Henry Walsh: We are in new territory with this year's grass growth
February was a wonderful month to be farming. Warm days and pleasant nights resulted in near-perfect conditions for growth, grazing and outdoor calving on the pad.
Over 60pc of the herd calved in the first three weeks and now at the end of week four, we have 70pc, with 90pc of the first calvers milking.
This sets us up well on a number of fronts with the bulk of the herd settled into milk mode by St Patrick's Day, the first calvers have adequate time to settle before breeding and we have exceeded our requirements for replacement heifer calves.
While grazing conditions deteriorated sharply in March, the underlying ground is solid having been well drained by both the drought earlier and worm activity over the dry, mild winter. I expect growth to continue and the underfoot conditions to recover better than usual for this time of year.
Grass growth in February continued this year's trend of exceeding 10-year averages and has resulted in our average farm cover actually increasing to 1,218kg/dm/ha during February.
We have never seen this kind of cover before, even though all the milking herd were out on grass full time, no silage and 3kg of meal.
This is new territory for us, and properly managed, will ensure the cows can be fully fed cheaper than in other years and the milk will flow.
It is a similar picture to most of the others in our group so we had a discussion on how best to utilise the feed available to us all.