For those who went to the Ploughing this week and saw how mucky and blackened the car parks and site were, it was probably a welcome reprieve to get back to seeing green at home.

However, while conditions might not be quite as bad, the rain has caused a massive deterioration in grazing conditions.

Farmers on drier ground are operating relatively normally for the time of year, splitting paddocks and back fencing to try get heavier covers grazed off while avoiding poaching.

In some extreme cases, farmers have been forced to temporarily house stock.

High rainfall amounts

Rainfall for the past week has been between one and half to over four times the normal level for the time of year.

Good growth over the past number of weeks led to heavy covers of grass building up. Even now, many farms will be growing in excess of their demand, though the waterlogging of soils might turn down the dial on growth figures for the coming week.

Damage limitation is the name of the game, but with heavy covers, it’s very hard to hold utilisation without causing some level of damage.

If we were into our final rotation, the threshold for the level of damage could be a bit higher, but if we want grass and ground to be trafficable for the last round, care needs to be taken.


When allocating blocks of grass, we are allocating on tonnes of dry matter in the area. A heavier cover of grass (2,000kg DM/ha or more) will result in a smaller area given than a lower cover (1,300kg to 1,600kg DM/ha).

Farmers often begin by splitting cattle into smaller groups when wet weather hits, but a better option is to keep cattle together and drop the pre-grazing yield.

By doing this, you are giving a larger area in the hope that less poaching will be done. Allocating the correct amount of feed should also hopefully achieve better graze-outs.

Grass dry matter has also dropped to 12% to 13%, so any farmers finishing cattle or sheep will likely have to supplement with concentrates.

Meal troughs should be moved daily to avoid poaching or, alternatively, stock can be fed in a nearby yard or roadway.