Management notes on grazing a certain percentage of your farm each day have ended up as useful as a pair of leaky wellies, with ground heavily saturated or under water in some extreme cases.

While conditions hadn’t been ideal prior to this, they were still manageable with some back fencing and careful minding.

Hopefully, the heaviest of covers have been whipped off most paddocks.

While a lot of the drying power has diminished with the cooler temperatures and shorter days, it may not be game over yet for grazing 2023. A cool, hard November with some frost may harden up ground enough to get stock back out again.

Golden rule

In any case, the golden rule should be to not do significant damage to ground in an effort to graze it. Poaching ground badly will leave it opened over the winter and allow for weeds to encroach and lead to compaction issues.

Lighter stock should be used where they are available or it may be a case of reverting back to three-hour grazing spells morning and evening for dairy farmers.

Stalling closing off paddocks is a poor return on money

For all farms, there should be over one third of the farm closed for spring grazing in the early parts of 2024. Stalling closing off paddocks is a poor return on money, with spring grass more valuable than an extended autumn grazing season.

Paddocks close to the yard with good access and shelter and which will be dry enough for grazing early in the season should be closed by now.

If these paddocks are dry enough and are requiring phosphorus and potassium to be built up, any remaining dung in the yard can be targeted towards these, with a little over one week remaining before the closed period for spreading farmyard manure kicks in.