Farm Ireland

Saturday 18 November 2017

Summer has given lifeline for farmers

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Any lingering fears that the poor silage yields from this year's first cuts might come back to haunt farmers next spring have certainly been laid to rest over the past few weeks.

Exceptional grass growth has put the vast majority of holdings into a grass surplus scenario and this windfall has helped to more than make up for the poor returns from silage ground during May and June.

Heading east from Clare during the week, it was difficult to travel more than a few miles of the road without meeting a mower, harvester, round baler or wrapper.

Farmers report that second-cut crops have been extremely strong in general, with returns outstripping those from first cuts in some instances.

With yields averaging between eight and 10t/ac, the possibility of higher feed costs this winter have now abated.

The word from contractors is that some farmers who had atrocious first cuts intend to make the most of the ongoing growth surge and plan to close paddocks for a third cut.

This is hardly surprising since the recent rain has driven grass over the walls, with growth rates of between 60 and 80kgDM recorded.

With grain prices on the up again, silage in the pit now equates to money in the pocket for livestock farmers.

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Meanwhile, grain prices have strengthened again on the back of poorer harvest forecasts across Europe.

French milling wheat futures prices jumped €4.75/t yesterday morning -- and this on the back of a €10.75/t surge for MATIF French milling wheat last week.

The one downside from a farmer point of view is that CAN has increased by €30/t over the past month and supplies of some compounds are reported to tightened considerably.

Even so, after three years on the trot in which farmers have been hammered by the weather, it is a relief to finally get a summer which lives up to traditional expectations.

Irish Independent