Most dairy farmers have begun setting up their farms for autumn grazing, after a year of challenging grazing conditions on farms.
Many farms located in the south and east suffered from drought conditions for a period of time, which meant that on some farms, it was a struggle to keep grass in front of cows.
Farms are currently in somewhat of a quiet period and this offers an opportunity to improve a farm’s grazing infrastructure.
Keeping cows at grass for as long as possible is more important than ever on farms; many farms will have already eaten into their forage reserves. So keeping cows at grass will reduce the amount of silage required in the diet.
It is also important to note that improvements made to grazing infrastructure now will also help with early grazing in spring 2022.
Improvements to grazing infrastructure could include:
- Extra entrances and exits;
- Extending a roadway;
- Increasing the number of drinkers in paddocks.
Extra entrances and exits will make it easier to manage grazing during wet weather; having multiple points for cows to enter and exit will help to reduce damage and give greater flexibility when allocating grass.
Extending roadways or creating spur roadways will also help to give greater flexibility when allocating grass.
Spur roadways will limit damage to a small area of a paddock – usually along a fence line – while improving grass intakes and protecting already grazed areas.
Finally, increasing the number of drinkers in a paddock will make it easier to allocate grass to cows.
Having access to a drinker near the front, middle and back will make it much easier to manage grazing during the shoulders on the year.
Grazing in the shoulders of the year means that strip grazing is set to return to farms, so now is a good time to check that all reels are working – better to discover an issue with them now, rather than when you go to use them.
Another check should be that there are enough temporary posts and that the wire on the reel is holding voltage.
Strip grazing is important in the shoulders of the year to maximise grass in cows’ diets and protect already grazed areas from damage.
Grazing while protecting ground conditions can be challenging – so the use of a back fence and spur roadways is important.