Teagasc advise on-farm fodder assessment to prevent shortage
Farmers have been urged to reassess their on-farm fodder stocks this week and take action to prevent any possible shortage later in the spring.
Teagasc advisers have warned farmers who are moving through their silage pits quickly to set aside time to do a fodder budget and assess the amount of feed they have in reserve.
Nutritionist Dr Siobhan Kavanagh advised farmers to decide on a realistic length of time before turnout is possible and allow a buffer for a later than expected turnout date this spring.
If necessary, farmers should act now to stretch their silage stocks by restricting the amount of silage being fed and adding 1-3kg/hd of concentrate feed, depending on how much silage is left.
Feeding straw and buying in silage that is both good quality and value are other ways to stretch fodder stocks.
Teagasc adviser Hugh McEnaney, based in Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny, said farmers in his region were moving quickly through their silage pits but, given a normal spring, should have adequate stocks.
"Using rough figures to do a quick budget, farmers should calculate for 1.5t of silage per cow per month, 1-1.2t/hd for biggish cattle, 1t/hd for finishing cattle being fed meal and around 0.75t/d for weanlings," he explained.