Business Rural Winter 2022

| 35 MEAT & WOOL » Scott & Geraldine Hassall Karen Phelps New way to feed kale a revelation Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention and for North Canterbury farmers Scott and Jo Hassall this has certainly been the case. In a bid to feed their animals during the autumn drought last year they believe they might have stumbled across a new way to feed kale to stock that could bene t other farmers. Having to sell stock, and with the remaining stock struggling to maintain condition, they bought in baleage and spuds, something they have never had to do. But ewes were getting grass staggers from the lack of green grass. Scott was so desperate to feed all his stock, including sheep, deer and cattle, that he wondered if he could harvest the only green feed on his farm – some kale he’d planted the previous November. While kale is traditionally fed by break feeding, he harvested it from the paddock with a hay mower, chopped it up with a loader wagon then fed it out in the paddocks with his silage wagon along with some potato. The stock immediately took to the feed and the staggers problem literally disappeared overnight. The method was so successful that the Hassalls grew 26ha of kale this year, up from the 13ha grown last year. “I can make better use of the feed by harvesting it and taking it to the stock, compared with break feeding, as nothing is wasted this way, and I can feed every class of stock on the farm. Actual utilisation is close to 100% of feed fed out. The animals hoovered it up, stalks and all, as the loader wagon chops the stalks into bite sized chunks.” The farm is now part of an AgriBusiness trial to investigate the method further and see if it might have applications for other farms including seeing if ef ciencies can be gained by cutting a week’s worth of the kale in one day. Farming at ‘If ey’ in the Waikari Valley, farm managers Scott and Jo are carrying on the legacy of the operation established by Scott’s parents Geraldine and the late Bill Hassall. At just under 1000 hectares, the farm carries 1500 ewes and 600 hoggets. A special feature of this sheep flock is the fact that all the ewes carry the naturally occurring Inverdale fertility gene, causing a consistently outstanding lambing fertility profile. They have been “dabbling” in Ill de France genetics by putting ram lambs over their hoggets as terminal sires. This produces smaller lambs that “hit the ground running and grow like mad”, says Scott. They have kept 200 of the ewe lambs this year of this cross to become part of the breeding ewes and will put their normal Inverdale composite rams over them. Their cattle are exclusively of Full French origin and they have 43 breeding cows plus calves in their stud French ConneXion Charolais, formerly called The Glen Charolais, which was started by Geraldine and Bill. They also have around 30 Angus cows. Scott favours Full French as it’s the purest form of Charolais, a hardy cattle breed originating from Charolles, central France, which he believes results in the greatest hybrid vigour. The stud has semen for sale from full polled Full French bull Pedro. “Traditionally polled animals are ner but Pedro has great muscling, fantastic conformation, terri c temperament and he’s leaving fully polled calves.” By autumn calving the heifers they also plan to offer 15-month-old animals for sale. The Hassall farming operation also includes 700 Red hinds. The offspring are all finished over the road on the finishing block. Another 6km of fencing has been completed on this as the family plans to establish a velvet herd to complement the operation. “I’ve always been interested in the stags, as North Canterbury conditions are well suited to a velvet herd. The summer dry suits them so we don’t have to worry about quitting stock whereas the hinds are working their hardest when we have the least feed.” Somehow Scott also manages to nd time for another farming-related pursuit as the South Island sales rep for Combi Clamp, a company based in Palmerston North that produces cattle and sheep handling equipment. “It’s a really high quality New Zealand made product. I have both the sheep unit and one of the Cattle Crushes. They honestly make a mockery of the hard work normally associated with both classes of stock,” says Scott who really enjoys the contact with other farmers this role offers and looks forward to the upcoming field days. Although last season on the farm the weather was tough, this season it’s been the complete opposite. “My silage pits are chocka block, the hay sheds are full and the green feed is immense. It’s been one of the best seasons I have experienced.” Local Business Serving the Local Area. • All agricultural and cultivation work • Direct drilling - Giant discing - Ploughing - Power harrow - Air seeding • All heading and windrowing requirements • Hay - Baleage - Straw Medium square, round, conventional. Double mower conditioners, wrapping. Individual wrapping, squares and rounds. • Daily Freight Run to Ch-Ch & Return. Ph: 0274 517 063 We look after your needs like we look after our own! 0274 321 581 (Bus) 03 314 4565 (H) 0274578320 or 033144449 | | ij il. • Jet Boats • Engineering • Truck Repairs • Farm Equipment We understand YOUR servicing & engineering needs! Proudly supporting Scott & Geraldine CARRIERS OF LIVESTOCK, GENERAL FREIGHT, BULK & FERTILISER CHEVIOT TRANSPORT 2017 LTD 99 Ward Rd, Cheviot 7310 P: 03 319 8644 A/H: 0276 776 787 Full French Charolais bull Pedro has ‘great muscling, fantastic conformation, terri c temperament and he’s leaving fully polled calves,” says Scott Hassall.