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Grazing at Lees Valley Station

Developing strategies for the NZ high country.

Brandon Dalton, Lees Valley Station

NZ sheep and beef grazing systems are heavily reliant on pasture management to meet live weight targets and maintain sward composition. With this concept in mind, Brandon Dalton and the team at Lees Valley Station are preparing to assess grazing systems to achieve good average daily gain whilst supporting the current sward composition.

Lees Valley is an extensive 28,000ha sheep, beef and deer station made up of 4,000ha flats, 12,000ha hills (usable), highly diverse landscape ranging from 380 to 1800 metres above sea level. Carrying 13,000 ewes, 1300 beef cows and 700 deer, all managed by 10 staff.

In summer of 2018/19 Brandon made some observations of the two grazing options: spread them out: 9 days in one whole paddock or, 6 breaks over 17 days. The impact of these two grazing options lead to the noticeable difference of 2.1tDM/ha and 3.7t/ha of forage harvested respectively.

With this in mind, the grazing trial for the summer of 2019/20 is set up to assess the influence of grazing systems on animal production and post grazing sward composition.

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