On farms where stocking rates have been reduced in recent weeks or where supplementation has been introduced to slow down rotations, the wet weather over the weekend will have been a welcome sight.

Speaking to farmers in these areas this week they are all reporting the same thing – things have “greened up” significantly but there is a long road to recovery.

It is therefore important to keep stocking rates reduced and/or supplementation going for another week or 10 days at least to allow the average farm cover to build.

On farms that had let the farm cover fall below 500kgDM/ha this is going to take even longer to recover as there is very little leaf available to harness the sunlight required to get grass growing.

The problem with supplementation now is that around ringfeeders or along wire where cattle were being fed is getting sticky underfoot and this brings its own challenges.

Where farm roadways or stand-off areas are available, try to feed here as much as possible. Where cattle are close to the yard it might be worth letting them into the shed for feeding once a day if labour allows.


Shaun Diver – Tullamore Farm, Co Offaly

Thankfully the rain fell nice and steady so it had a chance to soak in. You can see the farm getting greener but there is a long way to go to recovery.

I spread 160 acres with a bag/acre of 26-2-4. I had urea but I felt that it would be best kept until next spring. Cows are still getting bales of hay to slow down the rotation, but now ground condition around the feeder is becoming a challenge so it is not ideal.

Calves are being encouraged to creep graze ahead of the cows but the bulls especially are slow to do so, despite being offered concentrate in the forward creep paddock.

After scanning this week I will wean and house culls and empty cows for finishing.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 464

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 18

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 34

Wesley Browne – Dunraymond, Co Monaghan

While we needed a bit of rain, we’ve had enough now. Ground conditions are still favourable but I wouldn’t like as much rain again in the next week.

I have about 25 days of grass. I typically house in mid-October, so we should have enough growth to see us to that.

The last of the fertiliser was spread last week. I went with a third of a bag of protected urea/acre on some of the grazed ground. I am emptying what is left in the slurry tanks before ground conditions become an issue.

Cows are in good condition and are content at the moment. I leave the calves on the cows until 1 December to manage condition ahead of calving, which starts the second week of February.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Heavy

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 661

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 40

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 36

Brian Geraghty – Dysart, Co Roscommon

We have had nearly 40mm of rain since last Friday. The farm was starting to need it, so things have freshened up since. Cover is nearly where I would want it to be at 846kg DM/ha.

Hopefully growth will kick on again and I will have plenty of grass to carry stock through autumn. The Angus heifers have started to get 1kg/day concentrate at grass.

I had stopped feeding over the summer, but with the wet weather set to return I decided to reintroduce it to keep them thriving.

The contract-rearing dairy heifers have done well over the last couple of months and after a good scan result they are due to go back to the dairy farm in October but if grass supplies allow they will stay for longer.

System Dairy calf to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 843

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 56

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 48