Farm Ireland

Monday 17 December 2018

How to handle drought conditions as more dry weather is forecast

Timing is everything when it comes to making top quality silage.
Timing is everything when it comes to making top quality silage.
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Rainfall in most of the country is well below normal levels, according to Met Eireann, and Teagasc is advising farmers to manage drought conditions by holding rotation lengths.

Apart from the northwest, where rainfall was slightly above average, country rainfall figures remained well below normal with totals ranging from just 3 to 10mm, figures from Met Eireann show. 

A lot of dry weather is set to develop everywhere from Wednesday out to the foreseeable future as high pressure builds.

Wednesday through to Friday will bring around average values and no more, with northerly breezes streaming down across Ireland (best values further south).

However, the trend is for warmer weather to set in as of the weekend with values climbing into the low 20s widely both Saturday and Sunday and possibly even higher into next week as it become locally very warm, that's as southwest breezes take hold.

And, according to Teagasc, some farms are starting to experience drought conditions.

It says that grass growth rates have declined and advises farmers that it is essential to hold rotation length at 20 days e.g. if platform is 100 acres (40ha), graze 5 acres (2 ha) per day.

It also says to fill the feed gap with concentrates first (up to 6kg/cow/day) and silage thereafter and avoid running down farm cover by holding rotation length and entering the correct pre-grazing covers.

Also Read

Grazing Tips for this Week

  1. Grass quality has deteriorated on farms in the last week, so it is important to meet residuals of 4cm to increase quality for subsequent rotations.
  2. Operate a rotation length based on growth rates (20 days) (see last weeks calculation for help!).
  3. Avoid pre-mowing heavy covers. Skip and cut for bales.
  4. Enter pre-grazing covers of 1400kgDMha.
  5. Spread at least 1 unit N/day and sulphur to maximise growth rates and grass quality. Grass deficient in nitrogen will become stressed and lose quality as a result.

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