As we head into mid-October there has been a further reduction in grass growth rates, with temperatures continuing to drop as the days get shorter.
Most western counties experienced significant amounts of rainfall last weekend, with some farms forced to house cows to prevent them causing damage.
Most of these farms have since been able to get cows back out to grass, as rainfall levels have been quite low so far this week and ground conditions remain reasonable.
According to PastureBase Ireland, growth rates are currently 40kg dry matter [DM]/ha in Leinster, 40kg DM/ha in Munster, 37kg DM/ha in Connacht and 39kg DM/ha in Ulster.
We have seen a further decrease in growth rates this week, with an average reduction in growth rates of 3.75kg DM/ha across the provinces.
The largest reduction has been in Munster, where compared to last week growth rates have reduced by 5kg DM/ha.
Up until last weekend on the majority of farms, the backend has been quite good, with grass growth and grazing condition being good.
Most farms are on, or ahead of target in their autumn rotation planner.
As we head further into October ground conditions will deteriorate further, so it is important that you avoid causing damage where possible.
You should continue to offer grass to cows for as long as you can or until you have grazed your final paddocks in the rotation.
You should avoid grazing a paddock that has already been grazed and closed. If cows are causing significant damage and there are still paddocks to graze, you should house your cows and finish the grazing season.
Closing these paddocks without a final grazing this year will just mean you will have to work through some heavy covers in spring 2022.
Other than the housing of the cows full-time for the winter period, drying off cows will be the next major event to happen on most farms.
By now, you should of body condition scored (BCS) your cows to identify the cows that are in too low of a BCS.
These cows should be dried off earlier than cows that are in the correct BCS, to allow them time to build condition.
For cows that are in the correct BCS, a 60-day dry period should be adequate. Cows in the correct BCS score and dried off for too long might become overfat, which may cause issues when they calf.