As the weather continues to cool, we may start to see a reduction in grass growth rates, therefore its time to think ahead as to how this is effecting the energy balance and body condition of your herd.
Monitoring grass growth on farm is important at the end of the grazing season so that farmers can plan ahead to ensure adequate but not excessive grass cover over winter. Growth rates on individual farms may differ significantly from the regional average and so on farm monitoring is critical.
In recent weeks we have seen a decrease in average temperatures and humidity. We have also seen a significant drop in the estimated milk yield from grazing down to M+ 4.24 litres (from M+ 11.12 litres last week). That’s almost a 7 litre difference! This is largely due to high amounts of rainfall meaning grass dry matter intake is far lower.
Managing cow body condition going into winter is critical so that the expense of regaining body condition on winter diets is avoided. Rations should be adjusted, possibly with the use of buffer feeding to ensure that milk yield targets are met without cows milking off their backs and losing condition.