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Spring Flush and Feeding for Early Lactation

17 February 2015

Spring grazing is already being planned in Ireland, where researchers will be aiming for no less than eleven kilos grazed per day.

This is for freshly calved cows in terms of forage dry matter, explains the Agriculture and Food Development Authority (Teagasc). 

There is an abundance of quality grass on most farms which offers potential to reduce spring feed costs.

The spring rotation plan can be used to manage area allocations – however dry matter intake per cow must also be carefully monitored. Fresh calved cows require a minimum of 11- 12kg/day forage dry matter which ideally will come from grass only – use techniques like strip wires and on-off grazing to maximise grass intake.

Offer some silage to meet deficits if grass is scarce or intake is limited by very poor weather conditions.

This can be done while still grazing swards down to 3.5 to 4cm if allocations are correct. A high energy (UFL) low protein (14 per cent crude protein or less) works well with grass in the diet, fed at 3-4kg on grass full-time or 5kg with grass by day.

Reduce concentrate intake by 1kg/day where once daily milking is in operation.

Feed costs should be reduced by spring grass every year, says Tegasc

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