A decent week of weather has given a welcome boost to the end of the grazing season for many farms.
While growth in the west and on wetter soils has slowed in the last 10 days, at least farmers are able to keep stock out to graze the grass that is still on farm.
Looking at the average grass growth rates for the country there is a clear difference between east and west.
Growth rates on drier soils have been holding up quite well thanks to higher temperatures in recent days. Average soil temperatures actually increased by 1 degree last week which is unusual for the time of year but should mean that there is still quite a bit of growth potential over the coming weeks where ground conditions are favourable.
The weather over the last seven days has really helped me keep stock out at grass. Things were just starting to get tricky and had we got another day or two of heavy rain housing would have been the only option.
The finishing heifers are on the final stretch, I hope to start drafting them for slaughter in the next week. They have done very well over the last few weeks and are fleshing up nicely at this stage. They had been getting 5kg of meal at grass for a few weeks and I increased this to 6kg during the bad weather.
The weanlings are on 1kg of concentrate at grass and all going well, I have enough grass for another two weeks as long as ground conditions allow.
There is no doubt that we get more growth in the autumn of the year than we used to. There is great heat in the ground at the moment and growth is powering on. Weaning has just started on the farm with the oldest batch of bull calves. I brought both cows and calves in for weaning and put the cows on straw as they were still milking quite well and I felt there is too much feeding in the grass at the moment, even if I was to tighten them up as much as possible. The calves went back out after 48 hours. I would be hopeful to get another month at grass with the calves all going well. Next week I will wean the oldest batch of the heifer calves.
Ground conditions have vastly improved over the last week, it has really made a difference to the rate at which cattle are going thought grass. Grass dry matter has improved greatly and cattle are more content.
I had moved cattle off the wetter parts of the farm during the poor spell of weather and made the decision that this ground would have to be grazed by the ewes. This is still the plan of action but the good weather has left more options available.
The batch of 24 in-calf heifers that are to be sold in Roscrea on 27 October remain at grass while weaning is almost complete at this stage with only nine calves left to go. This weekend will also see the rams turned out to the ewes for breeding.