The average growth rate across the country was 61kg DM/day for the last week. This is 24kg DM/day higher than the 10-year average for this time of the year.
Strong growth seen in many parts of the country has meant hitting peak average farm cover (AFC) this week was very achievable.
With a target of between 1,000kg DM/ha and 1,200kg DM/ha depending on stocking rate, pre-grazing covers are now over 2,000kg DM/ha on many farms.
Good weather conditions have meant it has been possible to achieve target residuals of 4cm on these heavy covers. Reintroducing the strip wire and going back to 12-hour grazing will also help to hit residuals.
It is very important to get good graze-outs at this time of the year, especially while conditions are good.
Having a clean sward for the last grazing will ensure quality grass remains in the diet but will also help ensure no trash is carried over the winter. This will result in high-quality grass being available next spring.
For farms that have not managed to hit the target peak AFC, making changes now will help to keep grass in the diet for as long as possible.
Rotation length should be extended to 30 to 35 days at this stage. Reduce demand by selling cull cows, removing young stock from the platform or by increasing supplementation (meal and/or silage).
The current conditions are ideal for slurry applications. With good soil temperatures and growth rates there should be a good response to the N, P and K supplied in slurry.
31,050kg DM/ha on farms stocked at 2.5LU/ha.
31,150kg DM/ha on farms stocked at 3LU/ha.
31,200kg DM/ha on farms stocked at 3.5LU/ha.
Eoin Corrigan – Trim, Co Meath
We started milking here in the spring of 2021 with a herd of all heifers. We had no rain from 25 August to 14 September which has meant growth rates have been well behind what we had predicted in the winter budget. We are currently feeding 2kg DM of high quality baled silage which will reduce the demand and slow down the rotation. The cows are currently going into covers of between 2,000kg DM/ha and 2,300kg DM/ha. The dry conditions have made grazing these heavier covers very easy and graze outs have been excellent. We scanned a number of weeks ago and after 12 weeks breeding we have an empty rate of nine per cent.
Kevin Muldoon & Mella Briscoe – Killimor, Co Galway
Excellent growth over the last month has meant we have hit our target peak cover of 1,100kg DM/ha this week. Growth rate this week is back to 54kg DM/day from 87kg DM/day last week. Pre grazing covers are 2,250kg DM/ha and good conditions have meant graze outs have been excellent. This week we went with 50 units of K on all the paddocks in index 1 and 2 for K. We scanned recently and have an empty rate of 8% after a 13 week breeding season. Our six week in calf rate is 80 percent which is a big improvement after having fertility issues for a couple of years. We will be vaccinating for salmonella this weekend.
Fergal Coughlan – Clonakilty Ag College
On the grass and clover with 150kg N/ha group the cows are grazing the heavy covers to 4cm with ease. predicted growth last week was 61 and we grew 54. I find the predicted growth very accurate. We are allocating fresh grass to the cows after each milking if there is a danger of bloat. This works very well for us. We are following the cows with the last of the slurry and dirty water at the minute. 7.5 per cent of the herd were scanned empty so this allows selective culling of poor performing cows
Ger McSweeney – Millstreet, Co Cork
It is shaping up to be a terrific back end for grass which is really going to help shorten the winter period. Ground conditions are holding up really well and growth is excellent for the time of year.
I weighed all the cows and calves about two weeks ago. The bulls have done 1.35kg/day while the heifers have done 1.21kg/day at grass this year which I am quite happy with. At the same time, calves received their first pneumonia vaccination in preparation for weaning.
With grass supply and ground conditions as good as they are, I am hoping to leave calves on the cows for an extra fortnight compared to other years. This will see weaning commence towards the end of October, all going well.
Declan Marren – THRIVE farm, Cashel, Co Tipperary
Finishing cattle continue to be drafted for slaughter. At this stage, 53 of the 140 finishing heifers and steers have been slaughtered from grass. So far, the heifers are averaging a carcase weight of 268kg and the bullocks are 304kg at just over 18 months on average.
The lighter batches of finishing cattle started to get meal at grass from 1 September. The heifers are on 3kg/day while the bullocks are on 4kg/day. With ground conditions still favourable, meal is still being fed under the wire in the paddock they are grazing which is a real labour saving.
The 2021-born calves are due their second pneumonia shot this week. It is hoped to keep this year’s calves at grass well into November.
Dwayne Stanley – Thurles, Co Tipperary
Grass is flying here at the moment. You can see it in the regrowth a couple of days after you move cattle out of a paddock. We have plenty of grass on farm now that the third cut silage ground is back available for grazing.
I decided to reseed 12 acres of the silage ground with a silage mix which was sown last week.
The remaining 60 acres of silage ground is being grazed by the calved autumn herd. Calving is progressing well; 47 cows have calved and we have 14 left to go.
I am currently weaning the spring-born calves, every couple of days I remove five cows from the group. They are housed for five days and fed hay to dry them off.