Dairy: We have never opened with such a high cover of grass
Published 10/02/2016 | 02:30
We are now entering the busiest time of the year for a dairy farmer with a spring calving herd.
Over the last number of years we have seen a planned move by most dairy herds to start calving from late January in the south and early February in the west and north. The calving start date on our farm is February 8.
This date works for us as we go to grass full-time night and day along with 3kg of a high energy 14pc dairy nut, Our opening grass cover this year is 1090kg/dm/ha having closed at a high 745kg/dm/ha on December 5.
The farm grew an exceptional 6kg/dm/ha of grass during the closed period of December and January.
We have never opened with such a high cover and we may fail to graze the required 30pc by March 1 on the spring rotation planner.
On a farm walk hosted by one of our discussion group during the week there was agreement that some farms may need to let out the yearlings.
We will probably let out a bunch of late calvers, (our yearlings have enough grass on the out farms) to graze a few paddocks and ensure the 30pc is achieved which should result in sufficient grass at the start of the second rotation starting on April 5.
Ground conditions are very wet so on/off grazing will be required until the weather dries up a bit. We will spread 23 units of urea when weather and ground conditions permit to ensure we stimulate grass growth. We will follow this with another 23 units in early March and a third application of 23 units of urea on April 1.