Wet, wintery weather often coincides with busy calving periods and an abundance of young and vulnerable calves. A change in weather can exacerbate the environmental challenge of many calf-scour pathogens, resulting in an increase in morbidity at this time of the year.
Andrew Speirs, of consulting firm Meridian Agriculture, has advised farmers who have produced high yields to perform soils tests and conduct a nutrient budget.
“Farmers need to know what nutrients have been removed from those paddocks, particularly after several years of dry weather” Andrew said.
“This will help them determine how best to revive their paddocks.”
Andrew said some paddocks have cut up to eight tonnes of hay, removing about 25kg of phosphorous out of the system, the equivalent to nearly 300kg of single super plus 300-350kg of muriate of potash.
“Farmers need to keep an eye on those high yielding paddocks and replenish what has been exported,” he said.
“It’s not like other years where pasture growth has been reduced. Quality of hay and silage is down a bit because it was late to harvest, but you’re still taking out all that phosphorous so farmers will need to look at increasing phosphorous fertiliser application rates, as well as potassium and sulphur if on light soils.”
Andrew said rainfall across south-west Victoria, for example, had been in the top 10 percentile.
Andrew will speak at a pasture update seminar in Stawell on March 27, providing tips on nutrient replacement after a wet year.
The Grassland Society of Southern Australia is combining with the Perennial Pasture Systems group to present the Meat & Livestock Australia Pasture Update at Stawell Entertainment Centre on Monday, March 27.
For more information contact 1300 137 550.