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Published: 31 Jul 2020

Grazing management during calving is tricky. There are multiple herds with differing feed requirements and a desire to ensure fresh cows are well-fed. To add to the pressure, research in New Zealand has shown grazing management in the first 2 months after calving largely determines production to Christmas. Having too fast a rotation too early in spring will result in reduced pasture growth and a lowered average pasture cover.

Lesley Irvine, TIA

The good news is, there are simple tools readily available to help manage rotation length:

  1. Monitor the leaf stage of your paddocks about to be grazed. Ryegrass dominant paddocks should be grazed when the ryegrass is between the 2.5 to 3 leaf stage. If the leaf stage of the paddock next to be grazed is less than this, the grazing rotation needs to be slowed.
  2. Use a spring rotation planner. A spring rotation planner determines the area of the farm that can be allocated each day up until the breakeven point. Following this tool is another way of ensuring the grazing rotation does not get too fast. DairyNZ has a useful online spring rotation planner tool (just do an internet search for “spring rotation planner tool”). To use the planner, you just need to answer a few questions and it will produce a printable rotation planner for you to use.

If you would like any more information about grazing management in spring, please contact a TIA dairy extension officer:

Lesley Irvine – or 0428 880 287

Symon Jones – or 0418 876 089

Sam Flight – or 0419 801 341