Increasing grassland productivity has never been more important. In order to maximise animal performance from pasture we must first ensure we are optimising the production of grass at farm level. The average level of grass produced nationally is 9.1 t DM/ha, with the top farms producing over 15 t DM/ha. There is huge scope to increase the total grass grown and hence increase grass in the diet, while reducing feed costs in livestock production systems.
Soil fertility is critical to maximising the performance and longevity of swards at farm level. With Teagasc recently highlighting that 90% of all soils are sub-optimal in terms of pH, phosphorus (P) or potassium (K). Without doubt, this is costing farms throughout the country significantly in terms of under-performing grass swards and the necessity to bring in more expensive supplements to overcome grass deficits in the system. Completing regular soil fertility tests on your farm (every 3 to 5 years) and using the results to develop a fertiliser program is critical to ensure you can get the most from your swards.