The bunnies are back in South Wairarapa where Roger Barton has found the right tool.

I’ve been into P lately. P for pest control. P for politician too. Is there much difference you might well ask?

Rabbit numbers have rocketed in recent months and my newly purchased .17HMR has been a constant companion in the Rhino. On a trip to Taupo I went into a hunting shop to buy a new headlight and came out with a new shooter.

In the past I have borrowed a .17 but with looming changes to firearms legislation I guessed, despite my submission to the select committee, that the flexibility of doing that would be taken away.

As a firearms user I am totally in the category of doing so as part of land management. I am not a recreational shooter. But when you need one you need the right one.

Just so I make sure I mix up my pests and politicians the other issue which is likely to arise with changes to firearms legislation is the right to use someone else’ firearm on their property.

Case in point was when I headed out to my son’s to do a circuit of the property in the latter stages of lambing while he and his wife had a weekend off and used his rifle to dispatch a bearing ewe. In future it is likely, if I don’t want to contravene the law, that I will have to take my own rifle. What a nonsense we have ended up with to salve the consciences of a few. How on earth this aspect of legislation will enhance firearms safety I have no idea.

Back to those bunnies…historically this area has been in the top five places in the Wairarapa for rabbit issues. The timely introduction of RCD all those years ago (the legal brew) gave us an amazing knock-down and ongoing levels of control for many years. It appears to have stopped circulating so it’s back to more historic methods of control.

The trusty Jack Russell does a great job of finding juveniles in burrows but that isn’t enough. The regional council do have requirements on landowners to limit numbers as measured by the “Modified McLean scale.” For anyone wanting a read of rabbits in yester year go and find the book “Rabbits galore.”

Farming-wise the season has been reasonable. Lambs weaned well without spring being particularly great. Cold and windy October followed by a hot and dry November with continuing winds. Crop establishment has been superb and we have the use of two chicory crops and some Raphno brassica considerably faster than expected.

Drafting lambs for Atkins Ranch contract earlier this week I was spoilt for numbers. I hope for the same problem for my next consignment later in the month.

Californian thistles need to be higher up the radar and “to do” list. At least the cows and calves are doing a sterling job of pasture control in the worst of the areas. Historically the establishment of both grass grub and porina caterpillars has been exacerbated where Calis have been poorly managed.

The workflow of December has its challenges with livestock coming first but other things also needing attention.

Back to that P stuff now…we have all been waiting for the politicians’ pronouncements on the freshwater management submissions. I stand to be corrected but was told that the submissions were being read and collated by university students. With 17,500 to thumb through it was never going to be an easy task.

I guess if there is a reasonable methodology in place to do this it should be fair to all but with some of the narrative coming out of universities and secondary and primary schools, with farming being portrayed quite negatively, then I would have to say I am a bit jaundiced about how the result may look.

Our own conservation efforts (well mostly Barbie to be fair post-fencing) are looking great but it does create another work stream with the need to spray weeds including electric fence lines and we now have created corridors not just for birds but also the deer have decided they like them too. I might have to start carrying something larger than a .17HMR.