Mixed outlook for coming week

Grass growth is continuing to see improvement on many farms across the country, while in other areas it is beginning to go backwards.

Mixed outlook for coming week

Mixed outlook for coming week

This steady growth is welcome as many farms experienced a challenging few weeks due to the dry weather and drought conditions.

On the farms that experienced good growth during the drier weather, it appears that growth rates are starting to reduce.

Grass growth

Current grass growth rates, based on figures from PastureBase Ireland, are 49kg of dry matter (DM)/ha in Leinster; 51kg of DM/ha in Munster; 51kg of DM/ha in Connacht; and 51kg of DM/ha in Ulster.

The predicated growth rates are 53kg of DM/ha for Leinster; 55kg of DM/ha for Munster; 51kg of DM/ha for Connacht; and 48kg of DM/ha for Ulster.

This means that farms to the east and south will see a slight boost in growth, while farms in the west and north will see it remaining the same or dropping slightly.

Grazing advice

In general, grazing conditions are quite good on farms and this means that most farmers can maximise the potential from the grass present on farms.

It is important that you are cautious and avoid causing damage to land, as it will struggle to recover at this time of year.

Farmers are now looking to build covers for extended grazing this autumn, but farms that are feeding silage should only remove it from the diet when there is enough grass ahead of cows and growth is sufficient.

Pulling silage too early could potentially result in a struggle for grass supplies on farms, which would mean that it will need to be reintroduced, and most likely result in cows being housed.

Fodder supplies on some farms is a cause of concern, particularly for many farms in the south and east of country.

But continuing to feed small amounts of silage is better than having to house cows due to grass supplies depleting on the grazing platform – this would result in a larger amount of silage being used.

For the remainder of the grazing season, it is going to be a balancing act of maximising grass in diets, but not running out of grass too early.

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