Grass growth rates on farms in recent days have significantly reduced, with widespread showers of rain across the country.

This has resulted in many farms now being just above demand or in some cases actually below demand.

As we move through June, and it is hoped that a sufficient number of cows are now in-calf on farms, reduced growth rates are less than ideal.

Maintaining levels of nutrition in cows during the early stages of pregnancy is important to prevent embryo loss.

During a period of reduced growth, embryo loss is a concern on farms, with 2018 being a year when this issue really came to light.

Grass growth

According to PastureBase Ireland, growth rates are currently 57kg dry matter (DM)/ha in Leinster, 56kg DM/ha in Munster, 61kg DM/ha in Connacht and 61kg DM/ha in Ulster.

Grass growth rates are expected, it said, to improve once again over the coming days, to 92kg DM/ha in Leinster, 84kg DM/ha in Munster, 79kg DM/ha in Connacht and 92kg DM/ha in Ulster.

But last week growth rates were also predicted to improve and they did not. So caution is advised until such a time that you see growth rates improving on your grass walks.

Grazing management

The predicted growth rates are to improve, but until such a time that they actually do, grazing management is going to be very important.

To conserve grass, the strip wire most likely needs to be reintroduced on farms.

This will help to prevent excess grass being wasted and ensure that cows are getting the most out of the grass that is available.

Hopefully a situation does not arise where silage bales are needed to slow cows down, but if grass is running short, it is better to act sooner rather than later.

If cows were to come under stress at this time of year, it will not only impact on production, but it may also impact on a cow’s fertility leading to embryo loss.