For a small country there is a vast difference in the grass and grazing situation from north to south and east to west at the moment.
Heavy rainfall in the west over the weekend has seen ground conditions come under pressure in the far northwest.
Parts of Donegal, Derry and Fermanagh were hit with severe rainfall causing localised flooding in some areas and putting ground conditions under severe pressure once again.
Elsewhere in the northwest while the rain was heavy, ground was able to handle it and grazing conditions remain favourable in most cases.
Further south there was a divide in the fortune of farmers with some getting badly needed rainfall while others less fortunate were bypassed once again.
Those that needed, and received the rainfall are still probably a week to 10 days away from the grazing pressure being released.
On farms where the average farm cover was maintained above 550kg DM/ha the recovery will be quicker but if the average cover is very low recovery will be slow.
For those still awaiting rainfall, Friday looks like the next chance of anything of any consequence. Where stock are being supplemented this will need to continue or where second cut silage ground is available to graze this may be the best option.
Donall Fahy – Grange, Co Meath
The dry spell led to moisture deficits of 50mm, resulting in reduced grass growth and a depletion of the farm cover. Current growth of 39 kg DM/ha is lower than demand (59 kg DM/ha unsupplemented).
To allow AFC to build, steers are being supplemented with 50% high quality surplus baled silage, giving 13 days of grass ahead. Despite supplementing with silage twice during the summer, performance is exceptional.
AAX and HF steers currently weigh 493 kg and 478 kg, respectively, with both groups achieving an average daily gain of 1.2 kg/day since turnout in March.
Second cut has been completed and will be put into the grazing rotation, reducing demand and building farm cover into the autumn, allowing for an extended grazing season.
System Dairy calf-to-beef
Soil type Variable
Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 456
Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 39
Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 34 kg
Matthew Murphy – Newford Herd, Athenry
Grass supply is adequate at the moment. Luckily we have no need for a second cut this year, such was the carryover from last winter. This means the entire farm is available for grazing.
We continue to spread 10 units/acre of urea each month, which so far is keeping enough grass ahead of stock.
Twenty eight in-calf heifers have been grazing a five acre field of a newly established multispecies sward for the last month. It was divided into four paddocks and they have spent a week in each one.
As they come to the end of the first rotation, the first paddock is fit for grazing once again.
They took maybe two days to settle into the new sward type but are now very content and they are looking really well since going onto it.
System Suckler to beef
Soil type Mostly dry
Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 481
Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 42
Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 57
Declan Marren – THRIVE Farm, Co Tipperary
The 71 finishing bullocks are on second cut silage ground to ease pressure for grass. Bringing this ground into the rotation has increased the average cover to 684kgDM/ha.
Heifers are in two batches grazing on the main platform. The farm needs rainfall but unfortunately only received 4mm last weekend.
The bullocks are averaging 496kg which is where they should be, but the heifers are behind by around 18kg, currently averaging 453kg.
Forward cattle will be divided out and started on meal at grass in the coming week. Heifers will be offered 3kg/day while bullocks will get 4kg.
The calves were dosed recently for stomach and lung worms. They continue to receive 1kg/day concentrate and are on the best grazing available.
System Dairy calf to beef
Soil type Mostly dry
Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 684
Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 37
Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 43