Which paddocks are best for sowing winter crop?

May 2020:  Before we know it, it will be time to sow feed crops for next winter.


So what are the key decisions you should make now to help get a great result from your spring sowing?


It all starts with selecting the right paddocks.


In most cases, crops will go back into new pasture later on. So your first job is to identify which paddocks will give the best result for your winter crop, your animals and your new pasture next year.


Next, work out why these paddocks are under-performing. Maybe they’ve been damaged during winter grazing. Or they’re old and run-out, with too many weeds, and not enough quality pasture.


In any case, the more you can do to fix whatever caused them to become less productive in the first place, the better. Otherwise, history will probably repeat itself. 


Correct soil fertility and pH are essential for paddocks you intend to sow with winter crop. Get these levels tested, and apply fertiliser and lime as required.


Finally, make sure these paddocks are suitable for best practice winter grazing. Critical source areas, slope and contour, sediment run-off, shelter, water, stock access and space for lying …. all these factors need to be ticked off before you start sowing new crop.


Now’s a great time to do this, while winter 2020 is still fresh in your mind, and you can easily remember what worked with your crop grazing this year, and what didn’t.


Excellent resources are available from DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb NZ on this.


We can also help with more advice – just give us a call 0800 449 955.