Grass10 Newsletter - 17th May 2022
In this week's newsletter get the regular Grass10 weekly tips, grass growth figures plus a chance to look back on the webinar on grass wedge using PastureBase Ireland. Peter Doyle, Teagasc Grange returns as The Clover Reporter and this week's Grass10 featured farmer is John and Brendan Walsh
196th Edition - 17th May 2022
Grass10 Weekly Tips
High growth rates predicted to continue
A weekend of high temperatures has continued to drive growth rates on Irish farms, with growths of 75 & 70 Kg DM/Ha on dairy and drystock farms respectively. The figures from PastureBase show that 54% of farmers have a cover per livestock unit of 180, which is too high. Continue to walk your farm twice a week as significant amounts of stem are appearing in covers > 1500 Kg DM/Ha. Remove paddocks for high quality surplus bales. Assess your main crop of silage this week. See diagram below on cutting 1st cut silage for making optimum silage for your farming system.
Apply P & K to paddocks that have surplus bales or silage removed
Many farmers took advantage of the good weather over the weekend to remove surplus bales & some have cut their main crop of silage. It is important to return P & K to replenish what has been taken off.
Every 1T DM ( 4-5 bales) removed from a paddock removes approx. 4 kg P & 30 kg K. If spread with LESS technology, we expect to have N-P-K of 9-5-30 per 1000 gallons applied.
For example, a 2ha (5 acre) paddock that has 22 bales of silage removed from it requires 5000 gallons of slurry in total to replenish P & K in that paddock.
Keep pregrazing yield at 1400 Kg DM/Ha to maximise milk yield and liveweight gain
Grass swards are growing in front of our eyes at the minute! This is making it harder for farmers to keep pre grazing yield at the correct cover of 1400 Kg DM/Ha, however you must be brave when it comes to decision making on paddocks. High quality swards are more digestible and have more leaf. Poor quality swards have more stem and are less digestible. The difference to dairy farmer is a 5% drop in milk solids (worth about €420 per week for 100 cows). The difference for a beef farmer is 0.2 Kg/head/day in liveweight gain (worth about €175 per week for 50 cattle). High quality grass swards mean grazing at 1,400 KgDM/ha and grazing out to 4cm – what you earn depends on the decision you make. See the diagram below from last Thursdays webinar on the value of getting animals in the right grass!
Use the Projected Planner on PastureBase to keep in line with Grazing Targets
When you complete your Average Farm Cover this week, use the planner on the PBI app and projected wedge to predict where your wedge will be at the end of the next 7 days. This will help with the decision making when it comes to skipping paddocks for surplus bales/ long term silage. The grazing targets are below-;
1. Pregrazing yield should be 1400 KgDM/ha.
2. Average Farm Cover (AFC) should be around 600-700 KgDM/ha.
3. Match demand with grass growth. E.g. growing 65 KgDM/ha per day and need to set demand the same. If stocking rate 4 LU/ha then 65/4 = 16 KgDM Grass per LU + 2kg meal (for total intake 18 KgDM/LU)
4. Rotation Length 18-21 days. E.g. 30ha grazing block / 20 days = Graze 1.5 ha per day
5. Cover/LU should be around 160-180 KgDM/LU. This equates to 12-14 days ahead depending on how much grass is being fed per LU
Grass10 Featured Farmer
John and Brendan Walsh & Family
John and Brendan Walsh & family farm in Ballylooby Co. Tipperary, milking 153 cows. The Walsh's were the Sustainable Farming Category Winners in the 2021 Grassland farmer of the Year competition. Click to read about their current grazing situation.
Assess your 1st cut silage this week!
Peter Doyle, Teagasc Grange, Co. Meath
This section will give weekly reports and videos from farmers who have a lot of clover established on their farms.
This week, grassland researcher Peter Doyle gives us an update from Teagasc Grange where the white clover seedlings are emerging after oversowing.
Getting to Grips with the Summer Wedge
Last Thursday 12th May, the Grass10 & PastureBase team hosted a webinar on "Getting to Grips with the Summer Wedge with PastureBase Ireland". We would like to thank all that came on the webinar. If you missed the webinar, click below to view the recording.