Dairy: Three-day deluge was a shock to the system
Published 23/09/2015 | 02:30
A deluge of 111ml (almost seven inches) of rain fell on our farm the weekend before last. It was some shock to the system as the rainfall for the year until the end of August had been the lowest for four years.
The amount varied by parish and county, but I know that as the rain clouds headed east, many farmers in the west experienced similar downpours.
I'm sure this downpour was also a shock to the system for the cows, who often exhibit a dive in milk yield and become unsettled in these extreme conditions.
During the very wet years of 2009 and 2012, I found that offering or increasing the meal feeding by at least 1kg helped the cows, especially in prolonged rainy periods.
Back to this year, on the ground many ponds or wet areas remained several days later.
This meant farmers found themselves on a shorter than planned rotation as they had to return to drier paddocks while increasing the area on offer and foregoing residuals somewhat to minimise poaching risks.
Thankfully in most cases the ground has coped extremely well and has soaked the rains away, so normal grazing practices have resumed.
Experience has also shown me that, once rainfall breaches 100ml in a 30-day period on heavier soil types, ground conditions can become challenging with increased risks of poaching and sward damage.