29 May 1998

Options for quick grass growth

GRASS growth rates have been high due to adequate soil moisture and warm temperatures (see table below), writes BGSconsultant.

Reduced fertiliser applications on some farms may mean a second cut of silage will not be made due to slower grass growth. Many producers still have silage left from last year so the combined savings on fertiliser and silaging will reduce costs.

Those producers who are reducing nitrogen fertiliser are finding palatability of the grazed grass is improving. Cows are grazing down to 5-6cm (2-2.4in) or 1600 to 1700kg DM/ha while still maintaining good levels of milk production.

When grass surplus to grazing is building up, consider silaging those areas that did not get grazed well in previous rotations due to wet soil conditions. This will improve grass quality for June/July grazing.

Many producers who continued to graze their cows throughout the difficult April did see small drops in milk production. These producers now have farms covered in high quality grass ready to be turned into milk compared with those who turned out in early May who still are not getting any significant milk from grass. One producer at a Hampshire discussion group was getting 24 litres from his autumn calving herd without feeding concentrates or silage.

set as table___

Grass growth – previous seven days kg DM/ha/day

Sussex – Christian Fox 97

Pembrokeshire – Richard John 55 (reduced nitrogen applications)

Staffordshire – Steve Brandon 123

Grass growth


Grass growth

– previous

seven days kg DM/ha/day

Sussex

Christian Fox 97

Pembrokeshire

Richard John *55

Staffordshire

Steve Brandon 123

*reduced nitrogen applications