27,800 bales a day saved at Coolmore
Bloodstock superpower Coolmore Stud set another record last week, increasing its hay yield by 24pc from 125 bales/ac to 155 bales/ac.
Jennifer O'Sullivan's photograph shows the scale of the Coolmore operation at Knockelly Castle, Fethard, Co Tipperary.
Farm manager Joe Holohan and contractors Thomas and John Cooney masterminded the harvest, cutting 900ac of meadow.
The hay produced for 2,500 broodmares is predominantly rye grasses and Timothy, a sweet and palatable crop that horses love.
The stud has hay production down to a fine art, with regular reseeding to improve the grasses in a sward. One cut of hay is taken and the land grazed with cattle and sheep to clean off paddocks for the winter.
Soil and herbage analysis are done on a regular basis. Seventy units of nitrogen are spread in late spring and the aim is to cut early in June when the crop heads out. If the hay is not going to be top quality, it goes for silage for wintering cattle.
Last week's mammoth operation saw 140,000 bales of hay baled at 65pc dry matter by seven balers operating simultaneously.
The army of workers included 50 Coolmore staff and 100 local people sourced by the Farm Relief Service. The bales were immediately moved into a barn and conditioned by blowing cold air through with fans. According to Coolmore, leaving bales in the sun for too long would result in a drop in the nutrient value.