The first cut is the sweetest for Limerick farmer

Joe Boyce pictured cutting grass for the 100-cow herd
Joe Boyce pictured cutting grass for the 100-cow herd

Joe Boyce has been busy cutting grass for the 100-cow herd that he farms at Ballytigue, Bruree, Co Limerick, with his father Ted.

They zero-graze two fields that the cows are unable to walk to. The Boyces get up to nine cuts of grass from the Tyrella, Drumbo, Abergain and White Clover sward.

"Land is the new quota from 2015, so a zero-grazer gives us more options in terms of getting extra grass to cows," said Mr Boyce. Since purchasing the machine six years ago, the Boyces have seen other farmers in the area also adopt the new system.

"We were one of the first in the area to buy a machine, and we're trading up to a bigger Zero-grazer. There's no waste in the field and it allows us to easily get in with slurry after cutting. It also gives us increased flexibility during droughts when we tend to run out of grass on the milking platform," said Mr Boyce, who buffer feeds his cows with fresh grass from March until October. He also believes that the system is better than silage. "At the end of the day silage is never a substitute for fresh grass."

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