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Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.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 September to ensure your property is well prepared for the coming months:

Topics Issues to consider


  • To save yourselves the expense of purchasing tag applicators and earmarking pliers always make sure that you purchase calves that are already earmarked or branded. They must already have an NLIS device in their ear.
  • Consider what facilities you have for the long term handling of cattle (for marking, vet treatments, loading, unloading, etc.) before purchasing. For more information see ‘First-time cattle ownership for the small landholder’.
  • You need secure handling yards but it may be possible to hire or borrow a crush. For more information see ‘Constructing cattle yards for small landholders’.
  • Now is the time to also consider upgrading your bulls or rams to improve your genetics for growth muscle or confirmation.
  • With the selling season starting late September, check your rural newspapers for advertisements if you are looking at buying livestock.
  • Ensure that sheep and cattle vaccinations are up to date before spring. Consult your private veterinarian for details.
  • Plan blow fly control for spring now: this will involve shearing, crutching, worm control and jetting.

Crops and pasture

  • Sub-tropical pastures should be planted in the first two weeks of September.
  • Prior to planting you will need to have good bug and weed control.
  • Now is a good time to determine the composition of your pastures. Drive or walk through to see which pastures have high weed burdens and will need renovating next year.
  • Pastures which have a heavy weed burden can be effectively controlled by spray – graze option. This is where the plants are treated with a sub lethal dose of herbicide. This mobilizes the sugars within the plant, reducing its ability to regenerate from stored starch and making the plant “sweeter” to stock. Timing is very important for this style of treatment. Correct timing will affect the flower and this can cause seeds to abort and not be viable. Bulb weeds are not suitable for the spray – graze method as they often contain toxins which are not palatable for stock.

Fresh produce

  • Now is the time for the first plantings of cherry tomatoes in frost-free areas. Continue planting lettuce, parsley, radish, silverbeet, spinach, zucchini and squash. Plant most varieties of potted fruit trees.
  • Start picking asparagus and globe artichokes. Start harvesting broad beans.
  • Control early blight disease in potatoes. Start spraying grapes for powdery mildew from two weeks after budburst.
  • Strawberry crops grow well all spring. To avoid slaters grow them in full sun in hanging baskets.
  • Prune passionfruit. Thin low-chill peaches and nectarines.
  • Maintain a regular fertiliser program all spring.
  • Test-run all irrigation systems to ensure they are operational and ready to go when required.
  • Monitor soil moisture levels and rainfall and commence irrigation as soon as soil moisture reaches critical levels.
  • Monitor for frost events with frost sensitive crops and initiate frost management practices as required.

Land and infrastructure management

  • If you are going to be irrigating fruit trees over the late spring/summer period, now is the ideal time to check your irrigation system and to flush the trickle lines. This will prevent delays when irrigating is essential.
  • Now is a good time to start implementing your fire management program, reduce fuel load around your house and sheds, install fire breaks and review your fire management plan. It is also important to contact your local council, as regulations vary in some shires. For more information about fire prevention contact the Department of Fire and Emergency Service (DEFS).
  • Now is a great time to clean water troughs to reduce algae growth, which can become a serious problem later in the season as temperature increases.

  • If you own stock which need shearing ensure that your yards and sheds are in a sound working condition to prevent costly delays. Book your contractor early to ensure that your stock are shorn before summer.

Pests and weeds

  • Mediterranean fruit fly will start to increase in activity and numbers with the warming weather, ensure ALL fallen or unwanted fruit is removed and appropriately disposed of. Ensure your management plans are in place, including monitoring, baiting/trapping and orchard hygiene — start baiting programs early in high risk situations.

  • Control snails in lower parts of fruit trees and around irrigation emitters.

  • Spring is prime time for many fungal diseases in fruit crops so ensure you have an adequate management program in place.

  • Map weeds that need to be treated next winter (e.g. cape tulip, Paterson’s curse) while still visible.

  • Fox cubs are emerging, so ensure your exclusion fencing on your chicken house and gates are working effectively, as young cubs are often not ‘street wise’ and will take easy food.

  • Feral pigs can cause costly damage to hay crops, waterways and sensitive areas. Control of pigs needs to be carried out in a staged manner. Identify areas frequented by pigs and devise a control plan.