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“It will take a lot to produce quality silage this year, but it will be money well spent.”

So far 30 cows have been calved and I have only had one loss so far – a calf born three weeks premature, unable to suckle and subsequently dying.

The weather is everything. Cows that have calved are let out immediately and kept here at the Heimathof. They are offered hay, magnesium buckets against tetany and are very sedentary.

The lambing period last month was extremely labor intensive and stressful. We had three storms a month and the ewes and lambs had to stay indoors for over five days which caused some problems.

With the good weather lately the sheepfolds are empty and the ewes and lambs are now in a group at the Kilcash outdoor farm.

There is a high demand for grass on the farm and due to the wet weather of February and early March and a busy lambing season I have not applied fertilizer. As a result, the existing covers are somewhat withdrawn.

Fields grazed bare by sheep have manure and manure and are beginning to turn green. On March 23, the remaining fields received 22 units of bag nitrogen per acre.

Growing grass is a priority, and even fields with medium to heavy coverage have the 22 units/acre.

I was tempted to skip these given the high fertilizer prices, but after consulting my adviser I applied nitrogen to these fields.

When these are grazed in two weeks it will be too late to apply nitrogen and the nitrogen applied now will grow in the second rotation so I took the advice to fertilize these fields as well.

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Olivia runs an intensive mixed grazing operation with 63 cows calving in 2022.

I am very concerned about the massive price increase and the unavailability of some fertilizers. Although I aim to reduce the total amount of fertilizer, spring is not a time to make large reductions.

I made better use of my liquid manure by spreading it with LESS in the spring and placing it on the silage floor.

With no fodder reserves left, getting a good harvest of quality silage from the first cut is a priority. 15 ac silage soil received 3,000 gal/ac in early March and I will be topping this up with 60 units N/ac this week and intend to cut bales in mid-May.

I am making a pit in Kilcash and there is manure ready to be spread on the silage floor once the ewes have grazed it in early April.

It looks like forage prices will also increase, so producing more than 70 DMD silage will be crucial to reducing or even eliminating this bill.

I had to buy bales from a neighbor this year but I think this might not be an option next winter so making enough silage is imperative.

Another way to reduce my fertilizer bill in the future and improve grass use on the farm is to divide some of the larger fields in Kilcash into a size where I have better control of the grass.

My Teagasc advisor tells me they are too big and I agree. The sheep stay in one field too long and a lot of grass is wasted. It proves very difficult to graze on 3 or 4 cm when they have a large run.

I have used a fencing grant from Tams to secure borders in the past and it was money well spent. So I have to get my adviser to submit another application under tams for me.

There’s always money to be spent on a farm, but fencing is one area where it pays. Subject to Ministry approval, I hope to start this year.

Olivia Hynes farms in Jamestown, Four Roads, Co. Roscommon; Advisors: Brian Daly, Gabriel Trayers

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/beef/beef-advice/it-will-cost-a-lot-to-produce-quality-silage-this-year-but-it-will-be-money-well-spent-41502312.html “It will take a lot to produce quality silage this year, but it will be money well spent.”

Fry Electronics Team

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