The growing season has begun, and the rest period has shortened. You have planned and decided how much rest your grass species need to get back to the top of the power growing curve before the next graze and allocated how long the mob will spend in each paddock to achieve the rest period required. But when you look into the paddock after a graze, what should you see?
A common question I have been asked recently is how do I know I have the right number of livestock for the current growing season? The answer can lie behind you.
As you move your mob into the fresh paddock, take the time to investigate the paddock they just grazed. What species are they eating? What part of the plant are they grazing? Can I see where they have been?
Our focus should be to stimulate the grass and keep it in phase 2 (leaf development) to optimize production and root depth. We are also setting ourselves up to have a full profile of pasture when we come into our non-growing period. We are aiming for a light graze during this fast rate of growth, the mob should be consuming about 10-20 per cent of available feed. This way we grow the grass profile upward.
If you look back and the stock are having no impact on the paddock, and the grass ahead of you is moving from phase 2 into phase 3 (lignification), you may need to increase the number of stock in the mob. Remember to plan 12 months ahead when matching stocking rate to carrying capacity. This will build confidence in how many livestock units/dry sheep equivalent (LSU/DSE) you can bring on at any one time.
On the other hand, if you look back and see a medium to heavy graze and you are eating into your non-growing season standing haystack, you may need to reduce the number of LSU/DSE in the mob.
Remember plans are great, but we need to be adaptable as the season evolves and make changes when needed.