JULY 2018 www.irishfarmersmonthly.com be 80% DMD), because pre grazing covers were too high.  Management Hints Because it will be hard to hit growth rates of 70kg per day, meal supplementation will be necessary:  For instance if you are getting growth rates of 60kgDM/ day and you are stocked at 4 cows/ha, then you will need to 3.45 kgs meal/cow/day.  It is calculated as follows; 60/4 = 15 (cow growth rate/ day) against demand of 18 kg DM. Therefore, a deficit of 3kgDM. Divide by 0.87 to convert to fresh weight = 3.45kg meal/cow/day. Consider Palk Kernal at €170/ton.  Over stocking is now the solution this year or any year.  It is advised that we aim for the following stocking rates     31,000 bites per day and if several of the bites are too small she does not eat enough. A 0.1 gram difference in bite size causes a 17% reduction in daily grass intake which results in milk yield being reduced by 6.1 litres/day)?  Were many of the cows bulling? (Shouldn’t be a problem in July)  Was leptospirosis a problem?  Was disease or minerals (maybe magnesium) a problem?  Were the grasses old and weedy?  Was the paddock smaller than others resulting in tight grazing?  Was the grass too wet?  Was the grass made unpalatable due to slurry or spraying?  Did too many weeds prevent adequate grazing out of the paddock?  Were the cows short of water or had they to walk too far for it (more than 300 metres)?  Once you have decided what caused the excessive drop, then you must take instant action.  Therefore, your Bulk Milk Tank is your eyes, ears and feet of your grassland management. Act on the messages it give you.  It is only in rare cases that the topper should be used this year!  Stemmy grass topped and left on the ground will rot; better it was kept and fed as roughage, it will be better than straw, next winter.  Some farmers are leaving toppings of up to 500kg DM/ha on the ground; and this would feed a cow for nearly half the winter as a replacement for silage  The way to manage grass without letting it get strong or stemmy is to round-bale when in surplus and pre-cut when paddocks have too many “tall-grass” areas.  When you are grazing covers that are above those specified in Table 2, then you should take out some paddocks for “round-bales”  When you are grazing paddocks that are have greater than 25% “tall-grass” areas in it post-grazing, then you should plan to pre-cut or bale at the next grazing. Stocking Rate Rotation Daily demands Pre Grazing Cover Average Farm Cover Cows/ha Length (days) (Kg DM/Ha) (Kgs DM/Ha) Kgs DM/Ha 4.0 25 72 1900 800 3.5 25 63 1675 700 3.0 25 54 1450 600 2.70 25 40 1320 540 2.47 25 45 1220 490 Table : Pre-grazing covers (PGC) and Average farm covers (AFC) targets for various stocking rates (SR/Ha)  Were the cows made graze too tight (a cow makes over  per grazing hectare in July: 3.7 - 4.0 cows 2200 – 2500kgs Cattle weight. 14 calves. The remainder of the farm should be closed up for 2nd cut silage, having got 27:2.5:5+S per acre. This simple exercise is essential to maximise silage ‘from within your own gate’. De-stocking must be considered on farms that are over stocked, short of grass for grazing now and almost certain to be short of winter feed. 2nd LAST NITROGEN AND SULPHUR:  Remember, you are working within the nitrate directive. So, I remind you again of the recommended quantities in July for the various stocking rates Even for the highest stocked farms you are restricted to 224 (approx) units of N over the whole farm in the year  The Nitrate regulation doesn’t restrict you from applying your annual complement for the whole farm.  This year many farmers did not apply their full complement of N during the first half of the year.  In such situations the recommendations below could be increased, this round, by 20-30% - there is no point in waiting until September to apply it, as it is too late to get a worthwhile response. Overall Farm Stocking Rate Less than 2.3LU’s/Ha Nitrogen In July 28 units/Acre late June (2nd Last N application) 28 units/Acre late July (2nd last N application) Greater than 2.3LU’s/Ha  If you have two grazing rotations in July, then you are applying 14 units/acre for each grazing.  A very small quantity  To justify spreading the lower quantity it is suggested you blanket spread your entire N (28 units/acre) across the whole farm, one day in the month.  Blanket spreading results in a 3% reduction in grass 43