Grazing 2017: Record grass yields in the east but the west is hammered
Grass growth in 2016 has matched last year’s record levels in parts of the south and east, but growth in the west took a hammering as a result of the heavy rainfall from May to September.
Figures from Teagasc’s PastureBase show that growth up to the middle of November was in line with 2015 at Curtin’s Farm in Fermoy at 15.5t/ha.
However, Teagasc centres to the west of this site all recorded sizeable reductions in overall grass output this year.
At the Shinagh farm near Bandon the total dry matter output fell from 15.5t/ha in 2015 to 14.9t/ha this year. A drop of 4pc.
At Ballyhaise in Cavan grass output was back 7pc on 2015, falling from 12.8t/ha to 11.9t/ha.
Meanwhile in Athenry, grass output fell by 7pc to 14t/ha, compared to 15.1t/ha in 2015.In contrast, grass output at the Greenfield Farm in Kilkenny was up 9pc, increasing from 13.3t/ha to 14.5t/ha.
PastureBase co-ordinator Micheál O’Leary said the graph of grass growth through the year (see graph, right) showed the impact of the persistent cold weather through the spring.
However, he pointed out that there was a surge in growth in May to 100kg/DM/day, followed by two more noticeable spikes in July and September.