For many parts of the country, growth over the last seven days picked up again following a very dry June.
High growth rates as a result of rain in early July allowed average farm covers to recover somewhat on many farms.
Over the last seven days, the average growth rate for farms across the country recorded on pasture base Ireland was 72kg DM/ha. Predicted growth rates for the next seven days range from 75kg DM/ha in Kerry and Galway to 32kg DM/ha in Carlow.
These predicted figures are based on the forecast for rain over the weekend and into next week. If this rain does not come, the predictions will be overestimated.
This week during our Irish Farmers Journal grass course group meetings, there was a huge variation in grass covers on farms.
Drought conditions were a huge contributing factor, but so too was stocking rate.
Many of the farms with a grass deficit had reduced demand in line with growth to hold covers. In a small number of cases, grass was starting to wilt due to the dry conditions.
On farms where grass was starting to wilt, dividing the farm into a 25-day rotation is key.
Continue to graze a set area every day and fill the gap with concentrates or high-quality silage.
When the rain comes, put on the brakes and reduce demand by increasing supplementation.
Allow growth rates to recover and allow pre-grazing covers to build back up to target.
For those with surplus grass, it is a good position to be in, as covers over 1,000kg DM/ha are holding moisture in the soil, which is helping to maintain growth.
Continue to graze paddocks at a pre-grazing cover of 1,300kg DM/ha and 1,500kg DM/ha. Remove any surplus grass that has gone above target pre-grazing covers.
Fertiliser applications will depend on weather. In hot and dry conditions, there is very little point in continuing to spread.
Once rain is forecast, spread one unit per day on grass-only swards and adjust down for swards with a high level of clover.