May has thankfully been a much kinder month than its predecessor, and while there have still been some thundery burst of rain to keep soils conditions hovering between firm to soft, growth has seen a major uplift, particularly in the last week.

Pasturebase Ireland data showed that pre-grazing yields are already too high at 1,800kg DM/ha for drystock farmers measuring grass. Average demand for these farms was 40kg DM/ha, while growth was at 66kg DM/ha, 60% higher than demand.

Not doing something now to correct this increase in growth will lead to an uphill battle with grass quality for the next number of weeks. Pre-grazing yield is already too high as it is, but with growth exceeding demand, we could see this closer to 2,000kg DM/ha by this day next week.

Silage stocks need replenishing on nearly all farms, so it is an ideal opportunity to whip out some additional ground for silage and get it pitted or baled up to bulk up the winter fodder supply. Instead of easing back on fertiliser to try and control growth, high utilisation rates should be harnessed by continuing with the same rate, or increasing rates by 25% from 0.8 units N/day up to one unit N/day per acre.

James Strain, Burnfoot, Co Donegal

Growth has taken off in the last few weeks, which is making management tricky. Pre-grazing yields are past where they should be for some stock groups, with others grazing some really nice covers. I would be looking to mow out some surplus grass and get pre-grazing yields back on target as soon as possible, but we are seeing thundery, heavy bursts of rain and heavier ground is only just trafficable. I’d ideally like to mow out 5ac of heavier covers, but I’m also conscious of running tight on grass should conditions change. I mowed some silage last week, with the red clover silage harvested the week prior in some excellent conditions. I’m grazing a mix of my own stock alongside some contract-grazing of dairy stock.

System: Suckler to beef

Soil type: Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 1,295

Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 120

Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 58

Stephen Frend, Newford herd, Co Roscommon

Some surplus paddocks and the first cut were baled out last week. Twelve acres of surplus paddocks yielded five bales/acre with a 24hr wilt, with first cut silage coming in at 7.5 bales/acre. Surplus paddocks have received 25 units/ac of protected urea, while we will likely go with 70 units of N for second cut. White clover is being stitched in to some paddocks at a seed rate of 2.5kg/ac. While it is a little late in the year, there is plenty of moisture in the soil. This ground was grazed last week and will be grazed again relatively quickly to let light in to the base. Breeding has gone well, with 90% of cows submitted in the first three weeks, with low repeat rates seen in both the replacement heifers and cows.

System: Suckler to beef

Soil type: Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 673

Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 41

Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 41

Shaun Diver, Tullamore Farm, Co Offaly

Some paddocks are starting to creep up with the increase in growth, so we may look at mowing out as surplus bales next week. Looking at the forecast for next week, we would aim to be pitting our first-cut silage as well. It has grown well over the last while, with 53 acres closed off. Forty-five acres received 40kg urea before the rain last week to push growth. Our combi crop mix has also been performing well since sowing with the warmer conditions. Calves have received their first shot for clostridial disease along with a mineral drench, with lambs having also received their first vaccine along with a worm and mineral drench, flystrike prevention and footbathed, with ewes recorded with an average BCS of 3.18.

System: Suckler to beef

Soil type: Variable

Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 884

Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 46

Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 29