Is Your Autumn Grazing Plan on Track?

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Are you on target for your autumn grazing plan?
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As the first of September approaches, it’s not only the return of schools that marks this date, but it also holds significance for autumn grazing on farms.

Ensuring a good average farm cover (AFC) is crucial to have sufficient grass available for extending the grazing season and setting up the farm for early spring grazing.

Depending on the stocking rate of the farm, the AFC target should be between 600kg and 980kg of dry matter (DM) per hectare.

It’s also recommended to increase the rotation length from 20-21 days to between 25-30 days.

Stocking rateAFC target for September 1Rotation length
2.5LU/ha600kg of DM/ha25 days
3.0 LU/ha990kg of DM/ha30 days
3.5 LU/ha980kg of DM/ha30 days

Grazing Management

Challenging conditions this year have resulted in some farms falling behind in terms of AFC.

If your farm is behind, it’s important not to remove surplus bales from the milking platform. Consider removing cows that are not in-calf to alleviate some pressure.

If the silage ground is not accessible from the milking platform, it’s advised to remove milking stock from the platform.

For farms with surplus grass, reduce the amount of concentrates fed and increase grass in the diet.

If you need more winter forage based on a fodder budget, you can remove some bales from the platform, but avoid cutting a large area as grass recovery is slow at this time of year.

Keep measuring your farm’s grass at least once a week to monitor growth rates.

Outlook

The recent good weather has slightly boosted growth rates, which is beneficial for catching up on farms that are behind.

While the target for September 1 is important, not reaching it won’t have a major impact on your autumn grazing plan.

However, it’s best to get as close to the target as possible to give yourself the best chance of extended grazing and early turnout in spring (weather permitting).

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