Grass growth is holding steady across the country, likely due to the slightly above average soil temperatures. Average grass growth for the country stands at 7kg DM/ha.

On a prince-by-province basis, PastureBase Ireland figures are showing 8kg DM/ha in Ulster, 8kg DM/ha in Leinster, 5kg DM/ha in Connacht and 8kg DM/ha in Munster.

Although with air temperatures set to plummet over the next couple of days and the frosty nights due to return, growth could come to a stand still over the weekend.

However, the majority of farmers have fully housed or else, should be finishing off the grazing season over the next couple of days – to ensure that they are not eating into next spring’s valuable grass.

Remember autumn grass is worth €1.80/cow/day versus spring grass at €2.70/cow/day.

Whether you are housed for the last two weeks or will be housing in the next few days, your closing cover must be assessed this week.

Target closing covers on December 1:
  • 2.5 cows/ha: 600kg DM/ha;
  • Three cows/ha: 600kg DM/ha – 650kg DM/ha;
  • 3.5 cows/ha: 700kg DM/ha – 750kg DM/ha.

By carrying out a closing cover, you will be able to see where you stand for next spring and also, when your opening cover is assessed in the spring you will then be able to calculate how much was grown on the farm over the winter.

How did the season go?

Once the farm is closed, it is an opportunity to look back at how your farm performed over the year – in terms of your average grass grown for the year in tonnes of dry matter per hectare.

This value can then be used to benchmark against other years or other farms, to see how you compare. If this is done over a continuous period, you will be able to see what your farm usually grows in an average year.

Moreover through benching marking against farmers in your area, should give you an idea of what your farm is capable of achieving.

The end of the season also allows you to see which paddocks are under-performing on the farm. These are usually paddocks which received the least grazings and silage cuts over the year.

These paddocks should then be soil tested to identify if any nutrient is limiting growth and perhaps some of them need to be earmarked for reseeding next year.