Author: Liz Rymill

Calf Weaning Essentials

Weaning can be a stressful period for calves, lambs, kids, and their dams, but good practices and strategies can be employed to take much of this stress out of the process – providing benefits to livestock health, reducing production loss and building more resilient and robust stock. According to industry leader MLA, there are some basic ‘best practice’ strategies that small farmers can utilise to limit stress at weaning, no matter what type of animal. These include: Join cows, ewes and does to ensure a shorter calving, lambing or kidding and to reduce age ranges at weaning. Maintain cows,...

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Are woodlots worthwhile?

By adding farm forestry to small area farms, landowners are harvesting the benefits of diversified income. In suitable regions, commercial tree growing holds the potential to become at least as productive as cropping or grazing, dairying or horticulture. While woodlots are a long-term proposition, there are a host of benefits along the way: as well as being another way to add cashflow to the farm, commercial tree crops can complement farming activities and protect livestock, land, water and wildlife. For landowners thinking of planting woodlots, the old adage holds true: there are only two right times to plant trees:...

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Getting started with aquaponics

An enduring drought and the prospect of losing his garden due to water shortages, aquaponics advocate and expert Murray Hallam found a way to grow fruit, vegetables and even fish in a simple system that can be set up in backyards, on balconies and beyond. It’s called aquaponics and for a dry country like Australia, he believes it can revolutionise the way we grow food in the future. Murray is one of Australia’s leading aquaponics experts, having entered the industry a decade ago. ‘’It is a little over 10 years ago that I discovered aquaponics and I have to...

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Growing grapes for wineries

There’s an old saying: If you want to make a small fortune in the wine business, start with a large one. Australia’s love affair with ‘the good oil’ is well etched into history, but during this history it’s not uncommon to meet a wine-lover-turned-grape-grower who has discovered the axiom’s truth the hard way. Visions of leisurely tending a vineyard in retirement, or perhaps making use of that extra 20ha; for those who have learned the hard way, grape growing does indeed require its fair share of toil and trouble. Long-term and not insignificant capital investment, large fixed costs and...

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Pasture renovation basics

Productive pastures not only lead to increased animal performance and better pasture utilisation, but can also lead to more dollars in the bank. Pasture renovation is the process of increasing the performance of the pastures on your farm; it is an expensive process that requires considerable planning and preparation to gain the maximum benefit, but with a conservative plan in place, you can start realising the many benefits of productive pasture. Preparation for pasture establishment needs to begin at least one full year before the seed is actually sown. According to Agriculture Victoria, there are three key things to...

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