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DairyEdge Episode 139

Dairy Grassland Farmer of the Year Mike Bermingham joins Emma-Louise Coffey on the latest Dairy Edge podcast to discuss his autumn grazing strategy

Firstly, Mike summarises his farming year to date including grass production of 12.5 tonnes/ha, 8 grazing rotations and 450 kg MS per cow. Mike estimates he will feed 1 tonne of concentrate per cow, up 200 kg on last year owing to greater supplementation during heavy rainfall in February, March and August as well as during the drought in June.

Mike’s final grazing rotation is dictated by a high closing farm cover of 850 kg DM/ha on December 1st in order to open with 1,000 kg DM/ha. Mike’s justification for this is average over winter growth of 3-5 kg/day and a high feed demand in February with 80%+ of his cows calved in the 1st 4 weeks of the calving season.

Mike aims to graze 70% of the farm in the month of October which equates to 2.4% of the milking platform per day. Weekly monitoring of the farm cover through regular grass walks dictates how the remaining 30% of the platform is grazed in November.

Over the last few years, Mike has typically grazed by day and housed the cows by night supplementing with silage during the month. Mike explains that within his farm system the benefits of having a good grass supply in the spring outweighs grazing on in November and into December.

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast visit the show page at: https://www.teagasc.ie/animals/dairy/the-dairy-edge-podcast/