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Tuesday 17 July 2018

Reseeding is next on the agenda for this beef farmer after near stress-free summer

Philip Whitford, Ballyellen reseedeing 12ac with Master Crop Extended for Philip Donoghue, Goresbridge
Philip Whitford, Ballyellen reseedeing 12ac with Master Crop Extended for Philip Donoghue, Goresbridge
John Joyce

John Joyce

The stock have been very contented wherever they have been placed this summer thanks to the good weather and excellent ground and grazing conditions.

That said, I have noticed in the last week that grass is starting to become a little tighter. Calves and yearling stock are getting bigger and starting to eat more.

As the farm is heavily stocked with no beef cattle going to be sold anytime soon, I think it is best to go with another round of fertiliser on the grazing ground, especially where the cows are due to be grazing in the next few months.

The aftergrass has been growing very well after it got a good covering of slurry when the silage had been cut.

I will stick with the Sulphur Can as it seems to have worked well earlier in the year. I spread it at about three quarters of a bag per acre.

Maybe I should go a bit heavier as it will be soon time to start building grass for the autumn. Also, I often find the suckler cows can get very hungry from early September on.

I have earmarked a seven-acre field for reseeding. This ground is part of newly acquired land.

The field itself has great soil, but the grass is about 40 years old and has very little response to fertiliser.

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It was cut for silage earlier in the year, and then the aftergrass was grazed and it has now a lovely green covering of both grass and weeds so it is perfect for spraying in the next week.

I will spray it with two litres of Roundup per acre and it should be ready for ploughing later in the month.

I am a big fan of direct drilling or discing for the reseeding job, but this field needs to be ploughed and levelled.

It is a straightforward reseed job and doesn't need drainage or digger work.

Reseeding is a costly job but always pays dividends over the years. I always have great intentions to reseed more ground but sometimes it doesn't work out for different reasons.

These vary from a shortage of grass to too much other work, and sometimes, financial considerations. But one thing is for sure, if you go out with the sprayer and Roundup there is no turning back.

We have our own way of working so this will cut down a little on cost and maybe it can be timed to coincide with ideal weather conditions.

We will run the leveller on it a number of times before a run of the power harrow and then sow in one pass.

I will use a mixture called Top 5 Extend for both grazing and silage cutting

Another job I am looking forward to in September is scanning the replacement heifers.

These are 18 mainly four and five-star heifers that were bred from our own herd. It is a higher number than usual, but with old cows that need replacing in the next few years it is no harm to have a few extra in-calf.

A big effort was put into these heifers as they were AI-served. The Dovea Limousin bull EBY was used on them.

He is an easy calving bull that is widely used on heifers.

I used him last year and was very happy with the results. EBY has high star ratings for both replacement and terminal. It took a bit of time to AI them, including both watching them and bringing them in.

But a strong bull calf and a pinch of meal worked wonders. There is good breeding in these heifers and crossed with a good AI bull they should breed excellent stock.

John Joyce farms at Carrigahorig, Nenagh, Co Tipperary


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