Grass growth rates make a comeback

Thursday, 24 June 2021

GB average daily grass growth rates appeared to make a comeback through May and into June, according to data from AHDB’s Forage for Knowledge programme.

Growth rates fell back briefly in mid-April, following frequent frosts and dry conditions. Rates continued to follow the seasonal upward trend but remained notably below the long-term average into May.

Growth rose above the long-term average by the end of the month, likely boosted by increased rainfall. The highest GB daily average growth rate so far this year was recorded in the week ending 9 June, at 89.4kg DM/ha.

Rates then eased to 77kg DM/ha in the week ending 17 June, but remained 17% above the long-term average. The highest regional average daily growth rate was seen in the North West, at 113kg DM/ha.

Although growth rates have recovered since the end of May, there remains concern over grass and silage quality. Crude protein levels recorded through the programme have been running below the five-year average throughout the spring and summer. Month-to-date figures for June are put at just 18.7%, compared with the five-year average June level of 21.5%.

While silage clamps may be filling up, the risk of poorer quality silage could amplify the impact of rising feed costs later in the year.

For the latest research and advice on grass, forage and soil management, head to our Grass & Forage Management webpages.

You can also sign up here to receive weekly Forage for Knowledge updates straight to your inbox.

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Hannah Clarke

Senior Analyst (Red Meat)

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