Robotic system: 1 DeLaval VMS™ box unit on Feed First with 3 Smart Gates™
Farm: Andrew & James Walsh, Co. Wexford, Ireland
Soil type: Heavy to medium-heavy
Weekly rainfall: 2mm
Milking cows: 62
Grazing platform: 22ha
Grazing system: ABC grazing, using strip wires and back fence
Re-cap of Week 3
- Milk protein related to energy ·
- Laneways ·
- Rain drives more growth ·
- MS/cow/day 2.09 kg ·
- Grass GR 80kg Dm/ha/d
Week 4 (12th -18th September):
- Growth rate 85kg DM/ha/d
- AFC 1300kg DM/ha
- Cover/cow 390kg DM/ha
- Stocking rate 2.8LU/ha
- Demand/cow ha 46kg DM/ha
- Concentrates fed 4.0kg/cow/day
- Fat 4.56%
- Protein 3.74%
- kg/cow/day 24.1kg
- MS/cow/day 2.0kg/cow
- SCC 80,000
- TBC 4
Milk yield has held up well this week with only a 2% drop in yield compared to a 2.5% drop the week before. This is mainly due to an increase in dry matter intake due to the dry weather.
Milk solids are still at 2kg/cow/d which is excellent for this time of year.
The average farm cover (AFC) is too high for the stocking rate currently. Ideally we would like to drop this down to below 1200kg DM/ha as to not carry an abundance of grass over the winter.
The pre grazing yield in block B has gotten too high this week in excess of 2200kg DM/ha.
I know that it is not best advised to bring the mower into the paddock at this time of year, but we may have no other option but to mow out and bale a small section of block B to bring the rotation length back to 35 days. With grass growth so high at the moment, it should not be a problem in this block.
Heat drives growth! There has been high temperatures this week reaching up to 23C. With the rain last week, this has pushed grass growth to abnormal levels for this time of year, well above the 10 year average. There is no sign of grass growth slowing down as of yet, but as is all too common in Ireland this can change very rapidly!
PGY this week:
A 2000kg Dm/ha B 2300kg Dm/ha C 1800kg Dm/ha. As mentioned the PGY in block B is too high so action may be taken next week.
The last round of fertiliser went out this week with 110kg/ha of CAN being spread to blocks A and C. Block B did not receive any as there is already far too much grass in the area.
Weekly topic: Grazing high white clover content
High levels of clover in Block B and A, balanced with lesser levels in Block C
The nice thing about ABC grazing is that you can balance the cow’s diet accordingly. Examples of this are:
- Allocating a new ley in one block and a permanent pasture in a different block.
- Allocating different quality grasses in different blocks i.e. highly digestible sward in block A and B with a higher fibre content sward in block C.
In our instance, we grow large amounts of White Clover (WC) in block B and part of block A, with not so much in block C.
Grass in block C is also earlier heading than block B or A which means there is more fibre content in block C when grass is very lush in block B or A.
Mixing the different pastures in the day enables us to avoid problems associated with high levels of clover, such as bloat. It is important to note that there is still WC in block C as to avoid any sudden changes in the diet which could lead to acidosis.
Straw is fed ad-lib to the cows all year round:
We started feeding the straw this year and we have seen huge benefits in the fat content of the milk, which has being very consistent year round, with no major fluctuations.
The straw slows the rate of passage of the feed, reducing the rate at which the clover is digested, meaning that the gases produced from the digestion of clover can exit the rumen, before there is a build-up.
Tip of the Week!
If you are grazing pastures with high levels of clover, and some with less, try to send the cows to the high clover content in the night, rather than in the morning.
The cow will tend to eat less in the night than in the morning. Therefore if the cow goes to the high clover sward in the night, she will not gorge on the clover. Gorging can cause acidosis or bloat, so best avoided. The cow’s intake in the night will be much more gradual, as she tends to rest more in the night, than in daylight hours.