By Beef + Lamb New Zealand Eastern North Island Extension Manager Lauren Cameron
This spring is shaping up to be a challenging one for Wairarapa farmers. There is limited feed onhand, following last season’s hard summer and very little rain over winter to replenish the water table.
We’ve heard it a hundred times before, but we need to focus on the things we can control – not the things we can’t. To that end, I’m using this column to convince the non-believers that feed budgeting is a magical tool.
The crystal ball of pasture management
Imagine recognising that your pasture growth is quietly edging ahead – but realising this several weeks earlier than your neighbours. You could be buying stock, while the masses wait until they can physically see the grass grow.
Or predicting that you’re going to have more grass than you know what to do with by Christmas, so you opt to shut up paddocks for hay early and keep pasture quality tip-top in remaining paddocks.
Imagine being able to pick a lean period of pasture growth well in advance and quitting your cull ewes and cows early, so you can prioritise young capital stock.
Free half-day workshop
What if I told you that you can actually make all of these predictions happen – if you take half a day out to attend a Beef + Lamb New Zealand feed budget workshop. (already paid for through your farmer levies.)
After four hours, you will go home knowing how to balance feed supply and demand, improve pasture utilisation and choose the most profitable use of your pasture.
The workshop ticks along in a logical order and at a workable pace. We start with an overview of what affects pasture growth and quality, before learning how to measure these.
We then take a look at the other side of the ledger: the feed requirements of livestock and monitoring their performance.
Finally, we match the two – feed supply, with livestock demand.
Critically, you get introduced to tools that help you manage feed supply and stock demand, as well as a simple feed-budget calculator. You leave with a copy of the feed-budget software, as well as supporting resources.
Request a workshop
Call 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352) or contact your local B+LNZ extension manager.