The rain that arrived everywhere on Friday and again on Saturday was welcomed by almost all farmers, with the possible exception of those in the northwest or those with hay still down.

Even though grass growth rates had slowed dramatically, most farms were still growing. There was soil moisture deficits, but not a drought.

This suggests that the rain will give an almost immediate boost to grass growth rates.

However, it will still take some time for the amount of grass on farms to get back to target levels of average farm cover of 170kg to 180kg per cow.


This means that farmers should continue to supplement cows until this target is reached or close to being reached, such as grass growth rates far in excess of herd demand. I would say that this will take a week or 10 days to happen.

In the meantime, keeping supplement in the diet will be important. Its one thing grazing light covers in warm and dry weather, but a different matter grazing these covers in cold and wet weather, as is forecast.

Feeding high levels of concentrate and low covers of lush, fresh grass can also pose a problem in terms of rumen health.

It might be safer to reduce the amount of concentrate being fed and increase the amount of silage or other high-fibre sources if grass covers are very low.

It also happens that grass can get very sour after a dry spell due to a big uptake in nitrogen all at once.

Effectively, there should be plenty of nitrogen in the system to drive on grass growth for the next few weeks without having to spread additional nitrogen, as this risks losses to water.