Green Acres Calf to Beef - Midlands GrowthWatch June 2021
James Fitzgerald and Seán Cummins, Programme Advisors to the Green Acres farms offer some timely advice on grassland management and share the current grassland management plans of two of the programmes farmers; Aidan Maguire and Irvine Allen
The ever increasing grass growth rates can be deceiving at this time of year. Within a matter of a few days a significant increase can be seen in grass supply on farm in cases where the demand for grass is much lower than grass growth. Walking the farm more regularly is the key to keeping an up to date picture in your head of what grassland management decisions you need to make.
Continue to graze covers of 8-10cm and graze down to 4cm before moving on. The better your farm is set up with grazing divisions the easier it is to do this. The ideal scenario is for each group of livestock to have 8 different grazing divisions, allowing the grass to grow over a 3 week period and for it to be grazed in 3 days.
Make sure to cut and bale grass that has gone too strong to graze (above 10cm) when the opportunity arises. As well as providing you with winter feed of the highest quality, it is helping to clean off grass that is going into stem, improving overall sward quality
Aidan Maguire Irvine Allen
Farmer Focus: Aidan Maguire – Navan, Co. Meath
- Average farm cover – 604 kgDM/ha
- Growth – 59 kgDM/ha/day
- Demand/ha – 39 kgDM/ha/day
- Days ahead – 15
- Stocking rate – 4.09 LU/ha
A lot of paddocks have been baled over the last 2 weeks with 3 to 4 bales per acre taken off them. This helps to clean up paddocks that have become well soiled with dung pads from previous rotations and keeps the bale count in the yard ticking upwards. With grass growth ahead of demand I can envisage another 7 acres being cut for bales in the coming days.
One cover of 2000 kgDM/ha (12-13cm high grass) was grazed by the cattle a few days ago to get me out of a corner. Other than that I have been doing all I can to keep the cattle moving into covers of 1400 kgDM/ha (9-10cm high grass). It might not sound like a big difference, but the difference it makes to grass quality and stock thrive is huge.
Farmer Focus: Irvine Allen – Moate, Co. Westmeath
- Average farm cover – 1094 kgDM/ha
- Growth – 71 kgDM/ha/day
- Demand/ha – 32 kgDM/ha/day
- Days ahead – 34
- Stocking rate – 3.09 LU/ha
The average farm cover from the last grass walk was high at 1094 kgDM/ha. Knowing I was in a large surplus of grass and with growth way ahead of demand I chose to cut and bale 5 of the heaviest paddocks that were gone a bit strong for grazing.
The slurry was spread on the silage ground after the first cut over the long weekend and will get 90 units/ac of protected urea next weekend. This crop should be ready for cutting in late July all going to plan.
Reseeded grass is establishing itself well and will be ready for a light grazing with calves in the coming week. This should help it to thicken out and cover the ground better before weeds become an issue.
To find out more about the Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme click here https://www.teagasc.ie/animals/beef/demonstration-farms/green-acres-calf-to-beef/