"Improving Our Lot" - Planned Holistic Grazing, for starters..

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
It's not Timothy which has a much more cylindrical head, plus it's too early
Timothy will still be using its vegetative tiller at this time of year, not many grasses actually use a separate veg and reproductive tiller but timothy is one of them.

In a roundabout way, it's what helped indicate to us that our old management was needing improvement; we were losing it from our pastures thanks to recovery times being too short - thanks to leaving grass behind - and we lost it quickly, a couple of years.
 

Jonny B88

Member
Location
ballykelly. NI
Timothy will still be using its vegetative tiller at this time of year, not many grasses actually use a separate veg and reproductive tiller but timothy is one of them.

In a roundabout way, it's what helped indicate to us that our old management was needing improvement; we were losing it from our pastures thanks to recovery times being too short - thanks to leaving grass behind - and we lost it quickly, a couple of years.
Pete am I right in thinking that you try and utilise the majority of forage in a paddock in your system at every grazing event?
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
Timothy will still be using its vegetative tiller at this time of year, not many grasses actually use a separate veg and reproductive tiller but timothy is one of them.

In a roundabout way, it's what helped indicate to us that our old management was needing improvement; we were losing it from our pastures thanks to recovery times being too short - thanks to leaving grass behind - and we lost it quickly, a couple of years.
l had the dubious pleasure of combining timothy for seed, two passes, 2nd a week after 1st. Bottom gear, engine drum flat out, and no cab. Even worse, farm lost it's contract for elephant hay, so we fed the dairy with it, wire tied steel brillo pads, cows went nuts for it, no accounting for taste. And, ever since, had half a notion, on the difference between what we feed to cows, and what they would like us to feed them.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Pete am I right in thinking that you try and utilise the majority of forage in a paddock in your system at every grazing event?
Yes, we do now.

Get as many grazing days per hectare as we can, in an effort to reduce the number of grazings per season.
This way all species get a chance of living their best life - including the people
20210501_155151.jpg


edit, we may do "a quick spring whiparound" if we need to, eg whizz the mobs over their areas quickly if needed.
But we may just play with numbers and mob sizes, or leave the ends of the systems ungrazed as "setaside" or deferred feed for the next rotation
 
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Jonny B88

Member
Location
ballykelly. NI
Yes, we do now.

Get as many grazing days per hectare as we can, in an effort to reduce the number of grazings per season.
This way all species get a chance of living their best life - including the people View attachment 958352

edit, we may do "a quick spring whiparound" if we need to, eg whizz the mobs over their areas quickly if needed.
But we may just play with numbers and mob sizes, or leave the ends of the systems ungrazed as "setaside" or deferred feed for the next rotation
Do you find they leave much? Or are you forcing them to eat it down?
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
We realised the last couple of years in the dry, we have areas that grow well (like where young Charlie is plonked) and other areas that struggle all the time. That was really the deciding factor in making our grand new design "permanent" as opposed to just using lanes and fencing across them - we can just skip cells deemed not ready to graze, and leave them alone until they are ready for "harvest"
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Do you find they leave much? Or are you forcing them to eat it down?
Really it just depends on timing.
Because we aren't "doing as much work" we can show up and annoy the mobs for a bit - so they all poo and pee on their grazed bit - and then they don't roar into the new one and poo all over that as they scoff it. That helps them waste less.

They still knock it down really quickly, but there aren't the big patches of ungrazed grass that someone peed all over, just being left.
Of course we are always changing stuff, but that's the general theme, slow and steady. If we decide that they could leave a bit, then we change the timing so that they do leave a bit, and the other cells soak up the difference.

We may go to 3 mobs of calves soon, and give them all a shift once a day, as opposed to 100 head getting 3 shifts a day. That extra time to pick around should help them clean up, and pressure around the troughs will be less. Pressure on the shy animals will also be reduced.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
20210502_144029.jpg

Put 40 of these in this afternoon, easy and quick with the help of the eldest lad (it's alot easier to push the pipe in while he presses down the plate, to let the pressure go) and now they can be buried.

We'll put out the next fences when we get more arrowposts, should be here midweek, knowing Kiwitech. We ordered up some longer (1400mm) arrows but they had to make them as stock was low, otherwise the bundle would be here already.(y)

We decided to use polywire as well as high tensile. The HT crossfences go over the micros - we used the wire intersections to decide where the micro goes - and the polywire crossfences will go in between the micros, just make things a tad easier to see. (You know where the wire ones are because there's a row of troughs), but still really hard to see until we graze it a few times
 
Really it just depends on timing.
Because we aren't "doing as much work" we can show up and annoy the mobs for a bit - so they all poo and pee on their grazed bit - and then they don't roar into the new one and poo all over that as they scoff it. That helps them waste less.

They still knock it down really quickly, but there aren't the big patches of ungrazed grass that someone peed all over, just being left.
Of course we are always changing stuff, but that's the general theme, slow and steady. If we decide that they could leave a bit, then we change the timing so that they do leave a bit, and the other cells soak up the difference.

We may go to 3 mobs of calves soon, and give them all a shift once a day, as opposed to 100 head getting 3 shifts a day. That extra time to pick around should help them clean up, and pressure around the troughs will be less. Pressure on the shy animals will also be reduced.
I hadn't thought of annoying the cattle to encourage weeing and pooing. Makes sense though.

I always try to move them first and then do the fiddling about with water, move the fence etc as I don't like to upset the little darlings.

Going to really try and leave more this year to improve performance and recovery time. I find it so difficult to look at the residue without thinking it's waste, which of course it isn't.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I hadn't thought of annoying the cattle to encourage weeing and pooing. Makes sense though.

I always try to move them first and then do the fiddling about with water, move the fence etc as I don't like to upset the little darlings.

Going to really try and leave more this year to improve performance and recovery time. I find it so difficult to look at the residue without thinking it's waste, which of course it isn't.
Waste is a good thing at times. I try to leave a little waste where it would benefit from it, and leave it nice and clean where it would benefit from the extra traffic and poop

most of the slopier parts I don't wipe too clean at this time of year because of low sun angle etc, and because those parts might get targeted in a springtime rain event or something, the extra litter is good then.
Kinda the joy of looking out the window at 320 paddocks where it used to be 12, we can try lots of stuff now (y)
 

Rejuvenating swards: Which option is best?

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Written by Brian McDonnell

Maintaining grass quality during mid-season grazing is important. Farmers can maintain quality by entering ideal grazing covers of 1,300 – 1,500kg DM/ha, and grazing down to a residual of 4cm every rotation.

If you are now in a situation where cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they should be, leading to the development of steamy grass within the sward, here are some options.

Common options for rejuvenating swards include:

  1. Take a silage cut, probably into bales, remove the material and start again with the aftermath...
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