Lifestyle block owners are being urged to start feed planning for winter now following the recent drought.

Despite the rain which has started falling in the North Island the drought will unfortunately have lasting impacts over winter says Kate Brennan of

“For lifestyle block farmers it’s now more important than ever not to lose sight of what a long road to recovery it is as we head into winter. When feed is short it's essential to make the most of what you've got, and feed planning will be key over the next 6 months,” says Kate.

FMG’s Advice manager, Stephen Cantwell says that they’re concerned for lifestyle block owners who may not have the same experience with droughts as farmers.

“We spoke with Alan Cole, Provincial Presidents Federated Farmers of Auckland, to find out what our lifestyle clients can do to make sure they can meet their animals’ nutritional needs over winter,” says Stephen.

Alan's tips on preparing for winter

Consider if you can you support all of your animals over winter

If you’ve already had to use supplement feed such as hay, baleage or hard feed now is the time to consider reducing your feed demand.  Look at the number of animals you have on your property and seek advice from your vet or feed supplier if you need to.

Plan ahead and do it now

If you do need to purchase more feed, purchase it early and have it on hand. Feed is in short supply across the sector so it will be more expensive than it may have been earlier in the season.

Find ways to boost your pasture supply

Lifestyle blocks tend to have high feed demand and smaller areas which make spreading fertiliser and reseeding grass seed too difficult with traditional farm equipment. Coming up with ways to do this will not only boost your pasture supply heading into winter but help your pastures recover longer term.

Some of the tips to boost pasture supply include:

  • As pasture starts to grow, allow it to recover as much as possible. Break feeding can allow the pasture to recover but make sure stock have access to water, proper shelter and room to rest.
  • The longer grass is, the faster it grows so you should aim to keep your animals moving around the farm as slowly as you can to allow feed to build up ahead of them.
  • Feed supplements to ensure livestock are getting enough feed.

For more information, including how to put together a feed budget head to or 0800 BEEFLAMB which is being supported by MPI.