Alarm bells have started ringing on grazing conditions
AFTER a relatively dry first six months of the year, we have now had two months where rainfall has exceeded 100ml per month on our farm in Kerry.
In my experience, rainfall in excess of 100ml is the alarm bell warning of troublesome grazing conditions.
In heavier ground this is certainly the case, although this type of ground held up well until recently. Grass growth has continued to forge ahead so building covers as we head into the autumn hasn’t been a problem. Hitting the target rotation of 30 days by September 1 has happened with relative ease.
However, achieving good residuals hasn’t been so easy, with cows exhibiting some discontentment in this wet weather.
Supporting yields with one to two kgs of meal has been employed on many a unit.
Is this feed effective? In my experience certainly during prolonged periods of wet weather it can benefit the cows as they struggle to consume adequate amounts of grass dry matter.
As we continue to head into a period of extending the grazing rotation, feed can also be effective in aiding the increase in average farm cover or cover per cow required to extend the rotation. As we proceed through September the rotation needs to extend further, targeting 35 days by mid-September and 40 days by October 1. During this time average covers should rise to in excess of 1000kg/ha to facilitate extending the grazing season well into November.
However where the farm is deemed heavy soil type combined with high rainfall using a final grazing rotation of 35 days will see the farm close up by the start of November.
This may be more appropriate for wet farms depending on how the autumn weather plays out.
Poaching ground in autumn needs to be avoided where possible as the impact of autumn poaching is always seen in the following spring.
When considering the cows, for spring calving herds early September is an ideal time to