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Grass10 Featured Farmer

Name: David Gannon
Location: Craughwell, Co. Galway
Enterprise:  Milking 153 cows
Stocking Rate: 2.9 LU/Ha on MP
2021 Annual tonnage: 14 T DM/ha

Autumn Grazing Management
Wet weather over the weekend forced our hand and we had to house cows fulltime, however we had a great run up to that and apart from a few wet days, we got consistent grass in by day for the first 3 weeks of November. We oversowed and reseeded a number of paddocks with clover so I was concious to keep a lower cover on these over the winter, so I have been grazing these paddocks during early November. They key to the extended autumn grazing was getting the AFC to 1135 Kg DM/Ha in late September which carries me through to mid November.

Average Farm Cover is a little lower than where it normally would be at 630 Kg DM/Ha, but I am confident that this will be over 700 Kg DM/Ha on the 1st December and 950-1000 Kg DM/Ha in early February. 

By the weekend I will have about 15% of the herd dried off and will milk once a day for December. The cows are milking 1.2 Kg MS per cow per day currently @ 5.89 Fat and 4.32 Protein.

Diet: 15 KgDM Silage + 3 Kg Meal 
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 630 KgDM/ha
Cover/cow: 279 KgDM/LU
Growth: 25 KgDM/ha/day
Annual Tonnage YTD: 14.4 T DM/ha
2022 Total Chemical N/ha: 147 Kg N/ha

Clover Paddock Evaluation

Below is the summary of the clover paddocks, with the N recieved and tonnage grown for 2022. I have been very encouraged by the results from this year and intend to incorporate more clover into my swards in 2023.

 

 

Soil Fertility & Farm Roadways 

I have put a big focus on improving the K levels on my farm, as its critically important to the long term success of grass clover swards. A number of paddocks received 50 units of K per acre, while some other paddocks that had a lower worm count recieved farm yard manure. I will soil sample the farm again on the 1st week of January. I also will improve some farm roadways by cleaning verges and top dressing in a few areas that take alot of traffic. I will install some astroturf where the cows enter the collecting yard.


Shane Moore, Co. Roscommon - 15-11-22

Name:  Shane Moore
Location: Athleague, Co. Roscommon
Enterprise:  Sheep (mid-season lambing) & Beef

Autumn Grazing Management
Low dry matter in grass means they are flying through covers and grass is disappearing. I’ll be another two weeks outside at a push.  Ewes will be housed then until lambing on 1st March. I aimed to have 60% grazed by now but by the end of this week I’ll be 75-80% grazed. These paddocks are closed and won’t be grazed again now because this grass is too valuable for next spring. Some of the first paddocks closed have 7-8cm (1000-1200 Kg DM/ha) back on them.

There’s 50 lambs left to finish over the next 2-3 weeks, and the last of them were housed this week. 180 ewes went to the ram plus 35 of the strongest ewe lambs (housed with the ewes). I’ll have 20 dry hoggets left out on rough grazing. Cattle are in a week now.

Ewes are in great body condition as grass quality this autumn was very good. There might be an opportunity to reduce meal coming up to lambing, I’ll see at the time. I don’t mind housing ewes and feeding them, it sets me up great for the spring time.

Picture from Shane's farm walk in early October.

Diet: 1.8 KgDM Grass per ewe
Pre-Grazing Yield:
1800 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 619 KgDM/ha
Days Ahead: 26 days ahead
Growth: 19 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
 24 KgDM/ha/day
Annual Tonnage YTD: 14.5 T DM/ha (8 grazings/cuts per paddock)

Soil Fertility Improvement on Farm
Soil samples were done last winter for fertiliser planning. I spread 1T per acre of lime on some paddocks I cut early for 1st cut silage in May. And I plan on getting lime out at next dry opportunity some other paddocks.

I reseeded 3 acres this year with a grass-clover mix. It has lots of clover now and I’d like to maintain this next year. I’m grazing this now with ewe lambs to keep light to the base over the winter.


Philip & John Tyndall, Co. Wexford - 08-11-22

Location:  Bunclody, Co. Wexford
Enterprise:  Dairy
Stocking Rate: 3.6 LU/ha on milking platform
Herd EBI: €169
2021 KgMS/Cow:  556 KgMS/Cow
2021 Annual tonnage:  14.6 T DM/ha
Current Milk Yield/Cow:  14.6L (1.35 KgMS)

Autumn Grazing Management
We got farm cover up to 1050 KgDM/ha at peak. My last walk last week showed growth was at 25 KgDM/ha/day, and there was 1300 kgDM/ha back on first paddocks closed.

We have 10 grazings left on wetter ground near the river where water is lying. Cows are in since yesterday, but they were out by day for the last week up until this. I’m hoping I’ll get a break in the weather to get the cows back out, as there is a cover of 2,000 KgDM/ha on these paddocks.  If we can’t get the cows to it, we’ll try the in-calf heifers.

Our closing farm cover target for December 1st is 700 KgDM/ha. If we don’t get back out it’ll be well above this as the farm cover is 770 Kg DM/ha. We’ll just have to try our best but don’t want to poach paddocks. The target opening cover in February is 1100 KgDM/ha. Growth over the winter is 5-6 kgDM/ha/day and we have had up to 8 kgDM/ha/day. We have a lot of reseeds and good soil fertility which underpin this.

Diet: 14 KgDM Silage + 4 Kg Meal (6 KgDM Grass if grazing)
Pre-Grazing Yield:
2,000 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 770 KgDM/ha
Cover/cow: 195 KgDM/LU
Growth: 25 KgDM/ha/day
Annual Tonnage YTD: 13 T DM/ha (last week October)
2022 Total Chemical N/ha: 211 Kg N/ha

Soil Fertility and Reseeding
We soil sampled everywhere in January but will sample the grazing block again this winter. We went with 80 T lime on the grazing block when the AFC was low before the rain came in September. Our fertiliser plan for 2023 will be based on the last samples This will be done soon so we can order some fertiliser before the spring.

I have one paddock identified for reseeding with grass-clover mix next year, it’s just not doing the tonnage. And there’s two paddocks for oversowing with clover. I think I will put some grass seed in the mix too to freshen up the sward.

Philip is the 2021 Young Grassland Farmer of the Year Winner.


Conor O'Shea, Co. Kilkenny - 01-11-22

Name:  Conor O’Shea
Location: Piltown, Co. Kilkenny
Enterprise:  Dairy
2021 Milk Yield: 560 KgMS/cow
2021 Meal Fed/Cow:
800 Kg meal
2021 Annual tonnage:  14 T DM/ha (9.8 grazings per paddock)

Autumn Grazing Management
We got nearly 70mm yesterday. They are just about out today on the driest of ground. Cows have been housed at night since last Friday. We got a lot of rain in the last two weeks. Ground conditions are challenging but the soils are free draining and can dry out quick.

Looking back at the autumn, I was lucky I got some rain one weekend in August so my farm cover built from 300 KgDM/ha to 775 KgDM/ha at peak. My farm grows well in the shoulders and over the winter. Growth in September/October averaged 57 KgDM/ha and my demand over the same period averaged 43 KgDM/ha. So the farm cover has held in the 700s with grass and meal mostly. I make paddocks last 2 days and feed a bale or two on the last grazing if it is tight. I was on 40-day rotation for October.

There is 61% closed today and the remaining 40% grazed by day up until 20th Nov, when the farm cover is 600 Kg DM/ha so I have 700-750Kg DM/ha for the closing farm cover on 1st December.  I have a big demand for grass in the spring with a stocking rate of 3.0 cows/ha, calving the last few days of January and 90% calved in 6 weeks. I aim to have a farm cover over 1000 KgDM/ha in February.

Multispecies Swards
I have two paddocks with multispecies swards. One was sown in 2021 and the other was sown this year, making up 10% of the grazing block. I found there wasn’t enough grass in the multispecies mix so I mixed in some extra grass with this year’s reseed, and I over-sowed 2kg grass per acre into the 2021 reseed back in the spring. I just broadcast it with a bag of 0-7-30. This paddock only received 35u N/ac (chemical) has grown 12.6 T DM/ha this year.

The reseed from this year got 2 bags of 10-10-20 at sowing in May and has got 33u N/ac (chemical) since and watery slurry. It has grown 10.5 T DM/ha. I am happy with the multispecies so far but feel the extra grass seed is helping. I am farming on ex-tillage ground and feel the multispecies is good for adding more organic matter and breaking down hard pans created by heavy machinery. There were a few headaches with it, but I like having something different and a new challenge.

Diet: 8 KgDM Grass + 4 Kg Meal + 6 KgDM Silage
Pre-Grazing Yield:
1,700 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 799 KgDM/ha
Cover/cow: 296 KgDM/Cow
Growth: 37 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
 22 KgDM/ha/day

Nutrient Management
This year the farm has grown 13.5 T DM/ha to date on the grazing block with 208 Kg N/ha (166u N/ac) of chemical Nitrogen applied. On average paddocks have been grazed 9.4 times across the year. I’m happy with this performance and feel I can go further.

I have a lot of next year’s fertiliser bought already. My goal for next year is to apply 170 Kg N/ha across the farm and maintain grass growth levels where they are. I plan to achieve this through reseeding and applying fertiliser at the best times on the right paddocks.


Aidan Maguire, Co. Meath, 25-10-22

Newsletter Feb 1stLocation: Navan, Co. Meath
Enterprise:  Dairy-Calf to Beef
Stocking Rate:
2.1 LU/ha on whole farm
2021 Annual tonnage:  13.5 T DM/ha

Autumn Grazing Management
I have 48 heavy cattle and 143 weanlings out grazing. There’s lots of grass on the farm at the minute. The growth on Saturday was 59 KgDM/ha, and the average farm cover actually increased. There’s at least two weeks of grass ahead for the weanlings even without growth!

The last of the heavier cattle will be housed in the next couple of weeks to start on a finishing diet. I’m currently strip-grazing them on 0.25 ha per day blocks. I’m able to split my 1ha paddocks into 4 easily. This is key to grazing out well, as their covers are getting close 2,500 KgDM/ha and being grazed down to 4-4.5cm. This means these swards will have great quality in the spring.

