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Grass10 Newsletter - 9th August 2022

Grass10 Newsletter - 9th August 2022

Get your weekly tips from the Grass10 team. It includes: PastureBase Ireland Dairy and Drystock figures; Predicted Grass Growth and Rainfall; P & K requirements; Grass10 featured farmer - Micheal Casey; The Clover Reporter with Trevor Boland; Autumn Grazing Targets; and more.

208th Edition - 9th August 2022

PastureBase Ireland - Dairy Figures

  • Average Farm Cover - 696 Kg DM/Ha
  • Cover/LU - 217 Kg DM/Ha
  • Growth - 55 Kg DM/Ha
  • Demand 48 Kg DM/Ha - Stocking rate 3.2 LU/Ha
  • Pregrazing yield - 1,479 Kg DM/Ha
  • Diet - 14 Kg DM Grass - 3 Kg Meal - 1 Kg Silage

Predicted Grass Growth 

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




Predicted rainfall

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




Grass Dry Matter %

Forecasted heatwave to put additional pressure on grass growth

The expected heatwave this week will continue to put additional pressure on grass supply, especially for those in the east and south east of the country. Soil moisture deficits will reduce grass growth significantly. However, variablity in growth rate is the order of the day and if we look at data from PastureBase Ireland, Connacht/Ulster are growing in the region of 60+ Kg DM/Ha whereas Munster and Leinster are 55 and 45 Kg DM/Ha for the last week respectively. However, some farmers are experiencing must lower grass growth than these figures.

In drought affected areas, there is a need to reduce daily grass demand. This will help to hold grass cover on the farm by introducing sufficient supplement.

Grass DM is higher during drought periods and grass supply tends to be underestimated. Water demand, especially with higher levels of supplement ( meal and silage) can increase significantly, with a dairy cows water intake potentially doubling from 30-40 litres to over 70 litres per day. Where grass supply is very tight, keep at least 12kg DM forage (grass plus silage) in the diet and make up the balance with meal
Post grazing residuals of 4 to 4.5cm should be maintained, don’t waste feed.
Keep AFC cover >500 kg/ha. Dropping AFC will reduce the farm overall growth rate.
Maintain Rotation length at 25 days approximately. This means grazing no more 4% of the grazing platform daily.

For example-: a 30 Ha farm, 1.2 hectares offered daily and the balance filled with meal and silage. 

It is vital to hold a wedge during this drought in order to quicken the recovery on your farm, which will help you considerably going into the autumn.
Stop N fertilisation if grass growth is <35kg DM/ha or the grass base is brown
Use soiled water if available.
In the rain period post drought, soil N is released, don’t over fertilise, maintain fertilizer N at ±15-20kg per ha after grazing if average growth >45kg.

In other areas of the country, particularly west and north west, grass growth is strong due to adequate rainfall and high temperatures. In these scenarios continue to walk the farm every 5 days and remove any last paddocks of surplus in the next 7-10 days.

Complete a grass budget on PastureBase Ireland

During August our mindset changes from managing a weekly grass wedge during the summer to building grass on the farm for the Autumn. While this may seem unrealistic for those in drought conditions at the moment, it is still extremely worthwhile to have a plan for your farm in the form of an autumn grass budget when the dry spell ends and growth rates return to normal.  An autumn grass budget is designed to allow you plan to have enough grass for feeding in October and November of the current year and that a suitable amount of grass is saved for early grazing in February of the following year. Effectively you build up extra farm cover in  August and September for grazing in October and November and the following February. The targets are set out below in the table, along with a tutorial from Micheal O' Leary from PastureBase Ireland on completing a feed budget. 

Extend rotation length by 2.5 days per week during August to move to a 30 day rotation by the 1st September

Review maintenance P and K requirements

Now is the time to look at PastureBase and assess how many grazings and silage cuts have been taken off your paddocks. Calculate how much P and K has been applied this year in the form of slurry and fertiliser and apply P and K to paddocks that require it for maintenance. William Burchill discusses the P and K nutrients that are taken off by both silage and grazing which will help you calculate your requirements

Enter the 2022 Grassland Farmer of the Year Competition!

As pictured above, Minister Charlie McConalogue lauched this years Grassland Farmer of the Year competiton. The competition recognises and acknowledges those dairy, beef and sheep farmers who are achieving high levels of grass utilisation in a sustainable manner. This years competition has 7 different categories for you to enter-: 

  • Dairy
  • Drystock
  • Clover/Sustainable farming
  • Heavy soils/Disadvantaged Land
  • Innovation
  • Young Farmer (under 30 years)*
  • Organic Farmer

Click on the link below for more information and to enter. Good luck!

Grass10 Featured Farmer

Micheal Casey, Co. Cork

Farm manager Micheal Casey gives us an update from the Ballydague farm in Ballyhooly, Co. Cork where grass growth is beginning to slow down due to the dry weather, however silage is still being kept out of the diet currently.

Click here to read more


P and K requirements

William Burchill, advisor on the Teagasc/ Dairygold joint programme discusses maintenance P and K requirements (as summarised in the image above)

Now is a good time of the year to assess if sufficient P and K has been applied via slurry or fertiliser to meet P and K maintenance requirements.

Click here to read about P and K requirements for your farm



Autumn Grazing Targets

Autumn grazing targets will start coming to the forefront of our minds over the coming weeks. The autumn grazing targets are presented in the table above, to give targets for farmers at different stocking rates throughout the autumn.

In anticipation, all farmers should create a feed budget for the autumn on PastureBase Ireland to help plan out your grazings and help you hit the targets that you set out for your farm. Click on the link below to see a tutorial video by Micheal O'Leary from PastureBase Ireland on creating a feed budget.

Click here to view the video on creating a feed budget

PastureBase Ireland - Drystock Figures

  • Average Farm Cover - 758 Kg DM/Ha
  • Pregrazing yield - 1,680 Kg DM/Ha
  • Growth - 45 Kg DM/Ha
  • Stocking rate - 2.63 LU/Ha
  • Demand - 36Kg DM/Ha
  • Days ahead - 21

The Clover Reporter

Trevor Boland, Co. Sligo

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

This week, we hear from Suckler farmer Trevor Boland who farms in Dromard, Co. Sligo. Trevor gives us an update on the current grazing situation on his farm and how clover has performed this year.

Trevor's Clover Report


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