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Grass management

  • 20-06-2021 1:24pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 6,410 ✭✭✭ funkey_monkey


    I see that pre-mowing seems to be getting mentioned a lot more now. I'd never really heard of it before but the jist seems to be mow the grass at a increased height compared with silage mowing to prevent them leaving the stalkier grass behind them.

    Not sure if they will eat it all up clean though. Seems little difference to doing this and going in behind them with a topper - a topper would be a bit more fuel efficient that going in with a moco. Probably only suitable for the dairy crowd anyway.
    Then there was the other train of thought that you let them eat and trample the grass too. That way the trampled grass encourages regrowth and keeps the cycle going.

    I'd like to get into a form of rotational grazing but at the minute we keep them on until grazed down fairly close and then move on. I'd prefer to move them on earlier to keep a bit of cover in the grass. Still waiting to cut the silage here, no fertiliser on the grass this year and growing well. Hopefully won't get too stalky by the time that it gets knocked.

    Looking to then reseed some of it. Will probably just stitch in clover and a grass - although I'd be interested in putting down some multispecies mixtures I don't think they'd suit as we'd want the majority of ground to be dual purpose for grazing and cutting.

    Sinclair McGill have some mixes that interest me - Prosper, Castlehill and the Meadow Mixture take my eye.

    Would be interested to read if anyone else is going anything interesting in their grass management - either in terms of reseeding or how they graze it. Sometimes I just wonder if people are overthinking things and just keep some grass ahead of them is all that's needed. Other times I think if only I could get some more protein into the grass then the stock would thrive a bit better.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭ Jb1989


    I see that pre-mowing seems to be getting mentioned a lot more now. I'd never really heard of it before but the jist seems to be mow the grass at a increased height compared with silage mowing to prevent them leaving the stalkier grass behind them.

    Not sure if they will eat it all up clean though. Seems little difference to doing this and going in behind them with a topper - a topper would be a bit more fuel efficient that going in with a moco. Probably only suitable for the dairy crowd anyway.
    Then there was the other train of thought that you let them eat and trample the grass too. That way the trampled grass encourages regrowth and keeps the cycle going.

    I'd like to get into a form of rotational grazing but at the minute we keep them on until grazed down fairly close and then move on. I'd prefer to move them on earlier to keep a bit of cover in the grass. Still waiting to cut the silage here, no fertiliser on the grass this year and growing well. Hopefully won't get too stalky by the time that it gets knocked.

    Looking to then reseed some of it. Will probably just stitch in clover and a grass - although I'd be interested in putting down some multispecies mixtures I don't think they'd suit as we'd want the majority of ground to be dual purpose for grazing and cutting.

    Sinclair McGill have some mixes that interest me - Prosper, Castlehill and the Meadow Mixture take my eye.

    Would be interested to read if anyone else is going anything interesting in their grass management - either in terms of reseeding or how they graze it. Sometimes I just wonder if people are overthinking things and just keep some grass ahead of them is all that's needed. Other times I think if only I could get some more protein into the grass then the stock would thrive a bit better.

    Does trampled grass encourage more growth than a clean cut?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,410 ✭✭✭ funkey_monkey


    Jb1989 wrote: »
    Does trampled grass encourage more growth than a clean cut?

    I've no knowledge of either TBH - I can see how trampled grass will rot in and feed soil over time. With a clean cut I'm not sure how it will spur on regrowth especially if it is eaten up as clean as its proponents say it is.
    Although trampling grass back into the ground does go against the grain of thought for me.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiP88vsvabxAhVE8hQKHSC2DhcQFjABegQIFBAF&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cotswoldseeds.com%2Fdownloads%2Fmob%2520grazing%2520website.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0VtxfvXuV6gLbjr8r3sqV6
    Livestock eat the most nutritious top third of
    the forage plants and trample the stemmy and
    less nutritious stalks onto the ground to make
    new soil. This means that it’s unlikely for any
    plant species to become dominant and the
    sward remains diverse. This trampled forage is
    continually returned to the surface, helping to
    feed the soil, along with the manure. A really
    high stocking density is key here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭ Jb1989


