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NOPS Newsletter March 2021

Welcome to our 11th edition of "From the Field" bought to you by North Otago Pastoral Services. The following information has been selected due to its relevance specifically to the North Otago region.

Autumn Forage Crop Management.

After what has been a trying spring and summer for crop establishment it has felt through February as if autumn has come early.  For most crops the impacts of the new years rain have been positive.  One major and widespread issue has been short term Nitrogen deficit, where N levels available to the crop have been depleted due to waterlogged root zones and some nutrient shift, while most crops have had some N applied or have grown through this, almost all crops will have different N situations than we would expect most years – It would be very worthwhile to have a discussion around this over the coming month. 

Insect pests have generally been slow to build up but over the last 2 weeks as things heat up and dry out pest populations are reaching towards problematic thresholds, Aphids in particular seem to be the front runner in brassica crops with white butterfly numbers also lifting through the district. Throughout the last 6 weeks I have often remarked on the high level of beneficial insects I’ve found in paddocks, parasitoid-wasps and hover-flies in particular appear to have had a really good season, as pests increase its key to keep an eye on what the beneficials are doing as this allows us to hit economic and ecological optimums.

Beet on a whole has progressed really well, while I am not seeing a lot of early signs of fungal disease it is important to discuss options and keep a close eye on conditions as the season unfolds over the next 4-6 weeks in particular.  If we can put fungicides into the correct positions, we will save critical losses.

There has been a lot of Italian and Brassica and soon will be a good amount of Oats/Oats and Italian sown for winter grazing.  The nature of late summer establishment allows us to often grow these crops without much need for a post emergent herbicide.  It is worth checking these crops for weeds, as while the option may not be massively yield defining, not needing a spike in your sprayout in the spring and increased drilling efficiency will usually pay for a weed spray before any increase in yield is accounted.  As the season progresses this is especially true for any short-term options (especially cereals) grown after beet crops are eaten.

Matthew Paton     027 443 4701         


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