Can understocked farms provide a fodder solution?
Our best laid plans have gone awry twice so far this year.
Our best laid plans have gone awry twice so far this year.
What a wonderful spell of weather. Glorious sunshine and high temperatures meant water for the cows and cooling for the milk were the priorities. Farming is so enjoyable when the...
What a welcome boost it is to get some pleasant weather which allows the cows eat their fill of nutritious grass and lie on dry ground while enjoying some occasional sunshine. This is the first time...
How quickly the pendulum has swung on milk price. This time last year we were seeing consistent increases and the hope was to repair the current accounts damaged by the low milk prices in...
Not for the first time the worst of the winter weather has arrived during the spring. Storm Emma teamed up with 'The Beast from the East' to give us all a flavour of Siberian conditions.
The wonderful grass growth enjoyed during 2017 is slowly but surely losing its gloss on many farms across the western and northern half of the country.
What a difference a few weeks can make as the rain continued to fall here since the Galway Races.
Has this been the best farming summer ever? To me it seems like I needed the cap and the sun lotion more than I can ever recall.
To date the year 2017 just keeps on giving. After an exceptionally dry, mild winter we had a very reasonable spring. April really continued the trend with only a tiny proportion of normal rainfall - a local weather station recorded just 8mm for the entire month.
IT'S 37 years since Johnny Logan won the Eurovision, singing 'What's Another Year?'. For dairy farmers 'another year' seems to mean more expansion. There is a continuous year-on-year increase in scale occurring on most dairy farms.
I have just returned from a short unplanned trip to California due to a family bereavement. We were 200km east of Las Angeles and the locals told me it almost never rains there, just like the song says.
The long awaited dry spell has finally arrived. Ground conditions have been very difficult with herds housed by night on many farms recently in an effort to protect the land and mind the cows.
After a wonderful summer of grass growth, which was above 65kg/dm/day since early May, the rain has returned with a vengeance on the west coast over the last week.
Finally some light has appeared in relation to milk price. There is now real hope that global dairy prices will continue to rise. The change has come quickly, albeit at a very late stage, with a...
Thirty degrees Celsius with a light south easterly breeze, sun hats, sun lotion and 99s in Oranmore on July 19 - it was a new experience, a one day heatwave. There is no doubt when the sun...
We all believed dry weather would come sometime and now that it finally has it sure is welcome although the plummeting temperatures are somewhat of a sting in the tail.
Most dairy farmers on the western seaboard will look back at 2017 as a good year that finished with a serious sting in its tail.
As the farming year rolls to its annual conclusion I find myself looking back and also looking ahead to shape our plan for 2018 and future years.
The grazing season is drawing to a close for us on the milking platform.
Ophelia has left a trail of destruction in her wake we never want to see again.
Recent wins for the Galway hurlers and footballers have set my week off to a good start and we have maintained the positive momentum since.
Last month, I remarked on how good the winter had been, but of course I should have known better and in classic Irish weather fashion the winter only began in mid-February.
It's been the best winter ever weather-wise for us here in the west. So good, I almost want it to continue.
One of the advantages to spring calving is that the month of January is a relatively quiet month.
On a separate note, as a Kerry milk supplier I was one of the recipients of the now infamous tax demand from Revenue based on so called patronage shares received from Kerry in three named years 2011-2-13.
This time last year we were busily preparing to co-host the Irish Grassland Association summer dairy tour. The focus was across a number of areas including low cost expansion, cow type and growing the maximum tonnes of grass per hectare every year.
Normal temperatures combined with adequate soil moisture are giving us wonderful weather to be farming.
Grass growth continues well below normal for this time of year on most farms away from the south of the country. The weather remains extremely cold by day and night with the average temperature recorded here beside us in Athenry for April reading just 7.4C, a massive 1.3 degrees below normal.
The spring of 2016 continues to be a major challenge. The rain continues to fall relentlessly and now at the start of April there have only been 10 dry days so far this year to balance the 80 wet ones we have endured.
Rain continues to be the common denominator this spring. Here in the west the weather continues to affect our daily farming decisions.
We are now entering the busiest time of the year for a dairy farmer with a spring calving herd.
We are on target to finish grazing the milking platform with the cows on December 4. Farm cover will be nearer to 600kg/dm/ha than our target of 550 due to very good growth in particular during October.
The month of October was excellent for dairy farming here in Oranmore. There was good growth and the drier than normal weather gave us super grazing conditions.
We enjoyed the break from the rain here in the west over the last week. The previous wet spell had a major impact on ground conditions with gaps and roadways coming under pressure. I felt cow intakes were reduced due to the low drymatter of the grass, which resulted in a decline in milk production. We increased the 14pc protein meal to 1.8kg per cow daily, and this along with the spell has stabilised the situation.
We are currently milking 240 cross-bred cows on a free draining 80ha milking platform which consists of both owned and leased land. Our target is to milk 280 cows in 2016 giving a stocking rate of 3.5 cows/ha. The herd is yielding 18 litres at 4.7pc fat and 3.95pc protein - 1.6kg of milk solids on 0.8kg of a 14pc nut.