It’s seldom that we get a weather forecast as good as the current one in summer, never mind the first week of spring.
Farmers have been battling bad weather since the start of December 2020. It’s been a tough winter with high rainfall and high winds.
So the good weather is well and truly due. Now to make the most of it.
The first task depended on the weather improving was letting stock out to grass. By the looks of it, farmers up and down the country were able to let cows out to grass over the weekend.
Milking cows are the priority stock when it comes to grazing. They are the primary income generators on the farm so they should get priority feed.
Land is still wet enough in places and it won’t be until later in the week that wet spots will start to dry up.
Farmers should be considering grazing these normally wet areas as soon as they dry out, presuming they will dry out before the weather changes again. One thing is for sure, this fine weather won’t last forever so make the most of it while it’s here.
Maiden heifers are the next category of stock that should be prioritised for turn out. Early grass will drive on weight gain in advance of the breeding season.
These animals eat approximately 2.5% of their bodyweight daily, so if they weigh 300kg they will probably eat about 7.5kg/day of grass. After a few days of allocating grass you will know whether their allowance needs to be more or less.
Another big job for next week is fertiliser, namely nitrogen. This was put on the long finger by many farmers due to the weather, but with a good forecast it is something that should be completed this week.
Fields that got no slurry or nitrogen fertiliser so far should get in or around 30 units/acre of urea based fertiliser now.
Fields that got slurry in mid to late January should get away with less nitrogen in this round, probably 23 units/acre will suffice.
Fields that got around a half bag of urea in late February will be looking for a top-up in the next few weeks.
I would think that 30 units/acre is probably sufficient for the second round of nitrogen. Make allowances for fields that got slurry after grazing. For every 2,500 gallons/acre of slurry spread with low emission equipment there is approximately 20 units of nitrogen.