Act quickly to control pastures
Published 01/06/2010 | 05:00
A burst of growth, like the one we have enjoyed over the past week, makes it more difficult to manage grass. The key is to react quickly.
The target for grazed out swards on sheep farms in May is 5cm. In June it should be to graze down from 8cm to 6cm.
If you are operating on a set stocking rate, then try to keep it at 7cm.
This is the most important period of the year for grass management and maintaining a quality pasture through the rest of the summer.
Thriving lambs are all down to grass management. It is also a key component in the cost of finishing lambs as the more lambs that can be finished off grass, and the more weight gained from pasture, the greater the profit.
Research on creep grazing lambs ahead of the rest of the flock shows that this can increase weaning rate by 2kg.
When you have enough grass on the grazing area to last at least 14 days then you should look at removing some of it by taking out a field for silage. When pre-grazing grass covers exceed 8cm (1,100kg/ha), silage is then the best option.
The after-grass in these fields will be invaluable for getting lambs to maintain growth later in the summer, and will also help rebuild feed stocks for the coming winter.