Preparing for grazing and striking the nutritional balance at grass turnout

Preparing for grazing and striking the nutritional balance at grass turnout

With the current settled spell of cool, dry weather, some parts of the country may see fit to get cows to grass. Getting the reintroduction of grass correct is vital to ensure cows are prepared for the breeding season.

With the current settled spell of cool, dry weather, some parts of the country may see fit to get cows to grass. Getting the reintroduction of grass correct is vital to ensure cows are prepared for the breeding season.

Minimising negative energy balance

Some body condition score (BCS) loss and negative energy balance (NEB) after calving is inevitable as maximum energy output through milk occurs before maximum dry matter intake (DMI) is reached.

  • At one week, post-calving intakes are 65% of max DMI.
  • Dry Matter Intake doesn’t peak until 9-13 weeks post-calving.
  • Every kg of DM during this period should be energy-dense to encourage intakes and minimise NEB.

Minimising this NEB will lead to higher milk solids, reduce BCS loss and enhance fertility performance.


Close the gap!

Post calving nutrition is the most significant factor in herd fertility!

It is important not to overestimate the DMI a cow has from grazed grass, especially in the early grazing period, as fertility and performance can be compromised

  • While breeding management, disease outbreak, lameness and mineral deficiencies can affect fertility, the foundation of herd fertility is laid through nutrition.
  • Understand the DMI requirement for your herd and ensure that any shortfall in energy intake is bridged either with ensiled forages, pitted moist feeds or concentrates where necessary.
  • Palatable energy-dense feeds are a must in early lactation!
  • The diet should be balanced for protein, energy and fibre.
  • Concentrates should contain only quality ingredients like wheat, barley, maize, soya, soya hulls and beet pulp.
  • Consider the nature of the fibre already present in the diet, the grass covers they are grazing, and the fibre sources available for balancing the diet.
  • Cows should gradually be built-up to full-time grazing as it takes approximately three weeks for the rumen to adapt to the dietary change.
  • The use of a good quality yeast is recommended to help reduce the risk of acidosis and increase fibre digestion.

Remember, for every 1% reduction in dry grass matter below 18%, grass intake is reduced by 0.33 kg DM. With this data, we must then identify the intake deficit and make up the difference indoors.

Talk to Specialist Nutrition today about proactive management strategies at turnout to grass to lay the foundation of herd fertility through nutrition.

Specialist Nutrition | Moist Feed and Forage Specialists

Call 051 833071 or WhatsApp Amy on +353 87 408 1002