After a pretty wet and dismal summer for most, there was some reprieve with the start of September delivering the goods with temperatures in the mid 20s aiding in improving underfoot conditions and holding growth, so much so that the growth levels have been much the same since mid-June.

Soils are between 3.4°C and 6.2°C above normal, which has been the main reason for strong growth figures recently and has allowed farm cover to build without serious intervention.

However, with the rising farm cover and the stopping of mowing out surplus, pre-grazing yields have also risen to 2,000kg to 2,200kg DM/ha for a lot of farms.

There’s generally no issue grazing this when the weather is fine, but when we get incessant heavy rain (such as what’s promised for some parts of the country at the weekend) grazing these swards becomes a headache.

Dust off the reel

This is where the dust comes off the reel and poly posts and we get to strip grazing and back fencing.

Whenever I hear a farmer telling me they are strip grazing, the first thought in my mind is ‘but are you back fencing?’.

Giving daily strips from the front of the paddock to the back of it will result in better utilisation, but as regrowth occurs on the first strips, livestock will come back and eat these sweet-tasting leaves, hammering recovery.

The main reason a lot of farmers use the above is due to the water trough being at the front of the paddock.

If possible, split the paddock to make the best use of this trough so that it can be used for three or more grazing strips or, alternatively, you can run a temporary water line and small trough out to a more central location.