Another bleak week for grazing as parts of the southeast got hit with flooding over the weekend.

Slurry tanks filling, and silage stocks disappearing are still on farmers’ minds.

With some farms already out of silage and buying in low quality silage bales, these farmers need to make sure that they are feeding a high energy concentrate in the parlour with breeding less than a month away now.

In order to ration silage demand, farmers need to stick with grazing, even getting one bout of grass in the day will greatly reduce their demand for silage.

Those who are used to grazing in February will already be aware of this, but setting up paddocks so cows don’t pass over ground twice will have a huge bearing on the amount of damage done.

Grazing can only be taken one step at a time now as the wet weather is so intermittent. Farmers shouldn’t make the decision whether or not cows can graze that day until cows are milked and calves are fed.

Many farmers are unhappy with their graze outs, as cows are leaving 200-250kg DM/ha behind them. In the situation we find ourselves in now, getting out once a day and leaving some grass behind is better than not getting out at all.

Farms that are now heading into the second rotation and faced with paddocks that have been poached and are still very tender, getting phosphorus on these paddocks will help greatly. Where there is a P allowance, target this to the damaged paddocks, this will improve the root structure and tillering.

If the paddock is travelable, slurry will help also, as there is P in slurry but in most cases, if it has been damaged there is little chance of travelling the ground.


  • Every day at grass counts now to reduce silage intakes.
  • Target P allowance to damaged paddocks in the first rotation.
  • Spread 80 units of Nitrogen on silage ground as soon as possible.
  • Blanket spread the milking platform if there’s no fertiliser out to date.
  • Farmers

    Peter Brophy – Paulstown, Co Kilkenny

    We’re inished the first round of grazing and are now heading into the the second round. There is plenty of grass,with a cover of 851kg DM/ha. There’s a cover of 1,500kgDM/ha on the paddocks that will be grazed first in the second round.

    Cows are not out full-time day and night yet. They are grazing twice a day but coming in at about 10pm. Cows were on 6kg of meal until last week, but we have since reduced that to 3kg. There is no silage in the diet now.

    Paddocks with no clover got 38 units of N, and we hope to get the same out next week. We covered 90% of the farm with slurry except two wet paddocks.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 4.0

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 30

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 851

    Yield (l/cow) 24

    Fat% 4.8

    Protein% 3.4

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.97

    Concentrates 3kg

    David O’Leary – Castleisland, Co Kerry

    We have 48% of the farm grazed to date, with a heavy section across the road left out of the rotation. I’ve gotten cows out to graze for the last week after both milkings but they come back in later on. There are about 15 grazings left in the first rotation now and I hope to move to the second rotation soon.

    There is plenty of silage to keep me going, so hopefully we can get out of this. Cows are on 5kg of meal in the parlour along with 8kg of grass and 4kg of silage and I’ll probably get some palm kernel to hold cows.

    We’re following cows with 2,500gl of slurry and plan to blanket spread the farm with 35/40 units of urea.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 3.54

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 16

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 983

    Yield (l/cow) 24

    Fat% 5.06

    Protein% 3.34

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 2

    Concentrates 5kg

    Gerry McGuire – Horse and Jockey, Co Tipperary

    We’re a week into the second rotation and going well. This is the first week of full allocation of grass and there is no more strip wires with the cows anymore. Any night it’s dry overhead we’ll leave them out.

    There is a good bank of silage there in the yard if we need it, but hopefully not.

    There are 55 units of nitrogen on 80% of the farm, and two bags of 18:6:12 on paddocks that needed it. We are following cows after grazing with a second application of slurry.

    Three paddocks are marked for reseeding so we’ll get slurry out on them and follow with lime before spraying off. Hopefully we’ll have grass seeds in two weeks.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 2.95

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 25

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 786

    Yield (l/cow) 25.9

    Fat% 4.77

    Protein% 3.38

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 2.11

    Concentrates 4kg