Spreading heavy workload crucial in era of expansion
Published 14/06/2011 | 05:00
As we head for the longest day of the year, we are still eagerly awaiting the hot summer we were all told about. One wonders where we got the two scorching days at the start of June.
First-cut silage has been made. I mowed down on June 2 and picked up two days later. This was a little bit later than I had hoped but the weather determined that. Grass crops were heavy, with some material lying on the ground.
This seems to have been common enough this year. Sugar levels ranged from 3.5-4.5 over four samples. Nitrogen levels in mg/l measured 25, 50, 100, 250. The sample with 250 was from two paddocks I had taken out of the rotation. I was happy enough as they got a good wilt and they weren't too heavy. Twenty-four hours after mowing, the swath was turned over. Grass going into the pit was very dry. I expect it should come out in the high 20s DM.
Slurry went out on all silage ground at around 3500ga/ac. The rain came as well so it got washed in quickly. No fertiliser has been spread yet. It will probably get 65-70 units N. I usually wait until some grass appears as it is easier to see the tracks for sowing.
My own cows are milking steady at the moment. Yield is at 27.2l, 3.57pc fat and 3.31pc protein giving 1.9kg MS. Grazing is going well on a 21-day rotation. One paddock was taken out for silage. No topping has been done yet but I can see starting shortly. I use a disc mower for topping which cleans out the paddock well. A Holstein Friesian bull is with the cows now from June 1. Calves and maiden heifers were dosed with Albex and Levacide Diamond (left over from winter) on May 31. All cows will be scanned next week to check progress.
I had a farm visit from a group from the local convent secondary school two weeks ago. They were studying ag science. I was very impressed with their love and interest of farming. I was told that many schools are now offering ag science due to its demand by students. But one comment they made was that the syllabus was outdated and it had no mention of grass measuring and other such terms.
Last month in our discussion group we discussed labour on our farms. Thanks to our Teagasc facilitator Trevor Dunwoody, we completed some very worthwhile exercises. After dividing into two groups we were asked why were we discussing labour.