Henry Walsh: Our grass growth has been exceptional over the last month
September is progressing along within average or normal parameters on our farm in Oranmore.
The pattern has been one of broken weather, rain most days, occasional sunny periods, solid growth and good ground conditions. Some Septembers we would hope for a little better, but not his year.
This year I am happy with normal and no extremes. Grass growth has been exceptional throughout the month of August and is now coasting along with an average of 55 kg/DM grown per day over the last two weeks.
We applied 1.5 bags of 18/6/12 (27 units) on July 22 before the drought broke.
We backed off on fertiliser then and spread nothing until September 1 - that is 42 days with no Nitrogen applied on the milking platform. While this was completely out of character for me, there was reasoning behind the action. We have been taking grass samples within our discussion group which Aurivo then test. The samples for a few weeks in August showed incredibly high free nitrates present in the fresh grass.
This was probably coming from background nitrogen being released by the soil after the drought broke.
Perhaps it is something worth keeping a check on where farms are only now exiting the drought.
The temptation will be to apply heavy nitrogen to maximise grass growth until the end of the grazing season and the two combined could lead to excessive nitrate levels in the grass.