Begin planning for silage you may cut in late September or October.
Consider fertiliser applications with nitrogen included as part of your annual program where conditions are suitable.
It might still be cold enough to get profitable responses to gibberellic acid. If so, and you need the feed, consider using it.
If wet conditions are prevailing, take the opportunity to repair pugging damage with a roller.
Don’t forget to manage your milking support area (out blocks) as they can produce valuable feed to be made into silage for feeding later or to feed young stock well.
Spring-calving cows are susceptible to metabolic disorder (milk fever) around calving and early lactation. This is best avoided with good transition cow management feeding; details are available on the Dairy Australia website.
Early lactation acidosis is an issue in most herds in Gippsland, especially in heifers, and should be managed with additives in concentrates fed to cows and additional fibre in the diet if fibre levels are low. Check cows are chewing their cud, and inspect cow manure for signs of cows with low fibre diets.
Allow the cows time to walk at their own pace to the dairy. This will reduce the possibility of lameness. Lame cows should not go with the herd, as walking will make them worse. A close paddock and good feeding will give them the best chance of recovery.
Plan your spring joining after you have reviewed the results of your autumn joining. Planning the calving date and pattern is done with joining dates and synchronisation, and cow type for farm and system is done with semen choice.
Jersey calves should be at least 75 kg liveweight and Friesian calves 100 kg at weaning. Calves should be eating at least 1 kg of concentrates, straw, and drinking fresh water prior to weaning off milk. The energy in the concentrate and fibre in the straw, plus water, helps in the early development of calves’ rumens, thus allowing for early weaning. For more information on calf rearing see http://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/Animal-management/Animal-welfare/Calf-welfare/Rearing-healthy-calves-manual.aspx
Prepare the yearling heifers ready for joining at 15 months. If possible weigh them to check suitability for joining and growth rates. If they are not ideal joining weight, review your young stock rearing process.
Prepare bulls for joining. Get them tested before you get them working, and ensure you have enough bull power (enough bulls for your expected cows on heat after AI). For more information on joining cows visit http://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/Animal-management/Fertility/
Keep a close watch on soil moisture and irrigate if required (especially spray systems) as early irrigation can improve pasture production for the next three months.
Check drains and spinier cuts; drainage is important to get pastures growing early in spring.
Ensure all channels are clean to allow free movement of water.
If you get a few dry days, it’s a good opportunity to empty the irrigation water re-use dam onto a dry well-draining paddock. This will allow storage capacity in the re-use system to capture water and nutrient run-off when spring rainfall events occur.