In an ordinary year, we would see growth dip away in the month of June after silage has been harvested and dry farms start to see a moisture deficit creep in.

This year, May growth failed to reach the normal rates and it was hoped that the peak growth would sustain over a longer period.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

While we could see a lift in growth again over the next few weeks, the dip in growth now is of slight concern to farmers.

40% of farms on PastureBase Ireland have covers of 170kg DM/lu or less.

This is extremely close to the danger figure of 150kg DM/lu, which can result in stock grazing low covers, a short rotation length and ultimately lead to the farm running out of grass.

To avoid this, correction of paddocks may need to be held off momentarily.

Paddocks have been going out in stem over the last fortnight or three weeks, with farmers baling or topping to correct.

While this is a necessity, it will slow back growth, so farmers may have to resist the urge to correct all paddocks in this round to ensure that grass does not run out in the next few weeks.

Any paddocks not corrected in this round can be mowed/topped the next time.


Trevor Boland – Dromard, Co Sligo

The last of the first cut was completed over the weekend. It dragged out a bit longer than last year with the broken weather, but yield is up by about 20 bales.

Growth has been holding well alongside demand, with the days ahead across both farms being between 12-14 days.

Fertiliser for second cut has gone and I will take similar acreage out for second cut. All slurry was spread in March so three bags of 24-2.5-10/acre has been spread.

Grass has been stressing in the last few weeks, which has resulted in some low covers going to stem. I have earmarked some paddocks for baling out at the weekend, with remaining paddocks grazed out tight to remove the need to top.

System Suckler to weanling

Soil Type Variable

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 574

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 48

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 75

Ken Gill – Clonbollogue, Co Offaly

Grass is growing well over the last couple of weeks. Silage was a bit lighter compared to last year owing to the lower growth, but I am lucky to have some of my pit left from last year. That, coupled with the grass and red clover silage should see me through just fine.

Most of my slurry went out on to the silage ground in order to grow the crop, with whatever is left in the tank reserved for the red clover ground.

I don’t take any second cut, with any spare dung at the back end of the year going out on to silage ground.

Swards are starting to get a little bit stemmy at the minute. I have two paddocks earmarked for cutting and will decide next week if additional paddocks will be taken out.

System Organic suckler to beef

Soil Type Variable

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 604

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 44

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 29

Stephen Frend – Newford Sucklers, Co Roscommon

Breeding has quietened down well now, with six weeks of AI complete. We had a 90% submission rate to first service, with 24 out of the 72 cows bred in the first three weeks repeating. Activity levels in the heifers is extremely low, with no heifer showing signs of heat for over a week now.

The silage ground that was harvested a few weeks ago received two bags/acre of 38N +S and has greened up nicely. I have been following cows with 20-22 units N/acre, but grass is still stemming out at low covers of 1,200-1,400kg DM/ha.

The reseeded ground is doing very well, with pre-emergence spray to be applied this week. I will top it up with a bag/acre of 38N as well as it only received two bags 10-10-20 at sowing.

System Suckler to beef

Soil Type Variable

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 867

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 59

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 50