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Kikuyu continues to amaze, and how to make straw tasty

We continue to be bone dry with some very hot days (40-45C). Despite that, the kikuyu continues to attempt to green up - see some photos below. This should get better over time as the lime we have added to correct the acidic soil at depth does its thing.

We have taken the lambs off one of our mobs, the Cleanskins, and put them in a gravel pit with an autofeeder. We added a 100+ old cull ewes to help the lambs learn there is food in the autofeeder. We're experimenting drenching these lambs with a backline concoction of ours. Poo samples will be taken in two weeks to see if it was worked. The ewes are about to start lambing from 25th March, so they did not get much respite between having a lamb feeding off them, and about to give birth to the next lamb. It is pretty tough on them in these tough conditions, but the majority are coping very well.

Our other main mob, the woollies, will have their lambs taken off them next week and they too will be put into the gravel pit to live off grain (lupins and barley) and straw. We intend to take as many ewes off the paddocks after that to let the kikuyu bulk up. We have a little bit of rain forecast next week (<10mm in total) and this will help the kikuyu significantly.

While on that, summer rain of 5-10mm adds no value to pasture production on a ryegrass/clover/medic pasture. It actually helps destroy the quality of the dry pasture. However, with kikuyu, it will get a boost and give an increase in pasture production. I do love our kikuyu. It is so resilient despite such a hot dry summer, and being constantly eaten to the ground every week. I've added some photos below of a paddock that has not been grazed for ~14 days. The kikuyu continues to green up when given a chance.

As we remove sheep onto feeders with grain, and straw provided ad-libitum, this will help the pastures get some bulk on. If we receive some decent rain, we will intensify the efforts to get all the sheep off the pastures for a few weeks. It will make a huge difference to the future pasture production.

One little thing we do with straw when given to sheep in the gravel pit, is to pour on a solution of molasses and some added goodies. It certainly gets the sheep interested in eating the low quality straw. The straw, roughage, is very important to have available when the sheep are living off a grain diet.

Barley straw bales about to have a molasses (blue drum on the right) added with a few goodies to make the straw tasty, and get some extra assistance into them.

Our Cleanskin ewes waiting to be let into the next paddock. They still had their lambs with them in this photo, but two days later, the lambs were backline drenched and removed to a gravel pit with an autofeeder.

These are the Cleanskin ewes now without their lambs. By the way, rams are in with the ewes to get some dry ewes back into lamb since we've been unable to sell them. Might as well get another lamb out of them.

Lambs now in the gravel pit (foreground) to live off straw and grain (barley lupin mix via an autofeeder). There are ~1150 sheep in the gravel pit now, with another 1,000+ lambs to join them next week. Background is our woollies mob of ewes, still with the lambs on them until next week when those lambs will also come into the gravel pit.

Echo paddock showing kikuyu is still growing. It has been 14 days since being grazed. The woollies mob are coming into here tomorrow, with grain trails and straw waiting for them.

Another view of the Echo paddock showing kikuyu is still growing despite such hot and dry months..

The lupin barley mix we put in the autofeeder and in trails onto paddocks.

The woollies mob, ewes with lambs and rams, about to be let into the next paddock with grain trails waiting for them. One impatient ewe jumped the gun and went under the fence.

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