Reseeding: Even though the weather is very good at present, I think it is too late in the year to be thinking about reseeding now.
Between organising spraying, giving time for the spray to work and getting the existing sward removed, 10 days will have been lost.
Who knows what the weather will be like in 10 days’ time.
Even if it is sown then, it will take at least two months for the grass seeds to be ready for grazing.
That brings us to the middle of November, which is tricky territory in terms of ground conditions.
At this stage, I would be inclined to hold off until next spring and do the reseeding then, unless land is very dry. Clover establishment is also much better in spring than it is in autumn. Not being able to get multiple grazings off a new reseed in the first few months seriously reduces tillering and generally speaking, these late autumn reseeds don’t perform as well as earlier-sown reseeds. Inability to spray at the right time is also a major drawback.
Feed: As reported on page one, feed merchants continue to increase feed prices. I see some merchants are taking to writing letters to inform their customers of price rises of €10-€12/t.
Farmers should always shop around for feed as there is no reward for loyalty, which these letters prove. While global grain prices are increasing, most merchants forward purchase their imported feed requirements months in advance at set prices.
To suggest that all feed prices will rise at the one time is nonsense. Deals will be done if farmers shop around and are willing to move. Heavy users and winter milk producers should consider locking in a price for the next few months if they think they are getting value.
Just be aware that global grain prices are volatile and could rise or fall. With plenty of grass available, the minimum amount of feed should be fed now. A 12% protein nut is more than sufficient at this time of year. There is ample protein and energy in grass. Something like rolled barley or rolled wheat would be ideal for the next month or two.
Nitrates: There was a big attendance at the Irish Farmers Journal nitrates webinar on Monday night. It is available to watch back on www.ifj.ie/nitrates. The key issues are around the storage requirements for soiled water (eight weeks versus four weeks), keeping soiled water separate to slurry, low emission slurry spreading on all herds stocked over 100kg N/ha and a longer closed period for spreading slurry.
It’s important to remember that these are proposals and subject to change depending on submissions received during the consultation process.
On soiled water, it is likely that new guidelines will be issued on excretion rates per cow, probably somewhere between 25l and 50l per milking cow per day. The Department has also hinted in the proposals that excretion rates for organic manure are being reviewed, and in time, they could increase. All of this points to the fact that extra storage is going to be required on a lot of farms. Other farms that are highly stocked may decide that milking 10 or 20 less cows will be a better and more profitable alternative.