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Despite Rain, Feed Supplies Still Precarious

18 January 2012

NEW ZEALAND - DairyNZ advises farmers that careful management decisions still need to be made over the next month, despite the good amounts of rain in Otago and Southland.

DairyNZ Otago/Southland regional leader Miranda Hunter says farmers need to make the most of the recent rain.

“While it is good to receive the rain, for most farmers it is going to take a few weeks to manage their way out of the current feed situation, assuming we get good levels of follow up rain.

“Decisions over the next few weeks will focus on rebuilding pasture cover and protecting cow condition. There is a lot of the season left to make the most of.”

DairyNZ recommends a target rotation length of 25 – 30 days, using supplement to do this as a longer rotation grows more pasture.

“Calculate how much supplement you will need to cover the next three weeks. This will allow covers to build in front of you and may create the opportunities to gain surplus at higher growth rates,” says Ms Hunter.

“Now over 25mm of rain has fallen and follow up rain is forecast (but not certain), consider applying 30 to 40 units of N to help build pasture cover.

“Animal’s body condition needs to be monitored over the next two weeks and any cows with a BCS under 3.5 need to be considered for once-a-day milking.

“Young stock also need to be checked regularly to ensure they are well fed, drenched, managed for facial eczema and receive necessary minerals.”

When moving animals to grazing or culling it is important that they are fit for transport.

DairyNZ consulting officers held seven dry conditions events in Otago and Southland last week, and more than 390 people attended.

“Farmer feedback on these events has been very positive,” says Ms Hunter.

“We plan to continue to support farmers with weekly e-newsletters packed with information on how to recover from the dry and minimise the impact on next season and to make recovery management discussion part of our regular groups.”

To find out when the next DairyNZ discussion group is held in your area visit the event section of the DairyNZ website. To register for the DairyNZ weekly dry conditions e-newsletter, visit www.dairynz.co.nz/drysummer.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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