The growth rate over the last week was 39kg DM/day.

Although growth rates are slipping over the last number of weeks they are still 18kg DM/day ahead of the 10-year average for this time of the year.

Grass dry matter (DM) percentages are now in the low teens.

This week a figure of 13% DM was recorded on a number of research farms across the country.

When the DM is low cows and cattle will eat more grass in order to hit their DM intake requirements. This can result in the average farm cover falling rapidly.

Rotation planner

The autumn rotation planner can be used to avoid running out of grass before the planned housing date. The planner divides the total grazing area into daily allocations.

The main aim of the autumn rotation planner is to have 60%-70% of the farm grazed and closed by the end of October.

In cases where AFC is dropping faster than expected supplementation in the form of meal and silage will fill the deficit and ensure cows and cattle are hitting their DM intake requirements.

Using a 12-hour strip wire will restrict cows and cattle and stop them getting through grass too fast.

Higher than normal growth rates this autumn has resulted in some farms having very high covers.

Behind target

These high covers are taking longer to get through and some farmers are falling behind target.

One option is to graze some lighter covers during wet days in order to get good graze outs and get area grazed.

It is important to remember that the paddocks grazed over the next week will be the first paddocks grazed next spring. By grazing dry paddocks that are close to the yard with multiple access points now you can simplify getting cows out to grass next spring

Sward watch

  • Average growth this week was 39kg DM/ha.
  • Grass dry matter is around 13% across the country.
  • Walking the farm every seven days will allow you to assess grass growth and ground conditions.
  • Target getting 60% to 70% of the farm grazed and closed by the end of October.
  • If behind target, get cows to graze lighter covers in order to increase the area grazed.
  • Paddocks grazed over the next week will be the first paddocks grazed next spring.
  • Caroline O’Sullivan – Teagasc Curtins

    On the grass only swards the average farm cover is 847kg DM/ha. The cows are currently grazing covers around 2,200kg DM/ha. Graze outs have been good as we have started using 12 hour allocations and residuals are 4.2cm. The 51 in calf heifers came back from contract rearing 10 days ago and that caused our SR to increase and the AFC to decrease. The heifers will be brought in over the next week in order to keep as much grass available for the cows as possible. We have not dried off any cows yet and we plan to milk the empty cows until December. We started closing paddocks on 7 October and we are targeting a closing cover of 650kg DM/ha on 1 December.

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 2.73
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 32
  • Average Farm Cover (kg/ha): 847
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 14
  • Fat %: 5.39
  • Protein %: 4.33
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.4
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 1
  • Gerry McGuire – Horse and Jockey, Co Tipperary

    Growth rates have slowed over the last two weeks. This week we are growing 39kg DM/ha and the demand is 44kg DM/ha so AFC is falling. We have been feeding high quality baled silage over the last 10 days in order to reduce demand. While feeding silage we grazed lighter covers around 1,600kg DM/ha. We find it is easier to maintain good graze outs on lighter covers when feeding silage. There are still a number of heavier covers that we hope to get the cows into over the weekend. We will restrict the silage when going back into these heavy covers. The in calf heifers are due back this week from the contract rearer and they will graze the out block before being housed.

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 3.36
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 39
  • Average Farm Cover (kg/ha): 853
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 16
  • Fat %: 5.63
  • Protein %: 4.38
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.65
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 3