FEATURE AGRONOMIST CHRIS MINEHAN
FAVOURABLE AUTUMN CONDITIONS PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY TO RESTORE PASTURES
Good rainfall and mild temperatures throughout February, March and April across much of Southern and Central NSW have come as a great relief to many farm businesses, after such a hot, dry 2019. Many areas had exceeded their 2019 rainfall by the start of April 2020 and with a widespread 30-50mm of rainfall at the start of May, prospects look good for a return to long-term average rainfall this year.
Chris Minehan from RMS Agricultural Consultants
Late summer rainfall provided opportunities to establish forage crops such as oats, winter canola, winter wheats, plus forage mixes, which were taken up by many growers, meaning that some forage paddocks have already been stocked for a number of weeks. Growers should be sure to check grazing withholding periods for chemicals applied to these paddocks, which can be a trap in years when grazing crops are available sooner than expected. Growers will also need to monitor newly emerging crops and pastures for pests such as earth mites and Lucerne flea which start hatching with the arrival of cold weather.
KEY POINTS • Forage crops now in • Check grazing withholding
that farm businesses cannot control the weather or commodity prices. Management decisions separate top performing businesses from the rest. All the best for a good year in 2020. Chris Minehan periods for any chemicals applied • Monitor for pests such as earth mites and Lucerne flea • Pasture renovation works best as a staged process • Double-knock weed control
Favourable Autumn conditions provide
weed control prior to sowing crops. While this comes at extra cost, the opportunity to remove a large portion of weeds using non-selective herbicides and double-knocks prior to sowing, will provide cost savings into the future. There are some great resources available through the WeedSmart website which detail the benefits of double-knocks prior to sowing, especially for managing herbicide resistant ryegrass. With the Bureau of Meteorology outlook for May to July pointing to average rainfall over the next three months, expectations will be starting to build for a good recovery year in 2020. It is important to remember
opportunities to renovate or restore pastures which may have degraded during the last couple of years.
The availability of grazing crops, plus good pasture growth will allow winter cleaning of pastures, which helps with productivity and longevity. Remember that pasture renovation works best as a staged process, which requires planning and attention to detail. Thankfully, the widespread adoption of containment feeding areas for livestock has meant that pastures have not been degraded to the same extent as previous droughts. Timely rain also allows for additional
Wagga Wagga NSW
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