A return to heavy rain over the weekend across most parts of the country has, for the first time this autumn, created a few challenges around grazing.
For the most part, ground conditions are excellent and utilisation continues to be good. However, the forecast is for more rain this week so on heavy type soils grazing conditions could well change by next weekend.
At this stage, most farmers are in peak covers and wading through pre-grazing yields of 2,500kg/ha or so.
These are not ideal for grazing, particularly during wet weather but are a necessary evil if farmers are to achieve an extended grazing rotation.
Up to now, most farmers have been spoiled in the sense that they didn’t need to use strip wires or allocate grass in order to get a good cleanout but that may need to change now.
Best policy during wet weather is to go on 12-hour breaks and to use multiple access into and out of paddocks.
If conditions get sticky then graze drier paddocks. At this stage it is still a bit too early to be closing off paddocks for the autumn, but the paddocks grazed next week will be closed for the autumn.
Ideally, farmers should be making decisions around closing based on average farm cover rather than dates.
If average farm cover is low, consider introducing more supplement or selling/drying off some cows in order to reduce demand for grass.