- Moving into October pasture growth will increase rapidly, be ready to shorten the rotation length.
- Graze ryegrass prior to canopy closure (when light cannot reach the base of the plant, yellowing in the base of the sward). Allowing plants to grow beyond this point will limit the emergence of daughter tillers which is what gives the pasture density and persistence through summer.
- Ensure a residual of 4-6cm is left between the clumps. Leaving residuals greater than 6cm means pasture has been 'wasted' and regrowth will be compromised.
- In spring it is pasture quality that should drive rotation length, not leaf appearance rate. Some large leaf tetraploid annual ryegrasses will need a shorter rotation than diploid perennial ryegrasses through spring to maintain quality.
- FPFP participants - make sure your rotation right tool reflects your farm position. Farms will be in a position where they are growing more than the cows can eat. It is important to maintain pasture quality, use rotation length, supplements and banking to control this. If you have any issues with your rotation right tool please contact Tom Farran, DPI Tatura, telephone (03) 5833 5297, or Phil Shannon, DPI Cobram, telephone (03) 5871 0613.
- Spring is the best time to use nitrogen to boost plant growth. It may provide economical growth responses in established crops and pastures with good density. Other growth factors such as Phosphorus, Potassium and Sulphur nutrient levels, soil temperature and moisture need to be adequate for the nitrogen to have its best result. With this in mind some areas of the farm may be best suited to a fertiliser blend rather than straight urea.
- With costs ranging from $60-160/tDM to make silage you should only conserve the true surplus of grass or forage generated on the farm or for feed that has past milker quality.
- Have a good heat detection system, start heat detection a month before the start of mating and brush up on your heat detection skills.
- The best heat detection method is a combination of paddock observation and use of aids such as tail paint and heat mount detectors.
- Calves can be weaned when they are eating 0.75 kg per day of pellets for two or three consecutive days.
- Weaned calves should weigh at least 70 kg for Jerseys and 90 kg for Friesians and be seen to be ruminating (chewing cud).
- Prepare irrigation equipment and channels to be used soon. Allowing plants to be moisture stressed, even for a short period has dramatic consequences on pasture yields and water use efficiencies. Early irrigations are critical to maintain spring growth and tillering in the ryegrass plants.
Soil testing and fertiliser requirements
- Spring is an ideal time for soil sampling your paddocks. Try to record the paddock/area name or number in your diary, and do not mix samples.
- Paint a post at either end of your paddock and sample a line between the posts, so you now have a reference of the sample site for future use.
- To save yourself time, you can use a company that will come to your farm and collect and dispatch your soil samples.
- Apply fertiliser (particularly containing potassium) on your hay and silage paddocks either early or after crops have been removed. Applying potassium too close to harvest could lead to raised levels of it in the conserved feed, causing metabolic problems when fed out.