Given the late season we have had, which has now been over-taken by dry weather, are you in the position of having grass covers that are too long? Are you struggling to get cows to graze grass down to the recommended 4 – 4.5cm residual when they leave a field? If so, you will not be alone.
If a field has got away from you, it is best to by-pass it in your rotation, and take it off for silage. Round bales are probably best, as one can nip in and take it off in small bites, rather than having to open up a clamp. Be careful to consider any recent applications of fertiliser, but even so, this may be the best way of sorting out the surplus.
Pre-mowing can work well, but it can still be difficult to get the cows to eat it all up cleanly. Plainly, you will need to calculate how much to pre-mow. Post-grazing mowing is also a great way to tidy up a paddock, and to help remove some weeds (such as docks) without resorting to chemicals. Cows (or youngstock) will soon clear up such grass, particularly when it has dried out a bit. You should mow cleanly, and not use a topper. However, there is a cost to this work, which must be factored in. Ideally, you will have grazed it off well to a residual of 1,500kg DM//ha.
Of course, by the time you read this article, drought may be upon us, which gives a wholly different set of problems.
For grazing advice, please contact Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local FCG office.