Spring Grass & Fertilizer
The mild weather this winter has brought growth and there are high covers of grass on farm. Where grass covers are not suitable for slurry, urea should be used at half bag / acre to maintain growth rates and keep the plant green. Keeping the plant green to the base will increase regrowth’s after grazing and will help grass survive any harder weather in the coming weeks.
The focus now turns to utilizing this beneficial growth as much as possible. Getting grass in to the milking cows diet has multiple benefits from boosting milk yield and milk protein, reducing silage consumption and production costs. Regardless of whether you measure grass or not every farm should use the Spring Rotation Planner (SRP). The SRP is a simple, efficient way to allocate grass each day from early February to early April. The SRP will vary from farm to farm depending on turnout (weather, calving pattern, soil type, etc...).
The basic aim of the SRP is to have 30% of the farm grazed by March 1st, 60% by Patrick’s day and 100% by the first week of April.
||% of farm grazed at week end
|7th April approx
||Start 2nd rotation
The 30% of the farm grazed in February is key as this ground will have at least 35-40 days to re grow and have a reasonable cover of grass on it for the second rotation.
For the plan to be successful the following is required:
- Stick to the planned area per day - Skipping ahead of the area planned will result in a short first rotation. This may lead to poorer utilization and low covers for the start of the second round.
- Use a strip wire – Split paddocks into 12-hour blocks plus the any areas already grazed should be back fenced to avoid any unnecessary pasture damage.
- On/Off grazing in wet weather - On/off grazing with 3 hours of grass access after each milking followed by rehousing is an excellent way to allocate grass and protect swards during difficult weather conditions.
If you require any assistance in completing a SRP contact Tim/Darren.