Marty Orange’s business manager wasn’t keen on his feed mix, so he plans to grow more grass.

Well bloody hell, what a summer that has been! We cut 200 bales of balage in the spring (180 more than last season) and now most of that is gone. On a positive note, I have only got one autumn cow left to calve after a successful synchronised mating last year managing to condense my calving spread and get more days in milk, if only I had the feed on hand to match it. That was the plan anyway – calve the cows closer together, feed them heaps of grass and to peak earlier.

Over the summer I was milking fewer cows than last year, I had cows standing off in the same paddocks getting balage each day and water going on as much as the bore could keep up. We just weren’t keeping up, but finally the rain has come and with growth rates lifting and the cows slowly being offered more and more grass, much to my business manager’s relief – he wasn’t a fan of the cost of my palm kernel, dried distillers grain and barley mix we have been feeding the cows through our Zeddy feeder.

My goal this year is to grow more grass and to do that I need to manage it a lot better than what I have been. Admittedly this should be an easy task on such a small place but the three-way voluntary grazing system takes a lot to keep on top of. Last season the grass grown onfarm was 12-13 tonnes drymatter with 80% utilisation which for our soil type is not bad but I want to do better and so I have set a goal of lifting the grass grown to 14 tonnes and utilisation up to 90%.

I know I want to grow more grass, but how am I going to do that?

I have talked to a lot of friends, consultants, seed and fertiliser reps all with their own take on the idea of growing more grass.

The seed rep talked about choosing between diploids and tetraploids and depending on who you speak to apparently the fertiliser rep would like it if we went for tetraploid because from what I’ve heard if you feed the crap out of them they will grow like crazy and are very palatable.

There are so many things to think about when it comes to growing grass but the one thing that I know I can improve on is recording data and monitoring my pastures better.

I already alluded to the fact that my pasture walks have been somewhat less frequent than perhaps they need to be, the grass grown figure actually came from my Interlact farm consultant’s records. I do use MINDA land and feed but with anything in life; you only get out what you put in.

The farm walk can be a bit of a chore but it is very important and if I am monitoring my grass better I should be able to lift my utilisation. The farm walk takes time that I just don’t have but one way to fill this gap has been utilising the LIC Space reports. Now depending on who you talk to these are good or bad. My farm consultant’s covers have always been 10-20 off the Space report but he, along with my farm adviser, is very sceptical.

Have you changed something in your system that had made an impact? If so, share with the Dairy Exporter community on their Facebook page.

As a millennial (just) I am going to trust the Space Reports, monitor my grass better and hopefully in my next column report back on progress.