    I've no knowledge of either TBH - I can see how trampled grass will rot in and feed soil over time. With a clean cut I'm not sure how it will spur on regrowth especially if it is eaten up as clean as its proponents say it is.
    Although trampling grass back into the ground does go against the grain of thought for me.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiP88vsvabxAhVE8hQKHSC2DhcQFjABegQIFBAF&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cotswoldseeds.com%2Fdownloads%2Fmob%2520grazing%2520website.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0VtxfvXuV6gLbjr8r3sqV6

    I would've thought tramped grass would be a drain on soil energy. Unless the stem is broke, its still going to have life, so will be slow to rejuvenate new growth.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,158 ✭✭✭ Cavanjack


    I see that pre-mowing seems to be getting mentioned a lot more now. I'd never really heard of it before but the jist seems to be mow the grass at a increased height compared with silage mowing to prevent them leaving the stalkier grass behind them.

    Not sure if they will eat it all up clean though. Seems little difference to doing this and going in behind them with a topper - a topper would be a bit more fuel efficient that going in with a moco. Probably only suitable for the dairy crowd anyway.
    Then there was the other train of thought that you let them eat and trample the grass too. That way the trampled grass encourages regrowth and keeps the cycle going.

    I'd like to get into a form of rotational grazing but at the minute we keep them on until grazed down fairly close and then move on. I'd prefer to move them on earlier to keep a bit of cover in the grass. Still waiting to cut the silage here, no fertiliser on the grass this year and growing well. Hopefully won't get too stalky by the time that it gets knocked.

    Looking to then reseed some of it. Will probably just stitch in clover and a grass - although I'd be interested in putting down some multispecies mixtures I don't think they'd suit as we'd want the majority of ground to be dual purpose for grazing and cutting.

    Sinclair McGill have some mixes that interest me - Prosper, Castlehill and the Meadow Mixture take my eye.

    Would be interested to read if anyone else is going anything interesting in their grass management - either in terms of reseeding or how they graze it. Sometimes I just wonder if people are overthinking things and just keep some grass ahead of them is all that's needed. Other times I think if only I could get some more protein into the grass then the stock would thrive a bit better.

    I’m not sure if you need to be reseeding. If you’ve no fertilizer on at this stage are you stocked high enough for it to pay to reseed? Newly reseeded ground needs plenty of nitrogen to keep it going.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,907 ✭✭✭✭ _Brian


    Jb1989 wrote: »
    I would've thought tramped grass would be a drain on soil energy. Unless the stem is broke, its still going to have life, so will be slow to rejuvenate new growth.

    I suppose the slow Vs quick recovery is part of the system too. Looking for quick swarths all the time has resulted in allot of fertiliser spreading. Where more regenerative methods of soil management may take longer but perhaps are kinder amd better for soil health.
    I don’t know, I’ve a passing interest in this but by no means well schooled.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,410 ✭✭✭ funkey_monkey


    Sold some stock as it was too tight for what we had in front of us, but moreso for wintering.
    Fine balance between getting stocking right and not overburdening the system in winter. Nothing worse than looking at tanks creeping up in Dec/Jan and no relief in sight.
    Some of the ground has poor growth and patchy and would be a long time since previously done. I'd like to reseed, but it might just end up stitching some clover into it. We'll have to see what the contractor thinks would be best.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,648 ✭✭✭ White Clover


    Sold some stock as it was too tight for what we had in front of us, but moreso for wintering.
    Fine balance between getting stocking right and not overburdening the system in winter. Nothing worse than looking at tanks creeping up in Dec/Jan and no relief in sight.
    Some of the ground has poor growth and patchy and would be a long time since previously done. I'd like to reseed, but it might just end up stitching some clover into it. We'll have to see what the contractor thinks would be best.

    Did you do any recent soil test? I have experience of low pH and low grass growth. Have got a savage response from spreading lime.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,410 ✭✭✭ funkey_monkey


    I think it was a few years ago now. It got what was needed as a result, can't remember the details now. Didn't need lime.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,047 ✭✭✭✭ Danzy


    Jb1989 wrote: »
    Does trampled grass encourage more growth than a clean cut?

