Pasture to Profit update – a wet start to spring

So far this spring, conditions on-farm are still very wet for many, with some farmers experiencing extreme average farm cover (AFC) due to lack of grazing. Fortunately an on/off grazing strategy is working for those implementing it correctly. Flexibility in relation to grazing decisions has been crucial this spring and will remain so until conditions improve.

Recommendations for the coming month

It's been a wet spring on-farmWalk the farm! Physical inspection will highlight opportunities to graze that you don’t expect.

Increase grass in the cows’ diet as quickly as possible to catch up on your spring rotation plan. If your grazing period started in March, you may need to push your first-round completion back by a week or two to ensure paddocks have enough time to regrow covers.

Continue with on/off grazing to help balance AFC. Use temporary soil tracks and back fencing for as long as necessary.

Ensure dry matter (DM) intake is appropriate for your cows’ lactation stage. This, combined with correct area allocation, supplementary feeding, and an edge on appetite, will help achieve good residuals in the wet conditions. 

Due to moisture, grass utilisation will be lower – possibly as low as <70%. Ensure you factor this into your feed allocation.

Very early silaging could be part of the solution this spring.

For your paddocks with poor residuals, return early next round at 2-2.5 leaves (25 – 2600) to help reset them. The forecasted dry and windy weather will create opportunities.

Autumns herds: measure liveweights of mature cows within next six weeks.

Spring herds: if on/off grazing is required and grass availability is limited, sending cows to grass in one group will help support heifers/low dominance cows by giving them access to high quality grass.

Contact a Pasture to Profit consultant for more support with grazing this spring.

by Michelle Lamerton
International Marketing Coordinator
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