Grass advice: Wasted grass equals wasted time

As we enter into the second round of grazing, most farmers will begin to make the switch from 12-hour breaks to 24 or even 36-hour breaks.

It is important to be mindful of the continuous need to reach target residuals as we make this transition.The post-grazing sward height should be maintained at 4cm to 4.5cm during mid-season grazing.

If you’re finding your cows are not grazing out paddocks well enough then you may need to reintroduce the strip wire, although using a strip wire can be very labour intensive.

To avoid this you should try to enter paddocks when they are at the correct pre-grazing yield – between 1,300kg DM/ha to 1,500kg DM/ha. If you are going into covers greater than this – to reach the target residual – you may need to put up a strip wire and graze the herd in 12-hour blocks.

Importance of reaching residuals:
  • To avoid wasting grass;
  • To avoid poor-quality grass in subsequent rotations;
  • To avoid ‘topping’;
  • To maximise intakes;
  • To maximise milk production.

Grass growth

As grass growth rates have remained stable over the past few weeks, our frustration is beginning to kick in as we anxiously wait for an increase in grass growth rates.

Grass growth for the country is averaging 25kg DM/ha for the north, 30kg DM/ha for the east, 27kg DM/ha for the west and 26kg DM/ha for the south.

Grass growth will likely stay the same for the coming week as according to Met Éireann temperatures are set to remain a degree below normal. Although, hopefully, the longer daylight hours will work in our favour.

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