Workshops aim to improve winter grazing practices
Farmers in South Canterbury are taking a neighbourly approach to improve winter grazing practices by sharing their tried and tested solutions at a series of free practical workshops.
Four pre-winter grazing workshops, led by local farmers, will work through ‘real-life’ examples and solutions to reduce nutrient and sediment run-off into waterways and protect the soil from damage.
The two-hour events, to be held in Waimate and Fairlie on 9 April and Timaru and Te Moana on 10 April, are being supported by Environment Canterbury and Beef & Lamb NZ to give local farmers information on best practice solutions and the chance to see for themselves how their neighbours are tackling winter grazing.
The four host farmers are Dan Studholme (Waimate), John Wright (Fairlie), Ben and Kate Johnson (Timaru) and Glen Hammond (Te Moana).
Planning for winter to suit local conditions
Environment Canterbury Land Management Advisor Helen Risk is encouraging local farmers who are looking for new ideas to meet best practice during winter to come along.
“Winter is fast approaching but it’s not too late to make plans for when your paddocks get too wet to graze, or ensure you’ve got portable fencing on-hand to keep stock away from wet areas.
“More farmers are realising there are positive actions they can take – which are often low or neutral cost - to substantially reduce nutrient and sediment losses throughout the year. These local events will give farmers a chance to see how their neighbours are planning for winter to suit local conditions.”
Glen Hammond, who is co-hosting one of the events in Te Moana, says the workshops will be a “great chance” for farmers to share tactics and ideas for minimising the impact of stock over winter.
“As farmers one of the biggest challenges we can face throughout the year is Mother Nature. A little bit of extra planning for the winter months can go a long way to ensure the welfare of not only our stock but also the environment,” he said.
“Paddock selection, crop types, strategical grazing and positioning of water supplies are a few of the things that we do have control over to mitigate the effects of the season.”
Improve winter grazing
Laura Lake, Beef &Lamb NZ Extension Manager for the Central South Island, says the events fit in with a New Zealand-wide focus to improve winter grazing.
“Grazing of stock over winter poses some challenges for farmers as they strive to look after their soils, waterways and animals. These workshops will help arm farmers with ways of ensuring that they maintain healthy productive soils, work towards cleaner water in their catchments, while at the same time provide for the health and wellbeing of their livestock. This is part of a wider initiative by B+LNZ across the country to improve winter grazing practices. “