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Saturday 17 November 2018

'If you don't have paddocks how can you control the grass?'

FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

“If I don’t have the paddocks I can’t control the grass,” the current Sheep Grassland Farmer of the Year Peader Kearney from Co. Louth is quoted in the Grass10 newsletter.

His take on grass management comes as Teagasc advises farmers to ensure their autumn rotation closing plan is in full swing.

It advises that greater than 30pc of the farm should be grazed and closed on dry soils, while a minimum of 45pc should be closed on heavy/ late farms.

Autumn Grazing Plan

Residuals: Graze down to 4cm. It is important to graze down to a residual of 4 cm in the autumn to stimulate growth through out the winter and avoid the carry over of dead material over the winter into next spring.

% Grazed: It advises to have 60pc of the farm closed by the first week in November (1-2 weeks earlier in wet/ late areas) and to skip heavier paddocks if necessary – and graze pad-docks with ideal covers - to meet the 60pc target if necessary

Concentrates: Feed supplements if there is insufficient grass in the daily allocation.

Closing Up: It says to plan to leave the grazing platform with ade-quate grass cover when the cows are housed (farm cover of 600kg+ DM/ha on December 1)

Soil Fertility

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Teagasc researcher has shown that the gap between the recommended level of lime usage and the actual level of lime usage has widened in recent years.

It says that ground conditions are excellent for spreading lime, which can be bought and spread for around €23/t. A pH of 6.2- 6.5 is important to release P & K into the soil and create a stable environment for the ryegrass plant.

Slurry

Now is also a great opportunity to spread slurry, it says and that slurry should be targeted where silage has been taken off during the year and also on pad-docks in index 1 and 2 for K. Some farmers are also following livestock as paddocks are being closed off for the year. The deadline is the end of October.

 

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