Lambs perform poorly on ‘stemmy’ grass

Most farmers were satisfied with the level of grass growth throughout late April and May, according to Teagasc, and grass quality was good and lambs performed well.

However, it says where grass cover has been allowed to build up, quality can deteriorate very quickly. Seed heads are produced, the level of stem builds up and there is an increase in the amount of dead leaf at the base of the sward.

Teagasc stresses lambs perform very poorly on this type of pasture. When this arises, do not graze lambs below 5-6cm.

It says that farmers should try to ensure lambs have leafy grass available at all times to maximise performance. When ewes are dried off later after weaning they can be used to graze out the pastures tightly. It is important to walk the paddocks weekly. When grass is grazed out to 4cm or lower, the resulting re-growth will be good quality.

Surplus grass

Teagasc advises if grass covers exceed 8cm pre grazing, you are likely to be getting to a surplus situation. Have a go at estimating the grazing days ahead (number of days the grass available on grazing paddocks would last if growth stopped).

It says if this exceeds 13 to 14 days in June, consider removing surplus grass as silage or introduce extra stock to graze out the surplus

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