Farm advice: recharge before mating season

With calving almost over, Jane Muir, DairyNZ people team leader, talks about how to recharge your team’s batteries before the mating season kicks in

With calving over for most, now is a good time to reflect on how it went, celebrate, and recharge your and your team’s batteries before the mating season kicks off.

I’m sure a few of you are relieved that it’s over, given all the rain we’ve had this winter, making conditions challenging to say the least. For those of you still calving, hang in there, you’re nearly on the other side.

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Asking your team for their feedback on how this year’s calving went may provide some insight to help next year’s go more smoothly. What went well? What could be improved? What challenges did they face? Their answers might surprise you.

It’s also a good opportunity to thank them for all the hard work they’ve put in. I’m sure some of you who have finished calving may have already celebrated by taking your team out for dinner or drinks to unwind. Once calving is over, encourage your team to take
a break to make sure they don’t burnout during mating season because they are still drained from calving. Also encourage them to get off farm to do an activity they like, catch up with friends, and have a few sleep-ins.

It’s also good to start making plans for the mating season so that your team is ready to hit the ground running. Work with your team to create a plan.

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I find this time of the year is also good to ask your team to start thinking about what their plans are over the Christmas holidays and New Year’s, so you can ensure everyone gets time off and no one misses out, as you have sufficient time to sort out cover and arrange a relief milker.

If you’re likely to be managing the holiday season with a skeleton team, decide who will be the backup if something goes wrong. 

For more information, visit dairynz.co.nz/people.

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