We are now into mid-September and grass growth rates are continuing to hold strong. The focus on farms continues to be building grass supplies for autumn grazing.
The aim to is build enough grass ahead of cows so grazing can last into mid-November. This will also help to provide grass for early spring-grazing next year.
Your rotation length should now be 35 days as your focus is now on continuing to build your average farm cover (AFC).
This can be achieved by reducing the stocking rate on the milking platform. The best way to achieve this is by adding your silage ground into the rotation or removing now-milking/empty cows from the platform.
Growth rates in many parts of the country are holding strong, while other areas are beginning to see growth rates slow down.
According to PastureBase Ireland, growth rates are currently 56kg dry matter [DM]/ha in Leinster, 59kg DM/ha in Munster, 62kg DM/ha in Connacht and 64kg DM/ha in Ulster.
Predicted growth rates are expected to ease back a little in the coming days.
Most farmers will be happy with the current growth rates, after a challenging year. In many cases, the good growth rates have allowed some farmers to build grass cover earlier than planned.
Some farmers were also able to make the last silage of the year, which will help on farms that harvested a light first cut.
You should have an AFC of 1,000-1,200kg DM/ha, depending on stocking rates.
As the growth reduces and autumn continues to set in, it is important that you continue walking your farm every five to seven days.
Grass measuring is the only way that you can properly manage grass on your farm.
Autumn has arrived on farms and just like in the spring, lameness can become a common issue.
The arrival of autumn often means the reintroduction of silage ground to the grazing platform – which means cows now have to walk further.
Preventing cases is the best line of defence, but even that is not 100% effective.