Preparing for Grazing

May 21, 2020

Turning cows out to grass. After some less than desirable weather over the last few months, the sun is starting to make an appearance again and attention is slowly turning to spring work. With that, what some see as the best day of the year is on the horizon: turning cows out to grass.

While we are working our way through one of the busiest months of the year at Davidsons Animal Feeds, the Dairy Tech team have been dedicating time towards spring turnout, and fine tuning our range to best suit different grazing situations, and milk contracts.

Grazing can be a challenging time, especially for early lactation, high production cows, transitioning from winter rations to a grass based diet. Maintaining high levels of production, while maintaining milk solids and body condition, as well as managing fertility can be more challenging immediately following turnout, but with some careful planning and fine tuning, the balance can be achieved.

As with winter rations, time assessing forage quality and quantity is well worth the effort. Understanding the nutritional benefits and limitations of grass to your cows, throughout the season is essential to balancing the overall ration. And understanding how much grass is out there can help with filling any shortfall in dry matter at any stage of the season.

Maximising margins at grass must also be a priority, and over the years, potential income losses from grass based rations, by not hitting milk contract profile and often failing to target constituents has been one of the negatives of grazing cows.

With that in mind, achieving high levels of production, targetting constituents and managing fertility, with some careful planning, are all achieveable goals at grass. Understanding the ration and utilising complementary feedstuffs to grass will see improvements in butterfat, rumen health and fertility along with maximising margins from grass.

With the planning that has gone into preparing for the 2020 grazing season and some further fine tuning to our range, additions such as Levucell Titan SC live yeast are targetting greater performance from cows, off the back of some positive trial results using this live yeast throughout the winter.

Turning cows out, and the sight of cows grazing in the sunshine is a pleasure to see, and achieving good returns from grass should not be about compromises, as has often been the case when it comes to constituents. Planning ahead now will make the most of the grazing season, and thought should now go into:

  • Analysing grass – nutritional and mineral profiling
  • Measuring grass – understanding how much is out there
  • Targets – what are your individual targets for the summer
  • Rationing for grass – as with any ration, do you have the right balance
  • Complementing the ration – what complementary feeding will best suit your grazing conditions, balance your cows ration and help to achieve your targets?

Previous post:

Next post: