Mid-Season Grassland Management
The main aim of mid season grassland management is to manage fluctuations in grass growth, whilst also maintaining quality.
Over the next 2-3 months grass growth rates will normally be over 60kgs/dm/day and even during this period there can be significant peaks and troughs in grass growth rates as can seen in the graph below.
The ideal pre grazing yield is approximately 1400 kg/dm/ha (7-9cm in height) for mid season grazing. This corresponds to the 3 leaf stage of the plant when the performance of the plant and the cow eating the plant are both at the ideal position. This will feed the cow well and will assist in hitting the correct post grazing residual.
If grazing covers lower than 1200 kg/dm/ha, cow’s intakes and performance will suffer and grass growth may drop off. When feeding higher covers than 1400 kg/dm/ha there will be a higher proportion of stem compared to leaf in the paddock reducing feed quality and making clean outs more difficult.
If clean outs are poor then grass quality will be reduced in the next round. On the other side if cows are being forced to clean out strong paddocks it will result in:
- Slowing the length of the rotation
- Slower regrowths
- Underfeeding the cow
- Reduced milk output due to poorer quality grass
Lower milk protein content due to poorer quality
In periods of exceptional growth, any paddocks that are too strong for grazing should be taken out for surplus bales as soon as weather allows. There are a number of benefits associated with this;
- Reduce the length of the rotation to match the higher growth rates
- The extra bonus of cleaning out the paddock where grazing could not possible do and ensuring good quality grass for the next round of grazing.
- Excellent quality silage for buffer feeding during periods of feed deficits.
In periods of lower growth, grass allowance needs to be reduced and the rotation length may be extended by increasing supplementary feed.
Walking the Farm:
Grass growth can change fast during May and it is vital know to what is happening in terms of grass growth on the farm.
To do this you should walk the farm weekly. This will allow you to continually react to changes in growth.
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