The average growth rate this week was 52kg DM/ha.

Although growth is down on last week, it is still ahead of the 10-year average by 22kg of DM/day.

Up until the last couple of weeks weather conditions were excellent for this time of the year.

This meant graze-outs on heavy covers were very good.

However, heavy rain in parts of the country meant that grazing management has had to change in the last 10 days. By continuing to walk the farm every seven days you can assess ground conditions.

Most farms will start to close paddocks from late September to the 10 October depending on ground conditions. This means that whatever paddocks are grazed from now on should be closed to ensure there is adequate grass available for spring grazing.

Reintroducing the strip wire and going back to 12-hour grazing can help reduce surface damage and can increase utilisation in wet conditions. The biggest challenge can be working out allocations. A weekly farm walk and knowing the cover in each paddock will make it easier to divide up the area correctly.

Minimising damage at this time of the year is very important. On Dairy farms entrances and exits to paddocks have started to get messy. Using multiple access points reduces the number of times cows travel over the same ground.

Back fences should be used on both dairy and beef farms to stop cows and cattle travelling back over ground that has already been grazed. Using the autumn rotation planner will help to track the area grazed each week. The target should be to have 60 to 70 per cent of the farm grazed by the end of October and the remaining 30 to 40 per cent grazed in November.


  • Use your weekly farm walk as an opportunity to assess ground conditions.
  • Use multiple access points, strip wires and backing fences to reduce the number of times cows/cattle travel over the same ground.
  • Start closing paddocks now with a target to have 60 to 70 per cent of the farm closed by the end of October.
  • If your AFC is below target reduce demand by increasing supplementation in the form of meal or silage and make the most of higher than normal growth rates to get back on track.
  • Barry Reilly – Teagasc Ballyhaise

    Pre-grazing covers at the minute are 2,500kg DM/ha. Graze outs are still good and residuals are around 4.5cm. Grass allocation at the minute is around 14kg DM of grass per cow per day with three kg on meal being fed at milking. We have 20% of the farm closed so far. At the minute the cows are grazing paddocks that are capable of carrying heavy covers over the winter. In the next few days the cows will graze the paddocks that will be first to be grazed next February. We are staying away from the clover paddocks. The plan is to graze these paddocks last as to avoid carrying heavy covers over the winter. We vaccinated all of the cows for salmonella last week.

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 2.5
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 60
  • Average Farm Cover (kg/ha): 1300
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 16.3
  • Fat %: 5.11
  • Protein %: 3.98
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.53
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 3
  • Michael Kavanagh – Gorey, Co Wexford

    Weather conditions and growth throughout the month of September were excellent which allowed us to build grass. As we are highly stocked on the milking platform we introduced silage to the diet during September in order to hit the target peak AFC. We have fed around 2.5kg DM of silage per cow per day since. The cows are grazing 1,700kg DM/ha covers and graze outs have been excellent up now. We started closing paddocks here from the 28 of September. We start to close early as the farm is relatively dry which means we can usually get cows out in February. The demand is high in spring as we have a very tight calving pattern with over 80 percent calving in six weeks.

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 3.67
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 48
  • Average Farm Cover (kg/ha): 1136
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 18.5
  • Fat %: 4.2
  • Protein %: 3.67
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.5
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 3
  • Caroline O’Sullivan – Teagasc Curtins

    The AFC on the grass only swards is 1,191kg DM/ha. The cover per cow is around 570kg DM/LU this is higher than we would like but the in calf heifers are due back next week which will increase the stocking rate. Pre grazing covers are between 2,000kg DM/ha and 2,200kg DM/ha. As conditions have been good we have not gone back to 12 hour allocations yet. There is a strip wire put up roughly half way up the paddock. This stops the cows going through the whole paddock in the first grazing. The wire is taken down for the second and third grazing. We vaccinated the cows for salmonella last week and we will vaccinate the heifers for salmonella when they arrive back.

  • Stocking Rate (cows/ha): 2.1
  • Growth Rate (Kg/day): 45
  • Average Farm Cover (kg/ha): 1191
  • Yield (L/cow/day): 15.5
  • Fat %: 5.44
  • Protein %: 4.31
  • Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.56
  • Supplement fed (kg/cow/day): 1