This Nitrogen should all be blanket spread as there
is no reduction in grass yield for August September
blanket spread applications. Saves labour and soil
The August Nitrogen should be applied early in the
month as you will
grow 10-15 per cent more grass because growth rates
are higher early in the month than late August.
Target Farm Covers in August to build grass
To make "real money" you must rely solely on grass to
feed cows, which is a big challenge in autumn as grass
growth decreases relative to demand.
The following target covers (kgs DM) per cow must be
1st August ...................200
15th August ................. 300
1st September ............400
15th September ...........450
1th October ................400
Grass build up starts in August:
In the South on 10th August
In the North on 15th August.
Rotation length must be 24-26 days in August.
Build up farm cover by increasing grazing rotation to
30-35 days from mid-September on.
The following possible ways to build up grass should be
Reduce stocking rates by taking away calves or
cattle, selling cull cows, drying off very poor
yielders. Stock cows at 2.9 cows/ha for grazing.
Reduce 2nd cut silage (particularly if you have
enough pit silage)
Introduce meals (expensive option) but will be
necessary at high stocking rates.
A grass budget will tell you when to start but early
rather than too late.
An alternative to meal is to feed good quality
round bales and this is the preferred option for
high stocked farms who have surplus silage.
Apply more nitrogen (stay within your limits)
in August as you get a better response than in
Graze out pastures well (3.5-4.0 cms) as there is a
temptation to leave too much after each grazing in
Set up a `3rd cut-graze' bank of grass.
Protect regrowths by not having cattle or cull cows
grazing after cows or spending more than 24 hours
in each paddock.
It's a very good idea to set up this; `3rd-cut-graze'
It brings in a bank of high quality grass for grazing
Allows you use 2-3000 gallons (16-24 units N) of
slurry per acre on it at closing
Allows you put on 55-65 units of Nitrogen
(discount the slurry N) to cover the 6-week
closed-up period and the extra Nitrogen will grow
extra grass which will feed 10-12 cows for one
extra day for every acre closed up.
The way you do it is set aside 10-15 per cent of the
farm for this purpose by stocking the cows at 2.9
cow/ha for grazing.
These fields should be topped or very well grazed
out (skinned) leaving no butt, apply the slurry plus
25-35 units of N per acre and leave for 6 weeks and
it should result in an extra 7-10 days grazing in late
An interval of 3-5 days should be allowed between
spreading slurry and applying nitrogen, so as to
avoid losses of N by denitrification.
If grazing grass is tight during this period, some of
this area can be grazed.
However, at low stocking rates (2.2 cows/ha or
less) because the demand will be low, 40-45 kg
DM/day, it will not be necessary to do any of the
above to build up grass. It will happen naturally.
This month and next are probably the only periods
of slackness from routine work where farmers can
devote time to maintenance work.
However, too many farmers are doing huge
amounts of capital development work, because (1)
they like doing it and (2) they are trying to save
money. People need to cut back on this mainly
because many dairy farmers are "stressed out"
from work and need a break.
What maintenance actions are required?
Repair eave chutes and down pipes, transferring
rainwater direct to streams/waterways (reduces
slurry handling and soiled water)
Repair broken cubicles, feed barrier, etc (reduces
physical damage to animals).
Repair/replace broken slats (reduces foot
Repair damaged concrete on floors, passages, yards
and cubicle beds (reduces lameness)
Improve ventilation, both inlet and outlet area
(this is a major issue on most farms)
If you are working more than eight hours per day
get someone in to do these tasks; otherwise you
will be working longer or they won't get done.
Carefully check replacement weights to above targets:
The average figure is no use. It is the animals
below the target you must identify and manage
separately to "catch-up"
I also have a concern with very heavy animals as
they won't milk well and will become culls sooner
than on-target weight ones.
This is the month for farmers to take a holiday:
If you are working more than eight hours per day,
seven days a week, this indicates you are short of
labour on the farm for your system.