Getting to this point of the year, with such poor weather conditions dragging on for months now, while still at grass has been nothing short of an achievement.

Ground had held up surprisingly well throughout, despite not getting much of a chance to dry out for a significant period.

The mini drought seen in late May/ early June is likely to have allowed some cracking and drainage to occur, which would explain how ground has held up so long.

Even if cows have had to be brought indoors, it may not be game over for grazing 2023.

Though few will likely get cows back out full time in the next week or so, there might still be scope to chip away at paddocks, even for three-hour bouts post milking.

There’s also the chance that November might be a cooler, harder month that will allow cattle to get back out again.

Where there is significant damage being done to paddocks, there is no sense in trying to continue grazing. Paddocks that were poached in the last round or any reseeds will be particularly open and should be avoided in this wet weather.

Though it’s difficult to talk about targets while stock are inside, the aim should still be to have 60-70% of the farm closed by the end of the month.

If cows have been forced in, calves or drystock should be used to correct the platform and get close to this figure. Supplementation with concentrates may be required for this type of stock as dry matter in grass is very low.


  • Grazing has been halted for the majority as torrential rain has fallen, leading to waterlogged soils.
  • Do not badly damage ground for the sake of remaining at grass. If conditions are extremely wet the best place for cattle is inside.
  • Grazing should revolve around getting set up for spring, with a target of 60-70% of the platform closed by the end of this month.
  • Where youngstock remain outside, supplementation will be required to maintain performance.
  • Farmers

    Dara Killeen – Eyrecourt, Co Galway

    Cows have been out day and night up until yesterday. Heavy rain over the past few days has forced cows indoors, but luckily we have a good bank of silage so we’re set up for the winter.

    We have changed to 10 in seven milkings for the tail end of the lactation.

    My autumn grazing target was to have 70% grazed by the end of the month. We are close enough to that now, so I don’t mind keeping cows housed for a couple of days.

    This year we set red clover. Cows are currently being supplemented with red clover silage, which we didn’t have in other years.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 3.03

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 30

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 689

    Yield (l/cow) 12.5

    Fat% 5.91

    Protein% 4.72

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.36

    Concentrates 2kg

    Caroline O’Sullivan – Teagasc Curtins, Co Cork

    Cows are out full time up to this week. We got them out for a few hours and will hopefully continue with on/off grazing for the next while. We brought them in at 11am after three hours grazing.

    They will stay in by night from now on unless weather allows us otherwise. We are grazing pre-grazing yields of 1,600kg DM/ha, so utilisation is good. Cows are also being supplemented with 4kg DM of baled silage to reduce demand.

    We don’t really follow an autumn grazing plan here. We’ll keep grazing until the average farm cover gets too low. As we are on a dry farm, so we can get to any paddock in the spring.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 2.57

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 32

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 667

    Yield (l/cow) 16

    Fat% 6.14

    Protein% 4.46

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.6

    Concentrates 4kg

    James Hoey – Dunleer, Co Louth

    We have 50% of the farm closed for spring. We sold the cull cows this week to reduce demand on grass. We will feed a bit of silage to slow down the cows and stay on track to have 70% of the platform grazed by the end of October.

    We’re grazing 12-hour allocations. We plan to be able to stay out and graze day and night for most of October. We will house cows by night in November and grazed by day. This will stretch out the last 30% of the farm.

    Growth was good last week. We plan to close at a cover of around 800kg DM/ha in early December and open at an AFC of 1,100-1,200kg DM/ha in February.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 3.2

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 37

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 901

    Yield (l/cow) 12

    Fat% 5.47

    Protein% 4.27

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.2

    Concentrates 3kg