For such a small country, it’s still always surprising how varied the weather can be. Tullow in Co Carlow received 40mm of rain in a single hour las Sunday, while other parts of Leinster received 4mm the same day.

Thankfully, for those who are in need of rain, the forecast for the week ahead predicts between 20-42mm of rain to fall across the country.

It’s coming in to a high demand time on drystock farms, with weanlings and finishing stock requiring good quality grass.

Finishing lambs are now the key focus on sheep farms, but the preparation for breeding ewes through flushing means that demands will rocket inside the next month on these farms.

Where there is any slurry or farm yard manure available in the yard, spread this now to get the highest response from it, targeting silage ground or paddocks low in P and K.

If grass is tight on farm, consider off loading some non-priority stock such as empty cows, cull ewes or some store lambs or cattle.

Prices are firm in marts at the minute, so don’t just sell them for less than they are worth just because grass is tight at home. Evaluate silage stocks on farm, and take remedial action now if they are below requirements.


Willie Treacy – Hackballscross, Co Louth

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the rain we were expecting, with only 4mm falling on Sunday and 6mm falling on Monday.

I’ll spread some CAN + S at a rate of 20 units across about two-thirds of the farm, with the weather forecast promising rain towards the weekend.

I have some farmyard manure left in the yard, so I will spread this soon on some of the silage ground.

Second-cut silage was harvested on 5 August, and has been really slow to come back.

We’re becoming used to dealing with dry spells in the summer, so we are expecting growth in the back end to be high, especially with the temperatures we have in the ground now.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Free draining

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 1,202

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 36

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 51

Derek O’Donoghue – Salesian College, Pallaskenry

We received no rain over the weekend, despite plenty of thunder and lightning.

We have confined ewes to a paddock that we earmarked for reseeding and have a round feeder filled with silage in place for them.

We had the lambs and calves running together on good grass unsupplemented, but we have had to separate those.

Calves are now on 2kg of concentrates to try and slow down demand, while lambs have access to a creep feeder and are eating 500g/head/day of concentrates.

Older cattle were housed on silage last week to try and build covers with expected rain, but with no rainfall they will likely be inside for another number of weeks.

System Dairy calf-to-beef & sheep

Soil type Free draining

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 471

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 21

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 34

Oisin Kennedy – Aclare, Co Sligo

We spread slurry and fertiliser three weeks ago, and combined with the high temperatures and the heavy ground, growth was strong.

In order to build covers on the main grazing block, we’ve taken cows off and placed them on silage ground that has freed up as well as introducing some creep to calves. Second-cut silage will be completed soon for dry cows.

Multispecies swards sown earlier in the year have established well, and those sown last year have received only 30 units of chemical N and one round of slurry at 2,000 gallon/acre.

It’s highly likely that we’ll blanket spread a good portion of the farm with 30 units of protected urea in the next week.

System Suckler to beef & sheep

Soil type Heavy

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 685

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 61

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 35