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Rotational grazing for store cattle case study Rhidian Jones Sheep and beef specialist SAC Consulting.

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Presentation on theme: "Rotational grazing for store cattle case study Rhidian Jones Sheep and beef specialist SAC Consulting."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rotational grazing for store cattle case study Rhidian Jones Sheep and beef specialist SAC Consulting

2 22 From set stocking to paddocks Set stocking Rotational Paddock Set stocking

3 33 Grazing system, yield and utilisation SystemAnnual Yield (t DM/ha) Utilisation (%) Usable yield (t DM/ha) Percentage increase Set stocking 8.5504.3 Rotational10.2656.656% Paddock10.2808.292%

4 44 Assessing pasture cover 1500 kgDM/ha 4-5 cm 2000 kgDM/ha 6-8 cm 2500 kgDM/ha 8-12 cm 3000 kgDM/ha >12 cm

5 55 5 Rotational grazing of cattle for cattle Objective was to add value to store cattle at grass at South Mains, Sanquhar- 2009-2012 Stabiliser bullocks and spare heifers Principles of management –Dry Matter Intake of 2.5% of liveweight –Pasture cover and grass growth rate measured with rising plate meter –Group demand calculated –Cattle moved when residual height ca1500 kg DM/ha –Compromise between livestock intake and grass growth

6 66 Basic feed budget Size of paddock1 ha Pasture cover2700 kg DM/ha Desired residual1500 kg DM/ha Available DM1200 x 1 ha = 1200 kg DM Group size40 bullocks of 400 kg Group demand/day40 x 400 x 2.5% = 400 kg DM/d = 3 days grazing (1200/400) Also allow for grass growth with longer grazing periods but 3 days is optimum Variables - grass growth, paddock size, grass potential, cattle getting bigger, fertiliser etc 6

7 77 7 Typical residual

8 88 Infrastructure Permanent electrified wire on top of dykes and fences These will last 10-15 years + Temporary electric fencing that is hooked onto the permanent hot wires Good layout of fields, i.e. four central fields can be accessed from different sides to add flexibility More water troughs installed in 2010/11 (and 2012) allowing further subdivision of fields – pipes laid on surface and disconnected in winter Decided on 3 groups of ca 40-45 cattle – nearby handling facilities not able to cope with more than 50 cattle 8

9 99 9

10 10

11 11 A B C D

12 12 AB C D

13 13 Results 2009 –Bullocks averaged 1.08 kg/hd/day –Mixed groups averaged 0.94 kg/hd/day –Overall average 1.00 kg/hd/day 2010 –Bullocks averaged 1.10 kg/hd/day –Heifers averaged 1.00 kg/hd/day –Overall average1.07 kg/hd/day 2011 –Bullocks averaged0.97 kg/hd/day –Heifers (15) averaged0.86 kg/hd/day –Overall average0.95 kg/hd/day 3 year average1.01 kg/hd/day 20120.92 kg/hd/day 2013no data but best prices ever!! 13

14 14 Consistent results Compensatory growth effect? –Ca 0.6 kg/hd/day in winter seems optimum Cope with different seasons –Early & late spring –Drought and (very) wet conditions Flexible –Take silage/reseed if surplus grass –Apply fertiliser if deficit forecast Quiet cattle –Get used to moving- only takes 5-10 minutes to shift Provides selection data –Select breeding stock that perform at grass 14

15 15 Gain at grass against winter lwg 15

16 16 Flexibility to take surplus grass as silage

17 17 Quiet cattle 17

18 18 Why do it? Cheapest liveweight gain –Grazed grass £25 to £50 per tonne of DM –Need 10-15 kg grass DM/kg gain –Therefore costs 25p to 75p/kg gained at grass if well managed, quality is high and unrestricted Easy to set up and manage Maintains grass quality for longer Stock need checking anyway and are easy to move 200 kg at grass is achievable with a 6 ½ month grazing season and 1 kg/hd/day 18

19 19 Winter grassland management to get more early grass in spring Set stocking depletes grass reserves –Productive grasses regrow and get eaten! –Allows weed grasses to flourish –Late grass in spring- more concentrates required Move sheep around in blocks- 1 day to 1 week –Allows flexibility –Remove from wettest fields when conditions unsuitable –Grass does grow in winter (use a cage and you’ll see) –PRG given a chance to recover reserves –Earlier grass in spring- stop feeding concentrates to sheep sooner and can get cattle out earlier

20 20 Effect of continuous winter grazing on spring growth Supplementary feeding required Reduced feed requirements

21 Thank you for Listening

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