Speaking to beef farmers this week the same thing is being said by most – grass supply is ok but not superb by any stretch of the imagination.

For some who spread fertiliser in recent days they may still get a boost of growth now that moisture is not lacking. However, growth seems to be quite variable across the country and even from farm to farm.

On farms where the average farm cover has been depleted over the last month, growth remains quite slow and therefore you would question just how much of a grass growth boost is going to come at this stage.

However, on lesser stocked farms where the average farm cover was able to be maintained, and where soil fertility is good, or where fertiliser has been spread in recent weeks, growth has increased quite significantly.

Now it is about making the most of the grass on farm over the remainder of the season. It may still make sense to house certain stock groups such as those close to finishing, and allow lighter stock to graze off what is left over the coming weeks.

Spring calving herds should now be looking at starting the weaning process, with culls and first calved heifers first in line for weaning. This will help reduce the demand for grass and allow the weanlings access to the best available grass on farm.

There has been increased instances of grass tetany in the last week or so. Those with autumn calving cows or spring calved cows with strong weanlings still sucking need to be on high alert and get high magnesium licks or a bale of straw out to stock as soon as possible.


Trevor Boland – Dromard, Co Sligo

Grass supply is quite tight but I am making the most of what I have. I haven’t spread any fertiliser in almost two months, I have been relying on soil fertility and clover to do its job.

Now that the moisture has arrived we might get a kick in growth once again.

Demand for grass is reducing, with beef heifers starting to come in for a four- to six-week finishing period. Each year I draft them in as they come near finishing.

I will house another batch of eight in around three weeks.

Calving is over 80% done, and has slowed in the last 10 days. Breeding is set to start in mid-October and I like to leave them out for the first three weeks of breeding if I can – we will see how grass supply is at that stage.

System Suckler and beef farm

Soil type Mostly dry

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 328

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 33

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 28

Donall Fahy & Ronan Grealiss – Grange, Co Meath

Eighty Holstein Friesian and Angus steers were housed to reduce demand and build cover, allowing weanlings graze until early December. Housed steers will be brought to a finishing diet of ad-lib first-cut (75% DMD) and 5kg concentrate over the coming week.

Weanlings are receiving 2kg concentrates at grass which will continue until housing. Concentrate was introduced earlier than planned to reduce demand and maintain/build farm cover.

Paddocks were spread with a half bag of 46% protected urea last week, bringing total amount of chemical N spread to 175 kg N/ha. A total of 10.8t DM/ha has been grown this year.

We hope to take a third cut of red clover silage which will be baled after a 48-hour wilt.

System Dairy calf-to-beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover 650 kg DM/ha

Growth 44 kg DM/ha/day

Demand 12 kg DM/ha/day

Ger McSweeney – Millstreet ,Co Cork

We are set up for the next month or so given where growth has been. If we can get to late-October we’re in bonus territory. I tried to maintain an average cover around 700kg DM/ha throughout the grazing season.

With more ground coming back for grazing and reducing demand, that has increased to over 800kgDM/ha in recent weeks.

I spread 18 units of urea on some ground last week and 2,000gal/ac of watery slurry on other ground to empty the tanks. I weighed the cows and calves for BEEP – the bulls have averaged 1.35kg/day while the heifers have done 1.22kg/day.

The bulls are due their booster pneumonia vaccine next week and then a fortnight later I will start the weaning process.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 818

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 27

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 33