Climate and Agriculture

This term we are doing climate and agriculture, we have been watching videos,
writing notes, listening to people talk and making experiments.
We have watched 'whats the weather Jim' and 'Green house warning'.
We listened to Mr Barton and Mr Coutts and I got lots of notes from that.
The experiments that we made was a barometer, thermometer and a wind vane.

We have also have been on a trip and we went to visit the 'Dryriver Vineyard' which I found interesting something I did not know is that there oldest vines are 30 years old and that instead of using fertilizer they spread peastraw around the vines smiths farm and i got to ride a the really big track the thing about farmers is that it is very important to now what the weather is going to be so that they now how much animals they need to sell or buy and so that they now if they need to water there grass or not.

JRs orchid is one of the largest netted orchids in NZ I found it really cool that the netting helps with lots of things including
it helps it stops the diseases and bugs from coming in and stops the trees from getting sun burnt but most of all it stops the hail from making holes in the apples.

Field Trip to Smith's farm.

What animals do you have on your farm?

2400 ewes
312 ewe lbs
300 fat lambs
30 rams
25 cows
45 heifers
350 bulls
40 steers

What does the farm need to grow good crops?

Warm soil.
Right level of soil nutrients (fertiliser and lime )
Soil moisture
Protection from weeds
Protection from pests ( like beetles, aphids etc )

What does the farm need to grow good stock?

Clean water
Good grass and clover
Supplements for when feed is short ( hay balage silage crops )
Good animal health programme ( drench etc )

How did the recent drought affect you?

We sold as much stock as early as we could ( lambs to works, cull ewes to works, cattle to works )
We had crops to put stock on to ( pasja and lucerne )
We fed out hay and balage
We found grazing on a neighbours farm
We made sure stock were healthy
We sold older ewes
We sold lambs at lower weights than usual
We delayed buying in replacement stock
We fed out grape skins from a winery

Can you plan for this?

Long range forecasts are an indication only, not hugely accurate
We plant summer crops ( pasja and kale )
We make sure we have hay and balage on hand
We try to sell as many lambs as possible at weaning
We aim to have all our bulls gone by Christmas

What benefit is the forecast?
The forecast gives an indication of what might happen.
I like to watch the Sunday night one to get an indication for the week.
The dominion forecast is good to see what will happen for next 5 days
They are not hugely accurate for timing but if they say it will rain it generally will at some stage.
This is useful for planning shearing and hay making etc.

Do you irrigate?

No we don’t. All the water allocation in our area is used up
Main types of irrigation are
K line which is lots of pods or sprinklers in a line joined together. They are towed around with a motor bike to shift them.
Big guns which travel slowly shooting water around in a circle as they move.
Centre pivots. A big irrigator that travels round in a circle.

Do you create microclimates on your farm?

No we don’t but we plan too.
We want to plant shelter belts of trees to protect paddocks from the wind and to provide shelter for stock

What is the extra expense for drought properties?

The cost of supplying supplementary feed ( balage and hay )
Selling animals lighter and sooner and for less money
Having lighter stock which produce less ( less lambs and lighter lambs )
Having to put weight back on animals rather than being able to fatten other animals
Extra animal health requirements ( more drenching )
More thistles grow in bare ground
Pasture takes a long time to fully recover
Usually higher stock losses from weaker stock