It’s been bit of a wet one so far with water laying on the ground in many paddocks. While some farmers have braved the conditions and are getting familiar with the scenario of 3-hour grazings and temporary spur tracks, just to get the cows out. Well done if you are one of those, and given you’ll have time, now for the paddocks to repair themselves before we get onto quicker rounds. The target 30% of the grazing area by St David’s Day (1st March) which despite the weather was doable, mostly as the reduced dry matter of the grass meant more area was grazed! Although cows had to work a bit harder.
The later target of 60% of the farm grazed by St Patrick Day (17th March) means this recent perfect grazing weather will help get the cows back on target by grazing at night too. Also reducing supplements, silage and concentrates dry matter intakes of grass will help to get the herd round on to more paddocks. The Spring calving herd may in some cases be nearing the end, but most will be in the thick of calving. In fact, the busiest time of year, with a sizable herd to milk and plenty of heifer and bull calves to feed. A break from feeding large amounts of silage will be most welcome.
In any case the objective is to get the cow to graze and consume as much grass as possible to get the plants motoring ready for second round. This rotation will be when we will have serving in mind and energy levels are at the top of the farmer’s consideration. Round lengths will be around 20 days rather than 60 days. If you’ve stuck to the Spring rotation planner, then bigger areas will be allocated now to get the whole farm, 100%, grazed by early April.
Recent grass ryegrass samples looking really good with dry matter at 22%, protein at over 25%, energy at 12 MJ and sugars at 6% this will give not only good milk yields but decent milk solids too. With grass this good what other good reason to reduce supplements as nothing will come close to this as a feed, both nutritionally and economically.
Regenerative Grazing will be getting going in the recent weather conditions too with delayed planned calvings due to slower spring grass growth as no applied fertiliser and little or no ryegrass. A 60-day grazing round i.e., a 60th of the farm grazed a day will suit most regenerative operators proved they didn’t start too late, but they will be used to going into higher covers of stockpiled grass. It’s still good to get the grass grazed from the point of view to get tillering underway and to allow room for the legumes to see the light of day. Also, to keep on top of the plant prior to heading or producing seed heads.
Any wet areas that present problems later in the year should be investigated by digging a hole with a spade to look for compaction and at what depth. So, an aerator with short or long tines can be used to dissipate the excess moisture, if its run off from another field use infiltration tests to see what’s going on. Nothing better than having a good knowledge of your own soil.