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To contact one of our “Forage for Profit” team, call the Seed Office on 01769 576232
or Graham Ragg on 07798 583667
or email


Feeding at Grass

Practical Information

Turn Out Early

  • 3-4 hours/day, cows can eat 3-4kgDM of good grazing

  • Can eat this on top of inside ration

  • At 5kgDM enough to support 10lts production

  • Feed HDF (high digestible fibre) concentrates

Grass Quality

  • Dry matter 12-25%

  • Protein 22-30%DM

  • 70% ERDP (Effective Rumen Degradable Protein) type protein

  • ME 11-12.5mj/kgDM

  • 30-55% NDF (Neutral Detergent Fibre)

  • Minerals and trace elements are low

  • Healthy ryegrass plant can only support 3 viable leaves

  • Bottom 4-5cm is where most ryegrass sugar for re-growth is stored

Milk Quality

  • There is a need for longer structural fibre to help maintain butterfat levels

  • Keep milk ureas below 450, 0.450, 0.045 depending on method of analysis

  • High ureas may impact on fertility through poor energy utilisation

  • Reduce stress factors to maintain good Somatic Cell Count (SCC) levels

Heat Stress

  • Cows go into heat stress from 18ºC – severe heat stress from 25ºC

  • This will raise SCC, reduce intakes and may affect fertility

  • Can result a laminitis line claw horn disruption (CHD) not apparent for 3 months

Grazing Covers

  • Pre-grazing 2700kgDM/ha (16-17cm high)

  • Post-grazing 1500kgDM/ha (5cm high) (2000kgDM/ha later season)

  • Use sward sticks, plate metre, beer bottles, marks on wellies to assess covers

  • Best utilisation from 1 paddock/grazing

  • Split large paddocks or when grass growth outstrips grazing demand

  • Cows eat most at dawn and dusk, turn into new paddock for evening grazing

  • Cows can consume <18kgsDM of grazed grass

  • Grass at 15%DM cows need to eat 100kgs/day (2cwt) to produce M+20lts

  • Cows that are gutworm free graze for an extra 1 hour per day = +1kgDM intake

  • High fibre forages best for buffer feeding ie wholecrop limit to 4-5kgDM

  • High energy low protein concentrates are best supplementation, least displacement

  • Graze tighter on the first 2 grazing rotations to maximise later season grass growth

  • Match grazing rotations to grass growth possible 18 days in May 90 days in February

  • ‘Use it or lose it’ early in the season


  • Cows will drink up to 130litres/day

  • They will only walk 200 metres voluntarily to drink

  • Herd animals 10% of the herd need to be able to drink at any one time

  • If cows are 25% short of water requirement yield will be down 12%


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