Get grass under control

With the poor weather we've had this summer, and with manynfarmers having to bring cows in and out, grass has got away from some of us. Add to this some of the grass growth figures we've seen in the last couple of weeks, up in the high 70's and into the 80'sKg/DM/Ha, and you get an idea of how much grass is out there.

But getting down to the right residuals before shutting fields up for the winter is crucial. Too much cover going into the winter will sit there and rot, badly affecting the start of next year's grazing season.

The message is get the grass off, any way you can! If conditions allow there is still the opportunity to make some pretty good silage, bale is probably better in order to avoid any contamination, and this can help plug any shortages caused by the erratic conditions over the last few months.

Making silage now, rather than just before shutting fields up in October means that quality should be higher and you might also get another grazing from the field before it is closed down.

If conditions are too wet for silage keep the cows grazing and even look at more drastic measures. On one farm I visited recently with a group, where silage stocks were plentiful, we talked about getting the contractor in, and get the grass sold if possible.

If there are no buyers we talked about offering it to the contractor as payment or if necessary just removing the surplus grass.  It may seem like a waste of money but it's not comparable to the financial loss a poor start to the grazing season would entail.