- Be prepared for the amount of weeds that could germinate with new pastures. Many weeds are easier to control in the seedling stage.
- Inspect emerging pastures for damage from insect pests such as red legged earth-mite or lucerne flea and take action before, rather than after, the emerging pastures are eaten.
- Once new pasture will not pull out of the ground when pulled up by hand, it can be grazed. For example the leaves must tear off rather than the roots pull out of the ground. Aim to graze just before the sward reaches canopy closure and ensure the stock do not over graze.
- For established pastures, pasture growth rates are slowing down. Rotations need to be lengthened to suit growth rates.
- A pre-winter nitrogen boost will provide economical growth responses if the extra growth can be consumed. This is also the case for early established crops and pastures with good density, especially those sown without nitrogen fertilisers.
- How are the cows looking? Do they need more condition on them? It is much more efficient to put condition on them while they are still milking than when they are dry.
- Drying off time is getting closer, so start planning your drying off strategy now.
- Check the young stock. Make sure they are getting enough feed through the winter so they keep growing.
- When finished with your seed drill for the year ensure it is cleaned out, particularly if you have used fertiliser through the machine as it can cause rapid corrosion.
- The future of your business - monitor them and ensure they continue to grow well. As pasture growth slows in winter and animals are growing, extra supplement may be required to reach target weights.
- If early weaning calves, ensure they continue to have access to plenty of quality supplement and clean water.
- Underfeeding cows in early lactation will have lasting consequences throughout the season such as lower conception rates, reduced rumen capacity and lower production potential. Cows in this position will also try to overgraze pastures. As a result both cows and pastures will perform below their potential
for the season.
- Watch for signs of acidosis in fresh cows, particularly if you are feeding high levels of grain to compensate for limited pasture.
Joining autumn herds
- If planning autumn calving, prepare for the start of mating by ensuring all equipment is ready. Decide which heat detection methods to use and train and allocate jobs to staff. If running autumn and spring calving cows in the same herd, using a different colour tail paint for the spring calving cows
will help show which cows do not need to be checked.
- Make sure you have the necessary bull power. (one bull per 25 empty cows).
- Cash flow position - A cash flow budget is the most reliable way of seeking a picture of the estimated bank account movement from May to October. Arrangements to discuss options with your bank can then be made well in advance. Don't leave cash inflow and outflow to luck or pressure.
- Now is the time to look into tax planning for the year.
« Mountain Milk Line - May 2012