Dry weather and other factors lead to grass scarcity on some farms

VERY little rain has fallen in many parts of the south since early August.

Rainfall totals for June, July and August were near normal everywhere, but fell below normal throughout August.

It was a particularly dry month over Munster and south Leinster, where less than 50% of normal rainfall was recorded.

Cork Airport’s 17mm was its lowest rainfall for August since 1995, with only three wet days recorded at the airport’s weather station.

The lack of moisture has caused a big drop in grass growth. There should be a cover of about 300 kg of dry matter per cow now, and increasing to over 400 kg per cow in late September. These target covers will vary according to stocking rate and land type.

Excessively tight grazing and taking out too much grass in bales during the dry summer have contributed to grass scarcity on some farms.

Rotations should be lengthened to about 30 days at the end of September. To achieve this and keep cows properly fed, fairly substantial levels of concentrates will have to be fed on many dry land farms. Even with sufficient grass, there will be a very good economic response to concentrates with autumn grass, if your milk quota situation allows.


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