It seems that farmers gave a collective sigh of relief on Sunday night when the television weather forecaster announced that warmer weather is coming this week.

With widespread rain over most of the country this weekend in what was sometimes very heavy downpours, there should be no shortage of moisture in the soil.

Combined with warmer, kinder weather we should see grass growth rates improve. This is necessary for farmers to be able to escape the grass deficits they’ve found themselves in over the last two weeks or so.

Rotation length

Average farm cover is low and grass growth rates are low meaning most farmers are feeding up to 4kg of meal and some silage too, just to slow down rotation length and keep cows content.

The key thing when doing this is to ensure that the rotation length is actually lengthened. Without taking action cows will just eat the extra meal and silage and reduce their grazing intensity.

Therefore, if feeding a high level of supplement, make sure and use strip wires to allocate grass on a 12-hour basis.

Only allocate as much grass as is needed. For example, if total intake is 19kg and if 4kg of meal and 3kg of silage is being fed then just 12kg of grass should be allocated per 24-hour period.

With warmer weather, grass growth rate response should be quick, so continue to measure grass every few days and cut the supplement as soon as you can or even in advance of reaching average farm cover targets, particularly if growth is exceeding demand.