its peak ) and another paddock is at the perfect stage you go with the paddock that is perfect otherwise you spend your time chasing your tail. Our cows go into a different paddock after every milking. This allows us to pick a paddock with good shade for the hottest part of the day. This means we need to pick three ideal paddocks every day.
Yesterday when we bought the cows home from Jack’s paddock we had a number of options which is always a good thing unless more than one paddock is past its best by date. We chose this one known as the dam paddock (for obvious reasons) or paddock 27
Each paddock has a number but they also have another name that often has no relevance to the present. Jack’s paddock has an historical significance. Jack and Viv used to own the 100 acres next door and as we have fond memories of them I imagine this paddock will be called Jack’s paddock for a long while yet.
Back to the wedding. How impressive does this look
and my favourite photo from the blog
Wedding photos in this blog have been used with permission