The heavy rain experienced by many parts of the country over the last number of days has made grazing more challenging and grass growth has therefore slowed.

Grazing conditions have become tricky on farms in the last number of weeks, especially so for the farms still grazing.

Grass growth

The current grass growth rates, based on figures from PastureBase Ireland, are 23kg of dry matter (DM)/ha in Leinster; 23kg of DM/ha in Munster; 21kg of DM/ha in Connacht; and 19kg of DM/ha in Ulster.

The heavy rain and colder temperatures now being experienced means that growth is now expected to drop into the mid- to low-teens.

The predicated growth rates are 16kg of DM/ha for Leinster; 16kg of DM/ha for Munster; 12kg of DM/ha for Connacht; and 13kg of DM/ha for Ulster.


Bloat appears to have been an issue on a number of farms in recent days, with a number of factors possibly to blame.

It has gotten to the time of year where cows are in a period of being in and out of sheds.

However, many of the swards that have had clover sown into them earlier this year have a large content now in the sward.

These are dangerous paddocks for cows and measures should be taken to stop them from eating too much clover.

High clover content in grass sward

To prevent cows from gorging on clover, they should be given a milking break. This is where a small area is given to the cows to force them to eat everything that is present, for a short period of time.

Another measure is to offer straw or high-fibre silage to cows. A lot of clover swards are lush, leafy swards with little to no fibre present, and a lack of fibre in the diet can potentially be an issue.

Grazing season

More rain over the weekend has resulted in the grazing season on many farms coming to an end for 2022.

Grazing conditions in recent weeks have been a challenge on farms and for those farms still getting cows to grass, the rain over the last number of days has made it even more of challenge.

In some parts of the country, a large amount of rain fell in a very short period, which resulted in land being saturated, making grazing almost impossible on many farms, without causing damage to land.

If farmers can get cows out to grass even for short period of time they should do so.

Getting as much of the farm grazed off is important for covers come spring, but it also reduces the demand placed on feed supplies.