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Grass 10 Weekly Newsletter October 25th

Grass 10 Weekly Newsletter October 25th

Get the latest weekly grass management tips and updates from the Grass 10 team in this week's Grass10 newsletter. View reports from PastureBase Ireland from dairy and drystock farms. What is the predicted grass growth and rainfall for the coming week

PastureBase Ireland - Dairy Figures

PBI Dairy Figures Oct 25 information in text below

  • Average Farm Cover - 766 Kg DM/Ha
  • Cover/LU - 266 Kg DM/Ha
  • Growth - 30 Kg DM/Ha
  • Demand 33 Kg DM/Ha - Stocking rate 2.9 LU/Ha
  • Pregrazing yield - 1,701 Kg DM/Ha
  • Diet - 12 Kg DM Grass - 4 Kg Meal - 2 Kg Silage

Predicted Grass Growth

Predicted grass growth mapCounties map showing predicted grass growth in kg DM/ha/day over the next 7 days. This is from farms involved in Elodie Ruelle’s MoSt grass growth model on 78 farms. 

Growth rates vary across the country ranging with lows of 16 in Kerry and Mayo to highs of 23 to 25 in counties in the midlands and north east.  

Predicted rainfall

Predicted Rainfall map

Counties map showing predicted rainfall in mm for the next 7 days from farms involved in Elodie Ruelle’s MoSt grass growth model - 78 farms. 

Rainfall is predicted to have a high of over 80mm in Cork and Waterford lows of 39 to 50 in the west and north west.  

Grass Dry Matter %

Grass Dry matter figures Moorepark 11% Athenry 13%

  • Moorepark 11%
  • Athenry 13%

Grass 10 Weekly Tips

Grass 10 Weekly Checklist Oct 25 information below

Wet weather management to keep animals at grass

Heavy rainfall over the past few weeks have made grazing conditions challenging across the country. And more heavy rain is forecast. Conditions like these call for top grazing infrastructure and management to keep stock out grazing. Being able to move stock frequently and not let them run back onto previously grazed areas is crucial. This requires stripwires in front of and in some cases a back fence behind to minimise hoof damage and poaching.Farmers have regularly given feedback that the 2nd grazing on the same area is the one that does the damage, so move frequently. Access points are key to allow stock movement in and out through different entry points.

Heavy soils farms are well set up for this type of grazing and they also use spur-roadways to get cattle to graze from the back of the paddocks and work their way up. Please click the button below to watch Paudie O' Brien's spur-roadway video. The priority is to first feed the stock, then avoid poaching, and then graze out tight. If farms have to house stock, try on-off grazing to get any remaining area grazed. Silage management is critical during on-off grazing. It's improtant animals don't go out grazing when full on silage. So restriction of silage before animals go grazing is important. Be flexible - if housed, getting out again in November may be an option.

Paddocks grazed this week will be your first paddocks to graze next Spring

As we enter the last week of October, you should be grazing and closing paddocks that are key to getting grazing started next Spring. The paddocks we want to graze first in the spring should be the easiest ones to get stock out to from the yard, drier, good access, roadways on 2 sides, recently reseeded for quicker growing and the cover should be 700-1100 kg DM/Ha in February. Grazing lighter covers means they are easier to graze out, and grazing more area to reach 30% grazed by March 1st. Stock are less likely to do damage and these paddocks should recover quickest to start the 2nd rotation on time. Paddocks closed up early in the autumn will be too heavy for freshly calved cows or cattle who need to adjust back to grazing. Ensure the paddocks you want to graze first in the spring are grazed from October 20th until early November. 

Many farmers throughout the country have been incorporating clover over the last few years in order to take advantage of the animal performance, lower costs and emissions reduction that clover brings to the table. As a lot of the clover swards that farmers are working with are still in early stages of development, it is important to take note of the following tips in order to aid in the establishment.

