16 Aug 2013

Dairy farmers advised to manage surplus grass now

7:13 am on 16 August 2013

Dairy farmers who have more grass than they know what to do with have been advised to make decisions about managing it now, to avoid pasture problems down the track.

National industry body DairyNZ says the unusually mild winter has produced an early flush of grass in some North Island regions such as Waikato, Taranaki and Manawatu, which were gripped by drought just a few months ago.

Farmers in Canterbury are also reporting a surfeit of grass.

DairyNZ's regional teams manager Craig McBeth says if the grass is not managed in the right way now, pasture growth and quality could be reduced later in the year when it's most needed.

He says farmers with high pasture cover have a number of options such as reducing supplement, or maybe dropping some of the paddocks out of rotation.

"You're better off to keep 90% of your farm in a good, high quality growing state with good grazing residuals than lose quality across the whole farm."

Mr McBeth says farmers could also look at shutting up some paddocks earlier than usual for silage.