But we kept looking forward – January is our harvest month – traditionally hot and dry as we like it, to make sure we can finish the grains at top quality. Of course you know what happened – not one but two tropical cyclones moved south toward New Zealand dropping 128 mm of rain in North Canterbury!! So harvest was very tricky, dodging the wet, juggling the harvest schedule, grains in and out of the drying silo, … in the end all was safely done with only little losses but again not an easy row to hoe. The yields of the winter cereals were of course low, but Dinkel did grow on irrigated land, which mad a big difference. And the Biodynamic husbandry brings real benefits that is clear, the quality of rye, wheat and dinkel is wonderful; golden grain with good protein levels and low levels of weed seed contamination.
With the ewes away, the lambs gone and no finishing cattle left on the farm, the January rains have been able to produce grass that was not immediately eaten off. We hope that root reserves can be built leading to a bank of feed to take into the autumn/winter. It also helped germinate the first winter feed sowings, and boosted grass levels for the replacement ewe lambs. Unfortunately February saw a return to hot and dry with under half the normal rainfall … predictions are for a developing La Nina event in the winter, so it could well remain dryer than normal until then … we’re now hoping the freshly germinated winter feed doesn’t get lost!