The average growth rate this week is 42kg DM/day.

Cold weather and shorter daylight hours have started to affect growth.

Many farms have seen demand surpass growth in the last week.

This will result in the average farm cover (AFC) falling over the coming week.

Rotation planner

By now you should have almost 30% of the farm closed. By setting up an autumn rotation planner you can track your weekly progress.

It is important to keep an eye on your closing targets.

Getting between 60% and 70% of the farm grazed and closed by the end of October is vital for spring grass supply.

In a lot of cases there are still heavy covers on farms due to the higher growth rates than normal throughout September and into October. This can mean cows are slower getting through ground and hitting the target area grazed is difficult.

In this case you should graze lower covers for a period as the cows/cattle will get more area grazed in a shorter period.

Another option is to bring young stock back onto the platform.

Similarly if you are ahead of the 30% target you need to reduce demand. This can be done by increasing supplementation in the form of silage or meal or by drying off high SCC cows, cull cows or cows that are under performing.

Paddocks that are grazed from this weekend will be the first paddocks to be grazed next spring.

The target opening cover on these paddocks next spring is between 800kg DM/ha and 1,000kg DM/ha. Aim to graze paddocks that are close to the yard, dry, have good access and are easy to divide.


  • Average growth rates this week are 42kg DM/day.
  • Aim to have between 60% and 70% of the farm closed by the end of October.
  • There should be 30% of the farm grazed and closed by now.
  • If behind target area grazed graze lighter covers or reduce supplementation.
  • If ahead of target area grazed reduce demand by drying off cull, high SCC and underperforming cows or increase supplementation.
  • Paddocks grazed over the next two weeks will be the first paddocks grazed next spring.
  • David Brady – Stradone, Co Cavan

    Growth rates have dropped this week from 57kg DM/day to 45kg DM/day. We started closing paddocks two weeks ago. Pre grazing covers at the minute are 2,500kg DM/ha. Last week during the wet weather we put the cows into dryer paddocks with lighter covers. At the minute we are trying to graze paddocks suitable for early spring grazing. The target is to have a cover of 800kg DM/ha to 900kg DM/ha next spring. We have already grazed most of the wet ground. The remaining two wet paddocks will be grazed this week before the rain is due. We will avoid introducing silage to the diet for as long as possible to maintain graze outs. We plan to graze day and night until the weather turns.

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 2.7
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 45
  • Average Farm Cover (kg/ha): 1106
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 18.4
  • Fat %: 4.82
  • Protein %: 4.04
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.68
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 3.5
  • Danny Bermingham – Doonbeg, Co Clare

    Pre grazing covers are around 1,800kg DM/ha. The low dry matters lately have meant cows are getting through grass very fast. The cows are getting 5kg DM silage when they are in at milking times and the remainder of the diet is made up of 12kg DM grass and 3.2kg of meal. This weekend they will be in by night and we hope to keep grazing by day up unit the start of November weather depending. Cows are getting 12 hour allocations and graze outs have been good considering the rain we got last week. We are putting a lot of work into soil fertility and we have spread 120T of ground lime and all low K index paddocks have got 42 units of K per acre.

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 2.61
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 27
  • Average Farm Cover (kg/ha): 630
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 14.46
  • Fat %: 5.43
  • Protein %: 4.31
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.45
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 3.2
  • Denis Lahart – Kells, Co Kilkenny

    At the minute we are grazing the dry paddocks in order to have them set up for next spring. The pre grazing covers on these paddocks are 1,300kg DM/ha. However, there is a couple of 1,800kg DM/ha covers still to be grazed. We zero grazed some of an outside block lately to reduce the demand and allow the AFC to get back on track. As we are stocked high on the milking platform we target a closing cover of over 700kg DM/ha on 1 December. We are following the grass budget closely but it’s important to be flexible with the plan also. The last of the slurry went out earlier this week. We plan to spread 50 units of K per acre on the low index soils next week.

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 3.75
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 50
  • Average Farm Cover (kg/ha): 943
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 16.5
  • Fat %: 5.04
  • Protein %: 4.07
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.55
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 3.5