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Glanbia Monitor Farm Update – Brendan Phelan

This week Richard O’Brien, co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme, visited Brendan Phelan’s farm in Ballykillaboy, Kilmacow, Co. Kilkenny.

Brendan is currently milking 140 crossbred cows on his 57 hectare milking platform. He is currently feeding 5kg DM of silage per cow supplemented with 3 kg of meal. Drought conditions have hit the farm, but despite this, the herd is still milking well.

Current Performance

Milk (kg/day) 20.83
Fat (%) 4.9
Protein (%) 3.72
Milk Solids (Per day) 1.8
Meal (kg/cow/day) 3
Average Farm Cover 439
Cover per Cow 172
Pre Grazing yield (kg/dm) 800
Demand (kg/dm/ka) 36
Growth (kg/dm/ha) 41

Brendan plans to continue feeding silage until the rain arrives and grass covers start to build again. Brendan is giving his herd three bales per day in the paddock. The farm was blanket spread with nitrogen in early August with 36 units of nitrogen per acre and will be blanket spread again in late August with 20 units per acre.

The stocking rate on the milking platform is low at 2.5 livestock units per acre. The cows will be scanned at the end of the month and they will also get a salmonella vaccine at this stage.

The calves were weighed on 12 August. The weight ranged from 150-220kg, with an average weight of 185kg recorded. The five lightest calves were identified and put on meal.

Grass growth to date 2016

To date the farm has grown 9 ton dm/ha. This equates to a half ton loss on last year’s figure. This half ton was lost in the spring. Similar growth levels are seen from April to August in the last two years.

Grass Wedge

Richard O’Brien, co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme believes paddock rotation is key during this prolonged dry period, ‘If growth rates have slowed due to lack of rain it is important to slow up the rotation,’ said Richard. ‘Divide the farm into 30 grazing paddocks, with 1 of the thirty areas grazed each day, and fill the gap in the diet with silage and meal. Now is the time to start building covers for autumn grazing.’

First Published 16 August 2016

Tagged with: Agribusiness All Dairy GII

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