If February was a dream month for grazing, March has been a bit of a disaster. It’s not all bad and it certainly could be worse – don’t forget the Beast from the East in 2018 - but it’s still difficult.

At this stage, most farmers who have been able to get cows out for most days are nearing the end of the first grazing rotation.

Most will be comfortable starting the second round sometime between 1 and 10 April. When to start really depends on how much grass is available on the first grazed paddocks – ideally these should be at around 1,200kg DM/ha when grazed.

These paddocks are probably going to grow between 30kg and 40kg per day for the next two weeks so if there is a cover of 800kg/ha on them now, there will be around 1,050kg on them in seven days’ time.

Second round

Paddocks with a cover of 1,000kg/ha on them now will have a cover of 1,250kg/ha by this day next week, so really there would want to be a cover of 1,000kg on these paddocks now to be able to start the second round next week.

The other considerations are to do with average farm cover and herd demand for grass. The average farm cover should not drop below 500kg/ha – if it does, growth rates will be impacted.

Farms with a high stocking rate and therefore a high demand for grass may need to delay the start of the second rotation, or at least slow it down until grass growth is greater than demand when average farm cover is at 500kg/ha.