While some of the drier farms have managed to graze 20% of the farm to date, days at grass have been limited with some farms yet to get to grass for 2024.

For the week coming, it’s all about taking the opportunities when they come to get out grazing. For a heavier farm, it’s all about accessibility.

Identify a paddock with access from more than one point, and a cover of less than 1,000kg DM/ha.

Targeting lower covers now will help catch up on lost ground against percentage grazed in February.

With one week left in February, taking that opportunity when it comes by getting cows out for two-to-three-hour breaks could be the difference between zero and 10% grazed by the end of the month.

In one of the most labour demanding months of the year, time to get strip wires up when the opportunity comes can be a deterring factor. By setting a reel up now, all that is needed to be done is let the cows off.

A good rule of thumb when estimating intakes on a beef farm is 2% of their body weight. For example, a 300kg liveweight animal should be allocated 6kg DM per day.

In the dairy herd, cows’ intakes will be low at 8-10kg DM and increase by 1kg DM every week until they reach their peak at 16-18kg DM.

Most farms will have gotten slurry out on some paddocks to date, while very few have had the chance to pull the trigger with chemical nitrogen.

If weather conditions allow in the coming days, farmers should aim to spread 23 units N/ac (29kg N/ha) on 35-40% of the farm.


  • Get a reel setup today to prepare for grazing opportunities when they come.
  • Aim to graze paddocks with good accessibility and covers less than 1,000kg DM/ha.
  • Dairy cows should be allocated 5-6kg DM/cow depending on meal and silage.
  • Aim to follow cows with 2,500 gallons of slurry per acre and think about getting chemical N out.
  • Farmers

    Donal Patton – Teagasc Ballyhaise, Co Cavan

    We are calving later here as it’s a heavy farm. Our due date was 14 February and we have 30% of the herd calved to date.

    Yesterday was the first day we had numbers enough to get out grazing. If weather allows, we’ll continue to get out for three-to-four-hour breaks. At the moment we will just graze by day, our average farm cover is lower than usual at 820kg DM/ha, so that’s why we’re in no great rush with grazing.

    We spread 25% of the farm with slurry throughout the dry period we had in the end of February. There has been no chemical N spread so far, but we’ll aim to get out when weather allows.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) -

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 4

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 820

    Yield (l/cow) -

    Fat% -

    Protein% -

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) -

    Concentrates 3kg

    Brendan Walsh – Cahir, Co Tipperary

    We have been slow starting calving this year. Generally, we would have about 50 calved by 1 February. This year there were only 20 calved. As of today, we have 65% of the herd calved.

    Grazing is going reasonably well considering the conditions. We have 18% of the farm grazed so far in February, with an average farm cover of 904kg DM/ha. Other years we would have three or four percent grazed by now.

    Cows have been out day and night when weather allows. Today they are heading into a pre-grazing yield of 1,000kg DM/ha. We have slurry on 30% of the farm. They got 2,500gal/ac of slurry from an outdoor tank.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) -

    Growth Rate (kg/day 8

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 904

    Yield (l/cow) -

    Fat% 4.74

    Protein% 3.58

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) -

    Concentrates 2.5kg

    Bryan Daniels – Kilmoganny, Co Kilkenny

    We’re happy with how grazing is going this year but it is taking time and effort. The length of time cows can get out during the day is completely dependent on weather and ground conditions.

    In December we added extra gaps to paddocks to improve accessibility. They are all in use now and we’re using back fences so cows are never walking over the same ground twice. We have been out grazing since 19 January and have only missed one day so far.

    We are allocating 10kg DM per cow and they are probably getting an intake of 8kg DM of grass a day. With 25.6% grazed to date, cows are heading into covers of 1,500-1,600kg DM/ha.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 2.48

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 7

    Average Farm Cover (kg/ha) 788

    Yield (l/cow) 22.3

    Fat% 4.14

    Protein% 3.41

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 1.75

    Concentrates 3kg