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Oliver O'Hara March/April 2023



  • A wet March stalls turnout of the sheep flock
  • Fodder supply running low
  • Poor ground conditions- no application of slurry or fertiliser
  • Trying to get silage ground closed
  • Low average farm cover at home



  • Protecting grassland margins




The sheep flock starting lambing in the first week of March and by the 6th of April , there were only 12 ewes left to lamb. Due to the extremely wet weather , turning out ewes and lambs had to be postponed. By the first week of April, only 50 ewes were out grazing. Keeping ewes and lambs indoors  led to issues of pneumonia . Also there is extra demand for fodder and straw.

Picture 1: Sheep indoors - 6th April 2023

The land on the outfarm in Sligo has dried sufficiently to let 12 cows and calves out in the last week of April. All of the silage is used and hay must be purchased for the remainder of the cattle housed indoors. The sheep flock managed to get out to grass at the end of April. However, the average farm cover is extremely low with most the homefarm at 4cm. Ewes need supplementation until grass starts to grow. Due to the wet ground conditions, fertiliser has not been applied to date.

There has also been a delay in the application of slurry. Both slurry and fertiliser needs to be applied as soon as possible as there is a heavy demand for grass.

It is a challenge to close silage ground when AFC is low . The ewes are getting ½ kgs of meal/head/day to reduce the demand.

Picture 2: 12 cows and calves on the outfarm in Sligo

Oliver plans to subdivide the farm into permanent divisions. He will be making an application under Tams for sheep fencing. A rotational system can then be used to help grow more grass. Currently with the AFC been so low and the sheep having a large “run” –grass is struggling to grow. It “takes grass to grow grass”.

Picture 3: Better situation in Sligo


On the Sligo farm there are margins rich with Foxgloves/Sorrell /Yarrow and Plantain. These margins are not sprayed and are grazed extensively. Also Oliver will not spread any fertiliser on these margins.