Winter Forage Crops: Management During Grazing

Beef + Lamb NZ

Type: PDF
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

Handy diagram showing long, narrow breaks compared to short, wide breaks.

What is the problem?

Grazing winter forage crops may result in maintaining and improving the stock condition. This fact sheet provided the several ways to implement a good grazing management strategy.

What did the research involve?

With the research funded by AgResearch in South Otago, estimated findings are provided. Additionally, Beef + Lamb New Zealand also presented the several ways in efficient crop grazing management.

What were the key findings?

  • Based on the study, an estimated 80-90% were lost that reduced phosphorus and sediment. Therefore, a cost of up to $50-$60/ha/year worth the lost topsoil and nutrients from winter grazing. Also, the reduced soil compaction in susceptible parts of paddocks results to reduced surface runoff.
  • BCrop grazing management includes crop allocation and further supplement. This encompasses the Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s FeedSmart tool in identifying the feed requirements and planning the grazing, making feed and nutritional management plan with the feed basis on ‘feed down the throat’, transitioning of the crops, supplementary feeds, and offering the feed and adjusting it in wet and cold conditions.
  • Crop grazing management maximizes the use of winter forage crops as feed. The figure provided showed that crop utility in cattle is more efficient if long and narrow breaks are used than short and wide ones. Moreover, the fence should be moved once or twice a day, a narrow trip should be fenced off along the paddock length, and a catch fence is used in the forepart feeding race.
  • Soil and waterways should also be protected. Thus, a grazing management plan should include factors that reduce environmental losses, appropriate and suitable for winter forage crop grazing, trough location that dry and minimizes stock movements, adequate feed in the stock, and reduce the use of heavy machines to paddocks.
  • A strategic grazing should also be considered. These strategies involve the livestock off from the critical source areas, the paddock grazing away from the waterways, grazing at the top of a slope and move breaks downhill, sensitive areas are not grazed, and regular back fence the grazed land.

Final comment

Consulting advice from a veterinarian or other relevant agricultural experts for the appropriate grazing transition management for your stock is also highly recommended since every farm have distinctive features.

2017 - New Zealand - Beef + Lamb NZ
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