Hill Country Renewal Promising
June 28, 2002
Initial results from a hill country pasture renewal programme in the North Island are promising according to the Northern North Island Sheep Council (NNISC).
Results from the project which began last year have provided the council with a number of key learnings.
“While it is early days yet, the programme is providing us with some important information which we hope will enable sheep and beef farmers to make informed decisions about restoring pastures on steep hill country,” says John Reeves, Chairman of the NNISC.
The study aims to show whether steep hill country pasture production can be improved both practically and economically through better use of available tools such as subdividing, increasing soil fertility, using improved pasture species and employing effective weed control all in one process.
Four farmers are involved in the study – John Saunders from Kaiwaka in Northland, Bob Osborne from Waitomo, Paul Furniss from Pikowai in the Bay of Plenty and Alistair Reeves from Te Akau north of Raglan.
The farms represent a wide range of differing soil types and climates and each farm has had results ranging from “somewhat disappointing” to “exceptional”.
Bob Osborne says the renewal programme has had better results than he expected.
“We managed to get a good summer pasja and chicory crop – better than anything we have ever had off that paddock before and our liveweight gains on lambs were up around 50g more per stock unit per day. However we did encounter some major problems with slugs and snails which we will address in this next season,” says Mr Osborne.
The study is being supported through sponsorship from the C. Alma Baker Trust, with technical advice and product assistance from Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Wrightson Seeds and Nufarm (new Roundup distributors) and through sponsorship and co-ordination of the programme by NNISC.