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Farm updates 2022

May 27th update 

Glanbia Update May 27th

Group Focus May 27th

Group Focus May 27th

High growth rates over the past few weeks have led to surplus grass on all monitor farms. Grazing the correct pre-grazing yield (PGY) has been challenging. In covers >1,600 KgDM/ha true stem has developed in the past week as perennial ryegrass plants head out & produce seed heads. This is detrimental to milk solids production.

Rotation length needs to be shortened by 3-4 days on most farms. Keeping PGY at 1400 Kg DM/Ha is a challenge. High quality swards are more digestible & have more leaf. Poor quality swards have more stem & are less digestible. The difference to a dairy farmer is a 5% drop in milk solids. This is worth about €420 per week for 100 cows. Using Pasturebase, making decisions after each grass walk (usually 2 every 9-10 days) & using the predictive wedge for the following week has allowed quality grass back into the rotations. Average PGY for the group is 1427kgs DM/ha & average growth has been 80kgs DM/Ha.

Submission rates for the 1st 3 weeks for all the monitor farmers is over 90%. 


May 13th update

Glanbia Update May 13th

Farmer Focus - Donal Kavanagh May 13th

Farmer Focus - Donal Kavanagh May 13th

Donal is farming at Carrigeen, Baltinglas on the Wicklow/Kildare border. His milking platform is supported with an outblock that can be zero grazed. Both platforms were walked and measured on Tuesday. Some reseeds have grown 100-150kgs DM/Ha in the last week, leaving a lot of paddocks for surplus silage.

A plan was devised to pull 6.8% of ground for silage now on the milking platform and over 50% on the out block which will be taken in steps to allow for regrowths & to keep enough grass in the cow diet with predicted grass growths for the next few weeks.

Priority is to keep pre grazing covers as close as possible to 1300-1400 kgs DM/Ha. This is the main target for all 11 group members, keeping PGC as close to 1300-1400 for as long as possible.

Breeding started on the 3rd May for both cows and heifers. Heifers get 1 week of sexed semen and then conventional semen will be used. Once served they are moved to an out block with an Angus bull. For the cows, Donal has selected the best 80 out of 160 cows for Friesian AI, based on EBI, fertility and solids. The remainder will get dairy beef straws. 40% of cows were served in 7 days.


April 28th update

Farmer Focus - Thomas & David Fennelly, Co. Laois

Thomas & David are farming at Tinnakill, Portarlington, Co. Laois.

On Monday we completed a grass walk & the AFC was 829 kgs DM/Ha, with a growth of 60 kgsDM/Ha. On review this meant that growth was meeting herd demand of 59 kgs DM/Ha. Cover/cow was at 229 kgs DM/Ha. A

t this time of the year it is important not to have too much grass ahead of the cows to ensure grass quality and the target is to have a cover per cow of 170-180 kgs DM. This means covers of 1300-1400 for the next 8-10 days for the herd. If it is less than this extra supplement could be required if growth does not increase. If cover/cow is high it could mean cows are going into higher grass covers which will affect grass regrowth & milk fat and protein %.

The Fennelly's decided to pull paddocks for silage & one for reseeding with multi species. They ran a predictive grass wedge for next week to see if this would cause any issues & were happy they could carry this decision. 37 acres on the out farm are being reseeded this week with a 2 cut white clover grass seed mix. Heifers are also on the home block for a fixed AI programme.

April 12th update

Farmer Focus - John Ryan Tipperary

John is farming just outside the village of Gortnahoe, Thurles Co Tipperary. John farms with his father Tom and his wife Marguerite.

Last Friday we completed a grass walk and the AFC was 844 kgs DM/Ha, with a growth of 37 kgsDM/Ha. John is still on the 1st rotation but he has covers of 1000 kgs DM/Ha on the start of the 2nd rotation. Once these get to 1300-1400 kgs he will start to move to the 2nd round. This ensures good grass for the cows and excellent graze outs.

