Lots of grass out there so plan for an early cattle grazing

The grazing season is only around the corner for many!

I know that we have just been through one of the wettest December on record, but thoughts must now turn to planning for the spring.

There is a lot of grass in paddocks around the country. Getting the weather to graze it is now the challenge.

Many dairy farmers will soon begin to graze fresh cows by day, if conditions allow. Apart from reducing costs, early grazing also makes more land available for slurry application, which is an urgent requirement for many. Early grazing also improves the quality of grass swards in the next rotation.

Grazing strategies

On beef farms, turnout has traditionally been later than on dairy farms.

Most often, when a beef farm turns out stock, all sheds are emptied around the same time, and most aim for early to mid-March.

This year with the amount of grass about, it really will be worth considering a slightly earlier turn, if ground conditions allow.

If covers get too heavy, there is the potential to lose a lot of grass in the first grazing.

Suckler cows with calves at foot might be the ones to turn out first, as it will help cows to start cycling, and once it doesn’t get too wet or cold, calves will be less likely to pick up disease outdoors.

Replacement heifers are also a good group to get out early, as it will help them to come cycling and show stronger signs of heat when outdoors, in advance of breeding.

Getting set for turn-out

Are you ready for turnout?

There is so much to do around the farm before stock can go out to grass. Water troughs, electric fences, gates, ditches etc… they all need to be checked and made ready for the year ahead.

It’s hard to get around to everything while you are managing stock indoors.


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