The average growth rate over the last seven days was 66kg DM/ha, which is an increase of just 9kg DM/ha per day from last week.

Continued heavy rain this week across the country left some farmers with no choice but to rehouse cows/cattle.

On other farms, spur roadways and temporary fences were reintroduced in order to keep grass in the diet but minimise damage to waterlogged soils.

Good forecast

Looking forward to this weekend, there is good news in the forecast as the rain is to ease off with temperatures expected to rise.

This improvement in the weather will present an opportunity to cut silage.

Surplus paddocks should be cut as soon as possible in order to get them back into the rotation and growing again.

The cutting date for the main cut of silage will depend on yield, grass demand on the milking platform and the target quality.


Keep in mind that for each day after the seed head emerges, dry matter digestibility (DMD) will fall by half a percent.

As the weather improves so too will growth rates.

Surplus grass will build very fast so it is important to be proactive and remove these surpluses sooner rather than later.

You should now be on a rotation length of 18 to 21 days.

Sward Watch

  • Target average farm cover should be between 150 and 180kg/cow on dairy farms.
  • Target 12-14 days ahead on beef farms.
  • Remove surplus grass from the wedge at the first opportunity.
  • Nitrogen applications should be kept to one unit per day so 20 units of nitrogen per acre is ideal on most farms.
  • Sulphur is also very important at this time of the year. Target getting one unit of sulphur out for every 10 units of nitrogen spread.
  • Fergal Coughlan

    Clonakilty Ag College

    On the clover 150kg N/ha grazing has been difficult the past week with high rainfall. We have surplus paddocks that need to be cut as we need to have them back in the rotation for 18-20 days time. We are spreading 10 units N/acre after grazing in the form of protected urea. When conditions allow we are also applying dirty water/ dilute slurry. We are in week five of breeding 201 out of 206 cows have been served with the remaining five due this week. Vasectomised bulls have been out since week four. I will continue to AI for another week and then the HE and AA bulls will be left off with the cows. This week we reduced concentrate feed to one kilo from three kilos.

    Michael Fagan

    Glasson, Co Westmeath

    The poor weather over the last ten days has made ground conditions tough. Cows have gone back two litres each on average in the last week. We had three weeks breeding done last Saturday and hit a submission rate of 95%. There has been a small number of repeats this week but its too early to comment yet. Despite the rain growth has improved. We are following the cows with a bag of 27N 2.5P and 5K. We are on an A B C robotic grazing system and Pre grazing covers are between 1,200kg DM/ha and 1,450kg DM/ha. Last week we cut a couple of surplus paddocks for bales. We are waiting for the weather to improve before we do our first cut.

    David O’Leary

    Castleisland, Co Kerry

    Rainfall over the last 10 days has left 30% of the farm ungrazeable. To reduce demand we put the cows in by night for seven nights and zero-grazed 5ac of silage ground that was at a cover of 1,800kg DM/ha. When the wet ground is taken out of the equation C/LU goes from 203kg DM/LU to 145kg DM/LU. Stocking rate (SR) jumps from 3.98 LU/ha to 5.3 LU/ha with the wet ground out.

    Cows will hopefully get back into this ground soon if the weather improves. We were following the cows with 20 units of N but stopped spreading fertiliser for the last week during the wet weather. We have 21 days of breeding done and have a submission rate of 84%.