We won't be repeating last year's barley mistake
Published 29/03/2011 | 05:00
Whatever about the gloomy economic environment, it is good to see the return of some sunny weather. A bit of heat on the back is a welcome boost for man and beast.
It's been great, too, to get back checking and counting stock in the field rather than feeding and bedding them in the yard. While the covers of grass on the farm are slightly less than one would expect for this time of year, due largely to the continued night frosts, the dry underfoot conditions mean that utilisation is excellent.
There was quite a bit of frost-burnt grass around the farm which has now been grazed off. Nobody knows what the grazing season holds in store but it's really important to clean off this grass and open up the pasture, to set it up to produce quality pasture for the year ahead.
At this point most of the cattle are out. This gives us a chance to get our spring barley sowed. The new cycle is starting again, producing feed for next winter.
But we won't be repeating the mistake we made last year. In previous years barley had been making around €90 a tonne off the combine and, since all our tillage work is done by contract, it seemed more cost-effective at the time to buy it rather than grow our own. And we all know what happened since. Despite the prices predicted for this autumn, we won't be increasing our overall tillage area because all the barley is for our own use.
We have ploughed a field of lea this year. It's old pasture and we will put spring barley in it. We have quite a bit of new grass coming into the grazing system this year but I hope to push on and reseed some more fields later on in the summer.
All the calves targeted for export got a bolus at turn-out. This bolus contains selenium, iodine, cobalt and copper.