20 November 1998

Grass – wide range in growth pattern

GRASS growth is extremely variable ranging from 0 to 10kg DM/ha a day, writes BGS grazing consultant Paul Bird.

On most farms, throughout the country, cows have finished grazing for this year. Some producers have stopped grazing because grass cover has dropped to their target levels of 1900-2000kg DM/ha. Others have stopped because of poaching problems, in most cases this results from poor tracks.

When a small proportion of the farm has not been grazed and grass is too long to carry over winter, wait for a drier period in December or January to graze dry cows or young stock.

Bringing in sheep should only be an option where your farm has a large amount of poor quality grass.

Begin planning your February to April grazing now using information such as grass covers and expected milking cow numbers. The first grazing rotation next year should last about 60 days. Using a farm map, draw on it where you think cows will graze. Then ask whether you have good access to all these areas for spring grazing.