Agronomy Advice
February 18, 2024

Preparing for turnout this Spring

It’s a busy time on farms at the moment and finding the time to walk and measure the grazing platform is one job worth doing. After completing this, identify the first 30% of your farm that you want to start grazing this February.

Farmer in a field

Have your reels and pigtails ready to go. Animals should start grazing on grass covers of ideally 2,200 – 2,500 kg DM/Ha to ease animals back into grazing. The first animal groups to turn out to grass should be young growing cattle or freshly calved dairy cows.

As animals are turned back out to grass, allocating the correct area can be difficult. For beef animals use 2% of body weight as a good guide for intakes. A 350 kg beef animal being turned to grass, allocate 7 kg DM/Ha per day. A crossbred dairy herd after calving with 20% heifers will start off at about 13kg DM/Ha intake so factor this in when allocating grass. If feeding 3 kg meal and 3 kg silage, then allocate 7 – 8 kg of grass DM. You can increase this allocation by 20% twice per week.

Prioritise slurry for silage ground or on grazing paddocks which have low soil P & K indices. Try and apply more dilute slurry on grazing (~ 20 m3/ha). If applying N fertiliser, soil conditions need to be good, with minimum soil temperatures of 6 degrees. Hold off spreading if heavy rain is forecasted. We recommend 80 kg/ha of YaraBela Nutri Booster (20 kg N/ha) for this first application on paddocks that haven’t received slurry.