Fertiliser costs a big factor in low soil fertility levels
The spring started, then it stopped and then started again. Let's hope we don't get too many more stops. Before the weather broke around February 20, many farmers had taken the opportunity to get some early fertiliser out.
These farmers got a good response to this fertiliser with growth rates of around 25kg DM/Ha per day being common for those who had nitrogen out. But a large cohort of farmers didn't get any fertiliser out during this window and now there is a bit of catching up to be done.
Many cows across the country have only seen grass for the first time this year in the past week or so.
This creates its own challenges with the key challenge now being to ensure that there is sufficient grass on the farm when we start the second rotation.
Paddocks grazed in early February will have close to 60 days to grow grass in time for the start of the second rotation, whereas those grazed for the first time in the past week will only have approximately 30 days to grow a sufficient cover of grass.
This will require the grass plant to grow at 30kgs/Ha/day plus from mid March to mid April to have sufficient cover (1,000kgs Dm/Ha) available for the start of the second rotation.
The likelihood of this happening depends hugely on the weather, but fertiliser is also a large factor.
Any farmer stocked at greater than 2Lu/Ha on the milking platform needs to aim to have 100 units of nitrogen out by May 1. For those stocked below this level, 70 units should suffice.