I’m relieved to have the first cut silage under the cover. May was a difficult month for silage making as there were no long periods of sunshine.
All we got was bursts of two or three good days and then rain again. It was difficult to plan, both for the farmer and for the contractor.
My first cut silage was mowed on May 28th and picked up and ensiled the following day. A quick grass test was performed and showed no nitrogen and grass sugars at 3 and 5.
The grass was ted after mowing. This helped greatly to dry the grass, resulting in little or no silage leachate.
I assume that the silage quality will not be good this year as many white stalks were visible.
The volume was enormous as many harvests yielded at least 12 t/ac. One of my own fields that was overseeded last year yielded 17 bales/ac.
The reason I baled it was that I was concerned the pit would not comfortably hold all the silage.
Another indication of the high yields is the slow regrowth on silage fields. Many remain white two weeks after cutting.
In preparation for the second cut, slurry was applied at a rate of approximately 2,500 gallons/ac using LESS. I will fill this up with about 50 units of N over the next few days.
Last week I filled out a feed supply form to see what deficit/excess winter feed I have. Teagasc recommends making 70 pieces of silage by June. I made about 60 pieces. The deficit must be made up in the coming months.
I will try to make more bales soon as I am trying to avoid third cut silage this year as I am finding the quality difficult to match.
Labor shortages have hit farmers and contractors hard in the past month.
One job that needs some help is covering the pit. Because many silage pits were full – and sometimes overcrowded – it took more time and energy to cover them. I had to make a lot of calls to collect a few hands.
Granted, covering a silage pit on a Sunday evening isn’t appealing, but thanks to family members, both male and female, it was done.
Recently I heard a business owner ask on the radio where all the workers went.
Emigration has not increased, our population is growing, and yet there seems to be such a shortage of labor in so many sectors.
Perhaps the two years of Covid have changed people’s attitude towards helping each other. People have gotten used to living in isolation and it will take a while to get used to it again.
Here on the farm the cows continue to be bred. I’ve been in it for almost eight weeks. The 42-day submission rate is 94 percent.
The five cows not yet served have been scanned and are good. I will be applying CIDRs to them this week if no runs have occurred.
I have been using Belgian Blue AI on the cows since May 30th. At the end of last week I sent 32 milk samples for pregnancy testing.
A Hereford bull has been with the heifers since May 19th. These will be scanned next week and hopefully the bull can be switched to the cows.
A first lactation cow came in last week with severe diarrhea. The vet treated her with fluids and antibiotics and she has made a good recovery.
AFC is 720 and four paddocks have been baled as excess. Milk solids are 2.1 kg MS/cow.
All this year’s heifer calves went out to pasture on June 4th. Half the paddock had been shredded the previous week.
I also put a bale of straw in the field so they have a good choice of forage.
Unfortunately, TB has resurfaced on the farm, with a cow sent to the factory showing lesions.
The department vet went through her testing history since birth and she occasionally recorded 1mm lumps.
She could have had an underlying TB problem all along but never showed it. This is the complexity of this disease that we are trying to eradicate.
For me that means no animal movements and two clear tests in the next four months.
Gerard Sherlock farms in Tydavnet, County Monaghan
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/dairy/dairy-advice/gerard-sherlock-silage-yields-are-high-but-quality-is-low-41735908.html Gerard Sherlock: The silage yields are high, but the quality is low