Dairy: Some advance planning now will ease the calving burden in January
My children have written and posted their letters to Santa listing the presents they are hoping for.
My personal Christmas list is always a list of jobs to be done over this quieter period so we are set up for the spring, and the onslaught of 2016 calving. I find this very useful - and important - because it's very easy to get in the holiday mode once the cows are dry.
With all these distractions, the end of January arrives rather quickly and with calving looming there's an urgency to have the system set up once again. So some advance planning certainly helps in our preparations.
Top farm priorities for me during the dry period is the timely dosing and vaccination of stock, maintenance and a thorough cleaning of the parlour and dairy, and preparation of the calving and calf-rearing facilities.
I think there is nothing better than being able to put a freshly born calf into a clean and bedded pen where feeders are clean and ready for use with everything you need being where it's needed.
However, even when you think you are ready you may still find yourself rushing around trying to find a stomach tube or flutter valve for example.
Unfortunately, at this time of year there's also a big list of paperwork to be done. Getting the accounts up to date and finalised for January analysis is a job that I insist on each member of my discussion group completing.
While we could all leave this up to the accountant, when you're looking down the barrel of a base price of less than 26c per litre, knowing what it costs you to produce a litre of milk is crucial.