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Grass 10 weekly checklist: Transitioning from the first to the second rotation

Grass 10 weekly checklist: Transitioning from the first to the second rotation

With huge variability in the percentage grazed and regrowth across farms, it is important to calculate what area is remaining to graze in the first rotation.

When starting the second rotation, the average pre-grazing yield on the first three paddocks should be 1,100-1,200kg DM/ha and farmers need to question will their current plan lead to starting the second rotation on time or do you need to stretch or slow down your rotation.

To maintain grass quality, the second rotation should be made a priority with a target of grazing paddocks at 1,200kg DM/ha. This should occur even if the first rotation is not finished.

However, caution is advised when grass supply is low (<550kg DM/ha average farm cover) and grazing allocations must be controlled.

Ground conditions drying quickly - walk your paddocks

  • There are excellent drying conditions between and after rainfall.
  • Paddocks are drying out very quickly even on heavy soils, so be proactive with grazing this week.
  • Walk the farm this week to assess covers and ground conditions. Don't let average farm cover (AFC) drop below 600kg DM/ha.
  • Farms with less than 50% grazed should identify some paddocks to be skipped and/or diverted to silage production.
  • AFC on PastureBase Ireland has built in past week, so reduce/remove silage and consider reducing meal to get through more area.

Bring fertiliser applications up to date

  • Focus on getting up to date with fertiliser and slurry applications this week on both grazing and silage ground.
  • Include phosphorous (P), potassium (K) and sulphur (S) where necessary.
  • Target to have around 60 units of nitrogen/acre out by this week on dry paddocks and 45 units of nitrogen/ac on heavy paddocks. This figure includes slurry. Consult your nutrient management plan.

The Teagasc Grass10 and Clover150 team, along with Teagasc Grassland Researchers and the Teagasc Advisory team, are holding a series of nationwide farm walks in April to discuss the establishment, management and benefits of red and white clover. For more information on these events, click here.

The Grass10 weekly checklist is published as part of the campaign’s weekly newsletter. For more information on the Grass10 Campaign, click here.