Calving dates must be carefully decided upon after taking climatic and district conditions into consideration. In many cases a simple advancing or retarding of commencement of calving can increase production considerably. With time of calving correctly set grazing management should be suitably adapted. Grazing management during the autumn determines the amount of winter and early spring grass available and hence production in the ensuing season. A decision should be made on which paddocks to close for A.S.P. and paddocks should be cleaned up and systematically closed from March onwards. If possible cows should be fed hay and silage on more confined areas in the latter stages of lactation. At least half acre of A.S.P. per cow should be regarded as a minimum requirement.
Research has shown that for top production the most important period for feeding cows is 6 weeks before to 6 weeks after calving. Ruakura has found that a minimum of 10 bales of hay plus 1 ton silage per cow is necessary for the herd and replacement stock. If no silage is available hay should be increased to 17–18 bales per cow. These figures can be increased according to length of district winters.
Where summer droughts or extremely dry conditions prevail summer cropping as part of a pasture renewal programme can be considered, say 4–5 acres of soft turnips.
There are many factors of management to be considered, a most important one being the handling and milking of the herd, which will be discussed in a later edition. At this stage past management should be reviewed and in the light of experience and advice the ensuing season's management can be improved.