Fertiliser: While there was some rain over the weekend, ground conditions are pretty good for the time of year.

It’s important that you use this opportunity to get out with slurry and fertiliser when the conditions are right.

How many years have we seen a weather window missed and fertiliser or slurry applications are delayed by a few weeks?

Missing this opportunity will reduce the chances of getting a good-quality cut of silage in late May as grass will have headed out before it’s ready for cutting.

All drystock farms should have some level of fertiliser purchased at this stage and a lot of the drier farms should have it applied.

There should be at least 23 units/N/acre applied on grazing land at the moment even on lower stocked farms to kick start growth. If slurry tanks have been emptied on silage ground, check to see if any piggeries in the area would be willing to put pig slurry into your tank. This will reduce the amount of chemical P and K you will have to spread for second cut silage.

There was some talk about it being charged for but I’m unaware of this happening to any farmers in the last month.

Check with your adviser to make sure that you can import slurry and be careful not to go over your import limits. If you are closing up silage fields or have them closed, don’t be tempted to go back in and nip it off. Stick to the grazing ground once silage ground is closed. That’s why it’s important to get fertiliser out on grazing ground to kick start growth.

Turnout: A lot of farms have turned out cattle in the last few weeks. This year it’s going to be more important than ever to maximise efficiencies inside the farm gate.

Maximising liveweight gain at grass is one of the simple things that beef farmers can do to try and reduce costs and expensive concentrates and silage being fed next winter.

Grass is still the cheapest feed we can produce on farms so it makes sense to capitalise on it. Turn out stock if they aren’t already out. This will kickstart growth. Try and graze them in a paddock system.

You don’t need to erect a fancy sheepwire fence. A few temporary fences and an extra drinker or two will see a lot of fields split up. Aim for six grazing divisions per group of stock. This will enable more stock to be carried and rested paddocks will see better regrowth.

BEEP-S: BEEP-S is open for applications, and regardless of previous participation you must apply again this year to be in the scheme for 2022. The closing date for online applications is Monday 25 April.

The scheme runs for one year, and will be paid at the same rate as 2021 – €90 per cow/calf unit on the first 10 cows and €80/cow/calf unit on the remainder up to 100 cows.

This scheme is open to all suckler farmers who have an active herd number, submitted a Basic Payment Scheme application in 2022 and have suckler calves (beef sire x beef cow) born in herd between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022. Autumn 2021 calved cows and calves need to be weighed before weaning to comply with the scheme.