All of a sudden, the grass is now growing at a rate of knots. Reacting quickly will improve utilisation and help maintain quality for the summer.
Those on rotational grazing might consider taking some fields out of the rotation now to decrease rotation length. Often we quote a 21 day rotation in the spring, i.e. giving the grass a 21 day rest before re-grazing. Those moving every three days will have eight paddocks and may consider dropping two paddocks on the rotation out in order to shorten the rotation and produce baled silage. If the grass height on entry into the paddocks is now exceeding 10cm, consider this option now.
Those set-stocked will have an opportunity to increase stocking density. They might shut up more fields for conserved forage or increase stock numbers on grazed fields. Bringing groups together or bringing cattle to graze with the ewes, for example, will maintain grazing pressure – this is highly influential to pasture quality. Without knowing the productivity of the land, we cannot be prescriptive about stocking rates but the aim is to keep the grass height around 5-6cm to ensure quality is maintained. The ideal is to use the stock to achieve this.
This time of the year sets the scene for summer grass quality – make sure the grass ‘ration’ livestock have in front of them remains high in energy. Dead and stem material bring down the energy value of the pasture substantially. Topping will help, but better to save fuel cost and make most of the opportunity by using the stock.
Poppy Frater email@example.com
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