Prof Moot was at Bonavaree farm in Marlborough over the weekend where lambing is in full swing. The mild weather is making ideal conditions for lambing and Fraser is confident he has sufficient cover across all paddocks to get him through his major pinch period of mid August. He is is smiling here as he inspects a two year old crop of ‘Takahe’ lucerne that he has ewes lambing in.
Set stocking on lucerne is common practice at Bonavaree with ewes at no more than 6/ha across lucerne and lucerne Prairie grass mix paddocks that are about 10 cm tall. They are on the paddocks for about 3 weeks before they are mobbed up to start their rotational grazing. The key focus during rotational grazing will be to minimize animal health issues by keeping animals full, salt in the paddocks and an eye on the weather- where overcast nor’west conditions can be a sign of bloat approaching. If the feed gets long and lush pre-graze mowing 2-3 days before entry will start in front of the rotating mobs.
In older running out lucerne ‘Tama’ Italian ryegrass was sown last autumn and it is now also providing great lambing feed. These stands are also idea for lambing – but is ready for renewal this year so the feed will be grazed this spring before renovation. There is still lucerne in the paddock that will come through later in mid spring as the Italian starts to fade.
The next three months are virtually guaranteed to be good at Bonavaree because winter rainfall has recharged the soil moisture so the race is on to get animals gone by Christmas- one more good rainfall this spring should ensure that.