After several dry weeks, many of us at this point have received high levels of rainfall which has seen growth rates rectify to normal levels. However, as a result, grass quality has become an issue, resulting in reduced milk solids/output. Poor graze outs this spring, coupled with moisture-stressed grass has made life difficult for many over the past month.
In dry conditions, the grass plant starts to enter survival mode (reproductive mode), throwing out a seedhead and excessive stem rather than a leaf, even at low covers.
- Grass growth figures currently are 52 Kg DM/ha.
- Soil moisture deficits have largely disappeared with thundery showers and heavy rainfall throughout the country.
- Where growth has increased, it is important to keep in line with the grazing targets and use this opportunity to remove paddocks with poor grass quality.
- We are only 2 rotations from beginning the process of building autumn grass, so it is essential that there are clean swards on the grazing block.
- Target an average farm cover of 600-700 kg DM/ha (Cover per cow 160-180) or 12-14 days of grass ahead.
- Where paddocks are stemmy, but no surplus grass is available on farm, use disc mower to top or pre-mow 1-2 paddocks per week.
Holding milk output
With a typical spring calving herd, once the peak is over, the average milk yield decline should be no greater than 2.5% per week. Where grass quality is poor, and/or silage is reintroduced, be mindful to cover the cow’s energy requirements (especially where forage quality is low) by increasing concentrate supplementation where an energy deficit occurs, until grass quality and quantity increases. Reduced energy density will result in falling milk protein and reduced milk output.
For more information contact your local Agritech Sales Advisor.