14 June 1996

Better conditions bring surplus cover

IMPROVED soil moisture, higher temperatures, and the rapid onset of heading has lifted grass growth, with cover now surplus to grazing needs across much of the country.

Growth on ungrazed paddocks on a Wiltshire dairy farm averaged 90kg/ha dry matter in the fortnight to June 6. Grass cover on this farm is increasing rapidly, from 2200 to 2450kg/ha DM over the past two weeks. Grass is now surplus to grazing needs and more paddocks should be by-passed for silage.

Several producers have reported that grass stopped growing in May. Yet data collected from the Wiltshire farm (see graph) does not support this. There may be several explanations:

lThe farm has a special climate that other farms do not have.

lGrass believed to have stopped growing when it had not.

lToo little leafy area for maximising growth.


Feed cover on farms visited in first week June

Farms visitedAve grass

cover on

grazing area

(kg DM/ha)

12,650

22,050

32,050

42,400

51,650

61,750

72,350

82,450

Average2,170