The spring born calves are on lighter covers of 18-1900 KgDM/ha and are well trained to graze. They are getting 1kg meal all year, and are very content even during the unsettled weather.

I’ve finished 23 cattle off grass with some meal and 62 more are housed and will be finished by mid-November. This will free up housing for the weanlings and the last cattle to be finished.

Regrowths are strong on paddocks which are closed and I don’t have a big demand for grass in the spring so I’m not exactly sure when the calves will be housed. But the main thing I focus on is to have a closing cover of 600 KgDM/ha for 1st December. This is to open around 750-800 Kg DM/ha in early Feb. I usually begin spring grazing the last week of January doing on-off grazing. This is the reason why I can get a lot of cattle finished in the autumn. The longer the grazing season the easier it is to finish cattle at the other end.

Diet: Weanlings - 3 KgDM Grass + 1 Kg Meal, Heavy cattle - 10.5 KgDM Grass
Rotation Length: 50 days
Pre-Grazing Yield:
2500 KgDM/ha (heavy cattle), 1800 KgDM/ha (weanlings)
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 984 KgDM/ha
Days Ahead: 45 days ahead
Growth: 60 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
22 KgDM/ha/day
Annual Tonnage YTD: 11.2 T DM/ha (2 T DM/ha less than 2021)


Autumn Slurry Management
All slurry was applied by August, there was only a few loads left and they went mainly to silage ground. Lime was spread in early spring on the out-block and the home-block is good for pH. My current soil samples were only taken in the spring and I’m using these to make decisions on fertiliser through the year.

 


Sean O Donnell, Ballina Co. Mayo - 18-10-22

Enterprise: Dairy
Stocking Rate: 
2.5 LU/ha on whole farm
Herd EBI: 
€150 
2021 KgMS/Cow: 
475 Kg per cow  
2021 Annual tonnage: 
13 T DM/Ha 
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day: 
15 Litres, 5.50 Fat & 4.31 Protein (1.51 Kg MS per cow)

Current Grazing Management

"It has been an excellent autumn so far for us over here in Ballina, with good ground condition leaving management a lot easier on the farm. We have good grass covers ahead of us and if weather stays favourable I am hoping to get away grazing day and night until the end of October and then graze by day until the 10th November if possible.

We have above 45% of the home farm closed and this will probably increase significantly over the coming week as I graze some wetter ground with lower covers on it. I plan to introduce 2kg of silage then next week to hold intakes. I plan to have 75% + closed by 1st November and an AFC of 550 Kg DM/Ha on the 10th November. This should mean a cover of 750 Kg Dm/Ha on 1st December and 1000 Kg Dm/Ha opening AFC next February. I will leave some of the clover ground until last in the rotation so as to have a low cover on these paddocks over the winter.

To reduce demand, I housed 10 cull cows and milked them OAD since the end of August and these have been sold off the farm this week"


Pre-Grazing Yield:
 1800 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  1700-1800 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 968 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 334 KgDM/LU
Growth:
 43 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 49 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal):
  15.5KgDM + 2.5Kg 

Last Application of Fertiliser

 I blanket spread the farm with 20 units of UREA per acre on the 5th September. I also applied some soiled water on grazed ground as all my slurry had being applied earlier in the summer. I applied 1 bag per acre of 0-7-30 in early September to clover paddocks and I plan on soil sampling the full farm this winter to get a good picture where the soil fertility is currently

 

Colin Doherty, Co. Limerick - 11-10-22

Location: Adare, Co. Limerick
Enterprise:  Dairy
2021 Milk Yield: 430 KgMS/cow
2021 Meal Fed/Cow:
550 kg meal
2021 Annual tonnage:  15 T DM/ha
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day: 1.5 KgMS (15L, F 5.48% P 4.24%)

Autumn Grazing Management

I have been zero-grazing the past few weeks and will continue to do so as the grass dry matter is low, and cows are going through covers quickly. Grazing on a 45 day rotation. We started closing the farm on 3rd October, with 19% closed to date, but this is flexible. Our target is to have 70% closed by 1st November. The target housing is 18th November with a closing cover on 1st December is a minimum of 800 KgDM/ha.

Cleanouts are still good despite heavier covers and more rainfall. We had very little issue with sour grass after the dry weather, I think because we didn’t spread N during the dry spells. Total chemical N for the year is 160 Kg N/ha. We culled 3% of cows and they are gone off the farm with empty cows (7%) still on farm, but to go in a couple of weeks. We have fed 400 Kg meal per cow to date.

Diet: 7 KgDM Grass + 10 KgDM zero-grazed + 1 Kg Meal
Rotation Length:
45 days (area/day)
Pre-Grazing Yield:
2000 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 940 KgDM/ha
Cover/cow: 344 KgDM/LU
Growth: 51 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
 47 KgDM/ha/day (including zero-grazed)
Annual Tonnage YTD: 10.4 T DM/ha

Autumn Slurry Management
We spread some slurry in late September on clover and silage fields, with dairy washings being spread this week. Dairy washings will be spread from now on when conditions allow.

We will be applying muriate of potash (MOP) at 1 bag/acre on one field in the next few weeks and will apply 2 T lime/acre on the red clover silage field too. The whole farm is due to be soil sampled in December.


Name:  Shane Moore
Location:  Athleague, Co. Roscommon
Enterprise:  Spring lambing sheep farm & drystock

Current Grazing Management 

Grazing is going very well, ground conditions are excellent which is making life easier as we are grazing heavy grass covers of 2000 Kg DM/Ha currently. I am preparing to close paddocks on my farm. It is vital I leave grass on the farm over the winter so that I have good covers for the ewes and lambs to turnout to in March.

My plan is to start closing paddocks from the 20th of November and have 20% of my farm closed by the 5th November, it is then 40% closed by 20th November. Once I have these two targets hit, I am confident in having enough grass to turnout to ewes and lambs with no meal when conditions allow in March.


Pre-Grazing Yield: 2000 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  2000 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 1190 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 826 KgDM/LU
Growth:
52 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 24 KgDM/ha/day

Last Application of Fertiliser

I spread between 16- 20 units of Protected Urea per acre on the 1st week of September and I am delighted with the response I have got. The N has helped the farm build up to over 50 days grass ahead so if the weather stays reasonable I will have a lot of days grazing yet.

Soil Fertility improvement on Farm

I spread 1T per acre of lime on some paddocks I cut early for 1st cut silage in May. My plan now is to spread the whole farm with 1 T per acre of lime throughout the autumn.

 Grassland Farmer of the Year Finalist Walk

I was delighted to be chosen as a finalist for the drystock category in the 2021 Grassland Farmer of the Year and I am hosting a farm walk this Thursday 6th October at 6.30 pm on our farm here in Roscommon and you are all welcome on the evening.

Name: John and Brendan Walsh
Location: Ballylooby, Co. Tipperary
Enterprise: Dairy 
Stocking Rate: 2.64 LU/ha (2.3 LU/ha on whole farm)
Herd EBI: €185
2021 KgMS/Cow: 525 Kg
2021 Annual tonnage:  13.5 T DM/Ha
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day:  1.72 Kg MS per cow @ 4.95 Fat and 4.06%

Current Grazing Management
Grazing is going well for us now as farm cover has recovered very well. We got thundery rain mid-August which greened up the farm well and with monthly rainfall of 113mm as of 22nd September growth has come. We should reach our autumn target peak cover of 1100 by the end of the month which will be fantastic considering where AFC was mid-August. We will begin the last rotation in the early days of October with the aim to have a closing cover of 600-650kgdm by 1st December. We're currently offering straw at the feeding barrier to get some additional fibre in the diet as swards are quite lush after the rapid growth of the last few weeks. Last weeks growth of 68 KgDM/ha/day was the second highest since 8th June.

Rotation Length: 40 days
Pre-Grazing Yield:
 2000 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  2100 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 1085 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 414 KgDM/LU
Growth:
 57 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 43 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Straw):
  16.5 KgDM + 1 Kg +  0.5 KgDM

Last Application of Fertiliser
1 bag of 29-0-14 on 5th September on grass only paddocks. Zero N on clover paddocks

Autumn Slurry Use
All slurry has been spread. Any slurry from the collecting yard will be spread on grass clover paddocks up to the closing date.

Grassland Farmer of the Year Walk
We are hosting our Grassland Farmer of the Year farm walk on Tuesday 4th October at 11am on our farm in Ballylooby, Co. Tipperary. You are all very welcome on the day.

 

 

 

 


Philip Tyndall - 20-09-22

Name:  Philip Tyndall  
Location:  Bunclody, Co. Wexford
Enterprise:  Dairy
Stocking Rate: 3.6 LU/ha on milking platform
Herd EBI: €169
2021 KgMS/Cow:  556 KgMS/Cow
2021 Annual tonnage:  14.6 T DM/ha
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day:  17.7 L/cow (1.63KgMS/cow)


Current Grazing Management
On a 45-day rotation to hold demand low and allow average farm cover to build. I’m aiming to get farm cover to around 1,000 KgDM/ha by the start of closing rotation on 5th October. I have been feeding 6kgDM grass, 6kgDM silage and 6kg meal for the last week they were getting more supplement before this. And I’m planning on increasing grass by 2kgDM for the next few weeks to reduce silage in the diet to ensure they are grazing what’s in front of them. They’re grazing covers of 1,000 KgDM/ha. I’m planning on holding stocking rate for another month because we have enough silage in the yard. It would be a different story if we didn’t have the silage. Aim to house cows fully from mid-Nov with an average farm cover of 600 KgDM/ha to be at 750 KgDM/ha on 1st December.

Average Farm Cover (AFC): 703 KgDM/ha
Growth: 57 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
 32 KgDM/ha/day
Diet:
6 KgDM Grass + 6 Kg Meal + 6 KgDM Silage
Pre-Grazing Yield:
1000-1200 KgDM/ha
Annual Tonnage:
10.4 T DM/ha (down 1.7 T DM on 2021)

Nutrient Management
211 Kg N/ha chemical Nitrogen spread to date. Grass growth is back on last year but this is due to very dry conditions in late summer. We only got rain

All the slurry has been spread on silage ground earlier in the year. We focused strongly on this, this year. We applied soiled water to paddocks about two weeks ago and we spread 80 T lime on paddocks after this.

