GrassCheck: Growth set to exceed 10-year average

After a disappointing start to the season, Northern Ireland’s grass growth is set to exceed the 10-year average, according to the latest GrassCheck data.

It’s expected growth will top the 60kg DM/ha/day mark over the next two weeks, bringing it just ahead of the norm for this time of year.

Over the last week, grass growth has returned to seasonal norms – averaging 51.1kg DM/ha/day across the GrassCheck farms.

This week dairy farms had the highest growth rate, sitting more than 10kg DM/ha/day above the two GrassCheck plots in Greenmount and Hillsborough.

Advisors said: “Most farms have managed to apply fertiliser and manure over this past week and grass has responded well.

“As a result of the good growth, farm covers are rising quickly across both dairy and beef, averaging 2,475kg DM/ha.”

This week’s management notes advise:

  • With growth expected to continue to rise sharply, it is important to get on top of grass covers by getting stock out where grazing is possible;
  • Where covers are getting in excess of 3,000kg DM/ha, consider earmarking areas of the rotation for early silage.

Established in 1999, the GrassCheck project aims to provide quality, up-to-date grass information to assist farmers with grassland management decisions.

Operated by AgriSearch and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), the project monitors weekly grass growth as well as quality and provides seven and 14-day grass growth rate forecasts.

In 2017, the project included 35 farmers across a variety of systems spread across Northern Ireland. This year the number of farms involved increased to 50.

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