Maintaining healthy pasture is key to maintaining healthy stock and maintenance tools and materials are available from suppliers. Some useful pointers for pasture and land management are:
Rotate stock to ensure that pasture isn’t over grazed. Grass of about 15cm has more balanced nutrient content
If paddocks are dry or the grass is not growing well, stock feed should be supplemented with hay, baleage or suitable pellets so they don’t graze the paddocks too short
Removing animal faeces can support pasture growth and reduce problems with parasitic worms. In dry weather harrowing or spreading the faeces can also assist. In damper conditions however this can spread the worm larvae.
Prevent paddocks from being too heavily stocked creating bald patches, rotating between pastures regularly and by letting the grass grow out and mowing it every now and then
It’s good to reseed existing grass at least every 10-15 years. The best time to do this is early autumn, or otherwise spring, when temperature and rainfall are favourable.
Oversow bald patches in pasture every year
Get soil tested regularly so pasture pH and which nutrients are deficient are known. Choose the right type of fertiliser to address any nutrient deficiencies. Fertilisers can be organic or artificial.
Test kits for sampling soil can be obtained from Hill Laboratories
There are also Regional Council requirements regarding the distances various weeds must be kept back from a boundary. In the interests of good neighbourly relations it can be helpful to know these. For example, for two of Pāuatahanui’s more common weeds, the distances are 10 metres for gorse and 50 metres for ragwort. Ragwort is a serious pest, toxic to horses and with seeds remaining viable for up to ten years.
Shelterbelts provide important shelter for stock and can also be useful for erosion control, screening untidy areas and generally enhancing your property.
Remember however that trees grow and should not be planted too close to roads, power lines, houses, boundaries etc. Landowners may be required to trim trees where these encroach on road reserve or affect utilities or safe access.
A large range of plant species can be used for shelter belts. This resource from Greater Wellington Regional Council has suggestions for shelter belt species and design.
The Council is required by law to identify and hold a Schedule of Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) within the Porirua-Pãuatahanui area. SNAs are areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna. They are large areas generally over 0.5 hectares (1.2 acres) in size, sometimes over more than one property. They can include native vegetation, regenerating vegetation (for example, gorse and manuka) and wetlands. There are various circumstances where removal of native vegetation is allowed, but it is possible that a resource consent would be required for clearance of native vegetation.
The Council does not require fencing of these areas or for the landowner to undertake any other form of stock management. Although not required, restoration and maintenance of SNAs is encouraged and there are numerous organisations and funds that landowners can access to look after biodiversity on their property.
Greater Wellington Regional Council also offer advice and support for those looking to undertake pest animal control. They can provide advice on best control methodologies as well as supplying traps and poisons at cost rates. For more information contact Pest.Animals@gw.govt.nz or ring 0800 496 734.
Clean fill is waste material, generally collected from construction projects, that contains (in isolation or in combination) dirt, cement, concrete, gravel, brick, top soil, sand, and rubble. Rural properties are often sought for disposing of clean fill and it can appear to be an ideal way to fill hollows or build up areas of land. It is important however to check what the clean fill does contain, to ensure there are no contaminants that will cause future issues. Clean fill may need compacting and must be managed to ensure it does not slip, subside or cavitate (create deep hollows) and create a hazard.