Weekly Grassland Management Diary of Robotic Grazing Farm – 5th July (week 28)
- Growth 50.3kg DM/ha (70.8)
- AFC 614kg DM/ha (592)
- Cover/cow 186kg DM (180)
- Demand/ha 49.5 kg DM/ha (49.5)
- MS/cow 1.96kg (2.09)
- Fat 4.07% (3.97)
- Protein 3.41% (3.53)
*previous weeks figures in brackets
Last week, the cows started getting 2kg of baled silage in the A paddocks as the covers are low and the grass is of lower quality due to the stem. Silage will be kept in the diet for this week; there is 20mm of rain due this week so we are hoping this will recover some of the soil moisture deficit. However, the A paddocks are sandy with a slope so more than 20mm is needed to improve the burnt patches.
The B and C paddocks have similar covers, growing well considering the lack of moisture. The paddocks are green, with only some burnt patches in the B paddocks. B3 and B4 have 1,200-1,300kg DM/ha with >70% clover which will keep CP up in the diet, even with the stemmy grass. C8 and C9 have grown very well over the last week and are suitable for grazing. They also have >70% clover content; clover has a higher drought tolerance than grass and does not get stemmy.
The rotation length will be changed to 22 days as we expect it to be much the same as last (50kg DM/ha), if not higher, depending of the amount of rain. The milk solids were due to drop this week as we did introduce silage. We expected a bigger drop than 0.13kg but it may be possible that the baled silage quality is not that much lower than the grass quality in A. The protein in milk should not drop too much more as the cows are getting a higher CP content of the clover in B and C than they did last week. The A paddock time will be reduced by a further hour (6pm – 10pm) to help with the deficit. Once the A paddocks look healthier, silage will be removed.
Jordan Molloy – Grazing Consultant, Grasstec
“I teach farmers how to measure grass and the discipline needed to do weekly farm walks. I show them how to input their data onto Agrinet and how to understand the grass wedge. Each week presents a different scenario on the farm so it’s crucial that the farmer can interpret the data in order to make informed decisions. Grasstec consultants are available in Ireland and the UK.”