Grass growth: Falling below demand on the majority of farms

Grass growth is well and truly on the decline – as the day length shortens, the temperatures begin to drop and the frosty mornings begin.

However, on a positive note, the rain has decided to stay away the past few days and, according to Met Éireann, it is likely to stay away until the weekend – improving grazing conditions somewhat in areas.

This slight improvement in the weather may give some farmers the opportunity to get through any heavy covers or heavier paddocks yet to be grazed. This is while using some simple grazing techniques, where necessary, to avoid damage and reach residuals.

Although from Friday onwards, Met Éireann is predicting that rainfall could be well above average, so this opportunity may be short.

In terms of average grass growth rates, PastureBase Ireland figures are showing 19kg DM/ha in Ulster, 31kg DM/ha in Leinster, 30kg DM/ha in Connacht and 33kg DM/ha in Munster.

While some farmers are on target in terms of the percentage of the farm closed; others, who failed to successfully build covers, only have another few weeks of grazing left before they will be forced to fully-house.

Where this is the case, empty or cull cows should be sold off to reduce the demand and stretch on the grazing season that little bit further. Also, if not done so already, housing by night and introducing silage will do the same.

Furthermore, where silage is being fed, the best-quality available should be fed to help maintain milk production and body condition. Getting your silage tested will help you make the decision.

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