Concentrates account for about two-thirds of variable costs, writes Christopher Breen - the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).
Making the most from grazing will reduce your current costs. If conditions are good, quality swards and the availability of after-grass should mean your herd has the potential to produce around 10-litres of milk from forage in September.
Planning for early grass next spring
- Building up covers for next spring is not an option for everyone. For those of you planning an early turnout, this will be the last round for many paddocks.
- Actions you take now will have an impact on any early grazing next spring. The timing of paddock closure and residual grazing heights determines the start date for grazing and grass quality next year.
To allow for early grazing:
- Graze paddocks to 5 cm or less on a rotational basis and close for the winter;
- Don’t graze paddocks again, even if there is good grass growth in October/November.
September jobs checklist
- Correct soil pH where necessary. If ground conditions allow, the autumn is a great time to apply lime. Aim for a pH of 6.3 to get optimum results from fertiliser next year.
- Assess condition of young stock, especially maiden heifers. Will they be in the right condition for service?
- Carry out vaccinations due well in advance of the breeding season.
- If conditions allow, subsoil compacted areas and let them rest over the winter period.
- Get silage analysed in preparation for planning the winter diet.
- Calculate how much silage you have and how much you need.