Multiple spring toppings sustain grass quality
Making sure paddock topping removes emerging seed-heads is crucial to maintaining grass quality.
Two key topping timings are October and early November. Topping in October removes uneaten residue and seed heads from early maturing ryegrass and grassy weeds, leading to better spring and summer quality. The removal of bulky residue also allows sunlight to penetrate to the base of the plants which triggers the formation of ryegrass daughter tillers and increases leafy growth.
Topping again in early November captures the vast majority of perennial ryegrass seedheads, as they have had time to grow above the 6cm mow line, and they can be removed before they start to affect herd performance.
At the MDF, good regrowth has occurred after paddock topping and silage cuts in early November, with leafy, high quality perennial ryegrass now on offer. Another advantage of topping is that the mown seedhead tillers have died, but remain in the pasture at about 6cm height. These are prickly and tough which discourages the cows from eating low to the ground and protects the ryegrass growing points and energy reserves.
With the added sunlight triggering vegetative daughter tiller growth, and the mown tillers protecting the base of the plants, the topping ensures high quality growth and persistence in future rotations.
However, while the grass has kept its quality, pasture growth intake has dropped off, with a related small decline in milk solids and litres/cow. Our target was 60kg pasture DM consumed/day in order to drive milk production, but we are currently accomplishing 50kg DM consumed/day. Soil moisture due to the dry season is thought to be limiting pasture growth. Our aim is to always maintain and increase home grown pasture consumption as this drives profitability.
|FEED MARGIN PERFORMANCE||TEN DAYS AGO||THIS TEN DAYS||Units|
|Ten days to date:||20-Nov-19||30-Nov-19|
|Milker graze area||69||71||Ha|
|Average graze rest time||30||33||Days|
|Estm’d pasture consmp’n||53||49||kg DM/ha/day|
|Pasture consum’d per cow||12.5||11.8||kg DM/cow/day|
|Pasture growing spend||$5.43||$5.53||$/ha/day|
|Estm’d pasture price||$102||$112||$/T DM|
|Conc (incl additives)supp fed/cow||5.9||5.9||kg DM/cow/day|
|Conc (incl additives)supp avg price||$517||$517||$/T DM|
|Hay/silage supp fed/cow||0.0||0.0||kg DM/cow/day|
|Hay/silage supp price||$/T DM|
|Feed Conversion Efficiency||111||109||kg MS/tonne DM|
|Total feed intake/cow||18.2||17.5||kg DM/cow/day|
|NDF Fibre in diet||32.2%||31.9%||% NDF|
|Milk Solids per cow||2.04||1.93||kg/cow/day|
|Milk price (less levies)/kg MS||$6.51||$6.53||$/kg MS|
|Milk price (less levies)/litre||$0.46||$0.45||$ per litre|
|All feed cost/cow||$4.29||$4.35||$/cow/day|
|Margin over all Feed/cow||$8.98||$8.23||$/cow/day|
|MOAF /ha /day||$37.88||$34.31||$/ha/day|
|Farm MOAF per DAY||$2,614||$2,436||$/day|