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Here is March's Newsletter from TP Jones & Tas Ag Services


The hot, dry summer has suited most crops and those growers with access to plentiful water have, by all accounts, experienced satisfactory yields. With the exception of potatoes, harvest is now well behind us and most crops have had a smooth harvest season.
Now is the time to be planning for the new season and soil testing should be at the top of your list of things to do. It is important to undertake regular soil testing, in order to provide the best possible nutrition to your new crops. TP Jones, and Tas Ag Services, offer a range of soil testing services and comprehensive fertiliser recommendations for different crop situations, please contact your local store for details.
Whilst the rain holds off, and if you still have access to water, it is the perfect time to be planting new pastures and early cereals to get some growth and feed before the winter months. Good ground preparation is imperative to good crop establishment. If you have been able to fallow ground before planting, it can be beneficial to include knockdown herbicides (such as Roundup or Sprayseed) with pre-emergent chemical applications to reduce the overall weed burden into the future. Pre-emergent chemical applications (applied after planting, before crop emergence) are proving to be a very cost effective way of controlling weeds; especially problem weeds such as grasses in cereal crops and generally help to reduce the use of expensive selective herbicides later in the life of your crop.
Whilst thinking of the season ahead, it is also a good time to review your inputs from last season and look at costs of production. Gross margins are an important way to assess the benefits of different crops within your rotation. Accurate record keeping and a realistic review of costs and inputs (including your time) is an important part of good business management. There are a number of packages available that can assist in collating this sort of information and storing it in a way that provides useful decision making tools for the future. Please see your local TP Jones or Tas Ag Services Agronomist if you would like to further discuss gross margins and record keeping systems.

Campylobacter is still prevalent and should be front of mind.
Campylobacter is common throughout many sheep flocks in Australia. It is suggested that there are annual losses in most flocks causing a reduction in maiden ewe marking percentages of between 5-10%.
Prevention of Campylobacter is possible through vaccination. Campyvax is an highly effective vaccine that is administered to maiden ewes prior to joining and again at joining.To read more about Campylobacter please click here. To discuss your Campylobacter treatment plan further please contact your local TP Jones | Tas Ag Services representative.

Hopefully the hot dry weather has almost finished. Now we wait for the autumn break to get the whole productivity season started again. But not all facets have to be waited on. Preparations should be starting now.
Soil testing is the precursor to everything that follows to get a good, if not exceptional result. Soil testing will alert you to what is deficient in the soil, thus allowing you to correct the nutrient deficiencies. Regular soil testing will also help to determine how much maintenance fertilizer should be applied each year to keep nutrient levels in the desirable range. The requirements will vary depending on the intended use of the soil.
The “1st cab off the rank” will be what to do about pH. The ideal range for pH (water) for crop and pasture growth is 6 – 6.5. Correction and/or raising of pH to the desired level can be done with either Lime or Dolomite, depending on the associated Calcium(Ca) and Magnesium(Mg) levels. Bear in mind, that both Lime and Dolomite take quite a period of time to break down and become available to the soil for plant uptake. For intended Spring sown crops, Lime and Dolomite are ideal and more beneficial if applied in Autumn, ideally 3-6 months prior to planting. For intended Autumn sown crops, where a more immediate pH modification is required, products such as Calciprill and Magprill may be better suited as they breakdown with moisture more rapidly, due to their smaller particle size.
Calciprill – calcium based Lime, and Magprill – magnesium based Dolomite, are both individually, very finely ground products that are compressed into 2-4mm granules that will breakdown rapidly in water. Both products are ideal for short-term decisions. Both products are ideal for when pH is OK, but also when either Ca and/or Mg levels are low, so can be applied prior to or close to planting. Bear in mind that both Ca and Mg are essential for plant growth and health.
After the determining what to do about pH, the next step is the working out the requirements for Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sulphur and Trace Elements. The resulting recommendations from the results of the soil tests, to get optimal results can be done by accredited and qualified TP Jones and TasAg staff. Don’t think that the previously mentioned remarks only apply to Broadacre Cropping and Pasture Production. The same principles apply to what is at home, ie Lawns, Garden, and the “vegie patch”. Why should they be neglected? or at the very least, treated as the poor cousin.
Pride comes into play for the “carers” of these plots, whether that be the manicured lawns, the size of the vegetables, or the majestic display of blooms. This is equality for all.

Australian farmers grow a variety of crops but often only use one spray rig. If sprayer decontamination is not carried out, there may be a high chance of crop damage affecting yield potential. Crop protection chemicals can bind to the inside of spray tanks, hoses, nozzles and filters. In many cases, flushing with water will not remove these residues. However, they may be mobilised by subsequent spray operations, risking crop damage.
Secondly cleaning your spray unit regularly inside and out with all clear can reduce maintenance costs and optimise sprayer performance. Chemical build up in pumps will shorten the lifespan of the pump and may require servicing more regularly. Poorly cleaned filters will also reduce performance.
All Clear makes the choice of tank cleaner simple. Not only will All Clear perform as well as the cleaning agent recommended on the product labels, but laboratory data shows that All Clear DS will often do a better job.

