Management is critical to effectively manage early-season forage growth.
Here are a few rules of thumb to increase productivity of your management intensive grazing systems:
- Turn out when forages are 6-8 inches in height if weather conditions are favorable.
- Watch soil moisture to prevent excessive plant damage in wet conditions.
- Use the ‘harvest half and leave half’ rule.
- Time on the paddock should be about 2/3 of the normal grazing time.
- Your first rotation across all paddocks should be done in 18-22 days.
- Be ready to pull animals back to dry lot if weather conditions deteriorate.
- Observe animals for health issues especially when frost occurs on legume pastures.
- ALWAYS FOCUS ON MANAGEMENT!
Providing free-choice dry mineral and access to fresh water will also increase animal performance.
Mineral may need to be diluted with salt the first 2-4 weeks on pasture to prevent overconsumption due to high water content in the new feed source.
Source: Kevin Gould, Michigan State University Extension