Beating the elements: FRS is recommmending that farmers consider options when it comes to grazing
Spring is a busy time on all farms and traditionally now would be the time farmers start getting cow paddocks ready for the turn out.
However, with rainfall amounts reaching above average for this time of year, most soils are either saturated or waterlogged.
With first-grazing targets set to have 30% grazed by March 1, due to continuous rainfall, many farmers have struggled to reach this.
We would recommend for farmers to use weather apps or watch the forecast to keep themselves up to date with the latest conditions.
Farmers need to prepare themselves and be at the ready should an opportunity arise to get calved cows out to grass.
With spring grazing considered an important factor in increased animal performance, it also aids the farmer financially (as animals will need less ration) and will help recondition swards for the year ahead.
While difficult conditions remain, a practice that farmers may find helpful is “on-off grazing”.
Similar to strip grazing, this is a technique where cows are let out to graze a particular fenced off area but are brought straight back to housing once they have eaten their allocation.
Tips For On-Off Grazing
nWalk the farm and establish grass supply.
nIdentify the driest fields and paddocks most suitable for grazing.
nConsider positioning, width of roadways and field access.
nConsider the positioning of water troughs.
nEnsure you have the equipment needed for temporary fencing i.e poly wire with a standard or geared reel, pig-tail or plastic posts, electric fencer, galvanised earth bars and lead out cable. These are all available at your local FRS Fencing store.
nEnsure the grazing area is back fenced.
nIf possible, target the lower cover of grass first.
nAllow cows to build an appetite before turn out so they eat grass instead of damaging pasture.
nConsider the animals you are putting to grass. Cows who have calved earlier in the season are better suited as newly calved cows are known to pace through the paddock and damage ground.
nAim to avoid over poaching of paddocks and pick the best possible time of day, in terms of weather, to let cows out. Keep an eye on your weather app.
Farmers need to adapt their overall yearly grazing plan, extend targets where needed and consider the implications for the season ahead.
As wet weather prevails, farmers should also consider their own personal safety and take necessary precautions when working.
We would recommend wearing wet gear and suitable footwear with grips. Around the yard, ensure that pathways to sheds and machinery are kept clear in order to reduce the risk of slips or falls.
For all your fencing needs contact FRS Fencing. FRS Fencing have serviced the contract fencing needs of farmers for 40 years and provide top quality DIY fencing materials and supplies coupled with expert fencing advice.
For more information about the equipment you may need for on-off grazing you can contact your local FRS fencing office.
FRS Roscrea, Parkmore, Roscrea; ph: 0505-21166, www.frsfencing.ie
FRS Cahir, Carrigeen Ind Est, Cahir; ph: 052-7441598, www.frscahir.ie