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Coping With The Spring Drought

7 June 2017

Many parts of the country have had an extremely dry spring.  Some of the consequences of this are –

  • Reduced grass growth and potentially smaller acres of grass conserved with lower yields.
  • Poor and uneven establishment of spring sown crops. An immediate reaction to this is the increased price for malting barley in expectation of a shortage of malting quality from this year’s harvest.

At present the outlook for livestock producers is –

  • Poorer grazing performance for growing stock with fewer finishing off grass and lighter animals at the start of next winter.
  • Breeding stock in poorer condition next autumn, particularly if it is a wet autumn as predicted.
  • Tight winter forage supplies (although hopefully of good quality) with concentrates/cereals more expensive?

As always planning early can help minimise these problems eg –

  • Result in poor feed value and in addition could make harvest difficult if wet conditions do continue and as long range forescasts predict.
  • Where cereal fields are cleared quickly, consider planting a catch crop for grazing later in the winter.
  • Consider selling more stock store in the autumn.

Basil Lowman,


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