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  • Writer's pictureWayne

Use it or lose it

Hopefully this is the last time we will see pastures like this in spring. Next year, all being well, we should have many more sheep on the paddocks to not let the pastures be undergrazed like this. The plan is to have 5,000 - 5,500 ewes on the property (185ha) by October 2022 en route to producing ~9,000 lambs per year. Most of those lambs will be born in spring and help keep the pastures down.

“Use it or lose it” is a good saying when it comes to pastures. These spring pastures would be of higher quality, and stay greener longer, if they were grazed more heavily from August to December.

In the photos below, there is oodles of feed and the kikuyu underneath is lush, but that ryegrass is not of excellent quality because it is more stems and less leaves. It has grown too tall.

The plus side of being undergrazed is there will be a massive seed set of the ryegrass. The downside is the clover will not set massive amounts of seed because it is constantly being shaded. Another downside is that all the wasted biomass will temporarily go into the soil but most will eventually be lost to the air instead of being used to grow another lamb.

All the bugs in the soil eating the biomass eventually convert it into carbon dioxide and the carbon is then lost to the air. An active soil needs a constant supply of growing plants to keep it alive.

I look forward to the day when we can’t make the pastures grow any better and are converting most of it into lambs.

Rainfall update: As of 23rd November 2021, we have received 978mm. We should be green well into February now.

20th Nov 2021 Foxtrot paddock. Compare to the photos in recent blogs from this spot.

20th Nov 2021. Foxtrot paddock looking into the farm.

20th Nov 2021. Charlie paddock moving weaners out of it. They didn't eat it down enough in the 7 days.

20th Nov 2021. Charlie paddock moving the weaners out into Delta.

20th Nov 2021. Charlie paddock moving the weaners out into Delta.

20th Nov 2021. I do wish the weaners would not tread on their dinner. Weaners are now in Delta paddock.

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