- As seed heads begin to emerge it is pasture quality that drives rotation length, not leaf appearance rate. Some annual ryegrasses will need a shorter rotation than perennial ryegrasses through November to maintain quality and optimise quantity.
- If more than 35 per cent of a paddock has ryegrass seed heads emerged it should not be grazed. Cows will drop in production due to the lower quality pasture and will leave high residuals which will need to be topped. It is best to 'skip' ahead to a paddock with less seed heads and conserve the mature
- Once ryegrass plants enter the reproductive phase the residual will begin to rise (even after the plant has been grazed). The principles of residual height still apply however and this will need to be mechanically controlled down to a height of 4 -6cm.
- A fertiliser application through late spring on perennial ryegrass pastures will encourage tillering which will improve persistence over summer.
- Most spring calvers will be past joining now and will have the bulls in. We all know the frustration of low in-calf rates, so make sure you have the necessary bull power! (one bull per 25 empty cows).
- Don't forget about your calves once they are weaned. With pastures loosing quality and increasing in fibre young stock will need to be supplemented to achieve target weights.
- Prepare irrigation equipment and channels. Allowing plants to be moisture stressed, even for a short period has dramatic consequences on pasture yields and water use efficiencies.
- Daily evaporation rates are starting to increase so it is important to keep on top of your irrigation. If you started your spray irrigation system late be aware you will have to apply extra water to fill the soil moisture deficit.
- Hopefully summer fodder crops such as brassicas and turnips are already in the ground. If not, it is not too late. Soil temperatures should now be above 16 degrees which means millet and sorghum can begin to be sown.
- Summer crops can be very expensive if they do not yield well. In most cases crops need to be direct grazed to be a cheaper source of feed than bought in cereal hay.
- Keep an eye on the cows and what is happening in the vat to tell you whether the herd is getting a balanced and adequate diet. As pasture quality drops you may need to increase the level of supplementary feeding to maintain a profitable production level.
- Identify ways you can minimise wastage as it can be very costly. Concrete troughs, hay rings, rubber matting, running hot wires over the top of feed or simply feeding out along a fence line can all help reduce wastage.
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