Finally after months of waiting, it appears that the tide is turning on the horrible spring that 2024 has brought with it. There has been little to no reprieve in the weather since calving began, with the result being burnt out farmers and cows.

The weekend seems to be bringing with it a warmer and more settled period of weather, with high pressure set to dominate.

For farms that have been grazing full time for the past 10-14 days and are nicely into the second round, this may mean that the stripwire can be retired for the time and 24–36-hour grazings can return.

There can be a lot of debate around allocating 36 hours of grass as opposed to 12-hour strips, as many feel that offering fresh grass each time is key to driving production. It is near impossible to allocate an accurate amount of grass in a 12-hour strip.

Therefore, when conditions allow, a 36-paddock ensures that cows are fuller more often.

For those in heavier soils, it may mean that cows can go back out after evening milking, where they had only been getting in one grazing per day.

Depending on how the second round is looking, these heavier farms can switch between grazing first and second round covers by day and night to try to increase production as cows begin hitting peak.

For both classes of land, fertiliser applications should be brought up to date. Dry farms badly need to replenish silage stocks ahead of what is predicted to be a dry summer, while heavier farms are likely behind in growth due to a low percentage grazed.

Where there has been no fertiliser of slurry application for over two weeks, 20-30 units of N/acre should be spread.


  • Dry, settled period set to bring more normality to grazing.
  • Dry farms should switch to 24/36-hour paddocks.
  • Heavy farms should aim for two grazings per day.
  • Where there is still first-round grass to graze, cows can graze second round by day and first round by night.
  • Bring fertiliser applications up to date on all farms.
  • Farmers

    Paul Sheehan – Conna, Co Cork

    We have two first-round paddocks left in the rotation that we unfortunately can’t cut. We are strip-grazing these, with cows grazing second-round covers by day at 1,250-1,300kg, and the first-round paddocks by night.

    I’m not overly bothered having to graze this, as it is an aid to transitioning cows onto the second round and keeping fibre in the diet.

    We will be going on to 36-hour paddocks from Friday. The majority of the farm has received 60 units N/acre at this stage.

    Silage ground has received 90 units of N, with 30 units spread a month ago and an additional 60 units spread last Saturday.

    Stocking Rate (cows/ha) 3.67

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 40

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 1,025

    Yield (l/cow) 26

    Fat % 4.53

    Protein% 3.42

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 2.12

    Supplement fed (kg/cow/day) 4

    John Dwyer – Cashel, Co Tipperary

    The weather and milk yield have really picked up over the last 10 days, with cows out full time since. We spent five days going between first and second round, and for the last five we are full time onto second.

    Silage ground got slurry via the umbilical system, and we hope to spread between 50-60 units of N on it this weekend, or early next week, with a target cut date of 25 May. Silage ground had all been grazed with either youngstock or cows.

    Grazing ground is receiving 16-18 units of 20% N + 7% S. Cows are now on 24/36-hour paddocks, depending on paddock size.

    Stocking Rate (cows/ha) 3.6

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 50

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 780

    Yield (l/cow) 25

    Fat % 4.95

    Protein% 3.51

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 2.2

    Supplement fed (kg/cow/day) 3

    Noel O’Toole – Ballinasloe, Co Galway

    We started the second round on 5 April, which was probably a little too early. Ground conditions are only just okay. We are doing a slight bit of damage, but at this stage of the year we shouldn’t be talking about damage.

    Cows were on 6kg of meal and 2kg of silage, but we will be out of silage by the weekend. Palm kernel has been bought and cows will be supplemented with this in lieu of silage and for fibre.

    The home grazing block has received two rounds of chemical fertiliser and some injected slurry, and with tanks now full again, we will be going in with more slurry soon.

    Stocking Rate (cows/ha) 4.27

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 32

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 559

    Yield (l/cow) 22

    Fat % 4.82

    Protein% 3.36

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.85

    Supplement fed (kg/cow/day) 6