On Sunday, Met Éireann issued a potato blight warning for the coming days. The message was that weather conditions are conducive to the spread of potato blight and that growers should take action.
Dairy, beef and sheep farmers should also take heed of these blight warnings, because conditions that are good for the spread of blight are also great for grass growth.
So why is this a warning for grassland farmers? It’s a warning because it means grass will be growing faster than stock can eat it, which means there’s a big risk of grazing covers that are gone too strong.
Driving around the country over the last few days, I’m seeing a lot of herds grazing covers that should have been closed up for silage.
Grazing these covers will deplete milk yield, liveweight gain, fat and protein yield and will also mean slower recovery after grazing.
I would suggest that the weather for this week will drive on average grass growth rates to be in excess of 80kg/ha/day.
Keep a close eye on weather forecasts, and if an opportunity arises to take out some of these paddocks for silage, then grab it.
Many farmers took the opportunity to cut some bales over the weekend. The task now is to fertilise these fields to replace what was taken off in silage.
The likes of slurry or 18:6:12 fertiliser is an ideal product to use after removing surplus silage.
Four to five bales/acre of silage will remove six to eight units of phosphorus per acre and 40 to 50 units of potash per acre.
Pay particular heed to potash, as this can get depleted very quickly if not replaced.