Wilma's Whey: Decisions made now critical to success

By Wilma Foster

Wilma Foster.
Wilma Foster.

Autumn management is critical to maximise production for this season while still setting up your business for a successful start to next season. Some current issues you might need to consider include:

1. Pastures that are summer grass dominant are now growing very fast. Keep your rotation length short, to ensure feed quality is kept. It will take several cool nights before they revert to ryegrass dominance - probably not until mid-April.

2. Ryegrass-dominant pastures, can be used to extend rotation length. This pushes this feed forwards into later autumn and winter. This could possibly help you to extend lactation well into May with reduced dependence on supplement.

3. Applying nitrogen will help all plants to grow, including weeds and summer grasses. A feed budget will help check if application is really needed.

4. Cow body condition score (BCS) is one of the key factors when deciding when to dry off. There are some light herds here, so it's is a good time to do a formal BCS assessment and plan for weight gain needed.

Do your first feed budget of the year now to help set good BCS and feed targets for the winter and spring.

- Katikati Advertiser

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