Plan now for spring grazing

Spring grass is one of the highest quality feeds on a grazing dairy unit, so producers should plan now to achieve a successful turnout and maximise cow performance.

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Turning cows out early can help to stimulate grass growth earlier in the season, resulting in up to an extra 1.5 tonnes of dry matter per hectare compared to later turnout. Earlier turnout can also help to create a grass wedge of different heights, making grazing paddocks easier to manage. It also provides producers with the option of taking a cut of silage later in the season.

Before turnout, check fencing, tracks and water troughs, and repair and replace where necessary. Any borehole water should be tested for nutrients, alkalinity, and coliforms, including E coli.

Slurry is a valuable resource and should be utilised to boost grass performance. Test slurry for quality and analyse nitrogen availability before application. It can then be applied accurately to complement, and potentially reduce, purchased fertiliser requirements.

The productive potential of grazing paddocks needs to be maintained via a regular reseeding programme. This will ensure that paddocks are yielding the maximum amount of dry matter while also providing a solid grazing platform.

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