Heatwave starts crucial week for silage making
A long-awaited surge in grass growth rates should see first-cut silage get under way in earnest this week.
Scorching temperatures of up to 28C late last week and into the weekend saw grass growth rates more than double on many farms.
With growth rates in excess of 80-90kg DM/ha, today and tomorrow will be crucial days for grazing versus silage decisions as grass deficits quickly turn into surpluses.
But farmers have been warned that the delay in first-cut silage could have serious implications for grass supplies later this year.
Teagasc dairy adviser John Donworth warned that a late and light first cut followed by a very big second cut would mean that farmers would only have enough grass for a light grazing before they have to close up paddocks for the winter.
He added that the high temperatures, combined with a drying breeze, could also limit grass growth on dry farms in the coming days.
While ungrazed silage fields have already been harvested in some counties, the majority of farms are running behind schedule due to the unseasonably cold weather in April and early May.
First crops that have been cut are described by agricultural contractors as light, but of excellent quality.