Wet soils are cold soils, and this was evident all spring when soil temperatures sat at 7-9°C as growth failed to motor on.

Now, we have seen PastureBase Ireland show a predicted soil temperature of 12-13 degrees Celsius for the coming week amid a high pressure coming in across Ireland, bringing with it high temperatures and little to no rain.

As a farmer said to me earlier in the week, May is one of the shortest months as you’d like it to be the longest, and he is right.

While there are still some sticky spots due to the poor spring, ground is good for the most part and growth will exceed demand nicely in the next few weeks.

When it comes to controlling growth, a restriction on fertiliser is a poor choice as opposed to mowing out high quality baled silage for feeding next year.

With the increased grass growth will come increased weed growth. Docks and ragwort are really starting to emerge strongly now, and both should be controlled before they come to seed. Care needs to be taken regarding mowing out or grazing swards where spray has been administered, with the listed period between spraying and grazing/cutting strictly adhered to.


Niall O’Meara – Killimor, Co Galway

I’m hoping to cut five acres of grass on Thursday and bale it on Friday. It wasn’t grazed this spring and only received 30 units of N.

I also have 10 recently grazed paddocks, and between these and the silage ground I am hoping to get a three-bay tank of slurry injected at a rate of 2,000-2,500 gallons/acre to maximise utilisation with the high growth rates predicted.

We spread 15 units of protected urea/acre on 15 acres that received slurry earlier in the year. I had my contractor stitching in some white clover on paddocks that were damaged around weaning time, but ground is still too sticky.

There are three heavy paddocks of grass which I will hold off on baling until my grazed ground and silage ground bounce back.

System Suckler to weanling

Soil Type Variable

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 492

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 28

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 36

Stephen Frend – Newford Farm, Co Roscommon

There are 15 acres of first round ground to be mowed. This has a cover of 1,800-2,000kg DM/ha on it, and with the first grazed paddocks now back with covers of 1,200-1,300kg DM/ha and high growth predicted, I’m confident in taking them out.

The heavy covers were useful when grazing conditions were tough, but now that ground is drying out cows were wasting a lot of grass.

The 18 acres of stubble ground was ploughed, power harrowed, land levelled and received a one-pass two weeks ago and is slowly starting to emerge.

We added extra clover to bring the rate up to 3kg white clover/acre. The outfarm for the finishing enterprise is sprayed off in preparation for sowing a red clover sward.

System Suckler to beef

Soil Type Variable

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 846

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 35

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 42

William Treacy – Hackballscross, Co Louth

Ground has really only come right in the last two weeks, but it’s a welcome improvement. Cleanouts are very good, and cattle are much more content at grass now with the higher dry matter and the sun on their backs.

I have continued zero grazing grass in to the finishing heifers and young bulls inside, which is why demand is so high. The bulls are only eating 5kg of concentrates and are very content with the grass.

While it is cheap gain, it’s not something I plan on continuing if I will be finishing them, though I may sell them live as I did with the autumn born bulls earlier in the year.

We are likely 10 days away from starting off mowing paddocks, though some could well be mowed sooner.

System Suckler to beef

Soil Type Free draining

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 1,007

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 50

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 92