Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

Silage behind in northern half

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Silage yields in the south of the country have rebounded in the past week, providing farmers with much-needed fodder in their yards.

With silage safe on many southern farms, the focus is now on repeating the exercise with the second crop.

However, farmers in the midlands, west and northeast are still waiting to tackle their first cut, with growth lagging behind by up to three weeks.

Whyte's contractors in Ballycotton, Co Cork, reported a 50pc improvement in silage yields, with crops harvested in the past week on a par with a normal year.

Brendan Casey of Whyte's said farmers were focused on producing 10-15pc more second cut this year and applying more fertiliser and slurry to produce it.

Fertiliser manufacturers and retailers confirmed that fertiliser sales were up 75-80pc week on week compared to June 2012.

Kanturk contractor Richie O'Connor said silage crops had bulked well. He added that bale yields ranged from five bales per acre in the lowest-yielding paddocks to 10-12/ac in the better crops.

In Limerick, Kilmallock-based contractor Maurice Sheehy said most farmers were planning to take a second cut of 25-75pc of their first cut area.

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In Newcastle West, Tim Shanahan said that yields in the past week had returned to normal for first cut.

Moving west, Ballinasloe contractor Gerard Bannerton said yields were back up to normal levels.

In Belmullet, Co Mayo, re-seeded ground yielded up to 12 bales/ac for Jackie Connor, with other crops yielding 10 bales/ac.

The contractor added that only a small portion of the first cut had been harvested so far but most farmers were hoping to get at least 25pc of their ground into a second cut later in the summer. Less than 10pc of the crop is cut in either north Meath or Roscommon.

Irish Independent