Strategic cutting required to maintain grass quality
It's mid-season in the dairy calendar. Hopefully the first cut silage is now in and the bulls have either gone in with the cows to mop up after the AI period or are about to go in. Grass is trying its best to go to seed which is making grass quality somewhat challenging.
To deal with the later issue, now is a time for strategic cutting. Quality needs addressing by using pre-mowing or topping techniques.
The idea is to take surplus bales where possible to capture the boost in pasture growth that occurs at this time.
These high quality bales can then be strategically used to support the milking cow in spring and autumn when pasture supplies run short.
This practice can increase the utilisation of pasture grown when compared to topping or pre-mowing the whole farm or allowing the grazing residual to rise, where this surplus pasture will ultimately be wasted.
However, where the whole farm seems to be running to seed, baling large areas of milking ground can put the farm into a feed deficit so tactical decisions will be required.
Essentially within the present and next two grazing rotations, decisions need to be made to cut in some form or fashion a third of the farm per rotation to get pasture quality back on track.
Expert opinion is divided on the merits of topping versus pre-mowing.