Bad weather making life difficult to get cows out to grass

Ground conditions remain soft underfoot in many parts of the country, which means that getting cows out grazing this spring may be challenging.

The bad weather and ground conditions shouldn’t stand in your way of getting the cows out, especially when everyday grazing in the spring equates to €2.70/cow/day.

In difficult grazing conditions such as these – particularly on drier land – some simple grazing techniques can be implemented to try and continue to include a portion of grass in the cow’s diet as much as possible.

One popular option is on-off grazing. This involves allowing the herd, or a proportion of the herd, out to graze for a few hours in the morning and/or a few hours in the evening. Typically cows are allowed out for approximately three hours to graze and then housed for the rest of the time.

Letting cows out, with an enthusiastic appetite, is also critically important to the success of on-off grazing.

Another option is to let half the herd out by day and the other half by night; this means less animals are in the paddock at one time – which should help to lessen damage in paddocks.

Graze drier paddocks or paddocks with lower covers first before wet/heavier or stronger paddocks could also be an option.

Furthermore, allocating the grazing area can prove difficult this time of year but allocating more than is needed will result in cows walking across grass and ‘dirtying’ it, leaving it unpalatable to eat.

Finally, difficult ground conditions are where good grazing infrastructure really comes into play. Having multiple access points to paddocks and a good network of roadways can make life a lot easier in poor weather conditions.