RM2 employs a series of management techniques and integrated pest management strategies .
Rotational grazing, moving stock to a new paddock after a short period to fresh pasture preventing stock from over grazing valuable native perennial grasses and contamination from parasites carried in their own dung.
Mixed grazing regime, RM2 grazes cattle, sheep, and goats in the same pasture at the same time, these animals have different grazing preferences.
We have introduced summer and winter active dung beetles reducing transmission of parasites and consequently the use of pesticides such as stock drenches. Dung beetles feed in dung, one cow can produce 20kg of dung per day! Dung beetles host their eggs in chambers beneath the cow pad, these tunnels can be up to 600mm deep and can increase the amount of soil carbon under the pad by 25%. Flies breed in cow pads, our dung beetles bury the dung before maggots can hatch into flies killing the maggots before they can fly away to breed more flies. Burying the dung also removes the parasitic worms from being picked up by grazing stock.
Veterinary products are used sparingly. Stock generally receive no veterinary products unless they require special assistance for example with a difficult birth or a trauma situation. In 2012 and 2013 several cows required assistance with calving and under veterinarian advice we use pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and a general antibiotic to assist the cow with the trauma of having a calf pulled. Sheep wounded by dog attack received veterinary attention, requiring stitching and general antibiotics to help them recover. Sheep receive vaccination against 5 common diseases as lambs and the breeding ewes receive boosters for diseases such as Pulpy kidney, Blackleg, Malignant Oedema, Blacks Disease and tetanus.
Regular stock inspections, spring to summer flystrike of sheep is the one condition that requires daily inspection. Flystrike is when flies lay maggot eggs on the skin of the host animal, these eggs hatch into maggots that burrow into the skin. An untreated sheep will decline and death is likely. Our flock are inspected daily to ensure there is no flystrike, any sheep affected are treated immediately.
Stock shelter, RM2 has planted 1000’s of trees on our farms, our Bacchus Marsh farm had 30,000 trees planted recently and Gisborne South/Sunbury has 20acres of mature windbreaks. These trees provide shelter for pasture and livestock as well as habitat for native animals.