Speaking to farmers in the northern half of the country this week they continue to receive more than adequate levels of rainfall and low night time temperatures which by all reports is slowing grass growth.

At the other end of the country there is a severe need for rainfall with it being almost three weeks in many areas since there was any significant level of moisture.

Somewhere, there must be a sweet spot and it had been around Tullamore Farm for the last couple of weeks but speaking to Shaun Diver this week, things have dried up and the farm is now in need of rainfall.

Looking to later in the week it seems like those further south will get at least some rainfall to ease pressure while farms further north may get more rain then desired over Friday and Saturday.

It is hard to prescribe advice to farmers when the issues being faced are as polar opposite as they currently are across the country.

Walk the farm

One action that should be universal is to continue to walk the farm once a week to keep a good handle on the situation.

In either situation where grass supply is limited the only options are to add in more ground which many farms will be doing in the coming weeks once silage ground recovers enough to graze, or reduce the demand for grass on the ground.

This can be in the form of selling some stock, housing forward stores earlier than planned or feeding silage at grass in the south where ground conditions allow.


James Strain – Burnfoot, Co Donegal

This year continues to be a difficult one. Growth is poor and ground conditions have not been ideal for most of the grazing season.

I actually rehoused eight cows and calves a couple of weeks ago as grass was disappearing on the farm and stock were poaching ground.

Conditions have improved but growth is still slow. It is not due to a lack of fertiliser as I have been keeping paddocks topped up, but cool conditions and wet ground have reduced growth.

Silage was cut in quite decent conditions on 14 June which was 10 days later than planned so quality will have taken a hit but yields were excellent.

This ground has had slurry and once it does come back available for grazing it will reduce the pressure for grass.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Heavy

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 716

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 37

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 60

Wesley Browne – Dunraymond, Co Monaghan

Growth has recovered here over the last week or so. We had been eating into the average farm cover but this week we are back growing in excess of demand.

Ground conditions are decent, although it wouldn’t take a lot of rainfall to change that. I am spreading 17 units/acre of protected urea with every rotation which is helping to keep growth up, and quality is excellent for the time of year.

There is no surplus grass on any of the farm at the moment, but as long as we have enough to keep stock going I am happy.

The under 16-month bulls continue to be drafted, with four a week heading for slaughter. They are averaging 410kg carcase at 14.5 months on a mix of 8kg concentrate and good quality silage.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Heavy

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 642

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 54

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 44

Shaun Diver – Tullamore Farm, Co Offaly

Growth has slowed considerably over the last 10 days. We had been getting enough rainfall to keep things going but there has been nothing in the last week.

As a result, both growth and quality have nosedived. There is a lot of stem appearing on the farm and I am doing some topping after grazing to improve the quality of regrowth.

The average farm cover is decent, so I am not too worried about running out of grass ahead of stock.

There is rainfall forecast for over the weekend so I plan to spread a bag of pasture sward to the acre on some of the grazing ground in preparation for this.

The first 13 lambs were drafted this week and will be slaughtered on Thursday. They are averaging 45kg and handling very well.

System Suckler to beef

Soil type Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha) 975

Growth (kg DM/ha/day) 46

Demand (kg DM/ha/day) 49