May is July

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It hasn’t been very spring like in the last month despite the sunshine. The cool dry easterly wind has persisted for over a month bringing little rain and taking the moisture from the ground.

Grazing conditions have been superb for the cows and they have milked well so far. But grass growth has been slow, partly due to the cold evenings but the largest problem is the lack of rain.

This years April showers didn’t arrive to provide the warm damp conditions that make spring growth so virile. Instead the grass has grown steadily right through the season so far and been easy to manage.

In a normal spring I would be expecting to take fields from the rotation as growth speeds up and the cows are unable to eat the grass quickly enough. This year however the rotation has remained the same – until now that is.

But I’m not about to take ground out of the rotation, I’m about to add some in. In the first time in my living memory we are going into drought conditions in May. I  can recall plenty of dry springs but none quite like this one.

This is the rainfall from March 1st until May 9th.

After a couple of days rain early in this period there has been little since and that is after a dry Winter. The chart underneath the rain denotes the air pressure which has been high right through, going hand in hand with dry weather. When this will change is anyone’s guess.  but I’m playing safe and have added a silage field back into the rotation.

It’s too tall to graze properly but it should add another three or four days grazing and give the driest pastures more time to recover and grow. There is currently 7 days grass in front of the cows to graze but after that its looking a bit patchy. The last few days has altered things dramatically and the grazed pasture are not recovering like they should.

If you looked at the farm you’d probably think it all looks green and lush and think I’m panicking. Maybe I am but the reality is beneath the surface. I’ve dug the turf up in various place across the farm and the soil is very dry. The next forty days will provide the longest days of the year and most daylight hours. Without rain that will crucify the ground and kill grass growth.

The calendar says May but the ground is looking like July.

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