Better grass if turnout early
GRAZING conditions have been difficult over the past month, writes Paul Bird, BGS consultant.
Those producers who have persisted with grazing, even for short periods, are in a better position, with shorter grass covers, than those who have just turned out.
Many producers have high grass covers on areas destined for grazing. Managing this long grass will be difficult. It has risen above the target height of 12cm (5in) or 3000kg DM/ha and high residuals will be left after grazing.
Options to cope with high residuals are:
• Stop feeding silage and cut concentrates to increase grass intakes.
• Top – using a mower – excess grass so quality is improved for the next grazing rotation.
• Top – mow – in front of the cows, if conditions are dry enough, so cows are grazing mown grass. Do not mow too large an area to avoid grass tramplings.
• The poorest quality areas that have been grazed should be shut up for silage.
If high growth rates continue above 70kg DM/ha/day increase stocking rates on the grazing area to about five to six cows a hectare, assuming each cow is eating 16kg DM during 24 hours. If conditions have dried enough to allow 8-10 hours of grazing, silage should be eliminated from the diet.
Grass growth – seven days
to Apr 27 (kg DM/ha a day)
Sussex – Christian Fox 31
Pembrokeshire – Richard John 100
Staffordshire – Steve Brandon 100