The last round of grazing has fallen for many farms, and even within this there are a lot of paddocks that farmers would like to graze again that they simply will not be able to.

At this stage, it’s about trying to do the best job possible, with no golden stars for graze outs or having stock out until mid-November likely to be floating about.

Many farmers opted to get the lighter covers on drier paddocks grazed in order to limit damage with these all but gone now.

Where heavy covers are concerned, leaving these sitting over the winter period is a disaster, as they will physically rot at the base, making them difficult to graze out come next spring.

This rotting also tends to open up the sward, and it may take several tight grazings to get it back to a respectable density after.

Clover paddocks should be high on the priority list when it comes to cleaning out paddocks for the winter.

In order for clover to survive the winter period it needs light going to the base of the sward; a heavy cover over the winter will smother it out.

Ideally you would be leaving these paddocks until the final days of grazing, but if the opportunity presents itself then these should be grazed out tight without poaching.

If a cover of grass comes back on them towards the end of this month or early-November, it’s perfectly fine to go in with calves or heifers and graze these off.

Autumn calvers have been increasing their rumen capacity and energy requirements over the past few weeks, so with the low DM grass their dry matter intake should be monitored to ensure they are not milking off their backs.


  • Get grazing whenever possible, even for three-hour bouts, to remove heavy covers.
  • Prioritise grazing of clover swards when weather and ground conditions allow.
  • Heavy covers will smother out clover, so leave a low cover on these over the winter period.
  • Be cautious around autumn calving cow diets, as low DM grass is leading to low DM intake which may leave cows in a net energy loss scenario.
  • Farmers

    Ned O’Brien – Mitchelstown, Co Cork

    Cows are in pre grazing yields of 2,000kg DM/ha this week. Utilisation has been relatively good except for days with heavy rain.

    I measure rainfall here on the farm and 27mm of rain fell the last Tuesday and Wednesday when storm Agnus came. I was surprised as I thought more had fallen but cows certainly damaged the ground.

    I aim to target a field that hasn’t got slurry yet this year with the remainder of slurry. We milk OAD here and lactose has been an issue at 4.37%. We scanned 12% from an 8.5 week breeding season empty which I’m slightly disappointed with considering we have a OAD herd.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 2.5

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 40

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 1400

    Yield (l/cow) 10

    Fat% 6.2

    Protein% 4.7

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.09

    Concentrates 1kg

    Edward Treanor – Clones, Co Monaghan

    Cows are grazing PGY of 1,600kg DM/ha on our dry ground. 20% of our milking platform is wet and can be tricky to get to. With the weather looking up for the weekend I aim to graze it at 800kg DM/ha and close it off for spring.

    We’re following cows with 2,000 gallons/acre of slurry. We have about 25% of the farm closed off. Cows were in by night for the storm but back out day and night again.

    We’ll keeping grazing until 1 November, weather permitting. I usually close the farm at 700kg DM/ha. We have autumn calvers here so we have a high demand for spring.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 2.8

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 40

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 800

    Yield (l/cow) 20

    Fat% 4.61

    Protein% 3.84

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.74

    Concentrates 3kg

    Philip Tyndall – Bunclody, Co Wexford

    Thankfully we’re not on a wet farm here. We kept cows out throughout the bad weather the past two weeks. Cows are going into covers of 2,300kg DM/ha and also getting 4kg of baled silage at milking.

    Utilisation hasn’t been great the last few days but we plan to rectify that.

    We’re following cows with dairy washings this week to empty the tanks and that should boost regrowths. The first paddock will be closed off this week and we’re aiming for a closing cover of 700kg DM/ha on 1 December.

    Milk solids dropped from 1.65 to 1.53kg MS/cow in a week. Weather was bad so it might come up a bit again this week hopefully.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 4.1

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 49

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 960

    Yield (l/cow) 15.8



    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.55

    Concentrates 3kg