So winter is upon us. The days are getting shorter, the temperature has dropped and we are getting the odd frost (and in some places snow!) and all these factors have slowed your grass growth considerably.
So now comes the time to supplement your animals food intake with the feed you conserved back in spring/summer when you had a lot.
This may have been hay, silage, baleage, or even a crop.
The majority of your animal’s diet should be grass with a top up of a supplement. You should aim for a min 50% grass diet.For myself personally, I aim for 66% so 1/3 of my animals diet is hay or baleage.
So how much to feed?
You need to allow for 10% wastage when feeding supplement, but the best way to know if you are feeding enough is the moo test. If they are happy then they won’t moo.
Break feeding can be used this time of year to ‘stretch out’ a paddock making it last longer. Give your animals a strip of grass daily along with some hay or silage, this will allow you to monitor their intake and minimise wastage.
Break feeding like this is best done with two fences so when you wind up one, the next fence is already up stopping any cheeky animals escaping. Then the other fence is put up for the next break this ‘safety fence’ will stop any animals getting into the rest of the paddock if they escape.
It is important that you have good current through your electric fences to ensure animals respect it I would recommend a minimum of 6kV.
You can feed out hay in advance when break feeding like this, e.g. feed out a week in advance in the weekend if you don’t get time during the week. Avoid feeding out baleage or silage in advance as it may dry out and lose its quality and may be wasted.
'Back fencing’ is also a good idea, this keeps the animals off pasture they have already grazed, allowing to recover quicker, just be sure to give them plenty of room in there break and remember not to fence off the trough - they still need their water
Happy Feeding Out!
DIY advice for lifestylers, written by Kiwi Cattle Yards owner, Euan Seymour.