Most farmers I have spoken to in the last week have all commented about grass quality being poor in areas of the farm. Those in the south were slow to take out the mower and clean out paddocks after grazing due to the lack of moisture and slow grass growth.
Most areas have received sufficient levels of rainfall to kick growth on once again. The forecast for the coming week looks more settled and those in the northwest will be glad to see that temperatures are set to rise as well.
Where swards have gone out of control, mowing post-grazing will reset the paddock for the next grazing. In ryegrass swards this means bringing the sward down to 4cm with the mower.
Toppers have become less popular in recent years as they struggle to cut low enough to positively affect grass regrowth quality.
Silage aftergrass is also coming back available for grazing on many farms. This should be targeted at priority stock as much as possible, as it will be the highest quality grass on the farm.
Diarmuid Murray – Ballylooby, Co Tipperary
Grass growth and quality have been poor. We had silage carried over from last winter so I decided to graze some of the second cut silage ground to relieve the pressure for a few days.
Second cut will hopefully be harvested next week. The crop is not heavy but the quality will be good.
I will spread 30 units/acre of nitrogen this week on recently grazed ground. There has been almost no fertiliser spread on the beef cattle ground for the last three weeks which is probably why quality is suffering.
I am working hard to keep quality grass in front of calves at all times. The oldest batch of calves will receive a second worm dose next week while the youngest batch will be getting their first.
System: Dairy calf to beef
Soil type : Mostly dry
Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 561
Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 52
Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 46
Shaun Diver – Tullamore Farm, Co Offaly
We had our herd TB test this week which was all clear. The mature cows are running as one batch so that the Salers bull can pick up any cows for the next 10 days.
Once the bull is removed I will separate bull and heifer calves and get them back into smaller group sizes. I started weaning the lambs this week, with the hoggets first.
They are in good condition and have done a decent job on their lambs. The rest of the ewes will be weaned next week.
The clover content of the paddocks has mproved over the last few weeks. When growth started to slow down due to the lack of moisture, the clover continued to power on. Reducing nitrogen input to these swards from mid-May onwards is also helping the clover.
System: Suckler to beef
Soil type: Variable
Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 580
Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 53
Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 48
Trevor Boland – Dromard, Co Sligo
Grass growth has improved, on one block of ground that got two bags of 18-6-12/acre two weeks ago, growth was up to 86kgDM/ha/day this week. Overall growth is meeting demand.
Grass was under pressure for a few weeks, with swards going to head even at low covers.
I have some paddocks that will need mowing to remove the stem and improve quality for the next grazing.
The cows are three weeks away from calving. The mature cows are on a bare paddock at the moment to manage conditions and calf size.
They will calve outside but I will house the heifers to have them under the camera and it will be easier to handle if needed. The first two beef heifers will be slaughtered off grass this week.
System: Suckler and beef farm
Soil type: Mostly dry
Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 665
Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 49
Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 51