Over the weekend and so far this week rain has been recorded in most areas.
This will be a relief for many farmers who have seen growth fall since early to mid-June as conditions became dry.
Since then, a soil moisture deficit particularly in the midlands and the east has seen growth fall below demand.
As a result of this, many farmers have had to reduce demand in order to keep some level of grass in the diet and to avoid running short.
For many it was a matter of lifting concentrate supplementation in the parlour. For those on drier ground, silage was also introduced.
While growth is expected to rise thanks to the rain it is important not to reduce supplementation too fast.
Walk the farm every five days and monitor growth.
Once average farm cover has recovered and is between 160kg DM/LU and 180kg DM/LU start to reduce supplementation and increase demand in line with growth.
Following the dry weather there will be a release of background nitrogen which will help to drive growth.
For this reason there is no major panic on getting bagged fertiliser out if you stopped spreading during this period.
For others who continued to follow cows and cattle with nitrogen during the dry spell this will still be present so it is not necessary to top it up straight away.
Although conditions are perfect for growth, farms with a low average farm cover below 500kg DM/ha should allow for a lag period where growth will take some time to recover.
Caroline O’Sullivan – Teagasc Curtins Cork
Growth has been slow over the last couple of weeks but the rain this week will be a big help. Our AFC is low at 471kg DM/ha but our C/LU was 225kg DM/LU before we took out two paddocks for silage. The cows are grazing covers of 1000 kg DM/ha. There is a lot of paddocks at a cover of between 500kg DM/ha and 600kg DM/ha. To help reduce demand last week we upped the concentrate to 3kg and fed 7kg of silage for a few days. Once the rain arrived we removed the silage and reduced concentrates to 2kg. Stocking rate has reduced greatly as all ground is back in the rotation including reseeded ground which has taken the pressure off.
Andrew Gow – Murroe, Co Limerick
In order to reduce demand during the dry weather we increased soya hulls in the parlour to 4kg. We will reduce this as growth improves which we are expecting to happen by the end of the week. Between Sunday and Monday 35mm of rain fell and we expect more to come throughout the rest of the week. Over the last two weeks the whole farm has got 25 units of Nitrogen per acre in the form of protected urea. On Tuesday we over sowed 15 acres of ground with 2kg of clover per acre. After sowing it got 2,500 gallons of watery slurry and the cows will graze the paddock again at a cover of 800kg DM/ha in order to give the clover a chance to establish.
Eamon Fagan – Glasson, Co Westmeath
Growth rates have fallen steady since the second week in June. As growth rates fell we reduced demand by increasing concentrates to 4kg and also fed 2kg of silage for a few days. Between Saturday and Tuesday this week we had 34mm of rain. I plan to drop the concentrates back by Friday depending on how quickly the growth comes. We continued to follow the cows with 20 units of nitrogen per acre after each grazing over the last month. From now on we will be going with 24 units of nitrogen per acre after each grazing. We will continue breeding until 25 July. Having done two early scans we have a 53% conception to first serve with sexed seamen.