with Bill Webb
Bill Webb Feed Solutions
We have had a bit of rain since the last edition of Coast & Country News, so things are greening up and farmers can look forward positively.
Next season’s milk payout is looking good. The latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries is indicating that exports are up more than what they expected; it’s shaping up to be a good year for sheep, beef, dairy and horticulture going forward.
With a wet start and a dry end to summer, it’s predicted grass grub numbers could be up so everyone needs to keep an eye out. Farmers can just dig a bit of soil and count the number of grubs found and make decisions from this. The army caterpillar could also be around the corner as new grasses get put in. This caterpillar also easily tackles lucerne and hickory and brassica crops too.
Recently there’s been talk of how plantain can reduce nitrogen from cow urine and how the plant’s roots also lock more nitrate into soil, preventing run-off into waterways.
The Tararua Plantain Project, involving upper Manawatu farmers, has recently secured funding through the Sustainable Farming Fund.
We’ve done crops of plantain and red and white clover before, which make quite good stands of feed for cows. It’s also a bit more drought-tolerant and produces less nitrogen than perennial ryegrass – as does lucerne. So plantain and lucerne could be worth considering – it could be ideal to plant next to waterways to reduce nitrate leaching.
Farmers will still be focusing on pasture renovation, fertiliser dressing will be going on and it’s a good time to get any lime requirements done now while the ground is not wet and there’s not as much wind as in spring and the truck can get around. Keeping spray drift or lime dust to a minimum will keep your neighbours happy! If there is going to be an issue, please warn them – let them know so they can get their washing in or go out for the day.
Farm maintenance should be looked at now while it is nice and dry. Get farm tracks and drainage - that get wet during winter and spring - fixed up before wet weather arrives.
Most herds will be on once-a-day now so it’s an ideal time to focus on maintenance – tackle those projects you haven’t got to while you’ve been busy during the season, but remember to take a break too. Having time off will recharge the mind and the batteries.
Our maize harvest has finished – it was a reasonable season considering the weather and conditions.
We’ve got a bit of demand for feed, as people replace the feed they fed out in the last 6-8 weeks while it’s been dry. We still have some quality bales of silage available as well as plenty of hay and straw available.