Farming jobs for November

With summer approaching, it’s important to take action on the farm now.

• Assess your stock numbers and think carefully before buying more. You don’t want to have too much stock in the event of a drought. Dry weather will see more demand for supplements and more farmers attempting to sell their stock, which will drive prices up.

• Consider selling extra stock for a good profit while pasture is in good supply and stock prices are high.

• Use your spring flush to put aside hay, sileage or baleage. This might be wiser than buying in stock to eat extra grass. People are often caught short if conditions then dry out.

• Keep an eye on any animal that’s feeding well but isn’t putting on weight. The vet will need to check for signs of worms, lice, stiffness in limbs, anaemia, swollen limbs, dehydration, temperature and limping.

• With drench resistance building, it’s important to put in place a faecal egg count monitoring system. Testing a representative group sample or individual animals is cheap, or you can do it yourself with the right equipment.

• Watch for lameness. The most common cause of lameness in pastural dairy farming is traumatic injuries, often from poorly designed and maintained tracks and milking sheds. In sheep, the causes are often scald (wet-looking, white or pink skin between the toes) or footrot (smelly, black, ooze in cracks or on the hoof) – both caused by wet grass or humid conditions. Trim and clean affected hooves, then bathe in a 10% zinc sulphate solution (add zinc sulphate until it stops dissolving, to give yourself a 10% solution). If one animal has footrot, give all animals a foot bath. Soak for 20 minutes, then stand them on concrete until the hooves are dry.

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• Monitor NIWA’s seasonal climate outlook to get the latest probabilities of rainfall, soil conditions and river flows in your region.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
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