Sexed semen: Interest in sexed semen continues to increase. As a farmer said to me during the week, it’s great to be able to get a heifer calf from your best cows.
That and the fact that more beef straws can be used are probably the main benefits of sexed semen.
The downside of it is that conception rate is reduced when sexed semen is used. However, there are ways to reduce the impact. These rules must be followed if using sexed semen, otherwise it could be a very costly exercise:
Reseeding: Grass growth rates are hovering between 50kg and 70kg/day on most farms, which is in or around demand, but there is little or no surplus grass available. Some farmers are wondering if it is too risky to take out paddocks for reseeding.
It is big decision, because when you spray off a field, it’s gone for at least two months. Whether or not you can afford to do so depends on the stocking rate and prospects for growth. If stocked at greater than 3.5 cows/ha on the milking platform, it’s probably risky, as you need a growth rate of 55kg just to meet demand, even with 2kg of nuts being fed.
Those that are stocked less than this should be safe enough to take land out for reseeding. Keep watching the forecast and act as soon as conditions improve.
Fertiliser: From now on, applying somewhere in the region of half to one unit of nitrogen per day to grazing ground is sufficient. Higher stocked farms with no clover will need to apply the higher amount, while lower stocked farms with clover will get away with the lesser amount. Those in the middle can get away at 0.75 units/day.
In practice, this can mean spreading one unit/day on fields with no clover and less on those with clover.
To know how much to apply, multiply the rotation length by the daily rate – e.g. 0.75 units/day by 21 days is 16 units/ac. This is a lot less than many farmers will be used to, but if the clover is present, you need to make it work for you.