Taking action now will give you an edge in the annual rotation gamble
ditions means that grazing conditions are likely to remain tender. The shorter grazing rotation is a more viable option for us than supplementing heavily to extend grazing into November.
However where a milking platform is free-draining and autumn/winter rainfall is less than what’s typically received in the west, then November grazing may be more likely and the merit of supplementation now and 45 day rotation a better gamble.
And that’s unfortunately what it comes down to — a gamble on future weather conditions. That said, you can tilt the odds in your favour by considering all the available options now.
For example, from this week onwards decisions need to be made on whether to milk on or off-load empty cows, when to dry off first lactation early calvers and when to hang up the clusters on substantially lame, high SCC and low producing cows.
Acting on these issues will reduce pasture demand, slow dwindling pasture reserves and guide supplementation to productive cows.
At this time I would also recommend that you avoid putting an odd bull or a few lame cows or even dry cows grazing a separate paddock on the milking platform to the milking cows as this will exacerbate problems where pasture conditions are tender and pasture cover is in decline.
Either house them or get them onto outside blocks to prioritise the available pasture to milking cows.