Gearoid’s Farming Week: Silage Season and Green Cert progress

Patrick Bolger

| Cattle & Dairy | Grass & Crops

| Jul 31, 2017

Gearoid farmer cattle

Since my last blog, the normal farm jobs for the summer were carried out, with silage season in full swing we got our first lot of bales made on the 17th of June. The perfect weather conditions allowed a good wilt, which is very important for making good silage.

As the silage fields are a few miles away from the shed all bales were drawn from the field to the shed before being wrapped. A decision was made to give the go-ahead to the local contractor to cut the second lot of silage on the 4th of July. We would usually aim to do the majority of the silage in early June,

We would usually aim to do the majority of the silage in early June, however these fields were sprayed with MCPA on the 12th of May to control the rushes that were starting to take over.


Silage Season in West Clare

 As a result, the grass growth was stunted so we spread an additional bag of 18-6-12 to the acre (on top of the 2.5 bags/Acre it would have received prior to spraying) to boost grass growth and increase the quantity of bales. The weather forecast at the time was giving a good chance that the SW would remain dry,

The weather forecast at the time was giving a good chance that the SW would remain dry, however Wednesday night a band of rain moved in a cross the west. Thursday was a warm and windy day and we decided to bale because further bands of rain were promised on Thursday night. While the quantity of bales were good at 10 bales to the acre, the silage was that bit heavier due to the rain. Once silage was completed a local contractor also spread our slurry

Update on the herd

Grazing conditions on the farm have been excellent until last Thursday and Friday the 20th- 21st of July where we experienced close to 24 hours of rain. With this amount of water it did soften the ground with poaching visible around water troughs and in wetter patches of fields.

All but one of the cows are gone back in calf, with one of the last calving springers still to show any signs of heat. This springer got 60mls of Growvite minerals to her a boost. The bucket feed calves were dosed with 25ml of tramazole 10% oral drench for fluke and worms and are thriving well. They are still receiving around 1.5kg of calf crunch while also been kept on top quality grass. The calves will be weaned off the crunch once they go to aftergrass.


Great grass growth

 Progress on the Green Cert

I have also completed 5 of my 28 days below in Pallaskenry Agriculture College as part of the Green Cert. One of the first areas we covered was grass/crop production. A major emphasis was put on the importance of carrying out soil samples on your farm.

With many farmers not doing soil samples of their land they are effectively pouring money down the drain by applying wrong fertilizers to fields. They highlighted the old mantra (if in doubt 18-6-12 will do) and that has to change. They also mentioned one of the first things to do with your land before fertilizer application is to check the PH level of the land and apply lime if needed, the majority of land in Ireland is deficient in lime.

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