Average grass growth for the past seven days was between 45kg and 50kg/day, according to Pasturebase data.

The 10-year average grass growth graph on page 38 of this week's Irish Farmers Journal says it all - the red line for 2021 is about half of the 10-year average.

Farmers would expect to be growing about 90kg/day, but instead they're growing about 45kg/day.

Higher soil temperatures

The funny thing is that soil temperatures are running around 2°C to 3°C higher than normal and air temperatures are also at about normal.

Soil moisture deficits are present, but not in a way that would be limiting grass growth, not just yet anyway.

The only reason I can see for the reduction in growth is a lack of 'kindness' in the weather, which has been dominated by cold nights and northeasterly winds.

No respite

Unfortunately, there appears to be no real respite from these conditions in the weather forecast.

Farmers should be thinking conservatively until such time as conditions for grass growth improves.

This means delaying decisions around spraying off ground for reseeding or closing up large chunks of the farm for long-term silage.

Average farm cover should be no lower than 500kg/ha.

If it is at risk of going below this, then extra supplement should be fed or more land brought into the rotation.