Grass growth on farms has stalled this week, with many farms seeing a significant reduction in growth rates.

Up until this week growth rates on farms have been exceptional, with many farms harvesting surplus grass alongside first-cut silage.

Now, with the growth rates stalling, the management of swards becomes increasingly more important.

Grass growth

According to PastureBase Ireland, growth rates are currently 64kg dry matter (DM)/ha in Leinster, 64kg DM/ha in Munster, 63kg DM/ha in Connacht and 61kg DM/ha in Ulster.

Grass growth rates are expected, it said, to improve once again over the coming days, to 92kg DM/ha in Leinster, 84kg DM/ha in Munster, 79kg DM/ha in Connacht and 92kg DM/ha in Ulster.

Sward management

The warm weather expected over the weekend should lead to improved growth rates.

But, close monitoring of the situation is needed. It is advised to walk farms at least twice weekly to monitor growth-rate changes.

It is important to keep an eye on average farm covers and ensure that enough grass in ahead of the cows. The goal is to keep grass 10 days ahead of cows.

Grass quality

The recent, high growth rates seem to have made grass go to seed and turn some swards stemmy.

While walking the farm over the coming days it may be prudent to take note of the paddocks that contain a large amount of stemmy grass.

If the wedge allows it may be a good idea to remove this in the form of bales to reset them and improve grass quality.

However, it is important not to do too much at one time and end up in a position where grass supplies are then tight.