Management strategies alleviate winter feed shortfall

Like many farmers in Northland, James and Katie Donaldson went into autumn with average pasture covers well below target, despite destocking in January due to the dry conditions.
Wednesday, 5 June 2019

In April, the Whangarei couple who finish 1,200 R2 bulls on a cell system every year and winter 2,500 head on 900ha effective, identified that they were going into winter 225,000kgDM short and put plans in place to try and alleviate the shortfall and get through winter.

In early May they flew on 40kg of nitrogen (N)/ha in a mix of DAP plus elemental Sulphur and will apply more N in July and mid-August. The couple has extended their grazing round to 60 days and the bulls will stay on this round until August.

They have sacrificed some liveweight gain in an attempt to build pasture cover, as this was deemed more important when feed supply is tight.

Average cover has now increased to 2000kg DM/ha and they are planning to keep it that way through until July.

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