Grass advice: Don’t forget the strip wire if you want to graze a heavy cover

Although still running ahead of demand in many cases, grass growth rates have dropped slightly over recent days; it is important to continue supplementing to build covers.

As it stands, grass growth rates are standing in or around 45-50kg/ha/day on farms measuring grass through PastureBase Ireland and the attention – if not already done so – should switch to closing up.

The best way to do this is to put a plan in place through the form of an autumn rotation planner.

According to Teagasc, the autumn grazing targets vary from farm-to-farm and are dependent on stocking rate and soil type; the higher the stocking rate, the more ground the farmers need to have grazed by November 1.

Highly-stocked farms (3.5LU/ha) need to have at least 70% of the farm grazed by November 1, while farmers with a stocking rate of 3LU/ha and 2.5LU/ha respectively should aim to have 65% and 60% of the farm grazed by November 1.

Also Read: Grass advice: Are you on target for closing?

When it comes to managing grass this week, Teagasc offers the following advice:

  1. Operate a rotation length of 35 days. To achieve this, you should be grazing less than 3% of the grazing platform per day;
  2. Measure grass supply so that you know how much grass you have and so you can monitor growth rates;
  3. Use strip wires to graze heavy covers down to 4cm;
  4. Spread 30un of nitrogen on the grazing platform;
  5. Slurry should be spread where third-cut silage has been taken off;
  6. Slurry can also be spread on the grazing platform – given the extended rotation length – and it should be targeted on paddocks low in potassium (K) and phosphorous (P).

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