During the Irish Farmers Journal grassland management course meetings this week, participants were reporting a big jump in growth rates over the last week.

Across the country, growth rates have continued to rise and this is predicted to continue into next week.

High temperatures forecast and high soil temperatures are holding growth above the 10-year average for this time of year.

Walking every five days during high growth rates is very important, as allowing surplus grass to build up this early can often lead to very heavy covers being grazed later in the autumn.

Building covers

High growth rates are coming at the right time for anyone who is currently behind target for building covers.

Increase meal or introduce silage for a short period of time to reduce demand.

Reducing demand slightly now can mean you will get back on track a lot faster.

Target average farm cover (AFC) for Wednesday 1 September is:

  • 750kg DM/ha on farms stocked at 2.5 LU/ha.
  • 990kg DM/ha on farms stocked at 3 LU/ha.
  • 980kg DM/ha on farms stocked at 3.5 LU/ha.
  • The target is for AFC to peak in mid-September between 1,000kg DM/ha and 1,200kg DM/ha, depending on stocking rate.

    Strongest covers

    At that point, the strongest covers on the farm will be between 2,000kg DM/ha and 2,500kg DM/ha.

    Anything above this can be difficult to graze out to the target residual of 3.5cm to 4cm.

    For this reason, on farms where there is surplus grass starting to build up, it is important to react now. The first option is to increase demand by reducing the level of meal being fed.

    It is not too late to take surplus bales either. Reduce the AFC down to 100kg DM/ha above target.