    In mob grazing the cattle go in at 4 leaf stage, big cover, eat the top leaf bits, trample a third in to ground and leave a third.
    The trampled bit grows the soil, fertilizes it naturally, they have eaten reasonable stuff and the higher level left over drives the growth on. You would notice the difference in how the grass flies in drought conditions, and the reduction in marking in wet weather.

    I've started mob grazing a field, view it as a grass bank, so I can cut down fertilizer.

    It's a poor field so this helps yield and allows longer grazing season. They are only in these strips for a day, out no matter what. 35 440kg heifers in to a small patch for 24 hours. This is a 1.5 acre field, they'll. Rotate through the 5 divisions over 6 days. They'll be out for 7 weeks till it reaches height again.



    Prior to mob grazing, I wouldn't have put 10 on 4he same ground for a week

    Another field is grazed somewhat similar. I let them into it all for 5 days, big cover, they eat plenty, trample a lot.

    I'll keep 15 bullocks out on this field, eating strips, with bales, often late in to December.

    Before changing the grazing technique in that field, it would be mud early on

    Most of the rest of the farm I'd be careful About residuals, top when needed etc , bar paddocks near shed where stock graze a few hours on frosty days. When grass goes tight, they eat these bits tighter to buy time, avoid shaking if possible.


    Basically 10% of the farm is dedicated to shortening winter by a month and if thefresh nice grass is going too quickly as a bank of grass.

    Winter costs are savage in beef in relation to the price we get. Beyond a bare necessary level fertilizer and ration costs make no sense and that is getting worse. That might not be good farming as we knew it 20 years ago but it leaves more.

    A week off winter is worth more than 2 good weeks in Summer, maybe more.

    Farmers are paid cheap beef prices no matter the cost of their system, so the only solution is reduce costs, no matter if you don't like it, cause the price you get is not reflecting the insane and growing price of fertilizer,ration and every single thing.



    It is not a holy solution but it helps keep costs down.

    Just to add, I'm in a high rainfall area and most of the people I know at mob grazing are in higher rainfall areas.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭ Jb1989


    Danzy wrote: »
    In mob grazing the cattle go in at 4 leaf stage, big cover, eat the top leaf bits, trample a third in to ground and leave a third.
    The trampled bit grows the soil, fertilizes it naturally, they have eaten reasonable stuff and the higher level left over drives the growth on. You would notice the difference in how the grass flies in drought conditions, and the reduction in marking in wet weather.

    I've started mob grazing a field, view it as a grass bank, so I can cut down fertilizer.

    It's a poor field so this helps yield and allows longer grazing season. They are only in these strips for a day, out no matter what. 35 440kg heifers in to a small patch for 24 hours. This is a 1.5 acre field, they'll. Rotate through the 5 divisions over 6 days. They'll be out for 7 weeks till it reaches height again.



    Prior to mob grazing, I wouldn't have put 10 on 4he same ground for a week

    Another field is grazed somewhat similar. I let them into it all for 5 days, big cover, they eat plenty, trample a lot.

    I'll keep 15 bullocks out on this field, eating strips, with bales, often late in to December.

    Before changing the grazing technique in that field, it would be mud early on

    Most of the rest of the farm I'd be careful About residuals, top when needed etc , bar paddocks near shed where stock graze a few hours on frosty days. When grass goes tight, they eat these bits tighter to buy time, avoid shaking if possible.


    Basically 10% of the farm is dedicated to shortening winter by a month and if thefresh nice grass is going too quickly as a bank of grass.

    Winter costs are savage in beef in relation to the price we get. Beyond a bare necessary level fertilizer and ration costs make no sense and that is getting worse. That might not be good farming as we knew it 20 years ago but it leaves more.

    A week off winter is worth more than 2 good weeks in Summer, maybe more.

    Farmers are paid cheap beef prices no matter the cost of their system, so the only solution is reduce costs, no matter if you don't like it, cause the price you get is not reflecting the insane and growing price of fertilizer,ration and every single thing.



    It is not a holy solution but it helps keep costs down.

    Just to add, I'm in a high rainfall area and most of the people I know at mob grazing are in higher rainfall areas.

    Very detailed post. Lots to think about.


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