|Farm Type:||Sheep and Beef|
|Name:||Rikki Thurston-Parris & Kate McFarlane|
Every year Waikoha Station in the Waikato plants approximately 60 ha of summer crop, typically leafy turnip, in order to provide a finishing feed for their lambs over the summer months. Last season, Rikki & Kate were presented with an opportunity to use 22 ha of Pallaton Raphno® as part of their lamb finishing system.
Like many farmers throughout New Zealand, spring and early summer were very challenging months with very wet then very dry conditions. Rikki managed to get the crops planted in early-mid October, which meant feed was available prior to Christmas – fortunate timing given the dry spell in December and early January. To alleviate the feed pinch they were faced with, Rikki and Kate decided to move 2200 lambs on to the Pallaton in late December. “Being able to graze Pallaton from as early as 50 days after emergence meant we were able to hold onto lambs that otherwise would have been sold to a deflated store market,” Rikki said. With the dry spell continuing into January, Rikki and Kate were able to hold onto these lambs for an extra 6 weeks, which were then off-loaded into a recovering store market with an extra 90c/kgLW and also sent lambs to the freezing works.
During the dry period, Pallaton was stocked at 100 lambs/ha, while the leafy turnip was stocked at 60 lambs/ha due to the shallow root system and slower growth potential in the dry. They were impressed with how strongly Pallaton recovered after the dry period compared to the leafy turnip. Following the dry spell, rain arrived, and the Pallaton was rotationally grazed a further 3 times over the summer. In autumn, they decided to sow Winter Star II annual ryegrass through the crop to provide additional high quality dry matter for the winter months. They plan to feed this from late May through to September to finishing cattle and grazing hoggets.
Local Sales Agronomist Kyle Gardyne worked closely with Rikki and Kate, and noted the key to their success was the excellent grazing management strategies. “They always grazed the crop at around the 4-5000 kgDM/ha mark (knee height) when the crop had mostly leaf and petiole, as opposed to too much stem. This ensured optimum regrowth potential of the crop and excellent utilisation for lambs,” says Kyle. After seeing the potential of what Pallaton can do for their farm system, in what was a very challenging summer both with extremely dry and then wet conditions, Rikki and Kate have expressed they will be planting all Pallaton this coming year.
|Farm Type:||Sheep and Beef|
PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative, Mark Jones, is a big fan of Pallaton Raphno® as he has seen first-hand the results it can provide for his customers. Mark says the drought tolerance aspect of Pallaton and its ability to recover quickly suits Dannevirke, where Mark is based, which can be summer dry.
This past spring, conversations with farmers were about finding the right crop to accommodate the lambs that were going to be on the ground following a good lambing in the area; and give farmers the ability to finish their lambs and take advantage of the scheduled prices. Mark’s customer, Greg Smith, who farms at Hirawai Station, has used Pallaton again this season after being impressed with the ability of the crop to perform in the dry and recover quickly after grazing. “Last year, we had 11 hectares of which we were able to graze 2,500 lambs over five grazings, including in the winter.” Greg managed the crop exceptionally well. At times he thought he had overgrazed it, but was impressed with how well and how quickly it was able to recover.
The start of 2019 has been dry for Hirawai Station, but Greg is pleased with the crop and animal performance on this year’s Pallaton crop so far. The crop is stocked at an average of 90 lambs per ha, and lambs started grazing the crop when it was around knee height. Local PGG Wrightson Seeds Sales Agronomist, Paul Greenbank says, “grazing at ‘knee height’ as Greg has done provides the best opportunity to maximise feed quality and increase utilisation and regrowth potential of Pallaton. This encourages more leaf and petiole, which helps maintain the quality of the crop for the lambs”.
After grazing over summer and autumn, the opportunity to carry Pallaton through to the winter for grazing is something that Greg will utilise again this season.
