The rain has arrived but the drought is far from over
I would be tempted to say that many felt like cracking open a bottle of something after recent rains.
However, try not to get too excited just yet as it's depressing to say that a drought can be considered "broken" only when there has been enough rain to take the soil to within about 15pc of field capacity.
That generally means more than 50mm and many are still a long way off having received that much rain yet. Unfortunately, I also need to heed a warning that even when substantial rain has fallen, problems won't be over for at least anothe two to three weeks and may temporarily get somewhat worse.
So we need to prepare. First rule is that silage is golden - actually this applies to any form of forage. Maybe at this stage with the prices fellows are paying it may feel like your bidding for gold. So why? When in the midst of a drought the number one priority is to protect winter feed reserves as much as possible.
Also be aware that the biggest bang for your buck or silage, will be to feed the cows heavily once sufficient rains arrive. In the meantime, the second rule is that it's imperative that you graze out the farm completely before supplementing grass for silage.
Essentially you'll know when the farm is fully grazed out because there will be no visual difference between paddocks that cows are due to graze and those just grazed. If you have more than this, keep holding your 30-day rotation and fill the deficit with meal as best you can.
Remember here to consider rotation on an area basis so this refers to 1/30th of the farm grazed per day. Where the deficit seems too big you must now start to seriously consider the disposal of all known culls and potentially the use of once a day (OAD) milking. An early scan may be the order of the day as we aim to protect next year's herd. So why does all this matter? After significant rain, up to half the grass available on the farm will be lost because its dead and it will then decay quickly.
You may think this wouldn't matter but I stress that cows were being fed to a degree of contentment from this dead material, just as if you were offering hay. Once it disappears your cows will no longer be content, and this will become very apparent. Therefore they will need some form of forage.