Farm Ireland

Monday 23 July 2018

Aftergrass needs a sunny spell to thrive

Admiration: Farmers use their tractors to block the main Paris to Lyon road in France (AP)
Admiration: Farmers use their tractors to block the main Paris to Lyon road in France (AP)
John Joyce

John Joyce

The next job on the agenda is reseeding. I picked a field that has the oldest grass on the farm. Even though it is one of the nearest fields to the farmyard, we never got the chance to reseed it and there always seem to be stock in it.

Usually when we reseed a field we do a few jobs like fencing, drainage, maybe a new drinking trough, or just a general tidy up on the field. This time it will be a straight forward reseeding job as the field is fine otherwise. I have decided to direct drill.

I have my own machinery for conventional reseeding but this field is so level I would hate to rip it up. I have it grazed bare with the dry ewes and hope to spray it this week if we get a fine day.

The last time I tried the direct drill option I ran into two problems. One was dry weather after sowing the seeds; the other were the slugs, but this year I intend to spread plenty of slug pellets.

I will sow the grass at a bag and a quarter per acre as I think one bag is a bit light. The fertility is not bad so maybe two bags of 18-6-12 will do at sowing.

After this, most of the farm will have been reseeded and from now on I will just pick the worst producing field to reseed regardless of when it was sown.

The topper has just two more fields to tidy up and that will be it for the year.

I think it might be time to start building up some grass for the autumn. The after-grass was coming into the system nicely. But after a cold July grass is not growing like it should be for midsummer.

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But if we get a bit of heat after the recent rains it should make a big difference.

Two weeks ago we spread all the farmyard manure and cleaned out any of the remaining sheds after the calving and lambing.

The dung was spread on the two poorest low-lying fields we have. Again, they were grazed tight with the cows before spreading.

It started to disappear after the heavy rain last Wednesday and the grass has already emerged up through the dung. We could have left it until after the next round of grazing but these field can get wet and the dung seems to have done the world of good.

When spreading the last few loads we joked about how we were bringing the dung to the far end of the farm out of sight and smell.

Meanwhile, in France our farming colleagues were tipping trailer loads of manure in front of the doors of supermarkets in protest.

I admire the French farmers for the steps they take to protest over falling prices and express their opinion without fear or favouritism.

I often wonder if farmers in Ireland might be listened to a bit sooner if we took stronger steps to regain control over our industry.

On the sheep end of the farm it is a quiet time of the year. The ewes are all weaned and are on a restricted diet before being flushed on the aftergrass in a few weeks' time.

I also have to purchase some hogget ewes as replacements and two new stock rams for the new breeding season. The lambs are being sold on a weekly basis.

John Joyce farms at Carrigahorig, Nenagh, Co Tipperary


Indo Farming