Grass growth falters in dry weather

The dry weather across much of the UK has hit grass growth hard for beef and lamb producers already struggling to find decent pasture.



Data collected as part of the Farmers Weekly/EBLEX GrassWatch initiative shows how growth has slowed in response to lack of rainfall


Producers in the east have been hardest hit. “We are so short of grass at the moment,” notes Jeanna McCarthy with suckler cows in Suffolk on her GrassWatch blog.


“I fear we are heading for another bad year.”


A similar experience last year persuaded her to slot-seed newer varieties in the autumn, and new growth has been coming through.


Over in Bridgnorth Tim Powell’s re-seeds have fared well, but the permanent pasture has struggled in the heat.


“The grass really needs to grow here – we are about two weeks behind in yield terms.”


A double-whammy of frosts and lack of rain has been worrying Stuart Stark with around 3300 ewes and their lambs in the Vale of York.


“We are very short of grass,” he reports.


“We are having to creep-feed lambs in some fields, which I don’t like doing as it adds to the cost. But we can’t have lambs going backwards at this stage.”


He is comparing growth rates with those of nearby Askham Bryan College.


• The latest results have just been uploaded on to the GrassWatch site. Go to www.fwi.co.uk/grasswatch to find out how your grass growth compares with a nearby college farm.