Improved efficiency in growing and converting pasture into product is required to maintain New Zealand’s competitive advantage in dairying. This study focused on two areas of grazing management, the first an assessment of the indicators leaf stage, pre-grazing yield and grazing residual. In summary, 49% of measured paddocks were grazed too soon based on leaf stage, 62% were grazed outside the recommended pre-grazing yield, and 48% of measured paddocks were not grazed to a desirable height. The second part of the study provided an insight into farmer decision making at an operational level of grazing management with three key components identified. These were: 1) The recruitment of paddocks into a grazing plan; 2) The shuffling of the paddock grazing sequence within the grazing plan; and 3) The management of individual grazing events before, during and after the event. An improved understanding by rural professionals of grazing management decision making would result in extension strategies which generate increased farmer engagement, adoption of grazing management technologies and improved on-farm productivity.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association, 2014, (76), pp. 75 - 79