Kay O'Sullivan March/April Update 2023
- Grass growth has improved
- Strong paddocks can be cut for silage if over 16 days of grass ahead from mid-April
- Red clover and multi species measures open for applications
Planning feed reserves
- Fodder budget completed
- Store cattle will be grazing redstart which will reduce the winter feed demand
- Approximately 100 bales of silage left over from this winter
- 2022 born cattle were weighed on 31st March
- Heifers averaging 348kg and bullocks averaged 367kg
- They gained >1kg/day on average while grazing the redstart
Grass was measured on 10th April and showed a farm cover of 670 kg DM/ha. The growth rate was 23 kg DM/ha/day since 27th March. The farm demand is just matching the growth rate at 24 kg DM/ha. There are 28 days of grass ahead on the farm so Kay will have to watch growth rates as some of these may have to be taken out for silage. Paddocks have been closed up for silage also.
The target average farm cover is 700-800 kg DM/ha for the end of April and to have 12-14 days of grass ahead. Kay can take paddocks out for silage that exceed the target pre-grazing yield of 1200-1400 kg DM/ha over the coming weeks.
Kay plans to reseed 10 acres with a multi species mix this year. She will also be sowing 5 acres of a perennial ryegrass/red clover crop and plans to sow redstart in June. 5 acres of red clover and 7 acres of multi species will be sown on her Mam’s farm.
There is a 2023 multi species sward measure open until 29th May which aims to incentivise farmers to sow multi-species swards. It will pay €300/ha and seed can be purchased from date of application and must be sown by the 15th July 2023. Claims for payment must be lodged by the 31stof August 2023. Further information is available at https://www.gov.ie/en/service/4ccda-multi-species-sward-measure/
A similar red clover measure is also in place for 2023. It will pay €300/ha towards to cost of establishing the crop. The closing date is 29th May and it must be sown by 15th July. Further information is available at https://www.gov.ie/en/service/ae169-red-clover-silage-measure/
A fodder budget was completed for the farm and shows that Kay will need 366 bales of silage for next winter to feed 60 ewes for 2 months and 25 cows, 25 weanlings and 25 store cattle (although some of these are expected to be slaughtered before then and will be grazing redstart) for 4 months. She expects to have 100 bales of silage left over from this winter so that leaves her to make 266 bales this summer. At an average yield of 8 bales/acre, Kay will need to cut 33 acres for silage, which will be made up of first cut, second cut and surplus paddocks.
The 2022 born heifers (10) were weighed on 31st March. They had an average weight of 348kg and had gained 1.19kg/day over the 3 weeks that they were grazing the redstart crop.
The 2022 born bullocks (11) were also weighed on 31st March. They were an average weight of 367kg and gained 1.1kg/day on the restart crop.