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Glanbia Ireland – drought update

Agribusiness All Beef Co-op Corporate Dairy

Glanbia Chairman Martin Keane said: “We are acutely conscious of the stress that this drought is causing for our farmers and their animals. Any farmer experiencing difficulty should contact their local Glanbia representative. The Board has met to review our response and is looking at a range of options to help our farmers through this latest challenge.”

  • Grass cover, grass growth and conserved fodder are below target on almost all farms across the Glanbia catchment area.
  • Grass growth has declined to circa 30 kgs of DM/ha/day during the past week in many areas. On average, growth is running at less than 40% of demand.
  • In addition, grass growth prospects are poor until there is a significant correction of current soil moisture deficits.
  • Farmers facing difficulties are encouraged to contact their local Glanbia representative who can advise of appropriate solutions on an individual farm basis.
  • A Glanbia Drought Helpline is available to farmers in difficulty on 1890 100 017 (lines open from 8.30am to 6pm).

Glanbia Ireland animal nutritionist Martin Ryan said that dairy farmers are currently maintaining milk supply by resorting to combinations of:

  • Increased in-parlour feeding;
  • Grazing second-cut silage ground;
  • Feeding straights like soya hulls in addition to parlour concentrates;
  • Using some silage as a buffer feed.

He advises farmers to:

  • Fill any feed dry matter intake gap firstly with up to 6 kgs of an appropriate concentrate;
  • Consider the feeding of a further 4-5 kgs of Soya Hulls. Buffer feed some silage to carry the hulls if necessary and or to provide long fibre;
  • Hulls are good value relative to other products, nutritionally ideal, widely available, proven and can be fed at rates of up to 6-7 kgs/hd/day;
  • In current conditions, dairy cows will need access to up to 100 litres per cow per day. Water shortage will reduce dry matter intake and milk yield;
  • Farms with severe shortage of grass and no more than 5 Kgs of grass dry matter (DM) to allocate per cow/day should fill the first 10 kgs of DM deficit with concentrate and straights. Thereafter it is critically important to include long fibre in the diet. This could be silage bales/haylage or alfalfa.

First Published 2 July 2018

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