For the past three weeks most of the country has experienced rapid grass growth and now as a result we are reaping the rewards of the success, or failure, of our grassland management over this period.

On farms that were skipping paddocks and taking out covers that were gone too strong for grazing on a regular basis, grass supply and grazing quality remains favourable.

However, on farms where heavy covers were grazed and the grazing rotation was slowed down, grazing quality is now becoming an issue.

As well as this, because the heavy covers were grazed, which results in poorer graze-outs, they are slower to come back so farmers are now forced to make stock graze the remaining heavier covers of poorer quality at this stage.

This is the main reason for growth rates reducing over the past week, however cold night time temperatures is likely to have some effect, although soil temperatures remain favourable.

On these farms it is now a case of getting through the remaining heavy covers until there is sufficient regrowth on the recovering paddocks. Where supply is really tight, silage headlands will offer a few days grazing post-harvest.

Diarmuid Murray – Knockcroghery, Co Roscommon

Grazing quality has taken a hit over the last few days. I made a mistake in leaving a couple of paddocks that couldn’t be mown to the end of the rotation and now the cattle are working through heavier covers than I would like.

First cut silage was made last weekend and we did cut three paddocks that were too strong for grazing. Silage crops were heavy and quality should be very good.

Regrowth on grazed ground seems to have slowed considerably this week. I will cover everything that has been grazed recently with a half bag of urea in the coming days to boost growth rates once again.

More than half of the calves are weaned, with another quarter starting to have their milk feed reduced.

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

Declan Marren – THRIVE Farm, Co Tipperary

Growth has slowed but the farm is still growing in excess of demand. Grazing quality is good, with paddocks that went too strong skipped and cut for silage.

On one or two paddocks where heavier covers of 1,900kgDM/ha were grazed, regrowth is poorer compared to paddocks grazed with lighter covers. The target is to graze covers between 1,400kgDM/ha and 1,600kgDM/ha as much as possible.

Calves are eating very little grass so they are followed with yearlings to clean out paddocks sufficiently.

The main first cut of silage was completed last weekend yielding 10 bales/ac. Most of the slurry was spread in spring. However, the remainder has now been spread on ground cut for silage.

System Dairy calf to beef

Soil type Mostly dry

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 881

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 66

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 41

Dwayne Stanley – Thurles, Co Tipperary

Seventy five acres of first cut silage were harvested this week. The crops were heavier than the last two years at similar harvest dates and this year I applied 15 units/ac of N less due to being about 10 days later getting out with fertiliser.

On the grazing ground there is plenty of grass, it received two bags of 18-6-12 in late March and early April. I have 137 bales from surplus grazing. I will need to go again in the coming days however, as I see regrowth slowing and even the colour in the grass is not the same.

Breeding for the spring herd is in full swing with two stock bulls out with 54 cows. I am gradually moving more to autumn calving with 72 cows to calve from 2 August onwards.

System Suckler / calf to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 1052

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 87

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 50