We will follow clover paddocks with 2,500 gal/ac with the remaining soiled water

Philip is hosting a farm walk next week. For more information click here

 


Name: Shane Seymour
Location: Carney, Nenagh Co. Tipperary
Enterprise: Dairy
Stocking Rate: 3.3 LU/ha (2.5 LU/ha on whole farm)
Herd EBI: €148
2021 KgMS/Cow: 495   
2021 Annual tonnage: 15 T DM/Ha  
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day: 20 Litres @ Fat 4.79% and Protein 3.54%. 1.7 Kg MS/cow 

Current Grazing Management

The farm is starting to recover after the extended dry spell. My AFC was around 400 Kg DM/ha about 10 days ago and today it has increased to 689 Kg DM/Ha. I am supplementing heavily at the moment in order to build this cover. The diet is 8Kg grass, 4 kg meal and 6kg of arable silage and the cows are entering covers of 1100-1200 Kg DM/Ha.

My plan is to continue to supplement heavy and try and get my AFC close to 1000 Kg DM/Ha before the end of September. I will continue to keep my demand around 30 Kg DM/ha which should increase my AFC by 150 -200 kg DM/Ha per week if I get favourable growing conditions. The key to all of this has been setting my rotation length at 30 days which has given the farm the opportunity to recover.

 


Pre-Grazing Yield: 1100-1200 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  1200 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 689 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 209 KgDM/LU
Growth:
 72 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 26 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
  8KgDM + 4Kg +  6KgDM

Autumn Fertiliser Management

After last weeks rain, i spread 2/3 of the farm with 28 units of Protected Urea per acre. I had nothing spread for 3-4 weeks before that. The remaining paddocks are being spread today with just over 20 units per acre. 

I have not much slurry remaining, but I am applying the last of it to outfarms that were zero grazed into the cows over the last 2 weeks at a rate of 1500 gallons per acre of watery slurry.

 


Eoin Corrigan, Co. Meath - 06-09-2022

Name:  Eoin Corrigan
Location: Trim, Co. Meath
Enterprise:  Dairy
Stocking Rate:
2.4 LU/ha on whole farm
2021 Milk Yield: 370 KgMS (all heifers)
2021 Meal Fed/Cow:
780 Kg
2021 Annual Tonnage: 13 T DM/ha

Current Grazing Management
We made a good first cut of silage and, on June 1st, had a 5 months winter feed. But with low rainfall, we grew less than half the normal amount of grass we would have budgeted for from June to August, we grew 3 T DM/ha and would have budgeted for over 6 T DM/ha.
One month of silage is now gone and I zero-grazed whatever grass was on the 2nd cut in July. I’ve increased meal fed also. Having calculated what I need, I’ve already bought a month’s worth of silage and will likely buy another month of feed to ensure I have enough.

I think it’s a real necessity this year for farmers to make sure they do a winter fodder budget to see what’s in stock. Most farms around me seem to have just enough for their normal winter requirement, however, farmers affected by drought will need to feed the equivalent of 1 – 2 bales of silage per cow between now and housing. I’d rather look at all the options available now and make a plan to avoid stress over feeding animals this winter.

My autumn grazing plan is to hold two 30-day rotations to bring me up to early November. I will fill the gap with whatever supplement is required. The rain at the weekend was very welcome and the growth it brings even more so! We got more rain this weekend (60mm) than the last two months (51mm). My plan is to hold a low demand on the farm until my AFC is over 650KgDM/ha.


Average Farm Cover (AFC):
241 KgDM/ha
Growth: 7 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
 6 KgDM/ha/day
Pre-Grazing Yield: 600 KgDM/ha
Current Milk Yield: 1.64 KgMS (17L - 5.5% F and 3.86% P)
(33% 1st lactation)
Diet: 2 KgDM Grass + 5 Kg Meal + 11 KgDM Silage

Fertiliser Management
I bulk spread once per month and went with 30u N/ac in early August. With the rain over the weekend I hope grass growth will get back to normal in the next few weeks. My plan is to spread 20u N/ac this week. I’m spreading dairy washings on some paddocks this week also.

 


Name: Colin Doherty
Location: Adare, Co. Limerick
Enterprise: Dairy
2021 KgMS/Cow: 430   
2021 Annual tonnage: 15 T DM/Ha  
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day:  16 Litres, Fat 4.88% Protein 3.85%

Current Grazing Management

We have being struggling with drought for the last 3 weeks. Growth rates are in the low 20's. We got about 20mm rain in August in total.

The cows are currently getting allocated about 9/10 Kg of grass in the paddock and 3Kg meal in the parlour. Alongside that they are getting zerograzed grass from an outfarm at milking time and for a proportion of the cows at night. This zerograzed grass is working out at 6kg DM per cow per day.

We have about 9T DM/Ha of grass grown YTD. We are upgrading some of our water infrastructure on the farm. It is during times of drought and high temperatures that the importance of a good water system is invaluable.

 


Pre-Grazing Yield:
 1800Kg DM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  1000 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 499 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 250 KgDM/LU
Growth:
 22 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 30 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Zero Graze):
  9KgDM + 3Kg +  6 KgDM

Fertiliser Management

I spread 20 units of Protected urea about 3 weeks ago around the time we recieved 12mm of rain. Conditions are too dry at present to spread. My plan is to spread 20 units of N per acre across the farm when we get rain before the deadline

GFOY Farm Walk

I am looking forward to welcoming you all to my Grassland Farmer of the Year Farm walk next Tuesday 6th September at 11am on our farm here in Adare Co. Limerick. Hopefully we will have recieved some rain by then!


Name:  Patrick O Neill
Location: Fairmount Mostrim, Co. Longford
Enterprise:  Milking 120 cows 
Stocking Rate: 2.5 LU/ha on milking platform
Soil Type:  Free draining soils
Herd EBI:  €159
2021 KgMS/Cow: 460 KgMS/Cow
Current Milk Yield:  21.5 litres @ 4.2% Fat and 3.65% Protein

Current Grazing Management

How Grazing? 

I am very happy currently with the grazing situation on my farm, we had a tricky July with lower growth rates but we have got plenty of rain now to keep grass growing. We had 20mm of rain over the weekend too. Growth rates are 55 Kg DM/Ha at the minute and I would expect that to be higher next week. My cows are on 2kg meal but I am increasing to 3kg by the weekend. My target is to build an AFC of 1100 Kg DM/Ha on the 20-25th September which should be achievable as I am reasonably stocked at 2.66 LU/Ha and a demand of 45 Kg DM/Ha. I have 80 tonne of lime being delivered today. My plan is to give an application of 1T per acre to the whole milking platform this Autumn, while some paddocks that require more will receive 2T per acre.

Pre-Grazing Yield: 1400 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  1350KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 728 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 274 KgDM/LU
Growth:
 55 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 45 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal ):
  15KgDM + 3 Kg

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management

I blanket spread the grass only paddocks on the farm with 30 units of Protected Urea to the acre on the 10th August. Clover paddocks in the pictures below got no N and received 1 bag of 0-7-30 to the acre

 

 


Name: Stephen Ryan
Location: Ballinamult, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
Enterprise: Dairy
Stocking Rate: LU/ha (LU/ha on Milking PLatform): 2.9
Herd EBI: €175
2021 KgMS/Cow: 502 kg delivered
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day: 1.65kg (20.5L @ 4.21% Fat & 3.6% protein)

Current Grazing Management

"Growth rate fell over the few days and my AFC has dropped by over 100kg DM/ha. My previous AFC was 738 kg DM/ha and the farm was growing over 70 kg DM/ha. Given the weather predictions last week, I took the replacement heifers off the milking platform and moved them to the outfarm. I have increased meal feeding to 3 kg/cow. I expect some recovery in grass growth now that rain has fallen (13mm Sunday night) and more rain forecasted. I will catch up now with fertiliser N (20 units protected urea/acre) and I also had some extra fertiliser N spread before the weather got really hot and dry. My plan is to have an AFC of over 800 kgDM/ha by Sept 1st. I am very happy with the cleanout of the paddocks on the farm as we enter autumn. The paddock cleanouts have really gone well this year. Starting the second rotation early has helped this a lot. My average pre-grazing yield has averaged 1100 kg DM/ha across the summer"

Rotation #: 8
Pre-Grazing Yield: KgDM/ha: 1100 kg
Next Paddocks to graze: KgDM/ha: 1250
Average Farm Cover (AFC): KgDM/ha: 627
Cover/LU: KgDM/LU: 216
Growth: KgDM/ha/day: 26
Demand: KgDM/ha/day: 46
Current rotation length: 19 days
Diet (Grass + Meal):  16 KgDM + 3 Kg
Mid-Season Fertiliser Management: 20 units protected urea/acre

Pictures below from local Teagasc Grass10 group meeting on Stephen Ryans farm with Teagasc Advisor Ruth Fennell & John Maher, Grass10.


Name: Michael Casey
Location: Ballydague Farm, Ballyhooly, Co. Cork
Enterprise: Dairy
Stocking Rate: 3.1LU/ha on MP
Herd EBI: € 180
2021 KgMS/Cow: 460   
2021 Annual tonnage: 13 T 
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day: 1.7 Kg MS per day per cow 

Current Grazing Management

We have gotten very little rain in the last two weeks. Ground is getting very dry with the top of hills and under trees starting to turn brown. We are ok for grass at the moment but with no rain in the forecast I will have to graze two paddocks that I had closed up for silage. We have grown 7.8 T DM/Ha for the year to date.

Pre-Grazing Yield: 1500KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  1200-1300KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 700 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 201 KgDM/LU
Growth:
 54 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 49 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal):
  14KgDM + 4Kg 

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management

We are currently following cows with 18 units of Pro. Urea. We will blanket spread the whole farm at the end of August start of September with 35 units of Urea to finish the fertiliser spreading for the year.


