Just as for spring calving herds, early turnout to grass has immediate and long-term benefits for winter milk and high stocking rate systems.

This is according to the latest advice from Joe Patton, dairy specialist at Teagasc and John Lawlor., dairy advisor based in Drogheda.

In Today’s Farm, the specialists outline the benefits of early turn-out to grass.

“Early turnout to grass is sometimes viewed as the preserve of low-input spring-calving dairy herds. However, research and on-farm experience has shown that the potential benefits are just as great for farms in winter milk or farms operating at higher stocking rates,” they said.

“For spring and winter herds alike, aim to grade one third of the farm by mid-math and the final third by early April,” they advise.

Among the other Teagasc advice includes that the minimum grass allowance per grazing bout is 4kg to 5kg dry matter (DM) per animal. To avoid poaching, graze for three to four hours per bout and back-fence grazed areas.

In addition, they say maintaining forage intake is critical for good performance and health.

“Target a minimum 11kg to 12kg DM of forage per head per dat using ugh-quality silage to balance available grass. Supplement with concentrate as required thereafter.”