Manage stock, despatch rodents, ducks

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By Phil McKinnon

Gidday. Stock and pasture management, pest control and duck shooting – the right tool for the job makes all the difference.


The Farmlands Post is a series of monthly round-ups of seasonal issues that may affect your farm or block, and a few words on how to tackle them.

Your local store, Farmlands Hautapu, also has a special offer each month for Tamahere Forum readers – in May a 15% discount off the retail price on all Eukanuba and Iams pet foods. Click here for the Farmlands May Voucher to print (pdf).

Managing pasture and stock

Managing the amount of grass on your property becomes important as we head into the winter months. The cooler conditions reduce ground temperatures and, consequently, grass growth. The weather also has an impact. Without good management wet, soggy ground can mean low grass utilisation, fouling of pasture and soil pugging damage.

Pasture is the cheapest form of feed and if it is properly managed will grow more feed and respond far quicker too improving climatic conditions. Pugged and overgrazed pasture will take a long time to recover and in all likelihood lead to costs arising from poor animal health and bought-in feed.

So, while Mother Nature could throw anything at us we can consider a few things we can control through late autumn and winter.

  • Ensure there is a good amount of grass cover as winter begins.
  • Determine how much you will feed your stock by deciding whether your aim is to maintain their condition or boost their growth.
  • Break feed your stock using movable electric fences, allocating only enough pasture each day to meet their daily requirements. The grass generally still grows well in May but you can provide some supplements if you are short of pasture.
  • Back fence your stock preferably daily but at least weekly to stop them returning to recently grazed pasture and eating new growth. It will allow pastures to keep growing.
  • Use portable water troughs while back fencing as access to water is critically important even through the winter.
  • Check your electric fence units are working properly to avoid break outs. The major cause of mains powered units not performing properly normally comes down to poor earthing at the unit. Apply the 4-3-2-1 rule;
    • 4 metres between earth stakes
    • 3 earth stakes minimum
    • 2 metres minimum length of earth stakes
    • 1 wire connecting all earth stakes
  • In wet, puggy conditions stand stock off pastures if possible and feed supplements. Use cattle yards, race areas, or gravel areas around buildings. If this isn’t possible consider a sacrifice area – an area on your block where you can hold stock in wet weather. It will cut up and get messy after a number of uses but at least it is only a single area that will require attention in spring. The balance of your block will be in good growing order.
  • Consider applying nitrogen fertiliser to give pastures a growth boost (when ground temperatures are above 10 degrees). It will also reduce pasture burning or turning yellow after frosts.

More technical information on pasture growth rates, maintenance requirements, and assessing pasture covers is available on the Lifestyle block website.

Farmlands Hautapu can help you with all your fencing requirements, including all electric fence gear. Farmlands stocks both Gallagher and Tru-Test products.

Rodent control

When the weather cools and feed becomes scarce for rats and mice they tend to shift indoors. One of the latest ways to deal with these pests is the New Zealand-invented Nooski trap. It shows no mercy to rodents. Check it out on the Nooski website. The less squeamish can also find an action video on YouTube.

Duck shooting

It’s duck shooting season. Visit the Farmlands store to check out ammo, the flashest cammo gumboots I’ve ever seen and feed options as well. We are currently offering some great specials on ammo.

Farmlands is a co-operative and many of our customers are also Farmlands shareholders. But please note that you don’t have to be a shareholder to shop at Farmlands. There are, however, many benefits in becoming a shareholder, including discounts on products.

Anyone can become a shareholder – just talk to us next time you are in store to find out how.

Phil McKinnon is Business Manager of Farmlands Hautapu

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