As most cows and cattle have been housed for the winter, many farmers have recorded their last grass measurement of the year. The average growth rate this week was 12kg DM/ha.

Once you have done a closing farm cover, you should take the time to assess the farm's performance in 2021 by looking at the reports section on Pasturebase Ireland (PBI).

Reports such as the annual tonnage report and the farm summary report are an excellent round-up of all the information recorded on PBI throughout the year.

That said, the information on the reports is only as accurate as the information recorded throughout the year.

Grazing infrastructure

As many dairy farms are down to the last few rows of cows to be dried off, it is a great opportunity to assess grazing infrastructure and make improvements to help get more days at grass in spring 2022.

Temporary fencing is key to spring grazing management.

This time of the year is a good opportunity for doing maintenance work on farm roadways. Ensuring there is a smooth surface is essential.

During the year, with cows, tractors and other machinery, the surface can be disturbed, exposing sharp stones.

Resurfacing areas like this now gives the material time to bed in while there is minimal traffic.

There can often be a build-up of sediment on the sides of the roadway which can cause it to hold water.

By removing this build-up, the roadway will drain better, keeping it dry, which will help to preserve the surface for longer.

Paddock accessibility should also be assessed during roadway improvements.

Grass covers.

Try to add entrances and exits to paddocks with limited accessibility if possible. Having multiple access points will reduce the number of times cows will have to travel over the same ground.

Ensuring there is enough temporary fence reels and posts will allow you to create temporary spur roadways, back fence and strip graze cows while minimising damage next spring.