The average daily growth rate for GB this week has dropped slightly to 34Kg DM/Ha as the second heat wave of the year began to kick in. The West Midlands saw the biggest fall in grass growth rates dropping from 38Kg DM/Ha down to 19Kg DM/Ha, swiftly followed by Yorkshire with an 11Kg DM/Ha drop compared to last week, the Southeast experienced the lowest growth rates with just 14Kg DM/Ha. With warmer temperatures expected to continue and little to no rain forecast, particularly in southern regions, the outlook for grass growth and milk yield from grazing is bleak. We must encourage farmers to continue to monitor swards and rotations and manage expectations of what is actually available from grass. It is essential that supplementary feed is managed carefully to compensate for low grass growth rates and that potential milk yield from grass is not over estimated.
Milk Yield from Grazing (MYFG)
Average MYFG has risen slightly this week thanks mostly due to a small increase in potential DMI. However, with limited grass available and many farmers buffer feeding considerable portions of the ration it is becoming harder to draw conclusions from average MYFG data. For any farmers still looking to maximise MYFG we strongly recommend individual sampling and careful balancing of rations using the data available. As previously stated, it is important to never overestimate what is available outside, then MYFG reports will provide farms with reliable, actionable data to make the most of the final months of grazing.
- From previous research we know that only 50% of a milk yield drop (overheat stressed periods) is down to a reduction in dry matter intakes. The other 50% stems from poor gut integrity and reduced nutrient utilisation.
- Therefore, overheat stressed periods it is vitally important to address both these issues.
- Maximising dry matter intakes by ensuring readily available clean water, high quality buffer feed/balanced concentrates, check feed barrier heights are appropriate and maximising feed space per cow will all help to maintain DMI.
- From a gut health and integrity perspective ensure appropriate targeted additives are incorporated into the ration, that address the root cause of the issue and work to maintain gut health over this stressful period.