Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Plan ahead for recovery

Farmers are being told to plan carefully to salvage what they can for next year when returns should be better. Baker and Associates consultant Stefan Bryant has advised farmers that monitoring growth rates once pasture responds to rain is crucial. It’s not too late to apply nitrogen (N) and if it’s applied as soon as rain is imminent it will give good responses as ground temperatures are still high enough.

Feed budgets needed to be reviewed carefully and the farm’s non-negotiable pasture cover requirement on June 1 determined. For those still milking he suggested setting up two scenarios when feed budgeting; one for if it rains soon and one for if rain is still two weeks to a month away.

An accurate assessment of cow condition and pasture covers is needed, along with how much supplement is available for autumn and winter. From there it was a matter of working out how much longer milking could go on without sacrificing cow condition and pasture targets under each scenario. The cost of feed and milk returns needed to be realistically included in the decision-making process.

He warned farmers not to forget about young stock and to check how they’re going if they’re out with graziers. If sufficient rain comes he warned there will be huge demand for shorter-term ryegrass and oat seed so farmers should put orders in now if they haven’t already. Sowing a proportion of paddocks that have very low pasture density in short term grasses will help the feed bank build up quickly. Farmers should also be continuing to talk with winter graziers to ensure security of winter feed, as larger herds would be particularly vulnerable if it was pulled out at the last minute.

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