Summer has come to an end, we have now entered September and autumn has begun. Now is a good time for autumn-calving farmers to get some jobs ticked off the to do list. Autumn-calving herds are entering an important time of the year on their farms, with the calving season due to begin in the near future.

To do list

Once the calving season begins it can be difficult to find time to complete these jobs, so while farms are somewhat quiet these jobs should be completed.

Selecting sires

The calving season has not yet started on most farms, but planning for the upcoming breeding season should begin now. Before the calving season begin and farms become busy again, now is a good time to sit down and start selecting sires for the upcoming breeding season.

You should ask yourself the following questions when selecting sires: What are my breeding goals; how many replacement heifers do I need?; and will sexed semen play a role in my breeding policy?.

A breeding decision made now will have an impact on the farm for years to come, so the selection of sires should not be rushed.

Fodder budget

To ensure that cows continue to produce consistently during the winter period, you need to ensure that you have enough fodder available.

Running short of fodder or having to switch diets during the winter period will only upset cows, and may impact on production.

You should complete a fodder budget to determine if you currently have enough winter feed and if not, you should make plans to purchase in feed. Completing a fodder budget now, may prevent a major headache further down the road.

Building grass covers

Like spring-calving herds, you should be building grass covers to maximise days at grass this autumn. September is an important month to build grass covers to allow a longer grazing rotation in October and November. Grazed grass can and should play an important part of an autumn-calving herd's plans before housing.