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Pasture covers on Southland and South Otago farms improved during May, although there had been lower rainfall and higher temperatures compared to normal, DairyNZ’s Southland and South Otago regional leader Ollie Knowles said.
"Last week, the average covers are sitting at about 2100kgDM/ha, which is slightly back from normal and that increased slightly from about 1900kgDM/ha a week earlier."
However, a few Southland farmers in isolated areas were reporting their winter crops were back by about 50% on last year because of February’s floods in addition to the cooler and wetter season. Others reported lower-than-normal yields of between 10% and 30%.
Dairy farmers should measure yields and assess the situation soon, Mr Knowles said.
"If animals have been sent away for grazing then ensure the grazier has measured crops and where they are back the grazier has come up with a plan.
"Carry out a feed budget on the milking platform through to spring to assess situation.
"Prepare milking platform for worst case scenario of animals having to come home early — might require some supplementary feed bought in to top up feed requirements."