Name: Oisin Gallen 
Location: Ramelton, Co. Donegal          
Enterprise:  Dairy
Stocking Rate: 2.5 LU/ha on whole farm
Herd EBI: €176
2021 KgMS/Cow: 470   
2021 Annual tonnage: 13 T
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day:  23 litres Fat 4.15 % Protein 3.61% (1.8 Kg MS per cow)

Current Grazing Management

Pre-Grazing Yield: 1500 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  
1450 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC):
650 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 199 KgDM/LU
Growth:
95 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 49 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal):
 
15 KgDM + 3.5Kg

How Grazing?  I am very happy with the grass situation here at the minute. We have had very strong growth of over 90 Kg DM/Ha last week and ground conditions are excellent.

I baled 1 paddock over the weekend as the Pre Grazing Yield had gone too strong at over 1800 Kg DM/Ha. I have grown about 8.7 T DM/Ha year to date according to my annual tonnage report on PastureBase Ireland

My plan is to keep the correct grass in front of the cows, leafy 1400-1500 Kg DM/ha swards. In about 10 days I will be starting to build grass for the Autumn and I have completed a grass budget on PastureBase Ireland to help me plan out my grazing this Autumn. My aim is to build to a peak AFC of between 950-1000 in late September.

 

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management

I have been spreading protected urea for the last 2 months, however I have changed back now to 18.6.12 and I am spreading about 1.3 bags per acre now after grazing (24 units N) to apply some more P & K to grazing paddocks

Reseeding

I have taken the 1st grazing off my June reseed. The reseed had established very well and got its clover safe post emergence spray on time which has left a very clean sward. This mix had 2 kg of white clover and 1 kg of red clover incorporated. I will not give this any N this rotation in order to help the clover establish better in the sward.

 


Michael McGuigan, Co. Meath - 26-07-22

Name:  Michael McGuigan    
Location: Longwood, Co. Meath
Enterprise: Suckler to Store/Beef
Stocking Rate: 2.2 LU/ha on whole farm
2021 Annual tonnage:  10.9 T DM/ha

Current Grazing Management
I’m delighted with where I am grassland wise. I spread 14.5 tonnes of fertiliser last year and this year I’ll spread 9.5 tonnes for the whole year. But I’ve grown more grass to date, my annual tonnage is 30% higher than this time last year. This means I’m able to carry more stock. Since joining the Grass10 course, the investments in soil fertility and reseeding are paying back big time. All pieces of the jigsaw are coming together now.

Walking every 5 days is key for me – in my opinion a week is too long as 1 or 2 paddocks can go beyond where they need to be, then it takes time to get it back right which reduces liveweight gain.

I’m culling hard this year to tighten up the calving period and to get rid of cows whose offspring aren’t doing good liveweight gains. The average liveweight gain on the 30th June was 1.35 Kg/day for all autumn born calves (for the previous 5 weeks).

This is year I put clover into 20% of the farm. 15% was reseeded and 5% was oversown. It’s key to put cows and calves in when the cover is right which means grazing at 1,000 kg DM/ha.

Rotation #: 6
Pre-Grazing Yield:
1,500 KgDM/ha (1,000 Kg DM/ha on reseeds)
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 733 KgDM/ha
Stocking Rate: 3.2 LU/ha
Days Ahead:
15 days ahead
Growth: 55 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
 48 KgDM/ha/day
Annual Tonnage YTD: 7.1 T DM/ha
Avg summer pre-grazing yield: 1,364 KgDM/ha

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management
I was wee bit more reactive than routine with fertiliser this year. I blanket spread earlier in the year. After this, if growth was dropping or swards were getting paler I applied it. Walking the farm every 5 days allows me to do this. I have some clover which is helping too. To date 80u/ac of chemical N has been applied plus about 10u N/ac through LESS slurry.


Paudie O'Brien, Co. Kerry - 19-07-22

Name:  Paudie O’Brien
Location: Firies, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Enterprise: Dairy
Soil Type: Heavy Soils
Herd EBI:  €159
Stocking Rate:
2.6 LU/ha on whole farm
2021 Milk Yield: 466 KgMS
2021 Meal Fed/Cow:
1.2 T
2021 Annual tonnage:  13.3 T DM/ha

Current Grazing Management
I dropped ration from 3kg back to 2kg. Silage ground will be back in this week with 5-600 KgDM/ha on it. This will drop stocking rate back to 3.4 LU/ha. Took a paddock out this week as it’s just gone to strong. I was setting up the wire and half way through I decided it was too heavy. If I grazed it everything else would be getting too strong, even though growth has slowed. I just know my farm and I know I need to take it out. The pre-grazing yield is getting high but with the dry weather I’m not risking taking out anymore.

I oversowed 10 acres of clover in mid-April. It has been grazed 4 times since, I cut back the nitrogen to 10u N/acre or 2,500 gal/acre of parlour washings. On half this area I’ve got a super take, but the other half it didn’t take so good. I’m planning on reseeding this half this week with 5.5Kg Abergain, 5.5Kg Astonenergy and 3kg Coolfin white clover. It’s a lesson learnt to oversow on the most suitable paddocks. I plan to have 25% of the milking platform in clover by next year. These paddocks are the driest and closest paddocks to the yard.

Diet: 16 KgDM Grass + 2 Kg Meal
Rotation #:
6
Pre-Grazing Yield:
1,800 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 764 KgDM/ha
Stocking Rate: 4 LU/Ha
Cover/Cow:
191 KgDM/Cow
Growth: 52 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
 60 KgDM/ha/day
Annual Tonnage YTD: 6.8 T DM/Ha
2022 Pre-grazing Yield (from PBI):
1380 KgDM/ha

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management
We used up our allocation of P through 18-6-12 and are now back onto protected Urea. We are really focused on getting the best out of slurry this year by targeting the low P & K paddocks and having everything ready for the contractor to make it easier for them to spread at the right rate. 90% of the fertiliser is now spread with GPS and it always seems to go further this is a big saving.


Kieran & Edward Condon, Co. Kilkenny - 12-07-22

Name:  Kieran and Edward Condon
Location: Kellsgrange, Co. Kilkenny
Enterprise: Dairy
Soil type: Dry free-draining
Herd EBI:
€160
Stocking Rate:
2.5 LU/ha on whole farm
2021 Milk Yield: 523 KgMS/Cow
2021 Meal Fed/Cow:
1,250 Kg
2021 Annual tonnage:  13.1 T DM/ha

Current Grazing Management
Grass growth was good over the past week and we’re focused on correcting quality in paddocks that headed out during the last dry spell. But there’s no major surplus at the minute with ground drying out quickly. The stronger covers (>1000 kgDM/ha) will carry the growth. I’ll walk the farm again later this week. 2nd cut silage is cut and averaged 7 bales/ac, which we are happy with. We’ll just take bales from now on if there is surplus grass.

We plan on reseeding 10 acres with a grass-clover mix, but need more rain for that to happen. Our 4-year clover plan is to oversow clover on 15% and reseed 10% of the farm each year for the next 4 years to reduce chemical N and improve milk solids.

Diet: 16 KgDM Grass + 3 Kg Meal
Milk Yield/Cow:
1.93 KgMS (Fat: 4.01%, Pro: 3.59%)
Rotation #:
6th Rotation
Pre-Grazing Yield:
1,600 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 730 KgDM/ha
Cover/Cow: 220 KgDM/Cow
Growth: 88 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
 55 KgDM/ha/day
Annual Tonnage YTD: 8.2 T DM/ha

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management
Protected Urea + 7.5% Sulphur has been applied each round over the summer at a rate of 20u N/ac each rotation. We’ve been doing it in two splits, so half the farm every 10 days. There’s a total of 160 Kg N/ha applied on the grazing block so far which includes 20 kg N/ha from slurry.

 


Sean O Donnell, Co. Mayo - 05/07/2022

Location: Ballina, Co. Mayo
Enterprise: Dairy
Stocking Rate: 2.5 LU/ha (LU/ha on whole farm)
Herd EBI: €150 
2021 KgMS/Cow: 475 Kg per cow  
2021 Annual tonnage: 13 T DM/Ha 
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day:  25 Litres, 4.41 Fat & 3.81 Protein

 

 

Current Grazing Management

How Grazing? 

Grazing has been tricky over the last few weeks, we have got a lot of rain but we are still grazing in 24 hour allocations. The conditions have hampered grazing and also delayed taking out paddocks for bales. If we get heat this weekend it will be fine. I am looking forward to welcoming everyone to my farm this Friday 8th July for our Grassland Farmer of the Year walk. Everyone is welcome!

Pre-Grazing Yield:
 1600KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze: 1400, 1200 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 789 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 208 KgDM/LU
Growth:
 62 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 65 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal):
  17 KgDM + 2 Kg

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management

Up to now I have been following the cows with 20 units/acre every rotation of 46% Protected Urea. Paddocks that were baled have recieved 18.6.12. Paddocks that have good clover content have being recieving half rate N.

For the next rotation I have decided to go with 18.6.12 at 1 bag per acre ( 18 units of N per 20 days) for a full rotation as I am finding the farm a bit pale at the minute. 


Mike Bermingham, Co. Cork - 28/06/2022

Location: Fermoy, Co. Cork
Enterprise:  Dairy
Herd EBI: €175
Stocking Rate: 
2.6 LU/Ha on whole farm
2021 Milk Solids Yield: 544 Kg/cow delivered to Dairygold Co-op
2021 Meal Fed/Cow: 
975 Kg
2021 Annual tonnage:  13 T DM/Ha

 


Current Grazing Management:

I have managed to hold AFC above 500Kg/Ha (last measurement was 511 Kg/Ha). We have received over 50mm of rainfall over the last few days and I expect growth to increase. A growth of 65-70 Kg/Ha is expected after completing the next measurement tomorrow.

