Great Grazing Spring ……but?
2009 has to be one of the best grazing springs ever. Dry conditions have meant that utilization has been brilliant all spring. So the quality of pasture offered to milking cows has never been better. If you hit the 1500kgs residuals at every grazing then the regrowth & quality is second to none.
However the soil temperatures have in general been cold often up to 2 degrees C colder than normal….this has meant periods of poor growth & lots of Pasture Wedge Graphs with deficit holes appearing, when growth was less than demand.
Growth has been stop/ start…..monitoring the pasture covers & Wedge Graphs has been crucial to seeing these events before they impacted on feed supply.
Soils thru out the country are abnormally dry. Soils are already very hard. This could easily turn into a dry summer with hotter temperatures being predicted. If this is the unfortunate case then don’t get caught on short rotations. Long summer rotations protect pastures from damage in a hot dry summer.
Maybe England wants a rainy summer (given that the Ashes series is on this year!!!)
Rotations need to be set by watching the three leaf development of the ryegrass tillers. Pasture covers is a feed budgeting tool…….rotation lengths need to be complementary to the third leaf development on the ryegrass tiller. Wait for the third leaf!!!
Calibrating Plate Meters
Lastly, after running a number of “Plate meter “training days…I see that a large number of Plate meters are using the wrong formula. This is especially so in newly purchased electronic meters.
The formula should be
(Height X 125 + 640)
If need be refer to the makers website to set the formula.