Grass: I had a good discussion with one farmer this week, querying whether management practices should change because of the exceptional growth we’ve had. My argument is stick to the plan – the one thing that might change is the first paddock you have closed off may have too heavy a cover (>1,300kgDM/ha) to carry over the winter and should be grazed again. However, if this happens, growth has been exceptional and the rest of the paddocks you have closed off will have a higher cover of grass – so closing average farm cover should still be around 550kgDM/ha, ensuring a good supply of grass next spring. Aim to get 60% of your farm grazed by 1 November as per usual.
Really what needs to change is management – grazing heavier covers is a skill and will be made very difficult this week with the heavy rain. Many farmers normally start feeding silage this time of year, but there is little point if you have lots of grass. While autumn grass is lower in energy (it is still a good source of protein) than grass grown earlier in the year, it is still a better feed than silage. For many, an extended grazing season could mean shelving fears of winter feed shortages, so budget and allocate autumn grass carefully.