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Dairy Newsletter - July 2021

This month's Dairy Newsletter includes information on: Summer grassland management; Ending the breeding season; Heifer weights; Summer mastitis; Climate actions for July; and Health & Safety - Farm Safety Week.

View it here: Teagasc Dairy Newsletter - July 2021 (PDF)

In this month's edition:

  • Summer grassland management
    The Grass10 team issues a weekly bulletin by email for interested farmers. The recent messages from the team centre on maintaining mid-summer grass quality. This is proving challenging on farms at present because of the prevailing weather conditions and grass has been tending to head out over the past month.
  • Ending the breeding season
    Nationally almost 400,000 ‘spring-calving’ cows calve in the months of April, May and June. Almost as many calve in May and June as in April. This is far too many and costing Irish dairy farmers millions of Euro annually. No more than 10% of your spring-calving cows should calve during this part of the year and all of these should calve in April.
  • Heifer weights
    Having replacement heifers at the correct weight for their age at six months old is critical to their long-term future in the dairy herd. Weanling and yearling heifers born around February 1 should be 30% and 70%, respectively, of their mature body weight on August 1 if they’re to be successfully calved at two years of age.
  • Summer mastitis
    Summer mastitis (caused by the bacterium Trueperella pyogenes), is an acute disease occurring in dry cows and in-calf heifers. Because it is spread by flies, it is most often seen during the summer. Clinical signs of the disease include stiffness when walking and a swollen painful teat or udder.
  • Climate actions for July
    • If you have oversown clover, graze low covers (1,000 kg DM/ha)
    • On grass clover swards, reduce N fertiliser applied (half rate)
    • Apply thick slurry or a protected urea compound with K included to replace the K removed by silage
    • Check your slurry storage availability and if it’s inadequate, make a plan
    • Ask your contractor to spread slurry using LESS equipment
    • Review your fertiliser plan – rectify low P and K index soils and apply lime
  • HEALTH & SAFETY - Farm Safety Week
    July is the most dangerous month of the year, with the highest levels of farm workplace deaths based on past records. Farm Safety Week starts on Monday July 19 when the official launch occurs.