- Rotation length should be quite long by now (approximately 40 - 60 days) to allow the pasture to grow back to the optimal pregrazing stage.
- Do not back graze pasture which has been grazed within the last three days, if strip grazing large multiple feed paddocks use an electric fence tape to prevent cows re-grazing over previously grazed areas of the paddock.
- Why not boost your early spring growth with an application of between 30 to 60 kg of nitrogen per hectare in mid to late July. Most ryegrass based pastures will give a response of about 10kgDM/kgN at this time of year. Your best pastures will give you the best response.
- 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 of fodder conservation.
- As we move into August, pasture growth rates will increase, this will mean faster rotations to optimise quality. Using the Rotation Right tool is a simple way to stay in control and identify the true surplus as soon as it arrives on your farm.
- Check withholding periods on any drugs used on stock, and record the treatment date. This is especially handy if a cow calves early or aborts – records can be checked to ensure there will be no residue contamination.
- Monitor condition of cows in the dry paddock and be aware of milk fever prior and post calving this season.
- Are the calving pad and calf rearing facilities ready to go? Once calving starts, things will be too busy to worry about it - get organised early.
- Spring calving cows will be dried off in the coming weeks. It is more efficient to put condition on lactating animals rather than while they are dry. If cows are 'light on condition' (less than condition score 4.5), try to rectify this before drying off.
- Make plans for 'dry cowing' which may include treatment of all cows, or only a portion of the herd.
- Watch for signs of acidosis in fresh cows, particularly if you are feeding high levels of grain to compensate for limited pasture.
- Track maintenance will help reduce lameness and foot problems in the herd.
- If artificially inseminating autumn calving herds, be sure to keep up your motivation for heat detection, an undetected cow has no chance of getting in calf. Do you have a plan for non-cycling cows?
- Make sure you have the necessary bull power! (one bull per 25 empty cows).
- Clean out and prepare calf sheds ready for the new batch of calves.
- Take time to train other people employed on the farm in the handling and management of both replacement calves and bobby calves.
- If early weaning calves ensure they continue to have access to plenty of quality supplement and clean water.
- Don't neglect your heifers this winter. Supplementing the heifers pasture diet with pellets or good quality hay (9 MJ/kg or better) helps to maintain energy levels in the diet; and provides adequate fibre, energy, protein and minerals to the growing animal.
- Cost out fodder purchases based on a cents per mega joule of energy basis so you know which feed is the best value for money.
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