Reaching the Grass10 Goals
If you're serious about reducing your feed costs and getting the most from grass you need to be serious about grazing management, so are your grazing management skills enabling you to Utilise 10 Ton Grass DM/Ha and Achieve 10 Grazings/Paddock/Year?
As long as soil fertility and grazing infrastructure are adequate, good grazing management will ensure a long grazing season whilst getting as much quality grass (high leaf content) into the animals' diet. This will increase output on livestock farms driven by high grass utilisation.
A long grazing season will involve three periods of grazing management:
1. Autumn Grazing Management (Mid-August to Housing)
2. Spring Grazing Management (Early Feb to Mid-April)
3. Summer Grazing Management (Mid-April to Mid August)
To utilise 10 Ton Grass DM/Ha and Achieve 10 Grazings/Paddock/Year, the farm must grow about 14 Ton Grass DM/Ha which is utilised at around 75%. The table below shows the breakdown of when this grass grows, rotation length and how many rotations can be achieved in each grazing period.
As you can see 10% of the grass is grown in spring, 60% in summer and 30% in autumn. Also notice the numbers circled during the summer period (between 2-7 rotations), this is where the Grass10 goals are usually won or lost as individual management decisions determine the number of rotations and therefore the amount of grass grown. It is often heard said by some farmers that the grass growth is outside of their control, but looking at trends from PastrueBase Ireland there is much more variation in grass grown between farms than there is between paddocks on the same farm, this would indicate that farmer's own grazing management decisions are having a greater affect on the grass grown rather than external factors like geographic location, soil type, climate, etc.