Increasing the number of days at grass and boosting animal performance are both key in autumn grazing management on farm.
Currently we should still be using mid-season targets and it is important to remain focused on grass quality, however we also need to start planning to build grass for the autumn.
- Farmers should not be building grass yet, but planning should start now. The idea of building grass is to have a bank of grass on the farm in the autumn to be able to extend the grazing season (each extra day at grass in autumn is worth €1.80/cow/day), while closing off the farm in preparation for next spring.
- Rotation length should be extended from 10th August to reach 30 days by Sept 1st.
- Make all land on the milking platform available for grazing to extend the rotation
- Remove surplus livestock from the grazing platform to reduce demand
- Increase supplementation by 1-2 kg to reduce demand
- Surplus paddocks should be removed in August. Removing paddocks after the first week of September should be avoided if possible
- If farm cover is below target at any stage (soil moisture deficit area may be relevant), take quick action to bring it back on course
- It is important to achieve residuals of 4 cm to stimulate growth throughout the winter and avoid the carryover of dead material over the winter and into the following spring.
By achieving the right farm cover at the right time, decisions are easier to make. Key targets associated with grassland management are included in the table below.