Grass growth surge will boost farmer profits by €28/acre
The surge in grass growth this year will deliver a financial boost of up to €2,800 for a 100ac holding, Teagasc has estimated.
The research body confirmed that growth rates are running between 800kg/ha and 900kg/ha ahead of 2016 levels, which is worth in the region of €60-70/ha or €24-28/ac to the farmer.
For a 40ha or 100ac farm this level of return equates to an increase in income of between €2,400 and €2,800.
Micheál O'Leary, who heads up Teagasc's PastureBase unit in Moorepark, predicted that many farms will increase grass growth by around 1t/ha this year.
Last year dairy farmers grew an average of 13.9t/ha, with drystock farmers on 12.5t/ha. However, Mr O'Leary predicted that dairy farmers would grow at least 14.5t/ha this year and the average could go close to 15t/ha if there was a good autumn.
"We would predict that these averages would increase this year; however, it will depend on the next few months and weather conditions. There was a very good back end over the last two years," he said.
"Average growth for the country from PastureBase Ireland dairy farms is 65kg dry matter per hectare, with a demand of 53kg dry matter per hectare and a cover per cow of 202kg dry matter per livestock unit. So there is plenty of grass out there.
"Soil temperatures are at 18-20C across the country and there is plenty of moisture around now so growth should kick on again."