Dairy: Maximising grazed grass will be the priority this spring
With global milk prices falling again in recent months and with few farmers having received their milk cheques for January supply, we are still not really any the wiser to the price for spring milk, except to say it isn't improving.
If you have created a financial budget for the year, the milk price was probably estimated on your best guess, and should be reviewed mid-season.
The main focus for 2016 should be on reducing the costs you can control while maintaining or increasing productivity. This means that maximising grazed grass is an absolute priority.
The weather is presently having a big impact on many farms and at this stage each farm has to work with their own set of conditions. As flagged by John Donworth in last week's edition, on-off grazing should be put to good use.
Unfortunately this option is dependent on your soil type and where you are farming. If your cows are still housed it's important to constantly assess your position by walking the odd sound paddock.
If mud squelches around your foot to leave a clearly defined welly boot print, the saturation level means you have to wait. If not, it's time to chance grazing!
Here in Kerry, grazing 30pc in February is now becoming unachievable as cows have been housed for the majority of the month.
Patience is an absolute virtue. Longer days, drying winds and sunny spells are needed. At some point things will improve on the wetter farms and grazing will commence.