Today's Farm - November/December 2022
The November/December 2022 edition of our bi-monthly magazine is now available online.
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In this edition:
Slurry - Planning your slurry applications - Cattle slurry has a major role to play in balancing farm soil fertility, reducing large fertiliser bills and meeting new chemical nitrogen (N) allowance as per the new nitrates directive. Cattle slurry is the largest national source of on-farm organic fertiliser and is a valuable source of N, phosphors (P) and potassium (K). The nutrient content will vary between farms. The largest factor affecting its nutrient value is the degree of dilution with soiled water.
Beef - Maintaining performance this winter in Mayo - Holstein Friesian, Angus, Hereford and Limousin calves are bought in and finished at various different ages on the Ruane farm. The heaviest animals go on to be killed at 20-21 months of age and the rest are killed at 28-30 months of age at grass, with the remainder slaughtered out of the shed at around 24 months of age. “The range in age at slaughter is good for our cash flow and it also allows for optimum use of our limited winter housing facilities on the farm,” says Jarlath Ruane.
Sheep - Thin ewe study - Teagasc and the Regional Veterinary Laboratories (RVL) are currently undertaking a ‘Thin Ewe’ study. The study aims to provide information on the causes of ill thrift/poor body condition score in ewes. We are investigating ewes from flocks where thin ewes are a substantial problem, despite receiving adequate nutrition. In particular, our aim is to investigate whether iceberg diseases are playing a significant role or whether more common issues such as broken mouths/poor teeth and parasites are the major contributors to lack of thrive.
Dairy - Learning on the job - In 2020, Oisín Gallen made the decision with his parents Eamon and Ann to convert their farm from beef and sheep production to dairying. The farm is located in Ramelton, Co Donegal. This year, Oisín, and his fiancée Karen Johnston are milking 85 cows on their 28ha milking platform. There is also 8ha of outside ground for silage and grazing youngstock. “We first started discussing the idea of converting the farm to dairy in the autumn of 2017. I was running beef and sheep on the farm and I was milking part-time with a local dairy farmer,” says Oisín
Tillage - Beans mean benefits - With beans there is no need for nitrogen, an increase in the protein payment and alternative options to control troublesome grass weeds – not to mention the boost to the following crop. Ollie Whyte is part of a tillage farming family based near the Naul, Co Dublin. They are enthusiastic about growing beans. “We introduced beans into our rotation three years ago,” says Ollie. “We mainly plough them in, but we will also strip-till and min-till when conditions are right.”