Most of the country seems to have gotten a good cover of rain since Friday night, with the exception of some parts of Cork and Kerry.

Of course, many farmers in the west and northwest would have been happy enough without rain, as many have meadows in the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) to cut.

However, in most other places, farms were crying out for rain. So how much is enough and when will grass growth rates recover?

The highest soil moisture deficit on the most recent Met Éireann maps for well drained soils is 63mm in Dublin.

The normal summer range is 30mm to 40mm of a soil moisture deficit, so the parts of the country with the highest deficit will need the most rain to fill the gap.

Looking at the Irish Farmers Journal's live weather data, the only part of the country that didn’t get more than 15mm of rain in the past week was south Wexford.

Grass growth

In essence, most of the country should have enough rain to significantly reduce deficits. Therefore, we can expect grass growth rates to increase over the coming days.

However, there will be a lag phase and those that have a very low average farm cover now will be slower to come out of the deficit.

When average farm cover is less than 500kg/ha, recovery will be slower.

Hold cows on a long rotation

In such cases, the advice is to hold cows on a long rotation length until such time that average farm cover increases to 160kg to 170kg/cow and growth is exceeding demand without extra supplement.

In fact, keeping enough supplement in the diet after the rain comes is often the best use of supplement with a high return from feed.

Another form of supplement is nitrogen (N). After the dry spell, there will be a big release of background or natural nitrogen, so there is no rush to put out the bags of nitrogen.

Clover has performed well over the last few weeks and where clover content is high, spreading a zero-N compound will be far more beneficial than a high-N fertiliser.