Archive Article: 2000/09/01

1 September 2000

ATTENTION to pasture management earlier in the season is now paying dividends for dairy producers experiencing a surge in late summer grass growth, according to Greenmount College grazing technologist David Patterson of Northern Ireland.

"Over the past two weeks, growth has surged to about 70kg/ha of DM on many farms across Northern Ireland. Swards that were well managed through May and June are now in terrific shape, containing lush, green grass."

The objective at Greenmount is to build average cover gradually, taking advantage of the growth surge, he adds. "We are looking to build cover to about 2900kg by the end of September rather than having to apply nitrogen at this time to stimulate growth for autumn."

Staffs-based producer Stephen Brandon is also pleased that recent showers have boosted grass growth. "Last week grass growth was rather low and because we have a tight stocking rate of 3.2 cows a hectare it can sometimes be a struggle to grow enough. But recent rain and fertiliser has helped and providing we can maintain growth rates of 60-70kg a day over the next three weeks we should be all right."

Feeding 1.5-2kg of maize gluten in the parlour should help eke out grass, enabling Mr Brandon to extend the rotation from four to five weeks to build cover. Selling cull cows and grazing youngstock off the farm will also ease the pressure.

Demand for grass will fall soon for Richard Davis on Anglesey as cows are dried off over the next couple of months. "Grass growth has picked up recently and at the moment it is averaging 73kg DM a day, about twice demand. &#42

Daily growth rates (DM/ha)

Anglesey 73kg

Dorset 30kg

Pembrokes 52kg

Shropshire 68kg

Staffs 65kg

Sussex 15kg

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