6 June 1997

Supply control essential in any system – SAC

WHATEVER the grazing system, a good measure of grass supply control and monitoring to know when to supplement are essential.

With those techniques in place, the performance of a well run set stocking or a rotational grazing system can be similar, John Bax of the SACs Crichton Royal Farm, Dum-fries, told the Dairy Research and Consultancy Milk From Grass conference, in Shropshire. He said that there was no evidence to say rotational grazing is better than set stocking.

"But at Crichton Royal Farm we changed from set stocking to rotational grazing this year hoping to capitalise on some of the potential advantages of rotational grazing." These included greater flexibility and scope to graze taller swards.

The SACs 9000-litre and 10,000 litre cows needed high grass intakes to maximise milk from grazed grass. To achieve these high intakes taller grazing swards were needed, he claimed. Lower yielders or dry stock may then be needed to graze down the swards after the higher yielders to reduce waste.

It is also possible to tell how much cows are eating with a rotation, and to have greater flexibility, anticipating problems before they happen, added Mr Bax.

He was also keen to ration the cows on a kg of dry matter basis throughout the grazing season. &#42