News & Advice

Has your crop planting been delayed?

Nov 4, 2021 | Dairy, Farm systems

Andy Collier, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets

If it has, have you thought about how it will effect your summer feeding plan?

On many Waikato properties the planting of crops has been later than planned due to a combination of poorer weather and contractor delays.

The affect of these delays will depend on the type of crop, variety of crop, and future weather conditions, especially in November and December when the summer crops are establishing. Generally the grazing and harvesting of crops will be later and the yields may be affected. 

For example, a chicory crop planted on 10th October would normally be grazed for the first time in the first week of December, about 50 days later. However, if planting is delayed 20 days until 1st November then the first grazing date is often delayed until mid- to late-January, 70-80 days post planting.

Yield of later-planted turnip crops will be highly influenced by rainfall in November and December in particular and if very dry can be so severely  affected the paddocks need replanting in December. Options are limited for establishing crops in December. Sorghum or Millet are options although they do have their limitations, for example you cannot plant these if you used a “Clean Crop” seed. With crops being planted late, applying effluent or other water source and keeping on top of weeds is vital.

If maize is planted late then the result is usually a later harvest date. Therefore, the ideal is to plant an earlier-maturing variety (shorter planting to maturity) if you need to have it available by a specific date; however the yield may be less than you normally budget.

Doing a summer feed budget, to identify the size and potential timing of the deficit in feed created by this later planting is crucial to your summer milk curve. There are many strategies available, which all work better if planned well in advance including:

  • securing extra maize silage,
  • sourcing other supplement for summer,
  • tweaking the timing of nitrogen application to harvest some late surplus on farm,
  • using a reduced milking frequency in some or all cows, or
  • selling culls earlier than usual.

If you need help nutting out how to utilise the crops you have planted this season then please get in touch with your local Anexa clinic.

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