Using silage headlands to slow rotations
Published 07/06/2011 | 05:00
The countryside has swung into overdrive overnight with the annual race to get the silage done. Some people might consider this a nuisance, but the chorus of machinery from dawn to dusk is music to my ears and a welcome reminder of the enduring vibrancy of the land and its workers.
However, the weather has been quite harsh for the past few weeks and, consequently, the re-growth of fields that were grazed has been poor. And, in spite of the recent rainfall, the ground is extremely hard in this part of the country.
At the moment we are just about OK for grass. But one group of cows has no more than eight days' grazing in front of them unless growth picks up. However, we hope to stretch that out by another few days by using the headlands of the silage fields which we hope to cut this week. We have already made a few bales of silage, from paddocks that we were able to take out of the grazing rotation.
The cover on the silage fields looks to be OK. We always like to make our silage around 72DMD. I think that gives a good balance between quality and bulk. Our silage is cut by contractor but we will shake out the grass ourselves immediately behind the mower. The machine we use is a Claas Volto 770 and it can handle three 10-foot swarthes at a time so it will comfortably do over 10ac/hr at a ground speed of 7km/hour.
These past few weeks we have been repairing potholes on the farm roadways that we will be using to bring in the silage. They had become quite bad over the last few years.
This is a labour intensive and monotonous job, as it consists of shovelling what is known locally as "slig", a type of shale which breaks down well under the wheels of machinery, from the bucket of the loader into the holes, one by one. But I imagine the lads drawing in the silage will be delighted to find the potholes filled.
The spring barley has been sprayed for weeds in conditions that were less than ideal because it was quite windy. However, we had no choice but to spray as the weeds were starting to get quite strong after the recent rains.