A weekly farm walk and keeping up to date with industry online information and the news will help achieve this. This page will help link you to the resources available.
Monitor body condition score (BCS)
Be brutally honest and use the range 2.0-5.0. Many cows take a long time to gain condition once dried off as they are often in worse condition than thought.
Minimum condition score thresholds become important 120 days before the cow’s next calving date. So for a cow due to calve on July 1, March 12 is a critical date for decisions on cows below minimum condition score thresholds. Get someone independent to score your cows – it’s hard to score your own cows when you see them twice-a-day. For certified assessors go to dairynz.co.nz/bcs.
Monitor grazing residuals weekly
Target grazing residuals above 3.5cm (7-8 clicks). Grazing below this will seriously reduce regrowth and lead to loss of pasture plants. Use stand-off areas to protect pastures.
Keeping an eye on the weather forecast and benchmarking yourself against others will help with decision-making.
Farmwatch - DairyNZ Farmwatch provides farmers with a weekly summary of the on-farm situation observed throughout New Zealand, plus timely advice.
NIWAFarmMet - This is a subscription weather forecast and information service designed specifically for farmers.
Pasture Growth Forecaster - The DairyNZ Pasture Growth Forecaster is an easy-to-use web-based tool to help predict how much grass grows on your farm.
Hotspot watch - NIWA's Hotspot watch is a weekly update describing soil moisture across the country to help assess whether severely to extremely dry conditions are occurring or imminent.
Seasonal climate outlook - NIWA’s air temperature, rainfall, soil moisture and river flow predictions for the coming season.