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Managing Livestock Nutrition in Current Weather Conditions

Teagasc has set up a Forage Register to help farmers who have run out of silage and other fodder to source supplies from those with a surplus. Farmers who have silage they can sell are invited to ring their Teagasc office to get it listed on the register. Teagasc will text all clients asking them to register any supplies of fodder they may have on regional fodder registers. Teagasc will compile a list of names, telephone numbers and details of forage available and will make the list available

Managing Livestock Nutrition in Current Weather Conditions

Teagasc has set up a Forage Register to help farmers who have run out of silage and other fodder to source supplies from those with a surplus.  Farmers who have silage they can sell are invited to ring their Teagasc office to get it listed on the register.  Teagasc will text all clients asking them to register any supplies of fodder they may have on regional fodder registers. Teagasc will compile a list of names, telephone numbers and details of forage available and will make the list available to farmers in the market for forage.

This was one of the key actions to emerge from a meeting of industry stakeholders to discuss the current weather related difficulties being experienced on farms. Representatives from Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the major dairy co-operatives met in Moorepark, Thursday, 29 March to review the situation.

Speaking after the meeting, Dermot McCarthy, Head of the Teagasc advisory service said; “Given the late spring and slow grass growth rates it will be essential for many farmers to budget feed to meet the minimum roughage requirement of stock for the next 3 to 4 weeks.  To achieve this, it is important to act now and complete a feed budget which will indicate how much silage can be fed on a daily basis to stock to stretch the feed and how the balance of requirements can be met from grass and supplements.  On balance, most people need to be feeding more meals to fill the gap.”

 Dr Siobhan Kavanagh, Teagasc regional advisory manager for Carlow, Wicklow and Wexford, said; “Grass growth this spring has been less than 50% of normal.  Nitrogen fertilizer should be applied immediately to ensure maximum grass growth once temperatures begin to rise towards normal levels.  Farmers need to be flexible and get stock out to graze dry ground, when possible. However, all farmers should avoid starting the second grazing rotation until mid-April at the earliest.”

Farmers are invited to contact their local Teagasc office to request assistance in completing fodder budgets. Fodder clinics are also planned to take place in local offices. Support over the phone will be provided by Teagasc advisors.