When we look at pasture utilisation for your business we first have to look at the five main procedures that will help you achieve this. These five main procedures are:
We will briefly review these four main procedures before assessing them in more detail.
1).Determining the stocking rate: It is essential that you plan stock numbers for you cattle enterprise and also achieve the highest efficience of green pasture utilisation. To do this you must ensure that:
- You use assessment techniques to calculate pasture mass.
- Balance grazing pressure by matching availability with animal demand.
- Use tactical grazing to meet different animal and pasture objectives.
- Tactical grazing is easy to implement when a rotational system is already in place.
- Planning and monitoring data.
- Know what to measure and when ton measure it.
2). Determining the grazuing duration: Select a paddock and determine grazing duration to achieve best utilisation and animal performance targets. To ensure you get the best utilisation and animal performance you must:
- Select grazing paddocks to meet production targets.
- Best production is achieved when paddocks are grazed no longer than three days.
- Tactical grazing ensures best pasture use and animal productivity.
3). Start grazing: When you start grazing you should aim to graze at a pasture mass between 1,500 and 2,500 kg DM/ha. To ensure that you get the best start when your animals start grazing:
- Animal intake and productivity decline when pasture mass exceeds 3,000kg green DM/ha.
- You must measure plant growth stage and also the pasture mass.
4). Stop grazing: It is advised that you should stop grazing before pasture regrowth potential is affected. When your cattle stop grazing you should remember that:
- Good pasture management ensures adequate rest and regrowth.
- Timing when to stop grazing is critical to pasture and animal productivity.
- Overgrazing effects the rate of pasture regrowth, composition and persistence.
5).Rest periods: Rest from grazing enables pastures to regrow and store energy reserves before the next grazing event. To ensure this you must:
- Use pasture growth phenology to predict teh date of regrazing and to rebuild energy reserves.
- Determine the pasture rest (regrowth) period for your farm.