August always signals a change in approach to grassland management on farm, where we look to build covers to carry stock at grass deep into the autumn and early winter.

Rotation lengths should be extended to around 25 days in the coming weeks and should hit 30 days by the end of the month.

With second cut silage ground coming back available for grazing on many farms in the next fortnight or so, this will automatically lengthen the grazing rotation.

Soil moisture deficits are still quite severe in the southeast, with Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and parts of Waterford worst effected at the moment. Other parts of the south received a nice splash of rain over the course of the long weekend which will help to freshen things up.

Rain after a long period of dry will cause a higher uptake of soil nitrogen in the grass plant as they try to compensate after a period of poor growth. It therefore may be best to hold off nitrogen application for another week or 10 days in this case.

High nitrogen grass is less palatable to stock and they may become less content at pasture in the next 10 days, making cleanouts of paddocks more difficult.

In the west and northwest grass growth rates are excellent at the moment, with no lack of moisture and high temperatures. Keep an eye on grass quality and where there is still a requirement for winter forage, now may be the time to take out any surplus grass as baled silage.


Wesley Browne – Dunraymond, Co Monaghan

This is probably the best part of the entire grazing season. We have been constantly working to keep enough grass ahead of stock but now growth is ahead of demand and cattle are very content.

We had a lot of rain over the weekend but with a dry forecast for the week ahead ground conditions are just fine. I was debating whether or not to spread fertiliser and I have decided to hold off for a week and see what growth does.

I want to start building covers for autumn, but not too soon that I have to cut surplus paddocks for silage as I will have enough silage between what is in the yard and what is left to cut.

When I do spread fertiliser, it will be a third of a bag of protected urea/ac.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Heavy

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 853

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 57

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 40

Brian Geraghty – Dysart, Co Roscommon

The majority of the calves are grazing aftergrass from second cut silage at the moment, so the quality of that is very good.

Those calves are getting no meal while one batch is grazing lower quality grass, so they are getting 1kg/day concentrate.

Growth has improved this week with the arrival of moisture, there was a nice fall of rain over the weekend which was needed. I would expect the growth figure for next week to kick on and be even stronger again.

I am spreading the whole grazing platform with 27 units N/ac at the moment to boost growth and start to build covers for autumn. The grazing season this year has been quite different and in some ways challenging compared to previous years.

System Dairy calf to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 603

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 50

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 49

Ger McSweeney – Millstreet, Co Cork

Growth has been steady here at around 40kgDM/ha/day over the last three or four weeks, making management a lot easier. Some of the ground was getting a little dry but 12mm of rain over the weekend will fix that.

We had no heavy rainfall so everything that fell had time to soak into the ground.

The last of the silage will be cut at the weekend with a few paddocks fit for baling.

We will have enough winter reserves at that stage. Grazing ground has been getting a half bag of urea/ac after grazing over the last three weeks and now I hope to only use watery slurry.

Farm cover is in a nice place at the moment but I will start to increase it in the coming weeks to build for autumn.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 773

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 39

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 36