Similar to harvesting silage last July, grazing so far in 2024 has been very much a ‘smash and grab’ job.

I don’t know a single farmer who has been able to get cows out by day and night - even getting them out for longer than three to four hours seems a rarity.

As a result, a lot of farmers will fail to reach the target of 30% grazed by 1 March.

This has a twofold effect. Firstly, it means more silage is going into the diet of freshly calved cows, which may be putting pressure on silage stocks, so it is worth keeping an eye on reserves.

While it is not a year that many will have an abundance of fodder to hold over, any deficits are better identified early on.

Secondly, the low percentage of the platform grazed in early spring can mean that pressure will occur come the beginning of the second round.

Lazy in winter

Grass gets lazy during the winter and needs a kick start (being grazed) to get it back in gear and growing again. It’s always hard to believe how quickly the first paddocks grazed in the first round will catch up the last few remaining paddocks of the round come the end of March.

To try to soften the blow this might cause, having fertiliser on hand in the yard is no bad thing to do at the moment.

Soil temperatures would allow it, but ground conditions won’t for the majority, but having it to hand for when conditions do allow tractors and spreaders out is one less thing to worry about.

Figures show that there has been low purchasing of fertiliser done this spring so far, so when weather improves there may be a small scramble in merchants' yards.

Bar the above, it’s important to keep plugging away at grazing.

Strip wires and spur roads are as good of friends as you can have at this time of the year and, as always, it’s shocking how much grass cows can get into themselves in three-hour bouts when they are hitting paddocks with an appetite.