A platform for grazing success
Turning cattle out early can yield big dividends
Early grazing is not for the "faint hearted" admits the man co-ordinating the research on the Derrypatrick herd at Teagasc's beef centre in Co Meath.
Flexibility is key to getting as much early and late grazing out of the land as possible to reduce costs in the tight margin business, explained Adam Woods as he contemplated once again returning the batch of weanling heifers to the sheds as the weather turned.
"We try to get grazing in between February 15 and March 15 and try to push it a bit there and from October 15 to November 15.
"We're working to increase the amount of grass in the diet," he said, as farmers attending the spring grazing walk on Teagasc Grange heard that grazing was key with a high stocking rate of 2.7LU/ha.
"We almost have to be better than dairy farmers as the margins are so tight."
Despite the inclement weather, now is the time to draw up a spring rotation planner to try and get the most out of the grass come peak growth in the summer.
Teagasc beef specialist James Keane said there were different types of grassland throughout the country but it is key to put a plan in place.
"When does growth outstrip demand? Most of the time in the midlands it happens around the second week of April - that is a target date for the second rotation," said Mr Keane.