Poor grass management could hit milk producers where it hurts
Strong growth rates have been recorded across the country over the past two weeks, with the Kerry Agribusiness monitor farms recording an average growth rate of 81kgs DM/Ha over this period.
However, growth rates of this magnitude bring their own challenges, and keeping grass quality right is a challenge at present.
The most effective way to stay on top of grass quality is to measure grass.
Those that do so swear by it, but a huge proportion of Irish farmers do not measure grass regularly, so how can these farmers control grass quality in the absence of accurate measurement.
For them, the key focus for the next few weeks has to be maintaining the correct pre-grazing yields and the only way to manage this is to walk the farm twice weekly and act fast on what you see.
A cow grazing a cover of 1300kgs DM/Ha is capable of milking 25-26 litres of milk off grass alone at present. The same cow will only produce 22 - 23l if she is grazing covers of 2,000. This is due to two reasons:
a higher proportion of leaf in the lower cover, meaning there is more energy. A cover of 1300 will have a UFL value 0.95 whereas the cover of 2000 will have a UFL value of 0.90. While this difference sounds small, it translates into approximately 2litres of a reduced milk output/cow;