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Dairy Newsletter - April 2024

05 April 2024
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Top five tips for April
    • Grass quality – target cows grazing high-quality covers of 1,200-1,400kg DM/ha in 36-hour paddocks.
    • Breeding – select your best Economic Breeding Index (EBI) cows to breed replacements from rather than breeding all cows to dairy in the first weeks.
    • Heifers – ensure your heifers are at target weight for bulling (60% of mature weight).
    • In recent years meal feeding, particularly in mid season, has increased with higher stocking rates. Target a saving of 1kg of meal/cow/day in April-July.
    • Fertiliser sulphur (S) – there is a response to increased grass growth where S is included in fertiliser plan.
  • Stocking rates and closing for silage
    As we come out of a difficult spring, it is important to offer the herd top quality grass every day to maximise production and give cows every opportunity to go back in calf. This means setting your stocking rate to have the flexibility to manage farm covers and pre-grazing sward quality.
  • Reduce TB risk
    Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) guidelines on reducing the risk of TB in your herd. The advice on reducing herd-wildlife contact is particularly important.
  • Fertiliser safety
    Spreading fertiliser can be high risk. Consider if a contractor can help. Keep fertiliser spreading equipment in good condition. Bulk or big bag options minimise the need for manual lifting but you need the appropriate equipment