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Grass 10 Featured Farmer - the Clune family


The Clune family commenced the grazing year last Sunday when 30 cows went to grass under on-off grazing, with an aim of halving 40% of the farm grazed by March 1st.

Francis, Bríd, Brian, and Conor Clune milk 115 cows in Tulla, Co. Clare. Stocked at 3.2LU/ha and operating on free-draining soil, their herd produced 507kg of milk solids per cows in 2022.

First rotation grazing management - Spring Rotation Planner

30 cows went to grass last Sunday for their first day out. On-off grazing is being used on a 700kgDM/ha cover close to the yard. Calving - mainly heifers - commenced on January 17th on the farm.

The Clunes are aiming to have 40% grazed by March 1st, even though the grazing block is split in two. Nearer paddocks, which account for 75% of the grazing block, will be grazed up until March 25th. The further section is then used to stretch grass until the start of the second rotation on approximately April 5-7th, when an average farm cover of 600kgDM/ha is targeted. Grass covers on the farm are currently higher than usual, but are not very strong and range from 400kgDM/ha up to 1,600kg DM/ha.

  • Pre-grazing yield: 700kgDM/ha;
  • Grazing method: on-off;
  • Next paddocks to graze: 700-1000kgDM/ha to get paddocks cleaned out well;
  • Average farm cover (AFC): 903kgDM/ha;
  • Growth: 1kgDM/ha/day - severe frost;
  • Diet: if cows remain on on-off grazing, they will be allocated 7kgDM grass per grazing. The weather is being watched closely and housing will occur if rain is forecast to avoid poaching.

The Clune family pictured on their farm in Co. Clare

First rotation fertiliser management

Last Friday, 2,500gal/ac of slurry was applied to the silage ground using low emmissions slurry spreading technology. Once early paddocks have been grazed, they will receive 2,000gal/ac of slurry with a trailing shoe.

When conditions allow in early February, 23units/ac of nitrogen(N) will be applied to the grazing ground and 75% of the grazing block will get 2,000gal/ac of slurry in late February and March; these paddocks will get another 23units/ac of N by early April. Paddocks which have not received slurry will be topped up with 40unit/ac of N in March. This fertiliser is key to having grass in April when demand is so high.

The Clune family featured in this week's edition of the Grass 10 newsletter. For more information on the programme, click here.