The forecast for the coming week is for a return to milder temperatures, with low pressure and the direction of wind changing from a northerly direction to the more normal southwesterly direction.
This should lead to softer weather, which will help grass growth. Average grass growth rate was in the low 20s for the past week.
While the lift in temperatures will improve growth rates, temperatures are still likely to be slightly below average for the time of year, so no massive burst in growth should be expected just yet.
In general, there is still a decent cover of grass on most farms, with average farm cover hovering around the 700kg/ha mark, which is quite high.
Of course, some farmers are under more pressure for grass, with average farm cover around 500kg/ha. It shouldn’t be let drop much lower than this.
With milder weather coming, it’s a good opportunity to catch up on fertiliser spreading. Silage ground should be spread with fertiliser and/or slurry and closed for grazing this week.
At this stage, around 80 units/acre of nitrogen and three bags/acre of 0:7:30 or the equivalent or 3,000 gallons/acre of slurry should be spread.
About 25% of the nitrogen applied to date will still be available. So if 30 units/acre has been spread for grazing, around eight units/acre should still be available.
Slurry is ideally placed to provide the phosphorus and potash requirements for silage and some of the nitrogen requirements, particularly if spread using low emission systems.
Spreading 3,000 gallons/acre is roughly the equivalent of three bags/acre of 0:7:30.
Farmers should be cautious about spreading too much potash on silage ground in spring.
Around 70 units/acre of K is sufficient, otherwise it could cause milk fever issues. Sulphur is also necessary at a rate of 16 units/acre per cut.
For grazing ground, nitrogen should be spread at a rate of 0.75 to one unit of nitrogen per day depending on stocking rate and how much clover there is in the swards.