Pasture growth off to good start

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Warm weather in late August has boosted the start of this season’s pasture growth in Gore and surrounding districts.
Agribusiness Consultants farm consultant Deane Carson said the Gore area had doubled its pasture growth in the past few weeks and that trend was expected to continue.
Mr Carson said pasture growth averaged 19kgDM/ha/d while typical dry matter weight had been less than 10kg in a historical long-term average all of last year.
‘‘The last couple of weeks, soil temperature has been good and it’s [bringing] pasture growth up,’’ Mr Carson said.
Good pasture growth should result in good lactation and weaning weights in calves and lambs, providing farmers managed their feed efficiently, Mr Carson said.
It would also improve lamb survival rates.
Federated Farmers Southland provincial president Allan Baird said soil temperatures had come up to 8degC or 9degC in the past few weeks.
He said pasture growth would vary throughout the province.
Northern Southland should also be experiencing spring conditions despite the cooler days, he said.
Mataura dairy farmer Cameron McFadzien said he was experiencing good pasture growth for spring.
The average feed quantity on Mr McFadzien’s farm was 1900kg of dry matter each year.
Pasture measurement began in mid-August.
‘‘It gets measured in the same location and measured how much is grown in the last 12 months,’’ Mr McFadzien said.
The best pasture-growing month for Mr McFadzien was November.
The grass needed to be lush to make it easier for the cattle to produce milk.
‘‘Once we get into the new year, pasture growth is a lot more manageable,’’ he said.
‘‘Southland can be pretty reliable but it also can let you down.’’
Wendonside beef farmer Evan Ferris said the pasture growth was at a good level.
During the winter, Mr Ferris had his cattle indoors.
He recently moved the cattle back out into the paddocks.