Help at hand for flood recovery

Barenbrug has made premium grass seed available at close to cost for Southland farmers battling to repair paddocks after this month’s flood emergency.


Federated Farmers says more than 1100 farms have been identified in priority flood zones, with many having suffered damage to vital infrastructure as well as pastures.


Heavy deposits of gravel and silt were left on some paddocks after floodwaters receded, and grass was submerged.


The adverse event worsened existing feed supply problems caused by poor winter crop establishment, and low pasture growth rates over summer.


Blair Cotching, pasture systems manager for Barenbrug, says his company has made fast-growing Shogun ryegrass seed available to several Southland retailers at a significantly reduced price to help farmers get pastures up and growing again as soon as they can.


“In most cases, pastures under water for less than a week, or under 2-3 cm of silt will grow through and recover.


“The real concern is where more than 5 cm of silt has been deposited, because this often kills the pasture underneath.


“In these situations, farmers will probably need to re-sow.”


Shogun hybrid ryegrass is ideal for flood recovery, because it is very fast establishing, can generate high volumes of feed in a relatively short period of time, and lasts a number of years in Southland conditions.


Blair says depending on the extent of their damage, farmers may need to get silt layers soil tested before sowing new grass.


Most flood deposits have little to no organic matter, are low-N and may be low in P and S.


Shogun seed can be direct-drilled if appropriate, or sown after cultivation if paddocks need to be worked and aerated.


“These events are highly stressful and disruptive, especially as we head into autumn with many winter feed crops already behind where they should be, and in some cases on-farm supplements waterlogged or lost in the floods.


“We’re keen to help wherever we can, and we also encourage farmers to make full use of the resources and information available from DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb New Zealand.”


For more detail talk to your seed retailer.