Cows are out full-time thanks to favourable grazing conditions
The start-stop spring of the past month certainly didn't make it easy for grazing cows but in the past week there has been a complete turnaround. Cows have been out fulltime since March 26 as a consequence of very favourable grazing conditions.
Thankfully there wasn't the same volume of rainfall in Monaghan last week compared to the rest of Ireland. For me, this is the earliest cows have been out fulltime that I can remember.
The silage ground was sown last week. At our last discussion group meeting we discussed soil fertility and sowing for better quality silage. We must base the fertiliser we use on accurate and up to date soil sampling results.
This year I continued to spread cut sward on all silage fields at the rate of three bags per acre or 72 units. This is plus the slurry it received earlier in February of 20 units per acre.
From previous discussions we had on this topic we reckoned we were sowing too much nitrogen and leaving a lot of it still in the grass at the end of May. The cut sward I spread had 3pc sulphur in it which research says can improve the protein in the grass. This is important for intakes.
We discussed again the benefits of producing high DMD silage. This can only be achieved by cutting earlier. One major benefit is the financial saving/gain. We calculated that around €7,000 could be saved in concentrate feed for a 90-cow herd by moving from a 69DMD silage to a 75DMD silage. This is a huge saving which I must aim to achieve.
Grazing paddocks were also sown last week. The last remaining unsown cow paddocks got 55 units/acre of pasture sward. The other cow paddocks got a top up to bring them up to the target of 70 units/acre by April 1. Young stock fields got around 35 units/acre.
Close to 80pc of the cows have calved at this stage. Milking cows are presently producing 25.6litres @ 4.18pc BF, 3.28pc PR giving 1.96kg MS/cow/day, TBC 5000, SCC 69, Therm. 100, Lactose 4.83pc.