A week ago I observed that here in the Waikato we needed rain, and lots of it. In the comments, Cactus Kate took issue with my reasoning:
Good farmers have stores of feed for such events, there’s a record payout and if it doesn’t rain in the Waikato estimate are a 5% drop in production.
Hmm. Cactus is a farmer’s daughter so maybe she knows more about this than me, a mere farmer’s grandson. But let’s hear from a real farmer, shall we? Lyn Webster writes the excellent “Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce” column in the Taranaki Daily News and explains here why this year good farmers don’t have stores of feed for such events, and why despite the recent rain they are still worried:
Normally in November we expect grass growth (which is governed by sunshine and moisture) to exceed cow demand. That means more grass grows on the farm than the cows can eat and that is when we shut paddocks up and grow a surplus. [. . .]
This season milk production took a kick in the guts with over a month of solid rain in September, which was tough on the cows. We made it through that and started looking for paddocks to lock up for silage. Fast rounds were necessary to fully feed the cows and when it didn’t rain for 10 days, then 20, alarm bells started to ring. [. . .]
As soon as it rains the dry matter in the grass drops and the base of the pasture (if there is any base left) starts to rot, so the feed immediately available to the cows is less palatable than the dry stuff. This ‘rot down’ is unavoidable but usually happens in the autumn. We manage it by feeding supplements which we usually make in November . . . oh, that’s right, we didn’t make any this season.
In other rain-related news, here is beautiful Randy Crawford lip-synching beautifully to Tony Joe White’s ballad “Rainy Night in Georgia”, from her 1981 album Secret Combination. I met her once and she really did look like that:
And just for good luck here is David Ruffin, who brought rain to the Waikato last week. I posted on Wednesday a clip of him with the Temptations singing “I Wish It Would Rain” and lo, it did rain the following Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Here’s hoping he can do it again: