Early grazing maximises the proportion off grazed grass in the cow's diet and we know the nutritional quality of spring grass is superior and cheaper than alternatives.
Getting cows out to grass early requires:
Grazing in early Spring will cause some sward damage, but if this damage is only slight then there won't be any grass production loss in subsequent rotations.
On/off grazing is an effective way of minimising sward damage. Cows can be left to graze for 3 hours after each milking and then re-housed. Your cows must have an appetite for this to work. Dry matter intakes/milk yield/body condition won't suffer either. Allocating grass allowances with strip wires, having multiple exit points in paddocks, movable water troughs all help to minimise sward damage and increase grass utilisation.
Train your cows on the first rotation to clean paddocks out well as this will have a positive impact on subsequent grass quality and utilisation. Aim for a post grazing height of 3.5 to 4cm.
Current reseeding rates of 2-3% per year are far from the required rate if livestock farms are to maximise returns from forage. Grass leys are replaced far less often than every 10 years.
As producers aim to maximise milk from forage - either by growing grass as efficiently as possible or cutting more often to maximise yield quality - using a silage additive is one of the most important factors to help reduce losses and improve performance.
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