Paddocks inaccessible as weather plays havoc
The unsettled weather conditions have challenged, and continue to challenge, many farmers over the last few months.
The Derrypatrick Herd have certainly not escaped these challenges. After the wettest June on record, we were hopeful that July would bring some manageable conditions in terms of our grazing capabilities. However weather conditions for the first two weeks of July have done little to ease our concerns.
Currently, water is lying on a number of paddocks, rendering them inaccessible for the short term. In addition, poor grass growth was recorded for this week (20kg DM/ha) which limits our grazing capabilities even further.
If these conditions continue, there is a possibility that cows and calves may have to be housed for a period of time, in order to replenish grass supplies and allow improvement of ground conditions.
Thankfully, the breeding season concluded on July 6, after 12 weeks. The housing of cows and calves during the breeding season this year would have been a very unwelcome development.
Increased rainfall has meant that we are not grazing as tightly in paddocks in order to prevent any damage to the sward. This, in turn, is affecting our capability to maintain quality pasture in front of stock.
The main limitations for this year have been heavy sporadic downpours that greatly affect ground conditions in a relatively short space of time.
The Grange soil type, comprising heavy clay throughout, renders it almost impossible to limit any pasture damage in these conditions. Weather conditions have also limited fertiliser application for the short term. Our ability to top paddocks is also quite limited.