Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Take the opportunity to turn priority animals out to grass

In this week’s newsletter, the Teagasc Grass 10 team offer advice on early spring grazing management, the benefits it brings and how the spring rotation planner can be used.

Ground conditions are excellent on most farms. Time to graze!

Dry settled weather over the last 10 days has resulted in excellent grazing and trafficability on farms throughout the country. Farmers should take the opportunity this week to turn priority animals out to grass. These may be weanlings on drystock/beef farms or autumn or freshly calved cows on dairy farms. Take the opportunity this week to graze a wet paddock or a paddock with poor access to take advantage of the suitable weather. Identify your first 30% of the farm/milking platform to graze during February. Animals should start grazing in covers of 700-1,000kg DM/ha to help condition the animals to grazing. Every day at grass is worth €4/cow/day on dairy farms and almost €2/LU on beef/sheep farms.

 An infographic summarising this article

Make a spring fertiliser and slurry plan

Many farmers across the country have started applying slurry due to the excellent trafficability of farms. Soil temperatures are ranging between 6 and 7 degrees and are forecasted to remain consistent over the next week. Ensure that applications are limited to 2,000-2,500 gallons/ac of dilute slurry.

It is also good weather for applying chemical nitrogen (N) as no adverse weather is expected over the next seven days. Apply N in the region of 23units/acre or 28kg N/ha. It is possible using the right slurry timing, method and rate to reduce the need for chemical N fertiliser, however, around 46 units of chemical N/ac will be required to see most dry farms out to early April. On heavy soils and lower stocked farms, this can be reduced to around 30 units N/ac.

Complete your opening farm cover this week

Get a farm walk completed this week. The dry weather over the last week has pushed dry matter percentage up to over 16.5%. Early indicators are showing that grass supply on farms is back on this time last year, with many farmers yet to carry out their opening farm cover. The current average farm cover is 804kg DM/ha, with a growth of 4kg DM/ha/day over the winter.  Establish where your farm cover is this week, so you can make good grazing decisions this February.

Infographic showing growth, DM and AFC levels of PastureBase Ireland farms

Complete spring planner and grass budget on PastureBase Ireland

PastureBase Ireland offers tools to help with spring grazing. The spring rotation planner is easy set up and helps farmers get grass into animals each day/week and set the farm up with a nice wedge of grass for the second rotation. The grass budget goes a step beyond this, and allows farms to manage grass using a target AFC (specific to your farm circumstance), which allows farmers to utilise as much grass as possible, whilst ensuring there is adequate grass supply to start the second rotation (AFC 550-600kg DM/ha).

For more information on the Grass 10 Programme and to subscribe to the weekly newsletter, click here.