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Web site © Chris Houghton 2017

OFFICE: 24 Mecca Lane, Bungendore, NSW, 2621

MAIL: 24 Mecca Lane, Bungendore, NSW, 2621

MOBILE: 0409 816 433

EMAIL: chris@agristrategies.com.au

Our independence underpins out service, and as such the integrity of our recommendations is not compromised by product sales. All recommendations are supported by evidence based science. Detailed agronomic planning and an in-depth knowledge of what drives farm profit means our advice will improve your farm businesses’ bottom line.


AGRONOMY

Soil testing  |  Soil management  |  Pasture improvement  |  Cropping systems  

Weed and pest management  |  Grazing management  |  Feed budgeting

Managing soils within their capabilities and ensuring timely corrective action is critical to sustainable long term productivity. Growing sensitive species like lucerne, for example, requires soils with aluminium levels <5% of CEC. Sowing lucerne into acid soils without conducting a soil test would be a bad decision. Growing winter cereals where the soil is highly saline would be equally as futile. Excessive cultivating of fragile and highly erodible soils will lead to wind and water erosion, and reduced carbon levels. Over use of heavy machinery on wet soils will cause irreversible compaction.

To get the best from your soils you need to understand these contributing factors and prevent them from occurring in the first place. If things are going wrong with soils they will provide some clear signs. Farmers need to educate themselves or get advice about what those signs mean and what can be done to rectify them. Where possible however care should be taken to prevent poor soil management in the first place.

The benefits of pasture improvement where pastures are degraded and weedy have long been proven. When combined with targeted lime and fertiliser programs, stocking rates can sometimes be raised by as much as 400%, with benefits often lasting for decades. Still many farmers take short cuts that lead to poor results. Pasture establishment failures can be very costly and can cause significant delays to improved carrying capacity. We can help you to get it right the first time.

The benefits of productive cropping systems are well understood. For some reason a similar standard of management for grazing crops is quite often not practiced. The ability to fatten young stock and clean weeds out of paddocks are two benefits, usually means that cropping of degraded pasture paddocks can be very valuable. Poorly planned and executed cropping programs more often than not lose money. We can help you to get it right year in and year out, and makes good money from grazing crops.

If weeds are threatening the future productivity of your farm, we can help you with our expert knowledge of weeds like serrated tussock, Chilean needle grass and African lovegrass. If you are battling with these or other weeds let us assure you that they can be beaten. One of the most important success factors in weed control is starting early before a critical mass of seed accumulates in the soil. There are several other success factors that are not well understood. We have plenty of experience and can save you a lot of time, money and stress. Call us to see how?

Soil testing and the lime and fertiliser cost effective programs devised from the results are key to our agronomy program. We will aim to test all paddocks going down to new pastures and crops, and select representative monitor paddocks to guide fertiliser and lime decisions on long term pasture paddocks. Without soil tests, pasture or crop planning is based on guess work.

Soil tests will:

1. Show the current nutrient status of the soil

2. Show whether lime or other ameliorants are required

3. Identify which nutrients may be limiting crop/pasture production

4. Determine which fertiliser types are needed for individual paddocks.

Soil samples are normally only collected from 0-10 cm depth but if necessary, samples from subsoils (10 - 20cm or 10 - 30cm) will be taken. Deep soil samples for nitrogen may be collected on cropping soils.

Initial assessment of soils, pastures, weeds, and natural resources.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Coordination of contractors as required. The farm owner can be completely involved or just stand back and watch.

Soil testing of monitor paddocks every 3 - 4 year to guide lime / fertiliser programs.

Determine present and potential DSEs, and business model for increasing DSEs

Careful planning to ensure cropping programs are both profitable and sustainable.

Careful pasture improvement planning to ensure persistence and productivity.

Link mapping of paddock areas to fully costed 3 year agronomy plan.

Concise and timely recommendations and reporting.

Grazing management. There is also an old saying, “Grass grows grass”, but what does it mean? As it is the green leaves of plants that intercept sunlight, the process of photosynthesis allows energy to be produced to allow the plant to grow. Plants that have been overgrazed collect very little sunlight. Leaves are the engine room on a grazing property and they need to be managed to ensure both the interception of light and the harvesting of green leaf are optimised. Sounds pretty straight forward but not so in practice. Contact us for some proven guidelines on grazing management that will help you to get the best from your pasture investment.

Accurate feed budgeting can provide you with confidence that the feed available will get you through to a critical point in the season, or even help in providing key trigger points as to when stock may need to be paddock fed, confinement fed, sent away on agistment or sold. We can help with the preparation of feed budgets and train your staff in pasture and livestock assessment techniques. After a little experience with feed budgeting, decision making around feed utilisation can be greatly refined and the impact of seasonal feed fluctuations considerably reduced.