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Author - Jeremy Roberts, 1st May 2015
Now we are well into autumn there are a few maintenance jobs that need to be done around the block. Weeds will be growing flat out especially in the lawn, so now is a good time to be spraying lawns with non-residual sprays and applying maintenance fertilisers.
Pastures require similar attention, trying to grow as much grass leaf as possible before the winter frosts bring a holt to everything. A higher does than usual of nitrogen will be the last ditch attempt to boost grass growth on drought stressed pastures, or capital applications of lime and Phosphor which take longer to become plant available setting up soil conditions ready for next spring.
Author - Jeremy Roberts, 1st February 2015
Replacing pasture can be a timely and costly exercise, but well planned out and correctly done should give you a good quality pasture that will last for many years adding value to your property.
Depending on what you are planting you need to be thinking 12 – 24 months in advance of sowing taking in the many considerations that need to be thought of before starting, firstly what you will be feeding, then the soil types, from there you can select the pasture varieties you want and need to plant.
The current pasture conditions will also have a bearing on the approach and methods used to replace pasture, over sowing existing pasture by direct drilling is at the quick and easy end of the scale but you may have pasture and soils that need to be ploughed and cultivated taking a lot more time to prepare the seed bed.
Mini Balage / Haylage
Author - Jeremy Roberts, 28th September 2014
Mini bales of balage are becoming more popular year in year out through the Wiamak district amongst lifestyle owners. There are now several contractors offering this service making bales the same size as conventional squares or mini rounds. Mini Balage offers several advantages such as feed quality and time to produce, but before your contractor can even start your paddock needs to be presented well. Making a silk purse out of a pigs ear can be done on a lot of jobs, but not balage. Poor pasture will only result in poor feed.
The first step in making balage is being well organised, a clean tidy paddock well grazed and free of any deed mater and rubbish, also make sure your contractor is booked. From there it is a matter of waiting until the grass is ready. Balage is typically cut at a much earlier growth stage than hay, typically about 6-8 inches high and before the seed head has started forming. To read more about the advantages of balage click here.
Author - Jeremy Roberts, 28th August 2014
Soil fertility and pasture nutrients are subjects you can talk about until the cows come home. Conversations can range from a couple of blokes leaning on a gate saying “Oh that’s a nice bit of dirt”, to a couple of lectures debating the finer points of soil biology. But one comment I find rings true very often is “Growing grass is like raising kids. If you don’t feed it properly it won’t grow properly”.
You may be surprised just how easy it is to maintain soil and pasture nutrient levels, and not at a huge cost. A simple soil test will give you the basic elements to maintain such as PH, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphors, Potassium, and all important sulphur. The first 3 are maintained with applications of Lime with the remaining 3 needing to be added as required and can be spread in the same application. The benefit of a soil test is you will be able to determine the correct amount of which fertilisers you require, avoiding wasting money on spreading too much of the wrong fertiliser
There are a wide range of fertiliser products on the market that range from standard chemically treated, to complete organic, all offering unique features for certain results. We can spread all palletised based ferts. Call us today to talk about your requirements.
True Value of a bale of HayAuthor - Jeremy Roberts, 22nd July 2014
So often I look on Trademe or in the paper at conventional bales of hay for sale and think do people really understand the true cost of that bale they are selling. Typically in Canterbury and most of the south Island a bale will sell from $4 - $8, and at $4 a bale I don’t think people do understand. Hay for sale at $4 is recovering the cost of cash forked out to the contractor to make it. The real question you need to ask yourself is what has it cost me to sell that bale? Then you need to think of all the steps taken to make the hay.
Grow Grass $0.75
Make Hay $4.00
Cart Hay $1.35
Store Hay $1.20 / year
Sell Hay $0.15
Total $7.45 each cost.
There are some seasonal variations in these costing, as cost of grass is averaged over a ten year period on a dry land pasture, but you can see pretty quickly that at $4 per bale you are giving away your hay after all the hard work you have put into it.
Next time you are on trade me look at what a bale costs to buy in the north island. You will not find much for less than $10.