Grass growth on many farms in recent days has been sluggish at best, while farms that have gotten rain are holding up reasonably well.

It has once again been an up and down season for grass growth on many Irish farms, with some farms suffering from the lack of rain and high temperatures in recent weeks.

This has resulted in many farms having to buffer feed cows to maintain production and ensure that cows are fully fed, with the bales that many farms were able to harvest early in the grazing season being of great value during this period of suppressed growth.

Grass growth

Current growth rates, based on figures from PastureBase Ireland, are 51kg dry matter (DM)/ha in Leinster; 53kg DM/ha in Munster; 58kg DM/ha in Connacht; and 59kg DM/ha in Ulster.

There is a slight reduction expected in growth rates over the coming days; the predicated growth rates, again from PastureBase Ireland, are 46kg DM/ha in Leinster; 51kg DM/ha in Munster; 51kg DM/ha in Connacht; and 53kg DM/ha in Ulster.

Many will be praying for the return of the rain in coming days as many farms on drier land begin to burn up, with many of these farms now in a significant moisture deficit.

Fodder budget

The dry weather and reduced growth rate has meant that many farms have eaten into their winter forage.

As many farmers move to harvest second cut silage, it would be a good idea to complete a fodder budget and ensure that enough fodder is on the farm.

If there is now enough fodder it may be a good idea to harvest a third cut and ensure that there is enough fodder on your farm for the winter months.

Continue walking your farm every five to seven days over the coming weeks.

It is important that decisions are made quickly to maximise the benefit that can be obtained from them.