Drystock farms for the majority are in a very good position grass wise, with PBI showing the average farm to be 30 days ahead with grass.
The warm weather seen earlier this month not only boosted growth rates at that time, but has left warm soils behind it, which are (for now) still leading to strong growth of between 50-60kg DM/ha.
Quality of swards, even those at 2,000kg DM/ha, is very good for the most part, owing to good graze outs and a degree of late correction. The challenge some farmers will face as the weather takes a turn is to graze these. For now, the best option is to offer 24-48 hour allocations when ground becomes tricky, with a back fence essential to prevent damage of grazed swards and the slowing down of any regrowth.
Any organic manure in the form of slurry or FYM should ideally go out now while growth is still strong for maximum nutrient uptake. Though it causes much controversy, ‘calendar farming’ with it’s restricted periods is based around growth rates and nutrient uptake.
Niall O’Meara – Killimor, Co Galway
Autumn calving is progressing well, with 19 cows calved and 19 live calves on the ground since the 20 August. Eight cows are left, with the majority due in the next few weeks.
I had been building cover as I have a high demand for grass with the freshly calved cows, with average farm cover sitting at around 1,000kg DM/ha.
I might have missed my opportunity to bale some of these heavier covers, but grazing them is going well with the good conditions and the strip wire.
We spread 8 units/acre of protected urea on some paddocks, moreso to use up the remains of a bag than as a requirement. The first of the autumn 2022 bulls have been sold, with an average weight of 477kg selling for €1,366/head.
System Suckler to weanling
Soil Type Variable
Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 1,088
Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 54
Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 30
Ken Gill – Clonbollogue, Co Offaly
Kale went in two to three weeks ago which is later than I’d like, but due to the weather and the contractor under pressure we couldn’t get it in earlier. Some of the whole crop (peas and barley) bales were spread around the kale paddocks after sowing.
All last year’s autumn calves will be wintered on this, with the cows and calves being housed at the end of October and calves creep grazed.
The red clover silage was cut again for the final time recently. This will receive some FYM and will be topped/mulched and let rot back in to the sward for green manure, as late cuts in the past have rarely been worthwhile.
The final load of finished cattle should be gone within a fortnight, which should help drop demand.
System Organic suckler to beef
Soil Type Mostly dry
Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 677
Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 33
Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 23
William Treacy – Dundalk, Co Louth
We’ve been building cover all the time with the fine weather and are now sitting at 24-25 days ahead with grass covers.
Cattle are now grazing mainly after grass from the second cut silage so they are cleaning it out very well, but all the grass on the farm is very leafy at the minute as we had grazed hard in the fine spell and got good clean outs.
Grazing the heavier covers isn’t an issue at the minute, but the wet weather towards the weekend might make things trickier, though the 24-hour strip wire is in use too.
Grazed paddocks are receiving a light coat of slurry to push them on. Some CAN+S was spread in the final round at a rate of 22-23 units/acre. Spring born weanlings have received their first shot for pneumonia.
System Suckler to beef
Soil Type Free draining
Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 1,154
Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 54
Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 47