Overall, most farms are in a good position at the moment, growth rates are good and many farms have surplus bales taken out from the rotation to keep grass quality in check.

Over the past week there has been a lot of localised downpours, with many areas experiencing thunder and lightning.


This has made it difficult to plan out silage cutting, with the sun shining one minute, and heavy downpours the next.

With high growth rates in the last week, there seems to be a higher cover of grass every blink taken.

It is important now to keep things in line and get out and measure twice a week. Some of the higher covers on the grass wedge could be growing over 150kg DM/ha. Paddocks with covers of 1,200kg DM/ha, just coming perfect for grazing could jump to 1,700- 1,800kg DM/ha in just three or four days.

In the last three or four days, quality of grass is beginning to slip a bit.

There has to be a happy medium between grazing cows hard and not letting milk quality slide.

By staying on top of managing grass, the most efficient way to deal with grass quality is to try and keep demand as close as possible to growth.

Taking out surplus bales will increase demand and will also have good quality grass come in after grass.

Reducing meal is another option in the coming week or so, as the first month of breeding will be done on most farms.


  • Measure, measure, measure. Getting on top of grass quality is a must for the next week.
  • Test silage before cutting, as many results are showing high in N after low growth rates this spring.
  • Take out surplus bales where possible, to avoid pre-mowing or topping.
  • Don’t let the rotation length drop below 17-18 days to allow for three leaf growth.
  • Mossie Beecher of Noonan Agri, driving the New Holland FR920 silage harvester and James O' Connor in a New Holland T7 210, pick up first-cut silage for Emma Cotter, Corrin, Fermoy, Co Cork. \ Donal O' Leary

    Aidan Kenny, Cloghan, Co Offaly

    We’ve got a lot of rain now in the past week. We had thunder and lightning, and very heavy showers. Cows have done some damage to the paddocks yesterday. I had hoped on cutting silage Monday, but I’ve had to push it out now because of conditions. I’ve taken out five paddocks for bales, with covers between 1,800- 2,200kg DM/ha. Grass quality is starting to reduce, so I’m pre-mowing a couple of paddocks to correct this. I plan to pre-mow one third of the farm, cut another third for bales and leave the other third. Those paddocks will get watery slurry after cutting. I am also following cows with 20 units of urea per acre.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 4.28

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 67

    Cover per cow (kg/cow) 151

    Yield (l/cow) 26.5

    Fat% 4.26

    Protein% 3.55

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 2.06

    Concentrates 2.5kg

    Gerry McGuire, Horse and Jockey, Co Tipperary

    At the moment, I am following the cows with fertiliser, paddocks are getting 23 units of protected urea per acre. For the clover paddocks, I am just following with a round of watery slurry and half a bag of 0-7-30 per acre.

    So far, there is 86kg N/ha spread on the farm up to 1 May. We have 20% of the milking platform taken out of the rotation for surplus bales. We’ll bale that when weather allows. We are also pre-mowing another 20% to correct quality for the next round.

    Of our main cut of silage, 20% of that has been already cut for quality bales. The remaining 80% will be put into the pit before the end of May.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 4.19

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 78

    COver per cow (kg/cow) 163

    Yield (l/cow) 25.3

    Fat% 4.57

    Protein% 3.58

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 2.12

    Concentrates 1.5kg

    John Joe Collins, Teagasc Ballyhaise, Co Cavan

    Grass quality here is beginning to slip a small bit. We’re not highly stocked here, we are at 2.7 cows/ha on the milking platform. That’s giving us an opportunity now to take out surplus bales to correct grass quality again for the next rotation. We took out paddocks for bales yesterday, they were averaging about 2,000kg DM/ha. They will get slurry now to replace the P and K. We’re following the cows with about a unit of nitrogen a day now also, but with high growth rates the rotation has dropped to 18 days. The farm here is heavy so breeding only began on 20 May. We begin breeding late to try and get cows out to grass soon after calving.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha) 3

    Growth Rate (kg/day) 100

    Cover per cow (kg/cow) 187

    Yield (l/cow) 25

    Fat% 4.66

    Protein% 3.47

    Milk Solids (kg/cow) 2.1

    Concentrates 1.5kg