AUGUST 2020 West Cork Dairy Farmer

August 27th 2020:

Growth is absolutely flying here at the moment. We have been applying watery slurry to paddocks and the response in growth is amazing – if I had enough watery slurry every rotation we would need very little bag nitrogen to grow grass. The X factor in slurry is something that bag fertiliser just will never achieve!

August 26th Figures:

Farm Cover (Kg DM/Ha): 830

Growth Rate (Kg DM/Ha): 77

Cows are milking 1.85 Kg MS/cow/day on 4 kg of dairy nuts and 4 Kgs DM of dry bale silage. With the atrocious conditions grass is extremely wet and we are keen to keep intakes and yields up so having dry bale silage is a great help at the moment. We will pull out the bale silage as soon as weather improves. Our ground is taking the rain and is alive with earthworms as the pictures below show – earthworm activity and soil structure are crucial in weather like this to get water draining through the soil profile quickly.

These pictures are from a dungpat in a field that was only 7 weeks old. The earthworms have completely eaten the dungpat and have left beautiful crumbly soil behind.

We were out this evening applying 10 units of foliar urea with some carbon on a field that was grazed 11 day ago.

Clean out previously wasn’t the best due to bad weather but the growth has been phenomenal. Alot of farmers are saying that it has been a good year to grow grass. August and September are great months for soils to release nitrogen from its own stores if weather conditions are favourable. This year certainly seems like one of those years. Trial work being carried out on the Tow And Fert up the country is showing very good growth rates on grazing plots receiving no nitrogen. Would it be an idea to leave a small area of a grazing paddock on our own farms so we can judge how well grass is growing without nitrogen particularly in a year like this when soils seems to be helping us so much?

August 10th 2020:

We have had a few weeks where we applied granular instead of foliar due to a machine breakdown (they do breakdown now and again) and a family holiday. Its interesting to see that the higher rate of granular did not yield anymore grass than the lower rates rates of foliar. Anyway we are back into our normal routine of foliar fertiliser and cows are currently yielding 1.9 Kg MS/cow/day on 3 Kg of 13% dairy nut from our local co-op but is being reduced 2.5 Kg. Clover is starting to really take off in paddocks and contribute nicely to the tank. We have 35 to 45 acres earmarked for bales and will start oversowing grass in some paddocks this week and also start aerating soils as soil conditions are ideal for this job at the moment.

August 3rd Figures:

Farm Cover (Kg DM/Ha): 803

Growth Rate (Kg DM/Ha): 89

L.U./Ha: 3.88

Picture is of ground harvested for 2nd cut and had 18 units of nitrogen applied  – this was taken 17 days after cutting.

July 24th 2020 Grass Wedge: