The average growth rate for the last week was 80kg DM/ha. The forecast for the weekend is for temperatures in the low to mid-twenties with rain in some areas.
The mix of warm and wet weather is expected to see growth rates in most counties to continue on an upward trend.
The dry weather has been a great opportunity to get silage done on a lot of farms.
Wet weather in May meant many had to delay cutting for a number of weeks which meant crops were heavy but this will have had an effect on quality.
But it is early yet and there is plenty of time to get good-quality silage made on surplus paddocks or the second cut.
Targeting pre-grazing covers of 1,400kg DM/ha- 1,500kg DM/ha will ensure top quality grass remains in the animal’s diet.
Pre-grazing covers have jumped over the last number of weeks and as a result residuals have suffered.
Slow growth in April and wet weather in May meant there was very little opportunity for corrective action before now.
To correct grass quality there are a number of options.
If grass quality is poor or there is a lot of stem in a field and a surplus arises, that field should be cut for bales.
Where there is plenty of grass available and taking surplus bales is not an option, then pre-mowing or topping may be an option.
Topping must be done straight after the cows/cattle have left the paddock as after this you will hit regrowths and delay the paddock coming back into the rotation.
Continue to allocate one unit of N/day. If you are on a 21-day rotation follow the cows 21 units N/acre . If you are bulk spreading once a month spread 30 units/acre.
Breeding started here on 20 May. Our farm is situated 450-750m above sea level so we start our season a bit later than most. On day 19 there has been 87 per cent of the cows served. We have had a problem with PICA this year. The first sign of it was when cows started eating stones and plastic. I have put out salt licks to help stop it. It has been a challenging year so far and we have only had 285ml or rain to date. Growth is rising slowly. Last week we got the first cut silage done and also baled a number of surplus paddocks. Staying on top of grass quality is proving very difficult and pre-grazing covers have risen to 1,700kgDM/ha.
Brian Doheny – Tullaroan, Co Kilkenny
Poor graze outs during the wet weather in May has led to it being very difficult to achieve good graze outs on this round. I am trying to correct grass quality by taking out surplus grass for bales. Fifty acres of the milking platform is out for first cut silage and we will be over sowing clover on that when it is cut. Pre grazing covers are 1,500kg DM/ha to 1,600kg DM/ha. We are following the cows with one bag of 18-6-12 per acre. We are half way through week five of breeding. The three week submission rate for the cows was 98 per cent and 100 percent for the heifers so far we are very happy with the non-return rate.
John & Brendan Walsh – Cahir, Co Tipperary
Maintaining grass quality has been a struggle over the last couple of weeks. To try and rectify this we have cut five paddocks for bales and topped a further two paddocks. Cover per cow is currently 135kg DM/LU. We walk the farm every five days and will increase the meal if necessary. We are following the cows with 16 units of protected urea plus sulphur per acre. Our three week submission rate was 96% in the cows. The heifers were on a fixed time AI programme. Half way through week seven we have a non-return rate of 75 percent. On Monday we post emergent sprayed a reseed with a clover safe spray. It was set five weeks ago and the cows will graze this at a cover of 800kg DM/ha.
Matthew Murphy – Newford Herd, Athenry
We got 44 acres of silage cut for the pit two weeks ago. We followed that with 2,000gals of slurry/acre with the dribble bar and also spread 56 units/acre of protected urea. Grass has really taken off here in the last two weeks with close to 20 acres being mowed and baled last weekend. This was just to maintain quality ahead of the grazing groups. We are following each grazing with 38 units of protected urea and sulphur.
Breeding is going well. We are seven weeks into breeding this week and we have stopped breeding heifers. Out of 82 to first service we have had 22 repeats in the cows so far. We have the herd TB test next week and are planning to weigh all cattle next week to assess mid-season performance.
Shaun Diver – Tullamore Farm
The farm grew 82kg/DM/ha for the last seven days with our demand running at 43kg/DM/ha/day. The grazing area is currently stocked at 3.1LU/ha. We got our first-cut silage in last week and we’re happy how it bulked up.
Growth has really taken off here in the last two weeks and we are finding it really difficult to maintain quality in grazing paddocks. We have one paddock with a cover of over 3,000kg/DM/ha and that’s coming out for bales this week.
Some other paddocks have gone to seed at low covers so these will be topped to get them back to quality grazing covers. We scanned the heifers and we have half of them in-calf to AI. The bull is with the group now to make sure we get them all in-calf.
Chris McCarthy – Crookedwood, Co Westmeath
We had great growth for the last seven days, growing 93kg/DM/ha/day, the highest growth this year. Things have changed very quickly and I have taken out paddocks to keep grass quality up. We got our main crop of silage completed at the weekend and followed with 2,000gals/acre of slurry. It will get 70 units nitrogen/acre at the end of the week. We have stopped following up with fertiliser on grazing paddocks to bring growth in line with demand. We had an issue with our stock bull and we have had to resort to artificially inseminating cows for the last few weeks. While it’s extra work the cows are getting used to coming in and out of the yard relatively quickly. We started to kill under-16-month bulls and are happy with performance.