Zero Grazing

Discussion in 'Grassland Management' started by muckymanor, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. muckymanor

    muckymanor Well-Known Member

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    Some of ye zero graze and some of ye do it for hire.

    I'm looking at the pros and cons of getting a contractor to zero graze 15 to 20 acres for us in galway up to mid march. There is cover of 1200 at the moment on some fields. All fields are currently dry enough to travel on, and even if we do get a lot of rain over the next 2 months, I have some fields that can be travelled.

    While we are going to have enough silage, but my plan was to have about 20% of last years silage left over. But we have kept a lot of extra stock this year that we would normally have sold so the extra silage will be used up if we keep going the way that we are going.

    I could let some of the lighter stock off to graze it - but this brings extra work with herding etc which doesn't work well for me with dark evenings.

    Can anyone give me an idea as to how much grass it would take to feed our stock on a daily basis? 20 store bullocks that average weight of 550kg and 24 weanlings at an average weight of 300kg.

    How much should a man expect to pay for zero grazing? How long will grass keep that has been zero grazed - would we need to be cutting every second day?

    What's the consensus on zero grazing meadows now that we intend taking a cut of silage off in early june?
     
  2. headcase

    headcase Very Senior Member

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    cut grass will heat quick,i suppose in a ideal world you would cut every day as it would be quite hot by the second

    how will he cut and cart it??

    front mower in front of a wagon?,take the knives out

    zero graze machine?
     
  3. Ozzy Scott

    Ozzy Scott Well-Known Member

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    I used get it done on contract, never saw the claimed response to it. I think if you were putting it up against a average/good forages in the yard it might stack up. If you have very good forage in the yard, its just replacing it with a variable product. If you have excellent forage in the yard, you would see a drop in production. All just my view of one Autumn and Spring. there are easier ways for most farms to waste money, works for some places.

    its no substitute for having the animals eating the grass themselves if this is remotely possible its the route I would take.
     
  4. jf 850

    jf 850 Well-Known Member

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    The last paragraph says it all , @muckymanor . Surely it's possible to get some ould fella , young fella or neighbour to move a wire for you , if you cant stretch to it yourself ?
     
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  5. muckymanor

    muckymanor Well-Known Member

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    There's a lad about 2 miles away with a zero grazer that has advertised.
     
  6. Blackwater boy

    Blackwater boy Moderator

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    Leave the animals out in small numbers and in small batches, I doubt that zero grazing would be economical for any type of store stock.
     
  7. muckymanor

    muckymanor Well-Known Member

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    Is it more expensive than buying silage?
     
  8. Blackwater boy

    Blackwater boy Moderator

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    How much is silage and what quality, how much will it cost you per load, how many tonnes in a load? Lots of variables there to be answered first. As I said if the stock can go out at all then they are best outside, cheapest option by a mile.
     
  9. muckymanor

    muckymanor Well-Known Member

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    It costs me approximately €25 per bale to make between fertilizer, contractor, wrap, stacking, feeding and wrap and net disposal.
    I suppose, what I'm asking in my first post is how much should I expect to pay for zero grazing per load, how many tons per load?
    For example, if a zero grazer contractor is €60 per hour and can bring in the equivalent feed of 6 bales of silage in that hour from the fields around the shed, then it could reduce my costs.
    I'm not talking about doing this on a permanent basis, nor am I talking about buying a machine. I'm just trying to get the most out of unexpected grass growth.

    I don't like the idea of letting cattle out now and being faced with having to rehouse them in a week or 2 if weather turns bad. I also find that if I let cattle out into that type of grass at this time of year, then a lot of it is wasted because they walk it into the ground and if I strip graze it, then they do lots of poaching along the fence line.
     
  10. Ozzy Scott

    Ozzy Scott Well-Known Member

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    from memory I was paying €60 a load for 4.5t load. First load would be 60, second load 30 type of job, and getting to the farm has to be paid for
     
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  11. Ozzy Scott

    Ozzy Scott Well-Known Member

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    the words "economical" and "zero grazing" should not be allowed appear in the one sentence
     
  12. Arthur

    Arthur Well-Known Member

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    Zero grazing is for cows, they will pay you back in the bulk tank, for other stock it's added cost.
     
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  13. Blackwater boy

    Blackwater boy Moderator

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    €55 plus vat per load here, approx 5.5T in a load, I’ll get the lad doing it here to weigh a load Saturday. I sent a sample of the grass to FBA today to test it to see what exactly I am grazing. If I did not have the westerwolds in ground that is not suitable to graze then I would not be zero grazing but as I have it and silage is very tight with me then it is a good option. Leaving stock out would be my first choice any day of the year but no way could I justify zero grazing if I was giving the grass to dry cows or weanlings, it’s for milking cows only.
     
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  14. 49801

    49801 Well-Known Member

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    Your keen to try is so do it once or twice and see what you think it and make up your own mind.
     
  15. johndeere6920s

    johndeere6920s Well-Known Member

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    I was going to zero graze with the front mowee and Baler we done it during the summer but grass was bone dry.
    Does it work well with wet grass
     
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  16. paysan en france

    paysan en france Active Member

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    I may have to zero graze be for the end of the month,hay may run out.
    I got a plain mower and baler to use and need about 2 bales a day, so do I mow each morning and bale or can I mow every 2days and bale every day. Field to far to graze and about an hour between baling and feeding out.
     
  17. headcase

    headcase Very Senior Member

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    if the weather was good i could be tempted to mow today for tomorrow iykwim
    24 hours wilt on it
     
  18. Grassnslurry

    Grassnslurry Well-Known Member

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    What way were you thinking of charging to zero graze this way?
     
  19. muckymanor

    muckymanor Well-Known Member

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    I don't see any issue with mowing 2 days worth. It won't heat in the swarts. We usually have silage down for 48 hours and it tests good. It would be important to open the bales and spread them out well as fast as possible to prevent them from heating. We have often fed a misshaped bale here that might not wrap well. When you open it, it will be hot in the centre an hour after baling it. If there wasn't enough cattle to wat it quickly, it will be well gone off after 24 hours
     
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  20. Claas Grass

    Claas Grass Well-Known Member

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    A neighbor does this I call it “zerobaling” :smile: he normally mows for two days when he is busy or if he has the time everyday to keep it fresh, you will soon learn how long it will keep, different grasses vary a lot in my experience.
     
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  21. Treemover

    Treemover Well-Known Member

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    We tried various zero grazing using mowers and silage wagons, and now a dedicated zero grazer.

    If the grass is wet; it will heat quicker.
    If you have the time, I’d mow each day; but it might not suit for two bales per day.
     
  22. Little hill farm

    Little hill farm New Member

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    Were zero grazing covers of 2500 at the moment using a contractor but find results variable compared to silage and a protein balancer. I see good results on a dry day but find cows very unhappy when grass is damp or wet low dry matter. I find silage very stable as I know the test results and know what there getting. Any opinions???
     
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  23. degetme

    degetme Active Member

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    Anyone ever hear of zero grazers being blamed for dairy cows getting neospora? Ie the machine picking up grass and dog or fox feces and contaminating the grass
     
  24. mixedbag

    mixedbag Well-Known Member

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    Yes it can be a problem. Bad case in north cork a couple years ago
     
  25. degetme

    degetme Active Member

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    Had a bad case of it myself last December. First time ever zero grazing last November and and abortion storm 3 weeks later
     

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