By grazing a paddock at the right time you can ensure good utilisation of the pasture. When a paddock is grazed too early before the 3-leaf stage, you will get less feed and it can decrease the pasture regrowth. If pasture is grazed too late the quality of the pasture can be compromised.
Leaf stage can be used to maximise pasture performance. Monitoring ryegrass leaf stage is an effective indicator of when a paddock is ready to graze. The optimal time to graze ryegrass pastures is at the 3-leaf stage.
Leaf stage helps to identify when a paddock is ready to be grazed and indicates how well rotation length fits with current pasture growth conditions. In spring, using leaf stage will impact on the amount and quality of pasture grown later in the season. Further, good grazing management in spring increases tillering in perennial ryegrass.
The leaf stage takes into consideration:
Quantity and quality of pasture accumulated
Consistently grazing pastures before the 2-leaf stage significantly reduces pasture regrowth as it does not allow the plants reserves to be fully restored.