Image caption: PGG Wrightson Seeds Sales Agronomist, Paul Greenbank (left), Greg Smith (centre) and PGG Wrightson Techinical Field Representative, Mark Jones discussing Pallaton on Hirawai Station.
|Name:||David & Louise Wightman|
David and Louise Wightman are farming in South Otago on a 230 hectare sheep farm. Previously they have been sowing leafy turnip for their summer feed requirements, last year planting Pacer. Last year their PGG Wrightson Techinical Field Representative, Kevin Thomson of Balclutha, provided them with Pallaton Raphno® seed to try after he won this at a training day. Kevin said “I provided the seed to David and Louise as I have a number of farmers that are growing Pallaton who have really benefited from the multiple grazings. Pallaton provides farmers with flexibility due to its multi-graze, multi-use qualities.” Seven hectares of Pallaton was spring sown in late October 2018 and the first grazing occurred late December. They have rotationally grazed approximately 250 lambs across two paddocks. David and Louise followed best practice grazing management for Pallaton by not letting the crop get above knee-height between grazings. The first grazing they let the lambs graze the crop very hard, which didn’t affect Pallaton’s re-growth potential. In February 2019 they had completed three rounds of grazing and were starting to think about shutting the paddocks up to carry through for winter feed. David says “we are happy with how the Pallaton has performed and have learnt a lot about it and how to manage it in the future. Unlike leafy turnip, Pallaton can provide us with not just our summer feed but also winter feed as a 12-month option.” Over winter David and Louise are planning on putting their hoggets on the Pallaton, as they expect the hoggets will do better on it, versus on traditional swedes that they also sow. Regarding management of the Pallaton crop, they pre-emerge sprayed with Ombre, with the only real issue they have had being thistles which they are addressing this autumn. There have been no insect issues with their crop and they planned to add urea to the crop in late February for generating winter feed. David and Louise are planning to grow Pallaton again next season.
|Farm Type:||Sheep, Beef and Deer|
|Hectares:||5500 (3600 effective)|
|Location:||Tikokino, Hawke’s Bay|
Smedley Station is located in Tikokino, Hawke’s Bay, spanning 5,500 hectares. Smedley farm sheep, beef and deer as a breeding and finishing operation, including velvet production. The 2019/20 season is the third consecutive season they have used Pallaton Raphno®. The decision to plant Pallaton was made to enhance their lamb finishing operation as well as safe guarding their farm system against possible drought. They are impressed with the drought tolerance of Pallaton as it can persist and regrow in dry summers. Smedley Station have integrated 140 hectares this past year into their farm system, alongside ryegrass pasture and high-performance crops including plantain, lucerne and chicory. Pallaton provides them with summer grazing with the added benefit of winter feed as a 12-month option. The multi-graze, multi-use qualities have led them to rotationally graze lambs in summer, followed by replacement hoggets, in-lamb ewe hoggets, deer and bulls in winter.
This year, Pallaton has enabled Smedley Station to finish their lambs, while taking advantage of high stocking rates as well as sustaining animal performance over an extremely dry summer. To ensure the crop was ready to graze with early weaned lambs, the crop was sown as early as possible and rotationally grazed. Stocking rates were higher on Pallaton compared to other forage crops and were reassessed between grazing’s to ensure continued animal growth and crop regrowth.
Business Manager, Rob Evans, is impressed with the crop and animal performance on this year’s Pallaton. Lambs achieved up to 300 grams liveweight gain per day, Rob was very pleased with the final carcass weight dressing percentages, ranging between 46-49% per head over the grazing period.
They have followed the best practice grazing management guidelines by using the summer grazing indicator cone and not allowing the crop to get above knee-height between grazings. Local PGG Wrightson Seeds Sales Agronomist, Paul Greenbank says, “grazing at the cone’s reflector strip provides the best opportunity to maximise feed quality, increase utilisation and regrowth potential of Pallaton Raphno®. This encourages more leaf and petiole growth, which helps maintain the quality for lamb liveweight gain.”
Smedley Station was one of the first properties to use Pallaton since its release 3 years ago. Smedley have continued to increase the area grown on farm, as they see a suitable fit for Pallaton within their farm system. This past season they grazed the crop to its optimum standard; the Pallaton cone grazing indicator has been a useful tool to ensure the crop is grazed at the right time. Rob and the team have gained the rewards of exceptional liveweight gain, carcass weight yields as well as quality and regrowth of the crop. Rob says, “this year our team have done a great job with grazing management and we’re looking to utilise Pallaton Raphno® again next season.”