Grass10 Spring Farm Walks Scheduled for this Spring

A series of 12 Clover Spring farm walks will take place on farms nationally, from Kerry to Donegal, from April 3rd to April 17th across the country. The Spring walks are focussing on Spring grazing and clover management during this particularly difficult Spring. The Spring walks are part of the continued focus of the Teagasc Grass10 grass programme to improve grass utilisation.

The programme is sponsored by AIB, Grassland Agro, Irish Farmers Journal, FBD and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Recent grazing conditions have been hugely challenging for farmers due to the wet weather. These events will allow farmers and the wider Agri-industry to visit farms that have managed with grazing this Spring and will discuss their plans for clover incorporation in the months ahead.

The new Grass10 chairman John MacNamara from Knockainey, Co Limerick, at the launch of the Spring Walks, stated “It has been a very difficult year for grazing, but whenever we have let cows to grass, the pressure has been released around the yard, and milk yield and protein % has increased. The Spring walks are timely and will be a great opportunity for farmers to discuss and get guidance for the grazing challenges in the months ahead. Bear in mind we have had a very wet Autumn and spring so far, so farmers probably have not seen too many grazing farms in the interim.”

Dr Michael O’Donovan, Head of Grassland Science in Teagasc remarked “grass growth has been above normal for a number of weeks. The pressing issue on many farms is the deficit in area grazed, so key decisions will need to be made now and in early April in trying to get the first rotation finished and swards back growing well. Any swards grazed are recovering really well on farms.”

April is a key month to ensure high-quality grass on farms and timely intervention on grazing residuals and pre-grazing herbage mass needs to be made. The Spring Walk series, starts in Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy County Cork, focussing on the management of the long-term clover study. Grassland Researcher Dr Aine Murray who leads the study remarked “Some days we were only 1.5 to 2 hours at grass. The cows didn’t graze last Monday or Tuesday.  Grazing has been interrupted all spring, but we have been trying hard to get cows to grass as often as possible and sometimes failed. I look forward to engaging with farmers and sharing our experiences with them on how we will manage the clover swards for the rest of the year.”

The long-term Moorepark clover trial has produced a phenomenal set of results in 2023, with the grass-clover cows yielding 40kg more milk solids per cow than their grass-only counterparts. The challenge will be to sustain this performance in 2024 after a challenging start this spring.

John Maher Grass10 programme leader added “Nitrogen application and slurry applications have been delayed everywhere. Some farmers have no land, or very little grazed, so we aim to discuss the options and solutions to some of the challenges on farms. Both Grass10 staff and local advisors will be available to give advice to farmers individually at the spring walks.”

The Spring walks take place from Wednesday 3rd April, starting at Teagasc Moorepark, and will end on 17th April on the farm of Robert Lyons, Nad, Co Cork. Teagasc encourages all farmers to attend.

View the full list of events here