Monthly reminders January
- Estimated grazing rotation length - 30 to 40 days between each grazing. Excessive daytime temperatures and dry conditions will suppress rye grass growth rates and leaf size, while very dry conditions may shut the plant down all together.
- If pastures have dried off and growth rates are near zero, consider setting up a sacrifice feeding system or stock containment area for feeding the herd. Allowing plants to be grazed below five centimetres will severely reduce their ability to persist into autumn.
- Manage heat stress for your dairy herd, select a shady paddock on hot days, install sprinklers over the yard and maintain a plentiful supply of clean stock drinking water.
- Even dry cows require at least 40 litres per day of water and even more during periods of hot weather. Lactating cows will require an additional four to five litres of water for every litre of milk produced above that required by dry cows.
- Check if milking machine liners need replacing. It is recommended by CountDown DownUnder to replace after 2,500 cow milkings.
- Study last spring's soil test results, consult your fertiliser representative and make an informed decision on this year's fertiliser application.
- Order and spread PKS fertiliser while the soil is dry and the likelihood of water runoff and nutrient loss for the next four to five days is low.
- Save money and time, avoid spreading fertiliser unnecessarily on high nutrient sites such as cattle camps, around water troughs and gateways. These areas are likely to already have adequate soil nutrients for pasture growth.
- If you have already applied dairy effluent to your paddocks, then soil test these paddocks so you can tailor the fertiliser application to these areas.
- Check water supply dams for signs of blue green algae. If present, avoid using the water, prevent stock access and get the algae identified.
- Assess your current water storage quantities and water needs to determine if you have sufficient water to get through to next winter.
- Continue to plan for your water needs over the next few months and develop ongoing options for alternative water supplies.
- Average January evaporation rates means irrigation in the order of 36 mm should be applied over a week for the higher valley regions and 48 mm for the lower country.
- These application rates assume your soil moisture levels are not already in deficit.
- Pregnancy test heifers and cull the empty ones.
- As pastures dry off, it is important to maintain adequate energy (10 MJ/kg of dry matter) and protein levels (13 per cent) in the diet of young stock.
- Check your calves and heifers twice a week for signs of pink eye. Early treatment and the use of eye patches will increase the likelihood of a full recovery of the eye.
- Pink eye vaccination should be given four to six weeks before the onset of the season for best results. Fly control is also important to prevent the spread of bacteria between animals.
- If you are updating your budgets for the second half of the season, it may pay to ask for an updated income estimate from your milk company. Factories may have updated their estimates for the final price for this season. Knowing the outlook for your income can help you plan for the coming months.
- Begin to budget for autumn pasture renovation and fertilizer costs. You may be able to pre purchase some of these if cash flow allows. This is particularly relevant for autumn calvers as animal health costs will generally rise through this period.