'The grass is hopping after the sunshine' - 120 cow Cork dairy farmer on getting through the fodder crisis
DJ Keohane is touching wood and with a long-awaited pick up in grass growth is hopeful his two remaining weeks of fodder for his 120 Holstein-British Friesian herd will be sufficient to see them through.
"We've been lucky down here, we cut plenty of bales last year but this awful winter has to end sometime soon," he says, with the recent pick-up bringing a reprieve.
He says they began by letting them out for an hour or two in the mornings and they were happy to get out of the sheds. "But mainly they have been indoors," the 46-year-old explains.
He says the "bawling from the sheds" was a nightmare when they began bulling.
The change in the weather conditions last weekend allowed DJ to get his herd out on to grass during the days from Wednesday last and he is keeping his fingers crossed that the predicted "mixed weather" for this week will not mean a return to the sheds.
The welcome return of some sunshine late last week has quickly dried out the ground in Timoleague and has improved grass growth. "The grass is hopping after the sunshine last week and if this keeps up we will be alright," DJ says.
On the herd side he is getting on top of dosing and vaccinating the herd while on the farm he is quickly finishing applying fertiliser to the remaining fields and emptying the slurry pits.
"The last month has been very bad for farmers around here but the weather is certainly getting better now. If it disimproves over the next few weeks I don't know what we will do," says DJ.