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Grass 10 Newsletter - 7th March 2023

This week's edition of the Grass 10 newsletter features PastureBase Ireland data, predicted growth, soil temperatures and rainfall levels and the weekly Grass10 checklist.

PastureBase Data

Graphic showing PastureBase data for March 7th 2023

Predicted rainfall

Counties map showing predicted rainfall (mm) for the next 7 days from farms involved in the MoSt grass growth model (78 farms).

Graphic of predicted rainfall levels

Grass growth predictions

Counties map showing predicted grass growth over the next 7 days from farms involved in the MoSt grass growth model (78 farms).

Graphic showing predicted grass growth levels

Average soil temperatures

Counties map showing average soil temperatures for the next 7 days.

Graphic showing average soil temperatures

Grass Dry Matter levels

Graphic showing grass dry matter levels

Grass 10 Weekly Checklist

Graphic showing grass 10 weekly checklist

Walk your farm weekly from now onwards:

  • Average Farm Cover (AFC) less than 700kg DM/ha on 33% of PastureBase Ireland farms,
  • At current demand and growth, the difference is 14kg DM/ha/day or a drop in AFC by ~100kg DM/ha/week;
  • Temptation on these farms to keep grazing hard - big risk- must reduce demand!
  • Hold AFC above 600kg DM/ha until early April - walk weekly;
  • Match demand to grass growth (e.g. growing 15kg/day with SR 2.5 LU/ha = allocating 6kg DM/LU grass per day);
  • Low AFC (<550kg DM/ha) reduces growth substantially.

Is your spring grazing plan on target?

  • Target for St. Patrick's Day is to have 65% grazed; 
  • Check your percentage grazed (many farms way ahead);
  • Stick to targets - about 2% of area per day;
  • Utilisation is still very good - graze heavy covers or wetter paddocks this week.

Update your grass budget on PastureBase:

  • Lower than normal opening AFC;
  • Higher than normal area grazed;
  • Your grass budget should be monitored weekly and updated as required to keep on target with AFC.

Don't forget sulphur when ordering fertiliser

When purchasing fertilisers in 2023, don’t forget to ask for sulphur (S) in both grazing and silage fertilisers. Recent research from Johnstown Castle shows that S has a major role to play in increasing nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), grass nitrogen (N) uptake and grass yield while reducing N leaching.

For grazing fields, apply 20kg S/ha/year and for silage fields apply 15-20kg S/ha/cut. For grazing fields, select a product such as 18-6-12 +3% S and apply between March to July. Research trials show up to a 2.5t/ha yield response to S applications during this period. For silage, fields receiving cattle slurry (3,000gals/ac), apply protected urea + S (38% N + 7% S) to balance crop N and S requirements at closing time.

Table 1: The benefits of sulphur applications in grass production (Johnstown Castle, 2022)

Grass yield (t/ha)+2.6t/ha
Nitrogen uptake (kg/ha) +38kg/ha
N leaching reduction (kg/ha) -22kg N/ha
Nitrogen Use Efficiency (%) +25%
Cattle slurry S content (1,000gals) 0.6 units

Grass 10 Featured Farmer

Arthur Sweetman, dairy farmer, Co. Wexford.

Grass 10 featured farmer graphic

Grass 10 Clover Reporter

Patrick O'Neill, spring-calving dairy system, Co. Longford.

Graphic for clover reporter


For more information on the Teagasc Grass10 Campaign, click here.