Even at this stage of the year, it’s amazing what a few dry days will do to firm up ground. At Tullamore Show last Sunday, ground literally dried out during the day.

While conditions are still far from perfect for most, they have improved from the dreadful conditions they were in two to three weeks ago.

Growth has remained good throughout this wetter spell, which is surprising to be honest, as wetter soils are generally colder soils.

It’s an anomaly really that we saw higher levels of rainfall in July than February, but it doesn’t seem to have affected soil temperatures.

Soil temperatures are running at 1.5°C to 2.6°C above normal for the time of year and with rainfall levels below normal (for once), we should see growth at least maintain levels for the next week or so.

The hope would be that we see strong growth continue, as many farms are behind on last year’s tonnage.

Fertiliser and slurry

While growth is still good, now is the time to get fertiliser and slurry out, not just before a deadline.

Some farmers have mentioned about holding off on spreading slurry and holding it for after the closed period for fertiliser.

While I can see their reasoning, holding great quantities of slurry is a high-risk low-reward situation, especially considering that the closed period for slurry has been pulled back to 1 July.

Building cover

Nearly all farms will have to build cover and the month of August is the time to do this.

Target rotation length by 1 September should be 30 days, with a farm cover of 1,000kg to 1,1000kg DM/ha.

Mid-season lambing flocks in particular will see demand increase hugely, as they aim to hold the remaining store lambs on farm, while at the same time have good-quality swards ahead of ewes in September for flushing pre-mating.