2018 has been a challenging year. Drought conditions experienced this Summer meant farmers had to use their fodder for this Winter along with increased cost with the use of concentrates in order to stretch their fodder and grass supplies.

Attention must now be moved to an Autumn grass budget to make the best possible use of grass. An Autumn grass budget will help extended grazing and ensure that there is an adequate grass supply to feed the herd throughout the Autumn.

GRASS GROWTH AND DEMAND

The key points to examine are the relationship between growth and demand and how they affect farm cover. The distinctive aspect is that farm cover is allowed to build up to the period where demand exceeds growth. Thereafter, the grazing animals eat into the bank of grass and farm covers drops again.

In this video, Noel will discuss the demand and how it is calculated in relation to your herd’s yield.

The two main objectives of autumn grazing management are to maximise grazed grass in the diet and to finish the grazing season with the right farm cover, ensuring sufficient grass for early turnout the next spring. Grassland measuring and creating a budgeting is essential to ensure that these objectives are achieved.

In this video, Noel will discuss grass measuring using a shears, scales and quadrant and the 4 rule of grassland management

Calculation to estimate the kilogrammes of dry matter per hectare:

(Weight of grass cut ) x DM% of grass x 40000 (the number of quadrats in a hectare) and then multiply this figure by the number of hectares in your paddock.
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The level of meal feeding on your farm is determined by the quality and quantity of your silage. You must know how much silage you have to plan ahead for the winter months.

Calculating how much silage is in your pit:

  • Multiply length x width x height = total silage area available;
  • Estimate the dry matter (DM) of your silage;
  • Multiply the total area by either 0.68, 0.77 or 0.81 (depending on silage DM);

In this video, InTouch feed specialist Seamus Callanan discusses how to calculating how much silage is in your pit.

Autumn grass budget looks at the relationship between grass growth and grass demand from now until the planned end of grazing.

We need to be proactive to plan ahead to keep grass in the diet for as long as possible.