The good news this week is that growth rates across the country are set to increase, with the Teagasc predicted grass growth figures ranging from 60kgDM/ha in the far northwest, to 75kgDM/ha in the north east.

The bad news is that the disparity in rainfall continues, with those in the northwest getting too much rain while those in the south would have liked a little bit more.

Across the country, grass supply has been diminishing over the last three weeks and grazing quality has also been under pressure.

Heavy rainfall over last weekend and early this week has seen moisture deficits in the south somewhat eased.

Unfortunately for those in the northwest, ground conditions have become more difficult as some areas are now saturated.

Where this is the case, growth will be slower and so difficult grazing conditions and grass supply may continue for another week at least.

Where this is the case, try to keep stock moving to fresh grass at least twice a week, target the drier parts of the farm as much as possible.

You will have to sacrifice getting graze-outs right as grass will become soiled and stock will become discontent if forced to work too hard in paddocks.

Take the hit on this rotation and hopefully the next time round conditions will have improved enough to clean out paddocks successfully.

Many farms have been doing a round of topping in the last fortnight so sward quality should be good in the next rotation.

Keep walking the farm to assess the ever-changing situation. What seems like the best plan of action today may be null and void in three days’ time.

Farmer focus

Brian Geraghty

Dysart, Co Roscommon

System Dairy calf to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 699

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 46

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 49

Grass supply has been tightening over the last two weeks. Up to that point, growth and quality had been very good. We have got a nice bit of rain since last weekend and it was all needed here. I spread a half bag of 18-6-10S at the weekend once the rain arrived. The Angus calves are still getting meal at grass. I would like to remove it from them over the second half of summer but with the change in the weather I will continue to feed for another week at least. I sowed nine acres of Maris Kestrel kale the last week of May. I plan to graze weanlings on it over winter. It was ground I wanted to reseed so it will give me an extra boost with winter fodder and ease housing pressure.

Ger McSweeney

Millstreet, Co Cork

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 791

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 42

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 32

Breeding finished two weeks ago, concluding a 12-week season with 100% AI used. A late-March or April calf doesn’t suit my system. I need an even batch of calves so you have to stick to your defined dates. I have bulled a few extra heifers to allow for cows that might not be in calf. We did need rain but we have had more than 80mm since last Friday so we have got plenty at this stage. I split bigger groups of stock at the weekend to reduce the risk of poaching. The growth figure will kick on again this week and I think it will be above 50kgDM/ha. I have no specific second-cut silage ground. With 80% of silage reserves in the yard, I will make the rest from surplus grazing.

Declan Marren

THRIVE demo farm, Cashel, Co Tipperary

System Dairy calf to beef

Soil type Mostly dry

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 583

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 49

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 43

Having started to feed some silage to the 2021-born stock at grass last Friday, the rain over the weekend has relieved the pressure and with growth rates increasing, we are back to grass-only diets. The farm had a lot of covers from 700kgDM/ha to 900kgDM/ha, so the growth boost has quickly changed the picture with these paddocks coming available for grazing in five to seven days. Around 25 units/acre of N was spread on about 40ac of grazing ground at the weekend once we were certain the farm would receive significant rain. Calves are grazing aftergrass and receiving 1kg/day concentrate. Calves will be dosed for lungworm this week as they are starting to cough.