System Type: 2
Bay of Plenty
Last Update:
27 November 2019

DairyNZ Comment:

27 Nov 2019
  • Pasture growth rates have generally been sitting at a level where, unless stocking rates are atypically high, surplus feed should be available on an all pasture feeding regime.  If target grazing residuals are being maintained, the feed surplus should be making itself obvious.  Surplus management is all about anticipation.  To get surplus management right requires regular pasture assessment to predict feed surpluses before they happen.  It’s a matter of monitoring the feed situation more often, not less.

    One of the first challenges is to determine what the appropriate area to shut up might be.  The area required to feed the cows = (target feed demand/ha x platform area)/pasture growth rate (kgDM/ha/day).  The difference between this area and the total platform area will be the area deemed to be surplus to current requirements.  The risk of shutting too much and restricting milk production can be minimised by taking out small amounts for a short time and/or keeping the same grazing interval and using some of the surplus feed to extend the rotation.

    The longer the paddock is closed for silage, the higher the risk of pasture growth rates on the remainder of the farm slowing and creating a feed deficit.  As a silage crop matures, quantity will increase but the quality (energy content) decreases.  The date that a paddock is dropped out of the grazing round will also affect the quality of the silage with crop quality decreasing from October into December by about 1 MJME/kgDM per month.  As a general rule, to optimise crop quantity and quality, the recommendation would be to shut paddocks that had a post-grazing residual of 1500 kg DM/ha, with a closure time of approximately 5 ½ weeks.

    This is the stage of the season where a decline in pasture quality on farms is quite common, leading to a corresponding drop in milk production.  Getting some clarity around the decisions that are needed will help in minimising that drop in feed quality.

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  • Date Collected

    27 Nov 2019

  • Soil temp


  • Growth

    58 kgs DM/day

  • APC

    2937 kgs DM/ha

  • Rainfall

    0 mm

  • BCS


  • % in milk

    97 %

  • MS/cow

    1.48 kgs

  • MS/ha

    3.30 kgs

  • MS/ha YTD

    331 kgs

  • Rotation

    40 days

  • MS/cow YTD

    - kgs

  • Nitrogen YTD

    0 kgs/ha

  • Supplements

    0 kgs/cow/day

  • Supplements YTD

    96 kgs/cow/day

  • Weight Gain

    - kgs/day

  • Stocking Rate

    2.2 su/ha

  • Crude Protein Level


  • MJME