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Food and Fodder Security for Drystock Farmers

Grazed grass is still the cheapest and best feed

Grassland Management | FertiliserFodder BudgetFertliser for silageOther actions | Grass Silage Stock Checker

Download information as a pdf Grazed grass is still the cheapest and best feed for cattle 

Grassland Management 

  • Grazed grass is still the cheapest and best feed for cattle at 10c per kg DM
  • Get stock out as early as possible – save the silage already in the pit/bale. It will be much more expensive to make this year
  • Complete a spring rotation planner
  • Put in paddocks to grow more grass – you need to utilise every blade of grass grown
  • Cattle should not be in the same paddock for more than three days to protect regrowth’s and maximise growth rates, “grow in three weeks and graze in three days” 
  • Reels and pigtails will be key
  • 70-75% of all grass is grown by the end of June so we need to act now


  • Secure your silage fertiliser and your first two rounds of fertiliser now
  • Apply fertiliser as soon as possible at 25 -35 units of Nitrogen (N) per acre depending on demand
  • Follow three weeks later with another round.
  • Check soil samples, if you have low index P& K soils apply at least 1.5 bags of 18-6-12 per acre by the end of April. If you have index 3 or 4, you may be able to skip P & K for this year.
  • Apply lime, where required to grazing ground, it will release P from the soil and a possible 64 units of N per acre. Avoid lime on silage ground before harvest

Fodder Budget

  • Silage is still much cheaper than meal at 20c versus 44c per kg DM
  • Complete a fodder budget – what silage do you require for next winter, how much is left in the pits, how much do you have to grow
  • Ensure to build in a 3-4 week buffer
  • Plan for top quality silage 72 DMD + for younger stock and finishing cattle to reduce the meal requirement.
  • Fertilise early and cut before the 20th of May
  • Sucker cow silage can be cut later, up to the end of June
  • 75% of fodder requirements for next winter should be in place by the end of June
  • Only grow what you need
  • Graze the rest to reduce fertiliser requirement

Fertliser for silage 

  • Keep slurry for silage ground
  • First cut silage requires 80 – 100 units of Nitrogen (N) and Potassium (K) per acre. It requires 16 units of Phosphorous (P) per acre
  • With Slurry: Apply 3,000 gallons of slurry, 60 units Chemical Nitrogen and 15 units of sulphur per acre. Aim for 80 units of N per acre
  • No Slurry: Apply 3 bags of 13-6-20 plus 41 units of chemical Nitrogen and 15 units of sulphur per acre. Aim for 80 units of N per acre
  • 75% of all silage required should be cut by end of June
  • Surplus Bales, Don’t forget, if you reduce the amount of fertiliser applied to grazing ground you won’t get as many surplus bales

Other actions

  • Cull all unproductive stock – cows not in calf, cows that lost calves etc
  • Plan the years fertiliser, can you afford it, if not, what are your choices
  • Do a cash flow budget
  • Talk to your advisor – there are always options

Grass Silage Stock Checker

Use our online stock checker here to calculate:

  1. Grass Silage Required for Next Winter
  2. Grass Silage Available for Next Winter