14 Sep 2009

Pasture shortage turns to overabundance

6:33 am on 14 September 2009

A Waikato based dairy farm consultancy says the feed fortunes for North Island dairy farmers have taken a dramatic turn.

FarmWise manager Sue Hagenson says many farmers in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and from Taranaki south, who only weeks ago had a shortage of grass, are now faced with an overabundance.

She says ground temperatures have increased quite quickly, which means pasture that has been dormant for the last four or five months is now growing rapidly.

Ms Hagenson says pasture growth rates have gone from approximately 25-30kg of dry matter per hectare per day to over 50kg.

But she says dairy farmers who have not been monitoring the grass growth rate may leave surplus feed behind, meaning a fall in quality of feed in those paddocks which will ultimately mean a drop in cow performance.

She says some farmers are going to have to take urgent action to control the feed situation.