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Keen interest for intensive winter grazing workshop

The Lakeside Soldiers Memorial hall this week was once again filled by keen ESAI members, local farmers and other rural professionals eager to learn more about Intensive Winter Grazing.

The workshop was organised by ESAI as part of their Tinaku Extension Project funded by MPI.

Winter grazing rule changes are due to start at the beginning of November which prompted many to come along and try to find out more about how the new regulations could affect them.

Charlotte Westwood, an animal nutritionist with PGG Wrightson, spoke about the nutritional differences in winter crops and how they compare with the feed demands of different stock classes.

She also touched on the environmental considerations of winter crops.

Dawn Dalley, a senior scientist with DairyNZ, talked through their research into grazing dairy cows on crops in winter and the influence it has on animal behaviour, particularly focusing on the drastic reduction in rest time experienced by stock in wet and muddy conditions.

Penny Timmer-Arends who works for MPI as a senior adviser on animal welfare went through the legal requirements under the Animal Welfare Act and the work that has been taking place within the Winter Grazing Action Group.

Sarah Heddell, the Principal Implementation Advisor – Farm Systems for ECan, covered the intricacies of the changes in the rules and regulations and answered plenty of questions from those gathered who wanted to know more about how the changes will affect them.

The event finished off with Sue Cumberworth and Deane Parker from Quorum Sense who showed an inspiring video about bale grazing as an alternative to the traditional winter grazing systems.

Deane is a dairy farmer from Hororata and also spoke passionately about the changes they have made on their farm using mixed species pasture for their winter grazing and the benefits these system offer in light of the new rules coming into effect.

The workshop attracted over 40 attendees and those who stayed on enjoyed lunch and a chance to ask further questions of the speakers and an opportunity to share information and stories with other farmers and professionals from the local area.

This will be the last workshop that the Tinaku Project will be hosting for a while to accommodate the upcoming busy farming season, but Tinaku staff and ESAI committee members will be attending the Ellesmere A&P show on the 15th of October, where anyone wanting to become a member can come along, join up and receive a free native tree.

We also will run a colouring competition with awesome prizes. Pictures were handed out to primary schools in the area but you can find them also at Farmlands, Farmsource, PGG Wrightson and the library in Leeston.

We will be sharing the tent with staff from Pest Free Banks Peninsula and Whakaora Te Waikēkēwai and will be providing refreshments so be sure to pop along for a chat.

For anyone wanting more information about what was covered in the workshop or want to enter the colouring competition get in touch with Jo Fearn 0210304783.


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