In many parts of the country cattle are beginning to get turned out to grass once again.

On most farms this means a batch of light weanlings or replacement heifers.

Ground conditions have improved greatly over the past week and while grass growth remains slow in many areas, good growth over winter means that there is a good supply of grass on most farms.

Silage ground

Farms should target grazing silage ground first as any growth over the winter months needs to be nipped off ahead of closing for a silage crop.

Teagasc research has shown that if this grass is not grazed off, it can lead to silage DMD values to be as much as 5DMD points lower due to the amount of old or decaying grass that comes in with the silage crop.


Fertiliser applications are still variable across the country with many farms yet to get out with nitrogen this spring. While there has been little growth up to this point, it is getting to a time where soil temperatures are suitable and ground conditions are good enough to spread. A rate of 25kg to 30kg nitrogen is sufficient at this time of the year to kick start grass growth.

Dwayne Stanley - Thurles, Co Tipperary

We started to get stock out to grass last Friday with 88 weanlings now grazing the silage ground. There is a good cover across the 72 acres of silage ground that needs to be eaten off prior to closing. Heavy covers prevented us from getting slurry on this ground so the plan is to follow the stock with 3,000gals/acre of slurry as they finish grazing it.

I am getting a half bag of urea/acre spread on all the grazing ground this week so that there will be a good supply of grass ready for when they finish on the silage ground. All going well, and if the weather is on our side, we will have silage ground closed by late March in order to get an early first-cut silage.

  • System: Suckler / calf to beef
  • Soil type: Variable
  • Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 977
  • Growth (kg DM/ha/day): -
  • Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 14
  • Trevor Boland - Dromard, Co Sligo

    This latest spell of dry weather has seen ground conditions improve vastly. I turned out yearling heifers last week on the home farm. Once I am confident I can keep them out they will move to the outfarm but for now they are grazing around the yard so they are close by should they need to be rehoused.

    The calves are creep-grazing out from the shed to paddocks close by and have been spending a lot more time outside in recent days.

    Protected urea is being spread this week at a half bag/acre. Last year, it was 19 March before we spread fertiliser due to the wet weather so it is good to be bringing that forward a fortnight this year.

  • System: Suckler and beef farm
  • Soil type: Variable
  • Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 442
  • Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 3
  • Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 12
  • Brian Geraghty - Dysart, Co Roscommon

    I plan to turn out the 92 yearling Angus heifers this weekend. They will be run in two batches and start by grazing the silage ground. Slurry was spread two weeks ago on low covers at a rate of 2,000gals/acre with around 40 acres covered.

    No fertiliser has been spread yet. Ground was too wet and this week has seen very cold nights. This weekend, I will spread a half bag of urea on ground that received no slurry.

    I was hoping to have calves purchased at this stage but at the current calf price I am holding off as having reared calves for the last few years I know I can’t get out of them with a profit at current prices.

  • System: Dairy calf to beef
  • Soil type: Variable
  • Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 569
  • Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 2
  • Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 0