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Update June - July 2019

Philip Creighton, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Athenry, Co Galway.

Grass growth has remained strong in May and early June averaging 82kg DM/ha/day. This allowed ground closed for silage to bulk up quickly and we were able to cut our main silage in late May in ideal conditions. We also have cut quite a lot of surplus grass from paddocks so we now have our silage requirements for winter 2018/19. Very rapid grass growth in early June following the wet weather made maintaining grass quality very challenging. While taking out as much surplus grass as we could to maintain quality, remaining grass still had more stem than we would like and some strategic topping was carried out. Lamb performance from birth to 12 weeks for the 11 ewe/ha groups averaged  265g/day with lambs in the 13 ewe/ha groups averaging 255g/day. The clover content of the swards has been slow to increase so far this year and so the difference in ADG between grass and grass-clover treatment lambs is low to date averaging +7g/hd/day.  Fortnightly faecal egg counts commenced in Mid-May with lambs receiving a worm dose in early June based on egg counts rising above or approaching 500 eggs/gram. Lambs have also been supplemented with cobalt fortnightly from 8 weeks of age. Lambs will be weaned in late June at 14 weeks (100 days).