11 ways to re­duce pug­ging your pas­ture

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Farm Diary -

Graze wet pad­docks early in win­ter.

Pad­docks that have a greater risk of get­ting too wet to be grazed with­out dam­age, should be grazed be­fore the high risk part of the sea­son.

The most ef­fec­tive graz­ing strat­egy, if pas­ture cover is high, is to al­low stock onto pas­ture for 6-8 hours – this will sup­ply the main­te­nance lev­els of feed re­quired – then stand them off on a pad or in a pad­dock where dam­age to pas­ture means you are go­ing to take re­me­dial ac­tion any­way. If pas­ture qual­ity is not good enough, you may also need to feed sup­ple­ments.

Shift stock be­fore day­break and at the same time of the day if pos­si­ble, as stock move­ments in­crease af­ter day­break, es­pe­cially if stock are hun­gry. Walk cows over the long­est pas­ture. Start graz­ing from the back of the pad­dock – back fence where cows have al­ready grazed, and have sac­ri­fice laneways down the sides.

Make breaks as square as pos­si­ble rather than strip graz­ing. Use a tem­po­rary back fence so cows aren’t walk­ing back over pre­vi­ously grazed ar­eas. Aim to feed cows well as they will be more set­tled and walk less. Feed out sup­ple­ments like hay or silage on long grass, and/or un­der fences. Feed sup­ple­ments at night, when cows are nat­u­rally more set­tled, then let them out onto fresh pas­ture in the morn­ing. Source: Wet weather strate­gies to min­imise pas­ture and soil dam­age (1-42), www.dairynz.com

Pug­ging soil does enor­mous dam­age to it, re­duc­ing pas­ture yield by 20-80% for four to eight months, or longer if not reme­died.

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