While cutting silage might be the last thing on the mind of those facing a current shortage in the yard, it’s important that where the normal buffer of bales or pit has been depleted that this is replaced in the coming months.

The real risk at the minute is that ground is un-trafficable. Very few farmers I have spoken to in the last few weeks have and grain of fertiliser spread, let alone thinking of spreading silage ground for first cut.

The risk now is that farmers will either have to accept a later cut of silage at the risk of grass heading out and silage quality suffering, or ease back on fertiliser application and cut at the normal time of the year that you would (20 May-1 June).

The above will depend on the farm requirements for fodder, but it’s important to remember that nearly every farm will need good quality silage for some group of stock during some period.

Where slurry has been spread on silage ground, there may be some background N working away that will allow for some lower chemical application rates without quantity being heavily hit.


Shaun Diver – Tullamore Farm, Co Offaly

The weather has taken a turn again since the weekend and is seriously hampering day to day operations.

Ground conditions are saturated, with the result being that ewes that are turned out with lambs are dirtying grass and having to be moved on to new paddocks.

A paddock where you would think there’d be five to six days grazing is only lasting two days due to mud being pulled on to grass.

No fertiliser has been spread to date owing to the conditions. While we did get some slurry out earlier in the year, the tanks are now close to capacity again.

I’d be hoping that we may be able to pipe some on the drier hills, but weather and ground conditions would have to improve first.

System Suckler to beef

Soil Type Variable

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 867

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 11

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 13

John Dunne – Portarlington, Co Offaly

Cows and calves have been grazing our drier ground up to now, but with this running out we are faced with the decision to either let them on to heavier ground and risk poaching or feed them baled silage on stubble ground to buy us some time until conditions improve.

While calving has been going well with 80% of cows calved, no cow-calf pairs have been turned out in the last 10 days due to the weather.

Fertiliser is sitting in the yard ready to go on silage ground, but with the likely delay in spreading it will be a decision of going for a later cut of lower quality or cut back on N application and face a drop in yield.

The dairy bred weanlings have been grazing the fodder rape for the past month, with six days grazing left in this. They will then go to grass.

System Suckler/dairy calf to beef

Soil Type Free draining

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 1,153

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) N/A

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 27

Stephen Frend – Newford Herd, Co Roscommon

We have yet to get any cows and calves to grass, but we are hoping to get some cattle out next week. Grass cover on the new farm here in Roscommon isn’t excessive anyway, as there was a late cut of silage taken in autumn 2023 and we have yet to get any fertiliser out this spring.

With ground being high in P and K, we will be spreading nearly all protected urea.

Calving has really tapered off now, with just nine cows left to calve.

Of the 12 cows that were left to calve after the main bunch, eight of these had been served the last week in April but broke after the dry spell in early June and were AI’d again in the final week of breeding.

Cows are on slats, with calves offered access to a straw bedded creep.

System Suckler to beef

Soil Type Free draining

Farm cover (kg/DM/ha) 900

Growth (kg/DM/ha/day) 4

Demand (kg/DM/ha/day) 0