DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ are committed to achieving good wintering practices across the country and farmers are working hard to have the right systems in place this year.
Environment Southland report that early observations suggest a better uptake of good management practices, such as fencing of waterways and the creation of buffer zones, with no immediate compliance concerns identified.
DairyNZ strategy and investment leader – farm performance, Dr Jenny Jago, said most farmers who winter cows on crops are putting in a lot of work to follow good management practices this year for their animals and the environment.
“The recent flight shows most farmers are setting up their winter crops well, while also identifying areas for improvement, which we will continue to progress as a sector,” says Dr Jago.
“This provides us with confidence that most farmers have good practices in place in Southland and we need to capitalise on that through ongoing winter crop management as the wet weather arrives – this means farmers preparing their adverse weather plan.”
DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ are providing support and resources to help farmers ensure the best winter grazing practices to keep cows healthy and happy, as well as continuing to protect the environment.
Matt Ward, General Manager for the North Island at Beef + Lamb NZ said it’s great to see the positives identified by the flight, and encourages farmers to keep up the good work.
“It is so important for land, water, animals and people to have good management practice in place for winter grazing.
“Southland has been an area of focus and it’s pleasing to see that there has been improvement there. We are also working across other parts of the country to support farmers to ensure they are using the best possible practices.”
With winter grazing, farmers use crops such as kale, fodder beet and swedes, and stored feed such as silage, baleage and hay to feed their stock while pasture growth is low.
Farmers use a range of strategies to effectively manage winter grazing to limit soil damage and pugging in winter. These include buffer zones around waterways, back fencing, long narrow breaks, portable water troughs and strategic directional grazing.
Wet weather strategies also include using drier parts of existing paddocks, paddocks elsewhere on the farm, moving stock to shelter belts, standoff pads or feedpads, or onto tracks or yards for short periods.
For more information and advice, farmers are encouraged to:
- contact DairyNZ consulting officers or go to dairynz.co.nz/wintering
- contact Beef + Lamb NZ extension officers or go to beeflambnz.com/wintergrazing