Home' Otago Southland Farmer : February 22nd 2013 Contents 22.2.13 Farmer
Increasing production, farming focus
The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years, and its development has been
subject to many methods, technologies, plant species and various forms of irrigation.
By TRISH MACKENZIE
By choosing not to take a paddock out of production, the potential income from
not renewing or rotating crops and/or pasture gets wider and wider with each passing
year, and creates a long journey back to full production potential.''
As far back as 3500 BC, the simplest
form of the plough was developed,
called the 'ard', and prior to this,
simple digging sticks or hoes were used
probably because they were easier to
transport, which was a benefit as people
only stayed until the soil's nutrients were
Imagine having to tend our acres of today
with these crude and primitive methods.
Today the focus in farming is on increasing
production, with pasture maintenance and
renewal an important facet of this.
Renewing pasture is the most effective way
for a farm to increase production and lift
the returns achieved, and while most
farmers tend to tackle this job themselves,
there are an increasing number of
contractors available who can complete
However, sometimes when there is a cost
involved and budgets are looking
somewhat gloomy, it can be easier to
ignore the task and decide not to put the
time and money into cultivating and
But this is an area which a farmer cannot
afford to ignore -- improving farm
conditions is integral to increasing farm
production and profitability.
By choosing not to take a paddock out of
production, the potential income from not
renewing or rotating crops and/or pasture
gets wider and wider with each passing
year, and creates a long journey back to full
'A job worth doing is worth doing well' and
thorough preparation of a paddock prior to
sowing it out is key to the finished result.
No amount of scientific data, top of the line
grass seed or up to the minute machinery
will make much difference unless the time
is taken to do the groundwork necessary
for a good finish, regardless of whether it is
a paddock to be regrassed or put it into
The best paddock to begin working on is
the one which is the poorest producer,
while a planned approach to pasture
management and crop planting is
Once a paddock has been ploughed,
allowing time for the weeds to wither and
die is crucial.
Far too often, in the haste to get a paddock
sown out, the entire task is completed in
one day without any consideration the
effect of poor preparation will have in the
days, weeks and months ahead.
Fully cultivating is crucial to providing better
weed control, increased fertility and
provides an ideal opportunity to improve
rough paddocks which can lessen vehicle
Important points to focus on for Cultivation
Planning, Preparation and Timing.
Identify the paddocks for renewal -- how
have they fared with the conditions
experienced in your area over the past few
seasons (drought, storms, pest damage)
Is your farm going to benefit more from
grass -- to -- grass cultivation or is better to
grow a crop in-between?
Does this paddock require extra drainage
completed on it before the cultivating is
begun? Do the current drains need to be
Drains last only three to five years before
closing up and each paddock renewal must
start with these being checked.
Efficient drains are an absolute necessity
and must be cleared regularly
Spray out the old paddock before
Allow time for the weeds to wither and die
down; this is best when conditions are dry
rather than wet.
Why pay good money for a grass mix if the
rubbish that is already there isn't
Allow time to work the ground up well and
level it if regrassing.
Are the conditions right for sowing? The
ground shouldn't be too cold when sowing
Seek the advice of your company
representatives or field officers -- it is
important to create the best environment
for your seed to grow and produce to the
highest level to ensure maximum return.
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