Monthly reminders march
- Some pastures will need some type of renovation. Have you decided what needs to be oversown and what should be resown?.
- With a relatively mild summer almost past us the days are becoming shorter and nights colder. With this in mind one of the sowing 'risks' – temperature – is decreasing. Ryegrass germination and establishment are significantly restricted when soil temperatures rise above 25 degrees. Farmers
need to decide now what they perceive as the risk of a poor establishment and weigh this up against the benefit of having a strong, productive pasture moving into winter.
- Remember to leave enough time for the pasture to establish itself, rather than grazing it as soon as there is some greenness and then suffering through the winter due to the pasture not being able to perform well.
- Make sure any fertiliser you want to spread this autumn has been ordered. It's also a good idea to be ready to go when it arrives, so make sure your equipment is serviced.
- Average March evaporation rates means irrigation in the order of 25mm should be applied over a week for the higher valley regions and 30mm for the lower country.
- Great opportunity for autumn start irrigators, but if March gets warm do not be complacent. Soils can only hold a certain amount of water and the need for an irrigation may come sooner than expected.
- The next 6-8 weeks can be the most important weeks in the year for an Autumn calving cow as she transitions from a dry cow to a cow producing at her peak. It is critical to minimise the level of stress the cow will encounter during this period. "Springers" should be fed a diet similar to what they
will be offered in the milking herd to ensure their rumen is stable throughout the transition period. The use of 'lead feed' additives precalving may also help to prevent metabolic issues shortly after calving.
- Check the ration of all classes of stock on the farm. Are their requirements being met? Pay particular attention to the feed requirements of your autumn calving cows. They need more feed and higher quality feed in comparison to the spring calving cows in the herd.
- Carefully monitor freshly-calved autumn cows for mastitis.
- Check for any pink eye, particularly amongst the young stock.
- Check if the liners need to be replaced – Countdown Down Under recommends they should be replaced after 2,500 cow milkings.
- Make sure the plate cooler is working properly and you are using the coldest source of water possible. Check the condense fins are clean and not blocked with debris.
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