Following autumn, grass targets should mean most farms around the country have hit peak average farm cover (AFC) over the last 10 days.

Target peak AFC depends on stocking rate.

These are outlined as follows:

  • Farms stocked at 2.5 LU/ha should target an AFC of 1,050kg DM/ha.
  • Farms stocked at 3 LU/ha should target an AFC of 1,150kg DM/ha.
  • Farms stocked at 3.5 LU/ha should target an AFC of 1,200kg DM/ha.
  • Hitting an AFC of 1,000kg DM/ha to 1,200kg DM/ha means that the heaviest covers on farm will be between 2,000kg and 2,500kg DM/ha.

    Although these covers are well ahead of the mid-season pre-grazing target of 1,400kg DM/ha, grass quality at this time of the year is good, as grass is now in the vegetative state. This means it will not go to stem or produce a seed head.

    Dry conditions

    Dry conditions over the last number of weeks has meant that achieving target graze-outs has been relatively easy.

    Using a strip wire can help stop cows or cattle travelling over heavy covers and dirtying them, which then results in poorer graze-outs.

    Twelve-hour grazings help to achieve target graze-outs and will be of extra benefit if the rain forecast for next week arrives.

    Adjust the plan over the next week and try to avoid grazing covers over 2,000kg DM/ha on wet days.

    Growth rates are variable around the country, mostly due to rainfall or the lack of in some cases.

    The target for rotation length is now 35 days. This can be worked out by dividing the grazing area by 35 to get a set area to graze per day.

    Deficits can be filled with supplements in the form of either meal or silage.

    Growth rates are variable around the country, mostly due to rainfall or the lack of in some cases.

    On farms with high growth rates, a rotation length of 35 days could result in running into very high covers. In this case, a rotation of 30 days would suffice.

    But it must be kept in mind that daylight hours are getting shorter and this will have an effect on growth rates.

    Farms with low growth rates due to a moisture deficit should introduce some level of supplementation now to ensure grass remains in the diet for as long as possible. Stick to the 35-day rotation and fill the deficit.