Grass management advice for the remainder of the grazing season – Teagasc

By now most stock are out at grass and grass growth has been slow on farms so continue to spread fertiliser to build up grass on your farm, Anthony O’Connor of Teagasc says.

If grass is getting too strong in the next few weeks it can be taken out when silage is being cut.

Grassland management over the next few weeks will have a huge bearing on sward productivity and quality for the remainder of the grazing season.

Your first grazing should be as tight as possible to remove any dead material from the sward.

Graze paddocks down to 4cm before seed heads emerge, this will ensure a leafy green sward later in the season. A bag of CAN/acre can be spread when grazed out.

Rotational Grazing

To ensure efficient grass utilisation and future supply, consider dividing up large fields into paddocks using temporary electric fences and installing extra water troughs.

Water troughs are better placed in the middle of electric fence as opposed to either end of fence, this gives an option of further splitting paddock with a reel if grass gets ahead.

Start off by splitting one field with reels to see how you get on and work from there.

Silage Cutting Date

First cut silage requires 80 to 100 units of N/acre from slurry and fertiliser. Excess Nitrogen in grass will inhibit silage preservation.

A growing silage crop uses up two units of N/acre/day. Therefore, ensure that 50 days are left between Nitrogen application and cutting date to ensure full Nitrogen take up by the grass.

Reseeded Fields

It is critical that any new reseeded fields are sprayed with a post emergence spray to kill any seedling weeds.

Farmers will spend €250-€300 reseeding a field and then won’t spray a post emergence spray for the sake of less than €20/acre.

Spray reseeds after grass is at three leaf stage or roughly five to six weeks. After emergence, carry out a light grazing of new sward with weanlings, sheep etc.

This will encourage grass seedlings to tiller out. Delay cutting any silage in the reseeded fields for 12 months.

If clover is in the new sward, use Legumex DB, Undersown, Clovermax, Clovex or Underclear which will control seedling docks without affecting clover.

If chickweed is present in the sward use Legumex DB plus Triad.

Anthony O’Connor, Teagasc Adviser, Galway/Clare Regional Unit

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