Archive Article: 1999/09/10

10 September 1999

CLEAN up any rough pastures and build up overall grass cover this month, writes BGS grazing consultant Carol Gibson.

Average pasture cover should reach a high point in late September of 2500-2700kg DM/ha.

Farms with high pasture covers now may take a cut of silage on a small area. But avoid doing this if you can. It is surprising how much pasture cows will graze, so you can persevere with grazing more mature grass, consider using dry cows to clean up, or skip the strongest areas and leave them for later grazing by milkers or dry cows.

You may wonder whether all this extended grazing is worthwhile. Producers who have extended the grazing season find it is worth £1/cow/day in feed savings and improved milk quality. This applies even when cows are grazing for only 2.5 to three hours a day. These figures are similar to those demonstrated by research at the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland, Hillsborough.

During October, plenty of high-quality grass can supply maintenance plus 12 to 14 litres for February calvers, and maintenance plus 15 to 18 litres for autumn calvers. But this cannot be achieved if pasture quality is poor and is more difficult to achieve when access is limited. &#42

Daily growth rates

Anglesey 76kg DM/ha

Cumbria 54kg DM/ha

Sussex 68kg DM/ha

South Wales 100kg DM/ha

Stafford 32kg DM/ha

Dorset 27kg DM/ha

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