This time of the year, especially when the weather is wet, it can be difficult to achieve good, tight cleanouts, as ground conditions get softer and, in many cases, deteriorate.

While trying to achieve good cleanouts, it is also important to keep in mind closing dates for paddocks to ensure that there is grass available for next spring.

It’s a busy period on sheep farms across the country with the breeding season in full swing; however, it’s important that grass is managed properly over the next few weeks and that the farm is going into next spring in a good position.

The aim should be to graze down paddocks to 3.5-4cm whilst avoiding any negative impact on ewes’ reproductive performance.

If breeding ewes fail to clean off a paddock sufficiently, then an option is to let a group of replacement ewe lambs, that are not being mated, go in and clean it off.

Otherwise, the best option is to split paddocks or increase ewe group sizes; this will result in less time spent in paddocks and better cleanouts.

The main factor that determines the amount of grass available in early-March is the date of closing. The aim for March-lambing flocks is to have 40% of the farm closed by mid-November and 60% by the end of November.

Note: Based on March-lambing flocks. Data source: Teagasc

Once you have closed a paddock, resist the temptation to re-graze – as this grass will be worth much more to you next spring.