Grazing remains impossible in some areas, while in other areas, although challenging, cows are now returning to grass.

Many dairy farmers are asking themselves ‘when will silage be removed from the diet?’ and ‘when can cows be turned out grazing full-time?’.

At this stage of the season, most dairy farmers would have been hoping that cows would be out almost full-time.

Although the weather this week was a little better, the heavy rain last weekend continued to hinder grazing efforts in most areas.


Although silage remains a staple in the diets of cows for now, getting grass into cows is important and should be the focus moving forward.

For now, it remains a situation of ‘graze what you can, when you can’.

You should continue to focus on getting areas of your farms grazed where suitable, and prevent causing damage where possible.

But, you should not be forcing cows out when conditions and land is not suitable, as doing so will cause damage that will have to be repaired and could have a significant impact on dry matter (DM) growth during the year.

As we move through March, it is important that you ensure that cows are being adequately fed. Having cows in the right conditional is vital ahead of breeding.

DM intakes of cows will be around the 18kg mark for a cow that calved in the first week of February.

When cows are grazing, it is important that the deficits in DM intakes are met by silage and concentrates in the parlour.

Grass growth

Grass growth rates appear to be remaining slow on farms, with many of the paddocks grazed early slow to come back.

The latest figures from PastureBase show current growth rates of 15kg of DM/ha for Leinster, 15kg of DM/ha for Munster, 16kg of DM/ha for Connacht and 9kg of DM/ha for Ulster.

The predicted growth rates for the coming days shows increases in all areas with 25kg of DM/ha predicted for Leinster, 26kg of DM/ha for Munster, 22kg of DM/ha for Connacht and 21kg of DM/ha for Ulster.