Jobs for April
New ryegrass growth (including regrowth on old grass) can cause grass staggers (magnesium deficiency), nitrate poisoning and bloat in autumn. Encourage the growth of clover, chicory and other plants to minimise the available amount of ryegrass. Feed supplements, restrict access to new growth, and allow grasses to mature before animals graze it. This is better for both the plants and for livestock. With remaining humidity in northern areas there may still be a risk of high facial eczema spores. Check spore levels for weekly local updates: www.asurequality.com/our-industries/livestock/disease-management/ facial-eczema-monitoring/
Resow pasture in warmer areas while the soil temperature and weather are still good. Options to consider include endophyte-free ryegrasses, various clover varieties, herbal plants like plantain and chicory, and drought-tolerant pasture plants such as cocksfoot, phalaris and prairie grass.
Test your soil. Fertiliser and lime need to be applied before any pasture is resown. As good rainfall is also necessary, timing is crucial. Other farmers will also be waiting for rain and so there may be a queue for the fertiliser to be spread – stay in touch with your contractor.