by Bess Jowsey, Pasture to Profit farm consultant
If you are spring calving or grazing low yielding stock aim for extra grazing days and limiting the need for concentrate fed to less efficient stock. This means targeting a higher quantity of grass; 27 – 2800 kgDM/ha AFC for around the end of September as you start your last rotation.
If you are autumn calving or grazing higher yielders; likely to be feeding higher levels of concentrate and housing earlier along with breeding, target better grass quality by building AFC to 25 – 2600 kgDM/ha for the start of your last rotation in mid-September.
If you have both groups then somewhere in between these targets will help you maximise grazed grass in the diet for as long as possible this autumn.
As you start your last rotation your round length will have naturally lengthened as higher AFC leads to higher pre-grazing covers. Consequentially it should be taking you longer to utilise this grass as there is more available per hectare. It is important to maintain consistent even residuals on your last rotation to minimise dead matter at the base of the sward, which can lead to grass spoilage through winter. A sward cleaned out well in late September will likely carry three leaves into winter and survive perfectly fine regardless of the winter conditions. This winter stored pasture is extremely high value come spring so be sure not to compromise this by a lack attention now.
To understand how this advice is applicable to your farm situation get in touch with your local Pasture to profit farm consultant for a no obligation chat.