Although cows on many farms cows will not see grass again until spring, in some areas grazing has resumed.

The good forecast for the week ahead and the somewhat dry conditions in some areas over the last few weeks has allowed a return to grazing.

Grazing on many farms was halted earlier than usual due to challenging conditions.


Weather and grazing conditions had been a challenge for many farms throughout the year and this continued into the autumn.

Most farms would aim to house sometime between late October and mid-November depending on land type.

In many cases cows were housed much earlier than planned, and have remained housed since then.

This created an issue for some as the average farm cover (AFC) is too high and needs to be reduced.

A closing farm cover between 550kg and 750kg of dry matter (DM)/ha is the target depending on cow numbers and stocking rates.

But for many, although grazing conditions were a challenge, good grass growing conditions meant that AFC continued to build.


For many of those returning to grass, the aim will be to reduce the AFC, before they are forced to house cows full-time once again.

Ground conditions are likely still to be tender and the focus should be on the paddocks that have not been grazed in the final rotation yet.

These paddocks will most likely have a heavy cover and achieving graze-out will be a challenge.

Allocate small areas and allow cows to graze for short periods of time; on-off grazing is going to be the best method of grazing at this stage.

Although you want to get area grazed, it cannot be done if you are causing damage to land.

Ensure to make the best use of the grazing infrastructure on the farm and use spur roadways where and when needed.

Pick the paddocks carefully; there is likely going to be some paddocks that are just too wet and will have to wait until spring.