Grass growth doubles as higher temperatures boost silage crops
Grass growth rates more than doubled across the country in the past week as soil temperatures exceeded 14 degrees.
The surge in grass growth has boosted grass supply on farms and bulked up silage crops, although silage yields remain significantly below par.
Figures from Teagasc's Pasture Base grass growth database showed a 240pc increase in grass growth in Newtownforbes, Co Longford, over the past month. During the first three weeks in May growth was just 50kg dry matter per hectare per day (DM/ha/day), compared to just 120kg DM/ha/day last week.
Grass growth in Emly, Co Tipperary doubled, rising from 52kg DM/ha/day in early May to 102kg DM/ha/day last week.
In Ballyhaise, grass growth rose from 52kg DM/ha/day to 70kg DM/ha/day, while in Athenry growth increased from 55kg to 102kg DM/ha/day last week.
Increases of between 20pc and 59pc were recorded at Moorepark (52pc), Kilkenny (51pc), Clonakilty (22pc), Johnstown Castle (20pc) and Hospital, Co Limerick (59pc).
The growth rates relate to grazing ground only and not silage ground. However, Vincent Griffiths of Teagasc Moorepark said growth rates on silage ground would have been higher than grazing ground.
In a complete reversal of fortunes for farmers on heavy soils, Mr Griffiths said that if dry weather continued, growth rates on heavier soils were likely to be higher than drier soils as water became a limiting factor to grass growth.