Rotation Length

By now the target rotation length on all farms is 25 days, which should be increased to 30 days by early September and 35 days by mid-September.

Extend the rotation by dividing the grazing area over the number of days. On a 25-day rotation on a 50ha farm you should be targeting to graze 2ha per day.

Depending on the covers on the paddocks, supplementation should be fed to fill the gaps. Likewise, on 1 September divide the farm area. For example, dividing a 50ha farm by 30 days means you should be grazing 1.67ha per day, with supplementation in the form of silage and meal filling the gaps.

Reducing demand

Many areas in the south and west of the country have had more than enough rain to push on growth rates and ensure autumn grass targets are on track.

In saying this, there are still farms in the east and northeast of the country where grass supply is low.

Heavily stocked farms in particular are being hit the worst. Low growth rates up to the start of August meant average farm cover (AFC) fell below 500kg DM/ha in some cases. Since the rain came, those farms with an AFC below 500kg DM/ha have been very slow to recover.

Reducing demand will allow grass covers to build and as the saying goes “grass grows grass”. Where pre-grazing covers are low on highly stocked farms, grass in not getting a chance to build ahead of the cows.

The next three to four weeks are the last real opportunity to make the most of growth rates being above demand, with a target for SFC to peak in mid to late September.

Reduce demand now by introducing meal or silage, remove younger stock from the platform or sell empty/cull cows.

Ensuring nitrogen fertiliser applications are up to date is very important to maximise grass growth.