Better grass if turnout early

1 May 1998

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:

&#8226 Stop feeding silage and cut concentrates to increase grass intakes.

&#8226 Top – using a mower – excess grass so quality is improved for the next grazing rotation.

&#8226 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.

&#8226 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

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