It’s much easier to do this when grass growth is still good. Effectively, there are only about six weeks of good grass growth left in the year. Growth rates in October are variable and very much weather dependent, so we can’t count on it. Therefore, farmers must build up grass in late August and September or risk being out of grass in October.

Grass covers increase when growth rate exceeds grass demand. Farms stocked at three cows/ha have a demand of 51kg/day, with no supplement being fed. Over the 10-year average, daily growth rate goes below 50kg/day in early to mid-September. From this point on, farm cover will decline because grass demand exceeds grass growth and supplement will be needed to bridge the gap and hold average farm cover. Extra supplement will be needed to build covers.