Farming in January

So, here we are in mid January and the weather has been excellent. This follows the news that 2016 has been hailed as the warmest year on record.

Ourselves and many other farmers have been out with slurry on the silage ground at the rate of 25,000 litres to the hectare. Urea has also been applied on grazing land this week as ground temperatures are very good for the time of year. It has been applied at the rate of 50 kilos of 46% urea to the hectare. This will give grass a boost, so we hope to start grazing in about two weeks time (weather permitting).

Last week, I attended the 2 day, ‘Positive Farmers Conference’ in Cork. The conference covered a wide range of topics; from people management to labour saving devices such as self-feeding silage. It focused on the most profitable way to run a grass based dairy farm. The event was attended by about 500 dairy farmers who place a big emphasis on grass based dairy farming. While at least 30% of the farmers who attended were from the UK, speakers came from as far away as New Zealand! One piece of advice to farmers was to be positioned for the upturn in milk prices.

Calving and breeding

We are now heading into the main calving time here in Ireland (60% of cows will calf in February). As this is a very busy time, farmers must be well prepared for this season with clean sheds and a plentiful supply of good straw. All calves should get their first feed of colostrum within the first 2 hours of birth. The calves navel should also be treated with iodine immediately after birth. This helps to protect the animal from infection which can be picked up in the calving area.

Milking machines should also be fully serviced by a competent technician in time for the coming season.

We are now heading for the breeding season, so check that your maiden heifers are on target weight for mating in May onwards. It is always good practice to put your lighter heifers to grass as soon as possible to get maximum weight gain pre-mating. If you intend selling maiden in-calf or fresh calved heifers this spring, we would be delighted to quote you a good price for them (providing  the quality suits our customers) . We have many orders on our books at present looking for good groups of quality dairy cattle.  

If you are interested in buying dairy or beef cattle please get in touch.

 

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