While last week's weather could only be described as brilliant, there's been a huge change over the last day or so.

Up to last weekend, soil temperatures were running at 2°C to 3°C higher than normal at between 9°C and 10°C.

The current cold spell has dampened air temperatures, but farmers need to remember that soil temperatures lag air temperatures, so they are slower to heat up and slower to cool down.

What impact this cold spell will have on grass growth will all depend on how long it lasts for.

A prolonged cold spell will certainly drop growth rates.

Last week, many farms were growing almost 40kg per day, but I would expect this to drop back sharply this week.

Grass is fairly plentiful on the majority of farms, although those that have already started the second round are going into lower covers than they would have been on the first rotation.

Stomach issues

Be conscious of going into covers that are too low, ie less than 1,100kg/ha, as they may be lacking in fibre and could potentially cause stomach upsets.

This could be particularly problematic where a lot of meal is being fed, such as more than 4kg per day.

Some farmers who are going into lighter covers are aiming to mix and match using the last of the first rotation - say by night and second rotation by day.

In other cases, a small amount of silage is being fed in the collecting yard or on the passage to the yard/field so the cows can get some silage which adds roughage.

Generally speaking, this period only lasts for a short while until such time as the pre-grazing yields increase to the target of 1,300kg to 1,500kg.