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Substantial increase in grass growth on Teagasc/Glanbia monitor farms over the last three years

Grass growth has increased by 2.5tons /ha on average over the last three years on the 11 Teagasc/Glanbia monitor farms.

Overall stocking rate also increased also going from 2.1lu/ha to 3.01lu/ha. The milking platform stocking rate has increased from 2.1 lu/ha to 3.01lu/ha. In 2014, on average the 11 monitor farmers were milking 100 cows each and now they are milking 161 cows on average.

Meal usage per cow has remained fairly static over the three years, increasing from 710kg per cow to 750 kg/cow.

All 11 farms were soil sampled in 2015 and the results are below.

Soil analysis data 2015(% in each category)
    Lime PhosphorousPotassium
  <5.55.5-6.3>6.312341234
Peter MongeyMeath20800433027040201030
Shane O LoughlinKildare05955455452055250
Martin DavinLaois0227814112946187642
Darren HealyWicklow3475026501770194140
Pat DillonKilkenny30205003222462144350
Paddy O GormanTipperary244036203020301530505
Donal O ReillyCork2075550203000503020
Conor BeassangWaterford1080101535351510404010
Brendan PhelanKilkenny2060200104545556030
Jamie KealyCarlow03070201056525153525
Michael DoranWexford156520152050150103070
Average 1347402027262914333321

Soil analysis summary

  • 60% were low in lime
  • 47% were low in K
  • 47% were low in P

A soil fertility plan was created and implemented on all farms. The farms have been retested this winter and all the soils tests will be back shortly. From the results that that have come back already there is a massive improvement, especially in Ph.

Silage fields have been slower to rise even after a high level of slurry and 0/7/30 but this is expected following two to three cuts of silage.

On average 40% of the land was reseeded over the last three years.

Grassland management has also improved over the period. On average the farms were walked 35 times per year and measurements recorded. Decision making after the grass walks improved as the farmers became more confident with the figures. During periods of high growth the farms were walked twice per week.

Teagasc GII Monitor Farm Grass Growth 2015 v 2016v 2017(Kg Dm/Ha)
FarmerTotal 2015Total 2016Total 2017
Donal O' Reilly Cork13.613.815.0
Paddy O' Gorman Tipperary13.213.514.6
Conor Beausang Waterford13.513.514.5
Brendan Phelan Kilkenny/Waterford14.213.215.0
Pat Dillon Kilkenny13.013.016.3
Michael Doran Wexford15.017.018.3
Eamonn/Darren Healy Wicklow12.812.816.0
Jamie Kealy Carlow13.213.616.0
Martin Davin Laois13.015.116.6
Shane O'Loughlin Kildare13.014.215.7
Peter Mongey Meath13.516.117.5
Average13.514.216.0

First Published 19 January 2018

Tagged with: Dairy

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