OUT FOR A SPIN

Irish Independent - Farming - - FARM OUR -

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.

Breed­ing

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

PHOTO: DE­NIS BOYLE

Ruth But­ler, Una Tim­mins and Theresa Kelle­her at the an­nual West Cork vin­tage run in Clon­akilty Co Cork.

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