BUT WHICH STOCK DO YOU SELL AND WHICH DO YOU KEEP?

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature - You need to con­sider:

• which can be fin­ished and sold; • which will be the most valu­able when the drought breaks; • which have a good chance of sur­vival; • which do you have the ca­pac­ity to feed.

Draw up a list of pri­or­i­ties for or­der of sale, and set dead­lines for ac­tion. Do not wait un­til stock lose con­di­tion. Pri­or­ity 1: All un­pro­duc­tive stock, eg, un­thrifty, empty, aged and/or bro­ken-mouthed, cull lambs/weaner calves. Pri­or­ity 2: Aged stock, steers/wethers, maiden ewes/heifers and wean­ers. Pri­or­ity 3: Preg­nant or calv­ing heifers, and all an­i­mals that are dif­fi­cult to feed on grain. Pri­or­ity 4: Pro­gres­sive re­duc­tion of breed­ing stock num­bers, leav­ing a nu­cleus of proven ewes and cows, 4-6 years old.

• TOSS grain over hay, or feed out af­ter feed­ing hay – let sheep into an area where you have run a long line of grain along the ground, about 4cm deep and 10cm wide; do this be­fore you let the sheep in or they will tend to run over it and waste it.

• CAT­TLE need to be fed grain sup­ple­ments in a feeder as they are less able to eat it off the ground and there is a lot of wastage.

• SHEEP can­not be main­tained on grain alone and re­quire pickings from pas­ture stub­ble or straw. Saliva pro­duced while eat­ing straw or pas­ture is rich in bi­car­bon­ate, help­ing to neu­tralise acid in the ru­men. In ad­di­tion, fi­bre present in the ru­men helps to neu­tralise acids.

• CON­TINUE feed­ing hay and sup­ple­ments un­til new grass growth is over 3cm+. Young stock, in par­tic­u­lar, will be at risk from par­a­sites once rain re­turns and grass starts grow­ing as it will con­tain large num­bers of par­a­sitic eggs. Graz­ing too soon is a big risk so try to wait un­til pas­ture is at least 3cm long, but prefer­ably longer, and be vig­i­lant in check­ing an­i­mals for signs of par­a­sites.

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