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Grass10 Newsletter and Updates - 15th November 2022

Grass10 Newsletter and Updates - 15th November 2022

This week the main tips from the Grass 10 team relate to closing grass cover, getting ready to take soil samples and reviewing grassland performance on PastureBase. This weeks Clover Reporter is Peter Doyle from Grange in Co. Meath

PastureBase Ireland - Dairy Figures

 PBI Dairy Figures Nov 15 Details in text below

  • Average Farm Cover - 718 Kg DM/Ha
  • Cover/LU - 288 Kg DM/Ha
  • Growth - 16 Kg DM/Ha
  • Demand 20 Kg DM/Ha - Stocking rate 2.5 LU/Ha
  • Pregrazing yield - 1,488 Kg DM/Ha
  • Diet - 8 Kg DM Grass - 4 Kg Meal - 6 Kg Silage

Predicted Grass Growth 

Predicted Grass Growth week of November 21st details in textCounties 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 7 in Donegal, Roscommon and Kilkenny to a high of 12 in Westmeath. 

Predicted rainfall

Predicted Rainfall for week of Nov 21 detail in text belowCounties 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 highs of 72 to 83 in Cork, Waterford and Kilkenny. Predicted lowest rainfall this week is in the western counties Mayo, Sligo and Donegal with 18, 21 and 26 respectively. In the remaining counties rainfall varies from 33 to 64.  

Grass Dry Matter %

Grass Dry Matter Nov 15 detail in text below

  • Ballyhaise 11%
  • Moorepark 12%
  • Grange 14%
  • Athenry 13%

Grass 10 Weekly Tips

 G10 Weekly Checklist Nov 15 details in text below

Two weeks to reach your closing cover target

Your 2023 opening farm cover will be the first grazing target of the year, and is nearly always the most important. However, with high input and output prices - it is arguably the most important year to ever get this right. Your opening cover is determined by closing cover target on December 1st. The targets are:

2.5 LU/ha – 650-700 KgDM/ha 
3.0 LU/ha – 700-750 KgDM/ha
3.5 LU/ha – 750-800 KgDM/ha

To reach this, your AFC today should be (15 days x 10 kg/day = 150 KgDM/ha):

2.5 LU/ha – 550 KgDM/ha
3.0 LU/ha – 600 KgDM/ha 
3.5 LU/ha – 650 KgDM/ha 

Data from PBI shows 28% of farm covers <600 KgDM/ha these farms should stop grazing immediately if they haven't already. 21% of farms are 600-700 KgDM/ha these should stop this week. And 51% are >700 KgDM/ha,  these farms should try to keep grazing for another week although ground conditions will not allow in some areas. Use PastureBase to remove a paddock as 'silage cut now' to calculate AFC if the paddock was grazed, and compare it to the target above. This is not a license to keep grazing and run the farm cover down. It is advice to reach the closing cover target - don't overdo it! 

What’s the heaviest cover you should carry over winter?

A good start is half the battle, and high grass availability in the spring is a brilliant start. This is in your control! Every day at grass next spring will be worth about €4 per cow per day on a dairy farm, or about €2.75 per LU on a beef farm. Opening farm cover determines your spring feed costs and response to fertiliser, and it also plays a massive role in animal body condition, fertility, and weight gain. So what does that mean for grass covers now? Well if you are using the stocking rate closing targets above it means that on 1st December your heaviest covers will be:

2.5 LU/ha – 1300-1400 KgDM/ha
3.0 LU/ha – 1500-1600 KgDM/ha
3.5 LU/ha – 1600-1700 KgDM/ha
Working back, today your heaviest covers should range:
2.5 LU/ha – 1000-1100 KgDM/ha
3.0 LU/ha – 1100-1200 KgDM/ha
3.5 LU/ha – 1200-1300 KgDM/ha

Get ready to take your soil samples

John O Loughlin Grassland AgroJohn O'Loughlin from Grassland Agro shares some of his top tips when it comes to soil sampling and acting on the results. Getting the fertiliser plan in place to improve soil fertility will reward farms in the long run.

John O'Loughlin, Grassland Agro (pictured above) says the key to soil sampling is to act in time to get accurate results, and then to use the information. Soil sampling early will mitigate potential delays during the peak season. This information can then be used to devise a lime or Potash strategy for the back end when/if ground conditions allow.

Soil samples can be taken 3 months from the last application of chemical or organic (Slurry) P and K or lime. Straight N or N and S fertilisers will not impact sample results.

Fertiliser prices are forecasted to be very strong for next year. Only 25% efficiency of chemical N will be achieved with suboptimal pH, P and K, so it is more important than ever to soil sample. John adds, "in practical terms, this means, that the cost of N is 4 times the price paid to your coop or merchant when you apply it to parts of the farm that are not optimum soil fertility". 

*Farms stocked between 130-170 kg organic N/ha without soil samples in the last 4 years will be assumed to be Soil P Index 4 and resultantly will have zero P allowance 

Review your grassland performance with PastureBase

As the grazing year comes to a close and your enter the last records on PastureBase Ireland, have you set aside time to review your data? If you haven't, you need to. Knowledge is power, and you can profit off this power by reviewing the grassland KPIs. Knowledge is power becasue it allows you to make better decisions and take action to improve what you do.

We will be hosting a PastureBase webinar on 7th December to show you how to capaitalise on your own data and capture more of the profit next

One of the reports is the annual tonnage report. It allows you to see how much grass grew on each paddock, how much was grazed and cut, the number of grazings per paddock, and fertiliser use on these paddocks.

PastureBase Ireland - Drystock Figures

PBI Drystock Figures Nov 15 Details in text below

  • Average Farm Cover - 586 Kg DM/Ha
  • Pregrazing yield - 1,471 Kg DM/Ha
  • Growth - 12 Kg DM/Ha
  • Stocking rate - 1.55 LU/Ha
  • Demand - 18Kg DM/Ha
  • Days ahead - 32

The Clover Reporter

Peter Doyle, Co Meath

Peter Doyle is a Teagasc Research based on the Derrypatrick Herd in Grange and starting a new trial next year. "This time last year, clover content on selected paddocks was 9%. This has increased to 27% this year through a combination of reseeding and oversowing."
Click to read more. 

Location:  Teagasc Grange
Suckler calf-to-beef
Soil Type:  
Brown earth with gleying
% Farm In Clover: 50 % 
% From Reseeding: 50 % 
% From Oversowing: 50 % 
Clover content 2022: 27 %

Read Peter's full report here