Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 26 April 2018

27,800 bales a day saved at Coolmore

Coolmore’s Hay-day: Farm contractors Thomas and John Cooney had seven balers operating in the one field at Knockelly Castle, Fethard, Co Tipperary last week as they worked through 900ac of hay for Coolmore Stud
Coolmore’s Hay-day: Farm contractors Thomas and John Cooney had seven balers operating in the one field at Knockelly Castle, Fethard, Co Tipperary last week as they worked through 900ac of hay for Coolmore Stud
Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

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.

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"We aim to achieve an end product with a DMD value in the mid seventies and an ME value of 11. Protein would be around 10pc-plus and dry matter in the high 80s," said farm manager Joe Holohan.

"Top quality hay is essential for bloodstock, especially racehorses because a poorer quality can cause respiratory problems. We're delighted with this year's crop with good quantities of top quality hay," remarked Mr Holohan.

"On Sunday alone we baled a record 27,850 bales and unloaded 22,000 bales in four different locations."

Earlier this year, Coolmore donated surplus hay and silage to farmers locally and in the west of Ireland stricken by the fodder crisis.

Indo Farming