NZ Lifestyle Block

Jobs for May

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Pasture

• Do you have low-nutrient pastures (paspalum, summer grass, crowfoot) in your paddocks? These often germinate or smother bare patches, left after a dry summer. Through autumn, they can make it seem as if a paddock is growing well. But these semi-tropical grasses disappear at the first frost, leaving large areas of bare ground where more weeds will germinate.

• Drilling seed is the best option and is ideally done after spraying out old pasture in early autumn or spring. You will need to book and pay for a contractor to do it.

• Make sure soil fertility is improved by the time you sow or any new pasture won't survive.

• Consider using a mix of more droughtres­istant species of ryegrass and clover. Also include highly nutritious ones that don't harbour facial eczema spores, eg chicory, plantain.

Read more

- 6 pasture plants that will make it through a drought

- 10+ pasture picks for bees, poultry, pigs and goats

thisnzlife.co.nz

Cattle

• In some parts of NZ, the fungal spores that cause facial eczema may still be an issue. Check on the risk level in your area – visit www.gribblesve­ts.co.nz – and talk to your vet about continuing with preventati­ve products.

• If spore levels have returned to below danger levels, stock may need copper supplement­ation. Cattle can't absorb copper properly when they have high zinc levels. Pregnant and lactating cows and fast-growing young stock (6 months+) are most likely to need extra copper, usually via a slow-release ‘bullet' or injection. Talk to your vet about testing and treatment options.

• If you have thin cattle now, it's going to be very hard to get condition back on them over winter. It takes 280kg of dry matter, above its daily maintenanc­e requiremen­t, to replace one condition score on a cow. That's a lot of feed each day, and if you don't have it on the farm, you'll need to buy it in, or you'll need to sell the stock.

• Talk to your vet about getting leptospiro­sis vaccinatio­ns if you're running dairy cows, especially a house cow. It will protect calves about to be born, and it's also crucial to prevent you getting 'lepto', an often life-long debilitati­ng disease in humans. If you have pigs and dogs, ask your vet about vaccinatin­g them too. Sheep

• Do you need to shear? Wool needs to be 100mm long. It's better to get this done before winter and give ewes time to grow a bit of fleece. However, don't shear during mating. Whenever you shear, prepare for a cold snap with good feed and shelter available for shorn ewes.

• Before you drench any young sheep for worms, base actions on faecal egg counts and consult with your vet about the appropriat­e product to use.

Read more

- How a no-drench strategy can save your animals from worms thisnzlife.co.nz

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