Growth rates continue to exceed demand on many farms across the country

Speaking to farmers over the last week or so, grass growth continues to exceed demand on many farms across the country.

Going by figures from PastureBase Ireland, growth rates are varying from as low as 55kg DM/ha up to as high as 73kg DM/ha. However, in some places, growth rates are down around the 45kg DM/ha mark.

The struggle over the last few weeks has been trying to keep on top of grass supplies and ensure cows are grazing covers of between 1,400kg DM/ha and 1,600kg DM/ha.

However, in many cases, it is becoming a struggle to do this, with some farmers being forced to graze heavy covers.

The plan heading towards August would have been to start thinking about increasing the grazing rotation and think about building up covers of grass as we head into autumn.

Taking out paddocks for bales is a common method of dealing with heavy covers of grass on farms

However, due to the mixture of warm and wet weather, grass growth continues to thrive, in many areas, and the task of building covers has been fully put on the backburner, for now.

It is important farmers continue to walk their farms every five days or at the very least once a week during the next few weeks so that they can react to the high growth rates at present.

To try and control grass and keep on track, farmers should continue to take out excess paddocks and make bales.

Also Read: Taking out a paddock for bales? Here are a few things to keep in mind...

If silage was fed during the dry period, taking out paddocks for bales is a good option to replenish supplies before the winter period. Now is a good time for farmers to do up a fodder budget and see what fodder they have in their yards.

Quality

The biggest issue over the last few weeks on farms is keeping good-quality grass in front of cows. Grass at this stage of the year becomes stemmy as it enters the reproductive phase.

Speaking to farmers over the last week or so they are saying that they are finding cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they would like.

This usually is the case if cows are entering heavy covers of grass. The best thing to do with these paddocks is to take them out and bale them as mentioned above.

Although, some farmers are doing things differently. One farmer in Co. Cork that AgriLand spoke to said that he is pre-mowing paddocks, which he says is working well for him.

Also Read: Is pre-mowing paddocks worthwhile or is it a waste of time?

Others are topping paddocks after cows have grazed them in order to get rid of any unwanted stemmy or tufts of grass.

It’s important to try and reach post-grazing residuals of 4cm in order maximise grass quality in subsequent rotations.