Liver fluke threat looms
Other key points
nTeagasc's animal health researcher, Riona Sayers, advised farmers that liver fluke continues to cause significant losses on dairy farms on both dry and wet soils. The restriction on fluke treatments since 2010 has resulted in products for treating dairy animals that are only active against mature liver fluke. For this reason, says Ms Sayers, a minimum of two doses is required and she cautioned against using unlicensed products in dairy herds.
nApplications for land improvement requiring approval of an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) during the first half of 2012 have been more than double the total for 2011, with 41 to date in 2012 compared to 20 for 2011. There has been one rejection in each year.
nThere were 39 applications under EIA made for approval for restructuring of land for the first half of 2012. The total for 2011 was 16. Fifteen application have been made for the use of uncultivated land for intensive agriculture in 2012. Two applications were received in 2011.
nResearch into the use of white clover in the pasture sward at Solohead has shown that the level of milk output from clover-based swards receiving 112kg/ha of nitrogen is 85-90pc of that from swards receiving 280kg/ha.
nAnalysis of the ratio between the cost of nitrogen fertiliser and milk price since 1990 shows that the cost of nitrogen fertiliser has increased at a much higher rate than the price of milk, at an average of 9pc/yr over the past decade.
It is recommended that alternative sources of nitrogen in grass-based systems should be explored.