This week’s GrassCheck bulletin is the final one for 2021. Recent years have seen grass growth deviating considerably from the season average and 2021 was certainly no exception. At the start of the season grass growth was very slow due to the cold and dry spring conditions. This was followed by a very high spike in growth in early June, which was then replaced by a sharp and sustained drop in growth due to the very dry weather and record breaking temperatures. It was the middle of August before growth fully recovered, however the very mild autumn has seen growth rates over double the seasonal average.
Growth on the GrassCheck plots at Hillsborough and Greenmount during 2021 totalled 10.7 t DM/h which is around 1.9 t DM/ha below the 10 year average of 12.6 t DM/ha. This represents a 16% drop in dry matter yields. On-farm, the data shows that County Down has had the lowest yields in 2021 with an average of 10.4 t DM/ha being grown on GrassCheck farms in this county. In contrast, GrassCheck farms in County Fermanagh grew the most grass in 2021 with an average yield of 12.4 t DM/ha.
A GrassCheck podcast has been produced to review the 2021 grazing season and discuss how farmers can prepare their grazing platform for spring turnout. Jason Rankin from AgriSearch was joined by Dr Kat Huson (AFBI), Noel Lavery and Robert Patterson (CAFRE), GrassCheck beef farmer Martin Craig, who farms near Crumlin and GrassCheck dairy farmer Hugh Harbison, who farms near Aghadowey.
The GrassCheck podcast can be accessed via the AgriSearch website HERE or podcast directories such as Apple, Google, Spotify and Amazon Music.