Ewes last in line for better beets

Craigneuk farm worker Tom Paton inspects a fodder beet from a paddock named the supreme winner of...
Craigneuk farm worker Tom Paton inspects a fodder beet from a paddock named the supreme winner of the 2024 Maniototo Winter Crop Competition. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Pregnant ewes are hoping the steers and stags leave them some juicy prize-winning fodder beet on a Maniototo station.

Winter crops on the 7000ha Craigneuk sheep, beef and deer station in Gimmerburn include more than 20ha of fodder beet.

The crop was crowned the supreme winner of the irrigated section of the 2024 Maniototo Winter Crop Competition.

Eating the beet were 18-month-old cattle, a mix of Angus, Hereford and shorthorn, which would stay on the crop until they were sent to the meatworks early next month.

About 130 velvetting stags would also be fed the beet, farm worker Tom Paton said.

Any remaining beet would be harvested and mixed with silage to feed to 9000 ewes.

John Duncan, of Craigneuk, moves hoggets to a swede paddock in Gimmerburn, about 25km drive...
John Duncan, of Craigneuk, moves hoggets to a swede paddock in Gimmerburn, about 25km drive southwest of Ranfurly. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
"They love it — a sheep will chase a fodder beet down a hill if they think it is a juicy one," Mr Paton said.

Fodder beet was a great source of energy for the ewes in the leadup to lambing, he said.

The seed was precision drilled by Ian Hore, of Maniototo Contracting, on November 16.

Mr Paton, the Maniototo Young Farmers president, said the club produced and sold more than 50 bales of lucerne as a fundraiser, and Mr Hore mowed and baled the lucerne for free.

"We’d better give him a shameless plug because he is a good bugger. He is a legend," he said.

Mr Hore applied fertiliser when the fodder beet was sown and urea was applied in January.

Craigneuk owner Johnny Duncan accepts the supreme irrigated prize at the 2024 Maniototo Winter...
Craigneuk owner Johnny Duncan accepts the supreme irrigated prize at the 2024 Maniototo Winter Crop Competition awards night. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A fodder beet crop from the same paddock won the same supreme prize six years ago, Mr Paton said.

The sheep run on Craigneuk include Dorset Down, halfbreds, Merino and Romney, and also progeny that were not studs were fattened.

About 280 Dorset Down stud rams were sold at an annual on-farm ram sale.

About 6000 hoggets were wintered on swedes and sent away after shearing.

The irrigation system was a mix of pivots, K-Line and border dykes.

Irrigation gave them plenty of options when dry conditions bite.

"We can prioritise fattening stock on good tucker," he said. 

PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

RESULTS

Maniototo Lions Club 2024 Winter Crop Competition results

Irrigated fodderbeet: Johnny and Geraldine Duncan 1; Johnny and Geraldine Duncan 2.

Dryland fodderbeet: Phil and Jo Dowling 1.

Irrigated swedes: Tim and Sarah Kensington 1; Johnny and Geraldine Duncan 2.

Dryland swedes: Tom and Julia Waldron 1; Simon and Erin Elworthy 2.

Irrigated kale: Robert and Anna McSkimming 1; Drew and Carolyn Dundass 2.

PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Dryland kale: Drew and Carolyn Dundass 1; Tom and Julia Waldron 2.

Irrigated rape: Nick and Gabby Love 1; Mark Paterson 2.

Dryland rape: Geoff and Lauren Shaw 1; Gavin and Tracey Crossan 2.

Irrigated turnips/grass: Chris and Dale Mulholland 1;

Supreme irrigated crop: Johnny and Geraldine Duncan.

Supreme dryland crop: Tom and Julia Waldron.

shawn.mcavinue@alliedpress.co.nz

 

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