It seems that every year we are having big dry spells through summer, so my thoughts more and more often go to what can we do to mitigate it. Do we grow more summer crops, more maize, or do we look at alternative pasture species?
Generally, with summer crops if you have a good summer you get great yields and a dry summer you get poor yields, so for me that rules that one out.
More maize is one of the options we are using, this season we doubled the area grown and will add slightly more area next season.
Now, with autumn regrassing fast approaching, we have decided to take more of a look at pasture species. This autumn we are taking a jump outside the box and are going to plant 10ha of Tower tall fescue and clover mix. This may not be the silver bullet, but it may be one of the tools we use to mitigate the dry.
So currently the cows are doing 1.34kgMS/cow and are being fed 3kgDM maize and 0.5kgDM baleage. Our current pasture cover is 1900kgDM/ha and the round length has been pushed to 40 days. Our production is currently sitting 7% behind last season, with 20 less cows and a lot less supplement being fed, we are hoping to gain some of this production back through April and May.