Grass growth rates across the UK have declined due to dry soil conditions resulting in an average of 54.5kg DM/ha/day which is not a surprise after the hot and dry weather seen over the last week. However, average growth rates remain above the 6-year average of 49kg DM/ha/day yet are below the 2020 average of 61kg DM/ha/day.
All regions have seen a decrease in growth rates, with the North East and East Midlands seeing the greatest falls at -24 and -15kg DM/ha/day.
Milk Yield from Grazing (MYFG)
The average MYFG has risen to M+16 litres/day; which is roughly M+2.5 litres/day greater than 2020 and the 6 year average for the same period. There has been an increase in potential grass DMI from 12.1 kg/day to 13.9 kg/day.
The highest potential MYFG figure at M+18 litres/day was seen in the East shows the highest, while the North West again shows the lowest potential MYFG figure of M+12.7 litres/day. However, the majority of regions had a relatively small sample size and we would recommend individual farm analysis to enable accurate rationing practice.
Heat Stress Management
Over the past week, a high to almost severe risk of heat stress was indicated as the average temperature humidity index was 77! Although not predicted to be as hot, warm weather is still expected over the next couple of weeks and therefore it is important to act now, mitigating any impact of heat stress on animal health, welfare and performance. Trouw are hosting a “How to deal with heat stress” webinar on the 28th July- please follow the link for more information: How to deal with heat stress in dairy cows | HealthyLife programme for sustainable dairy farming (trouwnutrition.com).
In the meantime:
• Ensure animals have access to ad-lib, clean, fresh drinking water
– During hot weather cattle substantially increase their water intake to replace water lost through respiration and perspiration. Water consumption is also the quickest method for cattle to reduce their core temperatures.
• Ensure animals have access to shade
– The provision of shade can help cattle manage heat stress, through reducing solar heat load on the animals.
• Adjust diets accordingly to dry matter intake decreases
– Through increasing energy density of diets and ensuring there is enough effective fibre to maximise rumination.