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Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.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

Topics Issues to consider
  • Wallowing in mud can be good for your domestic pigs so ensure you provide them with the means to continue doing so as the ground dries out. Pigs will wallow to control their body temperature and protect their skin from getting sunburnt. They also wallow to control parasites on their skin. For more information about owning pigs visit the PigCentral website.
  • Before purchasing any livestock consider the size of the animal when fully grown, their behaviour, the infrastructure needed to keep them contained, the costs of feeding and veterinary costs.
  • Maintain regular worm egg counts to assist you in identifying when you need to drench your flock.

  • It is important to treat sheep early to prevent them from becoming flystruck. The key signs to look for include sheep that are on their own, possibly not grazing; dark stains on the wool, especially on the shoulders, back or crutch; tail twitching, rubbing or chewing at the affected part; and an offensive odour when close to the sheep.

  • If you own alpacas and have not shorn them this year, now would be a good time. If you do not shear them, you run the risk of wool becoming contaminated with weed seeds and the animal suffering heat stress over summer. While your alpacas are restrained check if their nails need clipping.

Crops and pasture
  • Pastures will be starting to dry off and landholders that are considering buying in hay should be aware that this is a common way for weed species to spread. When feeding out hay over summer this often means that hay is spread across your property, spreading weed seeds with it.
  • When purchasing hay find out from the supplier if Annual Rye Grass Toxicity (ARGT) occurs in the area you are purchasing hay from and, if it does, consider testing the hay for ARGT galls. ARGT is an often fatal poisoning of livestock that may occur following ingestion of annual ryegrass that is infected by the bacterium Rathayibacter toxicus.
  • Be on the lookout for insects in your crops and pasture. Use the MyPestGuide app to photograph and report any insects you are unsure of and to receive identification by a DAFWA expert.
Fresh produce
  • Continue to monitor soil moisture and irrigate as required.

  • Thin earlier stone fruit and apples as required and shift bee hives to later flowering varieties. Be aware of the bee toxicity rating of any pesticides that may be required during flowering and use with caution.

  • Avocado flowering will have started in some regions so ensure bee hives are evenly dispersed within the orchard when roughly 10% of flowers have opened.

  • Ensure nutrition programs are being implemented.

  • October is the month for mango tree leaf analysis.

  • Ensure any fallen or unwanted fruit is regularly removed and disposed of appropriately.

  • Control scale at the crawler stage — oil is quite effective and does not harm predators. Two oil sprays about two weeks apart gives good control. It is important to monitor and wait for the emergence of the young crawlers as the oil sprays are less effective against the adult scale.

  • Control Powdery and Downy mildew on grapes.

  • Maintain an effective fungicide program as determined by the prevailing weather conditions — brown rot in stone fruit and scab in apples and pears can proliferate if not managed appropriately.

  • If you are a keen gardener and want more information on how best to manage your vegetables, have a look at the Good Practice Guide for Vegetable Production.

Land and infrastructure management
  • It is best to start your fire preparation well before summer. Start looking at how you can best prepare your property against a bushfire. For more information see ‘Bushfire survival plans for small landholders’.
  • Don’t forget to start checking your stored hay regularly as heat can build up within stacks and start fires.
  • If you are planning on burning off, advise your neighbours of possible smoke hazards.
Pests and weeds
  • Is mowing the right weed control for you? Mowing is only effective if you can frequently and repeatedly mow the area to prevent seed set. Bulbs species such as arum lily and Cape tulip will continue to survive in the soil after mowing, however mowing can prevent seed set and reduce weed spread.

  • Caterpillars will become active in October, identify species and appropriate control method.

  • Mediterranean fruit fly management practices should be well ramped up by now.

  • Anthracnose continues to be an issue with avocado fruit, while the use of copper as a preventative spray applied during wet, warmer conditions is effective, recent research has shown the value of azoxystrobin fungicides being applied as a final spray in the lead up to harvest.