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Gerard Sherlock: ‘As I went for the cows water was flooding past me...very few drains can handle the force of such water’

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Gerard Sherlock pictured on his farm in Tydavnet, Monaghan. He says “the next eight weeks will determine the amount of grass and the quality of grass available at turnout in 2021.”

Gerard Sherlock pictured on his farm in Tydavnet, Monaghan. He says “the next eight weeks will determine the amount of grass and the quality of grass available at turnout in 2021.”

Gerard Sherlock pictured on his farm in Tydavnet, Monaghan. He says “the next eight weeks will determine the amount of grass and the quality of grass available at turnout in 2021.”

The freakish weather of recent years can show up the ‘wet’ spots on our farms very quickly. As I went for the cows last Tuesday morning, water was flooding past me everywhere – down along roadways, and coming out of fields onto roadways. Very few drains could handle the force of this water.

And we in the northern half of the country didn’t get the worst of Storms Ellen and Francis. I heard a weather forecaster say that to get one storm this time of year is unusual but to get two within two weeks is worrying.

After milking I noted where the flooding points were so that they could be rectified on a drier day. Because when the water can’t get into a drain it heads straight for that paddock of lovely grass.

Incidentally the first thing I checked last Tuesday morning was my rainwater tank, which I presumed would be overflowing. It wasn’t. The pipe from the spouting was blocked with a heap of moss which I have been threatening to clean off my roofs for some time now. A priority job for this month!

The good weather of mid-August was very welcome. Not only did we get away on a short staycation to Mayo and Sligo, I also got the last bit of reseeding done for the year. It was a three-acre paddock on the rented outfarm. I used the same grass-seed mix again of Aberchoice and Abermagic.

The warm humid weather ensured the new grass plants were appearing within a week. Fingers crossed the heavy rains won’t do too much damage to it. That humidity meant that even though it was raining, cows remained content, with above-average grass growths recorded. Last week’s growth was 75 with a grass demand of 48. This surplus grass goes now to building grass covers for the autumn.

AFC last week was 856 and the cover/LU was 283. I have to be careful that I don’t build too much too quick as too heavy grass covers are difficult to clean out. My target AFC by mid-September is 1200. The feed budget is what I have to watch now rather than the grass wedge. I began my feed budget on August 1 and it runs to April next year.

The next eight weeks ultimately determine the amount of grass and the quality of grass available at turnout in 2021. There is one blanket spreading of protected urea on the farm left to be done. I will spread 25 units/acre. I have 20 acres of third cut to do. It is ready to be cut as soon as the weather allows.

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