Rotating willow at Gaec de la Ch’tite famille

Newly settled in the southern Jura, Benjamin Delesalle and his wife modified their farm’s grazing system to maximize the production of grass-fed milk.

at Gaec de la Ch’tite family, we know where the breeders come from! Benjamin and Emeline Delesalle, originally from the north, recently took over a 130 ha Jura farm in the south of the department (300 to 500 m altitude). With 45 dairy cows from Montbéliard, they produce milk for the Comté sector (280 000L).

They have about fifty acres of accessible grass. Benjamin explains: “We settled in January 2021 and our first year pasture was rather favorable given the weather conditions. Not really knowing the land and the productivity of the grass, we herded the cows to the front wire. In the spring we needed 30-35 ha of grass, then we were able to cut the first hay on 10 ha and in the autumn too. At the end of the season we switched cows over the 50 ha. »

Manage grass growth heterogeneity

“The system worked well as it was, but we wanted to improve it because there is a certain heterogeneity between plots: we have dry slopes and wet soils. And moving the thread every morning is quite time consuming. The same applies to the transport of water. »

“I learned at school that you can produce thanks to 22 kg of milk/LV spring grass, which is the most economical. And the alpine dairy encourages us to do so because they add a premium to the milk production on the pasture. So we were interested in dynamic rotation pasture. »

Divide the pasture into day and night plots

The couple then re-divided their lots to make them Couple from 1ha to 1.3ha to cover 3 meals a day and 3 meals at night. The sizing also allows for a turnaround time of around 21 days or even more for some lots. “That gives us a little head start during dry periods and also limits the amount of concentrated feed in the ration. Since the cows have been out since mid-March, Benjamin will take stock at the end of the season, but he has already noticed that “hay consumption at the trough has decreased and the cows have gained 2 to 3 kg of milk. »

Adviser to EvaJura, Lucie Blanc, supported the breeders in designing the fragmented. She explains: “We made for the potential of the different prairies. We have distinguished the wetlands from the slopes: we do not have a paddock that has both aspects. And we have night plots (on the dry parts) and day plots (in the wet corners). Since we know that 60% of the ration is consumed during the day, we have also adjusted the sizes accordingly. »

To determine the size of the paddocks, Lucie does not use the Breton benchmark1 are / VL / j : “In our region I tend to drive 1.3 – 1.4, because we gain a little more flexibility. And it is also necessary to consider what the grower wants to distribute at the trough. »

Find his explanations on the latest episode of the Radio Prairie podcast:

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