There is approximately two to three more weeks of grass available on farms this spring.
This, according to Teagasc, provides a great opportunity for grassland farmers to take advantage of the good grass supply and grazing conditions. Good grass growth over the winter, 6+ kg Dry Matter per hectare per day, combined with a mild February means that grass growth has started much earlier this year.
Data from Teagasc’s PastureBase Ireland indicates the mean Average Farm Cover (AFC) is 935 kg DM/ha across the country, with grass growth this week of 14kg DM/ha/day. This represents a 20% increase in Average Farm Cover (AFC) and a 60% increase in grass growth compared with 2018.
The general picture of cow daily feed allowances is 9 -10kg grass, 4 kg concentrate and 1kg of silage. Many farms have been able to go a step further and utilise more grazed grass, and have cows on diets of grass and 2-3 kg concentrates. The message to farmers is to move livestock to grass now and take advantage of the current good grazing conditions and grass supply.
Teagasc reccomend that cows are grazing day and night, with all farms having a minimum of 23 units Nitrogen per acre already spread to help maximise growth.
The top tips for grass utilisation issued by Teagasc are:
(1)Remove any silage from a lactating cows diet immediately.
(2) Always ensure cows have sufficient magnesium.
(3) Try and have 30% grazed by week one of March.
(4) Give drystock 36-48 hour breaks to allow them to acclimatise to grazing.
(5) use block grazing systems.