Welcome to Rural Diary, PGG Wrightson’s monthly publication circulated to farmers and rural professionals to assist with planning activities on farm.
Rural Diary includes contributions from PGG Wrightson’s specialist Technical Team and leading suppliers in the rural industry. We’re sure you’ll find something interesting inside!
With the busiest season on-farm upon us, we have articles on key topics such as cropping, herbicide options and silage quality to help with your decision-making this spring. Turn to page 12 to read an interesting article on the importance of calcium in your herd. Our Cash for Communities programme is back, visit www.cashforcommunities.co.nz for more information and to nominate your cause.
It is hard to believe that we are already in June and this year’s National Fieldays® is around the corner. We have moved to a new site this year on H37-H43. There will be plenty to see and do, including live demonstrations, retail specials and competitions for the kids, so make sure you visit our site.
This edition offers advice for calf rearing from birth through to weaning. Our Nutritionist, Andrea Murphy provides top tips on what to look out for at each stage. Our team visited the Te Awa family in Oxford, North Canterbury, and met with Diana Te Awa who rears both heifer and bull calves. Working closely with her Technical Field Representative, Kaleb Bolton, and local Rangiora store team, Diana uses Calf Milk Replacer (CMR) to maximise her chances of meeting liveweight targets. Also, turn to page 12 to read an interesting article from our Soil Scientist, Stephanie Sloan, on
effluent testing and use; and knowing what’s in your pond.
Agriculture in New Zealand is currently in an interesting place. As we look out over the medium term we have generally good commodity prices across the majority of agriculture sectors, yet we are seeing increasing pressure on environmental compliance, restrictions in new water schemes for which there are a range of views and a changing framework coming in our employment laws. These are not new challenges to our sector to which we adapt as we have done in the past as we all have a great passion for our sector and the communities we live in.
As we head into winter, the focus shifts to ensuring stock is in prime condition for lambing and calving so this edition covers feed options and animal health requirements extensively. We visit Blair Anselmi, drystock and dairy farmer in Piopio. Blair works closely with his Technical Field Representative, Doug Burnell, to achieve his goal of clean pastures and optimal feed quality. Together they work out an annual winter spray programme which involves Nufarm’s Relay® Super S to provide selective control of broadleaf weeds, severely preventing the growth of thistles and ragwort.
Enjoy the read.
Autumn is settling in and some of you will be in the middle of winter feed budgets. Our Technical Specialist of Soil Science, Stephanie Sloan, explains what should be on your checklist when planning your winter production options and preparing for spring forage.
In this month’s issue, we also explore various options around making good supplementary feed choices for cows in late lactation. We visit Josh Lavender, Contract Milker at Platinum Dairies, in Winton. Working closely with his local Technical Field Representative, David Wheeley, Josh explains the benefits of feeding molasses to dairy cows through lactation.
Keep safe and thank you again for your support of the Cash for Communities programme.
In this edition of Rural Diary, we introduce the newest member to the PGG Wrightson Technical Team, Jason Leslie, our South Island Vet. Jason has recently joined PGG Wrightson after 24 years as a Vet in practice. In Jason’s first article, he explains drenching options for lactating cows.
We travelled to Hastings to visit Josh Buckman, who has seen good results from his animal health programme. With help from PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative, Warren Johnson, he uses Zolvix Plus to drench lambs when they arrive on the property. On the land production front, we visited the Stocker family in Mid-Canterbury, who discuss their winning combination to tackle their battle against nodding thistle.
Enjoy the read and I hope March brings you some favourable weather, with harvest windows upon us for a number of crops.
We have certainly seen a lot less hay and silage made so far this summer and, with minimal excess pasture, the importance of planning for the autumn agronomy window is a key focus in this month’s edition. Our North Island Agronomist, Gary Bosley, gives tips on how to maximise performance when renewing pasture and PGG Wrightson Seeds explain key perennial ryegrass selection factors.
We visit Cameron Henderson in Canterbury to discuss his grass grub control programme. PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative, Kaleb Bolton, has worked with him for
many years now and following Kaleb’s recommendations to incorporate the use of suSCon® Green into his pasture maintenance programme, Cameron has seen positive results.
On the animal health front, our Vet, Andrew Dowling, reminds us to keep the end goal in sight when it comes to tupping.
The summer brings pest challenges. DuPont and our North Island Agronomist explain the value of an Integrated Pest Management programme that uses beneficial insects in conjunction with targeted chemistry. Our Soil Scientists and supplier partners focus on the importance of herbage testing and nutrient management in December crop management activities. These are critical to maximise feed platforms in the coming months. Mike Phillips is the Owner of Paradise Valley Farm in Otorohanga, a 250 ha sheep and beef farm. He discusses the challenges of facial eczema and the prevention programme he has in place. We also offer information about farming sustainability and the environmental compliance requirements.
North Island | South Island
In this edition of Rural Diary, we take a trip to Blenheim to visit arable farmer Mike McConway. With the help of PGG Wrightson Arable Representative Mark Best, Mike has implemented a weed control programme to slow weed resistance in maize. On the agronomy topic, our soil science specialist Stephanie Sloan also provides information on the importance of soil testing to develop a tailored fertiliser programme and Ballance Agri-Nutrients explains micronutrient maintenance in pasture.
In this second month of spring, we take a close look at your pasture options and preparing your soils for sowing. Jessica, one of our Soil Science Specialists, looks at potassium and maximising pasture production. PGG Wrightson Seeds and Agricom have also visited a couple of their customers who are using a variety of crops and pasture effectively.
With lambing and calving completed for most of New Zealand, the attention focuses on meeting growth targets. Our Vet, Andrew Dowling, discusses worm management in calves and we have supplier articles on drench resistance and encouraging growth with vitamin B12.
We also visit a Southland farm to see how a careful choice in pre-emergence treatment has resulted in cleaner crops and increased production.
Here we are in the first month of spring. It is hard to believe we are already getting into one of the busiest seasons on-farm with lambing still underway in some regions and setting up crops and pastures to get that valuable feed next year.
We introduce a new member to the Technical Team, Jessica Dunbar recently joined us as Soil Agronomist for the South Island and will be a regular contributor to Rural Diary. Jessica is passionate about delivering practical advice to help improve farming practices, and will be working closely with our field teams to ensure we continue to add value on-farm. In her first article, she explains how to detect a boron deficiency in fodder beet.
We also talk to Lindy Bennett, Precision Farmer and former Maize Agronomist for John Austin Limited in the Waikato, about her weed control programme with maize crops. Early and targeted weed control has paid dividends. Turn to page 5 to read more.
In this month’s Rural Diary, we head to Aria in the Waikato and visit sheep and beef farmers Blair and Anna Nelson. They have driven their ewes’ performance by significantly increasing mating rates for hoggets over the last few years. Quality feed and a targeted approach have been instrumental to their success.
With nutrition top of mind, we focus on optimising peak milk performance and supplementation. Effective planning during lambing to boost pasture growth and flystrike protection for lambs following docking are explained.
We also review planning for spring pasture and cropping programmes. Our agronomy specialist covers paddock selection for spring. We also look at the evolution of forage brassicas, maize nutrition and fodder beet varieties.