With many heavy showers across most of the country over the weekend, mowers and silage harvesters have come to a standstill. Localised showers continued throughout the beginning of the week, but the forecast is showing more settled weather later in the week.

This will give those who haven’t taken their first cut yet a chance to fill the silage pits before it begins to lose quality. Those who have cut silage already, should be thinking now about replacing the nutrients for the second cut. After the year that we’ve had, I don’t think there is any farm with all their slurry out, so there should be a good supply of quality slurry that can be used. If 2,500 gallons per acre are spread, farmers should be applying 65 units per acre of protected urea and sulphur. If slurry can’t be spread on silage ground, then there should be 75 units per acre applied of protected urea, with an alternative source of P and K.

Over the last week to 10 days, high growth rates have meant a lot more grass on the grazing platform and a lot of paddocks have been taken out for surplus bales. In this case, the P and K taken off must be replaced with either slurry or fertiliser. Replace nutrients with 2,000 gallons per acre of diluted slurry, or one bag of 0-7-30 for every three/four bales per acre taken off.

With high growth rates, the farm should be walked twice a week. Covers of 1,000kg DM/ha upwards can get out of control in a matter of days, as they can grow up to 150kg when the farm is growing 70kg on average.

  • Growth rates remain high, take opportunities to take out surplus bales.
  • Continue walking the farm at least three times in two weeks.
  • Replace enough nutrients on silage ground for second cut.
  • Keep a close eye on forecast for cutting towards the end of the week.
  • Kevin Moran, Caherlistrane, Co Galway

    Grazing is going well at the moment; we’re getting good residuals, but it is starting to head out a bit. I’m disappointed with the level of clover content on the farm this year. With the amount of rain and increased poaching, along with colder weather, it just hasn’t come the same as other years. Our silage reserve is tight, so we want to build that up again this year. Cows are at 3.8LU/ha and that will continue until mid-June, when a reseeded paddock will be back in. Clover paddocks are getting about 0.4 units of nitrogen per day, with non-clover paddocks getting 0.8 units. I plan to start going in with water lagoon slurry on clover paddocks from now on.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha): 3.88

    Growth Rate (kg/day): 77

    Cover per Cow (kg/LU): 184

    Yield (l/cow): 24.9

    Fat%: 4.59

    Protein%: 3.63

    Milk Solids (kg/cow): 2.04

    Concentrates: 2kg

    Joseph Dunphy, Easky, Co Sligo

    Cows are grazing away fairly well now. With the high growth rates the last few weeks, it has allowed us to correct a few paddocks. We’ve taken out three paddocks in the last rotation as surplus. If growth rates continue, we’ll try and correct a few more paddocks. Pre-grazing yields are where we want them to be at the moment, we are grazing 1,400kg DM/ha.

    We are following cows with about a unit a day so they are getting about 21-22 units per acre in the rotation.

    We cut our first-cut silage last week and we’ve got slurry out on it again. I plan to go with 65 units per acre, with one paddock getting 75 units that can’t get slurry.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha): 3.8

    Growth Rate (kg/day): 73

    Cover per cow (kg/cow): 155

    Yield (l/cow): 23

    Fat%: 4.6

    Protein%: 3.69

    Milk Solids (kg/cow): 1.9

    Concentrates: 3kg

    Joe Murphy, Kilkenny

    We cut some silage that was never grazed about a month ago, on heifer ground and some on the milking platform. The main cut of silage won’t be for another week or two because I bagged it late because of the poor weather conditions. Cows are grazing well at the moment. They are going into 1,400-1,500kg DM/ha covers. I haven’t had to do any topping yet and I plan not to if I can. I would rather take out bales for surplus. I was planning on taking out 15 acres for reseeding in the next week, but I think I’ll hold off as I would get too tight for grass. It would take demand up to the mid 70s and growth probably won’t hold there all summer.

    Stocking Rate (cow/ha): 3.72

    Growth Rate (kg/day): 82

    Cover per cow (kg/cow): 195

    Yield (l/cow): 27

    Fat%: 3.6

    Protein%: 4.89

    Milk Solids (kg/cow): 2.29

    Concentrates: 4kg