Teagasc is encouraging farmers to invest in a grass thermometer and indeed it could make an ideal gift to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Teagasc research in recent years has shown that, until soil temperatures on a farm are consistently over five degrees, there will be very little response to it.

Soil temperature figures are given in the farming press each week, but they only give an indication of what it will be, it advises.

According to the latest dairy advice, every grassland farmer should have a soil thermometer that they can check regularly to see their own farm’s figures. They are very cheap, usually around €10, and can be bought in any garden centre.

A grass thermometer is key to deciding on spring N spreading dates. According to Teagasc, when the temperature is consistently above five degrees and is rising, apply 23 units of N per acre to fields that have five and eight cm of grass, where the swards have a high level of perennial ryegrass, as these will respond the best.

Grass thermometer courtesy Teagasc