Farmers urged to stick with first cut silage targets
FARMERS have been urged to stick with target dates for first cut silage and to close as much ground as is feasible over the coming weeks.
Delaying the closing of ground for first cut silage "was not the answer" and "would be counter-productive", Joe Patton of Teagasc maintained.
He said farmers should aim for first and second cuts of silage, despite the current weather-related difficulties, rather than trying for one big cut in late June or early July.
While the Teagasc specialist accepted that closing grazing ground will be challenging on many holdings that are short of grass, he said failing to meet target dates for first cut silage will result in more serious problems later in the year.
Mr Patton said pushing the first cut back by a week or 10 days would be understandable, but he claimed that delaying by any more will "contribute to more problems than it will solve".
The general picture on grass growth has improved considerably over the last fortnight. Growth rates have hit 55kg/ha/day on ground where fertiliser has been spread.
However, farms that have not spread sufficient fertiliser are struggling with growth rates of between 25kg/ha/day and 35kg/ha/day, depending on soil type.
Mr Patton said grass growth in excess of 50kg/ha/day offers an opportunity for farmers to close silage ground, but holdings with growth rates at half this level will struggle, he admitted.