Updated: Sep 28, 2020
As you can see in the photos below, the farm is looking green, but there is not much growth happening at the moment. The cloud juice (rain) has dried up since mid March, and with no rain forecast for at least another two weeks, mmmmmmm, it is getting rather tough for our sheep.
If it were not for our need to breed up as many sheep as we can, it is these tough times that I will in the future be using to find out which sheep are losing weight first and cull them. However, I have started putting out hay again (poor quality hay unfortunately) and I have started spreading small amounts of oats to help them get through the next few weeks.
Surprisingly the sheep are going quite well, but, worm numbers are rising and so all of the sheep will be getting drenched in the coming week. The worms won't be helping the sheep cope with these stressful times.
We are only getting 1-2 days grazing in each paddock at the moment. You can see the kikuyu is growing, but not thriving in these dry conditions. We have very little clover that germinated on the mid March rains, but ryegrass is hanging on at the moment. If I had not implemented a few weeks of containment feeding to allow the ryegrass and clover to get their roots down, they would not have survived the harsh time that was ahead of them.
Right now the 3-leaf ryegrass rule has gone out the window. We don't have the funds nor feed on hand to take all the sheep off the paddocks again for another few weeks. Kikuyu can cope with this stress as it is only taking 5-8 days to grow a few leaves again, but ryegrass can't. I am not worried about that because there is so much more ryegrass and clover waiting to germinate on the next rain.
The pastures will bounce back very quickly when it does rain and I expect we will quickly have the rotation times extended out to 3-4 days in a paddock, if it rains soon while the soil and air temperatures are still warm.
Lamb marking and weaning next week, and drenching all the sheep. It is going to be a busy week. We should officially have ~3,500 sheep on the 185ha property once we have counted the new lambs.