The last few weeks have seen an improvement in both grass growth and grazing conditions across the country.
While moisture still remains in the ground, the good temperatures and sunlight has caused grass growth to take off in the last few weeks.
The focus now has to be on maintaining grass quality within swards to ensure the milk production from cows is maximised.
The latest figures from PastureBase Ireland show current growth rates of 69kg of dry matter (DM)/ha for Leinster, 67kg of DM/ha for Munster, 69kg of DM/ha for Connacht and 56kg of DM/ha for Ulster.
Growth rates appear to be strong, with current and predicted growth rates similar to the previous week.
Grass growth is predicted to increase slightly over the coming days, with 79kg of DM/ha forecast for Leinster, 76kg of DM/ha for Munster, 69kg of DM/ha for Connacht and 73kg of DM/ha for Ulster.
An indication that you are getting your grassland management wrong is the protein percentage of your milk.
Genetics have the biggest influence of milk protein, but feeding cows incorrectly also has an impact.
Cows grazing covers that are too heavy or that are of poor quality will lead to a reduction in protein percentage in the milk.
This is why management of grass is key. Heavy covers or poor-quality swards should not be grazed; instead they should instead by mowed and baled.
Cows need to be grazing grass of the highest quality possible, during high growth periods there should be sufficient grass covers to allow you to skip paddocks.
Once these paddocks are quickly mowed and baled, they should have a sufficient cover for the next rotation.
Paddocks will need to be reset at some point in the year, to reduce the amount of stem; topping will be required, but not this early in the season.