Over the last week, we have seen some exceptionally high temperatures recorded, with the majority of the country hitting the high 20s earlier this week.
The forecast for next week is for a small change as temperatures drop by a few degrees.
Some rain is forecast for the south and east of the country over the weekend and into the start of next week, but it is to remain dry in the rest of the country.
Growth rates are starting to fall and there is very little regrowth on paddocks that have been grazed or cut lately.
At this point, it is time to park the mower again and stop topping and pre-mowing.
Even if C/LU is high, avoid cutting paddocks on the grazing platform that are still suitable for grazing. Cutting bales this week and feeding them next week is an unnecessary expense if pre-grazing covers are still OK.
The target for this time of the year is to hold AFC above 550kg DM/ha, cover per cow (C/LU) at 170kg DM/ha and on beef farms 12 to 14 days ahead.
In times of low growth, we reduce demand to match growth in order to avoid falling below these targets. That said, things can change a little during a summer drought.
On the driest parts of some farms the high temperatures and intense sunshine have caused grass to start wilting.
If this is the case on your farm the plan must change. Where grass is wilting there is very little point in slowing the rotation by introducing concentrates and silage.
Instead, divide the grazing area over a 25-day rotation and target grazing the driest paddocks first in order to get the most out of them. Once you get rain, introduce concentrates or silage to slow things down and allow covers to build back up to target.
Northern Irelands new record temperature 31.2 degrees was recorded near the farm on Saturday. It has been over three weeks since we have had any rain and growth has really slowed. The cows are on meal, silage and roughly 6kg DM of grass. I increased the grazing block by bringing back in as much silage ground as I could. I have set up a rotation planner and divided the total area out over 32 days. There is no rain forecast. I am planning on sacrificing the paddock beside the yard and giving the cow’s access to the shed full time in a few days. We are supplying milk for spreadable butter so we are feeding a rape based nut which supresses fat per cent in milk.
There has been very few times we have grown over 70kg DM/ha this year . At the minute there is plenty of grass on the platform but I am expecting growth to fall after all the warm weather. There are no first lactation cows in this group and production is holding well. The cows are grazing covers of 1,700kg DM/ha which is high but the quality is very good. Any paddocks that were grazed in the last week are very slow to come back. C/LU is currently 238 and if I see rain in the forecast I will take out heavy paddocks and drop it back to 180kg DM/LU. I have started grazing paddocks with shade by day and other paddocks by night in order to take the pressure off the cows.
On the grass clover plus 150kg nitrogen per ha there is a paddock that needs to be cut but I am going to hold off as grass is starting to burn on the south facing hilly paddocks. With this in mind growth could take a big drop over the next week so I may need to graze it. Growth is currently 70kg DM/ha and demand is at 55kg DM/ha. I am spreading 13 units N per acre after each grazing in the form of protected urea. I am also going with soiled water when conditions allow. The 12 week breeding season is finished. We will scan the herd 30 days after the bulls were removed.