Farmers preparing to graze livestock on fodder crops this winter are being encouraged to use a new checklist and other practical resources now available sector-wide.
The farming sector is focused on improving winter grazing and eliminating practices that impact on the environment and animal welfare.
A new wintering checklist and winter grazing plans designed to help farmers make practical written plans for winter are now available from industry good bodies DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Federated Farmers. A comprehensive winter grazing plan is also available through Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Plans are recommended to support good management and farmers can utilise an industry or MPI plan.
DairyNZ farm performance general manager Sharon Morrell encourages farmers to make use of the new resources, as it helps take the right steps to continuing to lift winter grazing standards.
“Planning for winter and wet weather now is important to deliver good outcomes when adverse weather arrives,” said Sharon. “Farmers will begin moving stock onto crops in the next few weeks, so now is the critical time to ensure all plans are in place for the months ahead.
“We are all committed to lifting winter grazing performance and using a wintering checklist and practical plan helps farmers and graziers to do that.”
The new wintering checklist helps farmers assess whether they are prepared for winter and highlight any potential gaps.
The checklist is supported by other new initiatives, such as webinars, workshops and regular information from industry bodies collaborating on advice to farmers to ensure it is coordinated and consistent. The advice is in line with new guidelines released by MPI recently.
“We all want to see the sector perform well this winter, with farmers and graziers making good calls during each phase – from planning through to wet weather management,” said Beef + Lamb New Zealand North Island general manager, Corina Jordan.
In addition, DairyNZ’s new winter grazing plan provides step-by-step strategies for paddock set-up and grazing management for immediate focus this winter. This includes protecting critical source areas and waterways, bale placement, back fencing and having a wet weather contingency plan.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand will also be delivering a series of winter grazing workshops around the country.
A joint Beef + Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ webinar is taking place on Thursday, May 20, between 7-8pm. The webinar will help farmers understand the key risks when undertaking winter grazing and management tools to help mitigate the risks.
The sector has also recently launched a wintering hotline for any concerns or complaints. If anyone sees something that doesn’t look right, they can call the wintering hotline on 0800 FARMING. The hotline is supported by Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ and calls are confidential.
Wintering resources now available
DairyNZ: To support farmers heading into winter, DairyNZ has developed a quick checklist to help spot any improvements farmers can make before winter arrives. A new Winter Grazing Plan also includes a paddock plan and farmer tips.
Beef + Lamb NZ: To support farmers, B+LNZ will be delivering specific new winter forage cropping workshops in the coming weeks that will help farmers map and document their winter grazing plans. The workshops are based on the winter forage cropping chapter in B+LNZ’s new farm plan. Info available here.
MPI: The 2021/22 Intensive Winter Grazing Module highlights practical solutions farmers can take to mitigate the effects of grazing livestock on fodder crops during the winter months. The Winter Grazing Action Group has published guidance for animal welfare during winter in its Short-term expected outcomes for animal welfare document. Both resources are available at www.mpi.govt.nz.