The heatwave was short lived in the northwest of the country this week, but there are little complaints from farmers as grazing conditions are excellent and growth is at least matching demand in the majority of cases. There was even a window of opportunity for hay making which is always a bonus.

Further south the heat was more prolonged and had more of a negative effect. The rainfall of three weeks ago that eased the pressure somewhat is now a distant memory and with some moisture in the forecast for the weekend, farmers will be hoping that it arrives.

Growth rates are well below demand in many instances and some farmers are now grazing second cut silage ground. At the moment, the best plan is to wait and see if the rain arrives at the weekend and reassess the situation early next week.

Speaking to farmers in recent weeks, those that carried a decent average farm cover through the last dry spell really saw the benefit of it once the rain arrived as growth increased significantly.

Where the average farm cover is very low, it is going to take almost two weeks after rainfall for the problem to be rectified.


James Strain – Burnfoot, Co Donegal

With grazing, things are as good as they have been all year here at the minute. Grass is meeting demand and ground conditions are good. The tough first half of the grazing season has taken its toll on the calves.

They aren’t as far on as they should be, but hopefully they can make it up in the coming weeks.

Although we scanned in March pre-turnout, I plan to scan all cows again in August to determine what is in calf. This year above any it doesn’t make sense to carry any passengers.

If there are cows not in calf I will wean straight away and start feeding the cows for slaughter.

Second cut silage is about two weeks away. This cut will include some red clover silage that was sown nine weeks ago.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Heavy

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 1,008

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 41

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 43

Shaun Diver – Tullamore Farm, Co Offaly

We need rain here again. What we had three weeks ago boosted growth rates for a couple of weeks but it has dried up again since.

Growth is down to 27kgDM/ha which is nearly half our demand.

Second cut silage will be cut by the end of next week so cows and calves will get a couple of days grazing headlands after that to ease the pressure.

Grass demand will reduce considerably once this ground is back available for grazing in a few weeks.

Preparation is in full swing for the open day here on 26 July. This week we are weighing all the cattle which will cover our BEEP-S requirement as well.

We weighed the lambs on Wednesday and drafted 30 for slaughter at weights of 42kg to 44kg.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 699

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 27

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 48

Oisín Kennedy – Aclare, Co Sligo

Grazing conditions are excellent here at present. Growth is exceeding demand and quality and grass utilisation are very good.

The heavier ground thrives in a year like this while some of the lighter soils are starting to slow down ever so slightly.

Breeding is in full swing and there seems to be a lot of activity. We tail paint the cows even though they are with the bull as it helps us identify any repeats and alert any bull fertility issue as soon as possible.

We have cut some surplus grazing in the last week which will help with winter silage.

Going on, our fodder budget we will be tight for silage this year but between second cut and more surplus bales we will hopefully secure enough winter fodder.

System Suckler to beef and sheep

Soil type Heavy

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 788

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 46

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 35