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  • Writer's pictureWayne

Spring begins - some problems appearing

It's been a marvellous pasture season in our region. Wet, but not too wet. An early start (beginning of March for us), and a very mild (warm) June. The pre-spring fertilisation went on in late July and the pastures are looking quite nice. A little bit more clover which is nice to see.

We have two mobs lambing right now (26th August 2022) and there will be another burst starting 1st October which will be the ewes that already lambed back in March and April this year. Rams go back into all available ewes starting 30th October.

We've run into the usual problems when the pastures are well fed. Photosensitivity rears its ugly head and some animals suffer terribly. Fortunately, 95-99% do not have any problems. Those that are so susceptible to lush pastures are being put into the cull paddock with lots of straw and hay. Roughage helps stop the problem, if they eat enough of it. We even had a lovely new ram and he has shown to be one of the very susceptible ones to the photosensitivity, so unfortunately, he will not be joining with any ladies on this farm.

I use these trials and tribulations to identify who has the genetics to suit our system. Right now whilst we are building our numbers as quickly as possible, we are being lenient on those that have the squirts (scours) from the lush pastures, but later next year when we should be at our peak ewe numbers (30/ha), any weaned sheep and older that squirts, be it from worms or lush pastures will be immediately put into the cull paddock.

Some people suggest that I cut back on the pasture inputs so that the pastures are not so lush, but, it is pastures first, sheep second. We could fertilise for 10 DSE/ha, or whatever is needed to get the carrying capacity up to at least 60% of potential. I choose maximum profits that fit our environment. Right now I am trying to keep just ahead of what the sheep need as our numbers are growing. Keep in mind, our "potential" carrying capacity is north of 70 DSE/ha. Right now, we are around 37 DSE/ha (we sold more wethers) and rising each day as more lambs hit the ground.

The most profitable stocking rate will of course not be at the "potential". But I intend to find out how close we can get to that :-).

Our remaining wethers yet to be sold. This is on our sandy side of the farm. Can't see the deep white sand seam anymore.

Looking right from the previous photo to where the bulk of the deep white sand seam is. Completely covered and looking happy now.

A pretty spot on our farm that one day we hope to build a BBQ and picnic area.

Most paddocks have much improved levels of clover this year. Hopefully we can keep the pastures down this spring to give the clovers a better chance of setting seed.

Our "Cleanskin" ewes starting to lamb. Cleanskin is the name we give to them that are hairsheep, and not shedding sheep. The sheep in the background paddock are all our ewe lambs and dry ewes that will meet the boys on 30th October.

Another view of our Cleanskin ewes. Through the trees in the background is our much larger mob of mixed aged ewes that we do not consider are worthy of being in the Cleanskin mob.

This is the paddock where the mixed aged ewes are and are currently lambing. It's one of our better nutrition paddocks.

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