I walk the farm twice a week and my target is to have an AFC of 600 Kg/Ha. I plan to reduce meal feeding to 2Kg/cow/day. There are some paddocks that need immediate correction to address poor grass quality. The plan is to cut these paddocks out for round bale silage if possible but will top them if my AFC doesn’t increase enough.

Diet: 15KgDM Grass + 5Kg Meal
Rotation #: 5
Rotation Length:  21 days
Pre-Grazing Yield:
1,300 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 518 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU KgDM:
153
Growth: 59 KgDM/Ha/day
Demand:
 51 KgDM/Ha/day
Milk Yield: 1.95 KgMS/cow/day (23 ltrs @ 4.42% Fat & 3.79% protein)
Annual Tonnage YTD: 6.5 T DM/Ha

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management:

N Fertiliser spread to date: 136 Kg N/Ha (includes silage ground)

Current N fertiliser: 17 Kg N/Ha on average.

About 10% of the farm is receiving 2,500 gals/ace of soiled water (some clover paddocks), 37 % of the farm is getting half bag of 18:6:12+S/acre (some clover paddocks). I expect the clover paddocks to deliver on growth in this rotation. The rest of the farm is receiving 18 units of Protected Urea + Sulphur/acre. The headland areas and the area where cows camp or lie in paddocks will not receive fertiliser at this time of year.


Daniel Rundle, Co. Louth - 21-06-22

Location: Ardee, Co. Louth
Enterprise:  Dairy
Herd EBI: €184
Stocking Rate:
2.6 LU/ha on whole farm
2021 Milk Yield: 522 KgMS/cow
2021 Meal Fed/Cow:
710 Kg Meal
2021 Annual tonnage:  12.8 T DM/ha

Current Grazing Management:
The growth in May was phenomenal. It was growing 90kg per day for three weeks. I took out a lot of paddocks and perhaps should have done so a week earlier as I ended up with a slight deficit last week and fed 3kg meal per cow when I normally only feed 1kg this time of year.

Looking at cover/cow you would be concerned, but I can see grass growing well. I’m walking the farm twice per week. I’ll be definitely going again on Thursday or Friday to make sure average farm cover doesn’t drop below 500 KgDM/ha to keep grass growing.

There’s also 30 acres of silage ground I didn’t put back in the wedge yet. It will be ready to graze in a couple of weeks. It is wetter ground and is growing well. For this reason, I can’t see myself having to feed silage.

Diet: 16 KgDM Grass + 2 kg Meal
Rotation #: 5
Pre-Grazing Yield:
1200 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 523 KgDM/ha
Stocking Rate: 3.8 LU/ha
Cover/Cow:
137 KgDM/Cow
Growth: 76 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
 51 KgDM/ha/day
Current Milk Yield: 2.04 KgMS/cow (26.5 L @ 3.98% BF and 3.5% Prot)
2022 Tonnage YTD: 5.6 T DM/ha

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management:
18u N/ac is being applied every 20 days. I’m trying to get this down to 0.8u N/ac per day. Lime is arriving this week to be spread on silage ground and some paddocks. There’s 60T lime to be applied on about 45 acres. This is what the soil tests from last winter are recommending.


Denise Weeks, Co Limerick - 14th June 2022

Name:  Denise Weeks
Location:  Kilfinane, Co. Limerick
Enterprise:  Dairy
Stocking Rate: 2.8 LU/ha (2.5LU/ha on whole farm)
Herd EBI: €183
2021 KgMS/Cow:   472Kg MS/cow
2021 Annual tonnage:  13.6 T DM/Ha
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day: 22.5 Litres, Fat 4.71% Protein 3.88%

Current Grazing Management

How Grazing? 

We are currently running at 149 cover/LU which I am happy with. We have being getting some rain which is holding growth rates in the mid 60’s however two weeks without rain will reduce growth rates so it is vital that I keep walking the farm every 5 days and react if growth rates drop. Graze outs have been good however, some stem is appearing and I will have to top some of these paddocks, as a proportion of the farm is too steep for baling.


Pre-Grazing Yield:
1300 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze: 1200, 1200 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 606 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 149 KgDM/LU
Growth:
63 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:  69 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
  17 KgDM + 2 Kg  

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management

Following the cows with 18 units of N per rotation, last round the fertiliser product was 26-2.2-4.4.

Paddocks with good clover contents have been skipped with fertiliser for simplicity on these paddocks every 2nd round and they are receiving 1500 gallons of dairy washings instead.

 

Reseeding & Clover Incorporation

We oversowed 5% of the farm on the 1st week of May and I am happy with the distribution of new clover plants around the paddock. These paddocks will receive dairy washings after grazing at a cover of 900-1000 Kg DM/Ha, with no other N sources. These paddocks had been cut for bales so they were perfect for oversowing.

I reseeded another paddock with a red clover silage mix, this was seeded in early May. Grass varieties were Aberchoice, Abermagic & Aberwolf along with 4kg red clover & 1 kg white clover. I am aiming to cut it twice this year & also aim to avoid overgrazing in the autumn with my heifer calves.


Oisin Gallen, Co. Donegal - 7th June 2022

Name: Oisin Gallen
Location: Ramelton, Co. Donegal
Enterprise: Dairy
Stocking Rate: 2.5LU/ha (LU/ha on whole farm)
Herd EBI: € 176
2021 KgMS/Cow: 470 Kg MS per cow 
2021 Annual tonnage: 13T DM/Ha 
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day:  25 Litres (2.0 Kg MS per cow)

Current Grazing Management

How Grazing?

Last week, I was tight for grass due to cold nights & north wind along with having reseeding and silage ground closed up. Growth rates have recovered back to 69 Kg DM/ha over the weekend. Grass Quality is still the main challenge at this time of year and juggling between making surplus bales and having enough grass. I am aiming to keep cover/lu at 150-160 and pre grazing yields between 1400-1500 Kg DM/Ha

 
Pre-Grazing Yield: 1450 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  1450,1200 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 691 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 160 KgDM/LU
Growth:
 69 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 61 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
  14KgDM + 4Kg

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management

I am following the cows with 1.25 bags of 18.6.12 per acre this rotation to drip feed some P&K along with N. Paddocks that got cut for silage have recieved 2500 gallons per acre of watery slurry and will receive Urea later

I have 4 acres out for reseeding at the minute. This paddocks was subsoiled yesterday and will be stitched today. The mix that I am sowing has 11kg grass, 2kg white clover and 1 kg red clover as I am hoping to improve the clover content on my farm 


Brigid Carroll, Co. Wexford - 30-05-22

Name: Brigid Carroll
Location: Ballycanew, Co. Wexford
Enterprise:  Dairy
Stocking Rate:
2.8 LU/ha on whole farm
2021 Milk Yield: 510 KgMS/cow
2021 Meal Fed/Cow:
1,200 Kg
2021 Annual tonnage:  15 T DM/ha

Brigid began milking 50 cows in 2017. This has grown to 118 cows this year. Brigid farms on Macamore type soil which is a light top soil over an impermeable clay subsoil. This makes grazing at the shoulders challenging. Over 85% of the farm has been reseeded in the past five years. Brigid won the 2021 Innovation in Grassland Award in the Grassland Farmer of the Year competition for her focus on Health & Safety around slurry management.

Current Grazing Management: Things have gone a bit tight this week as grass growth has slowed down. Where I was getting 3 grazings, I’m getting closer to 2. I did a farm walk yesterday and my cover has dropped to 590 Kg DM/Ha. My plan is to increase meal by 2kg to slow cows up and hold farm cover. I should have enough grass again by the weekend and heifers will be moving to an outblock next week. Recovery on paddocks just grazed is good and some rain would be nice! I’ll walk again at the weekend to update the plan.

Pre-Grazing Yield:
 1200 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 590 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU:  145 KgDM/LU
Growth: 49 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
 60 KgDM/ha/day
Diet: 13 KgDM Grass + 5 Kg Meal

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management: I’ve reduced fertiliser use back this summer to around 18u N/ac per rotation. I think with the high grass growth in May, more background nitrogen has been used. I went again with fertiliser last week and rain is needed to get grass growth back on track.


Name: Sean O Donnell
Location: Ballina Co. Mayo
Enterprise: Dairy
Stocking Rate: 2.4 LU/ha (LU/ha on whole farm)
Herd EBI: €162
2021 KgMS/Cow: 484 kg MS per cow  
2021 Annual tonnage:  13 T DM/Ha
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day:  25.5l 4.65ft 3.75prot 2.2kgms

Current Grazing Management

 

How Grazing?  Grazing is going pretty well, conditions have been ideal with excellent growth. Pre grazings are creeping up a bit towards 1500kg DM/Ha so we are baling paddocks out. we have closed some paddocks also that will come in with 1st cut silage. we are targeting cover/lu at about 150 for this round and into the 1st 3 weeks in June as we tend to get a real peak of growth in this period. we have 15% of the MP on the home farm reseeded. we included 1kg of Red clover and 2kg of white clover in the mix. We plan to reseed another 10% in the next couple of weeks.
Rotation #: 3
Pre-Grazing Yield:
 1400-1500KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  1450 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 606 KgDM/ha 
Cover/LU: 158 KgDM/LU 
Growth:
 86 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 61 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
  16 KgDM +2Kg

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management

Spreading 18 units of protected Urea after the cows.

Anything that is baled gets 2000gl acre of dairy washings and 22 units of 18/6/12.

Any paddock with decent clover is getting 6/7 units of N every second round and ½ a bag of 0/7/30 every other round

 


Name:  John and Brendan Walsh & Family
Location: Ballylooby, Co. Tipperary
Enterprise: Dairy
Stocking Rate: LU/ha (LU/ha on whole farm) 2.3 LU/Ha
Herd EBI: €180
2021 KgMS/Cow:   525 kg MS per cow
2021 Annual tonnage:  13.5 T DM/Ha
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day:  2.2 kg MS/ day @ 4.32 Fat, 3.67 Protein

Current Grazing Management

Growth has been quite strong here since mid April and has been about 10-15kg ahead of demand since. We try to keep pregrazing yields between 1250 & 1400 and cover/lu 160-170 at this time of year to maintain grass quality. We had two paddocks out for bales last week which are now back in the wedge and have brought stocking rate back from 4.2 to 3.7. Ground conditions are starting to get a little dry even though growth is good, so we’ll be hoping for some rain this week

We plan to take out 2 paddocks for reseeding in the next week or so.

