The answer for many farms will be the implementation and use of the pasture feed wedge. A pasture feed wedge gives a visual picture of the current pasture situation by ranking the paddocks average pasture cover.
Pasture feed wedge example:
This feed wedge shows that:
- Paddock five is at the pre-grazing target
- The farm is hitting its post-grazing residual target
- There is a group of paddocks in the middle of the wedge that are above the target line.
The critical grazing decision: Does this farm have a genuine surplus of pasture; should the silage contractor be booked?
Feed Wedge Ready Reckoner
The Feed Wedge Ready Reckoner is a tool to help you proactively manage your pasture using your farm walk data to allocate feed and make early decisions on feed deficits and surpluses.
The benefit of plotting farm walk covers into a wedge is that it puts the current situation in picture form, allowing better communication with your farm team.
A feed wedge is a graph of paddock covers (kg DM/ha) (y axis) and paddock descriptors (x axis) for a dairy farm for a selected day, sorted by paddock from longest to shortest pasture cover. The line drawn on the graph from longest to shortest paddocks, along with the graph axes resembles a wedge shape, hence the name. If target pre- and post-grazing covers are placed on the graph at the highest and lowest paddock covers respectively, and connected by a line, it is easy to see which paddocks have a surplus or deficit of pasture.
Achieving high pasture utilisation is a foundation for profitable farming in New Zealand. Plotting a feed wedge weekly is essential if you want to achieve high pasture utilisation on your farm. Plotting a weekly feed wedge has been a key tool in the Lincoln University Dairy Farm in Canterbury lifting ME from an average 11 to 12.2 during the past 3 years.
Take the data from the Farm Walk Pasture Cover Recorder and plot this data onto the Feed Wedge Ready Reckoner. Follow the instructions to plot a demand line that will show surplus or deficit situations.