While there has been some moisture in the East and South East, ground conditions remain favourable while in the West and North West, heavy and persistent rainfall is making grazing conditions tricky on heavier land types.

In the far North-West of the country some farmers have even been forced to re-house cattle for a short period to avoid excessive poaching whereas in most cases farmers are getting away with grazing drier parts of the farm and moving cattle more often.

This results in swards not being grazed out sufficiently though and could lead to poorer grass quality in the next grazing rotation. It will be more difficult to graze out these swards the next time as the stem of the grass plant will have started to rise.

On ground where conditions are favourable therefore, it is important to graze out paddocks sufficiently this round, down to below 4cm in ryegrass swards, to maintain quality for the next few weeks.

Grass growth remains very favourable, even in areas with high rainfall. This means there are surpluses of grass building on every farm. Avoid the temptation to graze heavy covers over the next few weeks where possible.

There is a risk when taking out a large proportion of the grazing platform as bales that it will leave you short of grass in three weeks’ time. This is especially true where no nitrogen is being applied.

Ideally at least some of the ground cut for surplus silage should be getting a low level of nitrogen to boost regrowth. Also remember that making silage will have a larger offtake of P and K than if the ground was grazed and so this will need to be replaced either as compound fertiliser or slurry.

Shaun Diver –Tullamore Farm, Co Offaly

Growth remains positive. Showers, but not excessive rainfall means ground conditions are favourable. Two paddocks were baled last week as they had gone too strong for grazing.

There will be more to come out but I hope that they will be able to come in with the 60 acres of first cut silage early next week. I’d like a few days of sun before cutting to raise the sugar levels in the grass.

All the lambs were weighed last week for their 40-day weights. They show an average liveweight gain of 320g/day since birth. At the same time lambs received their clostridial vaccination and were run through the footbath.

We weighed the bulls last week, they averaged 608kg having done 1.54kg/day since March.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 971

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 71

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 49

Trevor Boland – Dromard, Co Sligo

There have been three weeks of really high grass growth here which has seen a number of paddocks being closed for silage to keep grazing quality under control.

I think when I walk the farm next week however, growth will be a good bit lower. It has been cooler this week and with seed heads trying to emerge, growth rates will decline.

First cut silage was mown on Wednesday and will be baled on either Friday or Saturday. The weather is a bit broken but the weekend looks dry so it should be fine.

Earlier in the month I had 30 acres of grazing ground oversown with clover after a tight grazing. If grass growth allows, these paddocks won’t receive any further chemical nitrogen this year.

System Suckler and beef farm

Soil type Mostly dry

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 806

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 99

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 61

Matthew Murphy – Newford Herd, Athenry

We hope to harvest first cut silage this weekend with some surplus paddocks to come out as well. There will be 55 acres for the pit, with 16 acres on the outfarm to be baled. There have been 150 bales of surplus grazing already made this season.

Five acres were reseeded with a multispecies sward mix in recent weeks containing two grasses, two clovers, plantain and chicory. Six acres of grazing ground was oversown with clover using an airseeder after a tight grazing.

The hope is to reduce chemical nitrogen on this ground for the rest of the year.

All cows and heifers have now been served at least once, with 93% of cows submitted within the first three weeks. Repeat activity seems low so far.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Mostly dry

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 750

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 70

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 57