Since the weekend silage has been top of the priority list, as many scramble to get it done before the arrival of more broken weather as forecast for this weekend.

Although parts of the country are still suffering from the effects of last week’s rain, many others have seen a huge improvement in grazing conditions.

The next challenge is keeping on top of grass quality. Growth rates increased again this week and the average growth across the country was 69kg DM/ha

Keeping pre-grazing covers around 1,400kg DM/ha will ensure quality grass is maintaining animal performance.

Whether it’s kilos of milk solids or daily liveweight gain, you are targeting, high-quality grass is the cheapest form of feed.

As grass availability increases, reduce concentrate levels accordingly.

Once pre-grazing covers go above 1,500kg DM/ha, no matter what the quality is like it is very hard to achieve a good graze-out. If you are on a 24- to 36-hour grazing system, during wet or more unsettled weather conditions set up a strip wire at the top of the field. Leaving 10% to 15% for a fresh pick of grass on the last grazing can keep stock content and improve utilisation. All of this leads to better graze-outs.

Once cover per livestock unit (C/LU) is above 180kg DM/LU any paddocks 1,500kg DM/ha or higher should be cut straight away for bales and brought back into the rotation as soon as possible.

These high-quality bales are very important for maintaining production in the shoulders of the year.

Sward watch

  • Target average farm cover should be between 150 and 180kg DM/cow on dairy farms
  • Target 12 to 14 days ahead on beef farms.
  • Remove surplus grass from the wedge at the first opportunity. Covers >1,500kg DM/ha are very difficult to graze out to target 3.5-4cm.
  • Nitrogen applications should be kept to one unit per day so 21 units of nitrogen per acre is ideal on most farms on a 21-day rotation.