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The Dairy Edge Podcast Archive

Episode 5

Episode 5 Spring Grassland Management

On this week’s show the focus is on spring grassland management with Michael Egan, Grassland Research Officer from Teagasc and Micheal O’Leary, Co-ordinator of PastureBase Ireland on the PastureBase/Agrinet merger

Michael Egan, Grassland Research Officer from Teagasc talks through the spring rotation planner, with an emphasis on the target of having 30% grazed by March 1st and the consequences of not achieving this. Weather conditions continue to present a challenge on farms this week and Michael considers methods of restricted access grazing in order to maintain grass as a primary feed source in the diet of dairy cows.

Micheal O’Leary, Co-ordinator of PastureBase Ireland explains what is involved in the PastureBase/Agrinet merger. The two grassland management software’s are currently merging to make a one larger centralised grassland database.

Micheal also takes the opportunity to fill us in on some interesting trends he has observed from farmers who measure grass using the PastureBase grassland measurement tool. Additionally, farmers that use PastureBase Ireland have access to weekly growth rates from all Teagasc research farms.

More information on the topics discussed:

Spring rotation planner

Sample spring rotation planner for 40 ha farm (pdf)

Pasturebase Ireland/Agrinet merger

PastureBase Ireland Merges with AgriNet Grass

Pasturebase Ireland 


Episode 4

This week’s episode of The Dairy Edge podcast focuses on feeding dairy cows in early lactation.

Brian Garry, Nutrition Specialist from Teagasc Moorepark, explains the rapidly increasing energy requirements of dairy cows after calving, the intake capacity of freshly calved cows and the ideal diet to maximise energy intake.

Aidan Lawless, Farm Manager of the Teagasc Johnstown Castle Dairy Herd gives a breakdown of the mixed calving dairy herd at Johnstown Castle. He talks us through the diet and milk production of the autumn calving herd and gives an insight into how their breeding season is going so far.


Episode 3

On this week's Dairy Edge podcast Emma-Louise Coffey gets expert advice on caring for new-born calves from Teagasc’s Emer Kennedy.  Emer stresses the importance of colostrum management and feeding, while discussing key management practices to ensure maximum growth in young calves.

For more information on Care of the newborn calf, see the Teagasc Calf Rearing Manual


Episode 2

Pat Clarke from Teagasc Athenry has tips on how to reduce the heavy spring workload. He also outlines a labour survey that includes over 1,000 dairy farms (75 discussion groups), explaining the differences in work practices between the average and top 5% farmers included in the study.

Kieran Kelleher from Curtin's Research Farm, Teagasc Moorepark, explains what preparation is being put in place for the upcoming calving season. At Curtin's Farm, 150 cows will calf this spring, with 130 cows (86%) of the herd calving in the first 6 weeks of the calving season.

And John Maher, Campaign Manager of Grass 10, explains the initiative and sets out practical steps that famers can take to reach the Grass 10 objectives of 10 tonne grass DM per ha/year utilised and 10 grazings per paddocks/year.

Further Information

Pat Clarke article on reducing the Spring peak: Workload - reduce the spring peak (PDF)

And more information about Grass 10: Grass10


Episode 1

On our first show, we focus on spring fertiliser and fodder.  David Wall, Research Officer from Teagasc Johnstown Castle talks about best practice fertiliser application during the spring period. He debates the best fertiliser type to spread in the first few months of the year. Additionally, he quantifies the value of slurry in terms of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium content.

John Leahy, Dairy Farmer from Athea, Co Limerick explains what he is doing to prepare for the busy spring calving period. John’s farm is classified as heavy and grazing conditions are difficult in February.  Consequently, John begins calving on February 10th and from there 90% of cows will calve within six weeks.

Fodder supplies are in short supply on some dairy farms this January, resulting from failure to make second cut silage and/or early housing due to deteriorating weather and soil conditions in the autumn of 2017. Brian Garry, Ruminant Nutrition Specialist from Teagasc Moorepark gave us some tips on how to stretch forage between now and turnout to grass.

Further reading

A fodder budget worksheet to help with your forage requirements:

Fodder Budgeting Worksheet (PDF)

And for more news and information you can read Teagasc’s January newsletter:

Dairy Newsletter January 2018 (PDF)