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Grass10 Featured Farmer

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-