A review of grazing management research has provided a series of decision rules for the management of seasonal calving pastoral dairy farm systems. These rules have been used at the DRC No. 2 Dairy to remove subjectivity from the management of farm systems research. Cows are dried off with sufficient time for second calvers and mixed age cows to achieve condition scores of 5 and 4.5 by 1 June. Target pasture average herbage mass at calving is 2200 kg DM/ha. Optimum grazing management during autumn/winter, spring and summer has been shown to increase milksolids production by 29, 70 and 41 kg MS/ha, respectively. Grazing management during late spring must meet the dual objectives of generously feeding the herd, while maintaining pasture quality. Conserved pasture supplements should be fed in late autumn/early winter to meet cow condition, grazing management, and herbage mass objectives. Substantial increases in animal productivity can be achieved by sound farm management during periods of feed deficit.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 58, , 132-135, 1998
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