Henry Walsh: Nitrates review will pose big issues for thousands of dairy farmers
So far so good. As we begin the month of May conditions continue to be favourable for dairy farming. The cows are milking very well with the entire herd averaging 2.1kg/ms/day.
We are still reaping the benefits of last summer's drought and exceptionally dry mild winter. Grass quality and quantity are excellent and not a blade of grass is being wasted under foot. Our AFC currently stands at 721 kg/ha (195 cow) with growth of 70 comfortably exceeding our demand of 55.
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We are grazing covers up to 1400 which is ideal in that the cows fill themselves easily while quality and dry matter are perfect. This week we will take out a paddock for reseeding. We will spread the woodchip from the pad and sow the grass seed on top without any tilling. Because of all the cow dung in the woodchip we will not spread any P or K only Lime.
I will go with just two varieties this time Abergain which is number 1 on the PPI index and Astonenergy which is very palatable. This is a 100pc tetraploid mix.
So far this year we have spread all Urea as our nitrogen source and now we will switch to protected Urea.
This is one of the recommendations in the Teagasc Climate Action Roadmap report to help us improve our carbon footprint and reduce fertiliser costs as the protected urea is cheaper than CAN which means that not alone is it better for the environment but also for our pocket. A winning combination.
We started breeding on May 3. We are intending to breed dairy AI for only four weeks this year and any cow with an EBI of 100 or less will get a beef AI straw.
We probably did not set the figure high enough as it only took out 12pc of the herd. We will settle at that for now with the agreement to also look critically at each cow as we are breeding for feet and udder problems.