Cattle turn out

Utilising grass effectively is essential for the profitability of cattle enterprises.

Benefits of early turn out of cattle

  • Reduced feed and wintering costs
  • Stimulating grass growth improves grass yields
  • Increased total live weight gain from grass

Preparing for turn out

Strategic applications of fertiliser during late February to early March will encourage grass growth, particularly perennial ryegrass.

Turn out cattle in stages

You don’t need to turn all your cattle at once. As your grass grows, more cattle can be released onto grass. Monitoring available grass from late winter will allow you to determine how many cattle can be turned out.

Gradual turnout

Moving from winter rations to a grass based diet can play havoc with the rumen if not managed correctly.  It takes three weeks for the rumen’s microbiome to adapt. Grazing on and off will make the transition easier.

Match stock to soil conditions

Consider the weight, size and stocking density of your cattle in relation to the condition of your soil to prevent poaching.

Prioritise yearlings

Yearlings are small, can spread out over a wide area and convert feed very efficiently.

Order of priority

Growing cattle
Replacement heifers
Cows and calves
Dry cows

Follow sward grazing height guidelines

Monitor sward height and graze fields to a post grazing sward height of 5-6cm. More on measuring grass >

Buffer feeding

Use buffer feeding to ensure a gradual transition.

Staggers prevention

Changes in diet is a risk factor for staggers as is stress caused by unpredictable weather. To prevent staggers, you should ensure cattle have a daily supply of magnesium. Read about grass staggers >