When you farm at Woorarra East in the hills behind Toora with a 1200mm annual rainfall, the 625mm annual rainfall of Yarram over the last ten years is comparatively dry.

For the Throckmorton family they affectionately refer to their recently purchased 150ha outblock south of Yarram as the Gobi Desert.

“The fortnight before we purchased it we applied 2&1 fertiliser, and it just went brown. It was nothing to do with the fertiliser, it was just a very dry season” said dairy farmer Neil Throckmorton.

Purchased in September 2015, Mr Throckmorton said the property was “Totally unimproved, tussocks, stunted growth and low fertility”.

“Our focus was to improve the property so we could grow a lot of feed to supplement the dairy farms.”

Preparing the property to renovate in April, the Yarram property underwent significant drainage to prevent water from pooling, and tussocks regrowing again. They also planned a significant short term pasture program to maximise pasture yields.

“Working alongside Pete & Notman Seeds we decided to plant Bullet Annual Ryegrass mixed with Shaftal clover to give us flexibility for both grazing & silage.”

Planting of the Bullet & Shaftal at 40kg/ha began in April and the last paddocks were sown in the first week of June.

“We normally wouldn’t sow so late, but I’ve learnt a real lesson with the Bullet & Shaftal. As long as you can get on the ground and its not waterlogged I wouldn’t be afraid to sow so late.”

“The late sowing of was a real bonus, and although we got no winter grazing, the minute the pasture got heat on it the grass just took off.”

A wet winter in Yarram delayed the first silage cut, with some of the earlier sown paddocks grazed with young stock.

“We expected to cut in late August, however our first cut was in October & the second in November.”

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