An average growth rate of 50kg DM/ha was recorded this week, 22kg DM/HA lower than last week’s figure.
There has been a 47% reduction in growth rates over the last two weeks. As the lengthy spell of dry weather has continued, many areas around the country are still greatly in need of rainfall.
Growth in the south and midlands appears to be worst affected as rainfall averages in both areas are at their lowest levels for May/June for the past five years.
Only 23.7mm of rainfall was recorded at the Mullingar meteorological station up until 18 June – that’s almost a quarter of the 10-year average rainfall for June at that station.
Grass growth on Tullamore Farm has dramatically reduced over the last seven days due to the lack of rainfall. A growth rate of 33kg DM/ha was recorded on Monday, almost 50% less than the growth rate recorded the week before.
Avoid topping and baling paddocks until grass growth improves. These practices will lead to slow recovery growth on paddocks.
Paddocks that have been earmarked as surplus paddocks may now be needed for grazing; strip-grazing heavy covers may now be have to be an option.
Introduce meal to calves by using a creep system if grass quality and quantity is really low. Suckler calves will have performed well on the majority of farms, with the good grazing year up until now, and keeping up their performance over this slow growth period should now be the priority.
Over the last couple of weeks following the previous good growing conditions, nitrogen application might have been neglected. It is important to keep nitrogen topped up on paddocks to maintain quality in the grass sward.
System Suckler to steer finish
Soil type Variable
Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 489
Demand (kg DM/ha/day 24
Growth (kg DM/ha) 35
Seventy-five acres was cut for pit silage in the first week in June. Silage was mowed and left to wilt for 24 hours before it was picked up using a wagon. The same ground will be used for second-cut silage. Forty acres in total received three bags/ac of 20-2-12, and the other 34 acres got 3,000gals/ac of slurry and two bags/ac of CAN plus sulphur. Growth over the last few weeks has been good – 375 bales were taken from surplus paddocks. To replenish the extra nutrients taken off by the surplus bales, these paddocks received 1,500gals/ac of slurry.
This week, I had to take out more paddocks, and I believe I will have another 100/120 bales off this ground. To help streamline the work this year, I have started to blanket-spread fertiliser over the farm roughly once a month. For the last round of fertiliser on grazing ground I spread two bags/ac of 18-6-12, but this ground is starting to look hungry so I will spread 10-10-20 to give the soil the P & K it requires.
System Suckler to bull beef
Soil type variable
Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 1,024
Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 45
Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 84
Ground type here is variable so paddocks on heavier soil are really kicking on while other paddocks have slightly stalled. The reseed is in around five weeks now and I plan to spray it later in the week. Top 5 Extend, a mix from germinal, was the mix that I went for. I used it last year and I’m happy with the return so far this year. I’ll graze the reseed with lighter store cattle as opposed to letting cows and calves into it. Breeding is going well with only one or two cows not served as of yet. The new Charolais bull I purchased is doing the job and hopefully he’ll throw some nice calves.
Cows are going into covers of around 1,200kg DM/ha, so thankfully I haven’t had to top any paddocks out after them. Clean-outs are exceptional given the dry weather and I’m not having a problem with grass heading out. I’ve only two bulls left to be slaughtered. The returns from the bulls I killed last week were good and they had an average carcase weight of 400kg at 15 months.
System Suckler to steer finish
Soil type Mixed
Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 751
Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 54
Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 51
Newford Farm has 100 cows for breeding this year. To date, 90% of the herd was artificially inseminated within three weeks of the breeding season commencing on 23 April. All 100 cows have now been inseminated to date, Monday 18 June. The farm is on week eight of the breeding season, and there are two weeks of breeding remaining. There have been 22 repeats so far. This includes six cows that had three repeats. The two teaser bulls have played a major role on picking up all the cows as they cycle. Once-a-day AI is used. Cows are being inseminated at midday each day.
Twenty-three replacement heifer calves arrived on the contract-rearing farm on Thursday 7 June. One of the calves died last week due to sun stroke. The silage ground got 2,500 gallons of slurry on Monday and will get three bags of CAN next week. 18.6.12 is being spread on all paddocks to try and get the sward to thicken up after poaching in the spring and last back end.
System Suckler to weanling
Soil type mostly heavy
Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 396
Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 27
Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 10
Grass growth has really slowed up the last couple of weeks with the dry weather. The majority of the farm is starting to burn up and a bit of moisture would be more than welcome to kick-start growth again. Thirty units of nitrogen were spread across the entire grazing block about two weeks ago. Low-index paddocks got a bag and a half of 18-6-12 and the remainder of the paddocks got a bag of CAN. I have my first cut done about five weeks and this year I took up a lot of ground for second cut as I aim to build silage stocks after last year’s long winter. All ground closed for second cut got over 80 units of nitrogen.
Cows will be due to start calving in about 10 days. They are currently being restricted on grass to keep them in good shape for calving. Cows are getting pre-calving mineral blocks. I sold the last of my autumn-born bull weanlings last week and overall I was fairly happy with how I got on with them.
Grass+: growth dropping as land goes dry