- Shorter, colder days through May and early June have considerably slower pasture growth. Leaf emergence rates have slowed to 15 - 20 days.
- A grazing rotation of 45 - 60 days will ensure plants have grown to their potential and created energy stores to generate new leaf re-growth once the plant has been grazed.
- Allowing perennial ryegrass plants to be grazed below five centimetres will severely reduce their ability to produce large leaves, and high yields in subsequent grazing.
- If your farm is susceptible to severe water logging, you may choose to use a rotation length closer to 45 days rather than 60 in case you cannot graze the pasture when you would like. By allowing plants to grow more than three leaves or past canopy closure you will be loosing pasture quality, preventing tillering and potentially wasting feed.
- Spray broadleaf weeds that have emerged in the new pastures. These are easiest to control when they are less than five centimetres in diameter.
- A pre-winter nitrogen boost will provide economical growth responses in early established crops and pastures with good density, especially those sown without nitrogen fertilisers, and if soils are still relatively warm.
- Red legged earth mite may be out and about – monitor your pastures closely and control these pests sooner rather than later.
- Pugging damages pastures for the rest of the season, be careful and use preventative measures when grazing wet soils.
- Underfeeding cows in early lactation will have consequences throughout the entire season such as lower conception rates, reduced rumen capacity and lower production potential; restricting cows now will restrict their ability to convert feed efficiently later in the year.
- Watch for signs of acidosis in fresh cows, particularly if you are feeding high levels of grain to compensate for limited pasture.
- Autumn calvers will be coming up to joining; this is a critical time to provide a consistent diet which has cows in a positive energy balance.
- If autumn calving, prepare for the start of mating by ensuring all equipment is ready. Decide which heat detection methods to use, train staff and allocate jobs.
- Make sure you have the necessary bull power. (one bull per 25 empty cows).
- Make sure the cows are dried off properly to increase the chance of curing existing infections and reducing the risk of new infections. Over the first couple of days after drying off, monitor the herd to ensure none of them are suffering any difficulties.
- Feed quality supplements to dairy heifers if they can not be provided with sufficient amounts of pasture. Advice from InCalf suggests heavier, well-framed heifers get in calf easier, produce more milk in their lifetime, need less help at calving and cope better with herd competition.
- Cash flow position. A cash flow budget is the most reliable way of seeking a picture of the estimated bank account movement over the period from July to October. Arrangements can then be made well in advance to discuss options with your bank or finance provider. Don't leave cash inflow and outflow to luck or pressure.
- Start preparing your financial records for your tax return.
- Now is a good time to consider doing a Taking Stock Taking
- Action farm business performance check. It will inform you how well you have managed your resources, both physical and financial this season and identify areas you could improve in the coming year. Contact your milk company field officer or DEPI extension officer for more details.
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