Grass growth: Grass continues to grow well; however, weather remains unsettled

The weather forecast for the coming days, heading into next week, looks set to be unsettled – especially over to the north-west of the country.

This, in turn, could lead to grazing conditions becoming tricky once again, not that they haven’t been for many farms anyway over the past few weeks.

In terms of growth rates, grass is still growing well across the country – despite the amount of rain that has fallen – and when the chance presents itself, farmers should look to getting fertiliser spread over the coming days.

Also Read: Grassland management: Time to catch up on fertiliser as deadline looms

In terms of average grass growth rates, PastureBase Ireland figures are showing 56kg DM/ha in Ulster, 59kg DM/ha in Leinster, 58kg DM/ha in Connacht and 55kg DM/ha in Munster.

According to Met Éireann, across Connacht and west Ulster, wetter than normal conditions are expected, with up to twice the average rainfall forecasted over the coming week.

This level of rainfall is going to make grazing conditions tricky. Therefore, a couple of grazing techniques that should help are listed (below).

These include: 

  • Use on-off grazing;
  • Use a back fence;
  • Use off-spur roadways;
  • Graze in 12-hour blocks;
  • Graze drier paddocks first.

In the southern and eastern part of the country, over the coming days – weather wise – it looks to be a bit more promising compared to the north-west of the country.

Farms that have surplus paddocks to take out or have fallen behind on fertiliser applications, should get the chance over the coming days to tackle these jobs.

Reaching Residuals

Residuals must continue to be met – even though the weather of late has made that tricky to do – to ensure that there won’t be a build-up of dead material before paddocks are closed.

A target residual of between 4cm and 4.5cm must be met. Where residuals are not being met, then a strip wire may need to be re-introduced.