Over the last week, we began the second round of group meetings in our 2021 grassland management courses (online of course).
For the majority of attendees, the second rotation began in the first and second weeks of April.
Slow growth rates have seen some needing to supplement with concentrates and silage in order to stop the average farm cover (AFC) falling below 500kg to 600kg DM/ha.
Target having 100 units of nitrogen (N) per acre spread by 1 May.
Going with a compound fertiliser with phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) as required by soil sample results will help promote plant and root development.
Starting now with sulphur (S) applications little and often will increase N efficiency.
A weekly farm walk will tell us what the current growth rate is. If the demand figure is higher than growth, then the AFC will be falling.
This means cows/cattle are eating more grass each day than the farm is growing.
If you find AFC is heading for 550, it is time to pull on the handbrake. Reduce demand by increasing supplementation or reduce stocking rate by bringing more ground back into the rotation.
As temperatures are rising, growth will improve, so it is very important to react quickly to increased growth rates. Remove silage from the diet and reduce concentrate feeding accordingly.
The current growth map (Pasturebase Ireland and GrassCheck) and predicted growth rate map ( Elodie Ruelle’s MoSt Grass Growth Prediction Model) show the expected rise in growth rates over the coming days in most areas.