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Mid February Monitor Farm update

Ulster and northern parts of both Leinster and Munster recorded above-average rainfall during the week, with ground conditions very difficult.

Drying conditions have not been favourable this week. Moreover, saturation persists on all lands and heavier soils are mostly waterlogged.

As a result, this week has proved difficult for grazing and nitrogen application on the Glanbia Monitor farms. Teagasc adviser Richard O’ Brien this week visited Shane O’Loughlin in Co. Kildare and Paddy O’Gorman’s farm in Clonmel.

Shane has no nitrogen out yet, but plans to spread 30 units of urea per acre next week. ‘We have a very high demand for grass due to the 40 autumn calvers,’ Shane said.

Paddy O’ Gorman in Clonmel has 30 units of urea spread on 40% of the farm last week. ‘42% of the herd have calved so far with the figure expected to be close to 50% by Valentine’s Day.’ Due to the poor ground conditions, Paddy has grazed only one hectare so far. He hopes to let cows out again by the end of this week.

Paddy will let the maiden heifers out this week. ‘The heifers averaged 240kg back in November. We plan to weigh them again next week to review their progress, where they’ll also receive their first vaccination.’

Both farms have an average cover of 1,100 kg DM/ha and grew 4 kg DM/ha over the winter. As a whole, this grass has been well maintained and is of good quality. When the cows go out they will go out full-time on 2kg of meal with a target of starting his second round on 5 April. The target for both farms will be to graze 30% by 1 March and 60 % by 17 March.

While the cows remain indoors, they are being fed ad-lib silage with 5 kg of meal. Calves are being fed 3 litres of colostrum within one hour of birth. Both Shane and Paddy use a mobile milking unit to get colostrum from the cow. This machine is located in the calving unit.

There are 11 Monitor Farmers in the Glanbia catchment area. The average herd size in 2015 was 125, representing a 25% increase on the 2014 figure of 100. It is predicted that the average herd size in 2016 will reach 140. However, profit per cow fell by €94/cow in 2015 (€619) compared to 2014 (€713).

First Published 11th February 2016


Tagged with: Dairy GII


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