April Grazing Management on dairy farms
In the grazing game the month of April is when battles can be won or lost. As cows enter the 2nd rotation set yourself key grazing targets and monitor progress tightly. That's the advice of Cathal Conaty and Mairead Kirk, Teagasc Advisors, Co. Louth. They have more tips in a short video here
For good yielding cows you are aiming to feed 16kgs of Dry Matter per day. Achieving this through top quality grazed grass and reducing meal fed in the parlour is important.
Watch grass growth rates carefully. What does growth rate need to be to cover the grass demand of your cows? In the last 7 days PastureBase figures show us that that growth rate is currently 29kg Dry Matter/Hectare per day.
Pre-grazing targets are 1200 to 1400kgs Dry Matter per hectare in April. As you move through April your grass cover target is 170kg Dry Matter/Livestock Unit. You should be aiming to have 9 days grazing ahead of your cows.
Early April grass management can be difficult as grass demand increases from milking cows but grass recovery following first rotation can be slow. You need to:
- Know your grass demand
- Keep a close watch on grass growth rates
- Aim to have nine days grazing ahead
Find out what Cathal Conaty, Teagasc, has to say in this short video clip