All paddocks on the milking platform have received 70 units N/acre via slurry and protected Urea.

With only 2 cows left to calve John is preparing for the breeding season. Sire advice has been completed and all AI straws are purchased and in the AI flask. Cows were bolused last week with a general purpose mineral bolus for breeding.

A fodder budget for winter 2022/2023 was completed and it gives John a 20% surplus. This is to be reviewed in July/August.

We also ear marked paddocks for reseeding by checking their grass production over the last few years on Pasturebase. 

March 31st Update

Farmer Focus - Larry and Jack Kearney, Rathcormack, Co Cork

Larry and Jack are started their 2nd round on 1st April. Farm was been walked weekly. Paddocks grazed since end of January now have a range of covers from 1000 to 1500 kgs DM/Ha.

All paddocks have received above 50 units N between 2500 gallons slurry over acre plus 23 units protected Urea. Aim this week is to top up these paddocks via slurry or chemical N to have 70 units N out by 1st week of April.

Larry and Jack are nearly finished calving and have sold surplus cows focusing on high SCC, poor performing mature cows and some late calvers. All Friesien bull calves are sold. All beef calves are sold at 2 weeks of age onwards. Analysised data on heifer calves and those below farm target are sold. 35 heifer calves are retained on farm.

The first milk recording was carried out in mid March. Any high SCC cows were identified, CMT tested and treated accordingly. They are putting on tail paint to do 3 weeks pre breeding checks next week.

March 21st Update

All the farms are back to fulltime grazing after the heavy rainfall last week. Percentage grazed varies from 35% to 80%. Important now to watch recovery on paddocks grazed. For farms with over 55% grazed, covers should be 750 - 800kgs DM/Ha on these grazed paddocks especially if these are to be grazed early. Those with less grazed maybe extending out the 2nd round to the 2nd week April.

Key target this week is to get a combination of slurry and or chemical fertiliser out and that cows are out day and night to get ground grazed.

Rates of protected Urea spread vary from 30 to 40 units per acre, depending on whether slurry had been spread in early February.

March 1st Update

A few fine days over last week and the weekend has meant a lot of ground grazed with an average of 31% grazed for the monitor farmers. This has meant that slurry has been spread via trailing shoe or the umbilical pipe system on these grazed paddocks. This is important as the P and K will help repair any damage to the grass especially any root damage.

Protected urea has been spread on a few farms with rates ranging from 25 to 30 units per acre.

Another week of milk recordings have been completed which is vital information for the herd. It needs to be completed before the 1st cows calved go over 60 days and it captures on how well your dry cow therapy has worked.

February Update

Weather conditions over the pass week or so have been testing to say the least with 3 storms and snow showers to contend with. Those with drier land have been able to get cows out by on/off grazing, 2 to 3 hour periods, some milking earlier to allow cows to grass in the evening when conditions allow. 

All have spring grass budgets in place which allows them to see how much grass they can feed to the cows from now to first week of April without letting the AFC drop below 550kgs DM/Ha. This budget can allow for savings in feeding silage in the spring and sets the farm up for the second round of grazing. 

John Ryan and the Fennelly's have their first milk recording done.

Some of the group have or will spread 23 units of Protected Urea when weather conditions allow.

Farmer Updates

Shane Fitzgerald Farm 2024

Shane Fitzgerald Farm 2024

             Portlaw, Co. Waterford figures 15th June 24'

Fat% -4.25%

Milk -23.8

Milk solids - 1.82

Protein -3.41%

AFC- 692

Meal - 4

   Additional info:   

  1. Blanket spread the grass clover fields with 30 units of protected Urea with sulphur to bring total units to 90 for the year. The MSS fields got a bag/acre of 07 30 to bring back up the P & K indexes which dropped last year after receiving no chemical fertiliser
  2. 80% of cows were submitted in the first 21days, so far we have return rates of 28%. We used 20 straws of sexed semen this year but only 6 held. 

Glanbia Report week ending August 12