Things have made a big turnaround in the last week on farms.

Growth rates have jumped 20-30kg DM/ha around the country, which has let farmers loosen the reins a bit with grazing.

There has been a constant hum of mowers across the country, as farmers have been able to take out some surplus bales, while others have made a start on the first-cut silage that wasn’t grazed this spring. Silage ground that was grazed is still a week to 10 days on most farms.


Most farms didn’t get fertiliser out on silage ground as early as they would have liked.

With this in mind, testing silage this year will be important to make sure the nitrogen has gone from the crop. The high growth rates in the past week will help with this also.

Some farms have been running on low covers for two or three weeks in May.

The burst of growth in the last week has allowed them to get back on track and ‘loosen’ the reins a small bit.

They had been using temporary wires on 12-hour breaks, but they can return to 36-hour grazings for the foreseeable.

Walking the farm over the next week should be at the forefront.

It doesn’t take much for grass quality to go a bit haywire, and it is a cost and a labour demand to correct this with a topper.

The time taken to walk the farm will be of more value than having to top the field the following week.


  • Walk the farm this week to control covers and grass quality.
  • Some farms are still suffering for the lack of nitrogen in the spring.
  • Cut out surplus where covers are getting high.
  • Maintain cover per cow between 160-180kg DM.
  • Farmers

    Brendan Horan – Teagasc Curtins, Co Cork

    The cover per cow is slightly higher than where we would like it to be now. We’ve had good growth; it is up about 20kg DM/ha from where it was last week. Cows are on a 24-day rotation, going into 1,400kg DM/ha covers.

    We have spread about 75kg N/ha of chemical nitrogen so far this year. The plan now is to follow the cows with a bag of ASN per acre this round.

    Silage ground should be ready to cut in the next 10 days.

    It will probably be 0.5t DM/ha lighter than other years. We plan to do a fast rotation now to get on top of grass quality, as some paddocks are beginning to head out.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 3.7

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 73

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 699

    Yield (l/cow) 23.2

    Fat% 4.82

    Protein% 3.74

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.98

    Concentrates 1kg

    Michael Quigley– Nenagh, Co Tipperary

    Things are going well. Growth has been very good the last week, with some days getting over 100kg DM/ha growth. Cows are heading into covers of 1,400kg DM/ha now. Cows are cleaning out paddocks very well.

    I have a few paddocks skipped now too on the grazing platform, that I will cut with the first cut. Some of the silage ground that wasn’t grazed will be ready in the coming days, but I’ll hold off for another week or 10 days and cut it all together.

    We’re following the cows with 18-19 units of protected urea with sulphur. We haven’t been treating clover paddocks any different, as we don’t have enough of it.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 3.96

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 88

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 737

    Yield (l/cow) 26.43

    Fat% 4.49

    Protein% 376

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 2.25

    Concentrates 3kg

    James Hoey – Dunleer, Co Louth

    We are nearing the end of the third rotation now. Growth is excellent at the moment and the heavy rain that we got on Monday will drive it on again with some heat. We have three paddocks that we cut of aftergrass ready to graze, so quality should be good.

    We followed the last rotation with watery slurry, which gave it a great response for growth. The plan now is to spread 30 units of chemical nitrogen monthly on grass only paddocks and spread straight K on clover paddocks. We cut our first cut last week on outside ground that wasn’t grazed. There was a good crop of silage considering the spring we’ve had.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 4.03

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 104

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 673

    Yield (l/cow) 24.8

    Fat% 4.02

    Protein% 3.43

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.9

    Concentrates 2.5