Sunday 25 September 2016

The silage is baled - now for the hay

Published 17/06/2015 | 02:30

The good weather has allowed for some excellent second cuts and haymaking.
The good weather has allowed for some excellent second cuts and haymaking.

AT THIS stage we've two lots of silage baled, with one field cut on May 26 and the others on June 3.

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They've delivered nearly 200 bales, with the heaviest yielding 10 bales per acre and one light field at four bales per acre.

This field was gone too strong for grazing so it was cut while the grass was still very green and leafy.

These bales will be used for feeding to autumn-born calves during next winter.

The other advantage of cutting a light cover of grass is how quickly the regrowth starts and the field is back into your grazing rotation for the next round.

We have 20 more acres to cut and we are hoping to make most of it into hay.

We finally got our grass seed sown on May 23, delayed by wet weather and machinery problems. The date may seem late, I have seen grass seeds that were sown three weeks earlier with most of the field still not green.

So hopefully with a bit more heat and less cold nights my grass seeds will catch up with the ones that were sown earlier.

Some of the Typhon plants are over-ground but showing no real advance in growth over the last few days.

We have plenty of grass for ewes/lambs with most paddocks divided into blocks that are grazed out well in four days.

We then top off any grass that is left down to 4cm. This way we should have good leafy grass for the next round of grazing and especially for the lambs after weaning. We will use the ewes in best condition after weaning to clean off the paddocks after the lambs have eaten the best of the grass.

We try to creep-graze the lambs in front of the ewes and when you come to the month of June a lot of the lambs are happy to stay out in the next paddock, which tells us that milk is becoming a less important element of their diet. The next job will be to wean them off their mothers by the end of this month.

All lambs have received their second dose for worms, we used Noromectin, which is an ivermectin type oral drench. This should cover them for the next month at least.

They also received a dose of Cobalt B12 and they will get this again before weaning.

Feet are not really a problem except for one lot of late lambs who seem to have got scald for the second time and will have to be put through the foot bath again.

Dagged

The ewes have all be dagged but no pour on has been used yet to prevent fly strike. These ewes will not be shorn until late August, so if we get away without applying any Clik for another week or two we will only use it at half rate which should get us through to shearing.

With good prices still available for culled ewes we will pick off any that were marked at lambing and if fit enough sell them before weaning.

We had a sheep inspection last week. All went well with the Agricultural Department men who were very friendly and helpful. On the day all sheep were penned, put through the race to check they were tagged and counted. Some of the ewes' tag numbers were recorded as they passed through the race using an electronic reader which was able to pick up the ewe's number from her tag.

Then I gave them my flock register and movement docket books where they matched their record numbers with my records in the register.

They also checked that movement dockets for sales, purchases and deaths were properly recorded in the register. What was required from me was:

* That all adult sheep were tagged

* That all adult sheep were recorded in the register

* The sheep census must correlate to the number of sheep on the farm plus sheep sold, purchased and dead since the census was taken in December 2014.

There was no problem on the day.

The only thing I would change is if you only had to pen some of the sheep and the remainder could be counted as they are moved from one paddock to the next.

This would remove a lot of the work and come up with the same answer.

So really there should be no fear of an inspection from farmer if we are properly educated on what is required on the day.

John Large is a sheep farmer based in Co Tipperary

Indo Farming

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