Grassland management: Tips for grazing during poor weather conditions
Unfortunately, the rain over the past week has forced many farmers to house their cows for a period of time, in what has been a drastic turn in weather events.
Up until mid-August, weather conditions for the most part were quite good, with exceptional growth rates being recorded on farms.
However, the last week or so has seen a large amount of rain descend across the country, which has led to grazing conditions becoming very tricky on farms, with some farmers forced to house their stock for a period of time.
Many farmers, who are farming on heavy ground, have been on-off grazing over the last few days – in an attempt to maximise the amount of grass in their cows’ diets, as well as hoping to achieve good cleanouts and to minimise poaching.
Tips for grazing in difficult conditions:
- Walk the farm to identify the most suitable paddocks for grazing;
- Use on-off grazing – letting cows out with an enthusiastic appetite is critical to the success of on-off grazing;
- Graze the driest paddocks;
- Graze paddocks with multiple access points and good access by roadways;
- Use a strip wire and a back fence.
If it is a case where you have been forced to house your cows, then house hygiene should be a priority when cows are indoors in order to prevent mastitis.
Unfortunately, more rainfall is forecast for the rest of this week; so grazing conditions are unlikely to make any immediate improvements. However, according to Met Éireann, conditions are due to improve over the weekend.