50% of the milking platform is in grass clover and we cut out chemical N in April. We oversowed one paddock using Alstrung Auctus machine and this seems to work better than broadcasting on our farm. 

Over the weekend we cut the red clover silage and some ungrazed first cut silage.


Rotation #: 4
Pre-Grazing Yield:
 1300 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  1200 + 1150 KgDM/ha
Diet (Grass + Meal ):  16.5 KgDM +1.5 Kg 

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management

.7 units of N on non clover paddocks & zero N on clover paddocks. Clover paddocks will get a bag of MOP split in 3 applications across the summer. 

 

 


Aidan Maguire, Co. Meath, 10-05-22

Name: Aidan Maguire
Location: Navan, Co. Meath
Enterprise: Calf to beef
Stocking Rate: 2.79 LU/ha on whole farm
2021 Output/ha: 1,455 Kg/ha liveweight   
2021 Annual tonnage:  13.2 T DM/ha
Current Grazing Management
Grass is growing over the hedges this week. There was one paddock cattle went back into after nine days. I couldn’t believe how much it grew. I’ve brought home all the cattle to the home farm to help control it. I’m skipping heavy covers over 1,600 KgDM/ha, and I’ve taken out 4 paddocks already and baled them at 5 bales/acre.

I’m running the bullocks in one group of 100 this year for the first time. It is going ok and give me a lot more control. They are grazing out 1ha paddocks in two days and getting good clean outs.

Paddocks per Mob:  3
Grazing Days per paddock: 2 days
Rotation #: 3
Pre-Grazing Yield:
1450 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 887 KgDM/ha
Days Ahead: 15 days ahead
Growth: 114 KgDM/ha/day
Demand:
58 KgDM/ha/day
Kg Lwt/ha: 3225 Kg/ha

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management
I’m going with 18u N/ac for this round because although grass growth is strong I need to make as much silage as I can now for my winter feed. I aim to make good quality silage to cut down on meal feeding. I stitched in clover to three paddocks and I’m not applying any nitrogen on these this round given the high grass growth as I want to give clover a chance to establish.

Aidan is taking part in our upcoming webinar on Thursday 12th May. For more info go to: www.teagasc.ie/crops/grassland/grass10/webinars/


Philip Tyndall, Co. Wexford - 3-5-22

Name:  Philip Tyndall  
Location:  Bunclody, Co. Wexford
Enterprise:  Dairy
Stocking Rate: 3.6 LU/ha on milking platform
Herd EBI: €169
2021 KgMS/Cow:   556 KgMS/Cow
2021 Annual tonnage:  14.6 T DM/ha
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day:  27.6L/cow (2.22 KgMS/cow)

2021 Young Grassland Farmer of the Year Winner
“The whole family are delighted with the award. There has been lots of hard work went in, going back decades, to get the farm to where it is today and it is a great feeling to be recognised for it”. – Philip

Current Grazing Management
“Grazing is going ok at the minute, we finished the second rotation last week and had actually one paddock skipped and eyed for silage but we ended up grazing it at 1700 KgDM/ha as the pregrazing yield on the 3rd rotation were getting close to 1000 KgDM/ha. Things look to be growing better now though. We have increased stocking rate to 4.3 LU/ha to match grass growth. I’ll be walking the farm again on Saturday, I’d expect we will be skipping paddocks soon.”

Grazing allocation: Mix of 24 and 36hr paddocks
Rotation #:
3rd rotation
Pre-Grazing Yield:
1400 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze: 1300 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 701 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 162 KgDM/LU
Growth:
65 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 67 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
  15 KgDM + 3 Kg

Mid-Season Fertiliser Management
“We have about 90u N/ac applied to date on the milking platform which was our target for May 1st. Our plan now is to apply 15u N/ac per rotation. I have P, K and Sulphur applied on the grazing paddocks.”


Name: David Gannon
Location: Craughwell, Co. Galway
Enterprise:  Milking 153 cows
Stocking Rate: 2.9 LU/Ha on MP
2021 Annual tonnage: 14 T DM/ha
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day: 26.3kg @ 3.64% Protein, 4.49% Fat (2.2kg MS/cow)

2nd Rotation Grazing Management: We started 2nd rotation on the 12th April so we are motoring through it nicely at the minute. Grass quality is excellent and cows are milking very well and cleaning out paddocks. I am trying to manage the transition from spring grazing management to summer management and I plan on stocking the milking platform around 4 LU/Ha for the early part of the summer and take up a large area for 1st cut and reduce the amount of surplus bales being taken due to cost for 2022. This will give me a demand of 64 Kg DM/ha per day. I had been on 3 kg of meal but with the higher dry matter % in grass and cows being very content,I have reduced this to 2kg.


How Grazing?  24 hour allocations
Pre-Grazing Yield: 1400 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 593 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 
161 KgDM/LU
Growth:
 59 KgDM/ha/day (measuring twice per week)
Demand: 
55 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
 16 Kg Grass + 2 kg Meal

2nd Round Fertiliser Management: We’re following the cows now with 0.8 units/ day (16 units per rotation) of 27-2.5-5 and all fertiliser is recorded on the PastureBase App.

Clover: We have oversown about 8% of the milking platform with clover over the last 2 weeks. These were paddocks that had excellent soil fertility, had no weed burden and a high % of perennial ryegrass. These were oversown by my local contractor at 3 Kg of coated clover per acre. The varieties were Buddy & Aberherald. These paddocks got 0-7-30 at 1 bag per acre and received no N at sowing as there was very strong regrowths on them. They will get half rate N (11-12 units per acre) over the next few rotations. My plan is to graze the paddocks at 700 Kg DM/ha next rotation and then the following rotations at 1000 Kg DM/Ha to allow light to the base of the sward.

 


Colin Doherty, Co. Limerick, 19-04-22

Name: Colin Doherty
Location: Adare, Co. Limerick
Enterprise:  Milking 225 cows
Stocking Rate: 2.9 LU/ha (2.4 LU/ha on whole farm)
2021 KgMS/Cow: 430 KgMS (50% 1st and 2nd calvers)
2021 Annual tonnage: 14.5 T DM/ha
Current Milk Yield - Cow/Day: 24L @ 3.6% Protein, 4.19% Fat

Overall Grassland Farmer of the Year Winner: We were delighted to win the award and the main thing I’d like to get across is that anyone can do what we’re doing. We just focus on the basics and doing the simple things right over and over again. I’m following the advice of farmers and advisors by attending events and picking up pieces to bring home and apply.

2nd Rotation Grazing Management: We started 2nd rotation on the 3rd April and plan to start the 3rd rotation on the 25th April. I’m going to skip some paddocks, they’re going for first cut silage to increase demand and match growth over the next six weeks. I felt growth had dropped below demand but grass growth has flipped around in the past week. Measuring twice per week is the best way for me to manage the transition into high growth.
How Grazing?  The wire is down since April 1st – 36hr grazing paddocks
Pre-Grazing Yield: 1400 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 715 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 207 KgDM/LU
Growth:
79 KgDM/ha/day (measuring twice per week)
Demand: 61 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
 18 KgDM Grass (no meal and magnesium flakes in water)

2nd Round Fertiliser Management: We’re following the cows now with 1u N/ac per day so about 18u N/ac per rotation on the grass only swards. I have reduced Nitrogen rate on good grass-clover swards where clover content is 20%. I’m going with half the rate on these grass-clover swards. I’m using the ‘Days since last application’ figure on the PastureBase app to guide when we need to spread fertiliser.


Michael Gowen, Kilworth, Co. Cork - 11-04-22

Name: Michael Gowen
Location: Kilworth, Co. Cork
Enterprise: Milking 118 cows
Stocking Rate: 3.5 LU/ha (2.6 LU/ha on whole farm)
Herd EBI: €193
2021 KgMS/Cow: 487 KgMS
2021 Annual tonnage: 14.25 T DM/ha
Current Milk % - Cow/Day: 3.43% Protein, 4.69% Fat

2nd Rotation Grazing Management:
I started grazing the 2nd rotation on 9th April. This is slightly later than usual but the past few weeks have been cold and I had to slow down to get to the 2nd rotation. Grazing covers 1200 KgDM/ha is giving me a great chance to clean out paddocks well in this rotation before grass growth takes off.

Pre-Grazing Yield: 1200 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  1200-1300 KgDM/ha
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 677 KgDM/ha
Cover/LU: 182 KgDM/ha
Growth:
 36 KgDM/ha/day
Demand: 52 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
 14 KgDM + 2 Kg + 2 KgDM

2nd Round Fertiliser Management:
From now on, Michael's plan for applying chemical fertiliser is:
- 0.8u N/ac per day (16u N/ac on 20-day rotation) for grass-only paddocks
- 0.5u N/ac per day (10u N/ac on 20-day rotation) for grass-clover paddocks with 10-25% clover content
- Zero N applied to paddocks with >25% clover content (dirty water will be applied to these paddocks)

Michael has been incorporating clover into his grass swards the past two years. He is hosting a Clover Farm Walk on his farm this Thursday 14th April and welcomes everyone to come along to see the progress. For more information go to www.teagasc.ie/cloverwalks


Name:  Oisin Gill
Location: Bloomfield, Hollymount, Co. Mayo
Enterprise:  Milking 200 cows (80% calved)
Stocking Rate: 3 LU/ha on milking platform
Soil Type:  Free draining soils
Herd EBI:  €149
2021 KgMS/Cow: 410 KgMS/Cow
Current Milk Yield:  1.75 KgMS/Cow/Day (21 Litres, 3.6% Protein, 4.6% Fat)

1st Rotation Grazing Management
Spring Rotation Planner: 
I have 95% grazed to date and I have 2 paddocks remaining on the 1st rotation. I will be a tight for 10 days so I have reintroduced silage back into the diet and meal is increased to 6kg. I have 900-1000 kg DM/Ha on my 1st 3 or 4 paddocks and I would like them to have 1100 Kg DM/Ha +. The dry weather left excellent ground conditions, however the wind has been harsh and has slowed down growth rate on our farm.

