Grass growth on many dairy farms continues to lag behind what would typically be expected for this time of year.

The unsettled weather over the last number of weeks is the main factor that has contributed to this.

Current growth rates, based on figures from PastureBase Ireland, are 60kg dry matter (DM)/ha in Leinster; 60kg DM/ha in Munster; 60kg DM/ha in Connacht; and 61kg DM/ha in Ulster.

However, with warmer temperatures expected over the coming days, these growth rates are likely to improve.

With that said, grass still needs to be managed and the strip wire may still need to remain in play until enough grass is ahead of cows.

Ideally, there should be ten days of grass ahead of cows, but on many farms this is not the case.

When cows enter covers that are lower than ideal, they will most likely require extra feed in the form of concentrates or silage which, in a year when input costs are so high, is currently less than ideal.

Grass quality

Grass quality is also somewhat of an issue on many dairy farms currently, with many swards going to head, resulting in a large amount of stem being present.

Cows don’t like grazing stemmy grass and production often suffers if they are forced to do so.

The best way to reset these paddocks and remove the stem is to mow and bale them, rather than topping and wasting grass.

Although grass remains the cheapest feed on farms the cost of growing grass has increased, so it is important that it is not wasted.

Thus, paddocks that have become too stemmy should be skipped over, mowed and then baled, increasing winter feed supplies rather than going to waste.

Is it important to closely monitor the amount of grass mowed as it may take a few week to reset all the paddocks.