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Dairy Newsletter - November 2023

06 November 2023
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Top five tips for September
    1. Good hygiene when drying off cows, and clean cubicle beds, after drying are crucial.
    2. Give thin cows an extra three to four weeks dry to recover condition before calving next spring.
    3. Test your silage for quality and mineral content.
    4. Weigh your heifers at housing to track daily gain on silage. The target is 18-20kg per month.
    5. A lot has changed for dairy farmers in 2023. Take some time to review the direction of your operation for 2024 and beyond.
  • Stop grazing in time for spring
    With reduced milk prices and tight feed stocks on some farms this autumn, it might be tempting to ‘shorten the winter’ by grazing on a bit longer if ground conditions allow. However, this is usually a false economy. The main priority for all farm types is to have lots of grass next spring and cows out grazing early (in an average spring it’s worth close to €300 per day for 100 cows).
  • Assessing silage quantity and quality
    Heavy October rainfall forced most dairy farmers to house cows on silage earlier than expected. In many cases grazing will and should continue, at least by day, into mid November; however, conserved forage is now part of the cows’ diet until next spring.
  • National Dairy Conference in Kilkenny
    The Teagasc National Dairy Conference 2023 will take place on Wednesday November 29 in the Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny. The theme of this year’s conference is “Adapting to a changing dairy farming environment”. This year has been very challenging for dairy farmers in terms of stubbornly high costs, reduced milk revenues, labour availability and uncertainty regarding future compliance requirements. The dairy conference affords a great opportunity to discuss and debate the issues with industry peers and fellow farmers. Register to attend on www.teagasc.ie/dairycon23 
  • Fodder supplies stable but some shortage risk
    The national fodder survey showed that 75% of farms surveyed have a surplus of winter feed in stock. The proportion of farms short of silage ranged from 9-15% depending on region, with the north west tighter for feed supply than average. The survey also identified a cohort of 10-20% of farms (depending on region) that are at risk of being tight for winter feed, depending on the duration of winter.