2018 grass growth back 3t/ha on PastureBase farms

The average farm measuring grass through PastureBase Ireland recorded a yield of 9t/ha of dry matter so far this year, according to Teagasc’s Micheal O’Leary.

That’s an average drop of 3t/ha when compared to the corresponding period in 2017. But Micheal highlighted that there’s a wide degree in variation when it comes to the drops observed.

Pointing to a farm in west Clare, he said, total growth is back 0.5t/ha, while there’s farmers in the south-east who have witnessed drops of 5-6t/ha – essentially 33% of the feed on the farm.

However, Micheal said that things have turned a corner over recent weeks, adding: “It’s safe to say that all farms are growing and pretty much everyone is out of the drought at this stage.

“Growth rates are about 55-60kg/ha/day nationally, so it’s above demand on a lot of farms for this time of the year.”

The Teagasc representative also detailed targets for the autumn rotation planner, adding: “On heavier soils, you are going to be starting your last round in the last few days of September.

“On drier soils, you are going to be starting October 5-7 and then you would aim to have 60% of your farm grazing in late October – maybe running into the first few days of November.”

He continued: “It’s farm specific, but it’s an easy enough plan to work off. It’s just you need to have such a percentage of your farm grazed by a certain date.”