FARM & LIVESTOCK LOOKOUT FOR TICKS

Ticks will be popping up in warmer areas of NZ as the temperatures rise.

There are several species of native tick but the one that we see on livestock is the bush tick or cattle tick. You’ll usually only see them once they’re almost ready to fall off your animal when fully engorged with blood (it takes 5-7 days to reach this size) as they tend to like warm areas on animals such as the face, ears, the ‘armpit’ and between the back legs.

You can now use the very handy ‘Tick Twister’ to easily remove them (www.smsl.co.nz) — make sure you then squash them. There are also chemicals like Bayer’s Bayticol which will kill the majority of ticks. Small tick populations on large animals won’t cause much harm but a tick infestation on young livestock, especially one that may already be run down or ill, can cause anaemia and death.

TOP 7 REASONS WHY YOUR WEED SPRAY DIDN’T WORK

1. YOU SPRAYED TOO EARLY

I You want to spray when plants are actively growing, in spring — but if it’s still too cold in spring, weeds may be slow to come away, or sprout after you’re sprayed.

2 WRONG WEED

Different plants require different chemicals to kill them, and some weeds are resistant. Always make sure you know what weed/s you have and use the correct product at the correct ratio (too much can be just as bad as too little).

3.BAD WEATHER

A hot day in the middle of a drought is just as bad a day to spray as when it’s cold or raining.

Weed plants need to be actively growing — drought stress will mean they don’t take up the herbicide. You also want to make sure to never spray on a windy day where drift can affect your plants, or those of your neighbour.

4. WRONG GROWTH STAGE

The bigger a plant gets, the harder it is to kill with herbicide and the more you will need to apply. Young, actively growing plants — ones that have not set flowers — are most susceptible and require the least amount of product. With blackberry, you, ^ get a second chance — either spray in spring when leaves turn from light to dark green, or wait until just after fruit drop but make sure to do it while the leaves are still green and healthy. Don’t bother if it has set flowers -plant growth slows a lot and it won’t take up enough to kill it.

5. WRONG PRODUCT

If you are targeting everything in an area, you will probably get away with the cheapest broad spectrum : 1 herbicide. But if you are targeting a specific weed like gorse or broom, make sure you use a product that L is specifically for it or you’ll waste time and energy and still have a i weed problem.

6. DIDN’T CALIBRATE U YOUR SPRAYER

It’s very useful to know how much spray is being emitted over a certain amount of time, assuming you will be walking around with a backpack sprayer at a fairly even speed, otherwise you may be spraying either far too much or not enough. Measure out an area 100m2 (25m long, 4m wide), fill the sprayer with water, then time yourself spraying the square. Measure how much water you have used to give you the sprayer output per 100m2. This will then determine how much spray concentrate you add to your tank. If you change the pressure at which you spray, the spray width or the nozzle tip, you’ll need to do it again.

7. DIDN’T READ THE LABEL

Read the whole label — it’s all mostly fine print and it’s important to get your application rate correct, use the right chemical for the job and in the correct ratio to water.

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