- As pasture growth rates increase rapidly at this time of year, both the rotation length and grazing pressure need to be managed to maintain pasture quality.
- Be organised to conserve any excess fodder - it will be a valuable feed source later in the year.
- The best responses to nitrogen can be achieved during spring. Just make sure any extra feed grown is utilised otherwise money will be wasted.
- The cow's intake is at 75 per cent of peak appetite after she has calved. Make sure the cow's dietary requirements are being met so that target milk production and good fertility can be achieved.
- If making a big change to the diet, make sure that it is gradual so that the bugs in the rumen can adapt.
- Ensure that purchased feed is of sufficient quality to maintain production
- With spring pastures coming on, check that there is still enough fibre in the diet.
- Be on the watch for bloat and other metabolic disorders that can occur in early lactation.
- Feeding the cows well from calving will enable them to cycle earlier in preparation for the planned start of joining.
- Record details of any non-cycling cows and have a plan for how to deal with them. Don't wait for the end of the mating period.
- Watch for signs of acidosis in fresh cows, particularly if you are feeding high levels of grain with fresh, lush pasture.
- Make sure you have the necessary bull power! (one bull per 25 empty cows).
- Start the calves on water, straw and concentrates as soon as possible.
- The calves can be weaned once they are eating 0.75 to 1 kilogram of concentrate per day for Friesian calves, and 0.5 to 0.75 kilograms for Jersey calves.
- The calf should demonstrate this level of consumption over at least three consecutive days.
- The post weaning growth targets should be based on measurement of weight and height.
- 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.
- Milk production achieved from feeding grain should be compared to the current high grain price.