Thursday, March 26, 2009

Snail Baiting

Still working on the snail baiting today. We're putting in around 230ha (hectares) of peas this year and need to bait the paddocks we plan to plant them in. I'm pretty sure I covered all this in yesterdays blog, but just didn't get the job finished yesterday. I did today though.
First up I did my sheep feeding rounds. I fed the same four mobs in the same four paddocks, but also did an extra mob today. Our fourth mob of ewes, that are on the freshest stubble. I had been holding off feeding them for a while as they still had plenty where they are, but they've eaten that out pretty well now and a bit extra feed for them wouldn't hurt as they are getting closer to lambing. When I'm out doing my feeding rounds I also check their water troughs, for leaks and to make sure they've got good water, and fences. Now I know the fences on our farm are pretty bad - probably the worst in the district (I've used the word probably there... definately would be a more suitable word in that case), still it pays to look over them just to make sure there's some hope of holding the sheep.
Took me about an hour and a half to do the feeding and soon after I got back home my mate, Josh, rolled up to give me a hand to finish my baiting. I cant remember if I said yesterday, but I did 2 paddocks then and had 8 to do today. I actually decided to only do 7 of the 8 as in most of the paddocks barely a snail could be seen - which isn't necessarily an indication I know - but I thought I'd leave a paddock un-baited just as a bit of a test paddock. That way I could see if I really even need to be baiting at all. Last harvest I found that I didn't have a snail problem at all in any pea crop that was sown into a paddock that was a pasture (a paddock that was left for sheep grazing), only the 1 paddock that was sown onto a barley stubble (was a barley crop the previous year). Basically all of the paddocks I've been spreading on this year have been grazed down hard, and have very little vegetable matter left on them (not much grass and stuff), and I wonder if that in itself would be an adequate control of snails. Hence I left 1 paddock. Now having said that I left it, I actually did do 1 lap around the outside - or border baited it. My reason for that is that snails a very attracted to limestone, and in this area we have an abundance of limestone. To the point that alot of our fences are either made of limestone (ie. they're walls) or they have stone heaps up against them. A haven for snails, so I thought I'd cover the outside lap so any snails in the stones would be controlled.

Couple examples of stone walls there. Top one is where we had a fire on the farm, caused by lightening on a stinkin hot day with a howling north wind. We got a lot of half wall half wire fence things around here, that's one of them. And the second is actually closer to home, near the house here, with Parsnip the pet lamb. That photo's a few years old too. Parsnip looks older now, he's actually turning 10 this year which would make him the oldest sheep on the farm.

Took us most of the day to finish off the rest of the baiting. Well I should say it took us all day, but we did slip in a couple of trips to town while we were at it to pick up supplies of Farmer Union Iced Coffee - well it's thirsty work ya know. We actually finished bait spreading at about 6:30pm and ran out of bait, would you believe, on the very last pass (doing up and back passes in the paddock) in the last few metres of the run. I must have budgeted my bait usage just perfectly.

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