While grazing and ground conditions have been less than ideal over the past month for many, it has made for solid growth rates, and many farmers will be heading in to the latter half of August with a good deal of grass ahead of them.

However, many farmers are reporting that stock are grazing out paddocks very quickly; a paddock you might usually get three days grazing from might only last two and a half days.

It’s just something to be careful of in that days aren’t peeled off the rotation length and you don’t find yourself eating in to your farm cover so early in the year when you should be building it.

With good growth rates come good responses in fertiliser application. While it may be a little early for some farms, applying fertiliser in August will see a much better response than just before the closing date in mid-September.

Any second cut silage ground coming back in to play should receive any remaining slurry or dung in the yard, or failing this it should be ensured that P and K levels are brought back up after what will be a heavy off take for many farms.


Mark Maxwell – Ballinagore, Co Westmeath

Grass is growing well at the moment and we are back to building covers for the autumn. We spread 25 units/acre of Sul-CAN 10 days ago across 90% of the grazing platform. The farm will get a final application of fertiliser towards the end of this month.

Some paddocks were mown out in recent weeks, with the second-cut silage due to be harvested in the next week. This should ensure adequate fodder for the winter months.

Grass quality is good, but feeding value is poor with the low dry matter with cows very loose in their dung. Heavy rain Friday night made ground conditions tricky for the first time, but ground has dried since. Autumn calving cows began calving 10 days ago and calving is going well.

System Suckler to beef

Soil Type Variable

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 987

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 66

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 51

Trevor Boland – Dromard, Co Sligo

Second cut silage has been baled today (Tuesday). It was cut Sunday, tedded Monday and raked before baling. This should bring me up to my winter fodder needs, while some surplus paddocks to be taken out next week will be a good buffer to have.

Clover has really kicked in to gear, as seen by growth rates, the past couple of weeks. This is with no chemical N since May. We are 1.5 tonne DM/ha ahead of last year on this block which I am attributing to clover.

The wet weather had caused some coughing in younger cattle, so they received a worm dose.Autumn calving has kicked off, with 11 cows calved. The autumn calvers will have a growing demand for later in the year, so we will be building covers on the farm to meet this.

System Suckler to beef

Soil Type Mostly dry

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 1614

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 99

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 42

Shaun Diver – Tullamore Farm, Co Offaly

We mowed 30 acres of second-cut silage this morning (Tuesday). The ground was a touch soft – this was due to the heavy crop of grass on it as the ground could not dry out properly until it was mowed. We won’t be tedding it out; it will be raked Wednesday and lifted Thursday. Some additive will be added to help preservation.

Grazing conditions are OK at the minute, but it can still be hard to graze paddocks out tightly with cattle. We are trying to build covers now, with the last of some strong paddocks left to mow.

Twenty-seven units of protected urea/acre will be spread on some grazed-off paddocks at the weekend, with the last of the slurry having been spread on some of the high clover swards two weeks ago.

System Suckler to beef

Soil Type Variable

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 956

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 95

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 38