Graz­ing

Irish Examiner - Farming - - DAIRY SECTOR -

Take ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to get cows to grass. Good-qual­ity grass will save up to €2.75/cow/day and cows will be health­ier, with higher milk pro­tein and lower SCCs. Cows will con­sume al­most their full re­quire­ments in three hours of graz­ing af­ter each milk­ing. Leave about one week be­tween ap­ply­ing ni­tro­gen fer­tiliser and slurry.

Ap­ply half a bag of urea per acre for both first and sec­ond graz­ing. Urea is the cheap­est source of ni­tro­gen, but do not ap­ply it on soils that have been limed since last au­tumn. Less than half of our tested soils had ad­e­quate lime, P and K for op­ti­mum grass growth. If you don’t know the nutri­ent sta­tus of dif­fer­ent parts of your farm, test them now, be­fore you ap­ply P, K or lime.

This will save money and in­crease farm out­put. There is a poor re­turn from ap­ply­ing ni­tro­gen to pas­ture with low lev­els of rye­grass or low in P, K or lime. If in doubt about soil fer­til­ity, use a high-N com­pound rather than straight-N. risk of ke­to­sis, milk fever and other dis­eases.

Good-qual­ity grass will save up to €2.75/cow/day .

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