Nature has an uncanny knack of levelling itself up. Having had a broadly very dry year in most parts of the country, especially last winter and spring, it would not be a surprise to see a harsher and possibly wetter winter this year that may be a lot longer. While hurricane Harvey is unlikely to affect us like Texas, there is plenty of time yet …
Having said the above, it is important to bear this in mind as the spring 2018 grazing season is about to start! By this, I mean that the period where we can influence the available grazing for next spring will be set up over the next five to six weeks. It is important that when we shut up paddocks for this season from about 8th October onwards, we must leave them in good order. They need to be properly grazed out with no long tufts or clumps of grass and the land should not be poached. As we are starting the second last grazing and indeed may already have taken it in a few cases, we should use this second last round to leave things in good order as the ground conditions and weather may not be so good in late September. Obviously with the late seasonal growth being seen, we may have to take a late silage cut if the grazing wedge is out of control. Now is the time to do a feed budget and prepare your autumn grazing planner. While it is important to build covers towards 2600+ by late September, we also want to ensure that there is not an excess of grass carried over winter.
Thinking along the same lines of weather and a potentially not so clement winter, have you got adequate forage stocks available and where you want them? Again a feed budget is important to assess what the real truth is. If you are short, what actions are you going to take? If you need to procure additional stocks of feed, then do it early while there is plenty of the correct quality available to purchase or think of alternative strategies to employ. For those that are going to outwinter, have you allocated the bale silage you will require in the field and is it set out correctly? If not, it is worth doing this now while ground conditions are sound. This will avoid the need to bring tractors and possibly even trailers into the fields during the true winter period and thus you will avoid severe poaching and potential soil erosion occurring.
Contact Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local FCG office for an independent assessment of your feed supplies and where to plug the shortfall with value for money alternatives.