James King has made over 100 bales of silage so far this year from surplus grass on his farm in Ballymena, Co Antrim. He has been keeping on top of grass supply and maintaining quality through regular grass measuring and budgeting.

James' latest grass walk indicated that growth rate was 73kgDM/ha/day and average farm cover was 1,002kgDM/ha. This equates to an average cover of 216 kgDM/cow, which is slightly above the current target of 180 kgDM/cow.

However, the grass wedge for the King farm is in good shape as the demand line is matching covers in almost every paddock.


“We will mow another four acres of the heaviest cover this week as it’s a bit too strong for cows. We baled off 15 acres last week as well,” James said.

“It is hard to keep on top of grass and keep quality in the sward at this time of year, but the grass wedge gives you the confidence to take bale off covers and you know you aren’t leaving yourself short,” he added.

Last week’s surplus grass yielded around two bales per acre. Although this is a very light crop, James points out that it has quickly corrected the grass wedge, improved the quality of grazing swards and has left him with 30 bales of top-quality winter feed.

Read more in this week's Irish Farmers Journal and online.