OUT FOR A SPIN
seems to shed quickly and the fertility of the cows has also greatly improved as copper deficiency can have a knock-on effect on fertility.
The fertiliser spreader was back in action last week when I spread 50 units of sulpha CAN on all the grazing ground in a bid to get the grass growing. It might be a bit strong for other years but some of this land only got slurry this year.
Fertiliser spreading has been delayed on the farm due to ground conditions and harsh growth. Even at this late stage two fields are still too wet to travel.
All silage ground is still being grazed and will be closed up in the next seven to 10 days. It will be fertilised and because it has been grazed tight I don’t see it having much adverse effect on silage quality if harvested six to seven weeks later. It’s been a difficult few months so rules and time lines go out the window and, like other farmers I will just have to adapt, adjust and make the best decision available to me.
With the breeding season starting in a few weeks I have picked a batch of heifers that are suitable for breeding. Most of them are 4 and 5 star rated, according to the BDGP evaluations.
I also take into account the temperament of the heifers that are picked and since these are homebred heifers, the temperament of their mothers. There is no point in keeping a top notch heifer if she is anyway excitable.
For the last two years I have kept theses homebred heifers out of the stock bull and AI sire. One downside is when the stock bull is related to them, they have to be run as a different batch. In the past, I purchased heifers which were dairy bred with the idea it would increase milk availability in the herd.
While it did achieve this greatly, one downside — especially after this winter — is that some of the cows can lose condition quite rapidly if the herd comes under pressure for feed or grass and may need to be supplemented with meal.
John Joyce farms at Carrigahorig, Nenagh, Co Tipperary
Ruth Butler, Una Timmins and Theresa Kelleher at the annual West Cork vintage run in Clonakilty Co Cork.