Archive Article: 2000/08/18

18 August 2000

THOUGHTS are turning to building cover ready for when grass growth slows through autumn. But cleaning up pastures is important to avoid stemmy rotten bases spoiling grazing.

"Many producers are asking about whether they should begin to build cover but wait until about the last week of August before pushing cover levels up. Otherwise you may end up with too much long grass too soon," says MDC-funded grazing consultant Carol Gibson.

Cleaning up pastures should be a priority, she says. "Make sure that any pasture not silaged is grazed well by dry cows or suitable young stock. Then apply nitrogen fertiliser in late August to boost cover."

But Pembrokeshire-based producer Richard John is planning to apply fertiliser this week to build covers for autumn. "It has been dry lately but recently I have had rain and will aim to increase cover by 600kg. Over the next 45 days I am aiming to increase the growth rate to 15kg above demand with grass growing at 45-50kg/ha a day."

Grass growth in Sussex is still a little on the slow side for Christian Fox. "Cows are receiving last years silage to slow their demand for grass which is only growing at 19kg DM/ha a day."

However, rainfall has been steady in Cumbria and grass is racing ahead at 69kg/ha DM at Robert Craigs farm. "Im planning to take a third silage cut from 15ha of pasture in the next few days which should provide a safety net now that we have increased cow numbers from 100 to 150 this year." &#42

Daily growth rates

Cumbria 69kg DM/ha

Dorset 40kg DM/ha

Pembrokeshire 30kg DM/ha

Sussex 19kg DM/ha

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