The grass may not be greener on the other side, but the Lucerne sure is sweeter.
Lucerne (or Alfa Alfa) is a legume crop that’s the gold standard for deer forage – and one we’ve struggled to grow in Southland.
Two years ago we invested in 92 acres of rugged high country at Earnscleugh in Central Otago which we’ve been converting to an optimum Lucerne block. This season we’ll not only be able to supply all our own feed, but we’ll have surplus for sale too.
The pivot watering system we installed has really come into its own – last summer the whole property grew grass, this year nothing is coming up at all outside the irrigation zone.
Josh has been busy building the storage shed, so I’ve been drafted to ploughing and working paddocks – I must say modern tractors are pretty damn good compared to the old Massey Ferguson 65 I grew up with.
On the home block the velvet season has gone particularly well. Mayfield Magic progeny are coming through now, while they seem to be little later maturing, they are maturing magnificently. I suppose like a big Rata tree, concentrate on a strong base and rest will follow.
Mojo went off to trophy last season, his hard antler SCI score of 545 was great – just not quite great enough to take the Australasian record which remains with his half-brother Mayfield Magic.
We’re growing one of Magic’s progeny – The Duke into hard antler this summer. At just four-years-old he’s a chip off the old Magic block – and will be on the virtual block at Elk Wapiti Society’s Video Auction on January 27 when he’ll star in his own 1 minute movie – that’s definitely something to look out for.
Winter was a cracker in the South, and Spring and Summer looking like more of the same – it’s not often we say we’d like more rain, but that could easily become the refrain by autumn – even here on the home property.
Yes you have to have a water to grow grass and Southland is a cracker for this.
Tom May December, 2017