By default, the good growth rates seen recently have resulted in most farms building up cover as we speak.

Stocking rate will have a big effect on when you should start building. The higher your stocking rate and the drier your farm, the earlier you need to build. Farmers stocked at 3 LU/ha plus for the remainder of the year will want to look at building covers from now on.

This means having a cover/LU of close to 250kg DM/ha this week, building to 330kg DM/ha for 1 September, giving an average farm cover of 990kg DM/ha by that point.

For farms stocked higher than this, building farm cover in excess of 1,000-1,100kg DM/ha at peak will make for poorer utilisation and difficult grazing should wet weather occur.

Going by the PBI figures, growth is in excess of demand by 8kg DM/ha this week, with a cover per lu of 231kg DM/ha, meaning the majority of farms are in a good position.

Farms finding themselves with a large surplus of grass can still take the opportunity to take bales out as surplus, but should do so immediately.

Lower-stocked farms (those stocked around 2.5 LU/ha) don’t need to start building grass until after mid-August.

Target maintaining the grass cover/LU at 180-200kg/ha, building to 300kg DM/ha by 1 September.

Farmers with a high percentage of poor P and K soils or a large percentage of older swards may need to start building grass earlier as these swards will see growth drop off as we enter the autumn rotation.


  • Most farms are in a good position in terms of grass quantity as we head in to third-last rotation.
  • Farms with stocking rates at or above 3 lu/ha need to start building covers.
  • Target AFC of 1,000kg DM/ha by 1 September for farms above 3 lu/ha.
  • Lower-stocked farms don’t need to start building covers yet.
  • Poor fertility soils or old pastures will have lower growth rates in autumn so take this in to account.
  • Farmers

    Caroline O’Sullivan – Teagasc Curtins, Co Cork

    We’ve probably seen the best growth the past week than we have seen for a long time. It seems that soils have only just recovered moisture wise.

    Clover has really been pushing on the last few weeks too, and we have a clover cover of approximately 30% across the farmlet in the trial.

    Bloat oil has gone into the water as of today (Tuesday) as a precaution. Cover per cow ran as high as 380kg DM/LU in July, with paddocks taken out after.

    More paddocks are to be taken out next week, with cows not grazing any covers above 1,500kg DM/ha. Demand is currently 48 kg DM/ha.

    Stocking Rate (cows/ha) 2.8

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 61

    Average Farm Cover (kg/cow) 260

    Yield (l/cow) 16

    Fat % 5.18

    Protein% 4.01

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.51

    Concentrates 1

    Bryan Daniels – Kilmoganny, Co Kilkenny

    The place is growing really well, with cover being much higher than needed. We have cows cut down to 0.4kg in the parlour to try and increase demand.

    The last of the second cut is being mowed today (Tuesday) and 83kg of organic and chemical N/ha has been spread across the whole farm on average this year.

    Approximately 56% of the farm has received no chemical N since June, with 23% having no chemical N at all this year. Last week, 5ha was sprayed off for reseeding, with the mix containing 4kg each of Aston Conquereor and Aston Energy and 2kg of red and white clovers (Milvus, Barblanca and Chieftain).

    Stocking Rate (cows/ha) 2.98

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 87

    Average Farm Cover (kg/cow) 276

    Yield (l/cow) 18.4

    Fat % 4.55

    Protein% 3.77

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.57

    Concentrates 0.4

    Daniel Rundle – Ardee, Co Louth

    We had 32mm of rain last Wednesday, with a further 38mm on Friday, which made for very sticky conditions over the weekend.

    Thankfully, things dried up a bit over the past few days and we got by with grazing the drier hills. Dry ground is growing well, but the wetter ground is seeing lower growth and dragging things down a bit.

    Some paddocks were mowed out yesterday (Tuesday) and will be baled this evening or in the morning. I want to get this ground back in the rotation again and start building grass.

    Empty cows will be identified soon and may be sold earlier than normal to ease pressure.

    Stocking Rate (cows/ha) 3.35

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 52

    Average Farm Cover (kg/cow) 235

    Yield (l/cow) 21.21

    Fat % 4.23

    Protein% 3.64

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.72

    Concentrates 4