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Monday, 8 June 2020

Farmers through-out New Zealand are facing feed shortages this winter going through to early spring. Extreme weather events, floods in the south and drought in the east and north, have had an impact on winter crops. Farmers have lower yields than expected and are rapidly exhausting their winter food stocks.

Ballance wanted to fill the gap by providing a series of free webinars sharing insights and knowledge from experts about the value of catch and cover crops.

“Catch and cover crops also capture excess nutrients post grazing while protecting the soil during the cooler winter period,” says Ian Tarbotton, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Science Extension Manager.

The first of the three webinars titled ‘Fill that Gap’ was about suitable species for catch and cover crops and is available on Ballance’s YouTube

“What you can expect from the webinars is information presented in a down-to-earth style by experts”, says Ian.

"In the first webinar Brendon Malcolm from Plant and Food Research covered the topic of suitable species for catch and cover crops that have cold temperature growth and ability to catch nitrogen and cover exposed soil to protect from rainfall focusing on the South Island.

"Murray Lane from Ballance Agri-Nutrients talked about broadcasting of catch and cover crops with reference to bird predation of seed. Murray also brought North Island, famer-initiated ideas about establishing a catch and cover crop as a companion plant."

The second and third webinars in this series are about opportunities to establish a catch and cover crop aerially (helicropping) and how to establish a successful and cost effective helicrop:

“We will also be sharing findings of a farmer initiated Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFFF) project Helicropping - Protecting our Soils

Helicropping provides economic benefits as well as protecting the soil when establishing a crop, as long as it is done in the right places and grazed appropriately," says Ian.

SFF Futures supports problem-solving and innovation in New Zealand’s food and fibre sectors by co-investing in initiatives that make a positive and lasting difference.