Tak­ing ac­tion now will give you an edge in the an­nual ro­ta­tion gam­ble

Irish Independent - Farming - - FARM OUR -

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.

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