Michael McGuignan March/April 2023 update
- Poor weather conditions lead to re-housing
- Slurry results
- Silage areas closed in early April
- Grass wedge back on track by the end of April
- No fodder reserves
- Grassland area gets 18.6.12
- Young calves are weighed in early March
- Forward creep grazing
Michael took the opportunity to graze out silage fields and paddocks with clover in February – in fact on his spring rotation planner he was grazing too much ground in February. When March turned wet the cows had to be re- housed due to poor grazing conditions . However, on positive , rehousing allowed the grass cover to increase on the farm and put the spring rotation back on track. It was a calculated risk- grazing too much ground in a dry February knowing that he would probably have to re-house once the weather broke.
The wet weather in March delayed slurry and fertiliser applications but slurry was applied to the silage ground using the trail and shoe on March 27th at 3000 gals per acre. This was followed by 1.2bags of protected urea a week later-so Michal managed to close the silage ground by April 6th.
The slurry results highlighted 7.4 units of N; 5.51units of P and 34.6units of K per 1000gales. So applying 3000 gals/acre to the silage ground gave a total of 22units of N; 16units of P and 104units of K from slurry - a significant saving than having to buy a chemical , compound fertiliser to supply same.
With an late autumn calving system , making top quality silage is a priority . Cows will have young calves at foot during the winter period while also trying to get back in calve – good nutrition is key. Closing on April 6th will mean that silage will be fit to cut in the third week of May.
The grassland areas received 1 bag of 18.6.12+S per acre on the 7th and 15th of April . As can be seen from pasturebase , grass growth has increased steadily and by the last week of April growth is exceeding demand . The growth rate for the third week of April was 55kgs/DM/ha/day.
There has been a good response to the fertiliser and by the end of April, there are 16 days ahead which is on target. Only one paddock 5B is getting too strong so that needs to be grazed immediately or be taken out as silage.
The calves born in October and November has been out grazing all winter through creep gates in the shed. This reduces the amount of straw and the calves are much healthier. Both mother and calves are well used of that system even when outdoors full time in April. To ensure maximise growth rates , the calves are forward grazed ensuring that they get the choice grass ahead of the cows.
Both males and females calves were weighed on the 4th of March 2023.
The 14 male calves are averaging 176kgs and have a ADG of 1.06kgs since birth.