In this week’s Grass10 Weekly Update, Teagasc has provided advice to farmers as difficult grazing conditions continue.
It outlined that the three objectives daily for grazing in wet weather are grass to the herd; minimise damage and residuals (if possible).
“Grazing continues to be challenging across the country since last weekend and will be challenging for the next few days.”
Farmers are advised to stay focused and alert to weather and to take opportunities to graze when they present themselves, however short.
“Cows are now beginning to settle into lactation, try to get grass into the diet whenever possible.”
“Hold cows in the shed/yard after milking time with no access to silage. Cows need to be miked at 3pm for a farmer to have any chance of achieving a 2nd grazing bout following evening milking.”
The state agency noted that cows should have the longest grazing bouts directly after milking. “Make an effort to get cows out with an appetite.”
Take cows off the paddock if they are finished grazing or if they start walking around (2-3hours after turnout).
If grazing, the paddock should be dry and have multiple access points.
If feeding silage by night, make sure that it has been consumed 3-4 hours before milking the following morning if planning to put cows out grazing that day. Silage is a bulky feed; it will reduce appetite if offered too close to grazing.
If you walk the farm and there are no paddocks available for grazing (waterlogged/snow etc.), unfortunately, cows will have to be housed.”
“However, things can change fast in spring, keep walking the farm. The only way a farmer knows if a paddock is fit for grazing is to walk it.”
If there are 30 paddocks on the farm and 29 are waterlogged, we should expect cows to be grazing the 1 paddock that’s fit for grazing. “That’s the lengths we need to go to the achieve days at grass this spring.”
“Make sure to get cows out grazing at the 1st opportunity again!” the update concluded.