GRASS growth is declining on most farms due to cooler temperatures, resulting in reducing grass covers, writes BGS grazing consultant Paul Bird.
Graze about a 40th to a 60th of the farm each day to ensure grazing lasts as long as possible and to maintain grazing pressure.
Fields grazed now should not have any stock on again until late winter or early spring. This is, therefore, your final chance to improve grass quality through increased grazing pressure or perhaps topping.
Producers with low grass covers of less than 2200kg DM/ha may need to buffer feed forage.
When there is a choice between maize or grass silage choose maize silage. Its higher dry matter and low protein complement grass well.
When grass covers are above 2200kg DM/ha, and grass quality is good, no silage of any kind is required. The exception may be with autumn calved cows which will be served from November. A relatively stable diet is recommended for these cows, and to achieve that silage may be needed.
Farms which did not apply nitrogen in September have lower grass covers than those that applied some nitrogen, and some now have rust reducing palatability.
Quota management is particularly important for spring calving herds now. It is important to clarify from mating records how many, and when cows will be calving in spring. There may be a more milk produced in February and March next year on farms which have tightened the calving pattern. Make preliminary plans or you may be under or over quota when it is too late to do much about it. *