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  • Writer's pictureWayne

Some experimentation fun

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

I will write up about our inaugural field day soon when some photos from others are sent to me. In the meantime, I'm doing a few little fun experiments. We all need to scratch right? We go crazy if we can't get the itch, right? Well,.....our hairsheep like to scratch. So,....while the fencing contractor was in to put in two more sets of gates for us, I asked him to make three different versions of a scratching post to see which works best before we go and put one in every paddock. These will be put near each watering trough. I think it will make a difference to the sheep's well being :-), as well as them looking nicer.

The three designs are in the photos below. I'll report back later after I check what the sheep think is the best design :-).

One diagonal set of wires. Used by rams and about 30 minutes after taking this photo, 1800 ewes had access to it. It was a very popular treat for them.

Two sets of diagonal wires to form a criss-cross. Only had 31 very wooly merino (trade sheep) in here and they didn't work out what it was for. I'll put hairsheep in there soon.

The third design is one set of diagonal wires with a star picket in the middle. No sheep have had access to this and won't for awhile since this little paddock had cull trade sheep in there recently.

Another little experiment was: what does it look like when you put 1,806 ewes into a 1.0 hectare paddock? Photos below.

1806 ewes flattened the pasture as they walked in. This was taken just a few minutes after I let them in.

And that's what 1806 ewes look like an hour after being in the paddock!

We are at peak pasture production at the moment and we have not restarted fertilising until we need to. There's not a paddock we can eat down sufficiently at the moment within 7 days except for a ram paddock when I put 1800 sheep in it :-).

I am really happy with the kikuyu underneath. It has a lovely rich green and lots and lots of runners (stolons). I will be doing all I can to get the kikuyu to grow a thick thatch above and below ground this summer to prevent non-wetting from happening again.

If we needed the feed, and if we had a boom spray (we don't), I'd definitely have sprayed some fungicide a while ago for the ryegrass. Rust is kicking in and other leaf diseases. In the future I'll probably spray it anyway as we will be at a much higher stocking rate by then and will want to keep the quality of the ryegrass as high as we can.

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