On sheep farms, thoughts should now be turning to closing ground from now on, to ensure grass is available for ewes and their lambs next spring.
While grass growth is reasonably good, farmers should take advantage of this and be thinking of which fields/paddocks to close first over the next two weeks.
When thinking about closing up ground for the winter, the first paddocks/fields to be closed should be ones with shelter and in close proximity to the lambing shed.
Teagasc say that a ewe’s feed requirement in mid-pregnancy is approximately half of that of a ewe in early lactation producing milk for two lambs.
Which means the importance of building grass now for next spring is critical, rather than continuing to graze the entire farm over the winter months and being left with little-to-no grass when ewes and their lambs are about to be turned out from the lambing shed next spring.
It’s important to graze out paddocks to a post-grazing height of 3.5-4.0cm. If this isn’t done, the result will be higher residuals being carried over, which will lead to a lot of dead material building up at the base of the sward.
This build of dead material will, therefore, impact on grass growth and quality next spring – which we want to avoid.
And most importantly, it’s vital not to regraze closed paddocks.