Our current grassland management advice is as follows:
- Continue to walk the farm weekly to monitor Average Farm Cover (AFC).
- By November 1st, farms with heavy soils should have between 70- 80% of their grazing area closed, while dry farms should have between 60-70% closed.
- If grazing conditions stay favourable, avoid the temptation to run down AFC and re-graze closed paddocks. Under no circumstance should AFC drop below 500 kg DM/ha as this is detrimental for grass availability on the farm next spring.
- While conditions are poor, use on-off grazing and back fencing to avoid excessive damage while trying to keep grass in the diet.
- Heavy soil farms will soon be approaching the last week or 10 days of grazing.
- Many dry farms will be approaching 60-70% grazed this week, which means the remaining 30% of your farm is where you will have a medium cover next spring. Identify paddocks that have a good grazing infrastructure (good farm roadway network, multiple access points/exit points and square in shape) and aim to graze them this week so that these paddocks will have a medium level of cover on them by next spring (800-1,000 kg DM/ha) which will be the paddocks to be grazed first.
- Target a minimum closing cover of 600 kg DM/ha by December 1st (this is closing cover, not housing date).
- Highly stocked farms should target a 650-750 kg DM/ha closing farm cover. Higher stocking rates (3+ cows/ha) on the milking platform in spring and those with a tight calving pattern should consider an earlier closing date to carry more grass over the winter.
- As a general guide, grazing needs to stop once cows start entering covers of 900 kg DM/ha or less.
- Grass Dry Matter % has been recorded as low as 11-13% over the last week during broken/unsettled weather, making it difficult to meet dry matter intake capacity at grass. Offering a sufficient silage buffer will assist in holding milk output decline to less than 2.5%/week until the end of lactation.
For further information on grassland management, contact your local Agritech Sales Advisor.