Farm Ireland

Saturday 22 October 2016

The silage pit is starting to look smaller by the day

John Joyce

Published 06/04/2016 | 02:30

Zwarbles lambs playing on Suzanne Crampton's farm in Bennettsbridge Co Kilkenny. She will be one of the farms featured on RTE's Big Week on the Farm on Friday. Photo: Pat Moore.
Zwarbles lambs playing on Suzanne Crampton's farm in Bennettsbridge Co Kilkenny. She will be one of the farms featured on RTE's Big Week on the Farm on Friday. Photo: Pat Moore.

Calving is moving at a steady pace these days and we are now on the final stretch.

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With just eight left to calve, I've so far been very happy with the progress of the season. The only problems I encountered was two big calves coming backwards.

All the calves have been lively from birth, with only one calf needing to be suckled - and that was because he was born on a very cold morning and we just wanted to be on the safe side.

With the changeable weather we are having at the moment I have stepped up the herding and observation of the calves in case of scour or pneumonia. I have noticed two with a scour but I think it is only from the milk.

Sometimes when calving or lambing goes well, it is easy to take our eye off the ball near the end of the game. With my new internet connection this year I am having no trouble registering the calves online.

I find it a quick and easy way to register the calves with no mistakes. I usually enter them at night after work or maybe when I am waiting for a cow to calve.

With the poor growth and low grass cover we decided to spread another 50,000 gallons of slurry both on the silage and grazing ground.

We just had it spread before the rain last week and you can see the results already.

Next week I intend to blanket spread the farm with 40-50 units of Sulpha-CAN in the hope of getting the grass kick-started.

I had hoped to spread it last week, but with the heavy rain forecasted I postponed the job. With a lot of stock still inside the silage pile is starting to look smaller by the day. At the start of the winter it looked like there was enough for two winters but it always seems to disappear.

Another job I do at this time of the year is to pick the breeding heifers suitable for next year.

This year I did the usual visual check-list first then had a look at the breeding history of their mothers. After that I had a look at the star ratings of these heifers.

It turned out there was more four and five star heifers in the herd than will be needed for the coming breeding season. As all our excess heifers go for beefing, I think it would be a pity to fatten them for beef this year, especially when 4- and 5-star heifers are in demand for the BDGP scheme.

I think it would be a good idea if some of the marts had special breeding sales of heifers before the coming breeding seasons.

BDGP training courses

Talking of the Beef Data and the Genomics Programme I have registered my name for the compulsory training course next week. After the course I hope to have a better understanding of the scheme and how the Eurostar indexes work for the cows and bulls.

On the sheep side of the farm the last ewe lambed last Wednesday. All the creep feeders are out in the fields with the lambs being gradually introduced to it. One problem we are finding at the moment are ewes with strong lambs that are getting some form of mastitis that is proving hard enough to cure in the fields.

We have started to vaccinate the older lambs for the clostridial diseases now that they are six weeks old. I am using Heptavac-P Plus with a 2ml dose for each lamb.

This Friday evening I am involved in a event called Enterprise Town.

It is a business and community expo with a lot of agricultural businesses making up over 70 stands on display that night.

It is a great way to show-case local business to the public and for small scale rural businesses to network with each other. Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness will be the keynote speaker at the event and there is an agri panel discussion also.

The event will start at 5pm in the sports hall in Portumna Community School this Friday, April 8.

John Joyce farms at Carrigahorig, Nenagh, Co Tipperary

Indo Farming


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