Thursday, 05 March 2020 08:55

Seed deal to help flood-ravaged farms

Written by  Nigel Malthus
Barenbrug Agriseeds has made its premium Shogun grass seed available “at close to cost” for Southland farmers. Barenbrug Agriseeds has made its premium Shogun grass seed available “at close to cost” for Southland farmers.

Barenbrug Agriseeds is inviting Southland farmers to get in quickly on a special rate for hybrid grass seed to help repair flood-damaged pastures.

The company has made its premium Shogun grass seed available “at close to cost” and pasture systems manager Blair Cotching says there has already been some uptake from farmers and customers.

But he advised them to move quickly.

“It’s the end of February now, heading into March. You’d expect it to start cooling down relatively quickly.”

More than 1100 farms have been identified by Federated Farmers in priority flood zones, with many having suffered damage to infrastructure as well as pastures.

Heavy deposits of gravel and silt have been left on paddocks, worsening the province’s existing feed supply problems caused by poor winter crop establishment and low summer growth rates.

Cotching says Barenbrug has made Shogun available to several Southland retailers “at a significantly reduced price” to help farmers get pastures up and growing again as soon as possible.

“In most cases, pastures under water for less than a week, or under 2-3cm of silt will grow through and recover.

“The real concern is where more than 5cm of silt has been deposited, because this often kills the pasture underneath. In these situations, farmers will probably need to re-sow.”

Cotching says Shogun is ideal for flood recovery, because it is very fast establishing, can generate high volumes of feed in a relatively short period of time, and lasts in Southland conditions.

“Especially down South it could last four or five years. It’s a perennial crossed with an Italian ryegrass so you’ve got your perenniality, and your Italians are normally three or four year grasses, so it’s in the middle.”

A lot of people were still assessing the damage but his recommendation was to have a look at all paddocks and rank them.

“Even at around 15% damage it is actually worthwhile regrassing, in terms of the cost of regrassing and the value gained. You’re basically losing 15% production annually if you’ve got 15% covered in silt so it does add up pretty quickly in terms of impact on farmers’ bottom line.”

Cotching says farmers may need to get silt layers soil-tested before sowing new grass.

Most flood deposits have little to no organic matter, are low in N and may be low in P and S.

Shogun seed can be direct-drilled if appropriate, or sown after cultivation if paddocks need to be worked and aerated.

“These events are highly stressful and disruptive, especially as we head into autumn with many winter feed crops already behind where they should be, and in some cases on-farm supplements waterlogged or lost in the floods.

“We’re keen to help wherever we can, and we also encourage farmers to make full use of the resources and information available from DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb New Zealand.”

More like this

Graziers quitting!

Some Southland farmers who graze dairy cattle in winter say they will not do it next year.

Drought-tolerant rootstocks

Large and small companies are seeking strategies to reduce their water use and impact on the environment and to mitigate risk in drought years.

Featured

 

Fonterra back in the black

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says 2019/20 was a good year for the co-op, with profit up, debt down and a strong milk price.

Strategy to reduce heifer mastitis

First calvers are more prone to mastitis than older cows. According to DairyNZ, farmers must choose a strategy that best suits their herd, farm team, and budget.

National

Helping grow farming’s future

John Jackson’s ability for future and critical thinking saw him deeply involved in the development of an agribusiness programme that…

Nothing sustainable without profit

Chair of Dairy Environment Leaders programme Melissa Slattery believes that sustainable farming is highly important to young farmers.

Machinery & Products

JD updates header line-up

John Deere has updated its entire header line-up for combines to include the new HDR Rigid Cutterbar Drapers, RDF HydraFlex…

Hybrid harvesters launched

New Holland has entered the world of hybrid headers, launching a new machine that blends its conventional threshing drum and…

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Burn!

OPINION: This old mutt had to have a giggle at the dig Feds recently made at the Green Party in the…

Why?

OPINION: Your canine crusader was aghast to read that the prices of zucchini and cucumbers rose more than 30% in…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter