The average growth rate for farms across the country on PastureBase Ireland was 57kg DM/ha for the last seven days.

Increased temperatures and widespread rain over the last week have helped increase growth.

But in saying that, heavy rain in the south has hampered grazing conditions and cold overnight temperatures continue to affect growth in the north.

On many farms demand was reduced to match growth over the last month or more.

From now on, as growth increases demand should also be increased.

Remove silage from the diet as soon as possible. Reduce the level of concentrates being fed in order to maximise grass intake.

Remember 1kg of grass grown and utilised will cost between 5c and 7c, whereas every kg of concentrates fed will cost from 25c to 35c per kg.

React quickly to surplus grass and remove heavy covers above 1,700kg DM/ha where cover/LU is greater than 200kg DM/LU.

Targeting a pre-grazing cover of 1,400 to 1,500kg DM/ha will ensure cows and cattle continue to graze good-quality grass. A lot of dairy farms will have hit peak by now and the challenge will be to hold this for as long as possible. Grass quality will play a vital role here.

On beef farms, multiple groups of stock can make managing grass at this time of the year very difficult. Where possible, join groups to increase grazing power. This will reduce the time spent in each paddock and minimise the effect on regrowths.


  • Walk the farm every five days and react quickly to surplus grass.
  • On dairy farms, target a cover/LU of 160 to 170kg DM/LU.
  • On beef farms, target having 12 to 15 days ahead.
  • Rotation length on both dairy and beef farms should be 18 to 21 days at this stage.
  • Keep the focus on grass quality and target a pre-grazing cover of 1,400 to 1,500kg DM/ha.
  • Dairy Farmers

    Brian Ronayne – Dungourney, Co Cork

    Growth is only slightly up from last week. Demand is 57kg DM/ha. Pre-grazing covers are around 1,450kg DM/ha and graze-outs have been excellent. Unlike other years, we have no surplus bales taken yet. Our main cut of silage is ready to go and we are just waiting for a break in the weather. As of day 14 of the breeding season we had 60% of the herd submitted having started on 4 May. We are following the cows with 22.5 units of nitrogen and 6 units of sulphur per acre. We will be reseeding in the next week using an Abergain, Aberchoice and Ballyvoy plus clover mix.

  • Stocking rate (cows/ha): 4.36
  • Growth rate (Kg/day): 60
  • Cover/LU (kg/lu): 172
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 23.25
  • Fat %: 4.34
  • Protein %: 3.86
  • Milk solids (kg/cow): 1.96
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 3.5
  • Jim Garry – Ballynacally, Co Clare

    We have been matching demand to growth for the last few weeks in order to hold grass covers. Three weeks ago we took out 3ha for surplus bales as the cover/LU was at 240kg DM/LU. The main cut of silage is ready to go and will be done when the conditions allow, last year we got it in on 14 May. Pre-grazing covers are 1,200kgDM/ha. We started breeding on 27 April and had 86% submitted in 21 days. Our stocking rate is lower than usual as this is our first year getting our heifers contract-reared. We have just reseeded 3ha. Last week we over-sowed last year’s reseed with clover.

  • Stocking rate (cows/ha): 3.27
  • Growth rate (Kg/day): 57
  • Cover/LU (kg/lu): 191
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 27
  • Fat %: 4.19
  • Protein %: 3.52
  • Milk solids (kg/cow): 2.12
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 2.5
  • Denis Lahart – Kells, Kilkenny

    Breeding has been going well and we have 92% submitted after 23 days. On Thursday we will scan any non-cyclers and treat them accordingly. We have a few surplus bales taken off. I held the cover/LU above 200kg DM/LU for a number of weeks and this avoided having to feed extra concentrates. I am pre-mowing some heavier covers when the weather allows and following with 2,000gal watery slurry per acre. Grazed ground is getting 1,000gal of watery slurry per acre. All slurry is going out with the trailing shoe. Along with the slurry, I am following the cows with 22 units of nitrogen per acre.

  • Stocking rate (cows/ha): 4.26
  • Growth rate (Kg/day): 61
  • Cover/LU (kg/lu): 178
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 27.5
  • Fat %: 4.28
  • Protein %: 3.64
  • Milk solids (kg/cow): 2.24
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 2.5
  • Beef Farmers

    Declan Marren – THRIVE demonstration farm, Cashel, Co Tipperary

    Grass growth continues to meet demand on the farm. However, since the moisture arrived about 10 days ago, clean outs have not been as good. There has probably been a big uptake of the nitrogen that was in the ground and cattle are not as content at grass. Heavy rainfall over the last few days has also seen the yearling stock starting to blacken paddocks and they are having to move on a day earlier than we would like. Silage ground is ready for cutting, it is a case of waiting for a few dry days in succession at the moment. Hopefully towards the end of next week there will be a window of opportunity.

  • System: Dairy calf to beef
  • Soil type: Mostly dry
  • Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 962
  • Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 45
  • Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 43
  • Dwayne Stanley – Thurles, Co Tipperary

    Growth has been slow by all accounts but we have seen an improvement over the last few days I would say with the milder weather. Up to the arrival of the rain about two weeks ago grazing conditions were excellent and while growth was slow, cattle were content at grass. The heavy rainfall has seen us moving stock on to new paddocks 12 or 24 hours sooner than usual as they are starting to dirty the grass. I am currently weaning the autumn herd by removing five cows from the batch at a time and leaving the calves with the group. The cows are housed for a few days and then they will be used to mop up after the spring calving herd.

  • System: Suckler/calf to beef
  • Soil type: Variable
  • Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 965
  • Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 48
  • Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 44
  • Shaun Diver – Tullamore Farm, Co Offaly

    The farm has had some rainfall but nothing excessive. Whatever fell was badly needed. We had an explosion of grass once the moisture came, with 90kgDM/ha/day grown last week. Grass supply is just right at the moment. There are no surpluses yet but I’m not worried about running out of grass anymore. Breeding is progressing well, with 65 cows served at this point. Of the 39 heifers, 35 were served with AI over a three-week period and the stock bull is out to clean up for around six weeks. The lambs were in last week for their first dose, clostridial vaccination and flystrike treatment and I am very pleased with how they have done since birth.

  • System: Suckler to beef
  • Soil type: Variable
  • Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 793
  • Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 90
  • Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 46