Housed Cows at Pasture
Under housed systems the number one priority is to make use of pasture which is a cheap resource and the key is to measure using a plate meter. The next priority is getting access to the land which means subdividing the farm and setting up tracks and plenty of access to water. This does not need to be expensive and is just a matter of planning
Cows at pasture for 100 days
Grazing is not a one size fits all and in reality any program has to suit the system whether it be spring Block, Autumn Block or in the case of herds supplying some supermarkets the requirements are to get cows out for 100 days. Farmers supplying these supermarkets need to have a program which is set up to utilise grass to fit the requirements.
Silage will be an important part of your farming system but before cutting most of the farm consider what is grazable and use those fields first. Don’t get caught up in cutting the whole farm then putting cows out and having to feed what has been put in the clamp.
Whatever system you are running, pasture and herd performance are optimised by having sufficient quality feed on an annual basis to meet cow demand. Allocate this feed applying the following principles and management practises.
In the case of pasture:
Control the area grazed each day to manipulate pasture eaten.
Estimate the area and pre-grazing cover required for the cows.
Treat pasture as a crop – remove pasture grown since last grazing and prevent post-grazing height increasing over the season
Have pasture cover distributed between paddocks in a feed wedge to ensure that high quality pasture is offered on all paddocks
Whatever you do keep it simple