Dairy: The west's awake as discussion group raises bar on dairy expertise
Thirty degrees Celsius with a light south easterly breeze, sun hats, sun lotion and 99s in Oranmore on July 19 - it was a new experience, a one day heatwave. There is no doubt when the sun shines Ireland is the place to be.
Water was the top priority on the farm and thankfully the well delivered.
The cows got access to a second paddock offering them two more water tanks - four by 2,000 litres altogether. It spread the herd out a bit, allowed more to drink at the same time and relaxed them.
Current production per cow is 20.9 litres at 4.40pc fat and 3.73pc protein giving 1.75kg/MS/day feeding 1.5kg ration. We cut surplus bales this week and they are probably the last we will cut on the milking platform this year.
The focus now turns to building grass cover as it will not go to seed from now on. Our target is to have 1,250kg/DM/ha - the highest average farm cover (AFC) of the year built up by October 1.
Current demand is 53kg/ha/day with an AFC of 600. To date this year we have spread 186 units of nitrogen per acre.
This is a bit low by average standards for our stocking rate but I prefer to reduce N usage mid summer and then increase again between now and September 14. We will spread 30 units/acre on July 25 and August 15 and 25 units/ac around September 10 to drive a late burst of growth as we are certain to graze it on this dry farm.
We will work towards the well proven Moorepark targets of 200kg/DM/ha on August 1, rising to 400 per cow at the end of September.