Farmers who turned out stock early, wherever ground conditions allowed, are starting to run very short on grass. Give priority to high producing stock such as finishers or suckling cows.
Dry cows outdoors can easily be managed in a bare paddock with straw and a dry cow mineral bucket. Continue fertiliser application once paddocks are grazed, in conjunction with slurry application (if it is possible to travel the paddocks, obviously). Start planning for silage. Earlier cuts provide better quality and reduce concentrate requirements next winter. If aiming for an early cut, and you don’t have fertiliser out yet, you may need to put out a little less nitrogen than you usually would.
Check water troughs regularly.
Supplement suckled cows at grass with magnesium, to prevent tetany.
Use bucket licks or add magnesium to water. Breeding will soon start in spring herds. Pre-breeding heat detections should be recorded to ensure cows are cycling normally, and identify problem non-cycling cows that require attention. Straw and a dry cow mineral bucket are adequate for dry cows in a bare paddock.
Weanlings and stores
Bulling heifers on grass should be offered a beef mineral bucket to prepare them for the breeding season. Basic elements such as phosphorous and calcium are important for frame growth, saliva production/digestion.
Feed should be built up gradually for cattle to be fed on grass, for finish in the coming months.
Some have started feeding ad-lib meal to advanced stores originally intended for grass, with the intention of killing them out of the shed. This reduces silage usage, and the ground they were to graze can be cut for silage to replenish reserves for the future. Ad-lib means meal is available all of the time, along with clean water and long fibre. Feed a mix suitable for ad-lib!