The journey to a new paddock of Bonavaree mix (Prairie Grass, Lucerne, Plantain) is well under way now. We visited the North Face paddock again last week, and it was looking vastly different to last time, see photos below.
Plans for this paddock from our last visit went according to schedule and were as follows: Remove mob of hoggets, then graze hard (5 cm) with cattle, allow a short regrowth period (2 days) to freshen up the vegetation, and then spray with 4 L/ha Glyphosate360 and 25 g/ha Sharpen.
You can see in the photo above that the spray has done an excellent job of killing the resident vegetation. Doug and Fraser are pleased with the result from the new herbicide mix
so far. The existing sprayed out vegetation is approximately 5-10 cm in height. Retaining some plant litter on the surface is so important in the fallow period when using minimum tillage in order to retain soil moisture within the soil profile, and reduce moisture loss from a bare soil surface.
Soil conditions are perfect for drilling, you can see in the photo below that, with a minimal dig around with the spike from my pasture height measuring stick, the soil tilth is crumbly and friable. Soil moisture also looks to be ideal, although dry looking on top, the soil moisture was visible from approximately 0.5 cm down. Earthworms also evident (photo below).
The Omaka Barley has been a very successful break crop, and works so incredibly well within the Bonavaree farm system when renovating pastures. Omaka works well here because it:
- fits animal feed requirements,
- prevents weed ingression,
- retains soil structure,
- builds up soil organic matter and base soil fertility
- Is a hardy variety that performs well in the Marlborough dryland environment.
Fraser has plans to apply 80 kg/ha Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) down the spout at drilling. He has based this on the recent soil tests (table below) which were taken on 12 September.
|Soil Test||North Face test Result||Unit||Range|
|Volume Weight||0.79||g/mL||0.60 – 1.0|
|Sulphate Sulphur||10||mg/kg||10 – 15|
|Extractable Organic||9||mg/kg||15 – 20|
Please note these soil sample cores are taken to a depth of 15 cm, owing to the deeper soil testing requirement of the lucerne component in the mix.
Drilling is planned to occur this week depending on weather conditions.