Grass growth rates in Leinster and Munster over the past seven days have averaged less than 50kg/day.

While not abnormally low for early July, such rates are lower than most farmers need – especially after the last few weeks of drought-like conditions on many farms.

It takes a while for grass growth rates to recover after being low for so long.

Rain in the first weekend of July was the start of the process, while the subsequent rain over the last few days will be a big help.

However, many parts of Wexford have somehow managed to avoid most of the rain so far, with just 2.6mm of rain recorded at the Irish Farmers Journal's Wexford weather station in the past week.

This seems to be the outlier when it comes to rainfall.


Meanwhile, a blight warning was issued by Met Éireann on Sunday.

This is bad news for potato farmers, but generally good news when it comes to grass growth, as it signals warm, moist and humid weather – ideal for growth.

Soil temperatures are set to heat up further later in the week, so we should, at long last, be set for a good week of grass growth.


A number of farmers have asked me about fertiliser spreading. Many correctly decided not to spread much nitrogen during the recent dry spell.

They are wondering if they should go with extra nitrogen now that prospects for growth have improved.

My thinking is that they should go with normal applications (15 to 20 units/acre) across the fields that were grazed but not fertilised during the dry spell.

That might mean blanket spreading across 30% to 40% of the farm now and then following the cows thereafter.

There will be a release of nitrogen to the grass from natural mineralisation after the rain, so, in general terms, nitrogen won’t be lacking.

It's important to keep supplementing where average farm cover is low.

This is incredibly frustrating for many farmers, but it's the right thing to do until such time as average farm cover is around 160kg/cow and growth is higher than demand.

Removing supplementation too early can mean having to go back in with feed quickly. It's a very fine line and hard to get right.