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  • Writer's pictureWayne

Extra fertiliser, plus rain, plus daylight = lots of pasture

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

It's been a wet August. As of today, 14th August, we've received 147mm. It has been cold and cloudy, but the pasture has been growing quite quickly.

In a previous blog, I had a video of my little dog Luka fetching a ball in Alpha paddock. That was taken on 2nd August, the day before the big rain began. We received 115mm over the next two days. I took another video two days ago (12th August) just before our mob of mixed aged ewes were brought in, but unfortunately I took it with a camera instead of my phone and it is too blurry and full of wind noise. Sigh. So hopefully the photos below show what the pasture has done in 10 days since the video of Luka, the dogometer.

We have another weather system coming over the state starting tomorrow, but being on the south coast, we will usually get most of the rain after it has gone through when we get the coastal showers coming up off the back of the low.

Alpha paddock received double the dose of Urea in May, then received nothing until mid- July when I started fertilising again, this time with a blend of Urea, sulphur and phosphate. Alpha paddock received double the dose (>200kg/ha urea equivalent). The other pastures are growing very well, especially where I did look-see strips of four times the rate, but Alpha paddock has gone from our most acidic paddock to currently the most productive. That will soon change when I start another round of fertiliser in the coming weeks, by which time I hope we have a thousand or two trade sheep here and getting fatter.

Luka, our dogometer to show pasture height in Alpha paddock just before pregnant ewes were brought in. Alpha to Echo paddocks were in rotation with the weaners, but they aren't eating it down quickly enough, so we've swapped rotation with ~800 ewes due to lamb from 26th August. We should still get 7 days grazing from each paddock, and hopefully lambs on the ground will stop the spring flush getting away.

Luka in Alpha further down as we walk through it. He's not happy because I didn't bring a ball to chase (he and I would not be able to see were it went!).

Alpha paddock where some patches of ryegrass are lodging.

Alpha paddock, and some ryegrass is already coming into head. Drats.

Alpha paddock. We lost most of our clover germination in March with the false break to the season, but new germinations occurred in late May, however, it's been a struggle with the kikuyu being way ahead of it in growth.

People keep asking about our kikuyu as theirs went brown with frosts and stops growing in winter. Ours doesn't. It's hard to show in photos (you need to come and see for yourselves), but this photo and the next one hopefully show how the kike is very green and branching out very happily.

Alpha paddock. Trying to show a thinner ryegrass area so you can see the kikuyu growing happily underneath the canopy.

Alpha paddock. No, it isn't manganese deficiency. It is iron (Fe) deficiency. This where a bale of oaten hay was a few months ago. It shows the lime is working really well. Oats, then kikuyu then clover are susceptible to iron deficiency, and lime makes it much worse by raising the soil pH. Mind you, it has received about 30t/ha of lime since Sep 2018 as it is where the very low (3.1) pH area begins.

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