Winter management check-list

It is the depths of winter and farmers are in the thick of the winter routine while looking to the season ahead.
Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Many regions are experiencing feed shortages making management decision-making even more challenging. For more information about specific feed management support go to https://beeflambnz.com/news-views/feed-management-resources

Below is a list of what farmers may be dealing with in coming months, along with links for further information to help prepare for spring and the start of a new reproductive cycle.

  1. Now is a good time to carry out a quick measurement of winter feed crops and supplementary feed, as well as stock requirements, to ensure your allocations are on target to get you through until spring. The Feedsmart App is the right tool for working out how much your stock need and allocating feed. Visit https://www.feedsmart.co.nz/
  2. Mid-pregnancy shearing. Don’t leave it too late and consider postponing if ewes are in light condition or feed supplies are tight. Find out more at https://beeflambnz.com/news-views/reconsider-pre-lamb-shearing
  3. Body Condition Score ewes and cows, it is a very powerful tool for making the most efficient and effective use of limited feed resources. Scanning is the ideal time to Body Condition Score Ewes. Separate out lighter ewes and cows and preferentially feed them. See resources at: https://beeflambnz.com/search?term=Body+Condition+Scoring
  4. Prepare facilities for orphan lambs/ calf rearing. Disinfect sheds and equipment with Virkon or similar, prepare bedding, order milk powder. Ensure powdered colostrum used for lambs has sufficient immunoglobin (read the label). Download guide book at: https://beeflambnz.com/knowledge-hub/PDF/nzagbiz-calf-and-lamb-rearing-guide-book
  5. Ensure pre-lamb or calving animal health treatments are done well before set-stocking. Yarding and treating ewes causes considerable stress, particularly for multiple-bearing ewes on a nutritional knife-edge.
  6. Talk to your vet about iodine supplementation for ewes grazing brassica crops. Download factsheet at https://beeflambnz.com/knowledge-hub/PDF/FS095-trace-element-nutrition-sheep
  7. Ensure NAIT records are updated when moving grazing cattle on and off grazing blocks. Check at https://animaltrace.nait.co.nz/Account/Login.aspx
  8. Use wet days to review Budget Plan and Land Environment Plans. See our learning module at https://beeflambnz.com/knowledge-hub/module/annual-cash-budgets-and-monthly-cashflows
  9. Consider planting catch-crops such as green-feed oats as soon as possible after grazing winter forage crops. Oats are robust and can be planted in cooler soils. They uptake nitrogen and turn it into valuable drymatter. Now is the time to order seed. See list of resources at https://beeflambnz.com/search?term=Catch+Crops