Managing Wet Conditions

Dairy-Cows-in-Mud

July 16 2014

Soil structure is normally stable and supported but once it becomes saturated the stability and strength is compromised and is prone to collapse. Well let’s state the obvious, soil turns to mud when saturated and can cause the following:

• Reduced pasture growth by 20 to 40%

• Reduced pasture utilisation by 40 to 60% (normal utilisation is approx 80%)

• Also future pasture yields can be reduced by 20 to 80% for 4 to eight months after the pugging period.

Try and maintain a pasture rotation at 45 days plus, if at all possible! To allow pasture to regenerate, it needs to be recognised that a ryegrass plant during a winter period will take 25 days to produce 1 leaf and approximately 50 days for 2 leaves.

Use the “ON” – “OFF” grazing technique or at least attempt it. Basically a cow will eat up to 70% of their pasture intake within 2 hours and 88% by four hours of grazing in a paddock. So graze cattle for the set “ON” period 4 or so hours then move them to an “OFF” area.

“OFF” areas can be a feed pad or sacrifice paddock where they have access to supplementary feed (silage/hay). Other good options for “OFF” areas include tracks, laneways, sandy banks, tree breaks and quarries.

For more information about managing wet conditions, go to the Dairy Australia website or speak to your CopRice Nutritionist.