Grass growth fortunes turning as temperatures start to rise

GrassCheck’s predictions for grass growth have been trebled as temperatures start to rise across the country.

Researchers said temperatures had been higher than expected over the last week giving a small lift in grass growth rates across both its plots and farms.

With conditions becoming milder, growth is expected to jump significantly in the next two weeks, climbing closer to the seasonal average for this time of year.

Soil temperatures of 12.2° in Newcastle and 11.1° along the north coast were recorded on Monday afternoon, with even the lowest temperature recorded at the same point in the day (7.8°) high enough for grass growth.

The data showed the rise in temperature had been coupled with high levels of rain, boosting growth rates across all farm types well above the 4.9kg DM/ha/day expected.

As a result, revised estimates for the week ahead now expect growth rates to reach just over 21kg DM/ha/day – around three times the 7.3kg DM/ha/day previously expected.

It’s welcome news for many of the region’s farmers who, following a long and wet winter and autumn, are beginning to come to the end of their fodder supplies.

Advisors at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) said now is the time to review ground conditions and, where possible, take opportunities to start to graze areas to stimulate spring growth.

This week’s advice also says farmers should aim to apply fertiliser to any fields which are yet to receive any this year.

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