Enough grass for all stock to be out
WHAT does it take to get producers to put their stock out to graze grass? writes BGS dairy consultant Paul Bird. Even with low milk prices combined with high grass growth rates, stock are only slowly being turned out.
Some producers are, however, capitalising on the favourable grass growing conditions. Growth has been measured on farms at 30-40kg DM/ha/day. In most cases this is enough growth to enable all stock to be turned out, day and night.
If ground conditions remain suitable for grazing for longer periods than two to three hours then silage can be removed completely from the cows diets. And because the protein content of the grass is about 25 to 30%, protein levels in the concentrate can also be reduced.
Producers who have reacted well to the increasing grass growth have in some cases grazed all traditional silage and are now moving onto grazing ground. Silage fields grazed in February have bounced back and are now close to being ready for another grazing or will be shut up for silage.
Grass-based dairy systems require producers to be flexible and confident that grazed grass can produce milk. In general most UK dairy producers are neither of the above. This must change if milk is to be produced at a lower cost. *