Small landholder seasonal activity list

Page last updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2017 - 1:32pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.


Keep on top of the following issues during December to ensure your property is well prepared for the coming months:

Topics Issues to consider


  • With the summer temperatures starting to increase you will need to increase your checks of troughs, dams and other water points.
  • Water quantity, volume and quality will need to be closely monitored to ensure that stock are not going thirsty. Cattle and horses can drink up to 68 litres per day, depending on size and the weather conditions.
  • It is also important to make arrangements early for a caretaker to look after stock if you are going on holidays as stock need regular monitoring. Correct identification can assist in the return of your animals should they decide to go ‘on holiday’ (get out/stray) while you are away as well.

Crops and pasture

  • Protect your valuable top soil. If you are starting to get bare patches on your property you may need to consider keeping stock stabled or isolated in more stable paddocks to reduce the risk of erosion by wind.
  • Pasture nutritional value will be dropping off, so you might need to start hand feeding to meet stock nutritional demands. If you can store feed in a dry area, free of excessive rodents, buy grain and hay now rather than later. Alternatively, reduce stock numbers.
  • Ensure drying grass seeds, especially barley grass, are slashed to prevent seeds contaminating wool and getting into animal ears and eyes.

Fresh produce

  • Tomato spotted wilt virus is spread by thrips insects and may cause severe damage to tomatoes, capsicums, lettuce and herbs. Remove infected plants and control weeds.
  • Use preventative sprays to control powdery mildew in apples and grapes. Further spraying for powdery mildew may be required so it is important to monitor crops.
  • Cover susceptible fruits with netting to prevent bird damage.
  • Monitor soil moisture and irrigate as required, remembering to irrigate within the effective root zone to reduce water wastage.
  • Nutritional programs should be well underway, remember to adjust based on crop load – higher crop loads require higher nutrition.

Land and infrastructure management

  • Start monitoring the progress of this year’s revegetation work. If you only planted a few trees, extra time watering may increase the survival of these plants.
  • Alternatively, if you want to increase moisture left in soil and decrease weed competition, mulch around existing trees, remembering to leave a gap around the trunk to prevent disease and rot.
  • If you have no stock, tall weeds may become an issue.  Slash or mow tall grasses, but only at low fire-risk times of day when the air is still and cool. If in doubt, check with your local fire officer.
  • Check and maintain irrigation systems and upgrade if necessary.
  • Make sure you create a bushfire survival plan for all your family this summer, including your pets and livestock to keep them safe. Decide whether you will stay to defend your home in the event of a bushfire or leave early.

Pests and weeds

  • Animal manures left to build up on farm can support outbreaks of stable fly over the next few months. Manure should be either broken up and incorporated into pasture or composted in fly proof structures.
  • Stock should be monitored for any signs of pest or disease outbreaks.
  • Paddy and Afghan Melons can be sprayed, spray grazed, manually removed or grubbed.
  • Juvenile foxes are out and about. Now that lambs are big they are at a lower risk so poultry is more likely the target.  Total enclosure, including a roof is the best protection.
  • Fruit fly activity increases and life cycle periods shorten as the weather gets warmer, so keep up your fruit fly management program – make sure you clean up after any early harvests and maintain baiting/trapping in harvested blocks for a minimum of 4 weeks after harvest.