Friday, July 1, 2022

Lots of lime for Leithen

Taming the native rolling and hill country of Leithen Valley in some instances required annual lime dressings of up to 300 tonnes an acre (740t/ha).

At a field trip to the eastern Southland property as part of the November Grassland conference held in Gore, Alan Stewart said lime and grazing had been key in developing the extensive two-strand sheep, beef, deer and trophy hunting family-run business.

This woolshed block was once covered in thick scrub making it almost impossible to sight and hunt deer. Development involved burning, root-raking, lime 740T/ha and DAP135 oversown with 50kg Cordura Italian ryegrass, 4kg Huia white clover and 1kg of Green Globe turnips. The Green Globe didn’t last long because the deer ate it out and in some places the pasture ran out quickly, but the remaining clover and native grass was “stronger” than it used to be.

“Last year we grew 17kg lambs so it’s done the trick,” Alan said.

Grazing had been important during development but had to work around the hunting that required parts of the block to be shut up at certain times of the year.

“We don’t get the best grazing patterns due to the hunting but it happens eventually.”

It cost $1700/ha ($250/su) to develop over three years but it had improved stock carrying capacity from 150 single ewes to 500 ewes plus cattle, and was still a better proposition than buying developed land.

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