While it’s unfair to say that every farm should have stock out this week, the vast majority of medium to dry farms should see ground conditions allow a turn out of stock.

Weanlings or young cows with calves at foot are the priority and should get the best of the covers on offer, ideally below 1,500kg DM/ha.

The decision on what to do with heavy covers on farms is very farm specific.

These covers will be slow to come back no matter if they are grazed or cut.

On farms with a high stocking rate, the option to cut them may not be there for fear of a pinch of grass should an extremely dry period come.

Grazing these paddocks out will be difficult, though improved weather conditions may allow for tighter residuals to be achieved.

Farms that have little to no fertiliser spread should act now in the next week with the improved ground and weather conditions.

Regarding silage ground, use the rule of two units N/day and work back from your preferred cutting date to calculate the max amount of N you can apply.


Peter Doyle – Derrypatrick Herd, Co Meath

All stock are out now bar the cows that calved this week. Ground conditions are okay and utilisation is good, considering some of the heavy covers we are grazing.

While the farm cover is high, we are waiting to make any decisions on mowing out paddocks on the grazing platform. Demand is ahead of growth, and with the heavier covers regrowth will be slow.

Silage ground has received 80 units N/acre with a planned cutting date in the last week of May, bar some ground which will be cut earlier receiving 70 units.

The grazing block has received half a bag of protected urea/acre so far. Cows will be scanned pre-breeding next week, with breeding set to begin on 1 May.

System Suckler to beef

Soil Type Free draining

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 1,245

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 39

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 47

Ken Gill – Clonbullogue, Co Offaly

Weanlings and stores have been out the last fortnight and have been doing okay, but it’s just too wet to let cows out yet.

The 60 weanlings and 60 stores are in separate groups for now, but hopefully when weather improves, I will get cows out and go back to the leader-follower system of weanlings: stores: cows.

Silage ground had been grazed out over the winter with calves, and received slurry two weeks ago. The red clover silage ground is looking pretty good and I hope to cut this mid-May and slurry it then.

I usually hold my dung for the red clover ground in autumn, but plan on spreading some on grazing paddocks low in P and K when weather allows.

System Organic suckler to beef

Soil Type Variable

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 639

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 26

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 25

Niall O’Meara – Killimor, Co Galway

All stock have been out the last fortnight or so. The turnout to grass also brought about the weaning of the autumn calves, which was done on a staggered basis, with calves suckling twice a day, once a day and finally weaned fully.

Having cows out at weaning was a help, as many still had good bags of milk.

Weanlings are grazing the second round while cows are finishing the last of the first round now. There’s a good cover on the second-round paddocks, though calves are grazing them quickly and I am also trying to prevent damage to ground.

We spread 15 units of protected urea + S on 30 units of grazing ground. We have earmarked five acres for an early May cut and gave it 30 units of N.

System Suckler to weanling/beef

Soil Type Variable

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 742

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 29

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 33