How Grazing?  Cows are out fulltime, allocating with a strip fence x2 per day. They are getting silage after both milkings.
Pre-Grazing Yield: 1400 Kg DM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze: 2 remaining paddocks on the 1st rotation have 1200 – 1400 Kg DM/Ha on them.                                        Average Farm Cover (AFC): 516 Kg DM/Ha
Growth: 25 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage): 10 KgDM + 6 Kg + 3 KgDM

1st Rotation Fertiliser Management
I spread 30 units of N per acre in early February across the whole farm, and throughout March I have been following the cows with 2500 gallons of slurry per acre. I will blanket spread the farm during the next week with 30 units of N per acre.

Clover Farm Walks
I am looking forward to welcoming you all to my farm in Co. Mayo (F12XH64) for the Teagasc Grass10 Clover walks on Wednesday 13th April at 11am. For more info go to www.teagasc.ie/cloverwalks 

 

 


 

Name:  Patrick O Neill
Location: Fairmount Mostrim, Co. Longford
Enterprise:  Milking 120 cows (85% calved)
Stocking Rate: 2.5 LU/ha on milking platform
Soil Type:  Free draining soils
Herd EBI:  €159
2021 KgMS/Cow: 460 KgMS/Cow
Current Milk Yield:  2.14 KgMS/Cow/Day (27 Litres, 3.42% Protein, 4.2% Fat)

1st Rotation Grazing Management
Spring Rotation Planner: 
I have 65% grazed to date. Looking back on early spring, I had an opening AFC of over 1100 Kg DM/Ha and I thought I would have too much grass, however it looks as if I will be just bang on by the time my 1st 4 paddocks are at the required level for grazing. I have a range from 600 – 700 Kg DM/ha on my 1st 4 grazed paddocks. I have about 2 weeks grass ahead of me on the 1st rotation and I am to be starting the 2nd rotation on the 12/13th April, which is typical for my farm.
How Grazing?  Cows are out fulltime, no silage in the diet and are getting 4 kg of meal in the parlour. Grazing conditions are super for this time of the year and makes it easier on the cow and the farmer!
Pre-Grazing Yield: 1800 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze: 2 heavy covers remaining (1800 & 2200 Kg DM/Ha) and I will be back to lower covers then (1400-1500 kg DM/Ha). Ideal opportunity to utilise heavy covers in this weather
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 753 Kg DM/Ha
Growth: 30 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage): 15 KgDM + 4 Kg + 0 KgDM

1st Rotation Fertiliser Management
Silage ground received slurry in early February (20% of farm) at 2500 gallons per acre. I spread 30 units per acre of N in mid – March across the platform and I am following cows with dilute cattle slurry with LESS at 2500 gallons per acre.

Next on the agenda is silage fertiliser, I will be spreading on April 5th. It is hugely important this year to get a good return from 1st cut silage so farmers can be self-sufficient next winter.

Clover Farm Walks
I am looking forward to welcoming you all to my farm in Co. Longford for the Teagasc Grass10 Clover walks on Tuesday 12th April at 11am. For more info go to www.teagasc.ie/cloverwalks 

 


John Phelan, Co. Waterford - 22-03-22

Name:  John Phelan
Location: Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford
Enterprise:  Milking 210 cows (90% calved)
Stocking Rate: 3.4 LU/ha (2.6 LU/ha on whole farm)
Soil Type:  Free draining soils
Herd EBI:  €174
2021 KgMS/Cow: 464 KgMS/Cow
Current Milk Yield:  1.93 KgMS/Cow/Day (3.70% Protein, 4.63% Fat)

1st Rotation Grazing Management
Spring Rotation Planner: 60% grazed today. Cows were out grazing most days since early February apart from a few very wet days. “They would hardly have went 24 hrs without grass this spring, although at times it was only a small allocation. The Battlatch has made a big difference for me for on-off grazing.” The high opening AFC around 1200 KgDM/ha is allowing cows to stay on a grass and meal diet during the dry weather. John’s first grazed paddocks have 500 KgDM/ha back last week and he anticipates growth of 30 KgDM/ha/day on these to have 1,100 KgDM/ha by April 5th.
How Grazing?  Out fulltime on grass and meal only. “Looking at my grass budget on PastureBase, my average farm cover is ahead of target but I’m still on track to be around 550 KgDM/ha on the 5th April at the start of the 2nd rotation. My demand is high now from stocking rate and grass intake from cows. AFC is dropping about 20 kgDM/ha/day.” John is walking the farm weekly to ensure his decisions are the right ones.
Pre-Grazing Yield: 1800 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze: Using good conditions to finish grazing heavy covers
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 959 KgDM/ha (16/03)
Growth: 12 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage): 13 KgDM + 4 Kg + 0 KgDM

1st Rotation Fertiliser Management
One third of the milking platform got 2,000 gal/ac LESS slurry in early Feb. John applied 23u N/ac Protected Urea to all paddocks early March. Some paddocks that didn’t receive slurry earlier are getting 2000 gal/ac LESS now. Between fertiliser and slurry all grazing paddocks will have received 50 u/ac N by early April. “I made sure to have plenty of slurry for first cut silage and will apply 3000 gal/ac LESS on silage ground early next week.”


Michael & Joe Murphy, Co. Kilkenny - 15-03-22

Name:  Michael and Joe Murphy
Location:  Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny
Enterprise:  Milking 118 cows (76% calved)
Stocking Rate: 3.1 LU/ha
Soil Type:  Mainly dry but some wetter paddocks
Herd EBI:  €153
2021 KgMS/Cow:  518 KgMS
Milk Yield: 2.2 KgMS (3.75% Protein, 5.15% Fat)

1st Rotation Grazing Management

Spring Rotation Planner: Plan for 30% by March 1st, 66% by St. Patrick’s Day, and start the 2nd rotation on 5th April
% Grazed: 55% to date. “We were out fulltime for the 3 weeks until the heavy rain last week. Before that they were out during the day and out after the evening milking for 3 hours then back inside. We found restricting silage at night to let cows out with an appetite gave much better grazeouts.”
How Grazing?  “We are back out fulltime again this week. Our grass budget shows us we can graze on without any silage and end up with an average farm cover of around 600 KgDM/ha in the first week of April.”
Pre-Grazing Yield:  1500-1600 KgDM/ha
Next Paddocks to graze: Grazing silage ground at the minute 
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 886 KgDM/ha
Growth: 9 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
 10 KgDM + 4 Kg + 0 KgDM

1st Rotation Fertiliser Management

All grazing paddocks received 25u N/ac urea in late January. All silage ground got 2,500 gal/ac LESS slurry around the same time.

36u N/ac of 18-6-12 will be applied this week when conditions allow. No more applied then for another month after this.

“We are planning to reseed 10ac this year and will try do this in April with clover in the mix. We are also going to oversow 10% of the grazing area on paddocks near the parlour so we can keep an eye on it and manage it better.”

 


Name:  Jason Coulter
Location:  Skreen Co. Sligo
Enterprise:  Milking 140 cows (75% calved)
Stocking Rate: 3.6 LU/ha
Soil Type:  Mostly Free draining 
2021 KgMS/Cow:  470
2021 Meal/Cow:  730

1st Rotation Grazing Management

Spring Rotation Planner & % grazed: "The wet weather during the middle of February means I am at 25% grazed today, where as I would like to be over 30%. My Plan is to get 30% grazed as quick as possible and then plan out for the remainder of the 1st Rotation. To get me to the 12th April would require me to graze 0.7 Ha per day after I get my 30% grazed"

How Grazing?  "At the end of February I was grazing in 2 x 3 hour allocations to get two intakes of grass in during the day. When weather conditions dried up I was able to leave them out for longer periods during the day"

Pre-Grazing Yield:  1300-1400 Kg DM/Ha
Next Paddocks to graze:  Try and get some lighter covers 1200-1400 Kg DM/Ha grazed during the day & at night they are close to the yard for ease of bringing them back in and the covers are 1600 Kg DM/Ha 
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 1050 KgDM/ha
Growth: 8 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
 12 KgDM + 4 Kg + 2 KgDM

1st Rotation Fertiliser Management

33% of the Milking platform got slurry with LESS during early February.

On the 3rd March, the remaining 66% of the farm had 25 units of UREA per acre.

I will apply UREA at 25 units per acre to the fields that recieved slurry next week.


Name:  David & Adrian King, (helped by workman Seamus)
Location:  Athy, Co. Kildare
Enterprise:  Milking 260 cows (70% calved)
Stocking Rate: 3.25 LU/ha
Soil Type:  Mainly dry but some heavier clay soils
Herd EBI:  €150
2021 KgMS/Cow:  475
2021 Meal/Cow:  750kg

1st Rotation Grazing Management

Spring Rotation Planner: Plan for 33% by March 1st, 66% by St. Patrick’s Day, and start the 2nd rotation 5-7th April – “The AFC will be the real focus after Paddy’s Day.”
% Grazed: 25% grazed with only 3 grazings missed to date. “The wet weather has pushed us to graze the drier paddocks which all have heavier covers, so the percentage grazed is a bit behind where we’d like. They haven’t done any damage, however some residuals suffered but I’m happier to have cows out!”
How Grazing?  Originally out day and night but changed to out by day and 3hr after evening milking during wet weather. Back out fulltime when conditions allow.
Pre-Grazing Yield:  1500 KgDM/ha (drier ground has heavier covers)
Next Paddocks to graze:  Back to lighter covers when grazing conditions allow to catch up on area grazed. Then back to heavier covers.
Average Farm Cover (AFC): 850 KgDM/ha
Growth: 9 KgDM/ha/day
Diet (Grass + Meal + Silage):
 10 KgDM + 3 Kg + 2 KgDM

1st Rotation Fertiliser Management

All silage ground got 2,500 gal slurry in late January.

