Ground conditions under pressure as rainfall returns with a vengeance
Published 14/09/2016 | 02:30
After a wonderful summer of grass growth, which was above 65kg/dm/day since early May, the rain has returned with a vengeance on the west coast over the last week.
Ground conditions are under pressure with gaps and roadways getting messy. Meanwhile, some parts of the east are still experiencing a drought. Ireland is only a small country and yet the variation in rainfall is massive from east to west.
For many farmers near the west coast too much rainfall causes huge problems grazing.
We have now extended rotation length to 30 days and the cows are going into covers of around 2100kg/dm/ha.
Farm cover is now up to 906kg/dm/ha or 270 kg per cow so at our present stocking rate of 3.35 cows/ha it gives us a demand of 52kg/dm per hectare every day.
Growth is currently averaging 65kg/day but we are noticing a slowdown in growth due to the continuous rain and the forecast is for temperatures to be around 16 degrees for the next week.
We will stay building farm cover until we hit our target of 1100kg/dm/ha at the end of September. To help achieve this we will blanket spread the milking platform with 25 units of urea before the closing date of September 15th.
We will also consider feeding high quality bales towards the end of the month if growth drops below 60kg/dm/day. The cows are producing 18.5 litres @4.77 fat and 3.90 protein or 1.6kg milk solids daily. We are feeding 1.5kg of a 14pc ration and the time has come to take preventative action for grass tetany.