With St Patrick’s Day happening this week, the public might have jigs and reels in mind during the celebrations, while pigtail posts and fencing reels will be to the fore of farmers' minds as they battle to get ground grazed.
The past week’s weather data has shown up to 500% of the normal rainfall for certain parts of the country, as the ideal conditions we had experienced the six weeks previous are quickly becoming a fleeting memory.
Farmers knew in the back of their mind that wet weather was imminent, with many exceeding their target for the spring rotation planner.
It was a dangerous game to play, but has worked in their favour this time round.
Dry farms are reporting having to on-off graze or house cows by night, but they are also saying that cows are doing no significant damage when managed properly.
Those on heavy farms who were running behind target will really struggle to get enough grass eaten for the remainder of the month, as the wet and unsettled weather looks set to continue for the next week.
Growth and soil temperatures are at or slightly above normal for the most part, so supply is generally not an issue on farms across the country.
With the volume of rain that’s falling these days, both from a financial and environmental point of view, most farms should hold off on applying chemical or organic fertiliser until conditions improve.
At any rate, ground that received 2,000 gallons/acre of slurry or 20 units of nitrogen through protected urea will most likely have a reserve of this left to work off, as uptake is still relatively low at this time of the year.
It’s really about concentrating on marrying graze-outs with ground conditions and grass allocations with cows' requirements.
Early calved cows will have reached near to full appetite, meaning 18kg DM will be needed to prevent these depleting fat reserves and going into a negative energy balance or ‘milking off their back’.
It’s worth noting that grass dry matter has dropped with the recent wet weather, so this should be kept in mind when setting out fences.