30u N/ac Urea to be applied this week on 70% of milking platform, with 2000 gal/ac watery LESS slurry on the 30% grazed (this will be topped up with 23U n/ac in a couple of weeks).

Plan on going with another 30u N/ac at end of March.

 


Brendan Phelan, Co. Tipperary- 22-02-22

Brendan Phelan milks 185 cows on a 56 Ha milking platform with his wife Louise & 3 children in Moyne, on the outskirts of Thurles in Co. Tipperary. Brendan is the host farmer for the Grass10 Grazing Discussion Group in Thurles. In 2021 Brendan’s cows delivered 460 Kg milk solids off 750Kg of meal and he grew 13.5 T/DM/Ha. Brendan has 70% of his herd calved currently after starting in late January.

"After a rough weekend of weather, we were back out grazing Monday morning. The strong breeze has helped to dry out the farm. The cows are getting 2 allocations of grass per day, 4 Kg meal in the parlour and 3-4 Kg of silage at night.”

Figure 1- Brendan’s current grass wedge

“I have 21% of the farm grazed so far which is on target. My plan is to have between 35 - 40% of the farm grazed by the first few days in March. Having this % grazed will help with re-growths during March for the 2nd rotation. I need to keep grazing medium covers of between 800-1200 Kg DM/Ha to get through area over the next 10 days. My aim is to graze 0.8 Ha per day (2 acres) and this will keep me on target”

About 80% of Brendan’s farm has received 2500 gallons per acre of slurry with LESS technology which has supplied approx. 20-23 units of N per acre. His plan is to spread his farm with 20 units / acre of Protected Urea this week.


Padraig Callanan, Co. Laois - 15-02-22

Padraig Callanan milks 132 cows on a 40 Ha milking platform with his parents outside Abbeyleix, Co. Laois. Last year his cows delivered 570 KgMS/cow at 3.75% Protein & 4.5% Fat from 1.2 T meal/cow (drought increased meal fed). Calving started on the 27th January and to date he has 50% calved. There is 10% of the farm grazed today and he is aiming to have 40% grazed by March 1st.

"On-off grazing twice per day is the only way I can reach 40% grazed whilst ground conditions are soft. Getting the 2nd grazing in the evening is crucial for me as I need a good grass supply for my stocking rate in April." Newsletter 15-02-22

The cows have been out grazing in two 3hour grazing bouts since turnout; 9am to 12pm and 5pm to 8pm. Padraig uses the Battlatch (an automatic gate opener) to save time bringing in the cows. After the morning grazing cows are not allowed access to silage before evening milking. Cows get 2-3 kgDM silage at night, and go out to graze with an appetite after milking in the morning. He is currently grazing covers 900 Kg DM/ha and using strip-wires and back-fencing.

Padraig needs to get through 1ac per grazing until March 1st to reach 40% grazed. His opening AFC was 1,100 kg DM/ha and winter growth was 4 Kg DM/ha. He is planning on doing a farm walk in the next week. Having a high opening AFC allows him to graze 40% in February without running AFC down too low. 

Approx. 70% of the milking platform got 2000 gal/ac LESS slurry in late Jan, and 30% received 23u N/ac protected urea. Slurry was targeted to lightest covers, but most of the slurry will be used for 1st and 2nd cut silage in late March. The next application will be 23u N/ac across the farm in early March. 


Shane Seymour, Co. Tipperary - 08-02-22

Shane Seymour milks 190 cows on a 59 Ha milking platform in Carney, just outside Nenagh in Co. Tipperary. Shane is the host farmer for the Grass10 Grazing Group in the Nenagh area.

 “I completed an opening Average Farm Cover last week and I have an AFC of 1057 Kg DM/Ha on my farm (see above).  I started calving last week and so far I have 24 % of the herd calved. Cows are out by day and are getting 3 kg meal in the parlour and silage at night. I have about 5% of the milking platform grazed so far and I also have my maiden heifers turned out to grass on an outfarm. Ground conditions are excellent”

 

“I plan on getting 30% of my farm grazed by the 1st of March by using the Spring Rotation Planner (see above) to allocate area. This is an area of between 0.5 and 0.7 Ha per day for the remainder of February. After the 1st of March I plan to use the grass budget that I have completed in order to map out my grazing until the end of the 1st rotation in conjunction with my rotation planner and a weekly grass walk during March”

 


Aidan Maguire, Co. Meath - 1/2/22

Aidan farms a dairy-calf-to-beef system finishing 100 cattle per year outside Navan, Co. Meath. Aidan joined his local Grass10 course three years ago and last year grew 13.6 T DM/ha.

“Every day my yearlings are out grazing in the spring earns me another €1 profit per head.” Aidan’s first rotation started on 24th January and finished on the 6th April. He intends on replicating the same this year with 64 yearlings out grazing on 24th January this year. “Getting cattle out early comes down to planning and being set up to graze. It now plays a key role in driving animal performance and profit on the farm.”

The grazing plan is very simple. There are 78acres (31.6ha) available for grazing and the first rotation lasts about 70 days (10 weeks). So Aidan aims to graze about 1 acre per day during the spring (7ac/week). Since Aidan’s paddocks are around 2ac each, Aidan will graze 1 paddock every two days. With 6% grazed so far, his target is to have 35% grazed by 1st March, see Diagram 1 below. The long rotation means paddocks have a lot of time to recover and are ready to graze again in early April.

Diagram 1. Aidan’s Spring Rotation Plan from PastureBase Ireland.

Newsletter Feb 1st

"I start grazing by day only during February and then progress to fulltime in early March. I start grazing covers 600-800 Kg DM/ha" (7cm). Aidan finds his yearlings can get through area quicker this way, clean out paddocks better, and it also gets them back used to grazing again. They are housed by night on silage and then let out with an appetite for grazing in the morning. "I walk paddocks weekly to check ground conditions and set up strip-wires so animals are only grazing on the same area for one day. If conditions are wet or heavy rain is falling I won’t let them out and will try again tomorrow." Aidan makes use of an existing roadway to get stock into the shed and out to the paddocks with ease. See Aidan's PastureBase performance below.

AFC - 646 Kg DM/ha
Growth - 4 Kg DM/ha/day
Demand - 7 Kg DM/ha/day
Stocking Rate - 1.4 LU/ha
Diet - 3.6 Kg DM Grass + 2 Kg DM Silage

Newsletter Feb 1st

Aidan applied 50u N/ac (including slurry) across his farm last spring. The plan this year is to maintain grass growth and reduce this figure to 40u N/ac by targeting slurry and fertiliser better. “I want to get the most growth from my first application.” See Table 1 for Aidan’s spring fertiliser/slurry plan.

Table 1. Aidan’s spring fertiliser/slurry plan

% of AreaPaddocksEarly FebruaryEarly MarchTotal N by April 1st
33% Covers >800 Kg DM/ha & best paddocks 23u N/ac Protected Urea 23u N/ac Protected Urea 46u N/ac
33% Following grazed paddocks & low index soils 2000 gal/ac LESS slurry (16u N/ac) 23u N/ac Protected Urea 39u N/ac
33% Low covers <500 Kg DM/ha & poorer paddocks Nothing 30u N/ac Protected Urea 30u N/ac

 View Aidan's spring grazing management in the video below. (This video is from 2021 and the fertiliser plan mentioned has been updated and presented in Table 1 above).

 

 


Paul Kinsella, Co. Wexford - 25/1/22

Paul Kinsella is milking 83 cows in a split calving system on 23ha of Macamore soils (heavy soils) by the sea near Gorey. Flexibility is a grazing habit which Paul has developed over many years to manage spring grazing. This is why 20 autumn-calved cows are out grazing this week. They will be out grazing day and night for as long as weather and ground conditions permit. Paul knows the benefit of spring grass and is using current conditions to make the most of it. Leveraging the heavy soils mantra he is ‘grazing what he can, when he can’.

“I still want to graze 30% of the farm by early March even though I am on heavy soils. It doesn’t always work but getting out early gives me a great head start. This helps with autumn breeding and gives me a good supply of quality grass coming in April.”

Paul has started grazing covers 800 Kg DM/ha on recently reseeded paddocks to condition cows to graze, help get through area, help good graze outs, and the reseeds will recover quickest. “Silage quality isn’t as good this year as cutting date last May was delayed due to very wet conditions. Getting out grazing will help lift milk solids.” See Table 2 below for Paul's PastureBase data.

On the fertiliser front, Paul is using his Pasturebase data from previous springs to identify which paddocks grow more; higher performing, and which grow less; lower performing. “I looked through my PastureBase data with my Teagasc advisor Colm Doran and we’ve made a plan based on this information.” From this, he is tailoring his spring fertiliser plan to match nutrients applied to the paddock with growth potential. Summarised in Table 1.

In 2021, Paul’s herd averaged 532 Kg MS/Cow at 3.65% Protein and 3.74% Fat from 1.2T meal fed per cow. “I want to do as much as I can from grass. It’s less work, less machinery and less inputs.”

Table 1. Paul’s spring fertiliser/slurry plan

% of Milking Platform

Late Jan

Early Mar

33% (higher performing)

15 u N/ac (1/3 bag Urea)

40 u N/ac (Urea)

33%

2000 gal/ac LESS slurry

40 u N/ac

33% (lower performing)

Nothing

30 u N/ac

Table 2. Pauls PBI Data

AFC 920 Kg DM/Ha
Growth 8 Kg DM/Ha
Demand 12 Kg DM/Ha
Cow Diet ( Grass Kg DM + Meal Kg + Silage Kg DM) 14 + 6 +0
Milk Yield (last result from the cows indoor diet) 1.83 Kg MS/Cow
Pre-Grazing Yield ( Kg DM/Ha) 800 Kg DM/Ha

 

 


Alan Duggan

Between now & early in the New Year is the ideal time to review your PastureBase Ireland reports & identify areas for improvement in 2022. Please click here for the link to the Grass10 video with Dairy farmer Alan Duggan from Co. Mayo who has completed his Closing Average Farm Cover and is using the PastureBase Scorecard to review 2021-