The annual Campbell Town Show is not too far away (Friday 25th May & Saturday 26th May)!
Now is the time to be putting lambs aside for the Paddock to Plate competition.
This competition is a great opportunity to test genetics and finishing skills against your peers. Lambs are judged over the hooks at Tas Quality Meats & live at the show with prizes for both categories, weight ranges and overall. As an entrant you will be able to benchmark your results against others as well as get to view all entries over the hooks at Tas Quality Meats and receive in depth feedback from judges as to what attributes they are looking for in a carcass.
Contact James Brown for more details by calling 0427 542 554 or email james@tpjones.com.au

There are three broad types of internal parasite that can cause significant health issues in sheep - worms, flukes and protozoa.Worms are thought to cost sheep owners more than any other disease with worm infestation probably the most common cause of "ill thrift" in sheep. It is important that everyone with sheep has a worm management plan. An effective plan is simple and will save a lot of money, effort and heartache.

A good plan includes Faecal Egg Counts which helps farmers know their worm burden and drench resistance. TP Jones offers a comprehensive worm testing service for sheep with a 24 hour turnaround conducted by fully trained staff. With laboratories now at the majority of our sites, you can now drop off your samples at a store closest to you or have one of our field staff deliver a kit and return it for testing.
Speak to your local store for more details on our worm testing capabilities.

TP Jones | Tas Ag Services is thrilled to announce that Andrew Legro has joined the team.
Over the past eight years Andrew has worked in the Poppy industry across several districts, focusing upon Agronomy and Field Service. Prior to this Andrew worked in the private sector of farm management. He managed several large-scale operations which covered cropping, specialist bean production as well as the sheep and cattle industry.
Andrew is looking forward to working with a new and energetic team at TP Jones and is excited about building relationships with new and existing clients within the central midlands area. Andrew will predominately be based at Tas Ag Services in Campbell Town.
You can contact Andrew by emailing: alegro@tpjones.com.au

Barber’s Pole Worm likes warm and moist environmental conditions, requiring temperatures exceeding 10 degrees Celcius (min) and 18 degrees Celcius (max) as well as rainfall (moisture) levels equivalent to 12 mm per week to enable eggs to hatch and larvae on pasture to effectively develop to the infective stage. The key to controlling Barber’s Pole is therefore to recognize when these conditions are in place and to then use strategically applied drenches and pasture management to keep the lifecycle from gaining any real momentum. Barber’s Pole Worms can multiply quite quickly, lay large numbers of eggs each day rapidly contaminating pastures and can have very serious effects when not properly controlled.
Signs of haemonchosis:
Barber's pole worms suck the blood of their hosts and the signs of haemonchosis are related to the degree of blood loss. In very acute cases, sheep may be found dead, with no prior signs of ill-health. Other sheep in the flock will be very weak and may collapse if driven. On examination, signs of anaemia are apparent: mucous membranes around the eyes and the gums will be white, rather than the normal pink. In these cases, sheep are often in good condition, although the effects are most severe in poorly nourished sheep. In less acute cases, the signs are similar but less dramatic. Some sheep may die but often the first sign is extreme weakness when sheep are driven for yarding. Affected sheep go down and show the typical signs of anaemia (pale gums and membranes). A sign sometimes seen with barber's pole worm infection is the so-called ‘bottle-jaw’, a fluid swelling beneath the jaw. This is caused by a chronic shortage of protein in the animal’s bloodstream and is associated with a number of diseases, not only haemonchosis. Diarrhoea is not a feature of this disease. Mixed burdens of several worm species are common, and this is a major cause of ill-thrift, especially in younger sheep. The clinical signs in these cases often include weakness, poor performance and diarrhoea. A diagnosis is easily confirmed by finding a large burden of the worms at post-mortem. They should be treated with a drench with persistent action (closantel or moxidectin like Cydectin LA, Maximus LA, ewe and weaner guard, Cydectin oral.), to prevent re-infection soon after treatment. Paddocks in which outbreaks of haemonchosis have occurred should be regarded as dangerous to sheep until a dry summer has passed.

The Longford Red Meat Group (LRMG) trial at Ratho, Bothwell is comparing the profitability of four different irrigated grazing systems:
• Clover rotational (CR)
• Clover set stocked (CS)
• Ryegrass rotational (GR)
• Ryegrass set stocked (GS)
The question the group wants to answer from this project is how to maximise the gross margin per hectare in irrigated grazing systems, over a 12 month period. The trial is assessing both the breeding and finishing systems.
The results from the summer finishing period from weaning (28 November) to end of February have been analysed and are summarised here. Summary of the summer finishing period These results are consistent with those from the year 1 trial (at Chester) and also the lambing period (September until weaning) for this trial. The poor performance of the GR treatment remains unexplained at this stage and will be a major focus going forward. It may be related to a combination of NDF and its influence on total intake and small variations in energy content per kg of dry matter. It may also be a result of interaction between temperature and irrigation or either of these alone. Clover is more water efficient than ryegrass and is able to tolerate higher temperatures and still perform optimally. Ryegrass can be impacted by temperatures in the mid-twenties whereas clover will not be impacted until temperature reach over 30oC. To continue reading the trial update please click here

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