Grass growth in last number of weeks has exploded on farms, which is very different to what was happening just a few weeks ago.
A combination of high growth rates and good weather has resulted in a large number of farmers moving to harvest their first cut of silage – much earlier than usual.
This, it is expected, should result in a higher quality and earlier second-cut of silage.
From the predicted growth rates on PastureBase Ireland it looks like the good growth rates are to continue for another few days.
According to PastureBase Ireland, growth rates are currently 75kg dry matter (DM)/ha in Leinster, 72kg DM/ha in Munster, 72kg DM/ha in Connacht and 74kg DM/ha in Ulster.
Growth rates are expected to improve further over the coming days, to 93kg DM/ha in Leinster, 90kg DM/ha in Munster, 82kg DM/ha in Connacht and 92kg DM/ha in Ulster.
The high growth rates currently being experienced on farms are very welcome, but they can pose a challenge.
Such high growth rates can result in covers quickly becoming too strong and unsuitable for grazing.
Having surplus grass is very much welcomed, but mowing too much grass also creates challenges.
It important not to graze covers that are too strong; grazing heavy covers actually reduces intakes from cows, as well as grass quality in subsequent rounds.
If paddocks become too strong you should avoid grazing them and instead mow and bale them.
However, it is also important that you don’t mow too much grass and leave yourself in a position where you run short of grass.
With the high growth rates on farms at the moment, it is very much a balancing act of maintaining grass quality and having enough grass to graze.