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July 14th, 2018 by admin

Catchment collects top grade

INSTALLING a graded catchment to increase run off into his main dam has paid off for Peter Lovering, who says his sheep property at D’Estrees Bay on Kangaroo Islandis drought-proof.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Lovering rotationally grazes 3500 adult composite ewes, 1000 composite ewe lambs, and 2000 Merino wethers on his 1270-hectare property.

A decade ago, he had dams in every paddock, but found they dried up during drier winters so, after a period of drought, hejoined a government-funded trialto put in a graded catchment.

“They’d been aboutfor a long time in WA in flat and sandy country where it’s very difficult to get run off into dams,” Mr Lovering said.

“AtD’Estrees Bay,we can have drywinters where we don’t catch any water, and don’t get any run off.

“We had quite a big dam in the middle of the farm that barely caughtany water.

“We found the land next to it was perfect for a graded catchment so we utilised that.”

The relatively shallowtopsoil on a slope next to the dam was stripped off, exposing the clay surface,reducing the soakage of rainfalland increasing run off into the dam.

“Wemade the dam bigger and put a solar pump on it, and we reticulate water throughoutthe whole property from that dam,” Mr Lovering said.

“Since that year, we’ve never run out of water.”

INNOVATION: Peter Lovering has used a graded catchment system to drought-proof his Kangaroo Island sheep property.

Mr Lovering said the catchment was in full use, with about 170 millimetres of rain falling in September.

With all water coming from the central dam, Mr Lovering said the water quality had improved for his sheep.

He said they were run in big mobs during summer and rotated throughoutthe farm, allowing feed to flourish.

“We can really rest our perennials properly by rotating through them in summer with long rest periods,” Mr Lovering said.

Mr Lovering said they hada variety of rotational pastures forfeed,includingperennial cocksfoot, clover andrye.

“We’re also in a program of growing kikuyu,” he said.

“So we’ve got 200ha of kikuyuthat gives us summer feed when we get summer rains.”

Mr Lovering runs Greeline composite ewesand composite ewe lambs, as well as 2000 Merino wethers that hebuysin as lambs.

The Greeline is aNew Zealand compositebreed, with genetics from East Friesian, Texel and Coopworth breeds.

Mr Lovering buyshis rams from WA and there are many traits he likes about the breed.

“Being that self-replacement sheep for a start, not having to run a Merino,” he said.

“We were having feet problems and there were various other reasons why we didn’t want to run Merinos.

“Greelines have fast growth, are a high milking breed and you get high lambing percentages.”

Mr Lovering said they had achieved lambing percentages of about 140 per cent and would aim higher in the coming years.

“We’re still only first-cross Greeline at the moment and still building our numbers up,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.