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Benefits of Topping Your Paddocks

As most farmers know, cows can be quite picky. If there’s something they don’t like about a patch of grass, then they won’t eat it – it’s as simple as that. That is one of the many reasons why farmers own topper mowers. Instead of letting the grass go to seed, they can top it and make way for new, even tastier food for their stock.

If you are not quite sure whether you need to buy topper mowers for the purpose of topping, or you want to find out more about the benefits of this practice, then read on. You are bound to find some helpful information below.

Improve Your Grazing Pasture

What you will quickly discover is that topping is the way in which to improve your grazing paddocks quickly. No paddock – no matter how tasty you think the grass is – will ever be entirely grazed. Often, a poorly-placed cow pat, some seeded grass, or unattractive tufts end up left behind. What’s more, it’s also easy to misjudge how much your cows eat, and there is grass left behind after rotation.

If you get your topper mower out, you can cut that grass back and make way for new grass to come through. Here’s hoping your cows don’t turn up their noses at the new stuff.

Speed Up the Regrowth Time

Time is money, and if you have limited time to make that money, then you need things to happen quickly. Using topper mowers can speed up regrowth of your grazing paddocks. The quicker the grass grows, the faster you can have your cows and sheep back in the paddock and eat to their heart’s content. Quicker grass growth also means you need fewer paddocks in your rotation to satisfy your stock.

Your Stock Don’t Graze Grass Too Tightly

If you want to stop your cattle from grazing your grass too tightly, then use a topper mower. Top the grass, and you prevent this from happening. Several studies also show you reach diminishing returns if you let your stock graze past five centimetres. However, there are several ways to measure the best grazing approach for you and your farm.

A Form of Weed Control

One of the most troublesome weeds on the average New Zealand dairy farm is the Californian Thistle. Unlike buttercup and dock which doesn’t impact too dramatically on pastoral growth, Californian Thistle can spread, colonise, and take over your established grass growth. By the time you notice it’s there, it has become a thick canopy of which your stock will not touch.

If you use a topper mower, you are using a form of weed control. You can mulch and top the thistles, give the grass a chance to “escape”, then let the cows eat the thistles and grass which is now a bit more appetising in its mulched form. You would not use topping as your primary source of weed control, but it’s a helpful side effect nonetheless.

Increase Milk Production

It might seem strange to think that by buying a topper mower or mulcher, you’re able to improve the milk production of your cows. However, several studies suggest this might be the case – alongside improved live weight gains too. It’s not going to be the same for every farm, but it’s worth considering the next time you consider buying a new mulcher or mower.

When you mulch and top a paddock, you are getting rid of clumps of unwanted grass that your cows did not graze to a suitable level, or that grew too quickly. When you get rid of this unwanted food, you’re allowing new, fresh, and nutrient-rich grass to grow through. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that higher nutritional content in topped pastures equates to improved milk production. Your cows are getting more goodies, so they are producing more too!

I’m Ready to Top My Paddock

Knowing that you can improve your grazing pasture, speed up growth, stop weeds in their tracks, and improve milk pasture, there won’t be too many farmers not willing to top their paddocks. If you’re ready to top yours, then you are going to need some high-quality equipment. Fortunately, there are several excellent options on the market.

A general-purpose mulcher can be an excellent machine with which to start. They cut with their flails, suck the material into the machine, the coarse comb shreds it, then a fine comb gives it the final cut. The three-cut system can suit most farmer’s paddocks who want to remove those clumps of grass that serve no purpose other than to stop new grass from growing through.

If you’re ready to top your paddock, then get in touch with a reputable farm machinery supplier who can see you on your way with the best machinery for the job.

Written by Nathaniel Fried

Co-founder of Fupping. Busy churning out content and building an empire.

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