  • Light required to the base of the sward to aid stolon production and development
  • Close in your “final 1/3” group of paddocks, preferably in early November
  • When completing your closing AFC, aim for <700 Kg DM/Ha on your grass- clover paddocks and aim to graze early in Spring

Monitor where you are in relation to the grazing targets

It is important to review October grazing and see where you are in relation to the grazing targets. This is the last week in October and most farmers should have >60% of their farms closed by this weekend. Farmers higher stocked or on heavier land will have a greater % closed. Grass growth will be variable with weather conditions, with predictions well reduced to <20Kg DM ha/day depending on weather. The grass budget on PBI will help make the most of this grass, mapping out your grazing until housing. Stretching out grass will increase the amount grown and every day at grass increases profitability of your farm. 

Figure 1: Ideal Closing Farm Cover 1st December 650-700 Kg DM/Ha

Ideal closing farm cover graph details below

The image above shows the ideal closing farm cover on the 1st December of AFC 650-700kg DM/ha for a farmer stocked at 3 LU/Ha. This may need to be 750-800 Kg DM/Ha for farmers with higher stocking rate or with large early spring demand or <600 Kg DM/Ha for farms stocked at 2.0-2.5 LU/Ha or very heavy soils.  Dates are a reasonable guide when it comes to closing the farm, however as no two years are the same farm cover targets are far superior.

By having a “wedge” of grass on your farm, you have set your farm up to grow quality grass over the winter in preparation for spring 2023

Keep grass measuring weekly during October on PastureBase Ireland

With increased costs of inputs predicted for 2023, we estimate grazing early next spring to be worth €4 per cow/day on dairy farms and between €2.50 and €3 per LU on beef and sheep farms. It is vital especially for farms with large spring demand to close the farm correctly, ensuring a wedge of grass that can grow over the winter is prioritised.
Mistakes we often see is farmers who take advantage of the good grazing conditions and don't house animals in time, eating into their AFC and therefore severely hampering over winter growth and opening farm cover in early 2023. The key to this is to continue to walk your farm weekly and keep an eye on growth vs demand, especially during late October


 PastureBase Ireland - Drystock Figures

PBI Drystock figures information in text below

  • Average Farm Cover - 735 Kg DM/Ha
  • Pregrazing yield - 1,789 Kg DM/Ha
  • Growth - 24 Kg DM/Ha
  • Stocking rate - 1.76 LU/Ha
  • Demand - 29Kg DM/Ha
  • Days ahead - 25

The Clover Reporter

Trevor Boland, Co Sligo 

This section gives weekly reports and videos from farmers who have a lot of clover established on their farms.

This week, we return to beef farmer Trevor Boland from Co. Sligo who updates us on his grass growth on his outfarm for the year and soil fertility improvements made on the farm

Location: Sligo
Enterprise: Suckler/Beef
Soil Type: Clay

% Farm In Clover:  50%  (ha)
% From Reseeding:  0% (ha)
% From Oversowing: 50% (ha)
Clover content 2021: 25% on ha

Read Trevor's full clover report here

Grazing Management to prevent bloat

Bloat can be an issue in swards with high white clover content. Bloat can occur at any time of the year but it is more likely to occur in the second half of the year when white clover content in the sward is highest. Good grassland management can minimise and prevent the risk of bloat

  • Avoid switching between grass-only and grass-white clover swards, as much as is possible
  • Avoid having cows hungry entering a fresh paddock. Keep post-grazing sward height at or just above 4 cm, not below. This will ensure that cows are fed to appetite and will be consuming a mixture of grass and clover. They will not be hungry when they move to a fresh paddock/break and therefore will not have a large intake of clover in a short period of time.
  • When entering a grass-white clover paddock in risky conditions - high white clover content / hungry animals / wet morning / very lush pasture) provide a small area in the paddock for the first 2-3 hours after turn-out to prevent the initial gorging on white clover.
  • Provide anti-bloating agent in the water supply – starting the day prior to entering the risky paddock.
  • Offer a fibre source such as silage, hay or straw at milking time for example i.e. 0.5 - 1 kg DM per cow.
  • Check cows after initial turnout and regularly for first three hours of grazing during high risk periods