With change ahead Andrew Bendall, manager of high country station Lochar Downs, Cromwell, is planning on a marathon run.

Farm stuff later, we must all know someone who has had an accident leaving them with a spinal injury. Absolutely changing there lives forever, for them their love ones and people around them.

So, in November this year I’m joining about 18 others and running the New York Marathon as part of the “Catwalk Trust Team” fund raising for spinal injury research.

I’m always in true admiration of the ability and determination of people who can create positivity and motivation to others from their own sheer grit not to let their disability hold them back.

Why run? let alone marathons. Well for me, it’s great for my head space and a time to think and plan or sometimes just let one’s mind drift.

We have had a “get out of jail” autumn, which has meant we have been able to carry stock longer and try to achieve better weights.

The challenge for me is twofold, one a personal goal of a “sub three-hour” marathon, which is considerably quicker than my PB and certainly going to take some training. The second is to raise $10,000 for the research of Spinal Injury so will take anyone’s donations with sincere appreciation. The link is: https://catwalk2018nycmarathon.gofundraise.co.nz/page/AndrewBendall0

What pain looks like with 200 metres to go. Andrew Bendall in the Queenstown Marathon 2017.

Back to the farm and below you’ll see my plan written in the last column in January 2018

R2 cattle are booked to go early Jan. – Tick.

18 months bulls contracted to go Feb, may go early Feb rather late Feb at lighter weights – These have just gone in late May, combination of not gaining weight in January and February and tight space for bulls.

Re-evaluate budgeted bull exit weights – Being done continuously, will average 280kgcwt vs 295kgcwt.

Ewes will be culled and have the culls booked to be killed – Tick and got damned good money for cull ewes.

Two-tooth rams (breeding rams for Headwaters) will be gone early Feb, however they are replaced by 2000 hoggets in April. – Tick

400 calves will go on 15ha Interval rape (40-50 days’ grazing) – Tick, these didn’t gain as much as I wanted but it kept them off my diminishing grass covers.

R2 dairy will be preg tested as soon a practical. – Tick, 5% dries.

Will re evaluate whether external lambs will be finished on chicory or do calves go on to it. – Finished 1000 Te Mana Omega lambs off 10ha at an average of 18.35kg cwt.

Have ordered more balage as have a feeling I’ll have to be feeding R2 heifers supplements in March. – Tick and due to continuous rain in February we made extra balage of our own.

Other than that, it’s business as usual, a busy year ahead for Rhonda and I with some winter travel planned, plenty of non-ag but onfarm projects going on. This is the plan that has changed the most as I have accepted a position as Breeding Manager for Headwaters NZ, starting July 1, so the extent of our winter travel has changed somewhat. So, if I get to continue writing these pieces I will evaluate the last 5.5 years at Lochar Downs and give you all a rundown of my new position.

We have had a “get out of jail” autumn, which has meant we have been able to carry stock longer and try to achieve better weights. The biggest cost for us this autumn, running at a high stocking rate and very quick paddock rotation has been bloat in our yearling cattle from clover-dominant pastures. The most annoying aspect of it is, it’s avoidable. So, a system change will be implemented.

But now it’s time to start transitioning stock on to fodder beet which has yielded very well (a figure I’m keeping to myself as if I boast too much the stocking rate expectation goes up) and weighing of all yearling cattle into weight ranges and giving them a drench and 10/1 vaccine.

Here’s to a great winter!