Grass advice: ‘Do not wait to spread because of an extension to the fertiliser deadline’

After a challenging summer, grass growth rates are beginning to return to more normal levels; an average growth rate of 57kg/day of dry matter was recorded on farms measuring grass through PastureBase Ireland.

However, the PastureBase average figures of 838kg/ha for average farm cover and 289kg/LU for cover per livestock unit are not on target yet.

Where this is the case, farmers are advised to keep demand low through supplementation or reducing stocking rate to build a bank of grass for the autumn.

Teagasc’s mid-September grazing target (stocked at 3LU/ha):
  • Average farm cover: 1,100-1,150kg/ha;
  • Cover per livestock unit: 370kg/LU;
  • Rotation length: 35 days.

When it comes to managing grazing this week, Teagasc advises farmers to spread 30un/ac of nitrogen (N) on the grazing platform now. Do not wait to spread because of an extension to the chemical fertiliser deadline.

In addition, a post-grazing sward height of 4cm should be targeted, as good clean outs will remove dead material from the sward and promote growth for the remainder of the autumn and winter.

The research and advisory body also encourages farmers to measure grass supply weekly, so that you know how much grass you have and how to reach the targets outlined above.