The weather forecast for the next week is for mostly dry weather, which will be welcomed by everyone after an extremely wet and windy weekend just gone.
The early part of the week is to be very mild, with daytime temperatures approaching 17°C at times.
However, it is set to get colder towards the Easter weekend and some very cold temperatures and night time frosts are due then.
For the moment though, the weather is very conducive to good grass growth and I would expect grass growth to be in the mid 30s for this week.
Most farmers are counting down the days left in the first rotation. Write down the cover and area on each paddock that is left to be grazed and multiply these two figures.
Then sum up the amount of grass available and divide by the daily demand. The daily demand is the number of cows multiplied by the amount of grass they are eating. This will tell you how many days you have left in the first rotation.
Then look at the covers on the first grazed paddocks. Presume these paddocks are growing 30 to 40kg/per day. Multiply this by the number of days left in the first rotation. This will tell you what cover you expect to be on the first paddocks by the time the herd goes into it.
Ideally, there would be a cover of 1,100 to 1,200kg/ha on these paddocks which would support a 21-day rotation length.
To work out how what pre grazing yield you require, multiply the stocking rate by the daily allowance (e.g. 16kg grass) and multiply by the rotation length.
For example a stocking rate of three cows per hectare multiplied by 16kg grass multiplied by 21 days is a pre-grazing yield of 1,000kg/ha.
The next thing to keep an eye on is the average farm cover. This should not drop below 500kg/ha otherwise the farm's ability to grow will be suppressed.
Average farm cover
Average farm cover (AFC) is changed by growth versus demand. If growth is equal to demand then AFC won’t change.
If growth is less than demand then the AFC will change daily by that difference. For example if demand is 40kg and growth is 30kg then in seven days AFC will drop by 70kg.
In this example, to prevent AFC from dropping, extra supplement would have to be fed. Because the difference is 10kg in demand, you divide this difference by the stocking rate to work out how much to feed per cow.
So 10kg divided by say three cows/ha is 3.33kg of extra supplement to be fed per cow to maintain AFC. However, farmers that are above 500kg of AFC should be prepared to let AFC drop to 500kg before increasing supplement.