Grass growth 50pc below norm as weather continues to bite
Farmers were continuing to battle the hangover from the cold snap and Storm Emma this week, with grass-growth levels on the floor, large numbers of stock still housed, and cereal growers struggling to sow crops.
Thousands of cows remain housed across the south and west this week as lower than usual soil temperatures continue to hit grass growth.
Teagasc's Pasturebase service shows that grass growth is at 3-5kg/ha/day, which is less than half the normal growth of 10kg/ha/day for this time of year.
While farmers on drier land have managed to get cows out again this week, those with heavier and higher land are still a week or 10 days off full-time grazing.
Teagasc's George Ramsbottom said dairy farmers in the south midlands and south-east were contending with very low farm covers at the moment but grazing condition were improving.
While many farmers have calved cows back out on grass again, he said milk suppliers on higher ground were struggling with wetter ground conditions and lower grass growth.
It was a similar story in the south-west, where Teagasc's Joe Kelleher said farmers working very heavy land would not have cows out until the end of the month.
In contrast, Mr Kelleher said farms on free-draining soils had cows back out last week.