19 April 1996

Welsh wait for grass

THE spring flush of grass growth on Welsh farms is already about three weeks late, leaving many livestock producers with inadequate grazing for ewes and lambs.

Silage is running low, especially on farms where dairy cows would normally be out during the day. The picture is worsened now by the delayed marketing of beef cattle and barren cows.

Margaret and John Dalton, who are featured in farmers weeklys Management Matters reports, have been forced to buy extra sugar beet pulp and barley for cattle and sheep. On the advice of ADAS consultant Margaret Griffiths they will also reduce the area of first-cut silage, releasing extra grass for grazing. Next winter the forage shortfall will be made up by feeding purchased straw and straights to suckler cows. The aim is to forward buy alternative feeds in June, with sugar beet, maize gluten and rape seed pulp high on the list.

The Evans family, who run 80 dairy cows at Powys, reports grass is growing on south facing slopes, possibly because cows and heifers rather than sheep were used to clean up pastures last autumn. &#42