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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 info@molevalleyfarmers.com.

 

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

Water

  • 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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