It is still early January, but on some farms the spring-calving season is just around the corner and with that, is the start of the grazing season.
Key to the spring-calving production model is grazed grass, with getting access to that grass one of the challenges faced by farmers.
2022 is set to be a challenging year for farmers as input costs rise, i.e. fertiliser and concentrates.
So maximising the amount of grass utilised on farms is going to be more important than ever before.
Being able to get cows to grass in early spring requires several factors to line up, most notably the weather and ground conditions.
Having roadways and entrances/exits to paddocks located in areas that make them easier to graze also helps.
As you prepare for the calving season and the grazing season that lies ahead, now is a good opportunity to make some improvements to your grazing infrastructure.
Increasing your farm’s roadway network requires some more long-term planning, but the adding of entrances and exits to paddocks does not.
This should offer you more flexibility when grazing to select areas of paddocks to be grazed.
Another job that you could begin planning for is upgrading or adding more troughs to the water system.
Strip grazing can be made more difficult when you have to give cows access to water, so adding more troughs makes it easier to graze paddocks.
Since the end of the 2021 grazing season, the vast majority of the country has experienced storm warnings.
This may have caused damaged to some of the fencing on the farm, which should be repaired ahead of turning cows out.
Drinkers should also be checked to ensure they are working and not leaking; the recent drop in temperatures may have frozen some pipes, causing them to crack.
Any other repairs or improvements should be completed before the grazing season begins.
Once you do get grazing in the spring the use of temporary fencing is the best way to protect grass and ground conditions.
As we head into the spring you should check all your reels and pig tail posts to ensure they are firstly, all working and secondly, that you have enough of them.
You should also ensure that you have enough reels and posts so that you can set up breaks in a number of paddocks.
It will not be long before calving starts on farms, so now is the time to get your farm set up for grazing this spring and into the summer.