12 June 1998

Rainfall means growth OK for a few weeks

MOST regions in the country have had rain, therefore grass growth rates are expected to remain adequate for the next three to four weeks, writes BGS consultant Paul Bird. Grass growth on many farms was slowing because of lack of rain.

Silage aftermaths are now available for grazing – providing top quality feed.

The whole farm should be available for grazing. Only think about second cut silage when fields are too long to graze – over 3,000 – 3,500 kg DM/ha, or 12-15 cm in height. It is not logical to be feeding silage and growing silage in a field on the same day.

Areas that have been grazed three to four times since turn out, in some cases require topping (use a mower – not a topper) to improve quality. It may be an option to silage these fields if there is enough grazing on the remainder of the farm.

Replacement stock should now be fully fed on grazed grass – without any concentrates.

Autumn and spring born calves older than two and a half to three months should be only on grazed grass. Consider grazing them immediately in front of the dairy herd – giving them top quality feed. Growth rates of 0.8-1.0 kg/day are achievable in these animals, when given high-quality grass.

In-calf heifers may not need as good a quality feed as the calves – depending on weight gain required. If this is the case they can be used to graze after milking cows to tidy up swards and improve grass quality for the next grazing round.