next rotation. Effective management strategies for heavy
covers include removing them as surplus grass or pre-
mowing, in certain circumstances. Any paddock that was
poorly grazed should be earmarked for cutting at some
point, in order to be remedied by the next grazing.
This is the opportune time to reflect on and review the
previous year and to begin planning for the year ahead --
especially for producers who experienced feed shortages
or are looking to build up their silage reserves.
All farms should create a feed budget to know how much
silage they require and where it will come from. Some
other questions to ask while planning include:
· Will extra first cut be needed?
· How much second cut will be required?
· What other feeds will be used for the winter?
· What is the required silage quality, and how will this
For anyone considering alternative forages, this is a good
time to source feeds like maize silage or beets and to
draw up contracts with suppliers who are deliberating
whether to grow these kinds of crops. Alternative feeds
or forages should be compared on a dry matter basis;
for example, fodder beet washed and delivered at 45/
ton equals around 225/ton DM, or, for moist feeds
like Eornagold, 80/ton works out to around 250/ton
DM. It is also important to consider the storage and
handling requirements of these alternatives, along with
their feeding value (i.e., energy and protein), in order to
determine the best monetary value.
Any farm that has beet or other moist feeds left over can
preserve them by mixing and pitting them with straights,
such as soya hulls or beet pulp. Doing so will cause them
to ferment and be preserved, creating an excellent-quality,
high-energy feed ideal for supplementing cows when grass
is limited due to weather, or during the back-end of the
year, when covers are being built up. Ideally, to prevent
spoilage upon opening, these feeds should be pitted and
compacted in a low, narrow pit; large, square bales of
straw can also be lined up and used as walls.
Right now, farmers should be focused on grass intakes
and quality, with covers of 1,3001,500 kg DM/ha, and
cows should be supplemented accordingly to meet their
total DMI and, thus, maintain production of milk solids.
Milk fat is currently a challenge for many farms, as it is
easily affected -- but utilizing a fibre source to control
the acid load in the rumen from lush grass can help. This
is the ideal time to review your progress to date and to
make plans for the coming year, including preparing
and organising your feed supplies. Seek advice from an
experienced nutritionist who can work with you to create
a unique plan of action for your farm, helping you beat the
drop in milk solids.