Grass growth across the country was steady again this week with an average growth rate of 64kg DM/ha.

Pre-grazing covers on farms are starting to rise but on many farms they are still on the low side.

The jump in growth over the last couple of weeks has meant a lot of paddocks are coming back at the same stage.

Although grass supply is OK on most farms cows and cattle are getting through light covers faster than you would like.

Grass budget

As we face into building covers, now is the time to do a grass budget to ensure you have enough grass to keep cows and cattle out on grass for as long as possible.

Between 15 August and 15 September is probably the last period in most years where growth is higher than demand which allows you to build grass.

Setting up a grass budget on PastureBase allows you to predict average farm cover (AFC) between now and when you close the farm and cows and cattle are fully housed.

By predicting growth rates you can adjust the demand by increasing or decreasing supplementation.

Each week you can compare how your actual growth and AFC are compared to the predicted figures on the plan. Like any plan flexibility is key. Monitor weekly and make changes early.


August has often been referred to as the “clean-out” month. While we build covers in August it is important to focus on clean-outs to ensure grass quality is high for the remainder of the grazing season.

As pre-grazing covers are low on most farms at the minute and grazing conditions are excellent it is a great opportunity to hit residuals of 3.5cm to 4cm.


  • Target C/LU for mid August is 200Kg DM/LU on farms stocked at 2.5LU/ha, 250kg DM/LU on farms stocked at 3LU/ha, 220kg DM/LU on farms stocked at 3.5LU/ha.
  • Now is the time to go with the second-last application of N if you have not done so already. Spread 21-25 units of N per acre.
  • Early N application in September gives a better return when compared with applications in mid September. Target to spread the last round at 25-30 units of N per acre.
  • Caroline O’Sullivan – Teagasc Curtins

    On Monday we cut a couple of paddocks for bales to drop the AFC to 766 and C/LU to 332. We are still ahead of target given our stocking rate but there are very few covers over 1,300kg DM/ha so we will reassess next week and see if we need to cut more. The growth rate over the last week has been poor with the grass only swards growing 35kg DM/ha, the grass plus clover swards growing 40kg DM/ha and the multispecies swards growing 41kg DM/ha. The grass only swards are getting 30units of N per acer after each grazing. The clover and multispecies has not had any fertiliser only soiled water since May. The plan is to spread 25-30 units of N per acre on these in about 10 days.

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 2.31
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 35
  • Cover/LU (kg/lu): 332
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 16.5
  • Fat %: 4.89
  • Protein %: 3.87
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.49
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 1
  • TJ Ryan – Rossmore, Co Tipperary

    Grass growth has been excellent over the last couple of weeks. Our average farm cover is 1,004kg DM/ha at the moment and that is as high as we will let it go as we are part of the heavy soils programme and if things get wet we struggle to graze out heavy covers. Pre grazing covers are around 1,600kg DM/ha. Up to now we have been following the cows with at 20 units per acre. At the end of the month or the first week in September we will blanket spread the whole farm with 35-40 units of N per acre. Breeding finished almost four weeks ago and we will scan next week. We will sell any empty cows to help reduce the stocking rate

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 3.5
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 87
  • Cover/LU (kg/lu): 284
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 22
  • Fat %: 4.42
  • Protein %: 3.56
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.81
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 2
  • Cathal Mc Aleer – Omagh, Co Tyrone

    From Sunday to Thursday last week we had 90ml of rain which made ground conditions very difficult for a few days. The cooler weather this week has slowed the rising growth rates. We plan to peak our AFC at 1,200kg DM/ha by 25 September. Pre grazing covers are around 1,600kg DM/ha. We have held the meal at 3 kg as we are stocked high and want to slow the cows down a little. This year we have reduced the amount of compound fertiliser we buy and made a big effort to target slurry on low index paddocks. We soil sample every year and this we show us how the slurry is working. We will go with our last application of N at 30 units per acre in early September.

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 3.93
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 65
  • Cover/LU (kg/lu): 195
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 21.5
  • Fat %: 4.41
  • Protein %: 3.59
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.77
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 3