As we move into the second rotation of the year, many farmers are focusing on setting up their farms for the year ahead. Grazing conditions have improved for many, after a period of concern back in late-February that herds were way ahead of target and grass would be in short supply. However, mother nature stepped in and forced many herds to be housed for a number of weeks, which slowed down the herds and brought them back in line with their targets when grazing resumed.
The second rotation is a crucial time for farmers, with the focus on entering covers with a pre-grazing yield of between 1,300kg of dry matter (DM)/ha and 1,500kg of DM/ha. Hitting the residuals is important as it sets farms up for the grazing season ahead. April is often when the battle can be won or lost, as reaching residuals helps to avoid wasting grass, poor-quality grass in subsequent rotations, topping, maximise intakes and maximise milk production.
As farms move towards the breeding season, farmers need to ensure that cows are in a good place to achieve good conception rates. Ensuring that cows are getting adequate energy intakes drives milk solids, maintains body condition and improves fertility levels. Cows should be grazing the highest quality pasture possible, ensuring that residuals are being achieved but that cows aren’t being pinched on intakes. It is advisable to supplement any deficits in grass in good time. Cows at this time of the year should be eating 18kg to 19kg of DM of grass/day. It is also important to monitor body condition score (BCS) and minerals in the cows’ diets.
Overall, the second rotation is a crucial time for farmers to set up their farms for the grazing season ahead and ensure that their herds are in the best possible condition for breeding. By focusing on hitting residuals, maximising intakes and milk production, and monitoring cows’ diets and BCS, farmers can ensure that their herds are healthy and productive for the year ahead.